Friday, January 31, 2014

Cutting scraps

I haven't been posting not because I'm not sewing, but because I don't want to show too much of this quilt til I get the kinks worked out. I have gone back and forth on "border" blocks or better stated, edge treatments.

I've been laying it out on the floor and trying different combinations. I came out of the kitchen to see
Cole claiming it. Again. He is fascinated with this quilt. He sits and watches me sewing on it.  This is the one he ate two blocks at Christmas.
I am not in love with the "concrete" blocks I have many of now, but the black blocks are not quite right either and I now have many of them too. I am not a planner, so I have to make pieces to see if they work.
The idea is a concrete wall that burst into color. I don't want it too quilt-ish. I want it interesting and artsy.
It's all from the scrap bins except the concrete and black blocks.
Someone at my sewing bee commented it is growing every time she sees it and asked how big it will be.
As big as it gets, I guess. The only answer a non planner can give.

I also dug into the scrap containment system, (Want to see it?Look here!)  and cut out blocks to do at our two day sew in event. I cut and cut, and now the bins are.... overflowing!! What:?! I removed fabric and now they won't close? They breathed out I guess.

The sad news was I went through my cool black & white drawer to choose some fun fabrics for this soon to be quilt, and wouldn't cut into yardage not already cut into. "No, better save that one for a real quilt".
the cut piece ready to make on Monday

This is ridiculous no? This IS a real quilt! But it's a scrap quilt and I know how disappointed I would be to need a particular fabric, and the hole cut out of it would make it unusable. Once again DH asked if I  needed him to cut a swatch out of each of them so I could relax! (Um, don't you need to work on your schoolwork hon? )

So, until I write again, imagine me making tumbling blocks and tilting my head to an fro trying to make a decision. Cole will be watching and waiting for another opportunity to lay on it. We all make our judgements differently.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A little Klimt

A Little Klimt 12" X 12"
 The Art group studying artists and using texture, STAT chose my favorite artist, Gustav Klimt to study this month. I love his work for the detail, the graphic nature, the organic swirls and the gold among other reasons.
Just to remind you, there are six of us in the group, each has chosen two artists to be studied, and we meet every two months with a 12 inch square quilt done in the style of the artist with a focus on texture.
These are the materials I chose to work with this time. There are four hair fabrics including copper silk, the background came from one of those upholstery sample books and was a sheer, three shades of tissue lame' including copper for the binding. I used misty fuse to adhere the metallic lame' but is still wanted to fray and melt. I did the whole thing on peltex, used metallic and rayon threads, prisma color pencils to paint the face.
I fused baguettes for the earring, and used a trim for the bottom after turning under the top to finish the edge.

It seems like the people in his work have sumptuous surroundings so the fringe seemed appropriate somehow. I was surprised that the gold sheers covered the lovely curves of the under hair, but the reflective properties must have trumped sheerness. I couched a heavy thread between her skin and the klimt like fabric I've hoarded for years. 

The crown was done with Golden medium with mica chips, spackled onto fabric covered peltex cut into the shape of a tiara. I hand tacked it to the finished piece.
As far as quilting choices, I outlined where I wanted a strong line, and swirled where I wanted hair, zigged and zagged now and then.

The interesting thing to me was that I liked my sketch better than the finished project.
That's just bizarre! I am not a trained drawing person. When I start with faces I just leap in to fabric and pencil/pen and so sometimes I get proportions a bit off. Oh well, it's my process, and while I could change how I approach things, too much planning drains me, and making mock-ups takes the fun out, and well, it's how I work so I accept the occasional misstep as part of the payment.
Now if someone could tell me how to get the stupid watermark off the bottom of my picassa files, the stupid one that says 2011 I'd be thrilled! I got it on, the smartest engineer and I, one day, and now neither of us can figure out how to remove it from picassa.
I am on to the next artist, Toulouse-Lautrec. I've done two sketches, and like them both.
This group is like doing a bi monthly challenge quilt, and I love a challenge, don't you?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

All this from scraps?

I'm spending the day banking back and forth between sorting/cleaning the studio and sewing. When you sort, it brings lots of projects to mind, and it takes great strength not to drop everything and sew on them! Wips, UFOs, bits and pieces, leftovers, scraps too small to keep that need sewing.

