Monday, September 20, 2010

Guests Coming/Changing Leaves: a journal quilt

(click to enlarge)
   The leaves are changing and we, ourselves, are turning over. For 41 years in this house we (I should say "I," since my husband is methodical and  does not accumulate) have paid more attention to creating and turning the house into a factory, rather than maintaining tidiness and order. Also, there are the grandchildren and their toys and disorder. So it was with both excitement and horror that I received the news FOUR beloved relatives were driving across the country to view the leaves and to stay with us for a WEEK, right away! Egads. Paths must be made and some upkeep attended to.
    Out came the paintbrushes and hammers. The big toss and reorganization began. Of course there is no way to create the comfort our guests are accustomed to, but I am thrilled to have the motivation to start to straighten every room in the house, reorganize and rediscover, however limited. I am an evening person, but I was up early this morn at 6:30 and made this journal quilt by 8, before breakfast.
    I had the background and was puzzled what to include besides books flying, magazines tossed. I pulled Joe in to look at my stash. At first he asked if I had Munch's Scream in fabric. Then he found the Cars fabric and the skeletons and suggested I add the hammer and paint brush. I wish I had time to sew some beads on the headlights and to the leaves in the trees.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

End of Summer: Memories in Oil

      A good man is hard to find but I did. Joe just finished repainting the bathroom and I took another look at the two very, very old paintings of mine I have hanging there. One was painted on the Vineyard in the backyard of Dianthe's friend. I don't know how I had the nerve to paint with strangers but I did.  The other was painted from a photograph at the Maxfield's place in Port Clyde, Maine. Every time I look at these two simple paintings of the end of summer I am reminded of those two especially good times.
(click to enlarge)
      I never planned to be a painter but at a teacher's conference after getting my Master's degree, I bought a $10 set of oil paints in a box that came with a canvas, brushes, paints, turpentine for cleaning and a medium. My first oil painting was sold at my big show Recombinant Imagery back in the mid-90s, bought by the daughter of a famous Australian painter, Sydney Nolan. I think the colors of Australia must be similar to those of Amarillo. I thought more abstractly than the two above, calling it The Panhandle with its squared landscapes and atmosphere, dust colored (with kitchen spices and sand added for varied textures), cattle, ranch, windmill and wide horizon. I wish I had a better photo.
The Texas Panhandle
      All you need are a few oil paints, brushes, Winsor Newton Medium to thin the paints, Turpenoid (odorless paint remover or brush cleaner), and something to paint on. You buy prepared canvas or make your own: gesso on birch plywood, shellac on cardboard, gesso on canvas. It is so much fun and probably my favorite medium after trying everything. You can paint over mistakes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Island Getaway: a journal quilt

     The beader's getaway to Martha's Vineyard was for only three days, but I was shocked how relaxed I was after such a short time, absolutely forgetting all that I had on my plate to do. Hopefully I can remember that feeling and call it forth when needed. Maybe this journal quilt should have been about all I filmed there for my little movie, or about the craft I took to share (it's failure, despite my good planning). For the journal quilt, however, I singled out that special moment where I realized I was SO relaxed. Note: Usually I sew with white thread only, and take an extra fine Sharpie of appropriate color to go over colored areas. I forgot to get out my blue Sharpies for this piece before photographing, but did remember on the postcards.

   While I had the sewing machine out today, I made and took to the Post Office three fabric postcards. I sent the postcard of the dollhouse to another Alice whom the beaders visited yesterday. We saw a myriad of doll houses Alice created over the years. I was especially taken by the Rennie Macintosh room, and returned home to get out a book of his watercolors and to look for pictures of his windows at Google Images to mail to Alice.  I mailed the Seurat fabric postcard to an ill friend who is a fabulous painter. The postcard with the basket with Toto is a thank you for a Nantucket beading tray basket.
    You remember I cut the address side, front and batting, each of the three pieces, to 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". I put the batting on the bottom and the good sides of the back and front together and stitch 1/4" all around except for a 2" opening at one end so one can turn inside out (the pillowcase method). Clip the corners, turn, iron and stitch around one more time 1/8" around. I love making these; and so far, they have all arrived via our Post Office in perfect shape!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wild Week Journal Quilt

  Week before last was a busy time. I made movies with music, went to vehicle events with Joe, planned for a get-a-way trip with the beaders, and daily Afibbed.
   To make a journal quilt to capture the chaos, I chose three symbolic fabrics, stacked them one atop the other, and scored through all fabrics about six lines with my rotary cutter. Then I undid the piles and shuffled the stacks so that the sides matched but the colors varied. I had more piles of alternating fabrics. I was going to sew them all to stack and cut and sew up another direction, but the fabric patterns showed enough disorder that I stopped.
   Again, for a journal quilt, cut top, batting and backing to 10" square and finish at 8" square. Try to capture a significant event or something to remember, once a week. I love my pile of memories. I hope to add the narratives for the journal quilts, as requested, to my website in the not too distant future.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Beaded Boxes: a get-away craft

   Making my little Flip movies and taking off for the beaders' fun-filled island getaway have made me tardy to get to this blog. To buy some time I am posting one of the crafts we played with on an early sojourn. (click to enlarge to see the beaded boxes in more detail)

   Gather together some tin boxes such as those Altoids come in, a bag of glass seed beads and a variety of some larger sparkles found at big craft stores. I also purchased two sizes of a double-sided tape "brought to you by Provo Craft and Art Accents, Inc." This double-sided Art Accentz red tape is a "terrifically tacky tape" with many uses. It is advertised as the strongest tape to hold beads to wood, glass, metal, plastic, paper.
    Cut the tape to totally cover and to fit the top of your box. Set and stick the glamour stones around where you wish and then wind the seed beads close together around the stones, laying them as snugly as possible to each other to avoid the sensation of movement later. For more control, get a wide-eyed needle and thread the beads to more masterly put the seed beads in place.
     Now you are ready to create and fill the boxes with little fridge magnets by putting photos or acrylic painted flowers on small clear glass or plastic globules,  glue-gunning a strong magnet to the back. The boxes are the perfect size for these jewels. That was my craft offering for this summer's visit.