Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I was catching up on my blog reading this morning, mind you, after I returned from exercising - getting back into my routines, and the first one I read was My Croft and Melanie issued a general "tag" to her readers. The tag was to pick up the book nearest to you, turn to page 56 and count down 5 lines and transcribe a sentence or two into your blog.

With all those endorphins running around in my body this morning I decided to play tag and be it. The book nearest me is "Digital Essentials" by Gloria Hansen. It is the quilt makers must have guide to images, files and more! It is an early Christmas present and I am really enjoying it, Gloria is a dynamite quilt maker, if you are interested in looking at her work click here.

On page 56 (this page is talking about how to do this in Paint Shop Pro) line 5 is a question:

Q: How can I know how large (in inches) I can print my image before it starts to degrade (get dotty)?
A: 1. Turn off the Resample image option. 
      2. Type in the desire Width and Height in the Document Size box (e.g. 8" x 10"). Look at the resolution. If it is too low, make your image dimensions smaller.

Now this probabally doesn't make a sense to many of you, but remember by the time you get to this page, you already know a lot of digital terminalogy. Given how fast things progress these days, this is an excellent book for anyone that is working on designing or printing any type of art work.

I am reading another book, one of my vices is reading mystery books, however it was under the book I used. Of course I have another book under that one and a few magazines.....

So now does anyone want to play tag with me? If you do, please leave me a comment, so I can ready about your turn as "It".

I don't have any art work to share today, but I will be getting back into the studio, hopefully this afternoon, and have something to share next week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and for those that don't have Thanksgiving tomorrow, lift up a glass and join in on a toast with all your US friends!

We spent 10 days working at my Dad's house and then came home. We will go back after the New Year if my brother and SIL can use our help. It was a hard 10 days, but it is always wonderful to visit with my brother and SIL and nieces and my Aunt, no matter what the circumstances. We live so far apart from them that any visit it heartwarming.

We are here in Tennessee having Thanksgiving with family and watching the coming baby grow, we went into Nashville yesterday and went to the Main Library. Oh my, it was wonderful, I was tempted to move in, 3 floors, beautiful reading rooms, its an older Marble building, kind of like the public library in NYC, a lot of art, fabric, quilting, dyeing books!

I've been working on bumper pads for the crib, so I'm even doing fiber work here. In between our time at my Dad's house and leaving for Thanksgiving, I completed two trades that had been due the end of October, my trade partners were all wonderful about my sending them whenever I got them done, and in some cases, I didn't need to send them if I didn't do them. I still got the PC from everyone.
The first trade I worked on was a Leaves PC.

I used a yellow check fabric and then I did an edging technique with different size leaves in a grape and dk. green shiva oil sticks. Some of the leaves I put in some veins and then I added some silk leaves that I had. Wish I had felt a little more creative and I would have made some lace leaves with FME. There is always more time next year.
The next exchange I had was a 5 inch quiltie call Autumn.
I made a quilt sandwich and then cut out a cornucopia from some fabric and did a little color addition with some bronze and brown shiva markers. Made the pumpkin stand alone and tacked it on, did the same with the grapes and added some silk leaves. I was pretty pleased with this one, and I really enjoyed it.
I will try and post again in a few days with some picture of where we are in Tennessee, it is just beautiful here. When we get back home I will also post the cards and the quiltie I received, I think you will enjoy all the different cards.
On a sad note, the kitty (Sassy) I use in my profile and at the top of my blog is no longer with us. When we returned in September from our vacation she was very thin and continued to get skinnier and skinnier every day, we changed food, and when we went back to my Dad's house after he died we left her at the vet, so she would get fluids and care while we were gone. When we returned she had held her weight but was not eating a great amount., her labs were good, no sign of any masses, she was alert and didn't seem in pain. We had her on pepcid, to help her digestion and before we left for Thanksgiving she stopped eating. Took her in to be boarded, when we left, she did eat the day before, and have an ultra sound performed. Unfortunately the ultra sound showed that she had cancer in may of her organs, and she would not be getting better. It wasn't a hard decision for me to make when I heard that so she is at peace now, I really miss her, but that is what happens when we allow animals to adopt us. The other 3 cats and 2 dogs are at home with the pet sitter and are being spoiled rotten!
Everyone count your blessings and have a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Taking it Further Challenges

I'm sorry to say that I have dropped out of the Take it Further Challenge for this year. My father passed away today and I need to fly back to NY and take care of a myriad of things. We lost my Mom 18 months ago, so things need to be sorted and the house needs to be sold, and so many things for my brother and I to do.

