My Favorite Books

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday with Susan! (and Harvey!)

Sunday with Susan! Hmmmmm sounds like a title for a TV sitcom! Although, I'm sure Susan thinks I am a sitcom! Anyway, this is Susan and Harvey (picture is from a St. Pat's Day party we went to in Florida. I didn't get any pics of us yesterday - I did the same thing when Tony and Carol were here last month! I forgot to take pics!).
This was Susan inspiration for her current work in progress. This is a Tiffany stain glass piece Susan thought would be a great quilt. So Susan made (she doesn't use store bought patterns and designs all her own) her own pattern and developed her own reverse applique method to do the piece. It's almost like a reverse, reverse applique!
And (with Susan's permission) here is her current piece of hand work! It's stunning!!!
Here's a closeup of the work. She has all of the pieces cut and sewn onto her background/muslin. Then her black piece was laid entirely on top! I know...complicated, right! But worth all the effort she put into this. I love her technique and hoping she'll work with me when we get to Florida. I just need to design a pattern of something very special I'd like to work on.

If you click on the picture, you'll see the border tracing which is very elegant as well.

And of course this is my other favorite piece, Susan did last winter. Each square is 1" half triangles and there are 256 blocks - ALL different! No two alike. Can you image again the planning she put into this!! I love this piece because of the color? the pattern? the effort? Can't decide but I do love it. I hope she gets to enter it into some more shows.

Here are some additional closeups...check out how perfect her piecing is.

We did have a very nice afternoon. I had Susan popping up and down from her chair so much I'm sure she felt like she spent the afternoon at the gym! Just had to show her so much!! And I did give her a quick computer picture peak at our upcoming MQAI exhibit which is opening on Sept. 11th. They'll be gone by then and won't be able to see the show.
I did finish my Mucha piece and I'll post pics tomorrow as well as pics of Kayla's 'dorm' room!! She's quite busy with lots of homework and of course spending lots of money! But that's college life isn't it! She does sound like she's having fun along with all the hard work so that's good!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Art Nouveau/Mucha

I've been working on trying to finish up two smaller quilts (17"x20") for our upcoming Inspired by the Masters exhibit. We're actually hanging the exhibit on Monday at the Fenton Library (Sept/Oct) then they'll be on to the Auburn Hills Library for Nov/Dec. refresh..this is small piece I did in 2007....hand dyed fabric that I laid a piece of tyvek fabric (not the envelope kind - this tyvek has a right and wrong side and is softer) that I had painted a design on. I laid the design on top of a sandwiched piece and then quilted the bugger. Then I laid my silicone sheet on top and used my iron to heat/melt away areas.

One of our Master Artists is Alphonse Mucha who did a lot of art nouveau work. So I enlarged my design above and painted again on tyvek fabric; placed it on a commercial background and I'll now free motion quilt the entire piece. Once all the quilting is finished I'll use the iron again to burn away sections. Don't really worry about what I burn away or what remains. I think the contrast will work out for what shows underneath. I hope!
So Mucha did a lot of women in art nouveau fashion so I thought I'd do a woman. This is a dover design for art nouveau that I painted on the tyvek fabric.

For this piece, I free motion quilted the background first, then I cut out the lady (leaving just the slightest edge to the paper) and now I'm stitching her down. If you click on the picture, you'll see my threads hanging that I haven't tied off yet. I won't most likely use the iron on her but I will use my soldering iron instead. I'll have more control as I want to burn away the edges of the entire piece and inside areas to show some of the background fabric.
For those who read my blog, please forgive me for some redundancy in my techniques and postings...I maintain my blog for several reasons, first, to save me hand writing in my journal daily which I did for years (because I'd rather quilt then write - too lazy!).
Second, for my friends and family to catch up on what all I'm doing, again saving me typing the same note to send out.
Third, to inspire any one who just happened to read my blog who doesn't even know me and fourth, so I can go back and see how I did something 6 months ago! I've already used my blog to look up some of the techniques I posted! Short memory, I know but thank heaven I have my blog! Now to just make sure I always have a computer! Wonder if they'll let me have one in the nursing home! Oh, guess it doesn't mind will go and I'll forget what it was I wanted to look up anyway!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pottery Wed.

