Tuesday, April 30, 2019

exploring abstracts... markers on fabric

last week I tried new things
1. new ways to sketch from my online workshop
2. markers on printed black and cream fabric
3. quilting my abstract mountain piece
4. painting a background, or landscape

This is #2
Markers on fabric.
Well I've applied color to fabric just about every way one can.
I used to lead a workshop adding color to fabric 12 ways, for quilters to experience different methods.

 I do love the control of markers
 I got this black and white print recently, knowing I wanted to try coloring. I've dyed black and white prints before, and painted them to look dyed. It's a lovely effect. But this came out really pretty.

I tried some markers that were too saturated, so they will be for words on fabric, or outlines, these pastel markers added the right amount of color, and blended well when overlapped.

Start with the lighter colors, then flick the marker a bit overlapping colors and they will blend on the fabric. It's a way to control where the color goes.

I paint, and prefer the serendipity of watercolors, feeling a little like the universe has a hand in the finished product. Pigment flows and blends sometimes, unplanned and beautiful. Acrylics on paper is harder, more immediate. You can mix colors but they tend to stay where you put them on paper. Oils stay suspended in the medium on canvas but take a long time to dry and smell.
I've enjoyed watercolor pencils, the color is a mix of pencil control and when wet will travel to blend.

I've used oil pastels on fabric, and they have a different look, as do inks used with a brush or marker.

It's all good, and all so much fun. Watching paint dry. Seeing colors appear. It's all good and you have to use the technique that works for your project, so it's good to experiment so you'll know when to use a certain medium.

Also it can be thrown away or repurposed if you don't like it.
I always like it! (eventually)
linking to

Esther's blog Wednesdays   
Midweek makers wednesdays

Monday, April 29, 2019

the week ahead

in the hood
it's Monday.... time for Happy Homemaker posts!

Weather in Aurora CO
It's been warmer, trees are blooming, pollen is high. Now it's time for more snow and it's 30 F.
We decided the temperature can be 60 and if the sun is out, if feels like 85. If the wind is blowing and it's sunny it may feel like 70. If it's cloudy and windy it feels like 40.
I think it's spring near the Rockies.

To Do
The heating element went out on the dryer. Call home warranty people, and start that problem
You might fuss about laundry til your washer or dryer go out, then suddenly you miss doing laundry!
Already did a lot of chores. Now it's time to plan for my birthday trip... maybe to Santa Fe since we've never been there.
Go through more of my supplies, deciding whether to keep some PIGS (projects in grocery sacks)
eat better and drink more water
finish some projects
now that I'm feeling better, mail packages to friends (hate going to the P. O. here!)
I might have to get out the summer clothes bins if this hot weather/sun keeps up!

nighttime book is the next librarian series by Victoria Gilbert
studio book on disc is Death by Chocolate Lab
in the wings, Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen
look through and recycle magazines

New Amsterdam is hanging in there with episodes when so many series have ended
American Idol, Amazing Race, Survivor, Midwives, Murdoch Mysteries, Real housewives of NYC and Beverly Hills, old movies on TCM
(adele's Rolling in the deep)

Listening to
birds returning to the area
Jake Shimibukuro on Ukelele
bosso nova as always

one of the "I Like Thursday" posters mentioned cauliflower crust pizza so we got one to try this week. I made a batch of scrambled egg whites we can warm up for breakfast this week. We all like them scrambled with cheddar cheese, then we pull some out for Milo for the week, and we add garlic powder, paprika, and chives to ours. Easy to warm for breakfasts. I got some chia seeds and coconut milk to put in the fridge for breakfasts too. Haven't tried it yet.
I've been noshing on the chocolate covered blueberries I got from the easter bunny.

I'm taking a free online workshop on sketching and it's been very good. I'm learning new things. It's very daily though and hard to keep up with. I'm on day three and they are on day 7 I think!
I've finished the smaller mountain piece, and gotten the larger one ready to quilt. I'm back to just finishing the painted birds piece with batiks. I want to make the flowered table runner pattern from Podunk Pretties.
I need to find my sock making needles to replace some that have finally gotten too holey and repaired too many times.