I don't feel like I will be able to concentrate on the monthly challenges for a while. I will still be keeping up this blog and my other blog with trades, exchanges, and projects.

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and suggestions, keep it coming.

Thanks everyone,

Saturday, August 2, 2008

August TIF

The challenge that Sharon B gave us for the month of August was:

In my chaotic and hectic life I often admire people who are able to maintain balance in their lives. What is balance to you? Do you maintain a balanced life? How do you balance aspects of your life? That is the challenge this month - balance.

For my August challenge I decided to balance my life by taking a month off from challenges and attend to the projects that I needed to finish for the month.

I felt that by taking the month off, I would not feel so pressured and overwhelmed. The first project I completed was a wall hanging designed by Mt. Redoubt designs. It is a pattern called "Sea Turtle Parade". I also shopped my stash to make this quilts, I sure felt much better when it was completed. Here is a picture of the completed project. It was made as a birthday present for my sister, she loves turtles.

The next project I worked on was for my stepson's birthday. He does the whale count every fall up on the Bering Sea and loves to be out counting for a month at a time. I found a great panel of sea animals that I thought would make a good hanging for his apartment. The design is nothing special, just my arrangement of the pictures from a panel and again I shopped my stash for the other fabrics.

The last project I did was a lap quilt for my Dad. We went to NY to visit family the beginning of Sept. and I found some Boyscout fabric that I just knew would be perfect for him. He spent over 20 years as an assistant leader and then leader for a troop and it meant the world to him. So I make this quilt, and I'm really pleased at the way it turned out. He was so happy to have it, and I hope he uses it rather than saves it for a special occasion.

I also made strides on the Wedding Quilt that I am making and will show a picture of that on my projects blog when it is complete. Now to get ready for the September Challenge, back in a day or two to post about that one.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July TIF

For the July TIF Sharon B gave us this challenge "The challenge this month is perhaps a bit obvious but I am going to ask …
What is it to be at the half way mark?

For me three word lead to a mix of ideas. “Half”, “Way” and “Mark” all lead off into interesting directions that can be represented in all sorts of ways."

Well the halfway mark for me this year is that it is halfway to Christmas and I haven't started AnyThing, at all, Nada!

A friend of mine also wanted to make some silk fusion paper, so she go the supplies, came over one Saturday and we made the paper. She gave me a great idea - make a bowl out of the paper. So, I'm going to make a silk fusion bowl for my TIF project and also for a start on my Christmas list.

I had some plain white tussah silk roving that I decided I wanted to use, and I didn't want to paint it at all. So out came the JoJo's Fabric Medium and the tulle and off we went. I think my paper came out very well this time. Its not too thick and not too thin. I sprinkled it with some beautiful blue and silver glitter, quite heavily as a matter of fact. The picture really doesn't do it justice but it is a beautiful piece, even if I do say so myself.

I am very happy about the way it turned out, I think I can make two small bowls out of the one piece of paper, I'm even thinking about using a red corn silk fusion paper I made last time, and use it for the inside bottom, I'll cut it out and see how it works.

I'm still working on the wedding quilt, I want to get the top made by Labor Day Weekend. I think I'm going to have to find someone local to quilt it for me, that way I can see it before its off the frame and make sure I like the way it looks. I don't want to have to do any additional quilting myself. I'll post a picture as soon as I get the top done. Parts of this were way more advanced that I was ready for, its traditionally pieced and uses templates. If I ever do this quilt again I'll have to find an easier way to to the traditional parts. It got some applique on it also, which I am loving.

I've also completed a July Birthday present for my sister and I'm working on a wall hanging for our son's birthday in August. All of this explanation is why I won't get the bowl completed by the end of the month.

