Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mermaid CQ & Pretty Flowers

I have been stitching on Jody's Mermaid block this weekend. Here a little turtle (button actually) is swimming in a funky bit of seaweed! The little beads at the bottom (can barely see them, I know) are wood. I love doing this kind of curly free stitching. I used 3 different threads for variety.

I made some more faces from polymer clay after being inspired in Colleen's class. I knew Jody would appreciate the different medium being used on her piece. I had made one from a blue-green polymer but thought it looked too artificial for the undersea theme so I've used white. Jody's thought was it would represent a goodness watching over the pretty mermaid! I'll go with that. The delica and small tube beads were bought in New Hampshire on our retreat. I still have more beading to do..I want to sew some in a radiating form around the whole thing now.

Here is a close-up a a fish I beaded over one of Nicki's dyed lace bits. I cut the little guy from a larger piece of lace...just looked at it and saw the possibility of a fish! The sequins are supposed to look like fish bubbles.

I would say I am almost done with Jody's block and will mail to Nicki soon. I loved working on this Jody!

I visited my friend Anne today and took a few pictures of her gorgeous flowers.

Her orchids were truly spectacular and all her peonies were in beautiful bloom. She shared a few cuttings of different flowers with me...they are already in the ground acclimating in my garden! Thanks Anne!

Holy COLD today. I am not a summer lover...the humidity, the sweat, no air conditioning. But wind chill that felt like 40 today, yuck. But at least it isn't it did today in Vermontville, NY...son's girlfriend lives there...Whiteface Mountain in her backyard, but SNOW?!!

I picked up Buffalo Lockjaw at the library. I heard an interview with the author on the radio and was interested. I like to read a book that mentions places and history that are known to you personally. I started it last night and so far so good. Another book I really liked alot is City of Light. It also takes place in Niagara Falls/Buffalo area at the turn of the last century. I would read that book again and I don't say that lightly since there are SO many books to read!

Today I learned:

  1. Ants are not needed to bloom a peony. Not sure why I thought that...someone must have told me that

  2. Packed a "Box of Possibilities" to mail to Colleen. We have similar creative interests and have challenged each other to think and create in that vein. We collected bits and pieces and fabrics to be considered for use in a piece we will make for the other. I am really excited about this...I know what I come up with she will like and vice versa.

  3. Weeds are pretty too.....I love the little twisty tendrils surrounding the tiny green buds on this vine that always waps my face when I am mowing!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sheer WIne Glass Quilt

In my earlier post I showed this piece on white background. I am not really "white" so I came home and found this 90's crushed velvet dress from SALLY ANN'S. After ironing on some tricot interfacing to compensate for the stretchy fabric, I cut the wine glass off the white and fused to the wine colored background. I love it now. If you look closely at the pictures you can make out all the payers of sheer fabrics that comprise each part of the wine glass. Now I need to to add stitching to it. Maybe thread paint or free motion quilting...not sure yet.

This little arty bit is some of the stringy stuff that we cut off our fused fabric at the Esterita workshop for the cave wall piece. They are gorgeous batiks and I collected them from a few friends. It was very Zen-like pressing these onto background and seeing something interesting come out of it. I cut some of them into 1" squares that are lying on top. I could call this an art quilt!

I really like this picture of over-abundant dandelion! I am taking a class from Jane Sassaman at a quilt show in Rochester at R.I.T. June 6. She wants us to bring pictures of ordinary things.

Today I Learned:
  1. About Fracking. Very interesting.
  2. So You Think You Can Dance is on tonight. Good. Entertaining. Fun.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tami's CQ Bag...and a List!

I had a great 5 day hiatus from the demands of the 8 hour workday! I did sit down yesterday to try to use my new Textile paints on my cavern piece from Esterita's workshop. I don't know what I did wrong but my lights are not light enough. I will have to ask some that did paint and get back to it.

I want to show you this CQ bag my friend Tami made. I got to see it close up at the retreat and it is just beautiful. I love her choice of fabric and colors and the added fringed edges. She hand dyed the ribbon ("junky Walmart ribbon") and made the folded rose flower on the front flap. This was one of the things Tami showed me how to make and I have plans to use it on a special block I am working on.

Isn't it gorgeous!?

Her work is beautiful. I thought she said the heart on the back was made by Nicki...can't remember...

I just love the entire process of crazy quilting. I love planning the block, choosing the fabrics and colors and then searching and researching all the great block altering stitching and motifs that make the plain block interesting. The possibilities are can be traditional or arty. I like both. I wanted to highlight Tami's work and show that you can use it to make something for everyday use.