Lessons learned
"It might not turn out as badly as you think"
While grooming Milo on Sunday I discovered many matts in his naturally curly hair. I fretted that I'd have to shave off his pretty tail pouf, and possibly his topknot. When you're a poodle, those are important features!
I tried just cutting into each matt a couple times with scissors, being careful to  point scissors away from skin, then brush. It worked and I was able to break up the matts and keep a pretty boy!
Another lesson... a haircut changes your entire look! (I need a new style)


we are all connected by a thin silver thread

Sunday, April 28, 2019

sketching .... what do you see in this?

Some things I tried this week...continuing in my abstract mini-series
1. new ways to sketch from my online workshop
2. markers on printed black and cream fabric
3. quilting my abstract mountain piece
4. painting a background, or landscape

Today I'll talk about #1

My sketching workshop is very good but I didn't realize the lessons would be daily. It's a lot to keep up with, a lot of new techniques all at once. I did day one and part of day two but we're on day 5 now.

So in day one, we were to do a continuous line drawing of our face, never looking at the paper or our face (that is the smaller top one on the right). Pen touches paper, the opposite fingers touch your nose, as you move your left finger around your face, your pen moves around the paper.

Then we did it by looking in a mirror but not the paper, still continuous line.(next one down)
 Then glancing at the paper.(ugly top left)
I like the more Picasso looking ones but not lifting your pen is hard!!

 The next exercise was to take pics of sidewalk cracks and look into them like an abstract painting... what do you see?
Print the image then really see it, look for an image and draw what you see.
I saw a profile of a man. Then after taking this picture
and of course it depends on the angle you look at it, the angle you take the picture, I saw a

fish swimming
My process was to take the printer copy, turn it all around, and find what I could in the image. Then trace the lines with a sharpie marker on the paper.
what do you see here?

I saw my favorite one of all!

Very Leonardo da Vinci, no?

Again, the purpose is not to paint the great American painting, it's to experience something new, to learn to control your hands and paints, to see things a bit differently.

I started the next day's work, drawing little houses on a hill but I'm not that good!
Each day there are two talented artist videos presenting a new way to look at the world.
The link to the free workshop is:

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Aqua... chandelier blocks

Rounding out the month of Aqua at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, are my chandelier blocks.
(The pattern came from Stitch Therapy)

We've used four colors of scraps so far: red, green, yellow and now Aqua. In my last RSC post I put a description of Aqua lovers. I have lots of it around the house in chairs, dishes, vases, decorations, towels, clothing, etc.

the blocks are very simple, and will be set on point to look like the  beaded curtains of my youth.
I'm doing about 12 of each color
each one with little surprises in them

since they finish at 6" I figure 10 months of them will give me a start on a bed quilt.

The rainbow scrap challenge is monthly and we all make our own blocks in that month's color. Find the other makers at

linking to
oh Scrap Sundays 
design wall Mondays at smallquiltsanddollquilts

  https://stitchallthethings.com/ to do Tuesday

Esther's blog Wednesdays   

Friday, April 26, 2019

what do you see in this? Abstracts and experiments

while paint dries...
Some things I tried this week...
1. new ways to sketch from my online workshop
2. markers on printed black and cream fabric
3. quilting my abstract mountain piece
4. painting a background, or landscape

All were influenced by what I see around me daily, the scenes, the colors the way the air feels etc.
All involved seeing the world with fresh perspective, and looking into something abstract to find images I could relate to. 

I'm so excited about all four, and there are lots of pictures, so I plan to write a four part series, with posts on each process. Stay tuned my friends, share the fun with me!

So for today, #4...

During a heat wave on Tuesday, I found myself wanting to paint some fabric. I tore a large quarter yard off of some PFD white fabric, got a piece of freezer paper and some SETA-Shimmer paints to do a landscape. I also used dynaflow paint, and some spritzer paint. All made for use with textiles, all in an acrylic base but behave like watercolors on paper. This time I used a sponge brush not a sponge.

I went outside to the patio, as I wanted to try sun printing with the oranges mesh bag for texture on a background piece.

I balled up the fabric after wetting it totally, squeezed it out, spread it out long ways on the table outside, and started by spritzing with turquoise paint a friend gave me. Then daubed on seta shimmer in canary, and electric blue (shimmers have a lot of pigment and a delicious sparkle). I chose not to dilute them further, just to see how much they would blend on really wet fabric.

