Monday, March 31, 2014

Color Wheel Flower Collage

Finished another project!  I call it Color Wheel Flower.

Color Wheel Flower by Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2014

It began as a watercolor study of the colors in my palette.

My sister thought the colors were so cheerful that she downloaded the photo from my blog and made it the background on her iPhone.  I thought it could use some improvement.  I cut the sections into petals and painted more papers to get a range of colors.  Then I glued them onto a gallery-wrapped canvas that I had previously covered with tissue paper and a color chart from a catalog.

The last steps were to glue on some bits of colored glass, and spray with clear acrylic finish.  Now the colors really sparkle!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mountain Tote Bag :Finished!

I finished something!  A while back I posted about an art quilt UFO from an online Pamela Allen class.  I decided it would become a tote bag.

This piece is already quilted with backing and batting.  I just satin-stitched through all layers to attach the appliqué and do the quilting at the same time.

I found an old canvas tote bag that had dark green handles and was approximately the right size.

I remembered a workshop with Karen Eckmeier in which she had covered a canvas tote with patchwork.  I couldn't find her book which I think had instructions for the tote project, but I set out to make a quilted tote bag cover.

I ripped out the stitching along the side seams.

Then I created some more patchwork with mountainy, leafy fabrics to make the cover large enough.  I just happened to have some fabric with log cabins in my stash!

Since the other piece was already quilted, I quilted the new section as well.

I added a narrow dark green binding to each end, using some leftover binding from another project.
Then I sewed the two quilted sections together.  I trimmed the canvas tote to be the same size as the quilted cover.

 I used an overcast stitch on my Janome to finish the tote bag edges, since I cut off the serging that was on there.  Canvas can unravel very easily.

Next I applied a fusible mesh to the quilted cover, and ironed it to the canvas.  Then I stitched the pieces together around the edges.  It seemed like it needed more quilting to hold the layers together, so I just did some in the ditch stitching through all layers.

I sewed the side seams back together.  Then I made a gusset so the tote bag could stand up.

After trimming the seam, all I had to do was turn it right-side out.

Here is the front side.

And here is the reverse side.

This bag is just the right size and padded enough to carry my iPad, a library book, and my chargers when we travel to the mountains.

And we did travel to the mountains this weekend...and look!  We got to see the new cabin lit up for the first time!  They hooked up the electricity and the gas on Friday.

I love the way the house lights are reflected in the pond below.

The fireplace is now functional with gas logs, although the mantle is not finished and the rocks need to be mortared.  But it made a cozy fire and for the first time it was warm enough to be comfortable inside the cabin.

We did not sleep in the new place, because the water is not hooked up yet, and the gas furnace is not yet fired up.  But next weekend we will have new beds, and couch and chair delivered, and hopefully we will be all set.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Family Weekend

This weekend we had a reprieve from winter weather, and beautiful spring temperatures.  Just in time for a gathering of my relatives for a memorial service for my aunt, Cornelia Willoughby Turner Loftus- better known as "Billie."

Billie died in October after several years of declining health.  She has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  Her three children invited the family and close friends to a "Celebration of Life" in Cary, NC, on Saturday.  All five of my brothers and my sister attended, as well as many cousins from Alaska to Virginia to Florida.

Billie and Jeanne were my father's two younger sisters.  Only Jeanne is left now.  I was named for her.  We have a lot in common besides our names.  We are both tall, blond, quilting watercolorists!

My sister and two of my brothers stayed at my house.  We had a great visit.  Jeff and John are both accomplished guitar players and singers, and we had many hours of entertainment later Saturday night.

When I was waiting for my brother Jeff at the airport, I took some photos of the cherry trees in bloom.  Such a beautiful day with blue skies and warm temps.

And here is another welcome sign of spring...just look at our little granddaughter Charlotte!

After this little teaser of spring, we are supposed to have snow again tomorrow.  It does not seem possible!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I got the good news that my quilt was juried into the PAQA-South Art Quilt WHIMSY! exhibit at the Page-Walker House in Cary.  This was my first time to enter one of their shows, so I was happy to be one of the 45 accepted.

Now I have to add a hanging sleeve, make a wooden hanging slat with screw eyes attached to the ends, write an artist bio, get a 5x7 photo of myself, make business cards, and sew on a label.  I have until April 15 to get all that ready.

I have no news from the Vintage View Quilt show because I missed the whole event.  We went on our annual birthday trip to Asheville, NC, to visit as many of their fine microbreweries.  We had a DD, but ended up walking from place to place in the downtown Asheville area with a fine group of friends and relatives.

And one very large dog!  Our hosts Lee and Beattie have adopted a ten-year old golden retriever, Jake,  that was in need of a foster home.  He is about as big as a sofa but a very sweet boy.

Charlie enjoyed his birthday, and so did all of us.

Our own personal dog had to go to the kennel for the weekend.  She "emailed" us this photo saying she missed us, but was having fun.  I think she would have preferred to go on the pub crawl with us, like Jake did.

We had great weather Friday and Saturday, but it rained all the way home.  More wintry weather to come???  Let's hope not!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Vintage View Quilt Show March 14-16 in Raleigh

My local quilt guild, Capital Quilters, is co-sponsoring a quilt show this weekend, along with the Carolina Longarm Association.  I have been an active member of both groups in the past, but have not participated much in the past two years.  However, I can recommend this show as one with lots of exceptional quilts and quality vendors.

