Thursday, February 27, 2014

Now showing!

Bikini Body (c) LeeAnna Paylor

Please click to enlarge pic and please don't pin
My quilt, Bikini Body, my self portrait, is on exhibit at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton,VA this weekend. It is hanging in the Annapolis Quilt Guild challenge exhibit.
The challenge was to interpret a song. Guess what mine was...
I like to laugh, life is so dreadfully serious that laughter is necessary to balance the whole thing.

Now let's discuss the details...
The extra bikini's are my own paper piecing pattern and reminded me of the little shops at the beaches of Fl where I grew up.

Note the three-d (functional) tote bag with my signature flamingo on it. She is wearing rhinestone catseye sunglasses in my signature pink, the three d towel has a palm tree (another series of mine) and fringe balls. Hey! Did I say I'm from Florida? I know my kitsch! The little umbrellas are three-d and there are shell buttons sewn on the tops of the umbrellas along the bottom. The palm tree fronds are appliqued in a method I teach that allows for movement, and there are heart bamboo buttons for coconuts. There is beading along the beach rivulets quilted in.
(Please excuse a tiny bit of self-advertising... I teach these techniques. You know, when you take a class and learn  techniques like I teach, you put them in your little bag of tricks and bring out when needed)

The big thing is, all the other ladies are wearing conservative one piece suits. My girl, er, I am proudly showing off curves.Big, fluffy curves that I earned with surviving life.
 I must credit cookies as well.
Please check her out if you are at the show! She so seldom makes it out of the house! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thoughts on creativity

Hey! Old Man Winter! Aren't you about ready to lay down your head for a nap? I'm not so steady on ice but time and a poodle wait for no (wo)man.

My poodle-boy is a schedule freak. He tracks the clock better than anyone I know. He knows when daylight saving time happens and adjusts. He wanted his walk this morning, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor dead of night shall deter him.

To turn this into a creative post. I started my day reading my library book, Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh.

She writes very well and in an entertaining fashion--- many of MY thoughts on creativity. I am enjoying the read although I am highly distractable. Mid way into the first chapter and in my pj's still, I carried my coffee into the studio and considered fabric choices for the video tutorial I'm doing for the blog. Yesterday I cut everything, and made one block as a test and the white fabric is too see-through for this project. It looks the best, no other fabric in my stash works as well, yet I must find another one to use.

I guess you can read about creativity or you can put it into practice. The book will wait.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Feeling Pinkish

I pieced this in a scrap frenzy a few months ago. I got stalled with whether to border it or not. I just love it, and was pleased as punch to do another abstract that I liked! I like Pink. I know that may not be popular, it's just so, well girly but I find it refreshing and cheerful and happy. I like to wear bright pink lipstick.

I took out my overflowing pink scrap bin one day, organized them, started with tiny one inch squares. Then I randomly pieced itsy bitsy pieces into bigger squares. Then, into strips for diamonds, why not? And finally I ordered them the way you see it now, into a  condo building.

Well that's what I see. Little condo's connected by walkways. Stained glass windows. It's the closest I have come to just enjoying an abstract of my own. I have some sweet fabrics hidden in here you'll see after it's finished! It just fills me with glee! Whee!

It started existence as a playtime activity then grew into something more important, so now's it's an PhD  (project half done) because the question looms.
To Border, or Not to Border, THAT is the question. What do you think?
linking to Rainbow scrap challenge wonderful link party!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Experiment in Abstract

This little abstract, approx. 10" X 15" started life from scraps. I was given some tiny bargello strips less than an inch wide and one day when I didn't know what I wanted to sew, I put them together with some other donated strips less than an inch wide. See the picture on the left, that came from the initial piecing.

I sort of saw potential but mainly it's purpose was to stimulate my creativity. I wanted to try a stencil with lots of little boxes, and low contrast paint with shimmer.
You can see the shimmery paint more along the top in this picture but it is done in three low contrasting colors over the whole piece. Look for it in the following pictures. It is an integral part when you see it in person.
Yesterday I decided to just make it. Stop with thinking and start feeling. I layered it with peltex to give surface design some body. I decided on a gentle curve and couched 5 different thick threads. I love Art Deco style, so couched on the braid along the side in that feeling.
The quilting is done in a right angle style like Frank Lloyd Wright style. Some of the quilting is done just repeating the free form curves across the bottom of the piece. I wish you could see better quilting line in these pictures.
I opened my box of sequins and am obsessed with tissue lame' at the moment.

 There is a metal bar attached  sums up some of my vision for this piece. I need to have a reason to make an abstract, it has to have meaning or it's just cold.
I found my meaning in this piece thinking of life's journey, the people that weave in and out of our lives, the sparkle of stars and beads add excitement, there are a lot of pieces to life but they go together into the whole. Tulle is woven in and left three-d, which means the way isn't always clear but confusion can be as smoke. Keep moving.

