Sunday, July 29, 2012

Grandchildren motivate one to craft

      Hannah and I recently visited The City Quilter where she got involved with My New Sewing Book edited by Susan Akass and I bought Journey to Inspired Art Quilting by Jean Wells and Connecting Design to Stitch by Sandra Meech. To observe her interest to read to gather what she needed for her projects made this one of the happiest days of my life. But she was off to camp so we brought the other two grandchildren home here to Camp Hicks.

(Click on the photos to enlarge)

       Erika and David hit my studio coloring. In fact, Erika, after letting me draw her, wanted to draw me and her brother with a charcoal pencil. He accidentally turned into a monster, she said.

        In no time at all, I was pulling out all the projects I had played with 40 years ago or had never opened. The best projects were the Fancy Nancy quilt and pillow Erika designed; the Sculpey III, a polymer clay that stays soft until you cook it in the oven; and the wire jewelry created with telephone wire. I had an old pasta rolling machine that made the clay malleable and both children loved passing the clay through the rollers. Erika made several necklaces out of the recycled telephone wire which she wrapped around popcycle sticks and round dowels. She put the beads onto another wire and shaped the ends into hook and eyes to make necklaces.  Although we both worked on beads with the Sculpey III while David cut out the clay with cookie cutters, Erika wanted to make pinch pots and baskets. We had so much fun.

      Today their mother and father picked them up and Erika left with a Sashiko coaster project in hand to sew on the road, just as LinLin did on drive bringing her to visit!

       We had a few failures: the plaster animals that never dried in the rubber latex molds so we could paint them. However, I am so glad to finally have had an excuse and the time to make the polymer clay beads. I would never have gotten to them if not for the children. Ceramic mosaics are next! I also loved introducing Erika to the notion that you can learn a lot studying instructional photos...not just reading the instructions. She starts first grade in September.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Theme is Daydreams

    The international journal quilt I belong to, Material Mavens, has Reveal Day today. We reveal a new topic every two months on the 15th. The topic this time is DayDreams. Visit the group of twelve quilters to see interesting and more complex interpretations!

     I do not daydream. I dusk dream. When I hit the pillow in the evening, at a time I should be sleeping, I start to plan my paintings. I wonder how to celebrate 50 years of marriage, imagine new projects to enjoy with my grandchildren, and think about friends near and far. The quiet period, with nothing to disturb my dusk dreaming, along with my being a night person, can be productive.

     This quilt started out as a nightwalk on a beach in Maine or the Vineyard, but the sand became stars at night. I love the coast...walking and picking up shells. But stars at night with an assortment of pillows, topics dreamed on the pillows from that week in June one day about a month ago (baking, painting plans, quilt shows, friendly spider Charlotte near my computer), are reflected in this piece. I REALLY wanted to portray the bear who made it all the way to the ocean on Cape Cod and was taken 100 miles back into Western Massachusetts, but again made it 100 miles back to a tall Brookline tree before he was downed. He had big daydreams and the admiration of many. Mine should be bigger!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Project Hope blocks completed!

   Every year Katie makes a couple of quilts for Project Hope. She gathers a number of friends to make blocks on a theme. She pulls out her stash and adds to it. This year, the theme is farm animals.

Click to enlarge.

    Each person (not all are quilters) volunteers to make a 12 1/2"square block...and others make more. Some exercise great imagination in building the blocks, making them interactive. Others crochet their own drawings. Katie gathers the blocks during the summer, joins them with strips (sashing) and adds borders. batting, and backing to prepare the creations to be quilted. In the Fall, after the quilts are put together, it is exhilerating to see how different and exciting people's work can be.

     I usually volunteer to make about 8 or 9 blocks.  It is my nature to do something quickly. So my pieces may not be the most interesting, but they blend in to add to the quantity needed.  This year I found a print at Quilting by the Yard in Vernon CT on the way to NYC. With it, I broke my former time records.  If you type "Project Hope" into the Search area above (top left by the orange B icon), you can see earlier posts for Project Hope.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Uncle Sam welcomes you

     Betty always gives the best 4th of July parties. One year, Joe and I made her an Uncle Sam to greet guests as they entered the backyard. Uncle Sam might hold her gorgeous blue hydrangeas, a welcome sign, or stand festooned in balloons.

     At other times I made two more butlers: one for everyday to welcome Joe at the front door, and another for a Valentine's Day television segment. Now these helpful souls hold my painting palettes in my studio. They are going back to work! Joe and I have been reorganizing my painting area, and that is why I am late with my weekly blog.

     To make these young men or young women, cut out the body (I used my band saw) from a 3/4 inch piece of plywood. Cut out two arms, two simple shoes, and a base on which to glue and screw the legs. Use any tray across their arms and glue and screw these on as well. Here is a quick sketch (body to base)  to give you ideas on wood size I worked with but which will vary with your design.  Paint with acrylics or anything you have on hand including house or wall paint. One can't have enough help these days!

(Click to enlarge photos and sketch)