Yesterday, I sorted the washed scraps given me by friends. Yep, I even wash scraps. I am pretty sensitive to chemicals, so even little pieces must be washed before the iron hits them. This is not hard. A mesh wash bag holds lots of little pieces safely in the washing machine. I even have one with four little compartments.  Once washed and out of the dryer, I sort by color and press them and put them in the color bins. This is part of my process, the calming part where I get to play with color, see shape and pattern and plan the next thing.
Here is a picture of the stacks before putting them away.
 I love to sew little odd shapes to other odd shapes and see what comes of it. Usually it's gorgeous and turns itself magically into something beautiful.

I do run a workshop in this technique, check the page Workshops and lectures

Before the green stack was put away I pulled out these tiny little pieces and played.

 I started sewing them, until I saw a leaf, to go with two other leaves that have been hanging around the design wall for weeks.
I might have to stop cleaning again and sew these into something!

During the sorting I ran across some painted flower petals.
Now, I had already put away my painted bits and pieces and didn't want to drag that bag back out, so I sat down and started playing with these!

Ah the road to order is never straight! Why, just around a bend there were flowers to be arranged and sewn. I glued the overlaps of two of them, and gathered some others up under the machine needle and stitched them into a cool textured lumpy organic piece that will no doubt go on something later.
 For now, I must get back to the excitement of sewing on my scraps. Maybe I'll sacrifice one of my hand dyed half yards to the two lovely flowers at the left. Oh, joy! Think of all the threadwork to come! Whee!!

I absolutely must show you the cow coasters that my new blog friend Linda Cline sent! They are waaaaay too cool to mess up with possible spills, heh, heh.
Or maybe I'll just let myself use them, and ENJOY (my word of the year) them freely. She was so kind as to include some yardage with the images printed on it so I am all kind of jazzed to make that into something cool. Wonder what I'll make...
My gratitude to Linda (lindas blog) and lookie there folks, I have another cool connection story. It's these connections between us that make life sweet.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On fear of following directions

 A friend of mine just had a realization. The discussion was about people who buy and buy supplies to make quilts/art and never use them. Ever.
Now, we all do that occasionally but some people make a science of it.

My friend realized it was more enjoyable to hunt and gather all the supplies for a project,  than to make the project. These are projects in magazines or books. She attributes this to a fear of failure.

 She made me think of this issue in a new way... first of all, that gathering thing is fun, in and of itself. It's like jazzing your imagination. And there are endorphins released during shopping, you know.

Second, of course there is the possibility of failure when you are doing what someone else did, taught, demonstrated, suggested, wrote about.

 It's only when you are doing your own thing, that there is little risk of  failure  as no one know what you were trying to achieve.  (let's not think about  the times a  finished piece doesn't come out like it did in your head, smirk)  If for some reason you don't like a finished project, you can choose to see it as another artistic learning experience, not a failure.

I'm an old dancer, and the rule was if you forgot choreography,  just keep dancing and most people wouldn't know you'd messed up. (This doesn't count if you're a guy and were supposed to catch the prima ballerina mid-leap)

Anyway, there is less chance of failure if you are doing your own thing, than when following directions, which I find increasingly hard to do anyway.Know what I mean??
playing with scraps, because there is no failure in a scrap!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

weekend is coming to a close

Just a little post about the weekend. I am frustrated with my current quilting project because I just can't find a satisfactory border situation. It's a tumbling block pattern, which is a bit traditional but done in a bold way. I have been furiously hand piecing it through the holidays, and wanted to just finish it.
Don't Step on this
Here's the thing, it's a good piece and I have a vision for it and I can't just "finish it" It needs to be special.
It is much bigger now, but this picture was taken while Cole was in training to KEEP OFF THE QUILT. He was fascinated by it all season. At one point, when we were off cavorting without him, he ate, yes, ate two blocks. Plastic template and all. They are bigger than they look. And they just don't look appetizing to me, but then I'm not stuck eating kibble all day.

