Saturday, November 28, 2009


Thursday my sister and I went to her daughter Lauren's house for Thanksgiving. My niece is a wonderful cook and I am still recovering from eating all that scrumptious food. Although she has a small house, she is a fabulous hostess and decorates her home to the hilt. Here is her table before we got it all messed up.

Here's my sister, Ruth, and me enjoying a glass of wine before dinner.

And to make me feel REALLY old here is my darling great, great nephew, Owen. But somehow that doesn't sound quite as bad as my sister being a great grandmother!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Embossing velvet

I started embossing the velvet that I'm going to use in my Christmas cards. I think lime green snowflakes are rather cool and so unexpected. I only bought a quarter yard of this fabric and I've already used some so I may have to switch to another color.

This burgundy velvet embosses a lovely silver. For some reason I couldn't get a clear picture.

This is another one of my new stamps, rather fun I think. This dark red embosses to dark green.

And one more lime green this time with yet another of the new stamps. This will probably find its way to a postcard.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know that I have much for which I am grateful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Throwing in the Towel

I hate to admit defeat, but I have decided not to do the Make Art Every Day challenge. I do try to be creative and productive every day, but it's not always something that I can photograph and put on my blog. Yesterday's attempt at "paper cloth" was disastrous. To speed up the drying, I clipped it to a hanger and let it dry that way instead of letting it dry flat. Well, it curled up and wrinkled up and ironing it down didn't help much. So I fused it to a sheet of Peltex which gave me a piece that is much too thick for a bookmark. I'm not going any further with it. Too much time wasted.

I am starting a new quilt for a juried show that has a "received by" deadline of January 30, but since I am going away on the 21, my deadline is the 18th. I'm also going to make my own Christmas cards this year and my card blanks have not arrived, nor have I embossed my velvet. And then of course there are the holidays with all the decorating, shopping, wrapping, entertaining, etc. There's something to be said for quitting while you're ahead.

I will do as I have been doing before the challenge, posting when I have something new to show or news to share. I had been posting a couple of times a week and I hope to continue in that manner. Now onto my new quilt!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 15

I was reading Cindy Green's blog and she made some very nice bookmarks out of "paper cloth".  I thought it looked like a fun idea, so I fooled around with it today. I had heard someone talking awhile back about how to make it, but couldn't find the directions anywhere so I just winged it.  I knew it involved starting with a layer of muslin and adding layers of paper with watered down white glue.  I started with a printed muslin to give it more texture and layered different colored tissue papers and two printed tissue papers.  Then I threw in two strips of cheap lace.  That lime green was a last minute find and in this picture it looks very dominant, so I will do lots of stitching all over it with a green thread to tie it all together and keep things in place.  Tune in tomorrow to see the bookmarks.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 14

Today's entry is another tease or sneak peak. I belong to a group of SAQA members that meet monthly under the tutelage of Jane Davila. We've done several challenges over the last couple of years and this is the current one, due at the December meeting. We were to take a Macro photograph (very close up) of something and then make a quilt inspired by that photo. I'll show you the whole thing after the reveal, but for now here are a couple of shots of the stitching, lots of stitching.  A detail of the detail, if you will.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 13

Another day with no pictures. Although I will do some sewing tonight, I was out today watching someone else be creative, very creative. I went to the annual Holiday Luncheon put on by the Danbury Garden Club. The speaker was Chris Giftos, the former head florist and events planner for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. If you ever went to the museum and saw the fabulous, enormous floral arrangements in the niches in the grand hall and at the information desk, that was his job for 30 years. He made seven incredible arrangements while regaling us with stories from his past. He certainly mingled with the rich and the famous and yet he was charming, funny, and unpretentious. His was a true rags to riches story. A Greek immigrant, he worked his way up from making deliveries for a small neighborhood florist, graduating to better shops and jobs, then to a Madison Ave. shop and ultimately to the museum, learning the jobs by the seat of his pants. I'm sure his talent and appeal had a lot to do with it.
The arrangements he made were raffled off, but I didn't win anything. I should have had my camera with me. Oh, well......

