Friday, February 24, 2017

From Purple Mountains to the Ocean

Remember this?? Purple Mountains Majesty? From my box of scraps?? the first post is HERE
For years  I've been working on a series of free form  landscapes.
This year for the rainbow scrap challenge, I decided to use the color that month, follow my heart,  and just make what makes me happy. No big plans, just enjoy my fabric. 
did you notice how the effect changed when I sewed the sections with a gentle curve instead of overlapping the raw edges? I did. 
Every sewing day is a learning day. I don't know which effect I prefer on this piece but I lost a bit of wildness when it was all tidy and seamed and finished off. I also added in some more curvy bits and a sky. It will be somehow floated on a background next. 
For now, lets look at the water scene..
I took skinny long strips and started sewing them together. Color is so soothing and exciting at the same time isn't it?? No worries, just sew, spritz, and press. it will work. Some curves, some random seams. When my pieces were too short I joined them on an angle and loved how it turned out. 
 when I added in the bottom strips, and I love the really skinny stripe's effect in the corner, I didn't like the abrupt color change, so I think I'll lay a little raw edged cutaway strip as an applique.See it like a little hill?
11" tall X 21" wide
 Anyway, as I sew, enjoying myself, I start to see nature emerge, and go with the flow. This became an ocean scene, and I see it quilted, with stringy green thread for grasses, some clouds maybe with paint. Maybe it'll get longer if I add in a horizon with sky at the top, I don't know. This is enough for now. 
I am content!
This is the purple mountains with sky added
18" X 21"
Can't you just see it all quilted?? 

I can! I do like the curve sewn in here.

I also made some scrappy diamonds to go with last year's gemstones...
some black and white, some colors with black. They are loose now, because I think these, with the white ones will be used somehow to set the gemstone. 

As usual, click on images to make them larger and see details. 

I plan to enjoy the RSC this year, but working with the color of the month with no big goal in mind. Just use of color. 

 It flows with my mantra of "follow your heart" and feels better to me than a fully designed bed quilt. I don't need another bed quilt but I always need artistic expression in my life. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"I Like" Thursdays #24

*I Like the glass in my front door. It gives me joy every time I see it. We had a hard time choosing a door but love this one.

*I Like black labs. This is Haley, one of Cole's girlfriends. She is rough and tumble, funny and athletic. She travels in the plane her dad flies. She goes to work with him and gardens with him. She meets me at her gate when I walk by, and must grab my hand in salute. She is quirky, in her heyday she would chase a red ball, then when coming back stop to sniff each place the ball bounced!
 Then there is Zoey, a sleek rescue who is very fearful and mistrusting. She knows me, and on her good days she bolts up to me and play bows. On her fearful days she doesn't remember she likes me, and looks the other way which breaks my heart. I want to pet her and love her but she's too afraid to accept.
Next is Diva, a 3 year old full of vim and vinegar. She jumps, always jumps. She has little self control, and is excited by each whiff, every falling leaf, every noise, in equal measure, full tilt. Her person says she is much calmer now, but I've known her from a pup, and I can't see it. Still I want to pet her if I can catch her being still.

*I Like the PBS show Spy in the Wild
LOVE it! A group of scientists built robots to look like baby animals, tree trunks, termite mounds etc so they could film animal behaviors in the wild. This show is Fascinating! I can't get enough!

I have known a long time that animals are very social with feelings, love, communication abilities and integrity. A lot of people tend to discount them because they don't speak words but this show will astound you.

I loved the giraffe's that came from miles around to grieve the passing of an old strong male. I loved seeing chimpanzees who took on a pet, the elephants who picked up the robot when they "moved house" the croc who carefully carried the robot hatchling along with her own children to the safety of the water. OMG the lost wolf pup!

If your PBS channel doesn't have this show, this link will take you to it online. Watch all four episodes here

 *I Like yogurt drinks like Stoneyfield. When I want something sweet, this fills the bill. Sweet and creamy but with some good yogurt benefits as well. Yum.

* I like "starter- bread" socks

I knitted a regular pair of socks with this yarn and miracle of the loaves, there was wool left! I didn't want to waste it so I tried to knit a shortie sock, just over the ankle. Of course I ran out of leftover yarn before finishing so I went looking in my yarn stash for something to finish it with. Lo and behold, there were two more skeins of the same color yarn!

That should make another whole pair,  with some left over  I can use now to finish the shortie socks! Aha! three pairs from four skeins, Bonus pair! Score!
(I swear I am so cheap and hate waste!)

* I Like this Hawaii photojournalist take on life.
What grand pictures and captions. Make sure to click on the post title to see them all.His captions are so entertaining...
from google images

* I Loved Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler read to me on disc. The reader was excellent at Russian accents and I laughed and laughed out loud listening. Inspired by Taming of the Shrew this modern day story kept me engaged all the way through.

*I Like seeing something in clouds... like this eagle spotted on our recent walk

 * I Like the writer's almanac, and want to share this timely quote by George Washington (read more on their post dated 2-22-17

Washington served as president for eight years. In his Farewell Address to the nation, he warned that his greatest fear for the new country was that forces would try to divide Americans and undermine the country's principles. He argued that its citizens should come together to resist those people: "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."

