Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Painting Fabric

Yesterday was hot and dry, but not as humid as the weekend. Perfect weather for fabric painting!

I gathered up my stuff and spent the afternoon on the screen porch, where I paint on a glass table that wipes up easily. All of these pieces were painted with Setacolor transparent paints. Some of them are sun-printed. Just apply paint, place some leaves, flowers, pasta or whatever on top, and let them dry flat in the sun.

I used those one inch sponge daubers for most of the paint application. I pick them up when they are on sale at Michael's at twelve for a dollar. This one is printed with seashells and pasta.

Leaves from thyme. It smells nice!

Marigold leaves, ageratum blossoms, daylily stamens

The scarlet pieces are not sun-printed. These mostly resulted because I can't stand to leave paint on the palette, so I keep extra muslin on hand to use it up. I actually wiped the paint palette with the mult-colored piece.

I also transformed a piece of ugly hand-dyed fabric with Shiva paint sticks. That one is still curing.

While I was painting, the mail arrived with a timely DVD: Painting Fabric for Wholecoth Quilts with Judy Coates Perez. It was on sale from Interweave Press.

I stopped my slap-dash paint slopping to watch a true artist achieve lovely results with fabric paint. You get a template with the outline of the painting with the DVD. I could not get it to download from the Internet, but Interweave very helpfully e-mailed the template to me this morning.

I also received a lovely gift in the mail. You may remember the group comfort quilt that I made with other members of my Pamela Allen art quilt online class. There were twelve blocks, and the recipient made us each a 2010 photo calendar with the blocks from her quilt. It's in Norwegian, but she sent a little translation dictionary. I am thrilled with it! Here is Sherryl Buchler's block.

And here is Pamela Allen's.

What a lovely thank-you gift! In case you are wondering about the eighth column: no, Norway does not have eight days a week like the early Beatles suggested. The last column tells you what week of the year it is. I have never seen that feature on a calendar. Now, I will just have to get used to the week starting on Monday next year! The two weekend dates are in red, so that will help me get my mind around the change.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend at Home

We were tempted to go to our mountain place this past weekend, especially with temperatures here in the nineties. But Charlie had to work all day Friday, and we are going up for the long Fourth of July weekend. So, we had a very pleasant weekend at home. We went to see the new Star Trek movie on Friday- very enjoyable although those time-space continuum movies always confuse me. At one point, young Spock was actually in the same place and having a conversation with his older self (Leonard Nimoy looking ancient.) My husband was a huge fan of the original Star Trek TV series, and we have seen every episode many times.

I got some more quilt piecing done, with two tops put together and another cut out. These are all children's quilts with simple squares or Yellow Brick Road blocks.

We dedicated most of our evenings to porch sitting. That activity was rewarded last night with a spectacular sunset. Here are some pictures from our front porch, which sits way back from the street.

A glass of Grand Marnier reflects the colors of the sky.

Our house is bright white, but the setting sun gave it a pink glow.

It was a good weekend. I hope yours was, too!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Photo Memory Book

Somehow I got a Shutterfly account this year. I believe it was when I bought some scrapbooking items at Archivers' in Raleigh. So far, it has brought quite a few benefits, including about 40 free photos to put in my husband's scrapbook. This week, they offered a free 20-page, hard-cover photo book just for the price of shipping and tax. I'm sure they hoped I would order several extra copies for $40.00 a pop.

It took awhile to put the book together online, but it turned out very nice. And was much quicker than creating scrapbook pages! I surprised my husband with it when he got home last night.

I recommend signing up with Shutterfly!

Friday, June 26, 2009

More Yellow Brick Road...and a little watercolor

I made some more Yellow Brick Road quilt blocks yesterday in preparation for my bee's Sew-In day on July 9. We are going to meet at our LQS, Quilts Like Crazy, here in Wake Forest. Donna got hold of a large box of donated fabric from the guild, which we divided up at our last meeting. I chose the black fabric with polka dots and bows, as well as the white background fabric with little posies. Going through my stash, I was surprised to see how many polka dot fabrics I had!

