Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blue Sky, White Snow, and lots of Color

It continued to snow on into the night yesterday, and we woke to a beautiful sunny day with mounds of sparkling crystalline snow. That is the view from my front door, which is as far as I have ventured out so far. It is so gorgeous that I think we will have to go out and take pictures today.

Here is some lace, rickrack, and paper that I painted with Setacolor paints. I did three colors, and put all the items to be painted on watercolor paper. Then I just did a wash over the watercolor paper.

This is the page in my mixed-media journal featuring the altered lace.

I found yet another old watercolor pad with a painting inside. I don't recall doing this, but must have been into painting things around the house like this candle and floral ring. I arranged some of the laces and some artificial flowers around it. Hmm, this rather boring old painting might have a new future as collage...

I also worked on my Pamela Allen class yesterday. The bold, bright colors of the Matisse really appealed to me during the snowstorm, so I based my work on that painting.

Here is a rough study in fabric. We were to spend no more than thirty minutes on this, but were to try to find fabrics in colors similar to the original. I was delighted to find this red-orange oriental fabric with curvy motifs similar to the scroll work in the original.

Then I used the same fabrics to do a very abstract arrangement.

Following that exercise, I put together a composition that I am very excited about. Pamela said it was excellent, and today I will start stitching. I think I will keep it secret until it is complete, because it could become a surprise gift.

Tomorrow was supposed to be our Anything Art Bee meeting, but it has been cancelled due to the snow and ice. It was going to be at Mary's house, which is at least fifteen miles north of mine, and her neighborhood is iced in. So, I guess I will be trying to finish quilting the first of the "heritage" quilts. I can't do too much of this per day, because the close work of micro-stippling the backgrounds is very fatiguing. I can't wait to show the finished product!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Finally, Some Snow

This was my side yard yesterday morning in the bright sunshine.

And here it is this morning! (Photographed through the porch screen)

Yesterday evening the flakes started falling.

This morning the birds were lined up at the feeders that I just filled to the top. I love to see the cardinals against the snow. They were in motion in this picture!

The thistle seed feeder is not usually as popular except with the finches, but it is attracting plenty of visitors this morning!

Everything is so quiet and peaceful. The world seems to stop around here when it snows. Of course, no one has snow tires or snow blowers, and the cities have very few plows. We just stay in and enjoy the pretty views. And hope power will not go off today as the snow turns to sleet and freezing rain.

I will be working on my Pamela Allen class lessons shortly. I got started last night with my color studies.
I also have painted some lace, rick-rack, and papers in some luscious colors that I will show next time.
Have a peaceful weekend!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Need for Color

Just got back from the library and grocery store, stocking up for a weekend that is predicted to include some wintry weather. Everyone here in the Raleigh area gets excited at any forecast of snow, since we experience it so seldom. The last two big snowstorms in North Carolina produced only rain for us.
So, yesterday it was in the sixties- balmy, sunny. This morning, colder, but beautiful and sunny.
Here is my sun-drenched kitchen table with its colorful, dyed, quilted tablecloth,

By the time I got back from the store, the clouds were starting to roll in. No problem. I am ready! I treated myself to a colorful copy of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. Charlie got me a subscription for Christmas, but my first issue starts in March.

Even better, today I began my third online class with quilt artist Pamela Allen! I am very psyched about this one, titled About Style. There will be art history mixed with creation of art quilts. We had to choose four favorite pieces of art to begin with. I chose five:

Monet, Claude, Garden at Sainte-Adresse
This was my favorite painting at the Monet in Normandy exhibit at the NC Museum of Art several years ago. My husband bought a print for me as a Christmas gift.

Matisse, Henri. Harmony in Red/La desserte

Raoul Dufy, Regatta at Cowes

Gustave Baumann, Grand Canyon

Vincent van Gogh. Wheatfield, 1888

We are supposed to note what it is we like about each painting, and anything they have in common.

Any guesses what my picks have in common?

Let the winter weather come...I will be saturated in bright colors this weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Two-Color Quilt Contest

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

If you ever visit the Quilting Gallery, you may have seen some of the weekly contests they have been sponsoring. This week's theme is Two-Color Quilts. I decided to enter the quilt on our bed, a blue-and -white sampler.