Resist indeed. 
I love America, I am the one holding her hand over her heart when the anthem plays. 
I am the one who imagines how my ancestors looked upon the statue of liberty as they immigrated. 

please visit these fine folks, keeping it positive too! (give them time to post!) 
 As always if you do an I Like post let me know and I'll include it here. Gotta keep the circle going!! If you're liking these posts remember to check back periodically to see if any more names have been added. 

  Thanks for reading 
4. 3poodlesandanana
6. https://canadianneedlenana
8. YOU!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I've been thinking in circles

Shall we discuss inspiration today? Good! 

Life is so disturbing these days it's hard to remember what it was like to just wake up to creativity. I am trying to remember what it was like... 
I have been intrigued with circles, broken circles (NY Beauty blocks) (Drunkard Path variations) most of my life. On this Sunday walk we stopped to look out over the water and I noticed the playground equipment. 

What do you see in these cropped images? See the possibilities for quilting? I was entranced while my husband enjoyed the water
 Back to the circles...

 Looking at it from different angles...

 changes the line and the perspective...
Imagine playing with pencil and paper, while coming up with different possibilities for quilting or other art

 Dresden plate blocks have infinite varieties. Just as NY beauty they can be changed with one line, or use of color to lead the eye

then there is line created with quilting.

Concentric circles, echo quilting, however you name it, it is an image repeated in nature.

I love love LOVE the concentric lines here on the water.

Thank you mother nature!

Now, if I were to issue a challenge to come up with a design inspired by these circles for your art form, what would you do??? Tell me! 
Other posts like this one at the links on the right to exploring creativity and Finding the Muse. Hope you are able to find time to be creative today. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Time for some medicinal sewing

Time for a bit of Medicinal Sewing which is my term for not overthinking scrap sewing. 
In my studio time this week, I took down the overstuffed purple scrap bin and sorted out the ones too small to keep. 

Of course I had kept them!  And lookie what I made with them. 

First step, put back all the long strips and big squares and well, usable pieces, then sort the others into about the same size for strips. 

Don't forget to please yourself with colors !

Sew them with not too much thought.
 Enjoy the process.  
Stop when it feels done. 
 It looks cool to me! This is how it looks on the back, messy
who cares??! No one!
spritz it with water then press it flat and orderly
repeat with more weird angled scraps, keep going, don't think too much, listen to a good book on disc.
consider what to do with the strips when you're done. How about adding in a free form curve? Okay! My favorite thing to do!

 Make a few aqua/turquoise strips too. no worries!
No real plan needed for the moment.  
We're soothing our spirits here folks! 
Add in some curvy strips and maybe try a black and white strip set too. 
Oh and a few more diamonds... black and white and Mama feels a bit better
check out other aqua scrap projects at the rainbow scrap challenge 
also linking to sewcanshe Saturdays  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Like Thursdays #23 Cows, cats, tulips and Nature

* I Like cows & I like Hearts so...
Welcome to this week's list of Likes!

* I Like blue and brown together, like the tree against the blue sky.
We almost never have sun anymore, so this was a treat. (I see the word love spelled out in clouds.

* I Liked finishing my Valentine quilt on time.In case you missed it, this is the LINK
I love doing this yearly series, each one filled with symbolism of the year spent together. (I show them all in the lecture on working in series) We have 23 now!

* I like purple tulips.

 So. Much. DH showed up with them this week! The pitcher they are in is one I made in ceramics. Long ago and far away. I've always enjoyed paint!

* I like art galleries and interactive art
please enjoy this short video of me playing in an art gallery
If it doesn't play from your devise, try this link

*I Like this Art installation by Roberta Staat
She had been given little momentos and collected bits of personal items that reminded her of friends. As she formed each little totem pole with the items relating to that friend, she thought of them and sent good thoughts. She forgave or asked for forgiveness in the making.

I'm so pleased I asked her to tell me about her process. By the way, as I interviewed her as an artist, I asked a question I always ask, what condition is your studio in??

She said what all but one artist over the years has said, "a mess"
I am sure that most working studios are in some kind of disarray, but also sure most of us know basically what is there and how to find it.

* I Like interviewing artists who work in different mediums than I do, as we have much in common and so much to learn from each other

* I like The West on dvd
We checked it out of the library and so far have learned so much about the Native Americans who were displaced by Europeans who swept into their world, taking their land, spreading diseases, and informing the Indians they must give up their beliefs and take on Christianity or die. Wow.

So glad we've come a long way since then... we now allow people to choose their form of worship, in  understanding and respect for the individual. Right? 

* I Like collaborating on writing exercises with Eliza at Forest Poodles (see link below)
We are working our way through writing exercises and sharing inspiration. I was an actress, then a social worker, a nanny, a school counselor, a lecturer and teacher, an artist and now consider myself a writer.

Time to learn more about it!! I am already learning by doing the exercises with Eliza.

* I Liked receiving a sewing machine from a friend who is downsizing.
 She felt drawn to offer it to me, and I need a machine to use since mine is on it's third mother board. I did not want to spend $5000 while we are hoping to move, and this is a godsend. It came with a cabinet her husband constructed, and this little tray of feet...
It is a Bernina 930, last of the older mechanicals that I've heard described as "workhorses"

I am thrilled to say the least.

