Feeling organized

Next week I’ll be going to Kokomo, Indiana–is there another Kokomo anywhere? [I had to look this up–9 places in the US and 3 places elsewhere!] Anyway, this  weekend needed to be an organization weekend. I’m looking forward to a chunk of time after Memorial Day when I have nothing to do–except for dye day and stamp making day and stamp and dye printing day…and…

Lots of fun coming up AND I took a workshop that was lots of fun, too!

Learned a ton about working with sheers from Meena Schaldenbrand’s workshop. Her teaching style is very unstructured, which takes a while to get used to, but which really allows for great exploration! I had a ton of fun and my head was practically exploding with new ideas!! I got a start on a project, but had to stop working on it so I could learn more techniques!

Used heat tools for the first time and die cutting for the first time. Woooo…when I got home I just dumped my bag out on the table for sorting later.

Often I just move piles like this off to the side and start in on the next thing, but since I have to organize for a class and lecture, I thought I’d better actually clean up! Here is the rare sight of my worktable ready for action. Had to share that since it happens so seldom.

UNpacking from a trip gets the same treatment–stuff pushed aside for the next project, totally ignored until it’s time to go again. I pack the suitcase in a certain order so that I can set up for my lecture quickly. It comes home like this!

While it takes a bit of time to sort and re-pack, I don’t mind. It gives me time to review my lecture, make sure that all my examples are packed and lets me change out things as needed.

Thankfully, that part of my organization weekend is also finished! Hooray! Now all I have left is to make sure I have all my paperwork and addresses and contacts in order. I know that there is a parking permit involved with this one, too!

I really am looking forward to some quiet, relaxing riding time in the car!


Blue Lake reports 2

Halfway through this year’s Blue Lake experience and the students are making progress on their projects. On the first day there is an open house type period where students and parents can find their classes and meet their teachers. We were ready with samples and explanations.

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And our classroom building still has the best view from the porch! Kids are always eager to work out there.

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Here are a couple of the projects in process…the ones that were easiest for me to take a picture of!

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And an example of how much students learn in just a few days…

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He’s headed for an awesome finish!

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This is such a “feel-good” experience for me. Sure, I’m sharing what I’ve learned in a lifetime of playing with fibers, but I am always awestruck by the creativity and imagination and design skills of these youngsters. I’ll show you some pics at the end when we hang their artwork in all media at their show.

Blue Lake reports 1

There may only be one report, but I’ll probably manage to get a few in here and there. I love to show what the kids do. Creativity bubbles right out of them!

First things first…I dropped some stuff off at the classroom and judged that it will undoubtedly be very hot working there until this heat wave leaves us! Maybe only 1 more day of it…I hope!

Then I got checked in at the hotel. Yes, I’m staying in the hotel, and not in a cabin. I feel so lucky! What I can’t remember, though, is if this is different carpet or the same. In any event, with my usual fondness for unusual carpet design, I had to take these pics before I even brought my suitcase to the room!

Hotel carpet Whitehall Hotel Carpet Whitehall 3 Hotel Carpet Whitehall 2

The first picture is the truest color, taken by a window. I could not get the others adjusted correctly, but they were inside the corridor, in less than bright light. I really love this design set.

Next in importance was getting something to eat, ’cause I was starving. And they have a Dog ‘n Suds just down the road….a REAL Dog ‘n Suds, with car hops and everything! It was perfect…except that I dripped coney sauce on both my shirt and pants. What a slob but it was just soooooo good!

My last stop (before my staff meeting–yes, I am here to work!) was to a quilt store. I did not know until recently that there was a complete quilt store in the area. After all, this is only my third year here (and I am here to work!) and the store has been here 13 years…I asked! And since I need absolutely nothing, how could I resist this marvelous fabric?

Quilted Memories Montague

This affirms my decision not to explore natural dyeing. Why would I, when I can buy these beauties already made? And even though I love, love, love the natural dyeing results I’ve seen from my buddies, I simply cannot get into loving the doing of it. Not my thing!

Meeting tonight, meeting tomorrow, class and classroom prep, meet the kids, start teaching…the fun begins!

