Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Girls of Summer...

All the beautiful flowers in bloom and hot, hot days- it's summer for sure! So out come the Flower Ladies. I learned to make these with Barb Owen of How to Get Creative, and they are simply a creative arrangement of magazine images. Barb provided a download for the faces, which is appreciated- I'm just learning to draw faces and mine might not look so serene.

Piecing these ladies together is a lot like piecing a quilt. There are lots of creative options, and moving the bits around to audition them is fun.

Of course, it makes for lots of scraps, but then so does quilting! This tutu girl may be my favorite, but it's hard to choose because I love the star crown and leaf wings of the first girl and the bright painted daisy of the second. Now to explore the uses for these Summer Lovelies.

And summer for us has always included a visit to Maine. Oh, the freshness of the air, and the beauty of the rocky coastline! So beautiful. We were there in the Kennebunkport area for a week and had lovely weather and lobster. Refreshing.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Porcine and Other Fiber Adventures...

Quite a few of my textile projects get their start on our quilt guild's freebie table. Such is the case with this hoop hanging featuring a flower-bedecked pig. A farm fabric with all sorts of barnyard animals was there for the taking. So was the wooden embroidery hoop. Our daughter is a fan of pigs, and supports several sanctuaries. I thought a hoop hanging might be just right for her. The only items I needed to purchase were the pom-pom trim and some felt to cover the back of this piece. I used fusible web, fabric, paint and embroidery floss from my stash and spent a few enjoyable evenings embroidering the accents. She looks like a star to me!

Also completed are 30 little stitched collages done in a vintage style as part of Find Your Flow- an online class with Karen Abend. Every day I'd combine bits and pieces, and assemble them on the sewing machine.

I pulled items from the assortment I've collected over the years, knowing that "someday" there would be a use for them. Someday has finally arrived, and I like how they go together along with the good feeling of recycling. This one has some old lace in the background, bridal trim, a stamp and vintage image atop a cleaned up tea bag.

More lace, yarn, tatting and trims combine in this tag that features a transparency image.

Here's another transparency with bridal trim, vintage buttons, another tea bag and a bit of sheet music.

Don't you love these twins? They are part of the die-cut vintage-look images by Tim Holz. The background is book paper, tea bag, cancelled stamps on a tag that is gel printed.

Toward the end of the 30 days, I departed from the fully neutral look by doing some free-motion stitch drawing and added color with Inktense pencils. All of the participants really gave their creative minds quite a workout. It was lots of fun, and my collages will go into a journal eventually.

Never content to work on only one thing at a time, I thought I'd show you this pile of goodness. It's on its way to becoming something soon. More will be revealed in time. No wonder my sewing room is often so out of control! In a good "messy fun" way of course.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Wild Garden...

It's that time of year when gardens are taking off with wild abandon. This "Wild Garden" quilt is one I started several years ago. The piecing and machine sewn applique pieces were the easy part. The project started out using a LizzieBCre8tive! pattern. I added the pieced border and changed the flower style a bit. The slow-down came when I began to machine quilt it. One big downfall for me in quilting, or in any project really, is thinking "this won't take long". I get started, then bog down. There was more to stitch than I anticipated (as usual), so the quilt got set aside for a time. At last our guild issued a challenge to complete some of those languishing projects. It was just the motivation I needed to get cracking and finish this one up!

In our Fiber Art Bee, we are doing a book study of Deborah Boschert's Art Quilt Collage. One exercise was to identify personal symbols that we consistently use in our work. I discovered that this bloom I call a "splat flower" is one of mine. They seem whimsical, playful and free, which is often the goal for my work.

I love the twining vines and two-toned leaves also.

In addition to quilting, I get a lot of other projects underway. Throughout June I've been participating in artist Karen Abend's Find Your Flow -a 30 day creative practice. My commitment was to sew a small collage each day of the month. The goal is to make some art a daily practice, to more fully explore one style of our choice, and to be accountable by posting our work in a private Facebook group. It was a very good practice and it caused me to stretch as I considered the materials and how to combine them in new ways each day. I also stuck to a neutral palette for the most part, though there are touches of color towards the end. Messy stitching created the message and the heart on a tea bag in this little fragment.

Keeping it simple with a free-motion stitched bloom sewn on lace and a cardstock piece.

Here's a vintage bathing beauty photo stitched to a tea bag, atop a scrap of lace fabric. The old stamp and a bit from bridal trim accent the collage. I can't get enough vintage-style art! And I'm pretty fond of recycling bits and pieces of fabric and trim along with unusual materials. I'm planning a journal to showcase the collages together. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Now What?!!

