Wednesday, July 31, 2013

studio shot

Lee Anna's studio shot

Wanted to show you my flamingo collection but that will have to wait for another day. Too much of a round-up needed for that job. This is a corner of the studio. The boxes hold snips of torn out paper, the basket holds tools rarely used but necessary when they are used. There is a mirror to the side, showing a bit of the cutting area. The boxes are sitting on a  wire mesh basket holder that holds other rarely used craft items like stencils, template plastic, paper items and lots more. One of the drawers was taken over by the dog/cat fabric collection. There is a moldable figurine that I don't use for drawing but like. Obviously I like color. My studio is painted white, with light gray carpet and a white design wall. I love that because all my special stuff is colorful. Everywhere I look is something I love to look at, and isn't that nice?
I have a mix of put away out of sight items, and out in view items. I am currently in love with coral, hence the orange container store boxes. The doorway is just behind this area, it's where dh and dpoodle stick their collective heads in to get my attention for dinner/walks. They do not like entering the space. The poodle only comes in to avoid scary noises, and the husband only comes in if I ask him to look at a work in progress. I'm easily distracted so this works for us, although it would be nice to have a "shop dog"

Are you about ready to walk??
guess not, wake me when you surface

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stick to it

Places to stick something

create pin holder
 I thought I'd share a few of my pin cushions today. I am a collector of pins and pin cushions. Currently I use the large blue one made specially for me by my friend Bernadette. It has a hole to hold tools, and sits right by the machine in all it's useful glory. The little square one is by my friend Cheryl who loves wool quilts. There is a little basket with roving in a swirl made by my friend and fellow artist Suze. The blue/green bowl is made by my friend Linda Schiffer (her blog) I made most of the others.

The little bird is derived from a free pattern  click here   Bird Pattern
I changed the pattern, added wings and feet but the basic pattern is easy to do. 

Of course these are the REAL pin cushions according to my husband:

Any time you want to make me a pin cushion, it'll happily join the others and you'll get good sewing mojo

Monday, July 29, 2013

puttin' on the ritz

I have long loved a cow. I put cows on my art. Cows and flamingos.
Odd the things that attract a person. Cows, flamingos, poodles and palm trees.
 That would be an art challenge, to combine these!
I took tap dancing lessons for about 3 years, back in the day when jumping up and down didn't start an avalanche. I also love old musicals from the 40's. Lot's to love. What odd things do you love? How do they find a way into your day?
 In case this doesn't load, try this link tap dancing cows

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Speaking of dance

Gratuitous flamingo video for your viewing pleasure this Sunday morning. You're welcome.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

more bark

bark image two

I couldn't have made a weirder piece of bark if I'd have sculpted or painted this. The color in person is more saturated. Earlier this week, I posted some more bark retrieved from the same tree, much less colorful. The other picture of this piece of bark  looks like some kind of tadpole or critter.

Oh my I am going to start on this for a quilt in the nature series right away.  Of course someone will say it's not natural, those white circles around the holes. Nature is so cool. I've walked past this tree for years and never saw such exciting bark before.
 I have a saying on the studio wall that says something like, artists paint what they see, but what they see is primarily what they look at.
 I notice the details of life. How about you?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Something from nothing

Pier  9" X 13"  2013
 My sewing friends know I love scraps so they give me the bits they would have thrown away.
I love scraps so much, so much that I will fill a book with how much I love scraps. My bins are overfull at the moment, so it's time to make something with them again.
The Pier piece above, came from someone's little strips. I started sewing them together, and they started looking like a pier so I went with it.
If I decide to make an abstract piece, I usually like to see something representational in it. Then it grows.
This time I saw a pier with a shack on it emerging.
The embellishment says "Reality has limits Imagination is boundless"