I forgot, I also signed up for a pc exchange for the Surface Design group, the exchange was a bowl of cherries. I'll try and blog that later this week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brillinte Weblog Award - 2008

I've never been nominated for an award before, so I was very suprised to be nominated this time by Jane over at Crazy Here & Now

Its wonderful to make new web friends. The rules for receiving this award are:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.

There are so many blogs that I enjoy that I really would have a hard time listing them all, but let me put a few down, so everyone can enjoy can enjoy their blogs

Judy Perez over at Painted Threads
Helen Cowens over at Textile Goddess
Vickie Welsh over at Field Trips in Fiber
Micki over at Fiber Art: If I Create it Will They Come?
Judy Rhys over at Color My World
Jane Davila over at Chary Sprouts

One of my favorite sites has not been updated in awhile, I believe that her mother had a stroke last year, and the journal has not been updated since last ftall. This is the site that introducted me to blogs and has a large influence on how I view my blogs. I think it is well worth it to go to the site and look over the past entries. She has projects and lessons using many different techniques.

So I'm giving this award to N. Rene West over at Fembellish Journal

TIF - June Completed

The challenge that Sharon gave us for the month of June was about our stashes than the stories they told. I spent a lot of time thinking about this concept, but the one thing I get out of my mind was that my considerable stash of fabric, threads, paints, notions etc.didn't tell a story until I made something with it. Its filled with possibilities, but no story until I touch, paint, cut and then it tells me a story. You can read more about the June challenge on Sharon's blog at

Sometimes I do buy fabric and patterns for specific projects, but since I've retired from the workforce, I shop my stash and what fun it is. The last project(s) I've bought fabric for has been baby fabric, that tells a wonderful story about how much we all look forward to the baby's arrival, in December. I can't wait! The other large project I've bought fabric for is a queen-sized wedding quilt, that is almost a year overdue but I have much notice and last year was filled with traumas and loss and health issues all around, and the quilt is much more complicated than any other traditional quilting I've done. Traditional quilting is not really my forte.

Anyway, back to the June TIF. I decided to do a small landscape of a local rock arch that 50 or so miles out of town. I had also joined a challenge on a yahoo group I belong to, called Textile Challenges. The challenge was to make an arch approximately 7 inches tall, 4 wide. There could be anything in the arch but since my was going to England I combined the two projects that I did in June. The rock arch is called La Ventana is is in the El Malpais lava fields outside of Grants, NM. We had such a wonderful day exploring the area the day we went and that was the story my finished project was called. As usually is was sunny and fairly warm for a winters day, no wind, and all was well in our world!
The original picture of the arch is on the left.

My arch doesn't have rounded sides because I wanted the arch to be the main focus with the sky in the background, I also felt that the straight sides going up gave a better illusion of height. I used a fusible web for this project and didn't even paint any of the the fabric! I did darken the sky under the arch to add some shadow and depth, although I should have added some to the sides also but next time I will do that.
I was pleased with the way it turned out and I was actually done on June 30th since that when the challenge ended. I've just gotten buy again and haven't gotten any blogging done, but I will do better in the future, promise.
Thanks to everyone who has left comments on my blog, I have tried to answer all of them, but some don't have their email address in there profile so I have been unable to answer.
I want to thank Mixpix for her comment on wetting the cloth before I do the mono printing. My anniversary was also in June and my DH got me the 1st set of Quilting Arts TV, and one of the shows had some mono printing in it. It looked to me like Pokey was using regular acrylic paints, rather than fabric paints, so I used my coupons at Michael's and got myself 3 jars of fluid acrylics and I'm going to try the mono printing again. The fluid acrylics are thicker and seem to be more opaque, so we will see what happens next. I will post on this blog how they turn out in case anyone would like to try the technique themselves.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

May TIF completed

This month I decided to do some monoprinting. The one thing that I discovered while doing this was that I'm not meant to be a monoprinter , especially in very warm and dry NM. For those not familar with monoprinting, you put paint down want, as many colors as you want, on a piece of glass or plastic. You can draw designs in the paint, just like fingerpainting when we were kids.
Next lay some cloth on top of the paint, then using a brayer smooth the cloth and carefully pick it us. There are extenders you can mix in the paint so that it doesn't dry too quickly. Unfortunately they didn't seem to help me very much.

