Monday, December 18, 2006

My Christmas Things

Not much to talk about right now, so I thought I would share some pictures of a few Christmas things I made a couple of years ago.

This is my Christmas box I made from a wood cigar box. I painted it red and decoupaged some ephemera items on it and gave it a coat of polyurethane. The window with Santa is actually an ornament I found at a local store. Sorry about the glare.

On the inside I glued a sheet of parchment paper and recycled an old Christmas card. I spelled out the word Santa with some tiles that I had. The three little cards are another item I found at the local store.

Here is a close up of the altered mint tin with Santa’s picture. I painted it red and white and glued a piece of the same parchment paper on the top, then stamped some images on the background. The Santa image is one that I had and printed out and glued on. Again, sorry for the glare that is on the bottle top 3 D piece. It says HO, HO, HO on it.

This is the inside. On the left is a piece of gold foil, with a Santa image that I printed and glued in. The right hand side is actually a little booklet I made with several Santa images.

These are machine embroidered items that I made into refrigerator magnets.

The next three pictures are the popular bowls everyone has made using Christmas fabrics. These were gifts.

I made this snowman several years ago from a pattern in one of the quilting magazines. He measures 7 1/2 inches by 20 ½ inches, which is about half the size of the original pattern.

And lastly is a gift box I made using one of those paper mache’ boxes and covered it with polymer clay tiles. I used black clay and colored them with Pearl Ex powders before baking. After baking, I covered it with a couple of coats of polyurethane.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New Embroidered Piece

I can't believe it. I have gone for weeks without posting and now I have posted 3 times in as many days. Don't get used to it though, this has to be a fluke or something. LOL!

I think the problems I was having the past couple of days with the embroidery designs is solved. I finally discovered the best stabilizer to use for these lacey designs is Sulky’s Ultra Solvy. I usually use a size 90/14 embroidery needle, but found that a size 75/11 worked better.

I tried to stitch this one yesterday twice with horrible results including stitching the design to the throat plate! What a mess. I wish I had taken a picture of that. LOL! Anyway here it is still in the hoop after it stitched out with only one problem; the bobbin thread ran out as it was getting near the end of the design. No big deal. A new bobbin and the stitching was completed.

I hate to think of all the time wasted before figuring this out, not to mention all of the thread and the different stabilizers. Oh well, how else would I figure out what works and what does not.

Here it is after rinsing away the Ultra Solvy. This one measures about 3 inches across. The color is actually closer to what you see with it in the hoop.

I do not wish to mislead anyone about these pieces. They are not my original designs. These are commercial designs that I purchased. I have the software and hardware to resize, re-color and change to my particular machine format, but I do not have any digitizing software to create my own designs.

That said, isn’t this another lovely ornament?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Continuing from the Previous Post

These are what you didn't get to see in the last post and what I spent all that time Saturday working on. Aren't they beautiful? They each measure about 2 ½ inches across. It's hard to see but I stitched them using sparkle organza.

I have about a dozen or so other designs that I want to do, but if they are going to take the time that these 3 did I’m not so sure. LOL!

As I mentioned in the previous post I was having problems uploading more than one picture with blogger, soooo...I made the switch to Beta Blogger. Everything seems to be okay and I didn't have any problems uploading this pic. I may make some changes to how my blog looks later on, but for now I am leaving as is. The only thing different is my being able to add labels now to each post.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

She's Done!

I finally finished the second postcard late last night.

I didn’t get too elaborate on either one of these. I mentioned in the other post that the images I printed on silk didn’t come out as brilliant as I had hoped and you can really tell that with this one. I guess I am going to have to figure out how to do that with this newer printer.

Yes, I hand stitched the edge on this one also, even though I complained about doing it on the first one. I used cardstock on the back of this one also. Even though I fused it I didn’t want to machine stitch through it and have all of those perforations.

I had the biggest part of yesterday to myself and finally got to work on some machine embroidered items that I had wanted to do a couple of weeks ago. It has been quite some time since I had embroidered anything and I can not believe how long it took to do them. Part of the time was spent gathering the designs I wanted to use and then resizing them in the software and then downloading to the memory card and printing templates (which turned out I didn’t really need for these). I then had to decide what stabilizer to use and wind some bobbins with thread.

Once I got started stitching on the first one, I thought I would only be a couple of hours more. WRONG! During the stitching of the first design which I stabilized with a piece of organza and solvy, the thread broke 3 different times which really is not that big of a deal.