Just take a piece of muslin and some dry-wall paste... WHAT?? Yes, that is the formula for making this art book. I made this following along with an online class taught by Donna Downey titled Metamorphosis. And that's how we began. After spreading the paste on both sides of the muslin, it dries with a flexible weightiness to it. And a few wrinkles and cracks which enhance the texture. This book has four sheets, which is to say 8 two-sided pages.

Once dry, the pages are ready for paint, stamping, stenciling, image transfers, and anything else a creative mind can come up with. The neutral, grungy look is intentional. I don't know yet what these pages will house- some type of imagery. But I await the inspiration to continue!

In addition to the binding, which is sari ribbon, the book also got a tassel made with yarn, fiber strips, and rhinestone trim plus sparkly beads. I like a binding that is bushy and full of fiber, inviting touch.

Here's a backpage view. This was so much fun to make, and I've got leftover joint compound, so I know I'll try more journals like this- maybe with printed fabrics and more color. Donna calls this an "ARTbook". I call it a Slap-Journal because the weight of it makes a satisfying slap when the pages are turned or it's set down on a table. At the same time I was working on the journal, I was enrolled in Karen Abend's online Sketchbook Revival. It was a free class featuring a series of video lessons by a variety of artists, from bookmakers to sketch artists to mixed media artists and water colorists. Quite broadening and enlightening. Karen has followed it up with a 30-day creative practice called Find Your Flow in which participants are encouraged to commit to a daily practice for the month of June. 

The look of the journal prompted me to commit to making a layered and stitched fabric and paper collage like this one each day. My plan is that they'll be incorporated into a journal of some sort when the 30 days are completed. Maybe even this journal, though I'm envisioning something else at the moment. But I have lots of time to decide.

I worked on the journal while visiting Disney's Flower & Garden Festival 2018 at Epcot. It was lovely, and I enjoyed the displays and the refreshing foods like this watermelon and lime cooler.

We also visited Animal Kingdom for a day. It was overcast and a little drizzly which brought more animals out during the Safari ride than usual. There were several impressive Silverback Gorillas watching us watching them.

Can you see the lion king and his lady atop this rock pile? Such a fun place to visit.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

When Fashion Week Came to Town...

A runway show at an art museum- what could be more fun? Our local Appleton Museum of Art offered several fashion designers the opportunity to create a statement piece and a small collection of garments inspired by one of the art objects in the museum collection. Then, on a warm and pleasant evening, models walked the runway, showing off the work of the designers. This gown, from designer Leeann Kroetsch, is worthy of a one-of-a-kind wedding and was rich with stuffed work and embellishment. 

This headpiece stayed firmly in place, despite a slight breeze blowing, so my hat is off to the model (no pun intended). The Stefania Costanzo gown had an over-skirt of gold strapping and a wide hand-painted flounce. You can see lots more photos by professional photographer Demilio at here at his site.

Julia Chew, the designer, wore her own inspiration garment beautifully. A carved Chinese jade pagoda was the inspiration piece.

All of the fashions were seen in the museum courtyard, and the runway itself went around the circular fountain. It all made for a splendid event.

Fiesta! The vibrant color against black made Hermione Elma's dress an eye-catcher. And it was covered with embellishments, bling, and trinkets which I found appealing. A quote I recently found says "the thing with bling is that the more you have, the more you want." Ain't it the truth?!

Perky, flirty, and colorful, this dress had floral overlays on the bodice and a full skirt of layered circles.

The back interest on this piece was stunning- gold, intricate lacing, and yards upon yards of tulle. I should write runway commentary, right? Seasons of Project Runway have caused me to see details I'd likely miss otherwise.

The fashion show was held in conjunction with this exhibit, which was very well done. No photos allowed as these are items not owned by the museum. As we wandered through the exhibit, the models and designers were standing next to each inspiration piece so show-goers could chat with them. And speaking of Project Runway, Fabio Costa of the recent Runway All-Stars season was scheduled to speak on Sunday about fashion inspiration. However, his flight arrangements from Brazil could not be completed at the last minute, so we missed hearing from him.

But wait, there's more! Jan at Laughing Dog Arts blog surprised me by sending this lacy and layered minibobber just for being a loyal follower of her blog. She posted about these recently, and you can see more here. At first I thought to put it on a journal cover, but now think it will get a pin back and become a wearable. It can go right on my own "accessory wall" (a Project Runway term). The piece began on a base of denim and then went in lots of directions, including some hand embroidered details, buttons, and fabulous frays. Many thanks to Jan. Notice the photo background also- that's the hand-print envelope the gift traveled here in. Lovely, lovely- all of it!