Reality has limits Imagination is boundless
That's what I think!! Reality is overrated.( Like parallel hair, what's so great about brushing one's hair anyway?? )I have an abstract nature series going, made from tiny leftovers and hope to turn it into a show when I have enough pieces. There are enough finished to see a terrific grouping but more to make.
The hope was to sell them. I have a hard time letting go of my work and thought if I made them to sell, it would be easier. I'll be able to sell Pier. I will.
 I'm now attached to many of the others.
  I admire  "process people" who are done with a piece when the binding goes on. While I love the process & need to make, I love the final quilts even more.
What about you?
ps please look at the post from yesterday. Tell me what you think of that bark! Is it from a Sycamore Tree?  . 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Halloween in July

bark ghosts
Yesterday I went into Michaels craft store to see what I couldn't live without. I found a stencil and some embellishments I needed, but the line was 10 people long and turns out I didn't need them.
The surprise was that it's Halloween season already. Nearly 100 deg. and there are pumpkin lights, and ghosts and creepy stuff. I wish we could see stuff in stores during the right season, but you know if Halloween is with us in July, then Christmas is just around the corner! We'll soon be sweating to Jingle Bell Rock and the colors red and green.

The picture above is bark from one of the coolest trees I've ever seen, and I love to look at trees. My camera isn't the best, but the colors are cream, brown, green, gold and a purple only found in nature. I love the sculptural aspects, and the texture. I have taken some other pictures and plan to try and interpret them in fabric.
Don't they look just like ghosts, woooooooo??

Are you like me, do you see life in terms of fabric? Do you live the creative life, seeing art all around you each day, wondering how you'd paint that sky or which technique you'd use to show the dimension of the bark?  Even when putting away the dishes or laundry, I'm thinking of what I get to do in the studio later.

Here's to the creative life!
go play with your fabrics

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Catching up on reading

poodles like to quilt too
We are a little slow around here, dealing with the heat and all. Mom met a friend for lunch, so I hung out on the porch and caught up on some reading. Mom won't mind if I got a bit of slobber on her magazine.
standing in for Mom,
a manly dog who likes quilts

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The happy couple
Always- valentine quilt for  2012
This is our 19 year wedding anniversary! I'm not sure which one this is, like the first anniversary is paper. The 19th should be something durable like steel.
My husband Drew and I have a cute-meet story.
We met at a contra dance, and immediately said to ourselves, oooh la la, this is something real!
We've been lucky enough to dance together since that night. He is still my all time fave dance partner!
 We dated because that's what you do, but both of us knew early on it was more than dating. We just knew, and three months in Drew asked me to marry him.
We were married one year after that dance, and have had first-hand knowledge of: in sickness and health, for richer for poorer, it's better to love than be right, if one diets we both diet, sometimes you just give more, sometimes the mate gives more.

Love. It's a daily thing.

We "get" each other, we make each other laugh, we have morals and values in common, we like the same kind of food and drink, we like each other's company, we talk a lot, we sit on the back porch on summer evenings and read out loud to each other, we like road trips, we value tolerance. Drew goes with me to scary doctor visits, he makes dinner when my body aches, he carries the laundry up and down the basement stairs.
When I was on my way to work early on in our dating life, he asked if I had lunch money. I almost cried at how nice that was. He still asks if I need lunch money.
Over the years we've had to learn to communicate in each other's language. Oh we both speak English, but he's an engineer and I'm an artist, he's male and I'm female so sometimes understanding is a bridge to cross over. We had to learn how each other thinks, and solves problems. What kind of compliments to give, when to be quiet, to let the wife pick all decorative items for the house, to not speak to the husband when he is in school mode. Through it all we know the importance of respect when considering love. Respect of self, time, space, feelings, over all respect.
We also understand the importance of fun. When we were getting serious, Drew asked what I wanted in a mate. I listed qualities including 'have fun together'. He solemnly said he could do all those but have fun. I laughed but soon realized FUN was a gift I could bring to his life.That and companionship, belonging, intelligent conversation, true connection and meaning. We have so much fun together.
I am writing this as a tribute to him and our marriage and no doubt it might sound different coming from him.
Being quiet and introspective he'd probably answer the question "what do you think of your marriage" by saying, "it's good" 
After 20 years together, I know what he means. I love you Drew, thanks for being my partner in life.

