Thursday, July 16, 2015

Just Beachy…


Another month, another journal quilt theme. This time we made a small 8” x 11” piece on the theme “Beach”. I love shells and the Nautilus was the thought that first came to mind. I really enjoy making these small projects just to try out some unfamiliar techniques or materials. The main technique I practiced in this one was bobbin drawing or bobbin quilting using metallic thread. I chose a heavy thread to give lots of shine and create a strong outline. The thread would not have been suitable to go through the tension and thread guides as a top thread. But by winding it on a bobbin, I was able to stitch the shape from the back side of the quilt with regular thread in the top, and have the metallic bobbin stitches form the  shell on the right side. There was no thread breakage, and the “reveal” of turning the quilt right side up and seeing all that shine was exciting. I purchased an extra bobbin case for my machine to dedicate to this stitching method so that I’m free to adjust the bobbin tension as needed for various weight thread.


Some simple free-motion quilting and white paint carefully sponged into parts of the design for accent completed the quilt. Except, of course, for the embellishments. We’d spent a lovely day at Anastasia Island State Park in St. Augustine, and I found some shells that needed to be part of this quilt. My husband drilled small holes in some of them, I stitched them on the surface, and added a few to the edge finish. They almost sound like wind chimes! Two colors of eye-lash yarn are twisted together and overcast to form the edging. Our next theme is “Secrets” and so far I’m drawing a blank. But something is sure to come to me. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Brain Cells- the Creative Kind…


We heard motivational speaker Doug Bench, “The Brain Training Guy,” speak over the weekend. He had lots of good information and research on brain power. His topic was "Bring Your Brain to Church" and tied science and Scripture together. Very enlightening. But the one piece of research he noted that snapped me to attention was when he said that 90% of people have lost most of their creative brain cells by their 40s. Egad!! It made me more determined than ever to keep mine firing. He spoke about neurogenics which establishes that new brain cells can be generated no matter our age. Well that's good news.


So now I feel like the Grandma Moses of Doodle Art. Never knew I could make pretty doodles, never knew I wanted to. Not, that is, until I signed up for artist Joanne Sharpe’s online class called Bloomin’ Doodles. Our twelve lessons go right from finding inspiration by making a Bloomin’ Book, to drawing, painting, and coloring the flowers with various tools and techniques. Each lesson demonstrates a project designed to develop and master the skills, and Joanne encourages students to develop their own signature doodle flower and style. What great and colorful fun. These need polishing up, but no doodle is really ever done, is it? So I can go back and add color and pattern as needed.


Here are a couple of my little sketches in the Bloomin’ Book, along with a mandala-style doodle I tried from another tutorial source. That will become a page tab in a journal at some point. One piece of advice Doug gives is to "learn something new every day." I'm pretty happy that investing in online classes like Joanne's gives me the opportunity to build new brain cells while enjoying the process immensely! Wait times in airports or doctor's office will never be the same as I plan to keep a doodle book in my purse.


More sketchy flower doodles and some inspiration pictures. One of our lessons is going to be Bloomin’ Doodles on fabric. I’m not up to that project just yet, but did try my hand at some fabric surface design, applying some of Joanne's instruction.


Armed with markers, paints, and some doodle ideas and stamps, I decided to create a few pieces of colorful fabrics. Always a plus to add to my fabric stash! I’m especially happy with the feather stamp I made using craft foam cut, mounted on cardboard for stability, and incised with a skewer. The image came out nice and clean.


Do you have a feline helper like I do? I know lots of quilters and crafters who do. While photographing these fabrics, apparently the siren went off that summons Lily to plunk herself in the middle of whatever it is that I’m trying to work on. When it comes to showing up at the least opportune (for me) moment, she’s a never-fail. Do you also notice the expression on her face? We joke that she glares. She’s pretty haughty for a girl plucked from humble beginnings in the wooded wilds. Til next time, keep those creative brain cells firing! I know you will.