Joining in my recent festivities was none other than Elvis in a 1963 Bonneville! Yes, there has been an Elvis sighting at a local car show and I was able to snap a pic.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

It's a Jungle Out There...

That's what Iggy thinks, anyway. And after the start he had to his week, it's a reasonable opinion. On Monday, he ran into the street during the busy morning traffic. Our daughter was able to safely avoid him and pull over to effect a rescue. That was after she got elbow deep into the wheel well of her car where he ran to safety. She drove him the few blocks back to her home and secured him in an area with food and necessities; and away from her 3 cats who were not happy to see him. So she ran late for work that day, but Iggy lived to tell the story. Talk about drama!

She kept him overnight and loved him, but knew 4 cats are too many for her to care for and work, too! She asked if we would take him to the Humane Society for surrender while she was at work, and we agreed. But when we saw him, we just could not. So he came home to see how things might work with our other animals.

We named him Mimi at first, but a vet visit confirmed that we were wrong. So Iggy it is. He has all the other pets pretty well intimidated. Just one tiny hiss, and they give him quite a wide berth. Here is a meet up with Abby, who actually moved her pet bed closer to my husband just to get away from him- yet he followed her. If you look closely, you can see that frightening hiss is being delivered and Abby is frozen in place.

Of course Iggy provides constant laughs and many photo ops. Just so cute! It will be the peaceable kingdom here in time, I'm sure.

Our front garden area must feel like a jungle to Iggy- the vet estimated his age at 7 weeks and he weighed in at all of 1 1/2 pounds. By the way, when he was rescued, there was nobody around the area, and our daughter drove the neighborhood that evening to see is there was a mom-cat or any signs up for a lost kitten. He does eat food, so is likely newly weaned.

He's a tidy boy, and after a little romp out in the jungle- er, garden- he came in to get cleaned up.

Iggy seems pretty happy here. He even has his own porch fountain which is endlessly fascinating. Wait until the water is in it!

Currently our farm population is three horses, two cats, two dogs. Only one horse was born on the farm, a Quarter Horse my husband used to show and now rides each day (when both are sound). The other two, I call Patch and Brownie, are also rescues. My husband is boarding them to provide them with more favorable conditions than they were in. Both dogs and both cats are strays or rescues. We didn't plan to run a rescue ranch when we moved here, but we have a heart for animals and sometimes things just work out that way!

After a guy has spent the day exploring and tearing around the place, he just needs a nap and can hardly keep his eyes open. He did a little face-plant into the sofa, and it was lights out. Zzzzz......  Iggy is a ton of fun and a great little guy. He gets to stay.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

You Can Always Go... Downtown..

Things'll be great when you're downtown... everything's waiting for you. Remember that Petula Clark song? Well, we took her advice this week and things were great downtown in Ocala, Florida. The purpose of the visit was to see the wonderful exhibit of hand-dyed tapestries and quilts created by Kay Koeper Sorensen of Quilts + Color. Kay's exhibit, Florida Ice, is on display until April 26, at the City Hall. Should you happen to be able to visit, you can get further details at Kay's blog

Every piece just glows from within! Quite mesmerizing.

And Kay points out that each one is a treat for her to discover as her process goes along.

You can't pick a favorite because every one is so beautiful. And this is just a sampling.

Kay has included a bio, an artist statement, and a very interesting explanation of her process. I thought it would be particularly helpful to those visitors who may be unfamiliar with ice dyeing and wondering how she makes these beautiful pieces.

"Maybe you know some little places to go... downtown." We do! One of them is Harry's on the Square. New Orleans style with excellent food make it a popular restaurant. Mardi Gras all the time.

It's complete with interesting wall art.

Delicious food- I had the crab cakes. Yummy.

And more art on the historic brick walls. The building itself is old and nicely preserved, so the ambience is very appealing.

Ocala has a quaint downtown with attractive shops fronting on the historic square. Isn't this inviting?

The center of the square has this bandstand where music events, art walks, and  other gatherings are held.

And there are a couple of Horse Fever horses painted or finished creatively by local artists on display. Ocala is in the heart of Horse Country, rivaling Kentucky for the number of thoroughbred horses along with many other breeds such as Gypsy Vanners, Paso Finos, Quarter Horses, mini horses, and more. There's more to Florida than theme parks, and Ocala is in the center of a beautiful rural area.

The Olive Oil Market on the square not only offers tastings of oils and balsamic vinegar, but also has this striking display of salt lamps. They have such a warm glow and offer some health benefits, too. We brought one home.

So, maybe I'll see you there... we can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares, and go downtown!