When I was little I loved to make things. I would pour over the few books my mom had from joining book clubs. I still love those old 70's needlework/craft books. I recently checked out of my library, an Erica Wilson Embroidery book. If you look at all those old books and discount the awful color trends of the day, you can take alot of ideas for your present work. The 70's in particular were very new, fresh with creativity. Try looking at a few old craft books and see if you can find ways to incorporate idea's into your current work!

I have so many things I want to get to:

  1. Finish my art quilt from Ellen Lindner's online class.
  2. Finish the wine glass piece from my Esterita Austin workshop. I want to thread paint on it...may grapes and some verbiage.
  3. Jody's Mermaid CQ RR
  4. Lin's CQ block for swap
  5. Rumbleford Bag from upholstery fabric I just had to have
  6. Packing up fabrics and assorted bits to mail to Colleen for a more adventurous exchange. A mixed media challenge that will really be fun
  7. Knit my sleeves on my lemongrass sweater
  8. Paint kitchen...bought the paint...finally
  9. Paint the cavern block from workshop and quilt it
  10. Pink & White string quilt...stitch baby info for Lisa on it and of course....quilt it and finish
  11. Keep pasting into my little idea from magazines etc
  12. Gather supplies and images for Jane Sassaman class in 2 weeks
  13. Trace my 8"x10" pic of my house onto acetate and enlarge for online class. I will be making a portrait of my home in fabric
  14. Make necklace from one of the polymer clay tiles I made with a stamp

And really that is just a small sampling of all the other things I have begun either actually or in theory!

I make lists.....lots of them. In notebooks (numerous simultaneously since I have trouble keeping track of them!). I have done this for years. I love to find old ones and look through them. I find some cool things...sketches of ideas...sketches of things I have been inspired by. Lists of things to be done-an all encompassing list that I update once a month-ish. Lists of things to accomplish on a weekend day. Lists of projects, immediate and long range. I love lists because I get a real charge out of crossing something off! I have even been known to write a thing on my list (that should have been on it of course) just to cross it off. I know this has psychological implications that would be telling of my personality.

I learned today:

  1. A flat of annuals is going for $20. No annuals for me. Less work too!
  2. Melissa & I found Vogue patterns we liked for me, mother of the bride and her, Bride. I think both were Donna Karan. We have lots of time however....October 2011 is the target date.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Esterita Austin...Excellent Workshops!!

WoW! My workshops the last 2 days have been exciting and inspiring! I loved them both. Esterita is a former middle school art teacher in Long Island. She is a talented woman! That is her pictured with the portrait she did of her cousin and one many would recognize as it has been in one of the major publications. It is stunning. The hair was done in BATIKS and the beret is a dyed velvet. She also paints on her pieces, something she showed us how to do on the 2nd day.

The 1st day was a class called "Sheers to You". We were given a pattern and some sheers. I had a little trouble understanding her method of transferring pattern but I worked out a system that worked for me...very free form, very intuitive which is just right for me! I LOVE how it came out. I had a BLAST doing it. It looks better already since when I came home today I cut it off the white cotton background and fused it to a Sally Ann dress! A stretchy velvet I fused tricot fusible interfacing to. I will get a picture tomorrow. It looks pretty good on the new burgundy base. I want to machine quilt in a variegated thread now.

The 2nd day was more structured, with a pattern and rules. This was definitely more challenging for me! I want to learn though because I love what knowing this can do for a piece. Trying to achieve depth with value is a challenge for me. I did not succeed. BUT Esterita showed us how to enhance that issue with paint. She actually started to paint on mine but I don't have a shot of that. I want to continue what she started and then post a picture. even though this was so challenging for me I thoroughly enjoyed this class

Debbie used 1 piece of fabric for hers and I see why Esterita advises using 1 fabric with many HIGHS & LOWS of color in them. I love this one
Florine came back to see us (she moved to the Finger Lakes region) and she "got it". This is beautiful and hope we get to see the finished proMelanie really took a chance when she signed up for this class!! She is the girl that wants to see the entire vision before she begins. A true type A!! She did GREAT! I love hers! She is gong to thread paint hers instead of acrylic paint. This could be the start of something new!

This is a portrait in progress by one of her students, Pat McDonald. It is so good. I would love to try this.

I look forward to tomorrow's trunk show & lecture by Esterita.

