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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Blue Squirrel Progress

In between going to my grandson's Lacrosse game on Saturday, I've been hand stitching on Blue Squirrel's new home! rained the entire 2 1/2 hours I stood (no sitting!!!) watching Nick play 2 games!  But I did get to see him score a goal!  Woohoo!!

I decided I did like the pink embroidery thread for the leaf he is I started some embroidery.

I still have some areas to fill in with the pink feather stitch but I'm happy with the results so far.

Then I decided I wanted to add some French Knots in the grassy area.  Little did I remember it takes  A LOT of French Knots to fill in an area!  HA

So this will be my hand stitching for the next few days or weeks!  French Knots!!  I should be an expert when I finish this piece!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

It's Squirrel Time!

 I needed a break from the hex project...although, I'm now making new hex's!  Don't ask!  I'm not quite sure why myself!  HA  So it's back to giving Mr. Blue his new home! 

I started to play with some quilting designs on a scrap of background fabric for my blue squirrel!  One of my friends sun printed this small piece of fabric, which I think works perfect for Mr. Blue!

I liked some of the quilting design so decided to just jump into it and free motion quilt around  the sun printed leaves on the background fabric!

 And the finished quilting for the leaves...

 Then I decided to straight stitch some grass like texture on the bottom

I used a lighter lime green thread then went over it with a darker lime green..all 40 weight thread (Sulky).  Hard to see in this picture the two different color threads...guess that's good they are subtle!  HA

So far I'm happy with how it's working out.  Now I am playing with different embroidery threads to enhance the foliage Mr. Blue is holding! 

I kinda like the dark pink, which you can't see very well in the photo above!  But it might be too bright for some folks...but heck, this is for me so.....I honestly won't know until I start stitching...that's the next issue...deciding what stitch to use!  It's always decision time isn't it! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

More reduction printing

Well, I have been bitten by the 'lino' bug!  This is a long grab a cup of coffee if you are interested...if not, come back for another day/post!
This reduction printing is so much fun.  It does take concentration for sure but it's still fun!  I found a leaf tracing I made from the book 'Fall' by Christopher Griffith.  I love this book and have used his photos for inspiration and applique!

First step, I cheated and stamped on paper and fabric this background.  This was a stamp I carved several years ago.

I wasn't sure how to what to carve for the background so started with this printing in yellow.

Stamped fabric...or was it paper???  I don't remember but you get the idea!

I traced the outline of the leaf onto my stamp, which is 9" x 11", and proceeded to cut away the background (remove areas that you want to keep!  Confused yet!  I had already stamped my background, right?!  So I wanted to keep the design (above pic).

Once I cut away the background (only!) I stamped onto a piece of paper to make sure the leaf outline was as I wanted it to be.  From what the professionals say, this is an important step.   Just ensures you are happy with the areas you have carved away...and gives you an opportunity to cry if you've cut too much away!  HA

I used a lime green (lightest shade first) for my leaf print.  I was happy with the outline of the leaf and proceeded to print on fabric too.

Most folks who print for a living use a 'jig' to hold their stamp (unless they are using a press, which I don't have either!).  So I improvised and used the backside of a canvas.

Perhaps hard to see in this picture but I have the stamp on the left side, stamp side up, after I rolled paint on it.  You can barely see the leaf stamp under the paper.  This gives me a good work area to rub the paint onto my substrate.

 Next I laid the edge of my paper or fabric along the top edge of the stamp and carefully laid the substrate on top of the stamp.  Next, something else I didn't have is a 'baren' to rub on top of your paper to ensure the paint transfers.  So, time to improvise again and I used a round, wooden coaster!  Worked for me!  You can also use a spoon...or brayer.

Next, time to carve away!  Now I'm carving areas that I want to stay lime green!   You can see the open/white areas within the leaf, which I want to stay lime green.   See the process now!
I printed onto a piece of paper to make sure I carved away the areas I wanted to keep....and yes, I did cry because I cut away too much in some areas...but this is practice...heck, my first quilt had 1" binding on it and 5/8" seams!  It's all a learning process...I printed using this dark green on one piece of paper.

I used a bronze for a 2nd printing.

This was the print with the dark green paint on my practice piece.

Oops...a little blurry...this was printed on fabric using the bronze paint.

Now it's time for the final cut!!!  This time I wanted to remove ALL the inside areas but keep the stem and veins.  One suggestion was to use permanent marker to go over all the areas (stem and veins) that you want to keep.  That did help me to carve carefully next to these lines.

