Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Passion for Purple Level 1

Sometimes you just have to do a big block project like this to really appreciate the colors of fabrics in your stash. I am so pleased that there were so many perfect color foils for all that purple background.
This is how the Passion for Purple project is looking so far. Here are Adrienne's purple background squares (10"), overlaid with the first circle from me (8"diameter). Can't wait to see what Jaye puts on top of these vibrating yellowy-oranges. There will be two more circles placed on top. Then, we'll quarter the blocks up and swap them.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Red, I said

I'm not sure why, but here are some recent flowers and kaleidoscopes I've made out of their photos. Enjoy!

Mini-rose with a brilliant red rosehip. Did you know these are edible? Very sour, but filled with Vitamin C.
I know it isn't red but...
A nepeta (or catmint)flower. Related to catnip but doesn't have enough of the enticing oils to make my cats roll around on it. That and it is in a planter with a very thorny rose!

A brilliant primrose in red and yellow.

"The primroses were over." First line of a famous novel...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Shirt Re-fashioned

Finally getting around to some Wardrobe Refashioning. This is an old trade-show uniform shirt from my husband. Luckily I have about the same shoulder width as him, so it fits really nicely. BUT, it was a kind of icky dirty looking off-white, so I overydyed it. Now to make it wearable for me, I needed to cover up the defunct company names embroidered on either side of the front! My first thought was to just add some patches from my ever-growing, hardly-ever-used collection. But none of them struck my fancy or were the right color combo or size.

Then my eyes landed upon an open box of fabric, with the perfect solution sitting right on top. You can buy it here Las Caritas: over sized crazyvibrant mexican paper mache' mask faces. The background of the fabric was a great blending-in blue color too, which was a nice bonus. So after some fussy cutting, I steam-a-seamed (an iron-on fusible)these little faces on the front and the back of the shirt. I haven't stitched around the edges and am going to test out how well the steam-a-seam works as far as washability goes..Hope they stay on and don't fray at the edge.
And a pig face on my hip just to state the obvious!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Postcards for Earth Day

Hey Happy Earth Day!

I just made three postcards for the Green Postcard Challenge.

Go check out what everyone else made, there are some really cool recycled materials being used.

Mine are pretty conventional and are made with:

fabric scraps that most normal people throw away

rescued/recycled upholstery fabric

painted batting leftovers

a green ribbon from an Amazon.com gift

a mesh plastic bag that used to have limes (it melted on the postcard above, you can see the remnants as a very cool grid-ish pattern on the left side)

all on fusible batting scraps.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bagging It

I finally got around to making up some bags out of the freebie upholstery fabric I scored a while ago. Didn't use a pattern or measure, just started sewing them together. This fabric is very heavyweight and the edges are pretty well finished which makes it easy to put together a sturdy bag quickly. Here's how they look, first up the polka dot variety.
Still Life with Dog, I made short handles that go over from one side to the other and placed them far apart so that the groceries can be shoved in easily.
Still Life with Dog, Reversed. Zelda isn't too excited about my totebag making activities. As long as I don't take too many flash pictures she tolerates most of the modeling demands I make of her. This fabric is fun to work with as it is completely reversible.
But then there is of course another consumer of new bag goodness around here. Spike is the right size so he gets to fully immerse himself in that new bag smell. He actually purrs and is quite happy when we do this to him, so no charges of pet abuse please.
And here is another bag, this time outside sunning itself on the chaise lounge in the sun. It is gigantic and I'm not sure whether I'll be able to heft it if it is filled with groceries. Unless they are the fluffy light-weight varieties like marshmallows or kleenex or cool whip. C'mon do you really think I buy cool whip? Bleah! Marshmallows are only bought when we go camping. Otherwise it is hard to get me away from the microwave where I am experimenting with how many seconds is best to melt them (have you ever done this, they look like they're alive in there!).
This is the reverse shot of the same bag, showing the tuck that I finagled into the bottom. I also made sure to sew the bottom seam twice for added strength, and used a pretty large seam allowance.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Colored Pencil Experiment

Colored pencil shading experiment, Before. Trying to add volume definition to the abstract shapes is the goal here. According to Gabrielle Swain's DVD on this subject the colored pencil is pretty stable unless it is a piece that is going to washed.
During. Only a little purple and pink has been added here. Very hard to see any change as the colors are just too close to the existing fabric color.
And After. Can you see the difference now? Used some spring green and that definitely "popped" the shape a bit more.