The pigment did not want to travel like usual on the wet fabric. I've painted so much on all media but never had it mostly sit still where I drop it.

I spritzed it again, and put the netting from oranges on to see if it would sun print a texture.
Nope, no traveling or mixing of colors no sun printing. I spritzed again, and dragged the pointed edge of the foam brush through the colors to lead the colors in blending.

Hmph! So I stretched it out, spritzed the still white areas, and using small bottles of dynaflow dropped purple, pink, crimson on that hoping for a sunset look.The dynaflow did start to migrate. As the paint moved and I watched, I hoped for a sunset kind of feel to the piece but it looked more and more like red cliffs of a mountain against new green of spring.

That's okay too!
So the lesson here was to see what emerged, not direct the show. Okay. I continued to watch the pigment move blend, connect and to imagine what scene was developing.

This became a theme for the week's experiments!
I didn't love the way it was drying so quickly, and like many projects, the self-censor began to grouse in my mind, "another waste of materials!" and "this just looks like nothing!" Know that voice?

However, I also know it ain't over til it's been overworked! I hung it up vertically to totally dry while I did other things. I looked at it as I put away dishes, came and went, did other things. I realized I might see something totally different that I aimed for. I realized I could stamp spirals over the pink areas and they would be tall standing flowers in front of a mountain. They even engaged the border which I forget to do.
what do you see in this?
It's the difference in a planned painting, where the scene is in the middle of the fabric, intact, or part of it is cut off so your mind's eye has to know the rest of the flower is still there, but not in the picture. Cropping in a way, although this was made like that. Cropping an image lends interest, as the viewer must engage with their vision to complete the image.

So I now saw a foreground tall blossomed set of flowers, mountains in the background... I could stencil little incomplete flowers in pale purple,

 I could stamp spirals, all lending to a texture that felt like blossoms. I could stitch in the blossoms with thread. I could use markers or colored pencils. What if a tiny bird hid under the tall flowers?
Like Michangelo said, "I am always learning"
see the sparkles? Do you see a landscape scene?
the point is not to paint something to sell, the point is to look at the world in a new way.

So I'm going to turn it all around, consider my next steps. I could crop it into four smaller paintings or most likely will do something to look like the foreground flowers. I like the idea of stenciling some petal shapes, then stamping spirals over that. 

I think the best thing is to learn by doing. Try it. Like dancing, turn off the censor within, and just move. Like listening to another language being sung, just let the sound carry you along undisturbed by actual words. Then turn it around and look at it a new way, you will be surprised at what you see.

It's exciting!
(remember I'll be doing four posts in this series, next one will be on Sunday)

Linking to:
off the wall Fridays
can I get a whoop whoop Fridays 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

I Like Thursdays #138

Welcome to this week's list of likes...

first, some photos of random likes...
Pier One
napkin rings at Pier one
cute sofa for the end of our bed, and if we can make him, Milo's new bed
I really liked the lines of this little sofa at Pier One, and we need one for the end of our bed, but it's nearly $800 so.... we'd better love not just like it.

I found this cool aqua purse.... in my own closet. I bought it on sale and never used it. I love it! Aqua neoprene outside, and pink felt inside, perfect size for wallet and first aid bag, phone and camera.

cute garden ornaments... cow! at Nicks Garden Center
display at Nicks
pots at Nicks
sauce and cherries from Nicks
cup from Pier One
Long lasting mini carnations in fuschia and salmon from Trader Joe's
hand painting fabric on the back porch
I learned how painting fabric here will be a bit different from my experience back East... more on that Friday!
lines of blossoming pear trees and blue skies
delicate pinks and whites with spring green leaves
I like Wednesday night tv... Survivor and Amazing Race is back!!! Love it!

Milo's Moments
I liked the warm weather this week
and meeting this little fellow
named Gris. (that's grey in French, since he was grey as a puppy)

LeeAnna here again, I loved meeting and chatting with Gris's mama in the neighborhood. People are fascinating to me... she is so talented, an opera singer and jazz singer who's just dropped a new album and is headed out to a European tour after doing the DC area. She is from Louisiana which I love to visit, and has a master's degree in voice. I love smart funny people!
We have much in common, both adopted, both dealing with the aging process, both love dogs and the creative process.