The first time I did the printing I used about 1/2 yard of muslin and this is what it turned out like.

I was trying to do a design, flowers believe it or not, and this is what I wound up with. Oh well, first try, lets try again.
This was my second attempt to monoprint. As you can see, not much success. The furthest to the left is the first pass, then the next two are the second pass on the same glass. I was hoping I could show more color. Each piece is about a 6 x 8 piece of muslin.
I let these age in the garage for a few days, as we all know many times a little ageing makes things look better. I found after a few days they did look better, not good, but better.
I decided that for now this was the end of my monoprinting experiment. Maybe later I will attempt it again, but for now I've written FINI to this technique.
As far as the May TIF goes, I did say I would experiment with the technique, but thank goodness I didn't make any commitment to making anything with the product. But come to think of it, isn't the June TIF about stash and aren't these pieces of fabric going into my stash? Maybe I could..... guess you just have to wait until next month!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

April's TIF Completed

This piece is 14.5" X 17.5".

I've FINALLY completed my April challenge. This challenge never caught my imagination and I had to fight the piece all the way, from painting the background fabric to hand finishing the binding. I did enjoy the free motion stitching at the bottom for the grasses and the flowers and also the detail work on the tree trunk.

I even had trouble taking the picture at the finish. Oh well, I'm excited abut working on the May Challenge. I'm starting on that tomorrow.

For more detail on the processes I used, look further down to the April Update entry. I went into detail on the individual processes I used for this piece.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Well, here it is the middle of May and I haven't finished my April TIF yet, but its will be finished this afternoon.

The challenge for May is "who are you in your creative life?" If I had to come up with a label, I would probably say that I'm an explorer and a learner. I'm learning all kinds of new techniques and am really enjoying the exploration. Each month, I try to use new techniques and new materials. I think to continue my theme of exploration this month and I will work with the colors and I am going to do some monoprinting. One of the groups I belong to is having a monoprinting challenge and I think I will combine the two challenges this month. Monoprinting is something I have wanted to do, so it should be an interesting month.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuskineko Ink PostCard challenge

I joined a challenge in the Surface Design Yahoo group that I am in. The post cards were mailed on April 30th, so they should have been received by everyone by now. It was a perfect challenge because I had just received and order of the Tuskineko Ink and I had been reading about using the ink with Aloe Vera gel to thicken it and enable you to keep the ink where you wanted rather than bleeding.

I love to work with Bleeding Heart, it seems to be my interest these last few months, so I used them as my theme for this postcard.

The first thing that I did was find a botanical print of the flower and the shape of the leaves. I practiced drawing the images until I had something I liked, and I drew some 4 X 6 squares on heavy watercolor paper. I drew a few until I thought it was what I wanted and then I cut out the shapes with an exacto knife. I've never really been able to draw so this process took me quite a while.

I thought that I could make the stencil sturdier by painting both sides with white gesso, but that didn't really work, so after it dried, I painted both sides with Mod Podge and that worked well.

In between drying times for the stencil, I painted some fabric with fabric paint, salted it and then let it dry. Put it in the dryer for awhile on high so it was ready to use the next day.

I started by painting the white ink first in the flowers. The white Tuskineko is opaque, so it gave me a good base for the pink flowers. After painting the white, I then thickened some red ink with aloe vera gel and painted over the white on the flowers. Then I took the stencil off and painted the white in the middle and added some shading to the pedals.

There was a darker patch of blue,on the bottom of the fabric, that I used to test out coverage and the colors reaction to the blue.