So this weekend I took all the little bits and pieces and staked them to the design wall, auditioning fabric after fabric, combinations that rival any puzzle. There are literally endless choices for borders and I'm being driven insane! I think I have an acceptable one going, but wish you could all come see and tell me which one will be perfect. Come over... those of you in the area. Come here and help the woman who sees endless possibilities in this piece!
So this weekend, I sorted the stuff in the studio. I folded laundry mountain. I walked in the cold air. We bathed and groomed Cole, which is always a treat for all concerned. He looks like Little Richard right now, so tomorrow, Edward Scissorhands,  I will have to re trim him to look like a poodle.
in case it doesn't open and  you actually want to watch this, the link is click here
Other funny videos are in stored for your laughing pleasure on the side "just plain silly"

Christmas is almost all packed away, just the dishes on the storage unit dining room table to be packed and basemented. The studio is still a mess. I picked up the coolest branch today to try and sunprint but the cold weather was too daunting, but since I went through the paints and re organized them, throwing away dried ones, I am itching to paint again. The Stat project is Toulouse-lautrec so I probably should paint something. Klimt is still hanging around undone. I need to organize my entries for exhibit.
The weekend is over, all except for the Downton Abbey episode and wine drinking, (drinking word tonight is Anna, poor Anna) Cole and his Little Richard hair will have to wait for the morning.

Seriously, come help,  but call first.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Art for Art

 This little pretty, about 6 X 8 inches was made in trade for some cool cow coasters made by a woman in CA. I saw them on her blog, and wrote to her instantly to see if there would be some way to get them into my possession, heh, heh. If you think I am a flamingo and poodle lover, you ain't seen nothing like my cow collection!! She agreed to trade them for one of my little gratitude squares.
Check out this quote! I don't know who said it first, but... thank you.

I used to date an art dealer who said it took two people to make art. One to make it, and one to tell them to stop!

Stop adding more, that is.

In my mind, more is better usually.
This time I painted the two side fabrics a while back, and found them organized beautifully together with painted scraps!! Ha! The system worked!

I combined them with a painted tree done last fall, a stencil and stamp collage of a bird edges turned over peltex for lift, and a stamped quote also on peltex. I am all about the texture y'all. I like painting, but the reason I think I like quilting so much is the stitch texture. I couched some thick threads, ironed on some baguettes, fused the binding and the whole thing is quilted with metallic thread. It sparkles! Whee!

 This is a shot to show some of the dimension. I love it. I am going to have a hard time letting it go, as per usual. Even though I really am excited about the coasters, I still have a hard time letting art go. Guess I have to make more! They all look different though, and that particular fabric is one of a kind since that's the kind of painter I am. It causes me to want to keep all of the fabric I alter. The problem is storage and sharing. The other side of me wants to connect with people, so here you go Linda!
you might also like Other Paint of Fabric Posts Here

Monday, January 13, 2014

More sparkly paint fun

 It was a warm day for winter, so I got out the paints and went out back to play. I just happen to be really sensitive to adhesives and solvents so have to be outside even to use non-toxic textile paints.
I am on a mission. I contacted a blogger about trading artwork, and she agreed to trade for one of my little gratitude pieces.
 I also am behind on my Klimt challenge piece, and knew I wanted to make a tiara using thick mica infused medium by Golden. More about that later...

Here are all the scenes on the scroll of fabric. I used  blue, and a blue-gray solids and three different textile paints, all metallic. I like shiny-sparkly stuff! You know good and well I'll also use metallic thread to quilt this, heh, heh.

So I played with paint, using brushes, sponges and five stencils. When I say play, I mean I have no plan, I just add color til there is enough/too much. If it seems too plain I add some gold or darkest blue.

This is not my first time at the rodeo... I know how quilting stitch can change the look of a piece of art.
 I know in my world, I seldom throw anything painted  away because it's almost always usable in some form.
 I don't worry, just keep adding more!

 After the cropping,  bordering and quilting, I'll add beads, stamped words, gemstones, thick threads, and bits of lovelies I have kept for years. It's so much fun, this play. So engaging. I lose track of time, become calm, and get excited at the same time. Art is healing.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

We went to the Ball

painted by Ken Mayer,
 The theme was "Green" at the annual Baltimore Mid-Winter Ball. There were some very interesting outfits among the finery. You were encouraged to dress up, and I saw interpretations of green from Bacchus complete with grapes around his head and a toga, to a green cheese wedge hat, to a green Afro, to my green eye shadow.

 Drew is wearing the musical vest I made him years ago, and his new bow tie. I managed to tie it without the aid of youtube this time, so some of my memory bank is still working.
The live band was fun, with different than usual instruments, and the caller was entertaining, the music a mix of blues, bluegrass, Celtic, and pop. We even had a chance to Tango!
One little shot of the dance floor doesn't show you the lovely mood set by the twinkling lights, carved architectural details of the Scottish Masonic Hall, flowing smooth moves of the dancers and low lighting.
 I waited to get this shot til the lights came up, and the group was still waltzing, reluctant to leave the dance.

