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!

Monday, August 15, 2016

when life gives you zucchini -- and other profitable enterprises

it had been a long time since I made pickle relish, and we were in the very last jar of that batch

and since my zucchini plant turned up it's toes and died on me, I had to send out a call for donations

(I know, who does that?!)

fortunately, someone my daughter works with had an overload of large ones, so over the weekend I turned them (and a few other ingredients) into a 10 jar batch of fresh pickle relish

that will hold us for a while

work on the backing of the leaves continues

last week I said there were 7 leaves -- actually there are 9 -- and as of last night I had finished 8 of them and I'm working on number 9

as is usual when I get to this point in a project like this, I'm getting impatient with the speed at which it is getting finished -- I want to be done so I can move on to the next project!

must be patient and not ruin the finishing by getting in a hurry

the leaf project was not the only bead work in process

these three sample pieces are done now too

I plan to use these as examples on an Etsy listing that will involve doing custom "memorial" pieces that will involve the person placing the order sending me a file of whatever they want put under the glass

we'll see if that gets any orders

and then there are these

I made them for my daughter because I got my hands on a package of these cute charms and she and I have an longstanding joke about someone dropping a house on the witch

I made her this wall hanging a few years ago as part of the ongoing quilt gifting

I think she'll like the earrings

so last week I thought I was ready to quilt this piece

but there was something about it that I still wasn't quite happy with even though I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was

so I did other things, thinking that I might figure it out

 after a conversation with a friend, I pulled the photo of the piece into my photo software and changed it to a black and white photo

right away I could see that the dark gray on the right hand side and the really big white patch on the left hand side were distracting

the black and white version of the newly changed top confirms my feeling that it's much better this way

NOW it's ready to quilt

this piece is ready to quilt too

and this photo is a good explanation of why this piece was one that is hand stitched, not fused since it's wider than my design wall!

since the truck piece has moved on to the next stage at the sewing machine, I have started working on the bottom edge of the fire piece

it's nearly ready to be attached to the sky -- looking pretty good

the city is the next piece that is up on the design wall

but when I started thinking about the materials that I want to use for that tall building I decided that I need to do some testing before I do a lot of work and then have a materials failure

so I'm going to test those materials by creating a smaller piece that is just a section of the piece with a bit less detail

if what I want to do works well, I will finish this piece and set it aside to donate to the SAQA auction next year

this week's activities include a meeting with other quilters, a trip to the dentist, a critique meeting and a family gathering --- never a dull moment!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

An Actual FINISHED piece!

it hasn't had it's final pressing and it doesn't have a label, but otherwise this piece is DONE!!

doing a little happy dance here because it actually looks like the picture in my head -- whoot whoot!!

and that's not the only thing I worked on this week

the background for the truck is really coming along too -- today I should get to start on the applique of the cracked dirt on the bottom edge of this

it's exciting to see these things coming together

now that both the gold colored leather and the tubes of beads have arrived, I'm back to working on this gold and white Greek inspired piece

two of the seven leaves have been backed and edged (I love the way that gold leather looks, and it's super soft too!)

five more leaves to go and then the neck band -- rolling right along

and the third of the memorial pieces is completed -- now I just have to figure out how to write up the listing for my Etsy store

I'm sure this picture doesn't look like anything that anybody would think should be talked about

it represents my taking a step toward creating my own fabric to use for a specific part of another of the Parched Earth quilts

my plan is to do a piece that involves a windmill -- but it needs to look beat up and rusty

I will be taking this gray fabric and trying to create some real rust on it to use for this purpose

the plan is to spread out the fabric, shred up the steel wool and spray the entire thing with vinegar and let it set to do it's magic

we'll see how that goes

a couple of weeks ago I posted the picture of the batch of strawberry jam that I made

this batch of apricot jam is all finished and stashed in the pantry too ---

the next preserving needs to be a batch of pickle relish -- which I prefer to make out of zucchinis not cucumbers --- need to shop for zucchini -- the plant that I put in just croaked, so no home grown ones this year -- bummer

time to get to it!