Thinking about the beach

My recent exhibition has generated a possible commission, but even if that never finalizes, my creative energy is on a new track. The thought process went from summer chairs

to feeling beachy. I auditioned a ton of fabric and decided today to work with these.

I thought my fabrics were a touch too busy and substituted a soft hand dye for the fabric in the upper left corner.

Spent the day playing, arranging, re-arranging, cutting and stitching and totally enjoying myself! This is what I ended up with at the end of the afternoon. Seeing the photo, I may want to change the bottom a bit, but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with my progress.

And as I was heading out of the room, my eyes fell on a stitch meditation piece that was sitting on the table………………..hmmm…………I think this might be a good addition.

Laid it on the piece…not great…moved it up a bit…

still not great…moved it up more and I think it’s getting there!

A good place to walk away and think for a while…with a big smile from a happy day!

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Series, or not a series?

A while back I thought I had a great idea for a series of work. I made a contemporary black and white tree, on a black background and added all the oddball leftover leaves that I have made and collected over the last couple of years.

I have a LOT of leaves, plus a huge collection of leaf beads that might have made their way into this series. I was going to make a series with the trees getting darker and the backgrounds getting lighter and various leaves carrying across the series.

Even had the grays picked out. And then I decided that I don’t feel like working with all that gray and black and the series idea kinda died. Maybe ’cause it’s in the dark of winter. But I DO want to make the original piece and I’ll use as many leaves as I can—at least as many as possible while still finding the piece attractive!

There are a few lines quilted and I think I will continue with the minimal straight lines since it is a background, not a focal point.

Sheesh–look at all the lint that shows up on that black fabric! I was interrupted by the grandson’s hockey game and thought I’d get right back to it when we got home, but now I’m distracted.

THIS piece of fabric has been hanging on my design wall for quite a while, waiting to decide what it wants to be.

It’s only a fat quarter, but it’s quite demanding. It does NOT want to be cut and does not play well with other fabrics. Other prints neither contrast nor blend well and my other hand dyes don’t match in a happy way. It will tell me eventually what it wants to be, but I’m impatient and I want to work on it NOW!

So, I’m ignoring the whole studio this evening! My brain will undoubtedly work on both projects subconsciously and those thoughts will work their way to the front of my idea lobe. It just takes time………….sigh! So I may or may not end up working on a leaf series and I may or may not have a ‘circle fabric’ project to work on.

It may be time to knit a sweater!

Baby quilt distraction

Went downstairs with the intention of starting some laundry. Had a piece that needed to go into storage in the studio. Uh oh…saw some already cut squares sitting on the shelf, waiting to become a quilt.

Had almost enough squares and half-squares there to make the top and it didn’t take long to find a couple bits and pieces to fill it out.

And shortly thereafter—a mostly quilted quilt, ready to cuddle a baby.

However, it is only minimal quilting, on each side of each seam line and I like a bit more. So tomorrow I’ll finish it up and have one more item ready to vacate my studio! Hooray!

Just a taste–

Since I got some new paint and a couple of new stencils, I HAD to try them out and see how everything looked. I cleared tabletops and laid out table covers and the paints and stencils……………and could not find my paint rollers! I think they are out in the garage, but it was cold out there so I wimped out and just used what I had.  Another day will get more action!

I painted over some previously dyed/painted fabric and I think the tree is going to be very popular in my future work!

And the circles printed clear and crisp and the paint colors are ones that I love!

So I got that out of my system, even though I didn’t use the green, black or white. I still have two projects with deadlines (self-imposed!) before I can spend tons of time painting and playing. And a couple of classes to teach and a couple to take…………

I guess it might be a couple of weeks before I get back to the paint, but that’s all right. Sewing on my other projects will not be a punishment!

Inspired by others

Card making with fabric is nothing new. Many people make Artist Trading Cards and fabric postcards. Christmas cards are a great way to use up bits of seasonal fabrics. One of my friends has been adding bits and pieces of fabric construction to standard blanks with stitching and they are beautiful. All of these projects have inspired me to use my small bits and pieces, odd sizes and all, as business cards at special events.

Aaaaaand, the scrap baskets have exploded again!

I have used up all the blanks of heavy interfacing that I had pre-cut and the pile of cards has grown! Time to pause and get them painted.

This looks like a fairly good sized pile, but by the time I was done, it had grown to cover much more of the table top!

Next step is to screen on the card info. The backs of the fabric cards are various fabrics, so I will have to be efficient when using paint and sort them into lights and darks and appropriate paint colors. Not much point in doing them if the paint/info isn’t going to show up! If that doesn’t work on any particular card, I guess I can stitch one of my regular business cards to it, but that doesn’t really appeal to me.

And while I have the paint out, I may try to experiment a bit with those recycled refrigerator magnets I mentioned.

I grabbed a few and gave them a first coat of gesso.

Obviously if they are going to be good backgrounds or show at all, they will need more. I decided to try to add some fabric like the cards I’ve been working on. Not sure of what would adhere the best, I started with gel medium.

Nope—didn’t stick worth a darn and I hated the finish it left. Some people swear by it and use it extensively, but I’ve never had good luck with it. There are other products to try.

I have mentally eliminated fusible, since I would be ironing onto plastic covered magnets! I might try sewing, but I’m not confident that the magnets would maintain enough contact with the surface to function as magnets!

Experiments will continue, but this may be a paint/stamp/stencil project with no fabric texture at all. And that may make me decide not to pursue it at this point!

Should be another New Year’s Eve trying hard to stay awake until midnight. Nice and quiet–just the way I like it!

Was I Bad?

Our grandson was here with us today. I usually like to do fun, entertaining and/or educational things with him when we have his company. Sometimes, though, between his hockey, his school and his Cub Scouts, I love to give him totally lazy, resting days.

This is Christmas break, after all.

I was an ipad grandma today, though. Let him veg out with his electronics as much as he wanted.  I don’t think it was a bad thing, and of course he didn’t complain! And Poppa was here, too, if a Nerf war was needed!

I was the big beneficiary of his lazy day, though. I got to go down to the studio and play with fabric! Washed and ironed my fat quarter bundle that I got for Christmas. Trying to recycle some refrigerator magnets–more on that if it works. Or even if it doesn’t!

Straightening up and moving things and found a large pile of fabric cards that I have made over who knows how long and then just shoved in a drawer.

And I found a pile of interfacing blanks all ready to be used up.

So I’m making more fabric cards. I can’t call them artist trading cards or post cards, because both those things have a specific size associated with them. These are random rectangles and I have plenty of random scraps, so it sounds like a perfect match!

But I am making them with a purpose this time. I am going to start taking them to classes and opening receptions at exhibits and give them away to any who might want one. However, the catch is that my info will be screen painted on them and they will be fancy business cards! It feels good to me to be playing with scraps with intent for a change. Don’t know if it’s a good or bad idea, or if anyone will want one, but they are fun to make and use up scraps. That’s enough of a reason to do it!

USE that stash!

Old fabric being used up is always a good thing! It makes me so happy to have finally assembled that fabric sample pack from years ago.

No obsessing over where things go or how best to showcase any part of it. I just sewed large pieces together and added chunks until it fit.

It certainly is not your typical organized little quilt, but it is done. I do wonder, though, if I should put a narrow black border or if a black binding will do the trick. Hmmm…

And the leftovers from the scrap basket…

Truly USED up!