The large blocks are from an Internet block swap back in the nineties. It took me years to figure out how to set these. I ended up floating them in wide expanses of white, and adding blue stars and rectangles to the outer borders. It was one of the first big quilts that I finished on my Gammill Classic. I spent a long time quilting designs in the white areas and custom-quilting each block. After washing, all those pretty feathers and motifs just kind of drew up into old-fashioned looking soft quilting. It is soft as a cloud!

The funny thing about this quilt is that as N.C.State fans and UNC enemies, Carolina Blue is not the color scheme of choice at our house. I dealt with this little problem by adding the NCSU Wolf mascot in the window of the house block, and naming this quilt Go Wolfpack!

This quilt is big enough to drape across the top of our king-size bed, and blends nicely with the soft tones of this lovely mural-sized painting that my father created for our kitchen dining nook in Cary. I guess serenity was the goal with seven kids crowded around the kitchen table. I got to take this painting home when my father sold the family home and moved to an apartment back in 2005.

Voting for the two-color quilt contest begins Friday morning on the Quilting Gallery Blog.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mixed Media Technique Journal

Today I made a cover for the journal that I will use for samples from Fabric Art Collage- 40+ Mixed Media Techniques, by Rebekah Meier, and any other techniques that I wish to try.

I took a class a couple of years ago from Sue Bleiweiss on making fabric journals, and used the Lesson 3 instructions since I never made that one during the class. The cover is painted fabric that I quilted on my Gammill and then painted some more with Tsukineko inks. The quilted fabric is fused to a piece of Timtex, and another fabric painted and sun-printed with Setacolor is fused for the inside cover.

The inside pages are painted card-stock that has been stamped and coated with clear gel medium. The edges are trimmed with various wavy-edge scissors at slightly different sizes, so that they peek from behind each other.
Here is the page I made for yesterday's technique, the non-traditional fabric patchwork.

I enjoyed creating the journal page backgrounds with acrylic paints including Lumiere, various stamp pads and stamps. This was a nice break from micro-stippling white background fabric on that old quilt I am still working on.
They are bursting with color!
Here is the inside back cover.

And the back cover. I used a blue and turquoise fiber and metal grommets to bind the covers and pages together. Do you see the golden glitter? I started foiling everything in sight the other day when I was making my painted batting project. On this one, I applied the foil with Bo-Nash bonding powder.

It will be fun to fill these vibrant pages with more mixed media samples!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mixed Media Techniques: Non-Traditional Patchwork

Yesterday I took the whole day off from sewing and enjoyed a visit with one of my friends from college. Donna and I worked together behind the same counter at the university bookstore for three years. Back then, there were no ATM machines. Students were allowed to cash checks from home in the amount of thirty dollars or less per day. Among our other duties, Donna and I manned the check-cashing station. On Fridays and Saturday mornings before a game, the students would line up out the door to get their weekend money! This was an excellent way for us to check out all the guys' names, where they lived on and off campus, and get to know some of them. My own personal husband used to come in and lean on my counter back before we were dating!
Anyway, we had a nice lunch and visit. She lives in South Carolina now, but early in their marriage, she and Bob lived in Florida. We stayed with them for several days and enjoyed our one and only visit to Disney World back in its infancy- no Epcot, Universal Studios, etc.

Although I still have a lot of work to do on the "Heritage Quilt," I made a little more progress on the techniques in Fabric Art Collage- 40+ Mixed Media Techniques, by Rebekah Meier. Today I chose to make "Non-traditional Patchwork.

Following the instructions, I added fusible to the backs of fabric scraps. I used commercial, hand-dyed, hand-painted, and some stamped fabrics, mostly in a pink colorway. (Thinking of Valentines' Day here!) You arrange the scraps on a base of fabric or batting. I used Warm and Natural cotton batting. When you are pleased with the arrangement, iron them down.

Then you zigzag over all the seams in various colored threads.

After that, you "thread-doodle" various designs by free-motion quilting, and then free-motion quilt all over.

After that, you are supposed to straight-stitch in various directions, but I chose to try out some of the stitches on Josie, my new Janome 6600 sewing machine. That was fun!

I am thinking this fabric will become a base for a fabric collage, postcard, or maybe some puffy Valentine hearts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Technique of the Month: Painted Batting

I took a break this weekend from quilting the blazing star heritage quilt, and worked on the Technique of the Month from Three Creative Studios. This month's technique was painted batting. There are great instructions with photos for trying this out with various paints and batts. I actually painted my batting last weekend.

