Tuesday, November 06, 2012

What I've been up to

is a little of everything.

Because I know many of you love Pinterest, and I had told you not to pin my work, I've decided to start placing a copyright on them, so that you can pin them if you wish.  That way, the pictures will be traceable back to me and my ownership of them will not be lost.

The Improv Berries quilt is now pin basted and ready for me to begin quilting.  This will be a slightly new adventure, since I've decided to try Tuscany Wool Batting, and it's at least twice as thick as the cotton I've been using.  My friend Richla said many of the people she does long arm quilting are requesting she use wool, and I've heard quilts with wool batting don't crease as much as those with cotton batting when they have been folded, so it's time to try it.  There just happened to be a package of Tuscany in my batting closet that was the right size for this project, so that's how I chose this brand (I also have some other battings in there to try in the future).

Here's a little watercolor from one of my journals.  The paper is handmade that I purchased in a little packet at Daniel Smith to make the journal with.  In between the watercolor pages are card stock pages that I can use for other media or notes.

I'm also taking an online class at Joggles, called "Creating History and Mystery" which is a wonderfull learning experience for me.  My homework is on several mixed media pieces on watercolor paper and art boards that are in progress at the same time.  There are many layers of paint and other materials.

This first one is on an art board.   The left portion has a transfer on the left side, which I plan to make more visible by adding color in future layers, while the right side has a dimensional, stenciled leaf, which I have painted.

The next one may be finished, but I could still add more if I change my mind.  It is painted on watercolor paper, using leftover paint from the art board paintings.

This one is an experiment with different gels and pastes, as well as other techniques, and the paper that you see will be rubbed away to reveal the transfer once it is dry.  The circles and wheel shapes were stamped on using an empty thread cone that I had saved.

The fish will hopefully appear once the paper is rubbed off of this watercolor paper painting.  The teacher referred to the ones we make with leftovers on watercolor papers as our throw away sheets, and she is right in that they are coming out just as beautiful as my "real" painting projects, just different!

I've already rubbed the paper off this passion flower transfer and will add color once it has dried.

There are already many layers on these paintings, and yet more will be added as my journey to finish them continues!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Improv Berries - Top finished!

Wide borders have been added, but I'm planning to crop and maybe even keep some of the irregular shape once it is quilted.  For now, the larger borders will be quilting space while deciding what I'd like to do for a finished shape.  The binding will be a traditional one, in the same fabric as the border, so it will disappear when you step back from the quilt.

The quilt is really lighter in color than the picture above, but a  bit darker than the one below - somewhere in between, and definitely on the warmer color side, like above.  Somehow, this little pocket camera does a better job at getting more correct color when the flash goes off, but these were taken in the same room, same daylight florescent lights, and still the camera had a mind of it's own, changing the colors a bit.  Anyways, I stood a bit closer and let the camera crop the borders to give you an idea of how it would look if it is cropped with straight edges - just squaring up the quilt.

Now off to my stash to look for backing fabric.  I should have something that would work, or could be pieced together to work.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Improv Berries - Center Panel

The center panel is now one complete, although ragged piece.  Next, will be adding dark borders so that it can float.  All the uneven edges will make this another challenge, since I don't want to smooth them out any more than I did when piecing the panel.  Not sure if it will be "finished" or not, since I've already begun entertaining the idea of adding some painted things, but will wait until the borders are on to decide.  Besides, there's always the option to add 3D things, even after the binding is on...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Watercolor Pears

We had a small, but very nice pear harvest this year!  With all those pears around, they naturally became an object to paint!  We've still got a few in the fridge, but along with these paintings, I took some pictures to use for future painting sessions.  

This two page spread was painted by picking up one pear at a time, deciding which side to paint, and then sketching the shape on my pre-stamped journal page.  I continued to add pears until I was happy with the layout and felt I had enough to play with paint colors, and then began painting.  The colors were mixed on the paper, as I painted, instead of on the palette.

This page is actually the first of the group that I painted (forgive my shadow over the painting - it was a quick picture).  As I painted more pears, I think my technique improved.  If I would paint more frequently, my painting would improve faster...

The smallest (only a bit larger than a credit card) pear is my favorite!  I decided to add salt and it really brought out the speckles that are on our pears, something that is missing in the other paintings.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Improv Berries -progress

Having decided to just go for it and start cutting my strata into chunks, I'm finally making progress on this quilt and can finally see it coming together, although I'm sure it still needs something.  Will be adding more of the dark blue / leafy fabric as borders, but unsure whether I'll end up with even or uneven edges.  (If I'm not happy with it as a top, I'll just add another layer - maybe paint?)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Picking and Jamming

This weekend had such beautiful weather for picking our harvest and making Jam.  Usually, when the fruit is ready, it's too hot to really have fun in the kitchen, but this was perfect weather!  We picked tomatoes, cabbage, plums, corn and blackberries, and I don't have pictures of the last two, because we ate them before I got my camera out - oops!

These are little Italian plums - very sweet and tasty!!!