So blessed! She had a home full of the most charming quilts mostly antique. She wants to remain anon. so I won't give her name but I am so grateful.

*I Like old sewing items... my machine friend also gave me this vintage thread box.

 It's so 50's to me. I love the star cut into the top, and it holds 24 spools plus room for bobbins and needles. I collect little sewing items from the past, enjoying the look plus the connection between us.

*I Like this blog post.
 You can play this video from here or when you visit the blog link below, he has it on his post too.

 Cat's in Istanbul. The movie looks so fab I want to see it.
What I noticed
>first noticed the terrific gestures of the cats
> then I enjoyed hearing the spoken language so different from English
> I realized listening, if I had just heard the language without seeing the interpretation and loving words about nature and cat love, I might have thought it sounded slightly scary.

Because it sounds so different. Because I didn't understand the language, I might have missed the kindness and the compassionate words. I wonder how much we miss in life by not understanding each other

For more lists this week click to visit these fine folks, keeping a circle of goodness going!

1. http://forestpoodles
2. hearts in Hawaii

Check back later as new I Like posts come in thru the day!

Let me know if you wrote an I Like post and I'll add in a link! A big Thank you to all reading and writing.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines Quilt 2017

"Holding Hands through life"  16" X 18" 2017
Let me introduce this year's Valentine quilt. I make a V-day quilt every year we've been married. To mark the miracle of finding each other. Some are very small, some are bed sized, all have a heart on them.

It all started with a visit to the National Gallery of Art during the Christmas holidays. I studied and wrote, but haven't published, an article on cropping. I took my photo, a close-up of Picasso's The Lovers and printed it onto fabric.  Then gathered fabrics...
I find it very interesting to see fabrics in yardage then see the areas a person chose to cut out for their artwork, don't you?
Two of the above fabrics are hand dyed as it a third from which I cut the music "Romance"
I love the little old valentines to the left!
I used pinking shears to cut out just the one I wanted

Gathering the five fabrics I wanted to use, I laid them on the table deciding arrangement, proportion, composition, etc.

I wanted to tell a story of long time love, growth (leaves), gesture (holding hands), loving words and interplay of every day life.

Cut some strips, some accent pieces and start to compose. I enjoy a diagonal line so they elements lead your eye from top left down to bottom right while they engage  and balance each other.

Note the tape. I do not like glue or fusible so I taped the elements til I could hand or machine stitch them down. I used the Oliver Twist hand dyed 30 weight cotton thread for that.
I just hand stitched the little poem

I like the loft one gets by not using fusible plus the chemicals  are not nice.

Note the spiral stitch holding the painting in place. I used Printed Treasures prepared fabric for printing, and it's thick. Too hard to hand sew. I love this stitch and it's not on any other Bernina machine. It's so dynamic with the oliver twist thread, right?

Note the pinkish hand dye with hand writing on it isn't real words!!! It looks like real words in beautiful script.

Note, it's hard for me to cut into one of a kind hand dyed fabric, but my phrases this year are "Use it" from last year, and "Follow your heart" which means I just let myself cut into yardage, in an area I felt would work best. Whew! That was not easy, but very satisfying.
 After strips were sewn on, and most elements sewn down, I placed a heart, cut from a sheer where I liked it. Again I wanted to see the heart above the element so no fusible. I stitched it down with free motion spirals and YLI gold metallic thread, then finished it off with tiny gold rocaille beads. Most of the appliqued elements have raw, pinked edges which might fray and lift a bit over time. I like that. 
Music plays a large part in our lives, writing in mine, communication is vital across the elements.

 The different fabrics interact with words, script, color that blends. The quilted free motion spiral stands for eternity. I quite love the gold thread and uneven spirals quilted on the sheer... click to see details. 
 Quilting is always a big decision. I did a lot of embroidery before layering to quilt, so I only wanted to add some stability to the piece and dimension. I use my walking foot for stability around main elements, then free motion foot to draw hearts, leaves and spirals. There are several hearts quilted in but pretty subtle. Note the little hand embroidery flowers and crosses (kisses) hand stitched along the bottom of this element.
I used gold balls along the leaf veins, and shell flowers with same gold centers. Growth.
I broke some rules of design in the making of this quilt but followed my heart. For instance it might not be apparent but the hand holding photo is almost center. Use of four flower beads breaks to rule of odd numbers. There is the red/orange color in the picasso image not repeated except in the oliver twist thread spirals. That shade should not work with pink.

I wanted to float the elements too, but didn't want it to get larger, so I decided to do it with a wide binding. In order to keep the writing consistent, I had to cut the binding from different angles and put it on the four edges one at a time.
I wasn't sure I could get one done this year... but this was finished in two days.
And I think it represents our year. 
As a young woman I despaired of ever finding Mr Right. I dated a lot of Mr You Might Do's and "kissed a lot of frogs" and waited for Drew.

I have photos of a couple other V-day quilts under the label valentines
Linking to parties on my links page... thank you