When I got ready to stitch the second one, I decided to try using a double layer of solvy and no organza. The machine stitched for a bit and then the thread broke. I fixed it; continued stitching for a minute or two and the thread broke again. I fixed it again and continued stitching for a minute and….you guessed it, it broke again. This went on for about ten more minutes and after I decided it wasn’t the thread or the needle or the tension I just needed to start over and use the organza. So I changed stabilizers and the second piece stitched with only a few thread breakage problems. The third piece stitched out with only a few breakages as well.

It was approximately 9:30 a.m. when I started gathering the designs, etc. and it was approximately 9:30 p.m. when I finished! Without problems of any kind, each design would have taken anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 hour to stitch out. That should have been 4 hours top. What happened during the other 8 hours? I know that one and a half to two hours was spent having lunch and dinner, but that still leaves approximately 6 hours. I can’t even begin to count how many times I stopped the machine to go do something else for a few minutes here and there, but apparently it adds up to 6 hours!

I guess you are wondering by now what it was that I spent so much time on yesterday. Well you are going to have to wait. Blogger is not letting me upload anything else and I have tried several times. Arrrgh!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas PC

A few weeks ago I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and make a few Christmas themed postcards. I decided that for the first couple of ones I would do Crazy Quilt style. I then proceeded to go through and pick out some designs to print on silk to use for these. At first I thought the prints were okay but after I used a couple I could see that they needed to be more intense in color.

This is the first of two.

As you can see, it isn’t overly elaborate. After I got started, I felt like that it was taking me way too long to do this. I know some of you ladies can whip these things out in no time.

This is the back side. It is printed on cardstock.

The second one is about half finished. I sort of lost interest when it started taking more time than I thought it would. I will post it if I ever get it done. LOL!

I am also working on a beaded pin/necklace? It is coming along nicely.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November 21, 2006

It’s been too quiet here, but not much has been going on. When I wanted time to work on a piece or two, I didn’t have the time and when I had the time it seemed I didn’t really have the inclination to want to work on them.

The next few days will be busy, but hopefully after the holiday and the weekend I will have something to show.

It’s a couple of days early but I want to wish everyone who celebrates it, a Happy Thanksgiving and to thank each and every one of you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Did You Miss Me?

The past several weeks have been a mix of running back and forth to the dentist and doctor for one thing or another. I have even been looking at several houses which hopefully one will become the new residence for DS. He has been living in apartments for way too long and is now ready to find a house of his own.

I have been looking through some of my books and magazines for ideas for new pieces. I’ve also been going through all of my embroidery designs and listing them getting organized so I can find them easier when I want one.

This is my latest piece. It has been finished for a while; I just hadn’t gotten around to taking a photo of it before now. It measures 5 x 7 inches. Once again I am stuck for a name. I am also pondering whether to do a series or not.

I stitched two different commercial batik fabrics to a felt base. The cheesecloth is a piece that I painted. It is embellished with embroidery floss and glass beads in two sizes. This one and the piece from my last post were a learning experience and an exploration in how to finish off pieces like these.

I started with a piece of felt (for stabilization) larger than what the finished piece would be. When all embellishing was complete I then stitched a piece of fabric to the underneath. I used a matching thread and stitched in the ditch, so to speak, of the border. Next I cut a piece of mat board just a tad smaller than 5 x 7 inches for the mounting board and folded the fabric over to the back and laced in place. The excess felt was then carefully trimmed away. This probably will be mounted to a piece of foam core, but I suppose there are several ways of displaying these pieces. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A New Small Piece

I have mentioned before that I am venturing into doing something other than just art quilts. I find myself wanting to use other things than just fabric in my pieces. I have also wanted to incorporate some handwork into them.

This is something I completed a few weeks ago. As I was working on it I kept looking and trying to decide what else I could do to it. It came together fairly easily, which was kind of surprise to me. For some reason I decided to use a piece of craft felt larger than the finished size for the background piece and then I started adding pieces of fabrics. I then added some painted cheesecloth and some scrunched pieces of tulle. I placed a layer of tulle over the whole piece and did some free motion machine stitching. Next I added the metal foil pieces and the hand stitching and beads.

It is untitled as I find coming up with titles one of the harder things for me to do.

It measures 5 x 7 inches and I intend to mount it on a piece of 8 x 10 inch black foam core.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just Checking In

It’s been quiet on here lately because I had a bit of an accident last week. I won’t go into the details cause I don’t want to bore you or have you feeling sorry for me. I am okay just haven’t felt much like doing stuff.

The weather has been nice considering the time of year. It’s usually cooler and rainy, but we have had sunshine and warm temperatures. I did get out and do some garden work the other day: starting to do a little bit of tidying up before winter. There is still tons of stuff to do yet.

