Sunday, November 29, 2009

Triple Play Exhibit

All of the QuiltArt 2009 Journal Quilts are on display in an online ehibit called Triple Play
You can start out on my journal quilts, or start at the beginning and read about the exhibit.

Each artist made 5 or 6 and submitted
three for the exhibit.

These are detail shots from the five that I made.

My series was based on edges. I was interested in exploring the edges of the fabric scraps I was limiting myself to using for this series. All of these scraps are from projects that I've completed over the last year. Several had very frayed edges that were texturally interesting to me, so I wanted to learn how to use those irregular and 3-d edges to best effect to convey more than just line at the edge of a shape.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Scant Sketching

Here it is. The sum total of my creative output in these post-surgery weeks. A half-hearted sketch done just to see if I could even sketch left-handed or not. It is of part of my fabric scrap pile. I'll just say it looks a heck of a lot better than my writing, which looks like an over-enthusiastic four year old's first attempts. But it felt nice just to sit in my creative workspace for a little while. Tomorrow I'm planning to attempt some left-handed scissor action....woohoo!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful For Leftovers

Just a little leftover paper flower from the Give Thanks banner. This one was a little wonky and looked too different from the other ones to fit in on the banner, but I couldn't throw it away or afford to send it off to the Island of Misfit Toys. So I gussied it up with some inspiring words, purple paper, glitter (natch) and a red fibery thread. I have it hanging off my thread rack right above my work table.
I'm thinking one could make some very unique and cool tree ornaments in this manner...hmmm, even with a favorite fabric you've stiffened up instead of paper.

Note, this was done before hand surgery, back when I could hold and use scissors.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope your hunt for the perfect turkey goes more smoothly than this!
We are cooking at our house and then bringing all the goodies to the designated feast location, my mom and dad's. Mom made the pies and we're doing the rest. I am not helping much, besides finding recipes and making the shopping lists and helping people figure out where to find stuff.
I did manage to make the Spiced wine cranberry sauce with just a little spice measuring assistance from my son Alex, this stuff is the best, yummm. It made me feel a little bit more like normal to be cooking at this time of year. Hard to express how frustrating it is to not be able to chop anything, but that's a temporary thing. Sure brings into focus how thankful I am to normally be able to wield a knife and be productive in the kitchen! Or scissors/rotary cutter in the studio for that matter!
Definitely counting my blessings this year. Hope you are too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another Banner Begun

Happy Thanksgiving eve! Here's another project I started before I'd realized the whole hand surgery thing was going to happen and be so danged limiting.
It was supposed to be an easy peasy appliqued banner and to be done for our Thanksgiving family celebration. Well, not this year. On the bright side, I suppose I have a big head start for next year! It is going to say Give Thanks like the paper one that I did manage to complete. Well now I guess I have time to fool around and find just the right font to use for the letters, maybe this one.
Or maybe I'll just make a giant sawtooth border using these huge triangles for the fallen leaves quilt.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fallen Leaves

Here are the last four blocks I made for this years' work on the Falling Leaves/Autumn/Thanksgiving quilt. Almost all of the components were cut out and conveniently stashed with all the leaf blocks and fall fabrics. They were leftovers from the block swap that got me started on this project way back when. This maple leaf traditional block really makes a nice negative space shape when you put four blocks together. That effect is one of my main reasons why I enjoy making traditional block quilts on occasion. Those secondary patterns really engage something in my brain.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quilts & Color Video

Recovering from surgery on my right hand. Can't do much at all, since my hand is immobilized so that the tendon can heal. Getting Very Boring! And four more weeks to go in the splint.

So, I made a video of the quilt related pictures I have up on Flickr. Animoto the online program I used. It is really fun and easy to use. I am trying to decide whether to renew my membership or not, as I haven't used it too much over the past year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Give Thanks

Thought I'd share a Thanksgiving themed banner I just finished making that says:
It is made out of flower/stars made from folded book pages (from an old paperback), threaded on vintage lime green seam binding, and the letters printed out on cardstock from the instructions which are free and over at Bitter Betty's.
Easy to make, a great sentiment for the season and virtually free. I like how it looks against my green living room wall and reminds me everytime I see it, that being thankful is the order of the day. Maybe I'll just leave it up all year round!
Also, make sure and check out her awesome new book Show Off!,How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step At A Time great for holiday gift giving to pre-teens! My son got to help test out some of the projects which were super fun.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The True Value of Play

