Thursday, July 2, 2020

Art on Masks

I got an email the other day directing me to a website that literally had millions (no exaggeration) of masks that featured reproduced art by many artists, some water colors, some photography, and other types of art. So it got me to thinking if I could use my art on a mask.

A few years ago I was making a lot of what I called "Garden Studies". I took photographs that I had taken, mostly in my garden, put a filter on them in Photoshop Elements, printed them on fabric and  heavily free-motion quilted them and then mounted them on canvas. They were very popular and I sold a lot at a solo show I had a few years ago and some after that. I haven't made any in awhile. If you go to the Garden Studies page at the top of my blog you can see some more.

While straightening up my studio the other day I can across a Rudbeckia print that I had never quilted. It still had its freezer paper backing on it and I thought it would make a pretty mask.

I used the pattern for the Olsen mask, with modifications. I had to add strips of bright yellow fabric to the sides because the pattern was too big for the fabric. I made elastic ear loops with beads, to make it adjustable. I made a tuck on each side near the ears and two under the chin for a nice tight fit.

I now have quite a wardrobe of masks for myself. I only wear them for one day and then hand wash them. I try to match the colors to whatever I am wearing that day. So little going on in my life these days other than trips to the grocery store, drug store, doctor visits, etc. So this gives me a little perk- up.

I will be linking upwith Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday, June 28, 2020


I often wonder who decides what is "in" or "out", whether  in fashion, home decor or even house plants. Who decided a few years ago that everything would be some shade of gray, from baby clothes, to wall paint to furniture? Remember avocado green and harvest gold in the 60's? I also remember house plants from that era. Everyone had an asparagus fern and/or spider plant.

Now the new darling of the house plant world is the Fiddle Leaf Fig. I do like to watch make-over shows on HGT. Mindless TV, good for hand stitching by. It seemed like every makeover had one or more of those trees. I had read somewhere that they were temperamental and also pricey, but when I saw one in Costco for a fabulous price, I thought it was worth a try. I had just the spot for it in my family room and it looks great there. I've had it for a few weeks now and it seems to be thriving. The tag said it likes to be moist so I regularly check it to make sure it's not dry.

I have since put some moss down  to cover the plastic pot in which it came.

Yesterday I found this dead leaf and thought it was fascinating. It is very stiff and leathery and has such interesting mottling. I can't bear to throw it away, but Im not sure how I can incorporate it into an art piece.  It's about 11 inches long.

I have a friend in Florida who makes terrific wall art out of discarded plant material she finds on green trash day. She uses palm fronds, husks, etc. I'm sure she would know what to do with this. But for now I'm hanging on to it and see if I get anymore. But not too many because that would mean the plant is not doing well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

SAQA Auction Piece and a Collage

I contribute a piece every year to the annual SAQA Benefit Auction, but I didn't think I was going to make it this year due to various things going on in my life and not feeling inspired to make anything new. I was only sewing masks, lots of masks. Then I started going through my small pieces and came across one that was about 15" x 22". The auction pieces have to be 12" square. I had made this piece for a solo show a few years ago and thought it would cut down perfectly. I made a 12" mat and slid it around until I found a section I liked.

This was part of a fine line piecing series of small quilts and this one is Fractured VII.

These will be prfessionaly photographed, thank goodness. No matter how hard I try, I either get an out-of-square picture or one with uneven lighting, like this one. But you get the idea. The original piece was faced and I laboriously picked off that facing because I had no more of this red fabric. Somehow I didn't have enough to face this one, so I decided to bind it. I also didn't have enough to do a French binding and I just did a single layer and I am so glad that I did. I don't think I will ever do a French binding on a small quilt again. Not more clunky corners and a nice tidy binding.

I love this backing fabric and much more of it showed on the original piece, but with the smaller size and the sleeve ((also cut down from the bigger piece) and the label, much of it is lost.

The auction isn't until Sept. but you can go here and read all about the auction, how it works, and see some of the pieces that are already on display. There are some fabulous pieces there.

Our monthly college challenge for my FiberWorks groups was Insects. I chose to do dragonfly.

I used a multiple of resources for this one. On the far right is a page cut from an encyclopedia page. Yes I still have  a set of  Encyclopedia Britannica in the basement purchased when my son was little. I was throwing them away, one by one for a while and then forgot about it. Luckily I still had the one with Dragonfly. The others were photographed from two unabridged dictionaries that I couldn't bear to cut up. The large colored dragonfly was printed onto tracing paper. The teal and white are embossed velvet made with a dragonfly stamp that I already had. The background between the printed sections we're stamped with a stamp that had printing that were not really words, but looked like words from a distance. I stamped it in gray. I am pleased with the results and consider this a true mixed media collage. It was done on a 9 x 12 canvas board. I don't remember next month's word, but I would like to do a series like this.