Next I went to work on the leaves. I laid out 8 postcards on the blue and I was glad I did. I only needed 4 postcards for the trade, but I wanted a few extras to send out. Good thing I did because the leaves were more difficult. In the lower left hand corner you can see the one I experimented with. I first put down white and then went over it with a dark green, to make it worse I forgot to use the aloe vera gel to thicken the ink so you can see how much difference the gel makes, no bleeding. The second leaf on the card I just used the thickened dark green, but i didn't like that either. I tried a yellow on the leaf in the bottom right, but that wasn't the right color, so I put the dark green over the yellow, and it was too dark. Then I mixed some dark green in the yellow and got the shade I wanted.
As you can see at the top of the page, the postcards look much better finished than they did as a sheet. After I finished painting them I cut them out, fused them to some Timtex and did an outline stitch around the flowers and the leaves. I also put some veins in the leaves, give it a much more finished appearance. Now back to finish April's TIF.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

April TIF - Update

My first step for this month's TIF was to paint a background for my project. I first thought I would do 4 - 1/2 tree's to show the changing of the seasons. I tried to change the sky in each area to also reflect the changing of the seasons. My piece wound of being very large and I wasn't quite ready for that, so I took 1/2 of the fabric and cut a tree out of some Sherril Kahn fabric I had. I was going to put lots of branches in but I realized that they would be hidden under the leaves, so I just made some main branches to peek through.

I found some small scale climbing rose fabric in my stash and cut off a large chunk and used my rotary cutter to cube it into smaller pieces. I cut some fusible web in an organic shape and put it over the first two branches, on the left, and heavily sprinkled the fabric over the top. Now I had my Spring.

I did the same thing with some green hand-dyed to get the look of the summer leaves.

I did things a little differently for fall. I had some scraps of a great multi-color fall fabric that I made a shirt for my husband from. Since it already looked like fall leaves, I just cut out small organic shapes of the fabric and fused them down. After I got the three seasons done, I got some fine green tule and fused it down over the spring,summer, fall sections of the quilt. I sprinkled some Bonash powder on the sections to help hold down the tule, but I found in some places I had gotten it too heavy and you can see the shinyness in some of the pictures. Note to self - be very careful how much you use!

I used the last branch for the winter scene. At the after-Christmas sales, I picked up a plastic bag of that snow they use in scenes (like model trains with snow on the village). I tried to glue it down with some foil glue, but that didn't work all that well, so I put sone more glue ove the top of the snow and then coved it with it with a piece of fine white tule. I had some small plastic snow flakes, so I put them between the limb and the ground. See how handy those little bits and piece you pick up here and there are?

This is what is looks like right now, I've got it pinned to do the thread work on and it should be finished early next week, I'll post as soon as it is one.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April TIF - first post

Well, I have to admit that this challenge is a very hard one for me. If you asked me I would have said that I think change is a glass half full, but....this past year has been full of big changes and a time of personal growth. I'm finally comfortable with the changes of the past year, and my glass is getting a lot fuller. It was hard for me to find the glass anywhere last year, but thanks to my friends and husband I have come out the other side.

So do I try and portray how I felt during the changes of the last year? I still can't figure out how to do that. For me change has always been a time of growth, and I certainly have had a lot of changes most of my life. If I look back the changes have resulted in something good, but they have been often been painful as they happened, even if I decided to make the changes.

The idea the has stuck in my head the most the last few days are the changing seasons. I think I will try and do something along that line. I need to find a way to show the changing seasons without getting too elaborate. I'll post more as I start my project this month.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March TIF

The challenge for this month was to notice small things we often overlook. I love the way the raindrop looks in the center of the Lupin leaf, so that is what I did. I made this project 4 x 6", because the call was for small things.

I want to explore new techniques for each months TIF, so this month I did the same.

I started with a 5 x 7 piece of muslin and I traced the lupin leaves on with a marking pencil. Next I dug out the oil pastels I bought years ago, never used, and colored in the leaves with a green and then a brown, and then in some places a light green. I blended the colors with a small stencil brush. I wasn't that happy with the look, but I went ahead and sewed a dark olive border on all the leaves and then used a light olive for the stem and center.

It looked better, but still not right, the muslin was too plain. I picked up some glitter mist at a rubber stamp show last month, opal, so I sprayed that over the entire postcard. It gave the leaves a soft finish and blended the colors all together.