Workshops are fun!

One of the best things about our guild is the workshops we offer. Every other month, two workshops and a lecture by professionals! You can find out all about it here–Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild. Anyhow, I took Freida Anderson’s Whispering Pines class and it was like a mini-vacation for me.

No sewing, so no heavy machine to haul. Made from a kit, so no wondering whether or not I was bringing the correct fabrics. Working from a pattern, but lots of improv within the design, so that was very appealing to me.

Freida workshop 3 KAS

This is what I have so far. I want to add some little details here and there. My trees are not like Freida’s. Hers are all nicely lined up, with soft, rounded edges, perfectly color gradation matched and look great. Mine are square-edged, uneven, don’t all match and look pretty good, too, if I do say so myself!

However, I was not the only one who went all “rebel” in the tree area. I only got a couple of pictures, but there were tulips and wild trees and I think a few things never seen in real life!

Freida workshop 2

Freida workshop 1 bacjz

Of course there were those who made beautiful trees, much more like Freida’s, but we all just had such a good, relaxing day that the project was almost an afterthought.

Love having good times with fabric!

Paint adds so much

Just a couple quick pics of additional work on my collages.

Didn’t get a before photo of this one, but I’m liking the after!

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You can’t see the orange paint very well–intentionally, but you can see the white. We have become believers in white paint! Still planning on adding some stitching, but progress is being made!

Before on this one

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And after

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Simple stencil and a little pearlized green paint–it just added so much more interest. There will be stitching on this one, too.

This one is simply for my own memory of Blue Lake. Scraps and pieces of what the kids did, put into a collage and stitched on the machine. But I enjoyed this class with the kids and wanted to use those scraps!

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Enough collage for now. Other things to do this week, so I can’t be all self-indulgent and paint and stitch to the exclusion of all else. But I’ll sure get back to it as soon as I can!

And then we collage…

Remember that pile of fabrics I took to my collage class? This is what it looked like half way through the day.

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There actually is a lot more involved with making a collage than you would think. Waaaaay more thinking than I’m used to, especially with small pieces. Everything has to work together and then you can add more paint and stitching and embellishment to make it even better.

Knowing that nothing would be totally finished at the workshop did not stop anyone from making! Lots and lots of making!

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I don’t think there was anyone in class that did not thoroughly embrace the collage making concept. It was a wonderful class…thank you, Lynn Krawczyk!

What did I do? Well, as usual, I felt like I brought all the wrong fabrics–even with that huge pile! I ended up with 4, very much in need of more work. But this one is where I used that sheer fabric that I screen printed on Friday, and I really like the effect

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Looking forward to doing a lot more work  in this collage style. It’s wonderful fun as well as being a challenge to design.

However, I do have to get ready to go teach in Dallas, visit some friends on the way back, and prep for my Artisan Showcase in October. I’m happy to be so busy, but I’m soooo busy!

Doing what I love–life is so good!

Stamping and painting, oh my…

My next adventure will be taking a class about stamping and paint flinging and learning more about that. I’ve done all I could this year to take advantage of every painting and stamping opportunity that has come my way. I’ve learned so much but I still know so little. Like every thing worth learning and doing, this stuff takes practice!

However, I was inspired by all the stamps that Linda Lindsey created and I wanted to try to make some of my own. We are very fortunate in this area to have a store called The Scrap Box where you can get all kinds of “scrap” from all kinds of businesses. A lot of it is perfect for stamp making!

I got plexiglass backings and self-adhesive foam and these are the first two that I made, both about 9″ square.

Big stamp 2 Big stamp 1

I haven’t used either one yet, but I’m anxious to get a chance to. The second one looks more like giraffe spots to me than the rocks I was aiming for, but we’ll see how it prints. It’s so easy to make these that if I have to make another one, it’ll be just fine!

I’m so looking forward to my next class, and learning different methods of making my own fabric! But in the meantime, I think I’ll make a few more stamps. Maybe I’ll have to visit The Scrap Box again, too! Maybe I shouldn’t have told everyone about the place…