I thought I’d post some pics of what this garden bed looks like before I do any more clearing out.

See the little boy sitting there fishing? He sits there 24/7 and poor thing has never caught a fish even though there are 5 swimming around in there. LOL!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Van Goghs Olive Trees

You have probably noticed that lately I have kind of been jumping around from one art media to another. I find myself in that state of mind where I have so many things that I want to try or do but can’t quite seem to decide which one to pursue. I hate it when I get this way. I wish I could just decide on one or two things and concentrate on improving my skills in those areas.

Looking now at my last post, that little piece seems kind of pathetic really. A child could have done better. But then again I was just playing around with a new technique and some new supplies.

As an example of what I am talking about, I wanted to see if I could do a small (thread painted) landscape. I was looking through my ever growing collection of images and decided to use this piece as my starting point.

Vincent Van Gogh-The Olive Trees-1889

Not having any formal background in Art, I did not realize until recently that the great painters often painted the same piece numerous times, changing the colors with each painting. So this is one version. I really have no idea how many color ways there are of this particular piece.

This is my attempt that I recently finished:

*click on images to see a larger version*

This piece is not actually matted as of yet. I added the mat through Paint Shop Pro. I am still actually trying to decide how to mount it.

I wish that I had kept track of how long it took me to do this. I worked on it sporadically for 2 or 3 days. It is printed on silk with a piece of muslin acting as a stabilizer. I used rayon machine embroidery threads. The embroidered area measures 5” x 7”.

Autumn's Glory

I worked on this little piece off and on over the past week. It is my first "stab" at doing hand needle felting, which is something I have been wanting to try. I cut pieces of felt for the ground, tree and sun. I then needle felted wool roving onto the ground piece and the tree trunk. The tree "leaves" are nylon tops. Then I added a little bit of hand stitching. It measures 4" x 6".

Autumn's Glory

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Autumn Nights and Lights

I'm late doing this, but I came across this on Baumcat's blog, who came across it on NatureTrail's blog, who came across it on RedLupin's blog. Thought I would add my pic too it.

This is what we did last weekend. We sat out on the deck for several hours with a fire going. There was a beautiful full moon both nights.

Here's my entry into Autumn lights and nights.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fall is in the Air

It has been raining the past couple of days and it is cooler. I had hoped to get into my studio and create something. I thought I would get a chance yesterday, but it just didn’t happen.

Since the start of fall is not that far away, I thought I would share this photo with you. It is of a diptych piece that I made a couple of years ago using fall colors. I chose the Sherrill Kahn fabric as the focal and pulled the colors from it to use as the accents. At the present time it hangs in the kitchen/dining area.

Sorry for the poor quality of photo. I’ve played and played with this trying to make it better.

I free motion quilted it using a different design for each section.

Each completed panel measures 18 x 22 inches. I initially made them larger so that I would be able to stretch them onto stretcher bar frames.

The top photo has been manipulated to place these pieces onto a black background. I do not have black walls. LOL!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The End of August and My Matisse

It is hard to believe that yet another month has come and gone. Where does the time go? And even though the official start of fall is not for several more weeks, we are starting to see signs of it here and even the weather is cooler and less humid.

I have finished my piece from lesson 2 from my online class at QU. Lesson 2 is about the structure of an art piece. One of the examples used is a piece by Henri Matisse - “A Woman Sitting by the Window”. We were shown how to break down the art piece by the basic format or layout and then how to define the objects or subject in it. From there we went on to make our drawing and create our fabric piece.

Here is the Matisse piece we started with:

And this is my rendition:

My Matisse measures
8.5" x 11"

The hardest thing for me was finding fabrics to use. You would think that for someone with as much fabric as I have that that wouldn’t be a problem, but it was. LOL! This is fused to a piece of muslin. I don’t know if I will do anything more to it or not right now.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

August Journal Quilt Reveal--part 2

***Scroll down to read Part 1 first***

Continuing where blogger cut me off.......

I tried several arrangements, but none of them where exactly what I needed, so I did some cutting and pasting and manipulation and then I printed them onto cotton fabric using my new Epson printer and Durabrite inks.

Lesson 1 focused on shapes and had us first create a drawing of a still life which we then converted into fabric. Before cutting out the individual flowers I fused them to wonder under. The vase pieces used Steam a Seam 2 which is okay but you don’t always get the crisp edges with it like you do with the wonder under.