Today I learned:
  1. How to add paint to fabric pieces and really make a difference in the values. I need practice though!
  2. About Misty it
  3. Love layering sheers for effect
  4. Save fusey scraps.....will show you later
  5. I want to go to Tuscany, Italy to the annual Esterita Austin week-long workshop. I would take a loan out to do this! I am going to hatch a plan!
  6. Karyssa (son's GF) makes the best, from scratch, including crust, APPLE PIE!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shadow Applique & a Fun Creative Weekend Planned

I love this little block. Kathy gave a trunk show for us at retreat on Shadow Applique. We were all impressed with the versatility of this process and it's really easy! Over the fused heart is sheer organza and embroidery around edges..I know Denise was going to work on a few blocks...wonder if she has?

Kathy also generously shared this pattern of a Fairie. It is a really pretty pattern.

My quilt guild procured Esterita Austin! I have all day workshops for the next 2 days. Vacation days well spent. I will take pictures and tell all about them this weekend. Laura Wasilowski is at a neighboring guild and we hope to make it to a lecture by her tomorrow night. I love when you get the chance to learn from a national teacher/author. So as you can see I have a very CREATIVE weekend planned!! I WILL be happy.

I learned today:

  1. My house will never be clean and I really am okay with that
  2. Adam Sandler has a new movie...I know but I think he is funny. He's kind of nostalgic
  3. Chris Allen won American Idol!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Weekend!

I work for the weekend.

I work. Full time. 30 years.

I continually have high hopes for the weekend.

I am never disappointed.

I learned today:

  1. Made my 1st huger car payment today. BUT it's only $65 more than the awfully uncomfortable riding Jeep Liberty. Worth it...Love my Trailblazer.

  2. What? Izzy & George?? Good finale.

  3. Call 1-888-382-1222 Do Not Call List to remove your soon to be released cell phone number from telemarketing lists.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CQ French Knot Tree

My friend Ely saw this really great little tree on a CQ block and wished out LOUD for one. I offered to do one for her, she gave me a block she was working on. I wish I knew who did this one the silk ribbon trunk.

I made this one for her.Ely is very happy with it. I love making French Knots. I taught myself to do them when I was 11, with a picture! I have made thousands of them in my lifetime! The variegated threads are a key to making this look so interesting.

I am very very tired tonight.

I learned today:

  1. Daughter got 4.0 in both grad classes and son on Dean's List! Proud of them both!
  2. Gas is over $2.40 here. Why? Memorial Day...Summer vacation. Greed.
  3. Danny Gokey is out on American Idol. I liked him from the beginning, cool voice. I don't like Adam Lambert at all. I guess I want Chris to win now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Great Mother's Day in the Zone

I have had a perfectly slow creative day. Melissa wore her "I love mom" t-shirt, an annual occurrence. Somehow I just can't see Michael in one of these! But that would make a great picture!

The 1st thing I worked on this Mother's Day weekend, was a french knot tree for my friend Ely. It measures 4.5"x3.5". I love doing french knots so this was a pleasure.

I also spent time stitching on Jody's Mermaid block. I started in the lower corner using a chiffon scarf from Sally Ann's-tacking it down in a wrinkly way. Gathered novelty ribbon yarn was sewn down, along with SRE'd fly stitches to imitate seaweed. While looking through some of my dyed lace from Nicki, I found one that could look like a fish if cut up just right! I used some matte multi colored seed beads that I got in Manchester to fill in their bodies.

I'm not done with it yet though. I have more seaweed to add and more beading to do. The center medallion is a great print on fabric. When Carolyn worked on it she put her professional painting skills into that gorgeous tail. If you look closely, Jody's center piece is an oval and the flippy part of the tail was cut off. Carolyn finished it as well as making the mermaid beautiful...a little make-up does wonders!

A lot of us were really inspired by the class we took at retreat from Colleen on polymer clay faces. I made a few more of them today and then hauled out some stamps. In this book they show a charm made from polymer clay using a stamp impression. I have a cool swirly stamp I pushed into the clay and those came out really COOL! I haven't stained them yet but when I do I will post a picture.

And a little knitting...I bound off the main part of the sweater. I need to find size 17 double-pointed needles for the sleeves. It is going to be so big & comfy when it's done!

Today I learned:

  1. Luke & Lorelie were back together again by the end of season 5...YAY!
  2. I laugh really hard at Funny Video's where people could have suffered potential harm!
  3. I love my new sewing basket. Alot. Thanks Mi
  4. The new Adriana Trigiani book is not very good. I am over 3/4 finished and am still waiting for the climax. I loved her Big Stone Gap series though.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Few Things from My Retreat

Isn't this bag cool? I love it. Charlyn showed up at the retreat with this! She hosted an INCHIE swap a while ago and I had no idea what to do with all mine. This is a great presentation. Here are a couple I found that I had made.

