Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Woman's Club Arts and Crafts Competition.

Every year in February our club has an A&C competition for its members.  The First Place winners go to the District competition in April and those First Places go on to the State in May.
I can no longer enter quilted things because there is a limit to how much you can earn in that category before being considered a professional.  I've been lucky enough to make a few good sales these past two years, so I have to enter something else.  I've showed them all before in the blog, so click on the links if you want to see them.

My red silk jacket looked pretty good on the stand I concocted and I got so many compliments on it and it did win a first place in Sewing, Adult clothing.  They couldn't see the poor fit on me and they loved the French knots.

My cute little purse only won a second because the judges were more impressed with the other entry's many-pocketed inside. Mine only had pockets on the outside.

I entered a fabric postcard birthday card and I forgot to take a picture.  It won a First in Stationery, fabric.

I entered three photographs and won a First and Second, and Third in two different categories.  Photography is a very popular category and there are always a lot of entries.

I also entered two necklaces. Jewelry is usually a small category, but this year there were several and ones much better than mine won.  That's OK because now I can wear them and not have to wait to get them back in April or May. Again, I didn't photograph them.

It was a very good competition this year with many entires.  For a couple of years it had been dwindling, but we've been talking it up and I guess it worked.  Best of Show went to a new member with her altered book in the Creative Materials category.  It was fabulous!

I think this is the first blog post I ever did without pictures.  Sorry, I'll do better next time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Photoshop Elements Fun

I recently downloaded Diane Rusin Doran's video, "Digital Surface Design: Simple Techniques for Hand-dyed Fabric Effects and More".  She has an article in the latest issue of Quilting Arts that shows the easiest technique, making designs that look like drip dyeing.

I thought that this technique was super easy. I did several using floral pictures that had the motion blur filter applied.

I watched her video twice and then spent the better part of yesterday (another snowy day) watching segments of the video and trying to replicate what she did.  These two used a cloud filter and a gradation filter. I printed these on fabric and they do look like hand dyed.

But this part was the most fun, using the "brushes"  Brushes to me is a misnomer because although you can use them as brushes, many of them are really stamps and you can do so much with them, changing bushes, colors, sizes and transparencies.  Most of these started with a blurred drip-dye background and then several layers of brushes (or stamps).

Once you have a design that you like, you can then change the color and saturation of the whole thing to get an entirely new look.  I guess that's how fabric companies get different colorways. The possibilities are endless!  I am learning this so that I can print it on fabric and therein lies the rub.  I bought a new Epson WF-7510 so that I could print on fabric bigger than 8 1/2" x 11".  I had no trouble printing on that size, but when I went to 8 1/2 x 14, it rebelled.  It crinkled the paper, folded over edges and jammed the machine.  Argh!!!  What I might have to do is send things to someone that will print your images on fabric, like Spoonflower. They can make yardage for you or print really big pictures on all kinds of fabric.

These last few that I showed are using brushes that are in the program and there are many, many.  Next I have to learn how to make custom bushes.  I'll have to watch that part of the video again (and again), but in the meantime I'll show you some more of my creations on Wordless Wednesdays, so stay tuned.

I've linked up with Off The Wall Friday again.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Done and done!

Last night I hand-sewed the binding down on the ginkgo quilt while watching the much heralded NBC live version of The Sound of Music. It showed before Christmas and I had recorded it because I was out that evening.  While it was nowhere near as good as the Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer version (how could you top that?) I still enjoyed the music and it was a pleasant background to my sewing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Deja Vu

all over again!  Remember that I showed you my deck table piled with snow on Tuesday?

I went out shoveled it off on Wednesday.  The bowl in the center of the table was frozen down and I made no attempt to remove it.  There was a layer of ice about a half inch thick.

After yesterday's snow, here it is again.  I didn't get the official snow total for our area, but I think it was 10 to 12 inches.  It stopped snowing for a while in the afternoon then we had some freezing rain, where some of the snow may have compacted and then it snowed some more overnight.

This much snow would have crippled some cities and while not too many ventured out yesterday (including yours truly) today all the roads was clear by midmorning.  I had an errand to run around noon and had no trouble at all.

Today is Valentine's Day and if you leave me a comment you will get a surprise when you see the Word Verification for today.  I guess that Google has a heart and a sense of humor after all.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ginkgo quilt finished

While some of my friends are getting cabin fever, I am happy to get all this bonus studio time.  Yesterday I finished the quilting on my Ginkgo quilt. I was so pleased to see that there was no distortion, in spite of the intense quilting and it only shrank about a half inch on the width and length.

I quilted the background in a variegated blue thread.  I frequently use variegated thread and this was  Sulky rayon.

I am so glad that I took the extra time to piece the back.  I love the way it looks.

And I love the way the quilting shows. In person it's even more dramatic.

Today I will bind it in a medium blue and then I will have hand work to do during the Olympics.  I actually have a place for this in my house when the exhibit is over.  It should look great in my upstairs hallway.