It will be held this year at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

Vintage View Quilt Show

  • Kerr Scott Building, NC Fairgrounds, Raleigh (map or Driving Directions)
  • Friday & Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm
  • 400 Quilts, 40 Vendors, Lectures, Demonstrations, Wearable Art, Door Prizes, Exhibits
  • Admission $5, Children 12 and under free
  • Free Parking

This quilt will be raffled at the show.

A Garden for my Wedding Ring”
Designed by Judy Niemeyer
Hand appliquéd, paper pieced, and assembled by Capital Quilters Guild Members
Machine Quilted by Cathy Kirk

If you are anywhere near the Raleigh area, this will be a great chance to see some pretty quilts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mixed Media Canvases Continued

Here are a few more mixed media works in progress.

This is the background that I created at the Anything Art Meeting on Monday.

This is gesso mixed with acrylic paint on a gallery-mounted canvas, about 12 x 12 inches.  I scratched into the wet gesso with a straw and my finger.

Here is what I added to a previously prepared background made from tissue and catalog pages on canvas.  It is not quite finished.  It is a color wheel flower.

Astute followers of this blog may recognize that I took a watercolor practice page and cut it up to make the flower.  I needed more shades, so I applied some more watercolor paint to paper and used it, too.

This is a watercolor study that I did, actually copying a painting I saw in an online Raleigh art gallery.  I first thought of painting the elements to use in a mixed-media collage.  Then I liked the painting and decided to keep it whole and finish it.  I have added some tissue paper collage to the watercolor painting.  Needs a little more work to be finished.

This is the collage I made using the same painting for inspiration.  It is gesso, acrylic paint, and tissue paper/napkin collage.  I stenciled the text.  This turned out to be very colorful and bright.  Lots of texture.

As you can see, I have a lot of work to finish!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Art Museum Lecture...and More Snow

Thursday I decided to take advantage of the fact that I live only a few miles from the North Carolina Museum of Art.  I attended a lecture by Joseph Covington on the Post-Impressionists:  Van Gogh, Seurat, Gauguin, and Lautrec.  It was part of a continuing Art History survey course.  

I loved it!  It helped that I had seen many of the featured paintings of these artists in person in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and here in Raleigh.

Sunday at Le Grand Jatte by George Seurat

It was so interesting to hear about the relationships between the artists and the insights into the paintings.  I will probably go to more of these lectures when I can.

Thursday night we drove up to our mountain place.  It started to snow in North Wilkesboro.  We were not expecting anything except rain on Friday, but we woke up to a winter wonderland on Friday morning.  It continued to snow until about eleven o'clock this morning.

We took off on a Gator ride and it was beautiful.  So much snow ...and we saw a herd of about twelve deer running across the hill.

And, no, we still cannot move into the new cabin.  Still not permitted for occupancy.  Maybe soon?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mixed Media Backgrounds

Monday was our Anything Art Bee meeting.  We met at Peg's, but I provided the program.  We were creating backgrounds for mixed media collages on either gallery-wrapped canvas or canvas boards.

I made a few before the meeting, using either gesso, or gesso mixed with acrylic paints.

You can add a lot of texture to the background at this stage with stamps, thick applications of gesso, or carving into the thick gesso with a sharp object like a straw or the end of a paintbrush.

The striped effect on the two golden pieces is from a piece of corrugated cardboard from packaging.

The next two are similar, but one has much more color added to the gesso before applying.  They both look like ocean scenes to me.

We once again used Peg's plastic-covered folding banquet table, and had fun painting and creating yummy textures for our backgrounds.  

We only had three members present, because snow and ice were predicted for after lunch.  Here are Peg's two backgrounds.  

And these two are Toni's.  The large spiral motifs are from one of her own hand-carved stamps coated in gesso.

 I started another background using a canvas I had previously painted in black, and didn't like.  Will have to take new pics of that one and also a piece that is almost finished.  Getting ready to head to the mountains!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Quilting Legacy?

The grandkids came to visit last weekend.  Caden and Lily immediately asked for my basket of fabric scraps again!  They have so much fun making up games with them, from making credit cards and play money to wrapping us in foot warmers and bracelets.  They even made the baby into Rambette!

On Saturday the boys went to the Dixie Deer Classic and the new Bass Pro Shop in Cary.  Lily and I spent the afternoon sewing together!  We started with the popular scrap basket and just sewed strips together on the sewing machine.  My Janome has a push-button start/stop switch, which made it easier for a seven-year old than the foot pedal.  She enjoyed it so much that she kept going until she had a piece big enough for a pillow top.  Then she chose a colorful backing fabric from my stash and sewed the top to the back.

A proud and happy girl!  And happy grandmother!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oh, Look! The Spider Plant is Having Babies!

Oh, Look!  The Spider Plant is Having Babies

All finished and entered in the PAQA-South exhibit called Art Quilt-WHIMSY!  It has to be juried in, so I will know after March 15 if it is accepted.  I have never entered one of their shows before, although I have gone to see the exhibits at the Page-Walker House in Cary many times.

This quilt languished in the UFO pile for years until I discovered the opportunity for whimsy by adding the little spiders.  I added glitter to the plastic spiders, which I bought around Halloween one year.

It was good to get this one finished.

In other news, my beloved dog Kasey had surgery this week to repair a torn ligament in her right rear leg.  In humans, it is called the ACL.  They had to cut into her leg bone and insert a metal plate with pins into it.  She seems to have tolerated the procedure well.  A little droopy but hanging in there.

She is a very special dog who lets our little grand baby pet and snuggle with her, always comes when she is called, will spend all day lying at my feet, but joyfully runs with us on our trips up the mountain.  I hope she will be able to run again once she recovers.

This weekend we have our older son's family here from South Carolina.  They are being very sweet to our furry patient, too.