I will be linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

More Masks

I know, I know, I said I was through making masks. But since we are all going to be wearing masks for the foreseeable future, some of the organizations that we have donated masks to before have asked for masks with no ties. I really liked the Olsen masks that I made, but they did have ties, and while they were a very good fit for me, they were a bit of a hassle to put on. I did it in front of a mirror. I tried to adapt the pattern to one with elastic loops and it was very unsuccessful.

My niece had found a pattern on line that she liked and I tried it. It is so much easier to make, much less sewing and it has adjustable elastic ear loops. Here is the link. It has no center front seam, but instead uses darts to shape the face. It actually gives you rather pointy nose, but I found it was easier to breathe thru without the fabric right against your nose.

So I hauled out that stack of batiks and tried one this morning.

You thread the elastic through craft beads to make it very adjustable .

I have a lot of washed light blue and cream colored flannel and that is what I will use for all the linings. It does have a pipe cleaner in the top to make it easy to shape to your face.

I really like  to sew, yet can't seem to find the enthusiasm to make a new art quilt or even a charity quilt, so this will keep me busy for a few days. I just got new kitchen chairs and I want to make boxed seat cushions with piping. I ordered fabric online and it came yesterday, but I will put that off for a while.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Happy Quilt Almost Done

I finished quilting this week and I so enjoyed working on it. All those happy colors to keep me busy during this stressful time. I was going to do it on my Sweet Sixteen, but did not feel like dealing with all the tension problems I usually have. Since it is fairly small, about 52 x 38, it was easy to do on my trusty Bernina.

I quilted it very simply, loosely following the the outlines of the motifs.

I wanted to bind it in blues and yellows and I had to piece those leftover 8 inch strips.

The binding is all pieced and sewn on the quilt. Now some hand work for TV watching in the evenings. I'll post it when I'm done.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, May 22, 2020

This and That

My sister is making coiled baskets and I was inspired to make one from the little strips of scraps from that colorful quilt I was working on before I got sick. I had to cut a one inch strip from each block and was just tossing them in the basket. But I pulled them out thinking they would be useful for something and this little scrappy basket was perfect.
It's not very big, but a good size for gathering things in my studio.

I made the above baskets last year. The chicken was challenging, but I think she's so cute.

The sequin ribbon arrived from MIchaels. They said it was reversible yet the back side was just this black meshy fabric.

Then I realized that if you brush the sequins in the opposite direction, you get silver sequins.

Here it is on a four inch ornament. I love the way it fills in that gap.

And the end of the masks. A friend requested blues and greens and one dark blue. I still have to put the ribbons on. I am finished making masks. My next big project will be to quilt that pretty pastel quilt.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Sparkle Plenty

I just love that name. She was a character in the old Dick Tracy comic strip. I even named one of my quilts after her many years ago. I thought it was also perfect to describe what I am working on now. I did some of these in Florida and I am back to them now. Opulent Ornaments using Paula Nadelstern's gorgeous fabric.

I am finished sewing for awhile. I have some mysterious ailment which is causing me a lot of pain. We are trying different drugs, including Prednisone, which is a miracle drug, but you can't stay on it forever. We are waiting the result of blood work

The ornaments are easy to work on since I can just sit at my work table and work on them when I feel like it. All these sparkly things cheer me up.

I started in Florida with 6 inch styrofoam balls. It was fairly easy to stretch the fabric around the balls and then add lots of beads, sequins and colored head pins. My plan was to pile them in this beautiful glass bowl that I bought in Germany, but I quickly saw that that is not big enough. So now I am planning on getting some tall clear glass columnar vases. I know that Pottery Barn has them that are quite pricey, but hopefully I can find some online for a better price.

Here are the balls in three sizes, six inch, five inch and four inch.

It was little harder to get the fabric smooth on the five inch, but I did make four of those, too

Now I'm working on the four inch. Much more challenging to get that fabric smooth, but I do a lot of slitting and tucking.

On this four inch ball I cut two fairly large circles and they almost meet evenly in the middle. I am waiting on another sequin order from Michaels which includes some sequin ribbon. It should cover up that "seam" perfectly.

Here in one end of the above 4" ball.

Another 4" using a different fabric. Notice the light blue sequins in gradating sizes forming that swirl. I get these from Michaels. You get three different sizes of the same color in a set.... large, medium and tiny. BTW I have already used a half pound box of straight pins. More coming from Amazon.

So I'm glad that I have something to occupy my time. I would love to be outside in this glorious spring weather putting some flowers in the ground, but I am not up to that yet. Hopefully some day soon.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, April 24, 2020

More mask making and a lot of ironing

After being a part of the sewing volunteers in my Woman's Club to make masks to cover the N95 masks, it was decided that we had made enough. Not sure of the number, but it was a lot.

So since CT has decreed that everyone out in a public space (like a grocery store, drug store, etc.) must wear a mask. And since we have many members who cannot sew or find masks that this same group of volunteers would make masks as a fundraiser for the club. Since these are not meant to be used in a hospital situation, we are not putting extra pockets in for a filter. We are selling them for $5 apiece. A pretty good deal for a pretty handmade mask. All of our profits go to local charities.