Monday, July 22, 2013

you might be a crafter if...

I hunted and gathered craft supplies
I wonder how many other people have an overflowing craft container.
" My name is Lee Anna, and I'm a collector"
Definitely not a hoarder, a collector of stuff just in case I might need it to craft something fabulous. (a fancy name for this stuff nowadays is ephemera)
Look closely, you'll see felt balls, stencils, mostly dried up modpodge, purse handles, broken jewelry, empty spools, stamps, old keys, plastic yogurt lids to cut hexagon templates from, plastic flip-flop keyrings, gumby, beads, scrabble tiles, a bag of lizard litter used  to stuff pin cushions and a flamingo in a pear tree.

I love my stuff, and it's usually contained in a sweet little box. When it's let loose it swells and is hard to get back in said box despite some of it being used in fabulous projects.
Organization is putting stuff in places where you don't trip over it but can find it again when you want to.

It's an ongoing process. The blue batiks are neatly ironed, folded and back in their drawer waiting for me use them in the next fabulous project. I sort, and put away and clean up between big projects. Now is the time to do that here at  Chez LA.  
I still managed to put away laundry, dishes, groceries, and feed the poodle. But in a minute I'll be at cleaning-up-threshold and have to sew something. Medicinal sewing. Something not to be seen by judges. yum.
Funny craft addiction video

Anyone else collect stuff?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

fabric mountain

fabric overboard!!
One of the chores I put off til the challenge was done was re washing batiks.  I have a sensitivity to batiks. I get sinus infections from ironing them, the heat releases some chemical... It makes it hard to work in a classroom when so many people use them without prewashing. I found that washing once wasn't even enough, they must be washed three times in hot water before they stop smelling during ironing. These are my  blues, washed for the third time now, and ready to be ironed, and replaced in the drawer. Hopefully third time's the charm. I'll snap a picture of the system later.

I must iron the batiks out in the open in case one still out-gasses

I decided to set up shop outside on the porch to listen to birds, and watch critters, and smell the mulchmold,  fresh air.
When the Sunday lawn mower brigade starts up I'll abandon the project but for now... that's where you'll find me.
Getting ready for the next quilt. 
Happy Making, y'all.   LeeAnna

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Annapolis evening walk

never too soon to check out schools

We don't own a boat
 We walked past people partying in their boats parked in the harbor. They didn't know how close they were to having a party-poodle sitting next to them, lifting a glass to the hoi-poloi walking by on the boardwalk. Cole always looks like he wants to step over to their side, like he was meant to be there on a silk pillow that is embroidered with "poodles do it on yachts"

We wanted to walk along with alcoholic beverages ice creams while people-watching but the lines were so long we didn't. We did do some window shopping however...

Cole just needed to purchase a few items...

Enjoy the summer evenings, ya'll, 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tequila Sunrise Sunset

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise detail
 This is the finished Hoffman challenge quilt for this year. I wasn't going to do it, then less than two months ago, after finding a fat quarter of the fabric in my local quilt shop Seminole Sampler I had to try it. I fussy cut out as many beige hexagons as possible and bias strip cut the colored sections to be leaf veins.

I drew it out on my sketch pad, and loved it instantly. Then drew it out to scale, designed the fan leaves on paper as well as the curved flying geese. I had some silk hexagons left from a miniature (picture later) and knew if they were sewn together in an organic strip they would add texture to a leaf. I am currently in love with coral, moving from fuchsia to turquoise to oranges. I used to dislike beige and tan, but in doing the patio along the bottom of the leaves, using 5 different fabrics I grew to love that color too.
 I gathered oranges, coral, pink, purple and golds. Gathered shades of lime to turquoise and avacado greens. I had a spree sewing the fan leaves which took 3 hours each.  I said yum after each color added.

