Saturday, September 24, 2016

when ripping out is progress forward

 you may remember a couple of blog posts ago that I talked about this necklace that I had been working on

I had spent quite a few hours working on it, and I liked the general design, but the more I worked on it the more it began to "cup", until it became very clear that it would never lay flat

which meant it would never be a really "show quality" piece
so earlier this week I took it all apart

everything except the bezels around the stones was removed and I started over

which meant I could keep the parts of the design that I liked best and even improve on them -- like that basket weave look there around the center stone

I have a couple more rows of beading to do on each side and I'll be putting the round stones back on

liking the way this looks even better -- and YES, it will lay flat

and this piece got finished and listed in my Etsy store -- for the first time I can remember, my piece was the first one entered in one of these online challenges

I especially like the eyes on the cat!

progress on this piece has been slow

as I was saying in my last post, after I painted the back deck, I was in a lot of pain

almost 3 weeks later, I'm still hurting, and my doctor has not been able to figure out what the issue is

so I haven't done much work at the design wall

but earlier this week I got back to it -- I'm really pleased with the way it is going now -- the bottom left corner is complete, so I'm on the home stretch!

the quilting on this got delayed too, but I have now finished all of the field parts

next up the rest of the fence then the road

it's coming along!

when I posted the last time I had just begun stitching on this piece, and that blue edge there right beneath the blades is actually the horizon on this piece, which means everything below that will need to be something that is either the wood frame holding up the windmill or drying grasses

so before I headed out to the local fairgrounds for the big Colorado Quilt Council's annual show yesterday, I told the DH that we were on the lookout for "dry grass"

I came home with a nice variety of patterning and color to use on this --

Yippee -- the work can continue!

time to get to it

Sunday, September 11, 2016

getting ready for winter -- it's a pain

this is our back deck

it's big, and it was one of the things we liked about the house when we first looked at it

but it has a down side

if you want these things to last, they need maintenance

which means an annual coat of stain/sealer needs to be applied to the decking and the top of the rails to protect the wood

and it needs to be down before the wet of winter starts

this week I did that coat of paint -- breaking it up into two work days -- one for most of the floor and one for the rest, and I finished it yesterday

let me tell you, this work is not for the weak

my arms and shoulders are so sore I could barely dress myself this morning -- YIKES!

it looks beautiful, but it's going to take me a while to recover

of course painting the deck as not my only activity this week

since the rusting project went so well a couple of weeks ago, I decided I could handle dyeing some silk organza for the fire piece

I took the piece of silk I wanted to dye and crumpled it up in a gallon zip bag then added white vinegar and some pewter colored dye powder and zipped it up

the next morning, all of the dye had been absorbed by the silk and I could wash it out to reveal the very interesting random patterning of the dye on the silk

including some spots that have a very pink overtone

I think it's going to be the perfect top layer over the fire piece!!

time to make up that fiber sandwich and start quilting

just as soon as I finish quilting this one 

I've finished the sky and the mountain and I'm working my want across the field and the fence

moving right along!

this piece is coming along nicely too

I really love the way the sky and mountain background came out

the big blank spot on the side of the big building is there because I'm working on how to create the reflection I need to have there without it being too bright

still thinking about that part

and work has begun on the next piece

the windmill has been through several design changes, but I finally settled on something that I like

the part that is being stitched in this photo is the top left corner of the sky

then there is this

one of the online bead groups I belong to has a challenge running that is titled "Shadow and Shade"

I thought it would be fun to create a cuff bracelet that was silhouettes of cats and pumpkins with shadows behind them

it's getting pretty close to finished

then I'll go back to the other piece

the garden is finally started to produce some edible tomatoes

the San Marzano tomatoes are starting to ripen --- and there are some Early Girl and Cherokee Blacks that are a good size for Fried Green Tomatoes!