Again, my practice piece.  All the black areas you see are areas I didn't carve...

Finished printing...

I have to say I really do enjoy this technique and the process!  Sure makes you think....I don't have any large pieces of material to carve but I do have 2 smaller pieces (& I can use the backside of my leaf, which is now a nothing stamp but veins/stem!  HA).  So my next carving will be a small sea horse...why...I don't know..just happened to see this applique pattern I found!  So why not...should be easy to do and again, just to practice!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Talent is all around us!

Artwork by Kim Kwaz

We live in a small sub in Michigan and I have to say I don't know a lot of our neighbors...yes, we nod and say hello and I know all the dog owners...of course.  My  next door neighbor (they have 3 dogs!)  I consider more like family, so we  talk often and take care of each others homes and dogs!
One neighbor, Kim, across the street from us, I have talked with over the years and knew she was an artist, but  I've never seen her work in person.  I happened to talk with her this past weekend  while walking the girls and she mentioned she was having an exhibit in November.  She gave me one of her cards advertising the exhibit and WOW...I am very impressed!   This is a painting that is on her business card!

Kim's (Kwaz) work is amazing!  I just went to her web site and the only word I can think of is WOW!  Her portraits are fantastic!!  All of her work is good but I'm fascinated by her portraits.  My hubby also looked at her site and said "she is really good!" me...he doesn't give compliments out easily!  HA  We both couldn't decide which painting we liked best!

You have to go to her website to really appreciate all of the different media she works in!  Her web site is called Kim Kwaz Art.

And if you're in the Lapeer area November 23-December 2nd, stop by The Gallery at Beyer's Furniture to see Kim's exhibit.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!  I may grab one of my buds to make a trip to see her work....or maybe just walk across the street!  Guess we all should do never know what talent lurks behind closed doors in your neighborhood!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hex Designs

The reduction printing (see previous post) has helped clear my mind for working on my hex project!  I am still playing with reduction
printing...another post is on its way!  But until then...with my hex break, I've come up with a few ideas...HA  This was how I started this hex project....

And now here are some other designs I've come up with....I know it looks goofy but you have to have my imagination on where fabrics/hexes will go!  I am also looking at using black or very dark brown/black for the background...

So, here is one of the designs...Not good...not bad...OK, certainly not good!  Did I just say that!   I was looking at adding some curves in the piece...again, all fabric would be on black/dark brown/black background (say that 3 times really fast!).  The black you see under/over the circle hexes is colored marker in black! 

I  laid black strips around the piece to see if 'edging' or turning the black fabric over the colored material would look like.  Really hard to get a good perspective....but this is playtime, right!

Now I'm getting happier with playing...I added circles.....all the white you see would be black.  The 'curve' strips would be in black but hand stitching would be added using thick threads in bright colors to match the hexes and show the 'curves' and lines...just another idea!

and now I think I am getting closer!  I added some half hexes.....and a circle

But then I had this idea earlier this week!   The wood/brown areas are the background of my table showing through.  Those areas will be filled in with hexes.  Dark brown/black will still be the background and I'll be adding the hand stitching.  The funky cutouts are hexes that are half hex pieces and I may add some single hexes or I get to make lots more!!! 

I like the last two designs....see how complicated this is getting to be!  HA! OK, I am having fun in between the frustration of changing my mind...but it's not like I have a deadline for this piece!  So back to the drawing board!!! 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

I needed a diversion....

I have changed the design on my hex project about six I needed a break!  Really!!  I'm still making hex's...not sure why but I know I'll use them at some point!  I hope!  I'll be showing some of the ugly and not so ugly designs in a future post....until diversion....

I've always enjoyed making stamps...either carving or making them out of cardboard.  The other night I got watching some YouTube's on 'reduction linocut' work.  So you know that I just had to try this method for stamping!

First off,  I didn't want to carve a new stamp so I chose one of my carved stamps I made a few years ago.  I've used this stamp often to print onto fabric with good results. 

 For reduction printing, you really have to think through your design!  For the first step, you carve away all the areas that you want to remain white or your lightest color you are stamping with.  Because I was using the stamp, as is, to print first on paper, I didn't do any carving...I used a mix of red and yellow paint for the paper

First print on watercolor paper...

First print on a piece of muslin...color is faint...I just used yellow for the fabric.

You also have to make sure you have some way to have registration marks or a block to set your stamp in.  I laid my paper/fabric on top of the stamp.   My hubby glued my stamp onto a piece of Plexiglas so it was even on three sides.  I just placed the edge of my paper/fabric along with edge of the stamp for each step, making sure I had the right edges placed on the stamp!  So much thinking on this technique!

