Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fran Skiles Class Work....thanks Karen, for Sharing!

My friend Karen, took a class this past summer at QBL, from Fran Skiles. I was actually wait listed for this class and obviously no one backed out, because I missed this awesome-ness. Karen brought these to our last guild meeting to show me. They are her class projects, and they are really great. I absolutely love every one she made. Fran Skiles has her students work on many pieces at one time, giving them directives daily. Doing things this way ensures you make design decisions as you go, as opposed to knowing the outcome from the beginning. I work that way already. I am not good at seeing the whole picture. 

These are all completed on gesso covered canvas. Collaged, transferred imagery, added fabrics etc.
More color added to this one.
Karen was not happy with this one. I think it's cool. Melissa liked this one.
This one is really cool. She said she had never done collage before and was not comfortable with the concept.  Well, she certainly did a good job on all of these. I am even more disappointed to have missed this opportunity to work in Fran Skiles' class. And , she is not teaching next year at QBL. Darn.
I was so inspired by these artworks that I came home, dug out a large canvas from the closet, covered it in a layer of gesso and found at least 3 black and white photos I would like to incorporate into a collage like this! So when I have a few minutes, I will begin.

I got my first block in the HGTV F8 block swap from Mary. This is the swap where we all sent a fat eighth of fabric to each participant and they add fabrics to yours and make a 12" block.

My fabric choice is the robins egg blue floral. It is my favorite shade of blue. I encouraged them each to add a graphic print like a stripe or check and love that Mary used the plaid. I can't wait to see the blocks that are made from this beautiful fabric!
I have made 8 blocks so far. I have finally gotten the paper piecing down on my chosen pattern. What makes me want to continue making them is seeing how all my fabric combinations turn out in a block. Once they are received by new owners, I will be able to post pics of them.

My CQ Challenge block is finished, pics emailed to Nicki. Next week she can post the pics and people vote. There is actually monetary prizes. How cool would that be!?

My friend Elaine, is putting together an art show at her church this November. She has enlisted some of us to contribute a piece or two! We can sell or not. Jen, Micheal's girlfriend is an artist...a painter. She will be showing. I am not sure what I will do for this. Have to take a look at some things, decide if anything fits the show. I do have ideas however! Always have ideas...

I have learned:

  1. Camera lessons on this blog. Great info. 
  2. CSI:NY season premiere, excellent. Check it our OnDemand. Very touching remembrance of 9-11. 
  3. Ben & Jerry's has named a new flavor of ice cream....Swheddy Balls. Eww.
  4. Ray Lamontagne....Let it be Me. So nice. 
  5. Melissa has taken in a little 5 year old pup. JJ is 5 and a mix of Chihuahua and some sort of terrier. One of those specialty mixes. He is precious. We continue rescuing pets!  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Portrait Quilt in Progress

What a great workshop Marylee taught after our monthly guild meeting yesterday! She covered her process of building a picture into a quilt in our program beforehand, so the group that stayed were really ready to begin the project.
This is a pixelated blow up of my sister, Noni. Her proper name in Noreen. She is 15 months younger than me. She is about 3 here. On the right is my in-process, in a monochromatic colorway. I have four fabrics, 3 are laid down here. A light,medium light, medium and dark.  You also see the drawing/pattern on clear vinyl over the top. This is used as a placement guide, much like some people do for applique. When all the bits are finally in the correct position, since she has warned us that a very marginal misplaced piece can skew the entire piece, we will fuse them in place. Marylee had us start our first foray into picture quilting, with a monochromatic color palette, because it is more forgiving than flesh tones. I have to say I love it! I love the whole process. Can't wait to have time to get back to this. It does require concentration.

Beth is doing the Hanson's! First I love that she is making hers in shades of orange, but her line drawing looks pretty cool! Can't wait to see it finished.
Cynda had a great picture of her puppy! Look at that line drawing! This will be really great when it is done.
Marylee made this quilt for our chocolate challenge last year. It was my favorite. I believe she calls this "More Chocolate Cake Momma" . Its her son.
Everyone totally absorbed in the task at hand. Fun day with friends!

Michael's football game was in Rochester at Sahlens  Sport Park last night. They play University of Rochester in the annual Courage Bowl which benefits Camp Good Days. A just cause. After the familiar football roller coaster this week (will he start, will he play, is his shoulder re-injured, is his knee holding up, is his hip not aching) he did start and play three quarters until the next string went in since Fisher was winning 52-3. They won. Good game.

After final tweaking in my altered book for the RR with Melissa, Jody and her mom, I am ready to mail to Jody. Here are pics of the final product. Searching for all the bits, deciding what to add next is what makes doing these books exciting at every junction. I will be working on Melissa's book next.

