Sunday, February 24, 2008

One Word Only

A fun meme from DebR, with very simple rules, a very good thing for a Sunday morning:
One Word…







(It is not as easy as it looks)

1. Where is your cell phone? pocket

2. Your significant other? amazing

3. Your hair? heavy

4. Your mother? loved

5. Your father? loved

6. Your favorite thing? camera

7. Your dream last night? unremembered

8. Your favorite drink? water

9. Your dream/goal? balance

10. The room you’re in? cluttered

11. Your ex? forgotten!

12. Your fear? handled

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? overseas

14. Where were you last night? home

15. What you’re not? hot

16. Muffins? blueberry

17. One of your wish list items? flooring

18. Where you grew up? California

19. The last thing you did? movie

20. What are you wearing? dyed

21. Your TV? on

22. Your pet? hairy

23. Your computer? fatigued

24. Your life? good

25. Your mood? upset

26. Missing someone? myself

27 Your car? muddy

28. Something you’re not wearing? shoes

29. Favorite Store? vintage

30. Your summer? short

31. Like someone? definitely

32. Your favorite color? purple

33. When is the last time you laughed? tonight

34. Last time you cried? tonight

35. Who will/would re-post this? everyone!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Quilting Is Happening Around Here

Amazingly enough I've actually been free motion machine quilting this week. On some of the tops I'd assembled over the last month. Several are due soon as finished quilts, so I realized I'd better get cracking and crank them out. I found that I was completely out of my favorite fusible batting so I had to use some of the spray adhesive I bought years ago. Wooomama did that ever stink up the whole house. For like several hours. Not a good thing to do on a rainy day where the house has to stay closed up. I felt like one of those hapless teens in an after-school-special about the dangers of huffing glue and paint.
None of my local stores carry the batting either, hmmph. Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Fusible. So I have to buy it online from Hancock's of Paducah. Note to self, must actually do this, not just blog about it!
It had been quite a while since I'd put the feed dogs down and the BigFoot on my machine (the name of the special presser foot you see in the picture) and I had to scare up my quilting gloves (I use the cotton knit garden gloves with the little rubber grippy dots), but then I was back to my old tricks. The challenge with this quilt that I set for myself was to not quilt a single spiral design. Yowza was that ever hard, I am programmed to quilt spirals apparently. Lots and lots of spirals. The design you see me quilting here is pretty much echoing the monoprint pattern in the central black fabric. Basically an infinity sign in a circle. Not too hard to do, but I had to work up to it.

And oooh with these colors I couldn't resist making a kaleidoscope out of this picture!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Living Cornucopia

So my fruit trees are getting infested with this mossy stuff. It started off in the almond tree two years ago, last year it jumped next door to the plum tree and now it is over onto one of the apples. All the trees are close enough to have touching branches.

I'm not sure how to get rid of it. If it is possible or even necessary. I think I need to do some more research on it to find out. But until then I made a rather pretty kaleidoscope image out of it!

A bamboo update, here are the two specimens I planted last summer. They survived the punishing heat and infrequent watering, and are now pretty happy in all the rain. The cold hasn't seemed to bother them much at all either. I hope to see some more growth out of them during the spring. They were planted to be a screen from the road that I can now see from the new bedroom windows so they need to get growing!

This tangle is the view across the street from my driveway. Our neighbor has been taking out pampas grass and other big brushy stuff, and all the smaller natives are growing up big now that they can get to some sunlight. I've noticed some poison oak, wildrose, other vine-y plants along with the dreaded import scotch broom.