Don't expect much more out of me however. Having a horrible cold for a couple of days is not helping my productivity at all. I'm surprised my nose is still attached from all the sneezing. At first I figured it was seasonal allergies since everything is a'blooming around here. sniffle sniffle. koff koff.

Friday, April 18, 2008

First Try Needle Felting

I've had the supplies for doing needle felting for a while now. The other day I wanted to do something, but I didn't want to sew or do any of my usual things. The kit with all the pretty colors of wool rolled up called my name.
The white wool was the base, and in the kit they provide a nice thick block of foam. No kidding those needles are sharp.
Layering the fibers and then punching the needle in and out take a while. I was surprised at how long it took to really cover this small area. Now I see why people are buying those embellisher machines.
Every now and then you have to lift the piece up off of the foam, other wise it will get stuck on. This is a shot of the reverse so you can see the fibers sticking up.
Here is where I ended up. It hasn't been washed or anything, so I'm not sure if it will all fall apart. Stay tuned for a report on that! And if you're thinking "what's it for?", heckifIknow!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Lilacs Made Me Do It

It has been quite a year for lilacs this year. I'm not sure why, as I've really never even trimmed our two lilac bushes, except for harvesting armfulls of blooms each and every spring. Hmmm, and we've lived here for 13 years. Guess they survive on benign neglect. Every year I think I should hack away at the bushes after they're done blooming. But now I admit it freely, I'm scared I will ruin them and I'll never see this display again.

I have to say straight out that they are my favorite thing to look at outside my kitchen window and I'm really glad the previous owner planted them here next to the roses she planted. I wouldn't have even bothered, because I had internalized the advice from Sunset magazine that lilacs don't do well in my area of California. Turns out that since we are a bit colder up in the mountains during the winter, this variety, in my microclimate garden, does just fine thankyouverymuch.
I wish I could post the smell of these blooms for you along with the pictures. Wouldn't that be an innovation, get on it already Google! We just had a couple of 80F plus days so the bushes outside are a little droopy and past their prime. I guess the temporary insanity provoked by the overpowering scent of lilacs is on its way out, for this year. The intoxicating scent seems to slow me down, like completely, there must be something genetic about it, it happens to my mom too. Good thing they only bloom for a couple of weeks right!?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Working in Metallics

Another book in the True Colors inspired collaborative has come through, and this time the theme color set was "metallics". I got to play with all my cool shiny stuff.This page has gold painted background, prismatic origami paper, magazine photos, holes punched in and thread with gold/black cord which hold a metallic tag that is inscribed with "This Is It, here and now" and a gold filigree ornament.
The facing page says"Abundance Flows!", it features gold painted background, colored pencil, watercolor pencil on paper, the Gundestrup Cauldron, some prismatic origami paper and two magazine images.
This page has gold painted background, copper stamping, an ArtChix photo, placed in a magazine ad picture of a picture frame, two other magazine photos and some glitter trails for the butterfly.
The facing page has these words stamped on watercolor crayoned paper: "Don't Panic! They told her. She couldn't Imagine that she could Be brave enough to see, see truth that she was able to create enough abundance for her self." The stamps are from ArtGirlz. There is also some gold paint, some copper stamping and glitter trapped between the page and the transparent overleaf that I mistakenly glued (gotta work with your mistakes, right?). Holes are punched through and black/gold cording are threaded through and knotted.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sixteen Absurd Suns

I got sun burned on our recent beach camping trip. And now that my face is done peeling, I'm left with that first blush of tan for the year. I keep seeing myself in the mirror and wondering why I look healthier. Isn't that funny how tan=healthy in our minds? And knowing what we know about skin cancer tan is the opposite of healthy, right?! Absurd!