I learned to make Dorset Buttons for another online swap I participated in and decided to make an inchie with one. The blue on it are little blue beads.
I also made this one. I really liked them...I love anything with words on it. Sewed novelty yarn to the edges to make it a bit more FUNKY!
My answer to the novelty cow FQ we got as a challenge were these BOOTIES. I lined them with red felted wool and fussy cut them so they would match. I gave them to Nicki since as of last night she is NANA to twins....a boy and a girl!

Remember the MERMAID CQ RR I mentioned I am doing with a few creative souls? All of us were lucky enough to meet up in Manchester and we revealed our 1st round. This is Nicki's gorgeous beading on my block...the entire tale and bandeau are covered in beads.
I really love what Jody did on this block. She used invisible thread to sew down a silky fiber. It could only have been made better by the pink flowers she added. Great work.
Thearica's block is awesome and Kathy's work is spectacular. She had a vision and executed perfectly. Note the detail on the next pic!

I have decided this is MOTHER'S DAY WEEKEND and am taking alot of time to do what I want! If your a mother, you should too! So I am stitching, shopping, buying, blogging, facebooking (yes, I said facebooking...I succumbed to the allure thanks to my retreat friends much to the chagrin of my son...never say never!) and stitching some more.

I am working on:

  1. French knot tree for Ely on a CQ block
  2. Jody's mermaid piece
  3. Art quilt lesson 3
  4. lemongrass green sweater..knit
  5. Polymer clay faces

Today I learned:

  1. I am a facebooker, there I said it!
  2. Lorelie and Luke just broke up....season 5 Gilmore Girls in the DVD player.
  3. Dinner at Center Street Grill.....yummy...thanks Melissa and Cory! Mom's Day gift..I requested today since tomorrow I want to be in the creativity zone all day as my present! I know, kind of anti-mom, but they GET me, so it's ok.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Art Quilt Progress

I am taking this online class from Ellen Lindner. I love her process. At this point it is just tacked using Wonder Under. The picture is after Lesson 1.

This is Lesson 2. You choose an accent color and highlight the obvious. After posting my piece, Ellen advised to have fewer ACCENTS and make the remaining ones skinny & postage stamp size. I am definitely going to do that. I even find using the digital camera to look at your piece gives you a better overview of the quilt. Will get back to it this weekend. Lesson 3 is machine quilting it. Ellen gives pointers on that. I would recommend checking out her online classes. She is very attentive to her students and offers advice & praise. I like to see what everyone else comes up with too.

Today I learned:

  1. Plural of Cul-de-sac is Culs-de-sac.
  2. How to plan and execute an applique pattern. Now to learn to applique.
  3. I am proud owner of a one of a kind Fiber Art Collage. I will post it when I recieve it.
  4. My son has a SUMMER job!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Where DID it go?

I spent over an hour composing an amusing post and don't know what I did but.......POOF! Lost to me & you. Checked the "Edit Posts" section and not there either. I will try again now...

I know the pics are a little dark..SORRY. I made this cute little thing for the COF (Circle of Friends) retreat last year in Houston as my handmade swap gift. It is a THIMBLE HOLDER I found in INSPIRATIONS magazine. (published in England and hard to find here unfortunately) Made from wool felt and stitched with little flowers and bees and a little disc bead as a closure. I LOVED making it. At my retreat, Shawn made sure to show me she uses it all the time and that makes me happy!

Today I am working on an online ART QUILT CLASS from Ellen Lindner using hand-dyed fabric I bought from Ronnie. The fabric is GORGEOUS! I finished lesson 1 and like the layout so far. Will post pic later.

Finishing up the WAVE I have been stitching on Carolyn's Mermaid CQ RR block and will move on to my friend, Jody's awesome block. I love learning new things and these POLYMER clay faces were taught to us at my retreat in NH by Colleen. This class was so much fun and it is so easy! Colleen was great! She is a textile artist from Alexandria, Nebraska. These are a few of her truly CREATIVE pieces.

This is her signature necklace "MOONGUY". It is a special piece since her son helped her make the face.
Here is another really cool necklace. I LOVE this one.

AND this is so unique. Can you tell I LOVE her work...her design style is exciting! If you are interested in seeing more from her email at I hope to do some exchanging & sharing with her in the near future.

Back to my art-quilt-in-progress!