Friday, July 03, 2009

Learning Surface Design

These two were made using direct dye paint. They have not been washed yet.

This one with leaf shapes was done with freezer paper ironed on for resist on monoprinted fabric. The fabric pieces below were done using soy wax batik, some combined with freezer paper resist. The first (most complex) was done in stages with wax, dye paint, more wax, crackling, more dye. It was very hard to get the wax out. I had to resort to washing it in very hot water and it faded a LOT. I know, you have to wash ALL dyed fabric in hot water with Synthrapol, but the fading is so disappointing.

I'm learning quite a lot about how things work. Since the workshop I have ordered a few supplies and have been experimenting on my own. One disappointment is the intensity lost when washing out the dyed fabric. In that regard, I think paint may be better because you don't wash it. I was thinking about NOT washing out future dye painted items because the fabric will be used only in wall (art) pieces. I mean, it's not like you worry about "washing" paintings. Is there any reason to wash out dye if the completed fabric is not being used in a quilt or garment that will be used?
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Workshop Fun

This past weekend I participated in a monoprint and soy wax batik workshop, hosted by Jane LaFazio and taught by Melanie Testa.

Here I am discovering the happy accident of a ghost print after using some onion bag netting to make an imprint. I am more excited about what I learned than what I produced, although once I have removed the wax and washed the cloth I will share the results of my exercises. I promptly ordered some supplies from Dharma, and now that I am hooked I expect more of this activity in my artistic future. A huge thank you to Mells, Jane, and my enthusiastic classmates for a great experience!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

On the Design Wall

I can't believe May is almost over! Another semester has ended, and things at work have calmed down a bit. I look forward to having a little more time in my studio.
Here's what I am working on right now. Notice the paint chip set in the corner of the design wall below. I am making this quilt for our long time friends who finally decided to get married. When I asked about "colors", this is what they gave me.

Here is the very bright batik quilt in progress with about half the blocks done so far. A simple square in a square design. I don't think the nuances of the batiks are as visible in this picture as they are in person. Bright, I know, but I think it is exactly what they are hoping for.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Still Here

I thought I'd better do at least a quick post before April is over. I haven't really fallen off the face of the earth, I just seem to have gotten completely out of the habit of blogging. The photo above is one I took some time ago, on the other side of the world (New Zealand). I did spend almost the whole of last weekend working in the yard, and I did plant a few cosmos, but they are nothing like the glory of these. We have been having a terrible time keeping the garden looking decent. Between the gophers and the ground squirrels, not to mention the bunnies, we have been under attack. There is little more discouraging to a would be gardener than to look out and see a recent planting vanishing underground. We have taken to using cages for most of our plantings, hoping that will help them last for at least a little while. Looks like we will continue doing our share to keep this place in business.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the Design Wall

Here is a picture of the baby quilt I am working on for Debra's project. Don't worry, the borders are all the same size and not nearly as wonky as the picture makes them look. The blocks ARE wonky, on purpose. I had fun working with these bright cheerful colors. If you can believe it, I had all of the fabric and some of the blocks already in the stash.

Here's a closeup of the cute "bug" prints. I'm hoping this is unisex enough. I think it will make a great play quilt. Hope to get to the actual quilting this weekend.

Here is one of my latest experiments. I did the stitching first and painted second, using Stewart Gill acryllics and Dharma Pigment Dyes. When I am painting fabric, I usually use a combination of whatever I have (acryllics, dye paint from Dharma, inks etc.) Once upon a time I used to do a lot of watercolor and ink drawing. Though more abstract, this reminds me a little of that long ago work.
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Goodbye and Hello

Last week was one of extreme contrasts, to say the least. Early in the week we had the trauma of saying goodbye to one of our old dogs, Kelly. She had a day and night of seizures, followed by the loss of any ability to balance herself or stand. Although we couldn't be sure of the cause without extensive testing, given her age of 15 and the vet's opinion, we had to let her go. We adopted her from the pound when she was about a year old, just after my son Andy's 11th birthday. He used to joke that she was his "high maintenance pillow". Kelly was a good companion, and she will be greatly missed.