After piecing each leaf, I faced them with shirt tailor, turned them, stuffed them, and quilted them.

When the time came to join them I devised a novel method to piece curves without worrying about seam allowances. Thrilling!

 I layered the whole thing on another background but never liked how pastel it was. Finally I gave in to the orange thing, chose the batik and loved how it turned out.
I quilted the background with long graceful leaves in blue 30 weight thread.
The whole time I was making it I planned to put on a facing. After it was quilted I decided it needed a binding, and used one of my hand dyes done on a striped B&W fabric. I love how it tied the colors together and framed the whole. 

I have made several palm tree quilts. After all was done, there is an unused fan leaf left over to start another palm quilt.

Like a starter bread quilt.

Lee Anna


For your viewing pleasure

 Betty boop clip artI have this poster hanging in the studio.
This is a link to Betty Boop cleaning her house, the way I'd like to do it, and by that I mean someone else does it while I wear high heels and put on lipstick.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

that's me! Free as a bird!

Bath Time Stock Photo
free as a bird!
                                                                     Free, that's me!!
What did I do before "The Challenge"?  It's been so consuming, that I had empty nest syndrome last night after the husband, poodle and I got in the car, drove over to Fed Ex at the airport at 7:30 pm. I had to literally fold the quilt up like a road map, (remember those?)  I had to pay a lot of money to hand it over to a stranger.

It hung on the wall for about a minute, I went ooooh. I went aaahhh. I said, get in the box and go visit Aunt Julie in Colorado. I did get a good picture and will share that Friday.

Today I feel like I did in college when I finished a big term paper. Waiting for the grade, but released to continue my life, already in progress. The world is my oyster! (Think about what a weird phrase THAT is)
I am free as a bird! I could, well, sit and eat lunch!

Hmmm, there is "The List"
 The running list of Things To Do When The Challenge Is Done. From take a breath to world peace, up to and including clear off the dining room table(just about as hard as world peace), figure out how to make a video, answer emails for work, kiss the husband, etc. I'm free to ponder what in the world to get a husband who doesn't have a clue what he wants for his birthday in two weeks.
There's always a challenge around the bend, some of them involve sewing, some of them involve people.
Next,  please step forward.
go make something

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Resuming a life

Everything has been on hold while I worked to deadline with the Hoffman Challenge. I didn't have to do it at all, I could have been living a less stressful life the last two months, but nooooooo. I've neglected the house, I've missed seeing friends, I've been tardy with communication, I haven't meditated!

Sometimes a goal steps up and smacks you in the face, and an idea comes to you, and you can see it in your mind's eye. That starts the "drive to make"

 I did a colored pencil drawing of the art, and couldn't stop til it was made. Driven.

The whole thing was made three times basically. Drawing out the patterns, piecing the patterns, facing and pre-quilting the leaves, then applying them to the whole and doing final joining/quilting. It's lovely and I'm almost done with the binding. Then I'll take official pictures and  write the story.
Today will be finishing and paperwork and a visit to Fed Ex.
And a walkwithpoodle before the 100 degree heat melts the sidewalks.
Go make something

Monday, July 15, 2013

Goldilocks syndrome

how bout this background?

 The caption says, how about this background. Doesn't matter, I changed to it last night in a frenzy of panic. None of my sky hand dyes or batiks worked. They were too pale, the others too bold, the wrong shade, too busy or too solid. None were just right.
Goldilocks syndrome
 Then I called my appraiser, the wonderful Phyllis Twigg-Hatcher to make sure she could do an appraisal before she left on business. She can only see me Monday morning.

Imagine my panic as I was STILL dithering over the background fabric. I had pulled out the last hair on my head, bitten off all fingernails, finally just picked one, basted it  on the batting, layed the leaf mixture down, and started to quilt the sky despite worrying it was too bold.