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Summer's over -- back to serious work

I know, the calendar says fall begins on September 22, but Labor Day has always felt like the end of summer

time to go back to school -- which always meant new pencils, notebooks -- and CRAYONS!!  -- I do love me a really big box of crayons -- or pencils, or markers, or beads or new spools of thread -- guess it's all about the color

at any rate, this time of year has me thinking about those final projects that need to be done around the house before the weather gets nasty and getting Christmas presents done along with the other art projects that are on going in my studio

on Saturday of our long holiday weekend, my daughter came and got us and we all went off to the fabric store

there's not one of those in our little hamlet just now as the Hancock's store is gone - so we have to drive about 20 minutes to one

this is the annual journey we make to get the fabric for the all important Halloween costume for Mr Cute -- this year I'm making a Captain America costume, which will be fun

along with that fabric, Mr Cute picked out fabric for a new pillow case -- with farm equipment on it of course!  and his mom picked out fabric for a new pillow case for her DH --

these took me about 20 minutes to put together after we ran the fabric through the washer and dryer

so some utilitarian sewing complete -- I'll be working on that costume soon -- and making me some blouses (I picked up some very colorful fabric for that too)

the quilting on the background for the truck is moving right along

I finished the sky and the mountain, and now I've started on the field and the fence

I really like the way this piece is coming out -- it's one of those "did I do that?" moments

and I'm thinking about how I will quilt that road so it looks like parched earth

work on this piece is continuing

after fiddling with the small sample piece long enough to work out the details, I'm pleased with how this is going so far

and this piece is ready for the layering and quilting

but first I need to dye a piece of silk organza gray to be the top layer --

the bead work on this piece is progressing too -- there has been quite a bit of "put it in, take it out" on this as I am working with bugle beads, rectangular beads and square beads and those don't go around curves the same way a row of seed beads does

I think it's going to be a very cool piece in the end

time to get to work!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

an A in chemistry, an F in design, and E for effort

so I didn't get to this blog at my usual time in the week on Sunday as I was off visiting with my grandchildren and my great grandchildren --

and I didn't get here on Monday because I was doing laundry and making a trip to Costco --

and I didn't get here on Tuesday because after I ran some errands I went to my studio instead

so here we are on Wednesday, and I have to play catch up with what I've been doing otherwise!

Chemistry Class

both the container (a red coffee can) and the smell of metal shavings had me thinking about dad's garage work when I started on this project

and this lesson could be sub-titled "getting by with a little help from my friends" as the container of metal shavings came from my friend Barbara Yates Beasley and the fabric came from Alison Hyde!

here is a bit of that fabric from the last post's journeying box and it has been dampened and sprinkled with metal shavings then spritzed with white vinegar

all of which produced the predictable rusty brown marks on the fabric after a few days (patience is required here!)

but here is where the chemistry lesson happens

when Barbara brought the metal shavings we were talking about what I wanted to do with the fabric that comes out of this project

and she told me that dipping the rusted fabric in tea would result in this great grey

look at that!  a successful chemistry experiment!!

and the windmill blades from this (very!) rough sketch are what I plan to use that fabric for

the design work is still in process

last blog post I was talking about changing the fire piece to make it more powerful

I spent quite a bit of time last week adding the reds and yellows and oranges behind the trees

but I just didn't like it -- it doesn't look right

so last night we returned to this

I'll be pulling this photo into PhotoShop and playing with adding some layers of "flame" until I like what it looks like before I go back to stitching on it

the work on this project went much better

all of the hay bales are stitched now and this piece is ready to be cut and bound

which means I needed to figure out the issues with this little study before I could move on to the big piece of the city

the photo on the left was the first attempt, but that big rusty colored block on the left side and the white piece on the right just weren't doing it

the changes of fabric on the right side photo are much better

so I've started putting fabric on the big piece that will be the city

the sky is done here

and the quilting of the background for the truck has begun

hard to tell in this photo, but the mountain is quilted and the narrow band of green "trees" between the mountain and the fields is done too


after hours and hours of beading, this piece is finished

I'll be listing it in my Etsy store soon

which means I'm already fiddling with the design of another piece -- but I can't start it yet -- waiting for an order of beads to arrive --- hopefully by the end of the week

still lots to do this week -- we're hoping to get the deck painted this week, but we need to be sure we'll have a couple of days without moisture to do that properly

meantime, it's starting to feel like fall and we're starting to think about those other around the house projects that need to get done before the cool weather sets in

time to get to it!