Please click on any picture to see a bigger view of all.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Fridays.  Go see what everyone is up to.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Outside, Inside

Like most of the rest of the country, we are having a deep freeze here in Connecticut.  This morning my iPhone said it was -2.  That's cold!  And it's been cold for several weeks.  The patio table on my deck has been snow covered for at least a couple of weeks.  It just never gets warm enough to melt.

When I bought this set a couple of years ago, because my glass topped one shattered under the weight of the snow, my salesman said that he hated to say that anything lasts forever, but this table probably would.  It is made of Marine quality polymer of some kind that it used to make yachts.  It is very strong and impervious to any kind of weather.  I have to leave it out because I have no place to store it inside and it is so heavy, it would be hard to carry very far.  The rest of the lightweight furniture and all the plant containers do go inside. My deck runs all along the back of my house and is very visible from the kitchen and the family room and I like the way it looks, sort of an extension of those two rooms.  I keep a china bowl on the table filled with blue and white china balls year round and the weather doesn't seem to bother them either.  Notice the bump in the middle of the table.

I would have guessed that the snow level on the table was two feet, but as you can see by the yardstick, it's only nine inches.  I had to crack through a layer of ice to get the stick in.  We are expecting another big storm on Thursday with 8 to 12 inches of heavy wet snow, so I am thinking that I should take this snow off the table.  I know the table is heavy and strong, but hate to take the chance of its collapsing.   That's what's going on outside.

Inside I am working on my Ginkgo quilt.  Yesterday I quilted 15 of 27 leaves and will finish them today.  Then I can quilt the background.

I hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are.

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Project

I've written about my FANE group and the challenges we do.  They really keep me busy.  One of the exhibits we did last year was an exhibit of kimono-like pieces.  They were displayed on special wooden stands in their own room as a special exhibit of the Northern Star Quilters Guild.  You can see pictures of them here.  The exhibit was very well received and we decided to do something where we could use those stands again.  After some brainstorming we came up with the idea of Opposites.  The long, 18" x 52" pieces would hang over the stand and have one side opposite the other in any way that you want.

I decided to do one long piece that would not have an up or down if it was later hung on the wall  I originally wanted to do black and white, but couldn't come up with a way to do it successfully.  Then I remembered the Journal Pages that I had made for an exhibit at the IQA Quilt Show in Houston several years ago.  Actually I did the Journal Pages three years in a row, but the one that got me thinking was one page from the year that I did Ginkgo leaves.  Every month I did something different with the ginkgoes. I've long had a fondness for ginkgo leaves and have made several quilts that feature them.  If you notice I even have a section of my quilt, "Technicolor Ginkgoes" as the banner for my blog.  There's just something about their shape that has such grace and movement.

This was one of my favorites and it was picked to be a full page in the book that was published after that project was over.  It used all my hand-dyed fabrics and I often thought that I would like to explore this as a larger quilt.  Aha, this would work for this project.  If folded in half it would have a dark side and a light side......dark on light, light on dark.....opposites!

I did a lot of free-motion quilting on it and thought that it really enhanced the quilt.

I even liked the back where I also used my hand-dyed fabric.

So taking advantage of these snowy days we've been having I dyed a 15 step gradation of rust fabrics for the background then edited it down to 10.  I had a lot of blues in my stash and was able to make colors gradations of three different blues (L to R, Midnight, Wedgwood, and Intense).  I only had to dye two quarter yards of very light of each of the blues. The lame squares are two different blues, light on dark and darker on light, although they look the same here.  Right now the leaves are just fused down.  This will be heavily quilted just like the small journal page. The Journal Pages were just 8" x 11" and the new piece is 18" x 52", a lot of quilting!

Now picture this quilted and it will look this way on one side.....

and this way on the other side.  I will post pictures when it is quilted.

I'm linking up with Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday".  Go see what some very talented artists are doing and leave comments.   We all love comments.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Happy Birthday

to me.  Actually my birthday was yesterday.  One of the fellowship groups of the Woman's Club, to which I belong, is the Lunch Bunch.  Our only function is to go out to lunch five times during the Club's year.  We don't meet in the summer.  My friend, Sheila, and I are in charge this year so we have the fun of picking the restaurant, deciding on the menu and collecting the money beforehand.  It's a fun job. Yesterday was Lunch Bunch at the Black Angus Grill in Danbury and the food was delicious!

When my sister asked me what I was doing for my birthday I jokingly told her I was going to lunch with 35 of my closest friends. Sheila tipped off the management and they brought my dessert with a candle and everyone sang.  A nice surprise.

We were sooooo lucky with the weather because it was beautiful dry, sunny day.  On Monday we had a bad snowstorm and today we are having another one with the addition of sleet and freezing rain.  I am staying in all day, as any sensible person would do, and working on a new project.  More about that later when I have something to show.