My first sample was three shades of Lumiere metallic paint on Warm and Natural batting. I quilted the whole piece on my new Janome, which was my first attempt at quilting with it. I also sprayed with a crystalline sparkly spray and for even more sparkle, fused iridescent foil to granules of 007 Bonding Powder. I loved this pastel combination.

The first postcard has a nice little fiber edge, and a bit of embroidered flowers with beads in the center.

Blue Heaven, 4" x 6", fabric postcard. 2010

A second postcard from this painted batt has seed beads to outline a large floral quilting motif.

Rhapsody in Blue, 4" x 6", fabric postcard, 2010

For a third postcard, I shaded in just a bit on the feather and the rose with Tsukineko inks, and added this beautiful lush feathery fiber to the edge.
Enchanted Garden, 4" x 6", fabric postcard, 2010

I had a long skinny strip left, and made a bookmark, which I beaded and embroidered while watching college basketball on TV on Saturday.

All of these blue pieces are backed with watercolor paper that I just painted with a wash in similar shades.

The next process Sue demoed in her tutorial was to use black batting, black Mistyfuse, silver paint, and silver foil. Instead I used white cotton batting, white Mistyfuse, copper and gold Lumiere paint, and copper and gold foil. Wow!

It is impossible to capture the gleam of this metallic paint/foil combination. I added a few other colors to the top with stamp pads. When I added foil, part of the batting came off after ironing. Perhaps the iron was too hot. I covered those areas with a copper leaf pen.

Great Balls of Fire, 4" x 6", fabric postcard, 2010
I got a second postcard and lots of little pieces out of this coppery batting.

Moon Dance, 6" x 4", fabric postcard, 2010

And another bookmark with beaded fringe.

All of the copper-colored pieces except for the bookmark have a backing of cardstock painted in the same Lumiere metallic paint.

I enjoyed participating in the Technique of the Month, and look forward to the next one!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quilty Goodies

First of all, I am happy to report success with removing these dark thick pencil lines from the "heritage" quilt I am finishing for my sister-in-law. Her grandmother was a hand quilter, and apparently planned to quilt these roses and leaves in the two largest white areas on the quilt. Not only is this not exactly a machine-quilting pattern, but the lines were thick, dark, and smudged, and the stencil did not fill the huge block space.

Many thanks to those who contacted me with pencil removal ideas. I started with Suzanne Kistler's recipe that she located in an old guild newsletter.

3 ounces rubbing alcohol
1 ounce water
4 DROPS liquid dish washing soap (Bette Beebe used Palmolive)

Directions: Dip a CLEAN toothbrush in the solution and brush onto the fabric. Blot dry.

After using up two recipes worth, the marks were indeed faded to a very light silvery gray. Then I decided to try my Old Faithful stain remover, Sew Clean, which is a citrus-based all-purpose cleaner. I sprayed LOTS of it on, brushed a little more, and the marks were totally gone when it dried! Yippee, a blank canvas!

I heard about Sew Clean from one of the Pam Clarke long-arm quilting videos. She uses it to remove any excess chalk dust when using the Pounce stencil powder. I have never seen it in the stores, but you can order it from Pam's website .

Now. on to the quilty goodies...

You may recall that I entered a quilt in Sew Cal Gal's Virtual Christmas Quilt Show, and won a lovely door prize from Cozy Quilt Shop in El Cajon, California. Well, that's not all I won. In fact, it is almost an embarrassment of riches!

I received a lovely big package from Sew Cal Gal herself, loaded with nice prizes!

I have been buying myself a Quilting Arts calendar for about the last ten years, but this year I gave my copy to a bee member for our Christmas gift exchange. I am so happy to have one included in this prize package! Lots of yummy fruits and other "fresh-picked" quilts.

A beautiful selection of "quilty" stationery...
and an adorable pink purse...

an embroidered muslin towel...
a selection of 2010 one-page calendars with quilt designs...

and four yards of fabric! I can see these being turned into more charity quilts for my guild...or perhaps something cute for my little granddaughter!

Many thanks to Sew Cal Gal for sponsoring the fun event, and for all the great stuff!