Sunday, October 26, 2014

Paper + Stitch = Plenty of Fun


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Have sewing machine and paints, will travel. That was my motto when I signed up for Tweety Jill’s “Mixed Media Art Girl Cards” class at She Scrapbooks in The Villages, FL this past weekend. Jill brought the stamps, inks, stencils, modeling paste, creative ideas, and much more. So we were off. Four students learned to combine the paste, tinted with paint, along with stamps to create backgrounds on cardstock. We then added stamped images, sayings, and some messy stitching to complete the graffiti-style note cards.


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The girl images are stamped, using Dina Wakely rubber stamps, either directly on the background, or onto cardstock, and then cut out and applied. The messy stitching details are added last. The machine does go nicely through the dried paste, though it slowed a little where it was especially thick. The card on the left is still in need of a saying. The envelope on the right is one Jill gave me after using it to demonstrate ink pads applied through sequin waste (punchinella), and spatter painting to add further interest to our designs.

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We were happily elbow deep in all the class supplies, and gave it all our spontaneous best. I still have traces of paint and ink left on my hands the day after, despite a thorough scrubbing. I forgot to bring barrier hand cream with me which really helps with clean up. This is an over-the-shoulder view of one of my classmate's work.

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After creating three of the notecards, I spent some time stamping and creating elements that I can combine with other images for furture cards. It’s always fun to use others’ stamps that I don’t have at home. It's kind of like other people's fabric scraps- always more interesting than my own.


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These are a few of the girls, and envelope embellishments I’ll incorporate. I can hardly wait to see what they will become! By the way, I photographed these cards on a beautiful piece of hand-painted fabric I won from the 100th post on Sonja Hagemann Designs blog. It's just lovely, and I'm not sure yet what it's going to become either.




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And here’s a glimpse of Jill’s teaching station with a few more of the sayings and images she demonstrated. The four hours of our class flew by, and I still needed to shop. The clearance corner yielded up a few treasures, and I got a small  Gelli plate for printing on paper and fabric plus a couple of gift items. This shop is worth a visit if you get to central Florida. All in all, this was a productve and creatively satisfying day. I hope to take more classes from Tweety Jill- she’s great fun and her ideas flow non-stop.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Here, there, and practically everywhere…


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That's where I seem to have been. September into October has been a rather chaotic time for us with our daughter’s move from New York, and things are just starting to settle down. All of which means that I’ve not spent a lot of time sewing and crafting. But I’ve spent a little time … which is a great help to keep me in balance. This fish is a collage project made by my quilting friend Joanne who joined my guild for a 3-day quilt retreat the week following the two spent on the road with the big move. The fish is a bit collaborative as she invited all of us to add refinement and details to the piece. She left the workroom and we really got into it, cutting small motifs from everyone's fabrics and jazzing up her fish. Joanne and I used to work at a magazine together so I told her we wanted to give her something to edit! She had to travel back to PA, but she’s already reassembling the fish and will share a photo when it’s complete. I got several quilt projects moved along toward completion, but nothing fully done. It felt good to hear the hum of the sewing machines and conversations in the workroom though. I find that very soothing.



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One project I did complete at home is a pet bed for the local animal shelter. Our guild makes dog beds and cat hammocks, filling them with fabric and batting scraps. I had placed this one on the floor to fluff and redistribute the filling evenly. Look who had to take it for a test drive! Lily gives it two claws up.


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This post seems to be the all-animal, food, and travel edition. With some cooler fall weather, we took a bike ride in Melrose, a lovely community not far from here. There are several galleries, and a new one called Artisans Way had this Blues Brothers display on the lawn. Clever and eye-catching.


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And look- the building fell on the witch! Those ruby slippers are mine for the taking. This was an interesting place with lots of lovely jewelry and art pieces. A return visit is on my agenda.


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I’m not sure if this looks as appealing as I found it, but lunch was an unusual and very tasty combo of smoked salmon and asparagus in a wrap with black beans and rice at Blue Water Grill in Melrose. Yummy.


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Another nearby place I visited recently is Crone’s Cradle Conserve, a sustainable ecological preserve and organic farm. They hold festivals a couple of times a year and feature local produce and foods. I’d been meaning to visit for several years, but was previously put off by the l-o-o-n-g drive down a narrow sandy track to reach them. But the drive was worth it. Tours of the farm and greenhouse were available along with a buffet of foods like goat, wild hog, gator, vegetarian dishes, desserts, and herb iced teas. Visitors bought a ticket for each dish we wanted to try.


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I have lived in Florida for awhile, but had yet to try gator meat. So here is my gator kabob. Ummm… tastes like chicken? Actually it does. It’s very mild, though a bit chewy. I left, picking gator from my teeth. Better than the other way around, right? Because they are eco-friendly, the staff served meals on glass plates, with real sliverware, offered beverages in mason jars, and used bandannas for napkins. A pretty presentation, and a very interesting place.


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Jake the resident cat kept me company on the adjacent chair while I ate, and never requested any gator.


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Here’s another reason I sometimes find it difficult to get things done- my "helpers". Scooter is resting on the fabric, and Lily on the cutting instructions. Both love to maintain a paws-on approach to my projects.




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Joanne and I also spent a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park when I picked her up in Orlando, and I was reminded of the Tibetan tradition of prayer flags, and how I need to make some more. They are small and satisfying projects to just get my hands on fabrics and try interesting new techniques.


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We were fortunate to get a look at this gorilla crossing the stream on a fallen log. He was quite entertaining. By the time Joanne got her camera ready, he was showing his backside to everyone! She got a great shot- ha! Back to more quilting and journaling soon I hope.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Speaking of Faces…




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This “Flower Girl” wall quilt came about after I became interested in drawing faces and trying them out in fabric renditions. A quilting friend was working on two face quilts she’d begun in a class with Mary Diamond, and I was fascinated by her projects. I could hardly wait to give it a try on my own. Hopefully my resulting whimsy girl is pretty and not scary! I sketched the face on the background fabric and then emphasized the features with single-strand embroidery stitches to shade and define it. Her hair made from floral motifs is covered with tulle and accented with bright beads. You can see those a bit better in the detail shot that follows.

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I learned a lot about making faces, and clearly have much more to learn. But the good news for me is that I never knew I wanted to, or could, create faces. It was so much fun and I’m happy with her.

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While I was at it, I decided to try a variety of quilting techniques in the piece which I’ll enter in our guild quilt show next month. I couched knotted yarn lines on the background and then stitched with a feather stitch between the lines. And I added another blossom to one corner of the asymmetrical border just to balance things out a bit.


And now that we are done traveling up and down the eastern seaboard helping our daughter move here from NY, I’m off to a week of quilt retreat and hopefully recharging my very depleted batteries! I’ve always heard that a move is among the top three stressful events. I had no idea somebody else’s move would count, too! Phew. My sewing machine has been neglected, but will spring into action over the next few days. I’m ready.