On a much happier note, right after that I left for a few days for San Francisco to visit my son and his girlfriend Blair. I got a good package deal from Expedia, so I booked a long weekend for a visit. I am still clomping around in my heavy boot, which was a little inconvenient for traveling, but it was worth it to make the trip. I still was able to use mass transit most of the time, and when I got too tired to walk any more it was easy to get a cab.

The city is always so exciting. I don't think I would want to live in an urban environment now, but I love to visit and take it all in. I enjoyed seeing Andy's new apartment, too. It's tiny and expensive, but oh what views! We did some of the usual "tourist" things, but mostly we ate good food, drank some organic sulfite free wine, and talked and talked and talked.
I also got to spend some more time with Blair, and she is a lovely, sweet and thoughtful girl. Lastly, to make this at least a little bit quilt related, I spent time browsing through this store. Every kind of fabric you can imagine is there, including things like high end imported Italian silk. I just enjoyed taking it all in. The top floor has remnants, and I did find a few little treasures that may find a purpose one day. The notions floor also yielded a few affordable goodies. All in all, a very enjoyable time. Andy thought it was pretty funny that while his visiting friends are excited by the close proximity of pubs and clubs, his mom was ecstatic over finding a huge fabric store to explore.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last of the Party Quilts

Here is the quilt Pam T. made for Sheryl. She likes the dark country pallette and traditional patterns.

Here is the quilt Sheryl made for Lisa, who likes scrappy quilts and folk art applique.

Here is the oh so traditional log cabin barn raising quilt I made for Joan in her favorite Civil War reproduction fabrics.

Last, but not least, is the show stopper Joan made for me. Love those bright poppies against the dark background. I LOVE my quilt. Joan did a beautiful job in making me a quilt I will always treasure.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

More quilts

Here is the quilt made by Pam B. for Andine.

I blogged this one before, but this is a nice close view of the quilt Gayle made for Cindy.

Here is the quilt made by Andine for Pam, using Civil War reproduction fabrics.

In each case, the quilts were made to suit the tastes of the recipient. In my own quilt making I most enjoy making less traditional work, but I never tire of looking at these. As traditional work, they have a familiar feel to quiltmakers, yet they are so lovely in their variety. Even better, all of them will be used for warmth and comfort.
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

More Quilt pictures

It's been a while since our Quilter's Christmas party, but you might remember that I had some camera problems and only got a few photos. I was finally able to get some more pictures from my friend Kathy, so I will share the rest a few at a time. Above is Kathy with her new bright on black quilt, made by Nancy. Nancy loves anything as long as it is orange or yellow, so this is a quilt true to her personality. Fortunately, Kathy also loves the bright colors.

And here is my friend Barbara admiring the quilt made for her by Kathy. A contemporary take on the log cabin, very fresh and spring like with those pretty greens and floral applique.

And last but not least, here is one of my absolute favorites, made by Barbara. I doubt you can see the detail, but the quilting in the "blank" space below is a repeat of the design above. The quilting is gorgeous, and I would love to have it on MY wall.

On the home front, I have been clomping about in my boot, healing gradually. It is not too painful, at least nothing that a couple of Tylenol now and then can't handle. I am very tired at the end of the work day, and I miss my workouts. I have been a few times to Curves, but I am able to do only about three machines (upper body and abs). Not nearly as much fun. In the sewing room, I am working on a cheerful baby quilt to donate to Debra's cause, and also doing some cutting for a "use the scraps" quilt. I have been getting up an hour earlier in order to spend time working on my projects, and it makes a very nice start to my day.
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Thursday, February 05, 2009

My New Boot

Here's a picture of my new boot. Lovely, isn't it? I got this stylish accessory just one week ago, not long after taking a spectacular spill right off the step of our deck. Apparently I torqued my foot going down enough to break one of the metatarsal bones. At least the cast isn't plaster, and I can still walk in it, after a fashion. This definitely puts a crimp in all my well laid plans and projects (living room is half painted, for example).

The good news is that while I was home I had some time to fiddle around with some thread sketching and painting. This thread sketch was backed with felt, so the "sketch" lines are actually free motion quilting. After I made the sketch, I added color using fabric paint, inks and acryllics.

Never one to leave well enough alone, as part of the experiment, I cut out the image and used it for applique. Now I'm adding colored thread. I really have no idea if this is going further, but as an experimental technique, it has possibilities.