"Has anyone seen Cinderella lately?"
Teeny tiny pumpkins with teeny tiny Snow White.
This seventh chapter of The Joy Diet was about Play and it was a real surprise to me.
I had pictured something more like the last chapter on Treats, but this was completely different and very useful. Getting down to what's really important in your life, answering the question "how do you want the world to be different when you're gone?" Whatever your reply is, that is what author Martha Beck calls your "real career". So then you have to realize that everything you do every day has to support the answer you give to that question. What else is there right? Just procrastination, straight-out avoidance and spending too much time in maintenance activities. "Playing the martyr by doing maintenance work that keeps you eternally away from your eagle goals may be your way of dodging the scary, exhilarating work of your real career."
Pshew, that's a big one isn't it? Well it was for me. But, now that I've got this idea down of switching between mouse view and eagle view of what I'm doing in the moment: "In Sioux Indian culture, the eagle symbolizes the ability to see distant goals and vast scenarios with great acuity. The mouse is a metaphor for the state of mind that focuses completely on the thing right in front of it, putting all its attention on exploring whatever it is with eyes, nose, whiskers, and tiny little paws"
I think it will now be easier to keep on my right path by staying loose, playful and experimenting with what works and gets me closer to what I really truly want to be doing, instead of making sure my kitchen sink is the cleanest and sparkliest ever.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Leaves Are Falling

The leaf blocks are getting made one by one. Here are the ones I've made so far based on freebie blocks I found online in various places.This one is a 3D maple leaf, the points are basically little pockets. Kind of a cool look, and there were instructions I didn't read at the end, that would make it even more 3D, little tucks to make as you sew the pockety points.

A paper-pieced leaf, lost the web address for this one, sorry that I can't link to it.
Left over squares made up into a good old 9 patch. I figure this will come in handy when I'm fitting together all these leaf blocks.

An applique chestnut leaf (with two chestnuts that look kinda like cocktail olives). I love this background fabric.

An in-process oak leaf ring. There are going to be acorns also. And I'll be satin stitching around all the shapes too.
So that's all the new leaves so far, they are looking good with the leaf blocks that I already had from the long ago block swap. Not sure that the quilt will be together in time for Thanksgiving this year, well truthfully I'm pretty sure it won't be! But it is still fun to work with the fall colored fabrics at this time of year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkins In The Palm Of My Hand

Here are two of the three pumpkins I managed to grow this year. Aren't they the cutest little things? Baby Mini Jack from Renee's Garden Seeds.
So perfectly formed and miniature. They feel really nice in the hand and are making me smile just looking at them.
You can also spot the injury I unfortunately sustained while carving our larger pumpkins. Gory story, but it turns out I have cut one of the tendons in my pinky finger. Yes, of course on my right hand. And yes, I am right-handed. Sigh. I have a consult with the surgeon on Monday, hopefully the surgery and rehab won't be too awful. But it sure would be nice to be able to bend the tip of my finger again and have my whole hand not be so painful. Very hard to do a lot of things, especially gripping and controlling small things and heavy lifting. I'm adapting but it is most definitely slowing me down in the making art everyday and writing a novel projects I was attempting this month. What a bummer. But I'm not giving up!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Queen's Return

My altered board book of Queens has returned from its year-long rounds through the hands of several Traveler's Hart artists and it really is great! This is the cover that I did that survived all the travelling much much better than I'd thought it would. Guess that foam padding helped, I thought for sure I'd lose at least one of the letter tiles. All that extra glue and glitter held it together though.
This is how the first spread by Kathy Martin looks, aren't these colors and transparencies fabulous? So much great complexity on these pages.

This is an almost graffitti looking urban design, how about all those great fonts together? I loved the little message pocket on the right, it has a very cool poem on it.
Turning the page we get to meet the Queen of The Rodeo by Terry Owenby. Doesn't that expression just make you smile?

and her neighbor The Button Queen by Shelley Boose, love all the embellishments on this page, so dimensional.

Next up is Queen For A Day! by Kim Wood. She's used some of my favorite vintage Anne Taintor imagery.She's co-ruling the Queenly Housewife page spread with Queen Of Her Kitchen by Vivan Montre. She looks like she would scare the potatoes right out of their jackets with her intensity.

Here's my page spread with the signature card pocket on the far right.

Here are the signature cards, actually queens of various suits from a couple decks of playing cards which each artist altered to suit her work.

And the reverse of those cards.
What a fun collaboration! I'm so glad that I played in this project because I learned a lot working on all these altered board books.

You can see the work I did in all the other altered board books for this project:

Jewels & Treasures,

Land Of Sky Blue Water,

Doorways & Passages,

Inspirational Quotes,

Favorite Quotes,

Eat Your Vegies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heavy vs. Light

Dichroic glass=very heavy. Especially for quilt embellishments. To support a piece such as the large triangle on the left without distorting the quilt surface would take some engineering. Which is probably why these are unused as of now. Maybe they should just be jewelry instead, several of them look like they'd be great pins. I think Margaret Ball gave me these ages ago and I'm sorry I haven't ever used them, just taken them out every now and then and enjoyed looking at them. They have so much depth and you always find something new to see within the glass. They've been in a little box which just got discovered (during my recent embossing heat gun search) with these completely opposite embellishments-to-be-used:
These are metallic painted and heat treated Tyvek "jewels". That's how I always think of these, because of the shiny metallic paint that I used, they really glow and have a nice shine. In a different way than the dichroic glass above of course, but still shiny. I think they have a lot of presence because of their unusual and organic shapes, you're not sure what exactly they are, so they require more up close investigation.