When I was at the bookstore the other day, I browsed the sale racks and picked up a beginner's kit for watercolor painting. It seemed like a good deal with instruction book, paintbrushes, palette, watercolor paper, tubes of paint, watercolor paper, etc.
I made some color tint charts yesterday to get going.

I have been carrying a little journal of watercolor pages around with me. Granddaughter Lily has enjoyed "coloring" in it with my watercolor pencils a few times at restaurants. I have later gone back and added in some color to make a little something out of her scribbles. These are fun little color pages.

Between learning PhotoShop, working with my Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book, and working on watercolors, I am devoting a lot of time to learning new skills! Not to mention I decided I better start earning some credits to renew my teaching license. I will begin an Internet class sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History on July 1. This one is on North Carolina geography.
I was walking Maggy down the street yesterday when I noticed we were not the only ones out for a walk.
Their pond is just to the left of the signpost and they made a beeline for it when Jaws of Death got a little closer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Garden Fun with Photoshop

I gave up on figuring out Photoshop by myself, and went to Barnes and Noble for some help. I found a relatively inexpensive tutorial called Photoshop Elements 7 in Easy Steps, by Nick Vandome. Relatively, because some of the books were more than forty dollars! So I have been exploring a little, using some photographs I took from my home garden yesterday.

I am really going to have fun with this program!

After being away for a week, it was interesting to see how the summer flowers had blossomed in my absence. Daylilies, bachelor buttons, the first sunflower, monarda, even the butterfly bushes.

My old doggy, Maggy, spent the week at the kennel where she has been "going to camp" since she was eight weeks old. Although she has often been aggressive with other dogs in her own territory, she has always been surprisingly meek and submissive at the kennel and also at the vet. Now she is apparently a revered old lady. The kennel offers specialty "suites" for an extra fee, meaning large air-conditioned rooms with decoration themes like The Masters and Nascar. I always kind of scoffed at this- how could a dog have a preference for golf-themed wallpaper? Anyway, when I picked her up, I found out that they had given Maggy a suite at no extra charge because they were very crowded and thought she would enjoy the quiet and the extra space. And, she came out acting like a puppy, and she looked shiny as a new penny after her bath. And smelled good!
Here she is, un-PhotoShopped, with her old gray muzzle and her tongue hanging out.

Maggy will be a thirteen-year old senior citizen in August.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Works-in-Progress: Yellow Brick Road blocks

I have actually been piecing some "normal" quilt blocks this week! I have done very little bed-type quiltmaking lately. In fact, looking back at my blog, I made a quilt top in April for new grand-nephew Christopher, which is still not quilted. Other than that, the last quilt was part of the nursery for great-niece Ragen back in January. And now, a new great-niece is expected any day...little Lacy! Anyway, I got out one of my favorite patterns, Yellow Brick Road, and started pulling fabrics for some small quilts.

Here are some of the first ones. I still have some Flower Market fabric from at least twelve years ago, some coordinated fat quarters of cats, checks, polka dots and stripes, and some beautiful hummingbird fabric I decided to finally cut up.

Yellow Brick Road produces three different blocks, all made from either 61/2" strips or 31/2" strips cut from fat quarters. The best thing is that you can twist and turn the blocks so that you don't have to match any seams except for the block seams.

Block 1

Block 2

Block 3
After I made these, I had a lot of strips left over, so I pulled some more fabric and made another set. The yellow fabric is a gardening theme, with tools like shovels and trowels. This one may become a Wheelchair quilt. The Capital Quilters Guild provides lap quilts for Senior Citizens in rest homes, and one of my groups (CyberBee) is coordinating that project this year.

I have made quite a few Yellow Brick Road quilts, and they all look different when finished. Here are a few of them.

Hunting Season: browns, greens, deer fabric

Hunting Season 2: browns, golds, greens, wildlife and mountain foliage

Summer Treasures: much like the one on the pattern, with addition of green fabrics. I used hummingbird and dragonfly prints

Cat Napping: lavenders, blues, yellows, with cat fabrics

Carolina Lily: reds, greens, pinks, with orphan blocks and a center medallion

I really like this pattern!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Framed Collages...and an Artful Dress

Back in May, I purchased two collages from the Collage Mania sponsored by Fiber Art For a Cause. Today I got them back from the framers. Wow, wow, wow!