After arranging everything I then fused it down to the background. The top half is of course the fabric I painted and the bottom is a piece of commercial fabric. Queen Anne’s Lace doesn’t have much in the way of leaves so I chose not to depict them. I used a fabric marker to create the stems.

It is hard to tell from the picture but I quilted around the flower on the table and also quilted slanted lines on the table top. I did a satin stitch on the edge of the vase. The flowers are only fused down. I thought about stitching them with monofilament thread, but because they are such a lacey flower I was afraid that would ruin the effect. I can’t decide whether or not to echo quilt around them like the one on the table.

I forgot to mention that the quilt itself has seven layers (counting the three layers of wonder under used to fuse everything together. There is a layer of very thin cotton batting and a piece of Pellon pelmet #70 in there for stiffness. For some reason I had more trouble with making the binding than I should have. I think it was because the painted fabric is stiffer and it made it harder to work with. I also got in a hurry and put the top and bottom binding pieces on first instead of last.

Can someone tell me if there is a better/nicer looking way to do the corners when doing 4-piece binding? I have no problem doing mitered corners on quilts, but on these smaller pieces, especially this one because of the thickness of everything I had a horrible time making them look half way decent.

August Journal Quilt Reveal--part 1

I have completed my August journal quilt. (*note – again this is not associated with the Houston journals). This time I am killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. You may remember that I mentioned in my last post that I was getting ready to start an online class at QU. Well it just so happened that Lesson 1 pretty much was consistent with the way I did my July journal piece, so not only did I complete the lesson, but I created my August journal quilt as well. For those of you who don’t know, I have mostly been doing nature as the theme for these. For August I chose Queen Anne’s Lace as the subject.

DH was kind enough to go out into our neighbors’ field and cut some of these flowers for me. I arranged them in a jar and took a few photos, but these flowers tend to wilt fairly fast even in water and some of them where getting pretty droopy by the time I finished as you can see in the photo.

I then decided to do something Allison Aller does a lot of the time and that is I cut the flower heads off and placed them on the scanner bed, covered them with the blue fabric I painted that day I spent with Karoda and scanned them into the computer.

Blogger isn't letting me post any more photos, so I am going to try to put the rest in another post.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Blog Anniversary

It’s hard to believe but it was a year ago tomorrow that I decided to take the plunge and start my own blog. I was really apprehensive about doing it. I sort of thought that I would need to post everyday or two at least, which is sort of intimidating to someone like me who isn’t exactly a “Chatty Cathy” type person.

I am happy that I went through with it. I soon found my own “style” of blogging. The internet has made it possible for me to “meet” some wonderful people and make some cybernet friends. And as you all know, it has provided a way for us to show our work and share our thoughts.

I’ve been playing around with a few things off and on the past few weeks. There’s nothing worth sharing, at least not at this point anyway. I am getting ready to start a class online at Quilt University…Art for Quilters by Marilyn Belford. It runs for 4 weeks. Since I don’t have any formal background in art, I thought this class might be interesting for me to take.

Not to leave you empty handed, so to speak, I thought I would share this quilt with you.

I made it in 2003 and is titled “Looking the Bull Square in the Eye”.

click to enlarge

It measures 34 1/4 inches square. The quilting doesn’t show up in the first picture, but you can see it in the second one.

click to enlarge

Monday, July 31, 2006

July Comes to a Close

It’s been really hot and humid the past few days so I’ve been inside playing around some with both hand and machine work. I’m just trying out some ideas on one piece and the other is actually from a commercial embroidery design that I bought at a bargain price. I don’t have any digitizing software for my embroidery machine, but I do have editing software so I can resize, change colors, etc. till I get the design the way I want it. I’m not quite done with either piece so I don’t have any pictures yet.

It’s hard to believe this the last day of July already. The time just keeps flying by and I don’t know where most of it has gone. I remembered that I was going to show this a while back, but Blogger wasn’t co-operating, so I am giving it another try now.

The subject was of July and a patriotic theme, so I thought I would show this small shoulder bag I made about 3 or 4 years ago.

I had these fabrics just lying around and decided to make this:

It is all 100% cotton. I fussy cut the eagle from the fabric I used inside the purse and sewed it to the flap.

Here’s the inside:

The “button” is made from red wire that I coiled to the size I needed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

July Journal Quilt Reveal

* just a reminder to anyone who doesn't know, these journal quilts are not going to the Houston show this fall.*

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of July? Why the Fourth, of course, and fireworks and days hotter than a firecracker. At least that is what I think of. And in keeping with the nature/garden theme, I have chosen the “Firecracker or Patriotic plant” (the annual not the perennial) for my subject for my July journal quilt.