It didn't do much for the muslin though. I decided to give the muslin an olive wash with translucent fabric paint. Turned out a pale yellow-green, but made the muslin look better, you could even see a little of the glitter mist on the fabric. I spread it over the leaves along with the fabric and it made the piece more cohesive. OK, still kind of bland, I thought about using another color of paint and splotching it on the fabric, but I decided that would be too much. Instead I took a blue prisma color pencil and drew some crosshatched lines, very lightly over the background.

That was better, I got out my heat crystals and placed a blue crystal in the center of each leaf, to show the reflected sky in the drop. I looked at it for a while and decided that it needed something else, so I took some flat green crystals and scattered them on the piece and that was the end.

After all is said and done, this turned out almost as I had pictured it. I am pleased with the result. March hasn't been the best month for me, so I still have to put the postcard on the back, and zigzag the edges of the postcard. When the postcard is completed, I spray a light cover of acrylic sealer over the top. It protects the materials that are not water resistant, and keeps the card a little brighter going through the mail. After I do that I will replace one of the pictures with the totally finished piece. It might take me a little while to get that done, so consider me done with this months TIF. Thank you everyone for your comments on my last months TIF, I will be better at answering you comments this month, and I will blog my project more often. I had decided earlier this month what I wanted to to, but I didn't do anything on the project until this weekend.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

TIF February Finished

I did finish my project this month on time, got in done last night about 6pm. What a relief to be done on time. I've been having allergy attacks the last few weeks, so it was a close thing. New allergy medicine from the Dr. has been helping.

I've named this months TIF "Looking Towards Home"

I downloaded the image of earth and Mars "Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech." They have wonderful pictures, and they are free to use as long as you give them credit.

The process I used to make Mars I've documented in the last entry. I used another dark fabric to make Mar's shadow and I appliqued them using a Sulky silver/black metallic thread. I used the plain white dryer sheets for the word Dream, and I couched on some Razzle Dazzle to outline the word.

For Earth, I printed the picture on fabric, cut and appliqued it to the background and also outlined it with couched Razzle Dazzle. For the stars on the background, I lightly sprinkled a fusible powder and ironed silver foil over the powder to get the stars.

I enjoyed this project so much, I'm thinking of doing the whole solar system. Time will tell how much I do, but space has always enthralled me, so time will tell.

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments on my last posting. I usually try to answer each one but it didn't happen this time. Thanks everyone, all the TIF participants inspire me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Update 2 Febuary TIF

Well this months challenge is turning into a lot of fun. Last week after I posted and went in and setup my cutting table for painting. I mixed up a very dark gray to start and painted the bottom of my muslin. The size I started out with was approximately 14 x 20". Then I added more white and painted up a little higher, added more white and so on. After I painted about 1/2 of the fabric I threw some kosher salt and let it sit over night. I forgot to take a picture of that part by itself, but I got the back so you can get an idea of what it looked like. Also in some of the other pictures you see part of the bottom.

Then I spent a couple of days thinking about how to get the red part of Mars. when I first thought about doing the project, I was planning on using painted and distressed tyvek for the red part, but in a comment last week from MixPix (thanks so much) I got a site that had picture of Mars. I knew that the tyvek would be too hard to give the effect I wanted, so I decided to paint up a group of old dryer sheets.
For those not familiar with using dryer sheets (the white ones) after you use them, save them up and when you have a bunch, put them in a small mesh bag (I use a bra bag), throw them in the wash with your clothes and then in the dryer. I usually give them a quick press with the iron on low heat and then store them in a plastic bag till I want to use some. They paint up with regular fabric paint or watered acrylic paint. I usually use a spray bottle to apply the paint. I used a russet and then also mixed up a blend of raw sienna and yellow for some others. I didn't want the sheets to be uniform so on some of them I sprinkled some salt to see what the effect would be. On a couple I used a few splotches of a metallic copper or bronze to give more texture. You can see how adding different layers over each other changes the color of a section.