My word of the year is enjoy, and I did enjoy laughing and dancing with friends, swaying to the live music, twirling so fast that gravity had no hold on me!

Love, LeeAnna
you might enjoy other dance posts and pictures HERE 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Frida Poodle-Kahlo

 I got it done last night!! Complete with earrings. Okay, here's how it went...
(Please click on all photos to enlarge, read the wonderful quote, and see details)
First, I layered, seamed, turned the leaf then quilted it. I pieced the two background fabrics together and fit onto the peltex so that the tequila, pottery, margarita glass and toucan would show. I printed out the quote with the "mistral" font, pinked it, and fused it to the fabric. I free form cut out out the poodle bits including the silk eyebrows, nose and eyes. I fused him together on release paper so I could audition the whole on the background before anything was cut. When arranged without leaf on the top + peltex, I quilted with the ever-bratty sulky sliver thread. That stuff will cause me to drink, so I like to do some work before the back is on.

After putting the back fabric in place, 
I positioned the leaf and paper quote on top, and started the real three layer quilting. Unfortunately the leaf was thicker than I thought and bumped up the ear, which really shows in the photo more than real life.

He looks stern, no?

My walking foot caught the paper a bit.

I scrunched up the leaf to add maximum texture as this challenge group is focusing on interpreting the great artists, as well as texture. I often focus on adding texture.
Frida is often pictured wearing long dangling earrings, so I pulled these from my stash of embellishments. I wove them in the 80's but never liked wearing them, but of course could not get rid of them!! Now look, they have a real job again!!
Ditto the scrabble tiles have found usefulness. I just took cross stitches to hold them in place.
Finally I added the skeleton key chain to represent the day of the dead, so often a theme in her work. Since she often did self portraits, I chose to do one of a poodle as her, with the lips, eyebrows, earrings, and her words. The binding was the top pulled around to the back, folded and hand stitched in place. The bottom was stitched closed, and an embroidered rick rack reminiscent  of a shawl appliqued and frayed. I shaded the poodle with prisma color pencil in the curls and under the chin.
For more STAT projects SEE
Next challenge is to interpret Toulouse-Lautrec  (muse help me)  LeeAnna

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The process of choice making

the process of choice making

I have a deadline. This is not a new deadline, I've known about it for weeks but with the holidays, one thing and another, it slipped by. Anyone else have this problem?? It's now due tomorrow and this is the state of the artwork right now, at 11am. OY!
(One time I made a Hoffman challenge quilt in one week, including mailing to CA, and it won a prize!!)
I can do it! ( I hope)  This project is part of an ongoing study of great artists of the past, and this one is Frida Kahlo.
 I made a watercolor sketch of my idea weeks ago, see it at top of photo. I found the quote I like, chose the mistral font and printed it out to check for size and orientation before printing on fabric. I decided to use the paper instead,  right on the quilt. I cut it with my pinking sheers.
When I start a project like this, I gather fabrics, draw out parameters to scale, keep sketch on table, gather possible extras like scrabble tiles, old earings, skeleton key chain, rhinestone brads, previously discarded 3-d leaf and wire leaf.
The poodle will be purple with thick black threads quilted in wavy lines, and some yarn for unibrow, prismacolor pencil for shading.

The piece is to be 12 inches square like all the others.
I believe it is possible to finish, because the van is at the shop getting expensive repairs so I can't go anywhere. It's bitter cold so I am not tempted to walk too long. I am driven when in the middle of an idea.  I must pull myself away from my current obsession of a bight tumbling block quilt though.

Now if the quilting goddess/muse stays by my side, I should be able to show a finished piece tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Do you have the time???

We went to IKEA in search of organization. Ikea and the container store are big draws to me, you know how you think, "if I can just find the right shelf or drawer unit, my life will fall into place"  DH agreed to go, but he likes to shop by lists, and I wanted to wander and see what I needed. I saw lots of time pieces along with the shelving units and impossibly ordered small room displays. I did not leave with the sale drawer unit I really wanted for under the cutting table as it was two inches too big... wah!! The one that got away...

We saw a lot of cool lighting ideas, but really I like the ones we already have at home from IKEA. Look at this pretty display... makes me think of the chinese lantern quilt I want to make.
 These shelves are so cool, imagine them in a studio with a pin cushion display on them. What is my style anyway?? I love vintage 1940's kitchens, I love bright modern color, I like plain white backgrounds.
I did not love this enough so we left it for the really cool people to buy.
These cube units were cool too. I can just see them in an artist loft, or bachelor pad.