Please click on pictures to enlarge so you can see the details that I included. There is a lot of hand beading and sequins over the piece. Gotta have glitz in life!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Black and White and Confetti Finished!

enlarge picture by clicking on it!
I got busy and finished the scrap quilt I began two weeks ago. This must be a speed record (bed size) quilt finish for me!

Our two day bee scrap a-thon was the impetus for this one. I have been wanting to dig into my black and white collection for a while now, so this pattern from Judy Simmons' blog looked like fun. (Bonnie Hunter pattern)

I had a great time looking through the bin, and I only chose fabrics that were close to the size needed, 3 1/2" by 7 1/2"
and allowed myself to cut some favorite fabrics as well. I decided all fabrics had to come from the scrap management system or from fabric that was in shreds already.

   I had a great time digging into the "cow" drawer for instance.  I love that martini glass fabric and used it in Picasso Poodle    You can see it HERE!

Let's talk about quilting.
I have a back injury that caused me to have to find a way to quilt big quilts in sections. A long time ago I had a class on 12 ways to quilt as you go. There is not one way, there are many ways to do it. I've used many methods over the years.

It takes planning in the piecing stage. I decided to make three sections this time. I planned which one to quilt edge to edge, and which section must leave the backing free to pull back when sewing the tops back together.
I mostly did straight line sewing because I wanted to set a land speed record. I actually liked doing it and the look. I used several 40 weight variegated YLI threads in the top and 50 weight in bobbin.

I sewed in the ditch, quarter inch from each side, down the middles, some free motion around giraffe and martini glasses, and did the same thing across the quilt periodically. 
  I used some star fabric that I've been hoarding for years for the binding. I feel binding fabric is wasted as so much is folded inside where you can't see it but it had to be used, it was the perfect finish.

 I have been doing experiments with paint and freezer paper stencils. I also am hand beading tonight on a small art piece that I started a few weeks ago as a total experiment. It came from scraps a friend gave me and I'll show you tomorrow.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Love is a Choice

Love is a Choice (c) LAPaylor 2014

This is our 20th Valentines day. 20 years of the happiness and glee of finding a mate, of knowing that mate loves you too. We'll be married for 20 years this July as we knew within months that we'd like to go through life arm in arm. We met at a dance, and enjoy the closeness and still prefer to dance with each other.
please do not pin, copyright 2014 LAPaylor
I like to write. I want to write more and more every day. I want to express myself through words and fabric. I wrote the poem, decided on fonts and layout, printed it onto fabric then painted over it. The edges are turned, cording applied and appliqued onto the finished quilt.

I often put my quilted women in clothing I wish I could wear! I might be able to pull off this skirt. I did an underskirt of red with a lace overlay and a ribbon tie.
  Drew is wearing jeans as usual, but poetic license allowed me to do them with sparkle fabric! Shhhh! Don't tell him!
The fabric under our feet was textured yellow but not enough. I placed a stencil down and sponged gold metallic textile paint (Seta shimmer) over with almost a dry brush technique. Very effective, no? 
 More words, this time in ribbon from from the scrap booking section.

I really didn't want too much quilting. I used metallic YLI gold thread, Sulky halogram in red, Sulky rayon in blue and tan. I did a mix of echo and free-motion quilting, letting my spirit guide me as I went.

I don't like the planning of things.

When Drew saw it last night in it's  final stages, I asked what he thought.
 My engineering husband thoughtfully said, "it's good. Why crows?"
He is a man of few words.
I said, I wanted to use them, they are enjoying life dancing in red high heeled shoes! 

Of course.
love, LeeAnna

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Goooooood Morning! What a beautiful reason to stay inside and play with this...

As long as my body and the power company hold out, this is my plan today.
It's time to stop the dithering, the choice making and the auditions and just get to it. This year's valentine quilt must be done!

This is the layout so far.
 Our legs will be appliqued across the top, and somewhere a poodle. There will be trims, and a three-d lace skirt, rhinestones, gold thread and more stenciling under our feet. I don't know why the crows had to get in on the action but sometimes fabric is assertive.

I am allowing myself to use some of my favorite fabrics this time, yea for me! The coral fabric has found it's way into many a quilt. The yellow one with hearts as well. I have been collecting heart fabrics for years and years.

I'm going to just ignore this...

(heehee, I just made the picture smaller, which means the mess is smaller right???")

And I'm going to watch some of these after sewing a while...
I love to get movies from the library. I feel like I've shopped and not spent a penny. Oh, uh oh, I hear DH asking, "what about the late fees? Do they count?"