I found this mask on a terrific blog where she showed a lot of pictures and a link to the tutorial. I made one and I was hooked. It was so much easier to make than the previous ones and I liked the way it fit so snugly against the face. I wore mine one early (6 AM) grocery store run with the other old folks and it worked out fine. I never felt the need to adjust it or touch it al all.

So I made 10 the next day. I thought that I would wash them after I made them. Big mistake! Most of the pipe cleaners I had put in the top channel came out and they all had to be pressed again. Extra work.

Just a few before the cording went it. Ribbon also works fine, as do shoelaces. They sort of look like bra halves.

I thought it best to wash all my fabric first. I went to my stash of batiks and pulled out any that I thought were suitable and tossed them in the machine. It was a big stack, but I laughed out loud when I pulled them out of the dryer and saw this mountain of fabric.

Off to the ironing board where they were separated into categories, not always an easy task since batiks so often have many colors in one fabric. This is what I came up with. Enough fabric for a LOT of masks, but it is all nice and organized for other projects.

Light multi

Browns and burgundies

Olives and multi

Dark Multi. I may have to have one of these.

Neutrals, sort of

Navy, bright and subtle. Does the second from the bottom look too much like Corona?

Warm colors

Cool colors

BTW I am finding that some of my photos are not showing up in my blogs. Instead you see a big white square with a gray circle in the center. Does anyone else have this problem and do you know how to fix it? I did see it on another blog.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday. Do stop by and leave some comments. We all like to know if anyone is viewing.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Keeping Busy

I've given up on sewing masks for awhile, but I will get back to them.

My dear friend, Dora, died a couple of years ago. Her daughter, Kristy, was going through her things and came across a package of fabrics from Key West, FL. The receipt was in the bag, dated 1977. Dora intended to make a quilt for her daughter, but obviously never got around to it. I had made a wedding quilt for Kristy and baby quilts for her two children. Kristy's daughter, Sarah, had a special connection with her grandmother and Kristy asked me if I would be willing to make a small quilt for Sarah.

When the fabric came last Fall I was thrilled. It was so happy and sunny and so like Dora, who loved bright colors. It reminded me of Lily Pulitzer fabric. I told Kristy that it would have to wait until I got back from Florida and now here I am looking for things to do.

These are the squares, all nine inches, mostly large, bold patterns. Some squares had one or two and some had several. I wanted to do one plain block next to a nine patch and was having trouble putting them together without it being a mish-mash. 

Then I decided to put all blue/green/yellow blocks in the center and the pink/orange blocks around the perimeter and I really liked that. I have since moved the blocks around so that it is now 5 blocks by 7 blocks, not square as it is here. The finished quilt will measure around 38" x 53". I have some squares left over, but not enough to make it bigger, but I will use the blues to make a binding and piece the rest into the backing. I don't have enough of the blues, but I can make my own fabric by copying on my printer. I have done this before and it works. I also went through my stash of blue prints and I found a few that I think will fit in with the others. But first to finish the piecing and quilting. I will be sure to share it with you when I'm done.

While I was straightening up my work table after making the masks I came across this top. I had bought it at Talbot's last year and the first time I wore it I got a stain on it that wouldn't come out. I thought I would dye it, but kept putting it off.

I put it in a navy blue dye bath, thinking that the red embroidery would not take the dye. WRONG! It took the dye so much that it is hardly noticeable. I guess I should have done it in a lighter blue or at least a weaker solution. It has a mottled look and that's OK and actually what I wanted. I'm hoping it will look nice with white pants this summer when are are paroled.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Masks and more masks.

There are hundreds of sewers making masks for themselves, family, friends, and hospitals. I was asked to join a FaceBook group called Sew to Stop Covid 19. The group numbers 739 the last time I looked and imagine how many more who are not counted. There is now even a mask emoji.

I delivered twenty to our local Hospice today, who had requested them and had provided a pattern to cover the N95 masks.

Below are a few of the fabric combinations. I used all batiks and I was hoping that the pretty or zanny fabrics might bring a smile to the wearer.

This  pattern called for fabric binding and ties and I was so glad that I had the Clover binding tool. It made the job so much easier.

Reflection made it hard to photograph.

Cut your strips two inches wide and pass thru the tool. It comes out folded in half with the raw edges in the center. Press with a steam iron as it comes thru.

Then fold in half, again pressing as you go.

I am taking a break from masks for now. That's all I've done since I got back from Florida. I need to do some serious house cleaning (no cleaning ladies) some much needed organizing of my studio and basement. I hope to make all this time inside productive.

Those of you who follow my blog know that my niece always puts on a fabulous Easter dinner....gourmet cooking and decorated to the hilt. Well, of course that's not happening this year, but we are going to Zoom at 2PM with all the usual participants. Aren't we glad to have this fabulous technology in these trying times!

Happy Easter, Happy Passover to all and may this all be a memory soon.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.