I'm back to work now, broken foot and all, but at least the workroom is back to normal (messy and in use).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Great Inauguration Photos

Checking in to share a website with some great inauguration photos.
I took the day off Tuesday and spent most of the day painting my living room while listening to and watching the events of the inauguration unfold. It was truly an emotional experience to watch this historical moment. I am inspired and hopeful.

The living room redo comes after 10 years (yes, 10 years) of indecision. We live in a cabin like house where most of the walls are made of thick cedar planks. Jerry and I have had a long debate over paint vs no paint and we finally reached a compromise. Last year I finally painted in the kitchen, and this year I am doing the living room. That will still leave the family room with the big stone fireplace , and the study, to have the masculine, woodsy cabin look.

Still a work in progress, I have a long way to go. LOTS of ideas for decorating, including using a blend of old and new quilts. I promise before and after pictures at a later date.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday by the Sea

Yesterday morning we went to Sunday Brunch at the Marine Room with Jerry's brother John and his wife Diane. Although they offer the convenience of valet parking, we chose to drive up the street, park, and have a scenic walk down to the restaurant. Jerry and John are walking just ahead of us there on the road, and on the right some folks are just getting ready for a dive.

There is a path with beach access right next to the Marine Room. When the tide is very high, as it was yesterday morning, the water comes right up to the windows and it feels like you are on a boat.

After breakfast we went down to the boardwalk and walked along the beach. Lots of people were surfing, going in for diving, and taking kayak lessons. This colorful pile of kayaks caught my eye.

By this time the tide had moved back out. It was a beautiful day, sunny and not foggy at all.

In the afternoon, our husbands went off to a football party and Diane and I had a pleasant afternoon in the sewing room. When Jerry and John came back in the evening, we sat by the fire and sipped our wine. A lovely end to a lovely day.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Although I don't suffer from CHAOS (Cant Have Anybody Over Syndrome), things around here need an organizational overhaul every now and then. Cooking with my son made me realize I needed to organize the spice cupboard, so I did. To my chagrin there were LOTS of multiples (couldn't find it, thought I didn't have it, bought another.) At least I know what's in there now.

In the sewing room I had more fun. Reacquainting myself with my stash while lovingly folding and reorganizing my treasures.

I also arranged my art supplies in drawers and shelves tucked neatly under the cutting table.

I moved the cutting table to get better access from both sides. Note the neatly organized scraps that have been cut, and the HUGE bin of scraps that have not. I really need to make more scrap quilts this year. Seriously.

The finished sewing space aka studio, just ready and waiting for me to mess it up.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Before and After

At this time of year, as I always do, I consider trying once again to lose weight and get into better shape. I made some progress fitness wise this year, but when all is said and done I am still about the same (large) size. For inspiration this year I am looking to my friends who have actually accomplished their weight loss goals. Above is my lovely friend Pam (in the red jacket) at last year's Christmas party.

And here is the ever cheerful and funny Kathy, friend and seamstress extraordinaire.
See the picture below to see how both of these lovely ladies look after a year of hard work.
(Pam is the third from the left and Kathy is on the end.)

They are both now wearing the tiny sizes they always dreamed of. My friend Cindy has also lost a jaw dropping amount of weight, but she is so camera shy that I am having trouble finding any good pictures of her. During our "sharing" of quilts she always made sure to hide behind one.

My thin friends lost weight on this spartan eating plan:
Breakfast: nonfat yogurt and berries, 2 oz oatmeal or shredded wheat
Lunch: cooked vegetables and 4 oz protein
Dinner: 4 oz of protein and a big salad, 1 T oil based salad dressing

No fat, flour, sugar or salt. NONE. They did this for months on end, eating ONLY these three small meals and no snacks. After all that sacrifice, they DESERVE their success.
I did try, briefly, to follow the same plan. I was so hungry I could have eaten wallpaper off the wall. Not for me, I'm afraid. Last year I also followed the Weight Watchers plan on and off. I know it will work (SLOWLY) if you stick to it. My problem was that with only a small slip up I would instantly wipe out the progress of weeks. This year I am trying something new. I rejoined a Curves exercise club near my work and have been going regularly. There is a new plan for tracking your exercise progress and also one for eating. I am ready to try again.