Sunday, April 13, 2014

Marathon Quilting Satisfies the Soul, creates chaos

     Over the river and through the woods, back and forth to NYC, birthdays to note... Crafting both calms and excites. Click on the photos to enlarge.

     At a journal quilt meeting I noticed delicate earrings on petite Elana. I was stunned they were made from Shrink Art which I played with 40 years ago and never imagined such artful renderings. I drove way out into the suburbs for our play date and was immediately stunned on walking inside to see the large quilt she had made for her late dog Marty's comfort. I took photos of her clever Shrink Art procedure, but for brevity here, I recommend the book Shrink Art Jewelry by Klutz. I ordered a copy for the grands. It tells all the steps and includes everything! See Elana's hands quilt in the recent Quilting Arts magazine!

      Next, I had an hour to make a surprise birthday card for Patsy when several of us gathered to see Ann's grandchild in a show. I sewed embellishments in the car on the way to NYC, listening to a CD of The Zookeeper's Wife. I took the quilt-like bracelets I recently made to give to friends who gathered.


        Hannah was born at the time of the Boston Marathon. Both are celebrated this weekend .  I whipped up a solar system throw from a panel from the City Quilter. A bookee, the birthday girl has been zipping through the Rick Riordan modern Heroes of Olympus books, some names found in the constellations.  Her accompanying soft birthday card this year is a 3D book, seen below the throw.

     And finally, just in time for an 80th birthday dinner last night, I worked on one of the hulk panels with imagery (logos) appropriate for Roy's company and his wife (tattoo on the arm). This birthday card completed,  I think I can take a break now to catch up and clear the massive clutter I produced!

Note: I used more fabric paint than usual for solutions...and experimented with rhinestones. If you have questions, post below to Comments to say "Hi" and I will try to answer. In most cases, you are viewing fronts and backs of cards and the throw.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Working with Wood: toys for the grandchildren

    On one of the recent snowy days, the grandchildren discovered Joe's electric saws and woodpiles. The girls rummaged through it and asked him to make them some doll beds, 20" long. Then he had to think of something to build for David, which the five year old could paint.

     We picked up the requested bed colors of light blue and purple by asking for wall paint samples at the hardware store. That way we got plenty of paint in the requested colors at a reasonable cost. The girls painted the first coat with sponge brushes; Joe put on a second coat. Tonight they start to decorate them with paint!

Hannah casually wondered about mattresses. I picked up 1" thick foam and cut it to size of 9"x 20" with the bandsaw. I stopped at Ben Franklin to get a yard of fabric for covers that went with both beds. Whereas I planned to cover the foam with a pillow case method, I found when fitting the fabric to the foam I could fold the edges as in wrapping a present. I fused and hand stitched the three edges and had enough left over for me to make a couple of pillows and more for the girls to do the same.

     Joe outdid himself on the truck. With no pattern, he cut and put pieces together. I will be curious if it will hold grandson's interest given how many trucks, trains and cars David already has. Well, grandchildren are a good excuse for adults to escape to get to play some more. Now it is back to the blocks for a Project Hope quilt (I've made 8 so far) and to write the recipe for those cute bracelets I am working on.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Winter Snow Story, and some 12 x 12 quilts

    1. It snowed, snowed, and rained. There was more snow and the tree branches held the snow. Again, more snow, bigger snow, more layers. Finally, the biggest snowdrops of all. I re-read Rayna Gillman's book, but this quilt should not reflect on her. These are my first strips, a story which I sewed while listening to NPR. I painted snowdrops on the trees with Jacquard Super Opague White 220 OP. French knots may have been more appropriate. Black fleece doubles as batting and backing. I quilted in the ditch and on some of the branches. Snuggly, but how to show the snow cone tops on all the bushes.

   2.  The birds in the front of the house were making such a mess, like a copy of a Pollack painting;  so we moved the feeder to the back yard. It was not easy for the feathered ones to find their way west. I quilted an arrow. This was definitely a journal quilt...a memory of a special event. I could still paint some shading or use netting to shadow a side of the bird feeder. Beeds are the seeds flying everywhere.
     3. Trying to use up my stash, I had earlier tried a blue quilt that almost made me give up quilting. Jo Diggs uses dots so much better. I learned that it is probably good to join pop or graphic fabrics with each other and realistic prints together, but not to mix the two. I read that one should think about what one likes in a quilt to know what to do to yours. I like hand stitching, but it didn't save this piece.

     4. and 5.  Then there are the two quilts that really needed help. Winter Palette with padded paints needs a brush as well as a photographer; and Erika's 8th soft birthday card needs a redo. But both are ok and were part of the process. You win some and lose some. Click to enlarge photos.




Sunday, February 9, 2014

Vintage Valentine Mug Rugs: a surprise favor

    Four couples who served a law firm in London 25 years ago reunited this weekend. Each couple was charged to contribute to the meal overlooking the Boston Common and the lights of the city under snow. The hostess made artistic and delicious scallop and salmon terrines. The host added superb Moroccan Rock Cornish game hens and risotto. Another brought a beautiful large cheese collection from Wasik's in Wellesley including one with truffles. There were the abundant grilled vegetables, a salad before dessert, and vanilla poached pears...not to speak of paired wines and a unique kir to greet us.