I of course know that sunburn and tanning is exactly the wrong thing I should be doing with my skin, especially at this age. But I live in California, this is how I've been conditioned by my fellow traveler's here in this very sunny state. I have the example of my mother who has religiously applied sunscreen for as long as I can remember (I guess 30 years!) and her skin looks wonderful (not just for her age, but for any woman over say 40). So I know I should apply sunscreen. And usually when I know I'm going to be out in the sun for a while, I do manage to remember to do this crucial step. But I don't use it every day like I'm supposed to.
But I worry about the interaction of the medications I'm on, with the acne skin stuff I use, and the sunscreen. I don't know why, but I do. Something I read somewhere lodged in the worry section of my brain (which seems to be getting larger every damn year) and now I wonder/worry/fret about that. Which may lead to me not using sunscreen as consistently as I should. Absurd!
And yes skin cancer does "run in my family". So I really should get over my sunscreen worry right? Or at least wear a hat more frequently. I'll try really I will, I promise, just as soon as I get a bit more of a tan this year. Absurd!
So here is my self portrait for the month of absurdity on selfportrait challenge, considering the absolute absurdity of simultaneous sun worshipping, tan coveting, skin cancer fearing, acne product using, sun bleached hair loving, outdoors living, sunscreen toxicity worrying, vitamin D needing.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Justice Overwhelmed

Here is a quilt I made recently, called "Justice Overwhelmed". I made it for the International Fiber Collaborative, a project to cover an abandoned gas station with fiber artworks. We were supposed to "express their concerns about their countries extreme dependency on oil for energy."

There are tons of pictures of submissions from all over the world (I'm on page two). The gas station is located in Syracuse, NY, and there is an opening reception in May, I hope if you live nearby you can go check it out. I can't wait to see the pictures of how the gas station looks when it is recovered.
Here is a closeup, showing the image of my original quilt "Justice" which I produced at the beginning of this endless pointless war back in 2003. A main part of the imagery dealt with oil and $$$, so I wanted to re-visit my original piece and see what else I had to say on this subject.

It seemed to me that we have come some many steps further down the road towards the death and destruction of our country, culture and world that Justice is indeed in an Overwhelmed state, all in the pursuit of securing our access to oil.

I'm re-reading what I wrote on the back of the original Justice quilt and I'm struck by how sad I am that I was right. I really truly wish I had been wrong about the war. That it turned out to be quick, easy, painless, and successful as was promised. I'm sad, but I'm not at all surprised.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Colors Missed

I recently had to do this color exercise for my Creative Spark class with Gabrielle Swain.
We had to do a 4x4 grid of 4" squares with one "focus" fabric as our inspiration or jumping off point.
We were supposed to be working with different color values, intensities, etc.
And what this exercise really did was to teach me what is missing in my stash of dyed fabrics! Not enough lights, that is for darned sure.
And I'm completely out of green and red.
Time to clear off the mess that is the dyeing sink and get to work I think.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Passion for Purple

I'm starting off on another bullseye project with Jaye and Adrienne. We've done Seeing Red, and Feeling Blue (Jaye and I did a Black background bullseye too), so now we're onto Passion for Purple. These are the squares that I cut out of my stash.

We've started off with forty 10"squares of purples that we had in our vast fabric collections (so far only a few doubles have appeared!).

Then we swap them around and put three decreasingly smaller circles on them.

At the end we slash them up into four pieces, keep two out of the four, and each other participant gets one of the pieces of each block. Then we each play with the blocks and come up with something fabulous. Really fun to do. Great to collaborate with friends, see what fabrics they have that you don't, and to make something you wouldn't be able to otherwise!
This is my Seeing Red:We decided to cut the blocks up into triangles, which made for some really fun setting possibilities.And here is the only picture I could find of Feeling Blue (sorry about that lamp and chair in the way! Sheesh I need to photograph this one officially. Here you can see that we did squares instead of circles. I liked it, but it was a very different feel than the circular bullseye design...