And a silly picture of a recently consumed visitor to our home. Cocoanut man. We really didn't think he should be smoking that nail.
Looks like some people I know in the morning, when their hair is wildly askew and their faces are still pillow-smashed.
Let's just say, that along with his other tropical friends banana, papaya and pineapple, he was delicious.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Driving While Photo-ing

The other afternoon I was driving down our twisty narrow road and came around a corner to find this very cool, very old car putting along.
Since he was only going 15mph I decided to risk taking some pictures while driving. Harder than it looks! Wish my windshield had been cleaner.
It took a while to get down to the bottom of the hill at that speed, and then he stalled out at the stop sign. Fun to see something so old still putting around. I wonder what kind of car it is? I'd never seen it before, I wonder if it was visiting or if it was a project in his garage that finally had its maiden voyage?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blues Challenged

For the self portrait challenge this month the theme is blue. I don't have a lot of blue in my decor, but...then...the sun was shining into the kitchen and I caught a glimpse of myself in the vase as I washed it that morning. So I grabbed my camera and I took these pictures. I think I like the second one best.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Does a Spiral Recycle?

Here is a visual description of how I make my Spiral Recycles pieces. This is how I made #4 in the series.

I start out with a selection of scraps. Usually I am using the tiny strips and edges cut off when rotary cutting, most about 1/2" wide. I start out with a fusible batting piece on a quilt backing.
Here you can see the backing fabric that I've pre-fused so it is nice and flat, acting as one piece for the manipulating coming up ahead in the process.
I spread out the compressed scraps and start figuring out what I've got to work with. Looking for colors and separating out the batting scraps. Since those are white I have to distribute those carefully. I like using a small collection at a time. This keeps it simple and I'm not trying to find the "perfect" piece, I'm limited to working with what I've got right there in front of me in the workspace.
If there are larger pieces of fabric I will put them along the edges of the piece as that tends to be harder to fill in using the method I'm working with here.
Once I've got it all arranged, I place a piece of tulle net on top, pin around the edges, flip over and iron down on the backing side with a hot and steamy iron. The fusible batting holds most of the fabric down enough to work with and the net doesn't melt if I iron from the backing side.

There may be some re-shuffling to do if blank spots have appeared after the ironing process. And I do pin a bit throughout the whole surface, just to make it a bit sturdier during the quilting.
Here it is under the needle. I go back and forth and around and around. Working from the center out to the edge. It gets flatter and flatter, remember this used to be about 1" high before I ironed it!
Then, interruptions!
Back to quilting. I don't want anything shifting around, that fusible isn't going to hold forever once this is vertical on the wall. The stitching lines begin to show through the chaos of the background and give the piece some coherence. As the edges are stitched I fold around the quilt edge the excess net as I'm sewing.
Here is how it looks after lots of stitching. I don't like how that green piece is so outstanding. It is a piece of bias binding and it looks very out of place.
Time to add something else, so I go to the current scraps bin which has pre-quilted edges I've trimmed off of recent quilts. These have the three quilt layers held together with stitching. Adding them on top will give more dimension to the piece.

Using the green bias tape as a guide I start stitching them down, creating a spiral on top of the recycled chaos below.
And here it is finished! Voila' , "Spiral Recycles 4"

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Pages

Here are some more visual journal pages. The one on the left here uses an inspirational calendar picture surrounded by colored pencil textures. I could see making a series of this type of thing in the quilt format. On the right is a picture of a glacier, I found the shape really intriguing.
This page started with the red cones imagery from a magazine photo, and then the lava photos, etc. Love the intensity of the color combo.
A non-representational self portrait collage.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sing It Out Loud

Here is a fairly recent visual journal page that I did. Most of it came from a calendar page. I was really struck by the vertical seed stalks marching across a blue sky and bird just singing his little heart out to whoever happens to hear. The background is from the rest of the page just torn up and rearranged. There was too much white blank page left, so I added some colored pencil. It makes for a very different picture, not as stark, but conveying more of the musicality of the moment.
There is a short poem entitled "Madrigal" in the lower right. And a small word that says "Songs" on the upper left. The poem and word are from a small volume of poetry that I bought for a quarter at the used store (that's what we call a thrift store or op shop), it looks like it was probably a 1950's schoolkid's poetry book, and has quite a range of works in it Shakespeare on up to Frost. I find that I use it frequently in collage and journalling. It wasn't in the best shape when I bought it, all marked up in many spots, but most of it is useable. When a book is kinda trashed already, it makes it easier to tear it up and use/misuse parts of it! Plus I like that the paper is kind of yellowy, which probably means bad things re: acidity, oh well. I don't think this type of collage work is meant to stick around very long.