Next, I carved away areas that I wanted to remain yellow/orange....I honestly didn't think about this step too much...if I was starting from scratch carving a stamp, obviously there would be more care. I just carved away!    I used  Sienna and bronze paint on the stamp for this printing, for both paper and fabric.  .

This was the print onto the watercolor paper...

And the fabric print using the same ink on the roller as above!  You continue this carving and inking process until all the colored layers are printed with the colors you desire. 

This is a collage I did showing the stamp; first print and last print.  You really have to look closely to see how/where the paint covered or didn't cover!  Does that make sense.  

I've seen lots of the reduction prints that use black or very dark color for the last pull...but I didn't want to totally destroy my stamp by removing any guess I'll need to find a design (oh great!) and then put my thinking cap on!    This process does take a lot of thinking I said "oh great"..more thinking I'll have to do!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Hex Geometric Progress...

I'm still making hex's....using oranges, turquoise, blues, yellows.....these are all 5/8" hex's.

And I'm playing around with a new design for my hex pieces...still going to have the hex pieces in the circles...but the layout will be different.  I'm thinking of having smaller circles instead of all large ones...

I decided I'll just keep making hex's and take my pieces to Florida with me.  And then I'll ask my bud, Susan, to give me a crash course on how or if she thinks this project would work using her reverse applique method.  Maybe I can 'buy' her with a lunch...whatcha think, Susan!  Until then, I can play around with different designs. 


I've also been knitting in between working on my hex geometric project.  I finished another scarf which will be nice for spring or in Florida!  HA

I'm also in the process of making another shrug.   This was the finished shrug I made last year.  I wear this one  with a  black turtleneck, which looks good.  The one I am knitting now is a dark blue (see pic further down in this post), which should look good with a white turtle neck.


 I also bought two other colors in this same yarn, which I love.  So soft, washes up nicely too...The dark one is what I am knitting with now. 

The little yarn ball on the dark yarn is the yarn I used in the shrug above.  I do enjoy knitting at night while watching TV...too hard for me to sew hex's at night...I just can't seem to have enough light.  Sitting out on the deck is perfect but it is Michigan and fall is here...which means the deck furniture will be moved to the garage within the next few weeks so o more sewing outside during the afternoon...we've had rain this past week on and off along with sun shine...40's some mornings and mid 60's some days.  But we are suppose to have highs in the 70's and 80 degree days or day this coming week.  It is Michigan after all!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Happy Birthday, Nick!

Nick turned 15 on the September 26 but we didn't celebrate as a family until this past weekend.  Of course, Kris and Darrin outdid themselves 'again' with the food!  I only made a relish tray and strawberry pretzel salad (Kris' favorite).   Kris had lots of appetizers (for watching U of M football!),

  Darrin smoked ribs as well as chicken wings and Kris had Kale salad, mac and cheese, rolls, onion rings.  Kris' mom made sweet potato dish.

The ribs were delicious!!!!!  And I don't eat ribs but I do eat Darrin's!!!   Of course there is always cake!  It's from Costco and the best vanilla cake with a white chocolate filling...and the frosting is to die for!
 Nick's other grandma (Nancy) gave him his yearly underwear!  Family joke!  She always buys the kids underwear for their birthday!

Nancy also got Nick his own pocket knife!  It's really quite nice!

Nancy had Nick's initials printed on the knife.

My daughter, Nick's aunt, is taking Nick to see the Elton John concert this month.  So I found some Elton John glasses online and printed out a pic of Elton John and poked the glasses through the paper!

Next I printed out an advertisement for Elton's road tour and stuck some $$'s inside for him to buy a souvenir at the concert. 

Lastly, I saw on Pinterest (where else!) this 'french fry' idea!  I got a gift card from McDonald's and asked for an empty fry container. 

The manager was really nice and gave me a small fry container as well as a large one and bag!  I put the gift card in the small container and folded one dollar bills to look like french fries!

Nick is never sure what kind of gifts he's getting from me...last Christmas I gave him one dollar bills in a pizza box (I did the same for Ian!  ha).  Inside the box I wrote:  "You can't live on pizza alone, so here is some dough".

I think Nick enjoyed his 'fries'!  And I know he'll buy something at the concert!

It was a nice time with family but I only took pictures of the food and Nick opening his gifts.  I need to make sure I include family for now on!  HA