I have been reluctant to turn the posting over to Cole (Porter, he's jazzy) Poodle lately because he's gone weird with the eating.  I'm nervous to let him post lest he eat the mouse.
 The other day he tried to eat a partial roll of  toilet tissue that had fallen out of the vanity. That, a napkin from the coffee table, a half a cigar found on the street, and who knows what in the back yard.
 "Tastes the same" says he.

The poodle says" I'm having a rest here after dealing with 8 inches of snow and ice JUST to pee this morning. All my dog toys  the squirrels and chipmunks are hiding out so no fun and games for me. However, yesterday while mom and I were chillin' I was watching the squirrel channel through the sliding back doors, when up popped a squirrel, bold as all get out, right and I mean right in front of my eyes. The noive!!
Not 2 feet away. Hey! Sat right up on it's stupid little haunches and waved at me. In the screened porch!  This morning I decided to lay on my perch, let my feet thaw, admire all my toys and plastic bottles ( I like to chew the lids off) and wait for one of my many mediocre meals to appear. The people seem preoccupied and not willing to play out front where I just know there is less snow. Listen I'd love to stay and pet all you people but I've just got to take a nap. Laters"
Cole (and LeeAnna)   (put DOWN that mouse!)

Monday, February 10, 2014

V-day three

Violet Valentine Vase (c) LAPaylor
 Ahh, my Valentine for the year 2000. Seems like yesterday...
The flowers are done without fusible, a technique I use in so many situations. They are imaginary but remind me of flowers I like. I don't let reality get in my way too often.
 Here is a closer detail shot showing the layering and arranging that goes on.
I obviously liked metallic thread from the start. Actually I used old time metallic thread with cotton through the eye of my hand quilting needle on my third bed quilt back in the 80's. Hard core!

I love flowers, and find their colors infinitely deep and mysterious. I study them, seeing shades of yellow, gold, orange, pink and white in a seemingly yellow flower. It is exciting.
 The free motion quilting is boring now, but at the time it was different from the calm meandering being done by people saying you may not cross over a line. This quilt was exhibited widely at the time, and won many awards, introducing me to a lot of people, and the guide for many classes teaching the fanciful flower technique. Most people in class finish in one or two days, so it's a fast one to do. I show others done with this technique in lectures as well.
I took the little chandelier ornaments that hung on the pink Christmas tree, and hung them from stuff on the mantle for February.

I am currently working on this year's quilt. I printed out the haiku, love it, but the ink didn't set on the fabric well this time. I tried painting over it, but now it might be too messy looking. I need to get a move on, y'all.
I am drawn to the Olympics curling and skating coverage though...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

V-day Hearts and Flowers

Ten Years of Growth (c) LAPaylor  50" X 50"
This is the 10 year V-Day quilt. Please forgive my photography skills, this quilt hangs flat, square, and is vibrantly colored but it's a gray day here. The quilt hangs in the dining room, so we never get to see it (snort)
We so seldom eat in the dining room. Mostly because we are tired and eat while watching a show, plates teetering on laps within poodle sight lines,  but also because I am incapable of keeping the dining room table cleared off.
Long ago DH attached a decorative curtain rod to the middle of the dining room wall so I could display our quilts in rotation. This one went up and has stayed up for years because I still just love it.
 I also have curtain rods in two other rooms for a rotating quilt show. It's funny, I can change out a quilt while the poodle is out patrolling for chipmunks and he notices the new one when he comes in!

In the moments when I want to sew but don't know what to sew, I turn often to my collection of 2 inch squares.More about that in my series on "What to sew when you don't know what to sew" starting soon.
I arranged the squares and did a heart vine border to indicate growth over the years. I used lots of scraps again, and I'm beginning to see a love of scraps here... (stroking chin)
My intro to quilting was a grandmother who made-do with clothing scraps and turned them into useful works of art. I loved her yellow scrap quilt so much I decorated my dorm room around it. It was not left to me unfortunately.

So there is today's V-Day quilt.I won't be showing all 20 of them, but hope they make you smile, and consider working in series. I have grown as an artist by working more originally over the years, by the desire to interpret some event or feeling in my work. I encourage people to show a part of themselves in their quilts. It makes them more engaging to observe and much more satisfying to make, n'est pas?
Love, LeeAnna
don't forget to check out other V-day quilts and look at the labels on the side for topics that might just make you laugh.

Friday, February 7, 2014

V-day post one

Listen to your heart (c) LAPaylor  9" X 12"

 I have made 19 Valentines quilts over the years, one for each year we've been together. I missed one year because of circumstances and my husband asked tentatively "does this mean something?" So sweet.

This quilt was way into the process, and I was having a lot of physical challenges that year as well as my beloved Bernina shut down totally because she needed to go to the hospital for a mother board replacement.
So on this year's quilt I experimented with inktense pencils on fabric. I took a piece of white fabric, sketched out my image and then dampened it.
It bled in a charming way. Then I inked in the words with pens.
I used snow-dyed fabric  which I had learned to do that year as a border. It is minimally quilted as I was borrowing a friend's machine and not used to how it worked, so I basically couched some cording, feather stitched with gold thread, went around the image, and called it a day. The hearts were some iron on T-shirt embellishments I had never tried before but they worked like a dream!