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 12

This is just a sneak peak, or a tease, of my finally finished rusted quilt. I just wanted to show a little of the hand stitching on the rust-dyed fabric, the wiggly strip piecing and the Dupioni silk. The whole quilt measures about 30" w x 40"h. This section is about 4" x 6".
I had a bit of a disaster last night. I put the trimmed quilt up on my design wall and saw that I had a little rippling or bacon edges, so I spritzed it with water, just around the edges, then put a hot iron to it to flatten those edges down. Unfortunately one of my dark rust colored hand-dyed fabrics bled onto the light blue next to it (not the medium blue in the picture). Argh!! Much screaming and many bad words! Since this quilt is full of rusty splotches anyway, I'm trying to decide if I should leave it and let people think it was intentional, or cut 2 1/2 inches off that side of the quilt. And, yes, it does lay very flat right now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 11

If you saw yesterday's anemic dandelion postcard, you probably think this is not made by the same person.  I like this one so much better and someone will probably get it as a birthday card. I was going to make it my usual 4" x 6" size, but thought it needed something else and added the orange striped border, bringing it up to 5" x 7".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 10

I was bound and determined to use this dandelion stamp, of which I am very fond. Yesterday I tried foiling---disaster, then bleach discharge--yuck, so today I thought I'd just use it as a plain ol' stamp. I'm not thrilled with this either---too wishy, washy. (No pun intended) I like the idea; perhaps it needs more color or some beads or something. I don't want to spend anymore time on it today, as I have to get back to that rusted quilt. Maybe, maybe, I'll try something else tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 9

Sorry, no picture today. I tried to use my new dandelion stamp with foil and it was a complete mess. I'm not sure why since I have used this technique before. I'm home all day tomorrow (hooray!) so I'll try something different.

I'm still hand stitching away on my rusted quilt and am almost finished. Then I have to do some beading on it. I won't be showing it to you because I decided to enter it into one of those shows where the work cannot be previously shown. I may give you a little peek.

Tune in tomorrow. I promise to have a little something new to show.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 8

Does creative planning count for my Art Every Day?  While referring readers to the Hot Potatoes website, of course I had to look around and see what was new and couldn't resist ordering these new stamps which arrived yesterday.  All kinds of ideas are swirling in my head as to how to use them.  These stamps are quite large; the snowflake (possible Christmas cards?) is three inches square.  Although they are great for velvet embossing, they are good for any kind of stamping, including foiling.

I showed the back of one so that you can see how sturdy they are.  I just love this dandelion.

I am busy making actual art, too, just nothing I can show yet.  I'm working on the hand stitching on the rusted fabric quilt.  It is very slooooow going.  I can take one or two stitches at a time and that's with using a needle grabber for pushing the needle into the fabric and again for pulling it through.  A line of stitching that would take less than a minute on the machine might take an hour by hand.  Thankfully I was able do to most of it by machine

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 7

Quite awhile back I rust-dyed some of my hand-dyed blue fabric and was very pleased with the results. I incorporated it into a quilt and, again, was happy with the outcome. My problems began when I started machine quilting. No matter what thread or needle I used, the thread kept breaking. I sewed as much as I could and today I am going to start the hand stitching. I don't think that that will be easy either, but I plan to use a thicker thread and take big stitches.

I had only washed that rusted fabric by hand with regular soap. This piece of fabric here, I machine washed in very hot water with Synthropol. I experimented with the machine quilting with much better results. I purposefully sewed through the rusty parts and the thread only broke twice. I have another piece of rusted fabric and I am going to see if it's any better washed twice. I really like the look of the rusted blue and would like to do some more quilts, but only if I can solve the thread breaking problem. BTW I have sewn through plastic credit cards, plastic drinking cups, Tyvek and other weird things with no problems, which is why the rusted thing has me stumped.

