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.