Rainy day yesterday, so kids and I went to the pottery store on Wed. to do some painting. What fun! They did really well although deciding which piece to paint was more of a task then painting. I think they turned out really cute. They can't pick up the pieces until next Wed. so Darrin will pick up for me. He and Kris have the week off.

Here's Ginny working hard on her 'summer 09' piece. She did a flip flop that's also a jewelery box. Ginny did a really nice job on it! This was also her last day as the 'nanny'! Kids will miss her and so will I. I've really enjoyed my time this year with Ginny and last year with her sister, Katie. They are really nice girls and I'm glad I got the time to get to know them both better.

Nick was hard at work painting his dragon bank! He used about four different colors! He also painted some free pieces they had.
Amber picked out the cutest pig bank! It's three in one and just adorable. Her mom is going to repaint her room so Amber picked out colors to match. She does have a hard time making choices but once she does she knows what she wants!

Here's her finished painted bank! I can't wait to see this fired! The colors will be perfect. Isn't it adorable! Grandma did the eyes!

Here's Nick's dragon bank all painted! Colorful!

And Ginny's flip flop! Ginny is really talented when it comes to painting and drawing. I sure hope she continues to do some journaling. We talked about that at lunch. She has a talent but we just need to bring it out. She wrote inside the lid and on the back of her piece. Quite nice!

Ginny's writing on the inside....
You are beautiful, Ginny! Inside and out!!! Stay that way!!
So today I'm planning my menu for having Susan and Harvey over for brunch on Sunday! I'm really looking forward to time to talk and not be in a restaurant where it's hard to listen to each other. I love cooking so this gives me an excuse to maybe try some new recipes?? Bob hates when I do that! Our fiber meeting is tonight as well so busy day. Plus, I'm working on my Mucha pieces for our Inspired by the Masters exhibit. We're hanging them at the Fenton library on Monday. I might not have them done for this show but we'll just have to see!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shibori, School and Surgery!

Yipee! After my so, so results with my shibori I thought I'd keep trying! I do have some nice shibori pieces I've done in the past but just using rubber bands and tieing more so than stitching, so this has been a self imposed challenged.

Here I traced out some designs to stitch up. Leaf shapes from the web site Callishibori and just some circle shapes that I'm going to stitch vs using rubber bands.

Here she is all tied up. This was a hand dyed piece that was quite pale but I thought could be used somewhere. You never have enough light, pieces. Now I won't have any again!

Tada! It's actually more blue then black looking as the photo shows. I love this piece! Now I'm going to stitch up another one!
Now on to 'school'...Our fledgling, Kayla, started her first day at Ball State University yesterday. I had an email from her that she's going to be quite busy but she "loves" it! So glad for her. Just want her to be safe and enjoy this time in her life.
And lastly 'surgery'...Amber and Nick have lots of stuffed animals and from time to time grandma has to do 'surgery' on them. They get nicks and scrapes just like the kids do! So both of their stuffed animals had surgery this weekend. They'll be going home on Wed. with their band aids in place! Nick always likes to rip off the band aid!

Oh, Darrin sent me an email that about a frog Nick caught and how it "coughed up a worm". Guess it wasn't a worm and he didn't cough...they're thinking Nick squeezed him too tight! Yuk!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Discouraged but not disappointed with shibori

I've been stitching away the past two nights working away on some shibori pieces. I'm trying to use up some of my old hand dyed pieces that aren't very exciting and trying to give them new life.