I know that the quilting that I did on this piece doesn't make any sense.  I was just "doodling" with my needle.  If this had been an actual quilt, the quilting design would have been different.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 6

Here's one more postcard using embossed velvet. Awhile ago I had ordered little plastic bags for storing beads. I was delighted when my small order arrived lovingly wrapped in tan tissue paper with printed dragon flies. I saved the paper knowing it would go into my art at some time. To make this piece I tore pieces of aqua tissue paper and applied them to a piece of Peltex with acrylic medium, then cut out these tiny dragonflies and applied them the same way. When all was dry I stitched the velvet down with a button hole stitch on my machine. The back of the card has hand dyed light green fabric. These postcards can go through the mail with a regular first class stamp. I have sent many and they usually arrive unscathed. If you're worried about them getting dirty, you can use clear plastic envelopes and put the stamp on the outside.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 5

I'm having a busy day today so my creativity today is playing with this berry picture in PhotoShop Elements. The first picture is straight from the camera and the next three are digitally altered. I think I like the red berries the best. How about you? Click on each photo for a bigger view.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 4

Here's another little postcard using the lime green velvet, this time embossed with a different stamp and combined with some Dupioni silk and seldom used fancy stitches on my Bernina.
The stamps that I am using are from Hot Potatoes and are perfect for this use. To get the best embossed effects you need a very sturdy stamp with thick lines. Rayon/acetate velvet gives the best results. I did a lot of embossing several years ago and made some lovely scarves that I lined with fleece, which made them elegant, yet warm. Everyone on my list got them that year for Christmas, some with matching mittens.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 3, Hot Spots 2

Well, of course I didn't make this whole quilt today. I've been working on it for a little while and finished sewing down the binding last night. I made one very similar a couple years ago to be part of a Fiber Revolution exhibit in Botswana, Africa and it sold! I was so excited to think that I have a quilt of mine hanging on a wall somewhere in Africa. I sent another quilt to a show there again this year, but this one was made to replace the one that sold and be part of a traveling exhibit.

This quilt is made entirely of Dupioni silk. It is a slightly different layout than the first one. This one has lighter colors in the center and radiates out to darker around the edges. The first one was just random placement of the colors. I'm very fond of working with the silk and like the luster that you get with the quilting.
Detail of the quilting. Click for a bigger view.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Art Every Day Month, day 2

Since I started this late, not on November 1st as I should have, I am calling yesterday Day One, so here I am on Day Two. I had a rather busy day and spent a part of it "uncreating" if there is such a thing, but I was putting my garden to bed. It's not my favorite job, but we had a hard freeze a couple of days ago and my remaining potted annuals were looking pretty sad. Today was a glorious day, in the high 60's and sunny, a good day to work outdoors. I just have one big pot of Blue Scaevola left on the front porch that is very tenacious and still looking good. Other than that all my potted plants are gone. It looks so empty without them. I still have perennials in the garden to cut down, maybe tomorrow, which promises to be another warm day before the cold sets in.

My project for today is this little postcard. I had bought some luscious lime green velvet in Portland. It looked like it was double shot and I thought that when I embossed it it would show a turquoise beneath. Not so; I got this bright yellowy green, still pretty I think. I went to my post card folder and the first thing that popped out was this striped batik already fused to the Peltex. I thought it was a good match and added some green pearl nuggets for the finish.

As I was sewing it down I thought that the velvet would really look good with some of the scrumptious silk Dupioni that I have . Perhaps that will be my little project for tomorrow.
I am working on several bigger things, too, but can't show them yet.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Art Every Day Month

I didn't think I would do it, but I was encouraged by fellow art bloggers to participate in Art Every Day Month. It was started by an artist named Leah and you can read about it here. The idea is just to do something creative every day, not necessarily a finished product. I am very late getting started and I'm not going to try to catch up, but I might extend my month into Dec. 9.

So this is my creative project for today. I took some lovely flower pictures this summer and then had fun playing with them in Photoshop Elements. I was especially pleased with the posterizing effects and wanted to enlarge the photo and print it out into sections that could then be put together to make one picture. I tried following two different tutorials for Elements with dismal results so I downloaded a free program call PosteRazor and, voila, success! It really was so easy to do. These could easily be printed out onto fabric, since there is a seam allowance, but that's not what I want to do. I plan to do a fused applique quilt using the large photo for a pattern. This measures about 22 x 28 without the white borders.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Orange Glow

I'm trying to savor every last bit of the dazzling autumn color. It will be gone all too soon.