The way that the Tyvek folds in on itself and bubbles up is so unpredictable which is a big part of the fun of making these. They are easy to use as an embellishment on a quilt, you can pierce them pretty easily with a needle and they are super lightweight and easy to bead upon.
Another reason that I need to find my embossing heat gun, so I can make some more of these!
I've used Tyvek embellishments on two quilts Meteor Meltdown and Open Book, Blue and I think I need to definitely use these in some upcoming quilts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some of My Favorite Tools

Here is one of my favorite pieces of fabric from my recent painting extravaganza. It wasn't ironed very well when I started painting , so that ended up creating cool and unexpected lines toward the bottom where the wrinkles were. This is from the paint getting stopped in a line as I sponged it on. I used the following two tools with black, gold and mustard yellow paint.
This is the type of sponge that I like to use for painting, a hydrophilic (meaning loves and attracts water) foam. It acts very differently than the usual cellulose kitchen sponge (related to the sponge printing from yesterday's post). I cut up the big sponge into smaller, more usable pieces, wet it, squeeze out the excess water, and then dip it into some paint colors and pounce,dab and/or smear the paint onto the fabric.
The second tool used to create this piece is plastic furniture carpet protectors. You can get these at the hardware store, so far I've only found these two shapes, but I have seen them in smaller sizes. I just dip them into the paint that I'm using, or sponge some paint onto the prongs and then print right onto the fabric.
I really like the orderliness of the dots along with the chaotic sponged on color.
This piece was also made with just one tool.
A smallish (3x4") piece of a styrofoam food tray, deeply incised with a ballpoint pen. I sponge the paint right onto the foam surface and then print it onto the fabric.
Another one tool piece.A thick piece of design board (like posterboard with foam in the middle), cut on one of the edges to secure a heavy string wrapped around in a pattern. It is becoming a neat object all on its own after all the times that I've used it now.

This piece was made by spongeing paint onto the fabric which is on top of bubble wrap, that gives the background texture, then the round furniture protector was used to provide all those regular dots.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Simple Sponge Stamping

Another round of painting, actually stamping with paint this time, using compressed cellulose sponges.

The sponge itself is pretty thin, about the weight of a thick card stock, very easy to cut with regular scissors. I believe I bought a package of these sponges at Trader Joe's, but Dharma Trading also carries them.
Here's my painting set-up of an ironed piece of white broadcloth, several pieces of paper sandwich wrap (like delis use), with a piece of freezer paper underneath to keep my table top dry and paint-free. I re-use the freezer paper over and over again until it gets too much paint on it. The deli paper absorbs excess paint and moisture and ends up being pretty usable itself for collage and other uses.

Here is the shape I cut out of the compressed sponge. surprise surprise a spiral. Keep it a simple shape, you're not going to get a huge amount of detail with this method.

"Just add water" and pow, look how big it is all of a sudden. Make sure to squeeze out the excess water before you continue with the paint, otherwise you'll just get a lot of smeary mess without the texture of the sponge.

To apply paint I made a small unmixed puddle of the colors I wanted to use (just plain old craft acrylics, nothing fancy or specific textile paints) on a Styrofoam tray (cheap and easy palette!) and dipped the sponge spiral into it, checking to make sure that there was paint all over the shape before stamping.
The upper left is the first stamping, you can see how the extra water bleeds out into the fabric which gives it a watercolor type of look.
In the upper right I pulled the spiral apart a bit as I set it down on the fabric to give a slightly different shape.
The lower right is just the sponge plopped down tightly curled up. A lot of easy variation between stampings.

More and more layerings of the image being built up, with mostly gold/yellow paint on top of the gold/green mixture I started with. Since you're stamping with very little paint the fabric won't get too terribly stiff, it will still be easily sewable.

Here's how it looks when it is all dry.
If you want to re-use the sponge shape again, make sure to wash it out immediately otherwise it will become stiff and unusable when the paint inside the sponge dries and hardens.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Flowing Colors

I was looking for my embossing heat gun and ended up unpacking the last two big remaining studio "stuff" boxes and uncovered all the fun paint and dye and surface design goodies I haven't used in quite a long while. Guess since I packed them up way back when before the house remodel...Anyways never did find the heat gun, but ended up having fun painting and fooling around with some liquid pigment dyes (Dharma and Createx), as well Dr. Ph.Martin's Spectralite airbrush color and liquid acrylics. I'd bought these from Dharma Trading ages ago, and had never used them. I knew they were unused because they still had the black electrical tape that Dharma uses around the tops of containers that they ship out.
This one is all Dr. Ph. Martin's Spectralite, very free flowing, watercolor-ish, mixed easily on the fabric as I wetted it. I like the clarity and intensity of these colors.
This one has all of the different pigments plus some silver Deka fabric paint on top. Some of the pigments are very concentrated (the Dharma brand especially) and are made to be used diluted, some are made to be used as is straight out of the bottle. This piece turned a little muddy and indistinct as it dried, I think I got the fabric a bit too wet in this case. Looks like a good start on a background though.