So this was a piece that I had done some shibori 'folding' on that was an ok, piece...I traced my Callishibori leaf templates .
Did my stitching...
Then I overdyed...problem being...I didn't have any dark blue (which I wanted) so I ended up using the little black Procion dye I had and I added some Lapis. The piece is really dark and not much contrast.
Same with this piece...not much contrast so I'll really have to jazz it up with some contrasting threads and/or beading/stitching. Who knows! I did four pieces but the other two you can barely see the stitching.
Because I was a little disappointed with my results, I stitched some more on a piece of hand dyed orange (bright orange!). This piece at least had some contrast with it. I overdyed using Fire Red.
The camera shows this as a bright red but really it's quite dark and turned out nice. Hard to see this little guy but I think he looks like a bug! hmmmmmmmm Maybe my Art of Nature journal piece for Sept.! Some beading and he just might come alive!

I really like the patterns I got from and now I think I'll do some stitching on white fabric (duh!) or some very pale hand dyed and order some Indigo or dark blue dyes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Growth through inspiration or are we inspired to grow!

I had a great day on Friday sharing my art work with the ladies at the Genesee Star Quilters. I was the 'program' and did my trunk show ‘Growing through Inspiration’. My friend, Carolyn, is and has been the guilds program director and she does a great job! Carolyn is probably more organized them I am and we do enjoy working with each other or just chatting. She's a great lady and I'm so lucky to have her included in my circle of friends.

Check out our 'matching' outfits! We didn't plan this but I think we make great bookends!

And check out the nice gift Carolyn gave me! Yum!! I love the size of that coffee cup!! Perfect for this 8 cup a day lady!! What Carolyn doesn't realize is I'm saving the bag, ribbon and cellophane to use in my art work! Waste not, want not!

And, my BFF from Ortonville, Karen played Vanna White for me! Karen is another friend I'm blessed to have in my life! She's a sweetheart and VERY talented art quilter. I don't think she realized how much I talk (how could she not!) and how long my program would be with her holding up my pieces of art! But she did it! THANKS, Karen! You are the best!
It was so interesting in talking to the ladies in the morning how many times the word ‘inspiration’ came up. I don’t think we even realize how much we are inspired by our surroundings, family or friends. Yes, we go to church on Sunday (or whenever!) and get our spiritual inspiration for that week or day but do we even recognize where our inspiration comes from? I think at times we either take for granted whether we are growing in our ‘jobs’ or whether we are becoming better moms, dads, husbands, wives, mentors, etc. You have to grow to become ‘better’ at something. I can see in my art work the growth I’ve had over the years but am I becoming a better person and growing in that regards! I’d like to think I am…that I’m not as selfish as I was in my 20’s or even 30’s but who knows!

I just happened to be reading Alisa Burke’s blog for Friday and she was even talking about her creative inspiration!! She gets inspired to get back in the studio when she’s not been in it for awhile! This equates to her ‘creative inspiration’. How true that is. My inspiration is certainly my friends....they can inspire me to be better at my art but they also inspire me to be a better person. I hope I inspired just one person yesterday and can inspire someone tomorrow or the next day. It's so great to 'pay it forward'!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just Another Wednesday! Fun!

This picture of Mandy doesn't have anything to do with 'just another Wed.'. I just thought she looked so cute..hanging out! This is her resting place when Bob and I are on the computer. She can watch us inside and watch outside...her choice! Long story for another post..we bought a new camera so Bob is taking more pics around the house. The camera is always in my purse so he doesn't get to take pictures very often!
Auntie Dawn took Amber for her 'birthday present' girls day last Sat. and one of the treats Amber had was a manicure. Check out these nails! They really did look cute and Amber enjoyed her day with Auntie so much...So back to Wed., I took Amber, Nick and Ginny to the $1 movies! The last day is today so we got in at this great rate just in time! We saw the Spiderwick Chronicles (kids did see it already but told me it was their all time favorite! hmmmm don't they think that of all their movies!). Anyway, the movie was really good! We got out of the show around 12:30 and headed off for subs at Quizno's..they had a $1 special too..what's up with all the $1 specials! I love them!
We took our subs to the park in Lake Orion to eat and watch the ducks (no, we didn't feed them..ok, we didn't feed them much!!) and when we got there, the Farmer's Market was starting at 2:00! We got some corn, tomatoes, green beans, Mellon and some pie! Cherry/Rhubarb! It was just a small 4" pie but was pretty darn good.