I started to lay out the dryer sheets on the top of the shaded muslin that I had painted earlier. I found that I had to tear the edges of the dryer sheets so that there would not be a straight line where the sheets covered each other or were on the top of the stack. As you can see in this picture I did cover some of the shaded gray areas so that the gray would show through in various sections. I also took the shreds of the dryer sheets that I had pulled off to make the edges ragged and just randomly placed them on the red sections. When I was pleased with the color and coverage of the dryer sheets, I sprinkled some BoNash powder under the sheets and fused everything down to the muslin. The dryer sheets are so sheer that I didn't need to put it beween each layer.
Then I got brave and decided to cut Mars out of the base fabric. After I cut out the circle, which has an approximate 12" diameter, I really got excited. I don't think there is anything better that having an idea turn out just the way you invisioned it. I've still got a little more work on the planet itself, and then I need to finish the rest of the piece, but here is my Mars! This has really been a fun challenge this month.

Here is a picture of Mars that I downloaded off the Hubble site, just so you can see what the original looks like.
For my friends that read my blog, that are interested in seeing the more prosaic projects I am working on and done this past year, I'm going to start another blog, with just regular projects. You can find this blog at

Thursday, February 7, 2008

February TIF Challenge

We have quite a challenge this month. The challenge is on Sharon B's website if you want to read the whole thing.

Otherwise she summarized the whole thing below.

"So this month stop and think what are you old enough to remember. You do not have to declare your age - but simply what you are old enough to remember."

The color pallet for this month is also shown.

My first thought was that this would be an easy challenge. So I started to list in my head what I remembered: Polio, a friend of my Dad's going off to Korea, the presidential campaign in 60 with talk of the Pope running the White House, the Bay of Pigs, air raid drills, assassination of JFK; Vietnam war and being stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Well, I decided that I didn't want to make a political statement with my memories, but those where the first memories that came to me. So what are some good memories, going to the 1964 worlds fair with my mother, the race to the moon, the first man in space, walking on the moon, I seem to remember that the possibilities of the future felt better than the present. I've always tried to live in the present, put the past where it belongs, and dream about the future.

So, I'm going to do something about space, I've always thought it would be wonderful to be able to go into space, take a vacation on the moon. The last few years Mars has caught my attention. OK, I'm going to do something that features Mars - I'm going to use some tyvek in my piece - that's something new, then I'm going to put in something old too!

Well, I've got to go paint some tyvek and fabric for this challenge, more later!

PS: I also made some postcards for the first time, for a Valentine Swap, I'll post them in the next day or two, as soon as I pull them off the camera.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Completed January TIF

I've finally finished my January TIF. As I was making the green fabric base, I kept thinking it looked like a forest clearing.

After the fabric I did some free motion embroidery over the entire piece, I used a variegated yellow, green, blue and red to add some color and movement to the piece.

Thing I added was the skeletonized leaves, I remembered the rule of odds and layed down 3 of them.

I took some odd and ends of things in my stash, different flowers, beads, fabrics, Angelina, ribbons, etc. and started playing. I had some of the thick Ricky Tim's Razzle Dazzle thread and did some bobbin work, in purple. I think I need more practice on the bobbin work and not use fabric that is quite so thick in spots.

I got tired of the bobbin work and took some of the copper Razzle Dazzle and laid it out on the top in a meandering pattern and then couched it with regular sized copper thread. Found some brown and pink velvet and metallic decorative ribbon and meandered a piece along the top left corner and the bottom right corner.

I had a leftover spiral of Angelina that I put in the bottom left corner, but it seemed to need something else, so I put some small fluffy red feathers on it to give it a vague appearance of a bird.

Still looked a little drab, so I found some stray silk flowers, took off all the plastic and filled the centers with glue and mini beads.

Straight borders didn't seem like they would fit an forest clearing so I randomly curved the sides to give the piece a more organic shape. I then took some fringe yard I had, lightly twisted 4 lengths together and couched it along the sides. I use a medium loft poly batting and a cotton backing. I whip stitched a small thin dowel across the back and used the leftover yarn to hand the piece up.

I had a great time doing this piece, I found that I would work for a while, and then have to stop and do something else, and let the piece sit on the design board. I'd stop and look and think and decide what to do, work on more of the piece and start the process all over again. This is just the process I wanted to start working on, all original. I had some mistakes along the way, but I was able to let them sit for a while and then change or delete them. Once I was sure that I had totally ruined the piece, but after a week, I found something else to do, and I think it all worked out well.