Friday, February 15, 2008

After the Rain, A Closeup

One of the assignments I've gotten to do for the Creative Sparks class with Gabrielle Swain , was to take a macro walk around outside with my digital camera. Looking for the details. The veins in the leaves. The essential shapes. Taking out the big picture look and lasering down to the basics. This is all to help us learn how to distill our designs down to what really needs to be there.

I found that the raindrops were an added bonus, added that unexpected circular shape to the more angular leaf and branch shapes. Also the contrast in texture between water and leaf is intriguing too. This first picture is a Pride of Madera leaf. It has a slightly fuzzy texture, so it can survive in the unprotected front yard. The deer don't like to munch on fuzzy leaves.
Click on this one to see the raindrop just barely hanging onto the redwood tips. This was a hard shot to get as the wind came up and the redwoods were dancing around. Which does not help when you are shooting on the macro level!
How about this rosemary branch? I love this peely texture with the smooth pointy leaves.
Good ol' rosemary. We have way too much of it now. And those flowers are almost always there, keeping the bees around year round. I think if I ever start bee-keeping I'll have rosemary flavored honey to collect.
A detail of the berries on the tea-tree (leptospermum).

The branch texture of the Pride of Madera.
Raindrops on the calendula petals.
A squatty warty lumpy kaffir lime. Why do I identify so much with this fruit? Anyays, oh man does this ever smell heavenly.
Another view of the kaffir lime. Such an intense brilliant color. Not like a normal lime, there is less green pigmentation, a translucence to the skin. I kept it by my computer to freshen up the air and remind me of the
And finally some raindrops hanging on to the palm fronds.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Used to Love My Garden

here is the card I made to accompany a collaborative piece that is being sent around amongst several textile artists from around the world. We are working in the Exquisite Corpse tradition, covering up our work except for a margin around two edges to give a clue to the next artist to add to the piece. We each have a theme though to help with inspiration and direction, mine is "What is your definition of a weed?"
I was inspired by my garden or ahem, weed collection.
Thus the poem:

"I Used to Love my Garden" by C.P. Sawyer
I used to love my garden
But now my love is dead
For I found a bachelor's button
In black-eyed Susan's bed.

There are six artists in each group so it will be a while until I see my piece again. The rules are firm that I am not to post a picture of my original piece (no spoilers!), so I won't do that til I get mine back once more. It is very intriguing to look at the first piece I've gotten to work on, and to wonder what is going on with the starting design under that covering fabric. Very mysterious and very fun too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Roll It Up

I needed a really good birthday present for friend J, and she had recently posted about a colored pencil roll she'd found online at PinkChalkStudio. I guess this is also in the book "Last Minute Quilted Gifts."
Luckily the blog post had some directions (not exact, but enough to get me going). The first step was cutting strips in each color. This was made to fit the Prismacolor 24 set. That was the most time-consuming part of this project! Pulling out the red box. Then the orange box. etc... as we march through the rainbow.
After that it went pretty fast. Sewing the colored strips together, finding a good fabric for the pocket (I used a thick woven cotton, almost to a light canvas. That was folded in half and basted along the sides and bottom. The filling was flannel so that the roll would roll up small enough. I chose some fabrics for the outside of the roll, right sides together, with the ribbon tie basted on one end.
After sewing around the outside, then turning to right sides, I did some pressing. Then the stitching in the ditch between each color, over the pocket to make the holder for each pencil.
This ribbon started out as just a boring white one, but I had this really thin trim that I thought tied in (haha) really well with the fabric I'd chosen for the outside of the roll. I sewed that on with clear thread.
Tada, voila', fini',done! And I'm happy to report that she really liked it!
And it turned out that I read the notes I'd made on assembly wrong and had thus cut the colored strips twice as long as I needed. So now I have one that I can assemble for me. Haha, I love "mistakes" like that, wonder if I really really wanted one subconsciously and thus changed the number around in my conscious brain.