When I spoke to her, she said she asked what was undone, the binding? I hemmed and hawed and said, er, yep, that's about it...
All evening I quilted, and it's heavy and thick because I prequilted the leaves so they are trapuntoed and stiff.
I pulled myself away and went to bed, then looked at it again this morning and said, oh no!! It's very orange now. And it's going to stay very orange.

Why oh why did I get myself into this mess?? I swear by the quilt arts angels, that I will never do this to myself again!! As if...

Back in to the studio I go, to finish the quilting. Maybe some blue thread will mitigate the orange...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sacred Threads, Friends, Old Quilter's Home

yours truly,with  Susan Dingman and her art
Karen Musgrave's art is on the other side of me
 If you get a chance to go to the Sacred Threads exhibit in VA right now, GO!

Stunning work full of meaning. Once again, I loved the exhibit, and yesterday was especially  great as I got a chance to meet artists I know from the internet, as well as seeing friends like Susan again.

Of course I took more photos, but didn't write down the artist names as I thought I'd buy the book on the way out. Forgot.
I will find the maker's names and post them later.

Susan Callahan

This is an installation by Susan Callahan, also a good friend. If you look closely you'll see sacred words incorporated into the quilts.

go to sacred threads  for more info

Every time I meet people on  my online art group, quiltart, I am reminded we are all connected, and just don't see each other enough! I just know, when the time comes, and we all move into the Old Quilter's Home, we'll have a grand time.

Back to my challenge piece.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Flamingos survive deluge!

flamingos no longer pink
 You'll be happy to note, the flamingos survived the torrential downpour that was the last 24 hours. Mercifully we woke to sunshine this morning. It is all the sweeter because we know it won't last, but for now, like all of life that must be lived in the moments, it's not raining.

The flowers are begging for sun. The lilies the previous owner planted to come up one after the other, in several colors, are blending with the flowers we planted from the historic Paca House (Annapolis) sale.

It's a riot of color, unplanned and uncontrolled. Our neighbors who have a golf-course type yard get to look at ours full of weeds and jumbled flowers.

Cole is off his perch after spending the day hiding from thunder.
I just let him hang out since we never invested in a "Thunder Shirt"
to make him feel more protected. He's cat like in his ability to shape change to fit an area. This dog weighs 65 lbs.

Back to the Hoffman challenge and re-choosing a background. Did I tell you it's due next week in CA?  OY!  LeeAnna

Friday, July 12, 2013

Two half- baked quilts, a couple and a poodle to show

gift for my niece

This quilt is almost done, just needs quilting in the petals and binding.

check out that crow!

The hoffman, cue scary music, (dum,dum, duuuuuummmmm)
Hoffman Challenge 2013 --it's still not done!! Yikes!

look at the sky fabric...
 The Hoffman is still not done... I am slap out of time folks. Now I'm re thinking the sky fabric. I mean to tell you nothing looks right with this.
I might just go with it. The patio needs quilting also, and I have no idea what to put in there.

Any suggestions for the tardy quilter?
Also don't have a name yet.

Audrey 2?

  I was startled awake this morning when the CHECK-POODLE light came on at 5 AM.
That's right. AM. Apparently we were unaware there was thunder.

 He rectified that, and pestered us til we took him into bed with us, a place he doesn't normally enjoy, and he became catatonic. With his paw in my face.
 We tried to go back to sleep but his energy field kept us awake, so we just got up.

We are NOT morning people.

Here is a picture from two nights ago, when it was only 90% humidity but not raining. Cole adores Mr. Mike and Haley. Mike  does what every human should, and mills around the yard and garden with his dog. That along with the cigar smoking and rum drinks, and basic good pet energy makes Mr Mike very special to Cole.
Cole has more friends than we do
Celebrating Ann's birthday party
Drew and I went to our friend Ann's birthday party last night.
She told a story about her MIL collapsing on the sofa after a day of gardening, and saying, Whew! Wish I was 80 again!

Ann is an art quilter, and a good friend. She has traveled widely, speaks Chinese, curates a yearly quilt exhibition, regularly wins ribbons for her art quilts, has donated a large number of  quilts to the Alzheimer auction, makes me laugh, makes me think and makes me feel connected.