Thank you everyone that commented during the process. I would love to hear both positive and negatives and some suggestions, if you wish. I can't believe what wonderful work everyone has done this month. Now I'm going to make some postcards to exchange, I'm getting brave now!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

TIF Update 4

I've made my fabric, got it done last weekend, but got that bug that is going around so I never got it posted. I was pretty happy with it but you know how it is, something is just not right.

So I hung it up and started working on another project, staring at it every how and then. I really couldn't figure out what it needed, so I went to bed, thought about the next step and in the morning when I woke up, I went right into the studio......

And turned it upside down. Now it seems better to me, what do you think?

I'm going in to do some threadwork today, maybe some bobbin work, and see how it progresses. As you can see, I used some other scraps besides the green to add a little zing.

Thanks to everyone that has stopped by and left comments.

More later!

Friday, January 11, 2008

TIF Update 3

After I did my blog entry last night, I ran into the studio and sorted through all my batik and hand dyed scraps.
Here is what they looked like - these are the non-green colors I managed to sort.

And.. next are the green scraps I sorted.

Then I had to decide how big I was going to make this green fabric. I decided that I would use plain muslin for the foundation, and if I make it bigger than 20x20 I would have to lay it out on my cutting board, but we all know what happens when you apply heat to that cutting board. So then I thought I'd make it on my ironing board, but that would really limit the size. I realized that I had one of those combination portable cutting boards/ironing board that I use for traveling and it is about 16x20. I've decided to pin the muslin to the portable board over the parchment paper I layed down first and then start my design.
My design is going to be designed as I go along. I find it difficult to work this way, but very exhilarating when it works out. Well, I'm going in to play, and I'll let you see what happens, have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

TIF Update 2

Well, it's the 10th and I've decided that one of the qualities in the people I admire is creativity. I think being creative is taking a risk that you might fail in whatever you are attempting. So, I'm going to jump in with both feet.

I've been doing a lot of fusible applique using batiks. When I'm cutting out the shapes I put all the little scraps in a plastic bag, (its not my fault, I'm a Virgo, I have to do things like that). Now I have a very full bag of little scraps that I don't want to just throw away.

I'm going to sort those scraps by color and make a new fabric with the scraps. Then I'm going to embellish them and maybe even make a small landscape, I'll have to see after I sort them. I'll post a picture when I get them sorted, hopefully in the next day or so. I'm thinking I want to work with green first.

Off to sort!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Take it Further - January

We received our challenge for this month right on time. There is a choice of two options for each month.

The first option is a concept. This month the concept is admiration, who and what do you admire. Each participant that chooses the concept develops an idea and a design about admiration and then executes the design in a finished project by end of the month.

The second option is a color selection. This color selection for the month. Anyone that knows me knows that these are probably not colors I would select to use in something I do.

So....I've been mulling over ideas and I have yet to come up with an idea or project for either of these options. I've set myself a deadline of January 10th to come up with an idea and start designing what I want to do. I'm going to go into my stash and see if I can pull some fabrics that will work for the colors above. I think that will probably be the biggest challenge for me. I have decided that I won't be buying new fabric for any of the challenges I am in this year. Don't take that to mean that I won't buy fabric, just that I won't buy fabric for the TIF challenges.

Well back to finishing projects, more later.

New Year - Bigger and Better than last

Happy New Year, I know this will be a better year than the last and I'm envisioning great things.

It has been a productive year already. In order to get anything done in my studio, I need to straighten it up, and in order to do that, I have to finish the projects that are laying around, so I've been busy every day, I have a flannel shirt, shower curtain and a new shirt (christmas present) for my husband, Len, and then a quilt top that has to be put together and sent off to the quilter. Its a queen size BOM that I have worked on, on and off for the last two years. I want to see how this new-to-me long arm quilter does.
I did get my 8 coats made for the KOATS for Kids this year and the pictures are posted at the top of this post.

I would to get more UFO's finished this year, and I will try and post as I get things done.