Blackberries are the most fragile, so the first thing I made was a batch of blackberry jam.  But there were more berries, just not enough for a full batch of cooked jam, so I decided to make a batch of freezer jam (first time for that), and it is totally yummy, way more of a fresh fruit flavor!

And still there were more... but not enough for a batch, so I decided to use the remaining crushed berries to plums and make a combination recipe.  Even though there was less than a cup of blackberries in the batch, it has lots of blackberry flavor in it!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friendship Bracelets

Years ago, I bought a little tapestry loom.  It's a beautiful little loom, called the Big Sister, but by the time it arrived, I didn't have time to learn to use it, so it went into the closet.  Things are a bit different now, still busy, but the Mirrix company who made it has been doing weave-a-longs to help us learn to weave, and Claudia did weave-a-longs on her blog and also a Craftsy class, which really helped me get it out and start weaving on it!

For my first project, I chose to do Affinity Bracelets, because they are small, simple and I could put more than one on the loom at the same time, while making each one a bit different.  The warp threads (thread that runs the length of the bracelet) are silk that was in my stash for hand embroidery, while the weft (thread that you weave back and forth with) varies.  For weft, I used more of my silk threads and C-Lon beading thread to weave the beads with.  They are simple bracelets designed to be tied on, but if I have time, I may try other closures that she gave instructions for.  What do you think?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

San Juan Island trip

Last weekend I had the pleasure visiting Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island.  The Rainshadow Quilting Arts Guild  invited me to speak and teach my fusible applique technique, and I was excited to be able to go visit them!  Their guild is filled with lots of wonderful people, so the lecture and class were lots of fun to do.  I was surprised to hear that one of their dedicated hand applique ladies was in my class, and had enjoyed learning my technique!  There was also a new quilter-to-be whose first visit to their guild was the Saturday meeting, and she decided to come to my class on Sunday.  I bumped into her again as we were waiting for the first ferry to Anacortes, where she was on her way to pick up a sewing machine from her mom.  She's off to a wonderful start and I hope someday I'll see some of her quilts!

While I was there I stayed with Barb, the Program Chairman, and it was like a mini retreat at her house!   Her friend Mary was also there, and we were able to work on our projects in the evenings.  Just look at the view we had:

After class on Sunday, we were able to visit a local quilt artist's studio.  Penny makes such gorgeous quilts and had wanted to come to my class, but she is busy preparing for a one person show.  The finished quilts and ones in progress were all beautiful, but the 3-D quilts were gorgeous!!!  Wish I could see them hanging in her upcoming show.

While waiting for the ferry, I was able to hear these gypsies from my spot in the ferry line.

There are many cafes and restaurants near the ferry lanes, which is a good thing, because you need to get there early to get your spot in line, and then wait for it to arrive.  Only one street away are the shops, so those leaving a bit later in the day can shop while they wait.

The ferry is arriving.

There are so many boats in the harbor, it's a maze to walk through it.  From here you can't even tell one boat from another (except for the few in front).

Can't wait to return again...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bread and Cheese

This weekend was cheese making weekend, with a bonus of bread which used some leftover whey!

Italian Feather Bread:

Feta made with goat cheese, which tasted great with the bread!

Mozzarella - oh this batch of mozzarella came out so much better than my first try!  It's so buttery tasting and the texture is much softer than my last, overcooked batch.  Was wonderful eaten with the bread, but hope to have some left for pizza.  Well, I guess I can always make more :-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trapeze KAL clue 3

Since this summer has been spent with lots of time on the road, not much quilting or sewing has been done and I'm starting to feel withdrawal symptoms - must get back to my machine!

I've been participating in the Trapeze shawl KAL (knit-a-long) for several weeks now and we are on clue3.  On week one we knit one of these trapezoid shapes, then we had two weeks for clue 2, which was to make two more of the same shape, placing our stitches on colored yarn that was different for each one.  This week's clue started putting them together with the lace triangle in between two of the trapezoids, that we have also been calling things.  It's interesting to watch the knitting take shape, and I'm guessing that the next clue will be another triangle which is a mirror image of this week's triangle, that will connect the remaining piece we have knit.  From there, who knows, but I'll venture a guess we'll move on to adding a border.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Penumbra scarf finished!

Well, almost.  You've heard the phrase "haste makes waste", well, it's true!  I was the first of the group to finish knitting.  Brought it home and soaked it, so I could block it into shape, and as I was patting it out, I found a boo boo:-(  Unfortunately, it happened when I was only about 1/4 into the shawl depth, so I'm just going to have to darn it and hope no one notices when I'm wearing it, because there is no way I'm going to tear it all out at this point!  The only other thing left to do is weave in the ends and it will be ready to wear.

The big picture:

As you can see it's really long, so I'll be able to wrap it around my neck more than once!  Here's what it looks like up close:

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Knitting with Beads

About a month ago, I decided to join the Mezzaluna Club that Sivia Harding was doing.  (Here's the Ravelry link.)  I'm only getting the patterns, then choosing my own yarn / beads from my yarn / bead stash, and am loving the first installment!  Last week, she sent us the first pattern and shipped yarn and beads to those who have signed up for the pattern and kits.  For those of us not receiving kits, she had given us  approximate supply lists so that we could search for yarn and beads that would work.  It was difficult to make a final decision before seeing the design, so I had pulled out a few choices.  Once I saw a picture of the yarn that was in the kits, I decided on a beautiful, varigated blue Ella Rae sock yarn.