They are cool but too something for me. What's with all the neon lately??

It was around this section that I found the curtains I took home, so sweet with trees and birds on a sheer.
They are already hanging in the front window seat area, and are so long, I think I can trim them and have cafe curtains for the kitchen! Bonus!
 We did not find the shelving units of my dreams but I got ideas. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and I didn't just buy one I liked. When we got home and measured the space, it would have been too big.

  I did stumble across a clothes hamper, that has two bags hanging side by side in a compact way to sort the lights/darks as you throw them in. THAT came home with me and is already put together (and full)
So we chose two items, then came around the bend to see this clock display and Mr Not-Afraid-of-Color spotted this little jewel !!
I know!  A hexagon clock!! I got so excited, I nearly clapped my hands with glee!! DH was already putting the box in the cart!!  The little hexies can be moved around to change the sculpture because there are l-o-t-s of little tiny joining pieces. I had the best time putting my design together yesterday! I'd better get it on the wall real quick too because we had another poodle incident.
Cole has apparently lost his dog mind.
I was in hexie bliss, clock in hand, when I came home into the family room to see my current hexie tumbling block project strewn around the floor. What was left of it!!
That dog had chewed the plastic templates out of several blocks, eaten a three-piece diamond block of sewn fabric entirely, eaten an individual diamond template with fabric, and left evidence of three chewed-to-smithereens plastic templates next to it. I am worried he'll need an expensive operation but at this point, I don't know whether to document him for weirdest eating dog in the records books, put him back in his puppy kennel when we leave the house, or shake him til the template falls out. Right now we are watching to see what happens.
(afraid to leave the house)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

snow poodle

We had about 6 inches of snow last night so this morning Drew went out with the little supervisor to clear a path. Or as the supervisor sees it, dig in the snow with glee! Whee!

Watching the dad dig in the snow wasn't enough, so Cole pulled out all his "cute-poodle-tricks" and finally the daddy got the idea!

 There was cavorting, there were biting games, there was chasing the poodle around the yard, grabbing at front legs! Oh the joy of a first real snow in the mid-Atlantic! It is real and worth the trip to the grocery store buying panic-induced milk and toilet paper!
Being a bit unstable on ice and generally unstable of body, I picked my way around the slush, and we went for a walk. That was not enough for this old rejuvenated poodle though...
He wanted to play ball!!  (he might need a puppy for his birthday...)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!

We have a whole new year to spend!
gold seta shimmer paint, hand beaded, metallic binding& corners

Long ago I  substituted goals for resolutions and would write a long list of goals for the year. Then I began choosing a word to explore along with the goal list. 2012 was "release" 2013 was "confidence" and...
This year's word is officially "enjoy" which means I hope to relax and enjoy the moments between pain, the moments between things going wrong, the moments between problems. Read a better explanation HERE

My goal list is less specific than usual and includes:
* make lots of art
* use lots of art supplies in said making
* enter more shows
* make the video interviews with local artists and post them here
* send out the connection project quilts
* read lots of books, which means, actually read some of the art books I've collected over the years
* be as active as possible and try to eat healthy food along with treats 
* Clean off the dining room table... oh I know, I know. That's a ridiculous expectation, but I do drag that goal forward year after year, and one year it may happen.

My wish for you is the one I wish for myself as well, enough time and good health to pursue your interests.
My ongoing wish is to find meaning in every day life, connect with others and to make a difference.

A few weeks ago I sent a  pincushion to Turid in Norway and she received him this week!
Check out this link to see the whole story of his trip and landing in her sewing room! fun! Click here for the story in pictures
If you want to check out a sample of my pin cushion collection,
  click here

dance with me, I want to be your partner...
And to close, we ended the old year and started the new year doing what we love, and dancing together! Dancing, and drinking champagne! And hugging friends! And I sewed in the car ride, so sewing!
You won't see the two of us in our finery here, as I'm taking the picture, but we looked fine.( I was able to tie a beautiful bow tie around Drew's neck, and he got many compliments on it)
We spent New Year's day, making special food, collard greens to bring money, and black-eyed peas to bring good luck, meat for protein, cookies for sweetness, and more champagne. Here's to a wonderful year together, all of us. Keep in contact, I'd love to hear from you!!
love, LeeAnna