You never know when you start a conversation, how much fun it can be!

Monday, April 22, 2019

the week ahead

that's me....saw this at pier one
Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker post. Don't the weekends fly past? It was so good to have a relaxed weekend, we're both wound tight, and both still coughing.

The weather in Aurora CO
It is schizophrenic. Hot (80's) then cold, but mostly rain not snow at the moment. I saw daffodils and tulips in someone's yard. Some trees are flowering. I looked at vege at home depot but we're not to trust weather til mid May.
Oh and we went for a walk, I was hot, then cold, then freezing, then hot. In one walk. Makes it hard to dress.

To do this week
Must I do anything?
I can't even bear to think about it!

We're mid season into Murdoch mysteries (Canada) and Time Team (BBC)
I love American Idol contestants. Survivor is fab this time. Project Runway continues.
I know I know you don't watch drivel but I enjoy Bravo's housewives, Beverly Hills and NYC.
Amazing Race is back... Yipee!!!
Loved  videos on youtube about their ancestry tests, more later about that

nothing exciting. We had some really good frozen eggplant parms this weekend.

I made some mighty good potato salad with leftovers. We had some new potatoes, all different colors in one bag. Half were left, I added minced onion, diced celery, avocado oil Mayo, S and P, and apple cider vinegar. Even my husband said, wow that's good. I like cooking from what's in the fridge.

We went to the local garden center, and got some more cherries (so much better than maraschino), and got a new to us sauce to try. Buffalo Aioli. One of the "I Like" Thursday posters said they liked this tea, so I tried it and it's great!

We binged on treats for Easter from Trader Joe's.
yum, rugelach.

Advertisements, apparently. I gave in to this one in Home and Garden, buying the polish.

 I also love the ad as inspiration for a quilt. I like the colors, the swirl of flowers, and the whimsy of coming out of a teapot.
 I caught up on three magazines, and now can let them go to a neighbor. The house feels lighter already.
I'm dragging my feet on finishing my night book, The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen. I'm so going to miss the characters I've come to love. Still listening to the book on disc, Death by chocolate Lab. It's engaging while I sew.
"View of the mountains"

I signed up for an online workshop in sketching
not that I think I can commit to it, but it's free and I can do only what I choose to do.

I'm into these recent  mountain quilts, (Post Here) and hope I finish them quickly. Plus I need to finish the month's Aqua scraps with my chandelier blocks. 

silly picture of the week
Milo meets the Easter Bunny (post here)

Lessons learned and Inspiration for this week

I watched a video on youtube ,  comparing ancestry and 23 &me dna results. Some background:
I was adopted, with the narrative that my birth mother may have been first gen American from German parents. My birth father may have been first gen Amer. from Italian parents.

I was raised by people with a very limited appreciation for the richness of human tapestry..
For instance, they were verbal about not liking Italians, ahem.
I learned early on to not tell them about my views or friends.

I never fit in with them. Although I had suspicions about not belonging, and residual memories of being told I should be appreciate that they took me in, I didn't consciously know about my birth parents til I was in my 20's.
It was at once, shocking and made sense. So the idea of finding out roots via a DNA test really interests me. There are a lot of videos out there showing results.

In listening to this video, by a terrific story teller (not surprisingly a Psychology professor) I realized how much we all come from a grand mix of cultures. Most of us don't know about our families  beyond grandparents, but travel back a few more generations and you'll find out you are a mix of cultures and religions.
So when a person judges someone based on color of skin, or religion, or where their family comes from, they could realize they just might  be cousins. We all come from a great human collective, a common global village. I may never have parent's and grandparent's names, or know my family tree, but I can tell you, I am sure it covers the globe if I go far enough back.
 I am probably related to you.
This is the video (not short)  I watched...
 first part  and second part
 there are two parts, the second one tells a marvelous story of this man's father who went on to do incredibly important work in American Government.
Have a good week y'all.

Linking with

all seasons
sundays in the city
happy homemaker monday