This first design is called Penumbra, and it's beautiful!  When I saw the pattern, I just had to start knitting, and with the long holiday weekend, was able to get quite a lot done.  Just finished row 70, and only have 6 more pattern rows to go!  The needles aren't long enough to spread it out, so I did my best to take a picture of the center, and then one a little closer.  Hopefully you'll be able to see all the beautiful beads.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Home Made Pasta, Yum!

My husband recently found a supplier for '00' flour for pizza dough, so we took a little field trip on Monday and what a store we found!  It's called Big John's Pacific Food Importers, and it's in Seattle.  Along with the pizza flour, we bought their pasta blend of '00' flour with semolina for pasta, semolina by itself, special risotto and paella rice, as well as some other supplies. 

Tonight was pasta night!  I mixed the pasta dough, let it rest, and then my oldest son cranked the pasta machine while I guided and caught the dough, and finally, the noodles.  We were working in limited space, and I think we should have thinned it one more notch on the machine, but they were great with my home made spaghetti sauce!

Pasta just after cutting:

The yummy spaghetti we had for dinner!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mt. Ranier - Journal Artwork

My husband is a much better photographer than I am, but his pictures are his end product, while mine are mostly inspiration for some kind of art.  While I took less pictures at Mt. Ranier National Park than he did, I had brought my journal and some art materials to try working outside, with the supplies I brought.  We travel by car, so of course, I brought too much stuff to really carry, but was able to pick different supplies from a larger bag in the car for each hike or project, which was nice and I learned a lot!

Working in my smaller, 5" x 7" watercolor journal, these wild daisies were sketched lightly in pencil, then watercolor was added, finishing with my black artist marker.  

The daisies I was painting:

While we were by the lake, I attempted a charcoal sketch of Mt. Ranier.  I guess it's not bad, considering it's the first time I've worked with charcoal.

One of the pictures I took from that location:

Things I learned:

  • It really is best to travel light.
  • Make sure to take a few graphite pencils for sketching.
  • Charcoal is messy, take wet wipes to clean up.
  • Trying to stand and hold everything while painting is a pain - need to find a solution.

Wish list:

  • Easel, or at least a drawing board.
  • Something to sit on - lightweight stool?
  • Backpack that is more accessible for my supplies.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mt. Ranier

We took a little photography trip to Mt. Ranier recently, and although we were worried the weather was going to be foggy and cloudy, it turned out to be perfect!  Many of the wild flowers were in bloom, so I was able to get some inspiration pictures to use in future projects, as well as some classic pictures of the mountain.  This was the best place to take pictures of the mountain:

Because we arrived before the visitor center opened on the second day, I was able to get a clear picture of the words of John Muir, that have been carved into the steps at the Paradise visitor center.

Although you can find these all over, there are lots of these tiny, wild lilies in the shade near the lake.

The lupines are almost everywhere, and they are at their peak at this time of year!

It amazes me that we work so hard to get some flowers to grow in our gardens, while others will grow wild in the most inhospitable spaces!

If you pay attention, you can find flowers everywhere, even along the road.  This one is very tiny, but I love it with all it's details!

We were able to find this beautiful field of flowers on our second day and wished we had found it the first day so we would have been able to spend more time there.  Well, that's a reason to make another trip...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Firefly Sewing Envelope is Finished!

My Firefly Sewing Envelope was begun in Sue Spargo's class during Quilter's Affair in Sisters, OR this past July.  It is the first time I've been able to get into one of her classes, and I had a wonderful time!  There are so many different textures to play with, and then you can take the embellishing as far as you want with embroidery, beads and ribbons.  It was one of those projects that was hard to pot down, although not possible for me to work on in the car.  I've been continuing to work on it, and have finally finished it!  She demonstrated many stitches and techniques in class and also taught us how to make the felted balls to decorate the zipper pulls, so I'm finally able to make whatever color I want, although it will be trial and error to make them in other sizes:-)

Anyway, this is my cover.  The bird off to the right is a covered button to keep it closed.

And here is the back:

It is a tri-fold design, so this is how the outside looks when laid flat.  The left section has pockets, upper ones have a flap to keep contents inside, while lower pocket is divided to hold tools / pencils, and the back cover is a large flat pocket that could hold a notepad, stencils or small cutting mat.

The inside of the sewing envelope has zipper pockets on each side which could be left as one large space, or divided.  I chose to divide each of mine in half to hold medium sized tools, threads, or other things.  The center of the interior has a needle book and a flower applique with a pincushion center.

All that's left is to fill it with my tools, so I can begin using it!

(I wonder if I could use the tri-fold idea to design something to take my sketching / painting with me - of course I wouldn't embellish it nearly so much.)