Rayons de Soleil de Printemps (Spring Rays of Sunshine) by Roxanne Stoner

This one has a frame that resembles bamboo, but has a metallic gleam. What really sets off this piece is the deep green matte. I have never framed one of my quilts or pieces of fiber art before. The framer stitched the collage on top of the matte, and it is all protected in glass. She admitted to pricking her finger on one of the porcupine quills in the cape.

The next is Fluttering, by Annette Rogers. The gleam on this frame brings out the gleam of the materials in the leaves. However, I did not notice until I got home that they installed the wire hanger for horizontal display rather than vertical. I will look at it this way awhile and see if I want to change it.

Now for the Artful Dress. Some may call it an Awful Dress. Some may call it sculpture. The creator calls it Moist Mother Earth. Since I have an Etsy shop, I subscribe to their newsfeeds. This dress in The Faerie Market shop was featured and it is amazing! I have not used the picture due to copyright issues, but you need to check it out. Then check out some of her other hats and scarves! Not to mention her other sculptured dress, Perelandra. I wonder what Project Runway would think of this designer!

By the way, I checked out my Etsy store, and all my items were missing. What???

It seems that they let your listings expire without warning. I was able to retrieve them, so I did not have to start all over on the lengthy listing process.

Listings expire in four months, FYI.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Toy

Today is my birthday...my last year to be a fifty-something! Charlie gave me my present this morning, the Photoshop Elements software. I have been fooling around with it all morning. It is not too user-friendly so far. The picture above is edited with a watercolor filter, which I think would make a lovely art quilt. Lots of possibilities! The software also includes movie-making feature in Premier Elements. I have been doing pretty well with Windows Movie Maker, but maybe I will experiment with this one.
I have been waiting around all morning for the air-conditioner repairman, who just finished. So I will probably head out and enjoy this beautiful day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blissful Week

We returned home yesterday after a week at Sunset Beach, North Carolina. The McBrayer and Turner families rented four cottages this year. In our cottage we had Charlie's brother Richard and his wife and son, our son Bryson and his two little ones, and our son Dave and his wife Emily. The best part about our cottage is Location, Location, Location. It faces Madd Inlet and has views of the salt marsh, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean. It also has a large covered deck which was the scene of many family gatherings. Lots of fun, great meals, swimming, sunning, and visiting. I got to meet my niece Rachel's new baby Christopher. What a handsome little guy!

The owners of our cottage keep a large collection of well-weathered straw hats on hooks in the living room, and we have always celebrated "Hat Night" on the first Saturday of our arrival. Here are my DIL Emily and me in our chapeaus.

Granddaughter Lily did not want to wear a hat, but everyone else joined in the silliness, including her brother Avery.

We went out to eat almost every night, although Charlie steamed shrimp one night and we went to visit my uncle in Southport on the last night for grilled burgers. My grandkids were very nicely behaved at all of our outings, and I loved having them with us on vacation.

Lily's birthday was the day we arrived, so we got to celebrate with her as she turned three.

They both absolutely loved the beach, and it was hard to get them to ever come out of the water. A couple times, they both took naps under the beach umbrella when we made them come out for a little rest.

At low tide, the inlet by the cottage mostly dries out, and the kids loved watching the crabs and birds.

There are herons, egrets, and even some deer that inhabit the marsh area. It is a lot prettier at high tide.

I gave my Dad his Father's Day presents while we were there: a Moleskine sketchbook and a DVD movie I made from photographs of his trip in April to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. I use Windows Movie Maker and set the photographs to music. On this one I used Ray Charles' America and several others, and this is a nice way for Dad to show off his digital pictures to his friends at the retirement community. We are so lucky that my dad is still healthy enough to travel and enjoy life at age 85. Happy Father's Day, Dad, if you are reading this! And to all you fathers out there, best wishes for a wonderful day!

We left yesterday, and of course had to wait for the one-lane swing drawbridge to open and close before exiting the island.
I didn't mind...it gave us more time to absorb the view of the waterway and memorize it until next year! They have made progress on the new high bridge, but it won't be ready for another couple years, I guess.

We LOVE Sunset Beach!