Each year's quilt is approached differently. One year I might document something we experienced, another  I try new techniques,  and others I might just have fun. Some of the quilts are quite tiny, most are larger,  one is twin sized.
I hope to show you a few of them over the next few days. See another V-Day quilt In This Post Right Here!

All of them are made with love and appreciation for my relationship with Drew. In any good relationship it feels like you just met, while also feeling like you've been together forever.
 This year's quilt is in the design phase and might be a mix of my poetry, a collage and use some technique I want to explore. Stay tuned for more. ( if you want to see them all in person and hear about working in a series with funny stories, I will come share them with your group)
For now, share the love

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Black and White and Colors all over

Just to let you know I have not given up sewing. This is what I spent my black and white scrap stash on this week. I got the grand idea  to do this in our two day scrap-a-thon from seeing it on judy simmons blog . Please note my current favorite black and white print of a martini glass. I also sacrificed some of my fave cow fabric.
An older friend of mine once told me, "learn from your elders, if you cut up and use fabric in a quilt you'll keep, you still have the fabric!" Wise woman.

The sewing bee members all  chose to do a different pattern but shared scraps. By sharing, of course I mean I took more home by the good grace of my  suppliers friends.
so this is the whole thing laying on the flannel only a bit different than Judy's. I think it may be a bit bigger, likely because I'm a bit bigger, ahem. It looked a hot mess up on the design wall at our bee, but seems less chaotic somehow now.
 It might finish at about 50 X 70 and I need to do some think tank work on how to break sewing it into segments that I can easily machine quilt, then put it together after. It's how I do bigger work. I try to break it into segments that are workable but not numerous.
As it's February, I plan to start tomorrow showing you some of my Valentine quilts.
I'm back to the machine now for some instant gratification! Color! Just what we need on a gray and sleet/rain filled day.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The misfits

The Misfits 12" X 20"
Made in a day... almost. Remember the other post when I said I was delayed putting stuff away by the fun bits and pieces I found? ( read about it here!)  
There were some painted flower petals. These three petals didn't match. When something doesn't work, add more! I added more color with pens and colored pencils til they were integrated.
(Please click on pic to enlarge)

 Then because the brown fabric was laying there from the piece added to Klimt, I used it as a stem.
The big achievement was in cutting a piece of this beautiful background fabric out of yardage, just for this project. I cut real fabric just because it looked pretty laying with the flower. No dithering. It was just lying on the table, not put away yet, and looked good so I cut it.That's not like me.

 When I made a trade piece for blogger Linda Cline (read about it here) I made an extra print of the quote about creativity, mixed it with another quote and a stamp of leaves,  and since it was also laying on the table, it was collaged with the other bits and it looked fine with this misfits piece.
I wanted to make something, all these pieces lying near each other, so I thought, what if I put them together??

I did all the stitching during the quilting phase of the exercise. Two flower petals were heavily painted muslin scraps and the center one was from a piece of some kind of silky fabric I bought at a yard sale long ago. The fabric felt like slinky drapery fabric and cost about 2 dollars for 3 yards so I got it to see how it painted and took dye. It is really fun, wicks the color around like a race car driver running around a track.
I scrunched it up, and began quilting a hot pink rayon thread in striations, scrunch, sew, scrunch, sew.
I sewed many colors of threads on the petals, in organic repeating lines, just loving the reflective quality of the rayon building up. I did not try to cover the edges, just sewed up to the edges. See picture below.

When it came  time to quilt the background I knew I wanted straight intersecting lines. I love Art Deco style.
I got out the quarter inch masking tape to lay down lines and quilted next to them. Careful! Don't quilt over them, it is a bear to get out from under the thread!
Remove them as soon as possible as they are sticky.  I sometimes cut down painter's tape into thin strips to use like this.
After quilting the lines, I went back and quilted extra lines using the originals as a guide.
There are leaves quilted in next to the stem in several color threads, there are pebbles also.
There are just some fabrics that you wish you had all the yardage in the world. Why oh why didn't I get two or three yards of this!?! It's gold with what appears to be gold leaf on it. It probably cost $12 a yard, and I go for variety thinking, I won't need a big piece. I WANT a big piece now that I cut into this.

So the lessons here were
> don't put stuff away, because they will go together into cool art
> decide fast because dithering leads to ufo's
> you can make something beautiful with misfit pieces that someone smart would have thrown away
> if it has gold on it, buy a big piece

Hope you enjoyed the show! I enjoyed the making of it, and it's going to hang in the studio reminding me to just make it!