Lucky me to count her as a friend.

Now I must return to quilting and link this post to Off The Wall Fridays.
Go make something cool.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Some days I just sit

some days I sits and thinks, some days I just sits
I heard that  (caption) phrase somewhere and it stuck with me the way useless facts stick but important info fades away. You know what I mean?

Anyway, yesterday I had one of those days where you mostly just veg out. I finished my novel (Death in the Floating City) and I'm sad to say goodbye to it. I did some Gauguin research for the next STAT quilt. I put away the dishes. I sat.

The to-do list is long, and the Hoffman challenge is there looming. I just have to figure out how to do a digital entry so I can enter Bikini Body in PNQE this year. I must move through the studio in the valleys between mountains of fabric/ tools/books/threads. The to-do list is long... and I sat.

The saving grace was working on my niece's quilt started in the workshop this week. It's good to have something to sew on that isn't earmarked to be judged. Just sewing and designing for fun. When you are in the doldrums, where ever they are, it is good to sew. Medicinal sewing. This is a picture of it in progress:

I have to go for a walkwithpoodle, and I have to put away the clothes
but I want to do some medicinal sewing on the seed packet.
It will have words across the top that say sunflower seeds too and
I think I might need to go hunt and gather some brown checked
fabric for the binding.

 make something fun today

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

which book to read next?

ready to face the sun
 Cole is ready to face the day, and as we all know, one must protect themselves from sun in the summer.
Of course Maryland rarely has sun anymore, now that we are in the monsoon season.
Book news
 I found a website that makes suggestions of what to read next based on your preferences. Now that's exciting to a reader, to be handed a custom list of possibilities! Check it out the book list site

 Meanwhile back in the workshop...
 A few of us lingered over the luncheon table enjoying conversation on the second day of the workshop.
Quilts were made. Fun was had. Food was eaten. Connections were strengthened. Laughter was heard.
The room is spacious and well lit but a person never quite knows whether to wear a swimsuit or a parka because of the capricious temp. changes.
Again, the technique learned was making mariner's compass points with folded inserts of fabric which are then ironed open to reveal perfect points. Most of us came away from the experience wanting to make another one, so that's a big thumbs up on Cheryl Phillips'  method.

all over but the clearing up
 The workshop went very well and many quilts were started. The important thing was we had wonderful lunches every day. Yesterday Diana brought two pies, cherry and blueberry, to share. Today we visited the local bakery and had fancy cupcakes.

who doesn't love a cupcake??
As usual we learned the same techniques, and our quilts look entirely different. That's the wonderful thing about quilting folk, they put themselves in their projects, so after a while you can tell whose is whose. The other common occurrence is we come and go on our whim, so I don't have a picture of everyone's finished work. It you are in the Annapolis area next June, come to the guild show and see the finished quilts.
Personally I'm happy with my sunflower. My niece  ( her gardening blog)  will be pleased that it resembles a seed packet.

Off to walk before the monsoons
Go make something today

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On learning

haven for creatures imaginary
The picture is a bit blurry because it was taken through the screen and there is no sunlight today. Oh so sad for a person running on solar batteries! I suspect we are headed for many such days too.

I am learning something every day about blogging and computers and writing. Not many people have found me yet, so to the few reading this, I celebrate you!

One of the things I am just beginning to learn is about manipulating photos. I'm old school, I take prints and slides. In the 80's in Edmonton Alta Canada I took a class in 50mm SLR cameras. The digital age scares me  but today I distorted this picture on the computer and it was kind of exciting. I like the pink one but the green one could easily go on clothing for the flamingo inclined.
pretty in pink
another reality
              I assume I'm a dinosaur and everyone else and their dog knows how to use the computer and photo tools. It makes me sad that I feel so very limited in my ability to absorb technology. This was an exercise in frustration and it was a baby step. Learning is good, learning is good, learning is good...
go make something!