I thought I had some pictures from a couple of years ago when I had these in pots on my deck, but I couldn’t find any. In case you are not familiar with this plant I found these photos online. This is a picture of the perennial which really is different from the annual, but you can get the idea of what it looks like. Red tubular firecracker-like flowers cover these plants.

After choosing fabric for the background and the pot I chose three different green fabrics to cut the leaves from. I first applied fusible web to the fabrics and then cut the leaves and arranged them sort of snippets style. Fusible web was applied to two different red fabrics and then I cut several half inch strips from these, which I then cut into a million tiny little pieces. I then placed these one by one until I was satisfied with the look.

Now I know how Melody Johnson must have felt when she did her Matchstick Moon pieces. LOL! When everything was to my liking I fused it all down. I just did outline quilting on it and called it done.

This photo doesn’t really do justice to the green fabrics but here it is for what it's worth.

I was going to post some other pics, but blogger isn't co-operating AGAIN.

I am beginning to get really fed up with this blog.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

More Playday Results

With this piece I first got it wet, and then I scrunched it up and brushed on 2 different colors of blue and then placed it in a baggy and let it sit for about 24 hours before taking it out and laying it out to dry.

This is a piece of commercial fabric that looks like a hand dye (but isn’t). I really was just playing around with this one. I used a sponge to stamp it with gold paint and then I used a small foam stamp to get the lavender image. I am thinking of using the same stamp to go back and emboss the design and some embellishing then cut them apart and use them in another piece.

These are pieces of painted cheesecloth:

And this is the rag I was using to clean up with:

Looks interesting, don’t you think?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Roofing, Sewing and Results from Playday

DH was off this past week and so I haven’t really been able to do a whole lot. We spent 3 days putting a new roof on our shed (the one the humongous tree fell on back some time ago). Plus a lot of yard work.

I did manage to sew on 3 quilt labels the past couple of nights.

Since my day out with Karoda last week I have been contemplating on what my next endeavor into the wonderful world of “creating” will be. I went to the fabric shop and bought 2 yards of fabric for the backing for another one of my UFO’s but I know it will be awhile before I get back to working on it. I also bought Ricky Tims’ Convergence Quilts book. When I first became aware of his work, I was not all that interested in it for some reason. But now I have decided that I want to give it a try. I spent 4 hours picking out fabric. I won’t be able to start on it just yet, but hopefully within the next few weeks I will have something to show.

I also went to Hobby Lobby the other day and came home with several things including a couple of magazines with some nice eye candy in them.

Speaking of Karoda I finally took some pictures of some of the pieces I made that day.

These 2 pieces I created by spraying them first with water and then sprayed with fabric paints.

Blogger isn't co-operating and won't let me post any more pictures, so I will try again later to finish posting.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Playday and Hoops

I had an artist playday with our very own Karoda yesterday. And believe me when I say I was playing that is what I did. While Karoda was busy dying 30 yards of fabric (yes, you read that right), I was just playing around. She had rented studio space for an entire week at the Mary Anderson Center and was kind enough to invite me to come up for awhile.

I don’t have any dyes so I gathered up some supplies and just spent some time playing around with a few small pieces of fabric. I found out that white felt doesn’t take paint very well. I had 3 small pieces that I painted using Jaquards Dye-na-Flow paints. When they eventually dried there wasn’t much color to them even though they looked good while they were wet. I painted 2 pieces of PFD fabric using spray fabric paints. They too looked better wet than dry, but with these I can go back and add more to them. I also did a little bit of stamping on a piece of commercial fabric. Didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped but I should be able to salvage it also. And I took a couple of pieces of cheesecloth to soak up the excess paint left over. (sorry no pictures, I didn’t take my camera).

Since I don’t get to do this kind of thing very often I especially enjoyed just talking and being with her.

Now on to other subjects. Does anyone know where I can find an 8” or 10” square wooden machine embroidery hoop in the U.S.? I found a source in the U.K. but was hoping to find one here. I did a search online, but the UK site was all that came up. I have several of the good round hoops, but would like to have a square one also.

Here’s a pic:

Friday, June 16, 2006

More on the Jungle Quilt

I just thought I would see if blogger is uploading any pictures. I wanted to show the fabric I used on the back of my Jungle piece from the last post. I just thought this fabric fit the bill for the backing.

And this is the vine that I free-motion quilted in the border. It's nothing fancy but it was all that I wanted.

I have the label printed, but I still need to get it and the hanging sleeve sewn on.