The day was beautiful and there have to be 50 or more ducks at this park. Kids love them but then the ducks love us too. This little guy was swimming up stream to the kids. He thought they had food!
Kids loved watching the ducks swim but! I think they wanted to go in the water too. Nick sure tried!

Talk about a mixture of ducks this place sure has it. There were only 3 babies that we saw. I'm sure there were more but it's not like we didn't have any other ducks to look at!

So now on to Shibori! I love the Callishiboi web site and drool quite often at her work and products. I had ordered some of her templates and so I started playing with doing some hand work (no hand work projects left to do! Everything is on the machine or being painted.)
Here are some of the areas that were waiting to be stitched. This is a hand dyed fabric I've had that isn't that great for a shibori pattern. It's ok but just kinda dull and not exciting. I dyed this on muslin which I don't do very often so the fabric doesn't have a nice sheen as the cotton sateen I normally use. You can barely see the lines for tracing but they're there!

This one looks a little brighter. I cut four fat quarters to do hand stitching on.

Here's one of the pieces with stitching completed. Next you have to pull all the threads tight, tight, tight!

And here they are...tight, tight, tight! I used quilting thread to do my shibori stitching with. Guess I should check and see what other folks use.
I would think polyester thread would work as it's quite strong too. When I get all four pieces stitched then I'll overdye them in either black or a very dark, indigo type, blue! Hopefully, I have my stitches tight enough so my greens and blues will show the pattern of the leaves.
So Tigers played this afternoon (which I forgot to turn on and listen to!) and they won! So nothing on the boob tube tonight so I'll either read or stitch some more. I did most of my work on the computer today and finished up the MQAI write ups for Mary. Busy weekend starting tomorrow and through next week. As long as I have time to sew, I'll be a happy camper!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Inspired by the Master - Hokusai

The Aussome 6 fiber group I belong to has the Inspired by the Masters challenge going on. So far the Master's are: Klimt, Beardsley, Hokusai, Mucha, Hundertwasser and Frankenthaler. I've written about the Klimt, Beardlsey and Hundertwasser pieces I've finished. I didn't think I would get any more pieces finished but luckily I've had time to play!

Back in May of 2007 I made this small piece by painting a design on a piece of tyvek fabric which I think still sells. Tyvek fabric is a little different from the tyvek envelopes we usually use. It's a little softer and takes the paints easily. So after painting my design I laid it on top of a hand dyed piece of 'ugly' fabric and stitched around each area of my drawing. Then I took the iron and burned away areas. So I got thinking about doing a Mucha art nouveau design using this technique....but then I changed my mind because a few of the women in our group were doing Hokusai so I thought I should make a piece inspired by him. We're actually going to have a few exhibits of these pieces of work starting in Sept.

This is a painting by Hokusai called Tsunami. It's a familiar piece to a lot of folks. Anyway, I thought why not use the same technique of painting/burning tyvek to make the wave!
I found this background piece and you can see where I was 'drawing' a wave on it!
I quilted the entire piece first and then.....

I painted a huge wave on my tyvek fabric......and then.....
I cut out the wave shape and was positioning it on my background....and then.....
I wanted white under areas where I burned the tyvek so I laid an old piece of white that I had shibori dyed (not very well!) and cut it to the shape of the wave....and then....

I stitched down the wave and started to burn it with the iron! You can see the white showing through.

And here's my finished 'inspired by Hokusai'. I do have to put the facing on yet and a sleeve but I'm actually happy with the way it turned out. Hopefully, it will look like a wave to others!

I've already starting painting an Art Nouveau piece for an Inspired by Mucha but that will have to wait until the weekend to finish and get stitching done. Busy rest of the week. I'm taking kids to the dollar movies tomorrow. They have 6 or 8 movies that start at 10:30 and for a buck you can get in. Can't beat that deal and kids always enjoy going to the movies. Something Bob and I just don't do!