Monday, August 22, 2016

the little box that could

sort of like the mild mannered Clark Kent, this box should be wearing a Super Man cape

my friend wanted the contents to be put to good use, and she thought of me

so she packed up the box, and sent it along

problem was, she didn't have my new address -- so it went to the old address

and after a VERY long time, it went back to her -- causing a flurry of messages back and forth -- WHAT?!

she very kindly shipped it out again 

and because it wasn't delivered until long after the rest of the mail, I didn't see it there on the porch (heaven forbid the mail man would actually ring the bell or knock!) on the only day in weeks that we had rain

so when I opened the door to get the paper the next morning -- there it was -- slightly forlorn looking, damp around all the edges

fortunately it's contents were not something easily damaged by a little moisture!

and it's a gift received at just the right time and just the right thing -- perfect materials for some rusting and dyeing projects I have in mind for a new quilt series

thank you!!

last week was filled with lots of "arty" things

a few years ago I entered some pieces in a show that runs regularly in Fort Collins at the Lincoln Center

I didn't get in, and I had never had the opportunity to go and see the show so I could see what the pieces that "make it" look like

so on Thursday we took a drive and took a look

it is an amazing show!

now I understand why those first fumbling attempts at art quilts were not good enough to get into this show

and I have a bar to aim out for the next entry

Thursday was a big day for Mr Cute too

his first day of Kindergarten

we can say I'm a really proud grandma!

on Friday I attended my first session of a Master Class with a teacher in Boulder

this piece was the one I took with me to work with because it was the most portable of the in process pieces
 by the end of the class I had made some big changes in this piece

some rearranging of the trees, adding more ashy ground on the right hand side, less sky so you actually are drawn into the devastation of the fire

I have some more work to do on this that came out of the class too

this is going to be a great opportunity to improve the quality of my work

 Saturday I was out again, "hob nobbing with the wizards" as  the DH says, attending the very first meeting of an art quilt critique group that a friend of mine and I organized

I took the forest and the farm pieces to get some other eyes on how these are progressing

got some great suggestions on how to make these pieces better too

since I was out and about so much during the week, I didn't get quite as much work done on some other things

this is the very last of the leaves for the Greek inspired piece, and now I'm working on the collar -- maybe this week I'll actually get it finished!

work on this sample piece continues

I've used some fabrics in here just because the have the correct sort of patterning even though they are not traditional cotton quilting fabrics

so far so good!

it's peach season

and it's become a yearly ritual for my sister to bring me a box (or sometimes more than one) of peaches that she gets from a group at her church direct from the orchard over in Palisade

yesterday was the day, and I invited her to bring mother along and spend some time with us for a while

which of course meant we would have lunch, and I made a great peach cobbler for the occasion -- messy, but delicious!

I also invited my daughter and her family to come and spend time so my grand son could get a chance to know his great grandmother in a less stressful and confusing time than holiday gatherings are

not long ago I ordered in a big tub of perler beads and the tools to work with them, thinking of them as something my grand son would enjoy

yesterday by the end of the afternoon, just about everyone had been at the table sorting colors, making patterns on the bead mats

my son in law was remarkably productive, creating the set of four coasters for his recreation area, my daughter put together the parrot, my grand son created the free form vehicle and my mother put together this cute little bug piece

it was in my mind a very successful gathering!

I hope to have more of these

this week will be a bit less busy -- the DH and I are going to quilt show on Friday, and there will be the usual errands for groceries and a trip to the hardware store, but I hope to get in more studio time this week

time to get to that laundry then on with more fun activities!