Final front cover.
Inside cover and facing page. I made a transfer of a Batavia map with packing tape. (regular clear packing tape, a  copy of your image, burnish well, soak in warm water til you can rub off all paper pulp on tape and voile) The "x" silver brad marks where I live. On the facing page I recycled a vellum envelope with my address on it by stitching it down to a scrapbook bit with some bandage gauze in between.
Final second page layout...I glued the pull down, altered file folder to the far left. Adding silver stamping, black oil pastel and silver and gold gel pen accents.
The pull down says..."be patient" aunt molly said. My Aunt Molly, actually my father's aunt, was the most influential woman in my life. She preached patience to Noni and I as children. I do possess patience. Most of the time. 

I actually emptied three boxes of fabric and put them in a cubby in my someday-soon studio upstairs! The task of getting it all together up there is daunting!  I obviously have to purge. Which is hurdle number one. I do love my stuff! But I found I love some things far less now than when I acquired them. Batiks anyone?

Watching the Emmy's right now. Some funny moments. The opening number was pretty amusing. Even when I was a kid I loved to watch award shows to see what people were wearing. Some of these women are so thin however, bones showing all over, that nothing they put on looks good. Someone should tell them. 
Charlie Sheen's appearance was weird. He's just creepy. 
I am just about ready for bed however, and will see all the interesting highlights on ET tomorrow evening!
A guilty pleasure since it started 30 years ago. Melissa remembers their theme song as a bedtime serenade!

This week brings me 40 hours of hard work, a podiatrist appointment and a good chance of a third painful shot in my plantar fascitis, dinner with a group of old work friends and many undiscovered adventures I am sure!

I have learned:

  1. The New Girl looks promising as a new favorite comedy. 
  2. Will actually watch Two and a Half Men this week. I didn't watch because Charlie Sheen is gross.
  3. Paper piecing should be less frustrating. I love the sharp points though. Worth the effort. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

PC's and Thoughts on the Day.

As I was going through my box of PC's (Postcards) I came across my own samples that I sent out in swaps a few years ago. This is one of my favorites! The orange background is cotton velvet, with wall sticker butterfly wings from the dollar store, cool discounted upholstery fabric (the house), charms and Scrabble tiles I drilled with a teeny tiny bit and sewed down. I loved making these.
This one uses the same orange cotton velvet in a Halloween theme. Notice all the seed stitching, by hand, in the background. I needle felted the ghost image.
Needle felted flower with beads. The background is a felted wool sweater.

I haven't made a PC in a while. Michael's GF, Jen, asked for idea's for a presentation in her Master's class at Buff State. I thought a PC would make a great project. I really enjoyed going through all the PC's I received in past swaps. When I get them all back I will post some of my favorites. I have one from Ireland, Ukraine and Norway. I love seeing the PO stamps on the reverse side.

Michael started in his season opener at St John Fisher, last night! They won, 12-7, against Buffalo State, Melissa's Alma mater. Good game. Great night for a football game!

This day cannot go by without mentioning 9-11-01. It was an awful day. I was at work. While in the front office, talking with the girls, I could tell by the tone of the person talking on the muffled radio, that something was happening. I asked Bonnie to turn the radio up. That was just after 9 AM. At that time we thought it was a terrible accident. As I was getting my truck ready to leave for the day, my boss, Charlie, came out to the garage saying "What the hell is going on? The second Trade Center building has just been hit." We knew then it was no accident.
All day we listened to reports on our radio's...a live account of each tower as it the reports of a plane hitting the Pentagon and finally the crash of a suspected terror-led plane in Pennsylvania. At this time I did not have any visuals, That shock came later.
No planes flying above us as the ban on air travel enforced.
Reports of all that death.
My kids were 18 and 12. They had no idea how life changing this day would be. No one could know then, how this would impact every day, from then on.
I couldn't watch much of the footage. It was too disturbing. I didn't want Michael and Melissa to pick up on my grave concern,.
Recently, I clicked on a youtube video recording of that day.
People were in those towers. Firefighters were in those towers.
Some of whom can be seen jumping.
Then the buildings crumble, like a well orchestrated implode. Unbelievable. Truly.
Brought tears.
All those innocent lives.
All of our lives forever changed.
Ten years ago.
My mother died in November of 2002. I remember thinking, distinctly, that she was fortunate to NOT know what was coming. I really did.
My son, Michael, has enlisted in the US Army. He is a college graduate. He feels compelled to serve. I know the last ten years have played a roll in his decision. Subliminally.
Everything changed that day.
Destiny changed.
Some would believe not.... Armageddon and all.
I do offer a prayer for all families affected.
Not that it changes anything.
I wish for peace.
I have spent hours this week working on my altered book for the little RR with Jody, her mom, and Melissa. I  am working on a childhood memory theme. Hours literally flew by today as I played with paper and glue! I just love this mixed media of altered books. I will get pics when my covers and pages are complete. I am at almost stage right now!