      I always like a bit of surprise (not needed with this crowd) but wanted to take a little something besides my hostess gift (Poire William) and poached pears. So, on a Friday afternoon I stitched up these campy vintage mug rugs. I had the novelty print on hand, found some black fleece for batting, and put cherry red/black print on the back. First, I cut solid black fabric, fleece and backing to 5" x  8", then stitched around all sides, and finally cut the stitched sides with a pinking rotary cutter.  I cut out the drawings and poems with pinking shears from the novelty fabric and stitched them onto the black top with invisible thread, quilting where needed. I wanted more color and added a red bow, held in place with a few machine stitches. I didn't need to go to Ben Franklin for some white "lace" or envelopes (I could have folded red construction paper) or glitter heart stickers, but I did!

     I realized I was having a blast making Valentines Friday afternoon just as I did on the rare rainy afternoons in Amarillo as a child. Only this time, I was using fabric instead of doilies and hearts. Click to enlarge photos.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quilting STRONG: Home

   Given the quilt challenge topic "Strong," I remembered the countless lessons and encouragement in my childhood home to be physically, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and morally strong. While I thought about other images of strength for this quilt, I quickly doodled my head above a fast scribble of my house on scratch paper (see below).

     No matter how I thought about the flags of "Boston Strong," weights of all kinds and symbols of strength in mythology, I was always drawn back to the major import of home for encouraging the strength of people, the oversized head image in my scribble very slightly influenced by Francisco Goya's giant.

     I enlarged my scribble and used a light box to pen it with a Sharpie on fabric. I then "scribbled" again with scissors and fabric, spottily gluing down the quickly cut fabric for house and lawn with Aileen's Tacky Glue. The home image is neither calm nor orderly. It's size looms big, multiple and important.

    After being fairly satisfied with the image and thinking that painting would have been much easier, I layered maroon tulle atop the 12" x 12" to further secure the small pieces of fabric. I also cut a black backing larger than the quilt and brought it over the front sides to hand-stitch a border. I machine-stitched a bit of everything with invisible thread and then embroidered the face and clouds with a back stitch and a running stitch, respectively, using no. 8 thread. Click to enlarge the images.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cold enough for quilts

    The sun is shining, but baby it's cold outside. Finally, an excuse to blog. David has his 5th birthday this month so it was time for another 12" x 12" quilted card to go with his present. I put a 5 inside the Superman logo instead of an S.  I am telling you that since most people didn't notice! I let David choose the fabrics (I have outgrown making these, but the children expect them." I was told more than once that "Mommy saves them!")

       I wasn't sure how to express a 5th birthday on the bright fabrics, but Joe suggested the 5, and I painted the new logo over the fabric. I "drew" the design with strips of 1/2" masking tape and then marked the edges with a white pencil. After removing the tape, I first used a white paint and went over it with the red and yellow. Finally I used Golden's liquid gold acrylic and brushed it lightly over the yellow and it is very pretty! Click to enlarge.

       On the back I fused a car, some dinosaurs and a cupcake. The objects didn't stand out enough so I used a gold puff paint once again around the edges, not being too successful, but good enough. David wouldn't let me keep it to take to my quilting BEE.

      Also, my Journal Quilt Connection quilted a shoe challenge. Stories accompanied each. I showed my dancing shoes the last posting.  Here are Donna Jean's, Tricia's two, Julie's, Elana's, Rita's. and mine. Next time, I promise better photos. Shoes have a long history.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Comfort in the Arts, a quilt challenge

       "Comfort" is a pleasurable topic to contemplate. The arts comfort me as on a Sunday morning when I sit down to play certain arrangements on the piano, pick up my ukulele after a long day on the computer before going to bed, or draw and paint at the kitchen table. I am relaxed and transported by the arts. But even more so, I have wings when I get to dance.

        In art school as at my Journal Quilt Connection, I was given the topic of “shoes.” I picked out tap shoes, stuffed some shiny fabric wings I had sewn, and glued them to the heels. My tap shoes would again be the reference for this month’s journal or art quilt. However, the creation of this “comfort” quilt for Material Mavens was totally UNcomfortable. 

       I chose the background and back fabrics spontaneously. I found a shiny black fabric from which I free-hand cut patent leather tap shoes. Problem. The black fabric cannot be sewn easily. I secured the shoes with a hot glue gun after stitching the silver “stage” to the background, batting and backing. I pulled the backing over the quilt edges bind them, a bit prematurely. I cut down the old wings from art school and glued them to the shoes, but the heat from the glue gun removed some of the color from the wings. No matter. I glued on beads for some glitz, trim, or taps. I wanted to stitch in free-motion my dance routine: One, two, three, four, five, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, One Kick-Hop, Two Kick-Hop, Repeat. However, my sewing machine didn’t like my writing with stretchy invisible thread, so I quit after a bungled line. Instead, I cut free-form notes out of the shiny black no-sew fabric and glued them down. I felt I should wrap the entire piece in pink tulle, sew it to the binding edge and pink it near the seam. Then I felt I should layer more beads over the finish. I put beads on the front and back.
    The quilt has sweet comforting memories encased. However, during a work crisis, I accidentally deleted this blurb on “comfort” which I had just written and had to rewrite it.   Time for COMFORT!