My F8's (fat eighths) have been mailed to the other 17 participants of the HGTV block swap that Shey runs.
I have not done this before, but love the blocks made for it in the past. We all will make a 12.5" block using the F8 and fabrics from our stash. I have received 2 so far. I need to find some great blocks now.

My CQ challenge block, for Nicki's contest, is almost finished! I have a little more beading to do. I need to find the beads again! I hate when that happens! Pics due on the 22nd.

Also, I have been making progress on the little box challenge Colleen and I started 2 years ago! She finished and mailed mine to me a few weeks ago. I have vowed to not open the box until I have finished and mailed her piece to her. We acknowledged our similar style and exchanged bits with each other. We could do anything we wanted. I started her piece right away. Only recently have I picked it up again and competed the first step in the process.
I have more work to do!

I worked for days on these pages in Melissa's book. She had already torn the pages to form pockets, with the help of a couple of stitched lines, I made them a reality! I made many tags with ribbon and thread embellishments to tuck into the pockets. I used old game cards, stationary from dollar store, scrapbooking bits, and chipboard. I do not ever feel finished with these pages.

Great weekend!

I have learned:

  1. Suits on USA. Excellent show. Smart and amusing. OnDemand for now. 
  2. Gloria Vanderbilt is Anderson Coopers mother. 
  3. The Help is a very good movie in keeping with the book. Kathryne Stockett's childhood friend wrote the screenplay and directed. 
  4. Love Edward Burns' voice. Like his face too. Audio books?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not Enough Time.....

I have been busy working on a CQ block challenge, but can't share pics of it yet! I love it. It is Nicki's challenge..we have to use the bits included in a little kit. It was a challenge and I have loved it! I have a few more beads to get down and a spider to make! It is due September 15th.

No sewing at all lately. I have been wrapped up with work and cat's vet appointments or kid things....or niece and nephew things too, as Ian was here Friday and Saturday and Darcy on Sunday!
Michael had a football scrimmage at Morrisville Saturday. It would have been a far less stressful drive on the NYS Thruway if I hadn't had to backtrack 30 miles and covertly key my way into the football locker room at St John Fisher! Yes, my son calls when he is 5 minutes from Morrisville, confirming he had forgotten his cleats in his locker. At school. In Rochester. I got them. Back on the road, with the caravans of lift trucks heading east to assist with Hurricane Irene's electricity outages and the  NY State Fair traffic in Syracuse. It would only have been made worse if there was torrential downpours. I definitely had my Traffic-bitch face on! I know Ian can handle it, my sister is not far from this also, but Michael's GF, Jen, may have had a little shock!

I know the next 2 months will be this crazy, since there are football games to get to. It is Michael's last year. Not sure Maryland and Massachusetts is in the cards however. I am feeling more worry this season, since his health and well being are made more important with his obligation to the Army come February. February 7th to be exact. That is the day he leaves for boot camp in Oklahoma.

Fiona's maiden voyage to the vet came today after work. She mewed all the way there....and hissed as the Vet gave her a shot. She is so precious. Here is a cute pic of my fluffy baby. I love how she has to be in my the room I am in....near me.
Animals provide so much love and companionship. Yes, I am a cat-lady!

I hope to have something interesting to share in the near future. But if I don't, I have interesting maternal interactions to share for sure! I am a mom first and foremost!

I have learned:

  1. Ombre is cool. Project Runway has a little commercial showing some garments made with ombre fabrics. I remember my first exposure to ombre, in 9th grade. I made a blue ombre skirt and tube top, with a lace fabric jacket that tied with ribbon, for my Moving Up Day Dance. In retrospect,  I am a bit troubled by the fact that the ombre fabric was polyester, but I only had a Singer store and Woolworth's store to purchase any fabric at in my area! I truly loved the ensemble. I actually went to this dance with Chuck, my kids' father. 1976. 
  2. Michael bench pressed 225 lb. 23 x's. 2nd best on the team. 
  3. Flummoxed. Good word.  
  4. Windham fabrics has a Gees Bend line.
  5. Isadora Duncan died by strangling on her silk scarf as it became entwined in the tire of the sports car she was riding in. When I Googled her, I came across alot of information and am intrigued by her life in the early 1900's. 
  6. Melissa is happy and getting on with her life. School starts next week. She has been readying her new classroom.
  7. My "Slipping Away" quilt, for the AAQI initiative, is going to the quilt show in Houston, along with 1499 other quilts. #7683