Tuesday, December 30

The New Year

The One Thing I just Hate To Do

Taking down my Christmas decorations is a very sad thing for me.
I put them up early and turn my lights on every am by 5:00.
I just hate to take them down. Many years ago I ready about a singer/songwriter
who had a room in his home where he kept Christmas all year long.
If only, I had room for that. But sadly I must put it away.

2 Recent Projects

This cup of coffee I sent to a friend for Christmas was my first quilted drawing.
I used several different types of paints, dyes and markers on this. I hadn't planned
on outlining the drawing in purple, but it just happened. One of those oh I think
this will be cool moments. I do like the unexpected color. The quilting is very 
simple and I used a coffee theme fabric for the backing/binding.
The size is around 12 x 14. I forgot to measure it before it left home.

I made 2 sets of these round table place-mats for gifts this year.
My sister requested some and after I made hers I just had to make another set.
I also made potholder or napkins to go with the different sets.
They are reversible and on each one I used a different quilting pattern.

Plans for the New Year

Well with the Holidays behind me it's time to start thinking about the new year. There will be a few changes in my quilting style and the projects I have planned. I continue to be in the learning curve of quilting and during the early years of this wonderful hobby your knowledge grows by leaps and bounds daily. I spent 2 days reorganizing my studio and went threw all my fabric, papers and supplies. Over the past 2 years I've collected a lot of fabrics and during the process of refolding and separating into colors/groups I found a few I didn't really like that much any more. So this little pile started in the middle of the floor and before I knew it was a big pile. Funny how my likes have changed in just 2 years. Fat quarters I'd fallen in love with months back now no longer hold the aaawwwhhhh factor they once did. I think my pallet of fabrics/colors and textures is becoming more refined into what is ME. I guess it takes a while to determine who you are fabric wise

I did several projects for Christmas presents that used painted fabric and really enjoyed the process of drawing, painting then quilting. My sweet hubby bought me an airbrush several years ago and it's not been out of the box, but I hope to end it's solitude soon. I've done a good bit of research on airbrushing on fabric and I'm looking forward to jumping into it very soon. For now I'm using fabric paints, dyes and markers.

Wednesday, December 17

Green Gift Wrap

At the 07 AQS show I made a wonderful discovery that I felt very stupid for not thinking of myself. Wrapping presents in fabric. It's done in many countries where waste is not as high as in the US. I never give a lot of thought to the paper I wrap in beyond the appearance. I've used printed and unprinted paper, brown craft paper and even the funnies from the Sunday paper. I've used many different types and it all works, but after they are opened you have a sea of sad unwanted paper. Purchased because you loved the color or print and now discarded without a single thought. 

Last Christmas several of my friends and I wrapped our presents to each other (we all quilt) in fabric. It's wonderful. You can start ohhhing and ahhhing before you unwrap. Then there is another little quilter's must have inside the beautiful fabric. 

It's such a great idea. It's a bit harder to wrap with, so don't try to make it act like paper. Your sewing friends will love this and if they don't sew, well you can just take that wrapping fabric back home with you. No huge piles of paper all over the living room and no waste. 
If you do use paper for presents, remember to recycle it. 

Have A Very Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 10

Love of Books

I love books to inspire me. Books filled with images of art done by talented craftspeople that make my jaw drop. I have a bookcase just for my art and crafts books. I look for them everywhere I go. Here are just a few of my favorites. 

400 Stunning Contemporary Designs, 512 pages
This huge book is great when you need inspiration.
This book features 10 years worth of the most innovative pieces 
chosen for the Quilt National biennial exhibition - 
the top showcase for modern quilt artists.
Lark has a huge selection on there site for just about any craft you are interested in.

This is a great inspiration book for mixed media/wall hangings
I stumbled upon this at a local fabric store. It has tons of great ideas
for working with photos and has lots of embellishment ideas.

I was in the shop where I got my Phaff (Performance 2058) one day
and saw a display for a class by Christopher. I stood and looked at his work
for a good while, not able to even conceive how they were made. I was in love. 
I took the class and at our first break I bought the Baby lock Embellisher.
I would have never bought the Embellisher if I'd not seen Christopher's work.
It's not your normal "felting" you think of with needle punching. 
It's rich classy fiber textures with a huge punch.
Christopher handbags are killer too. Check out his site.

I saw this one day while looking over books at my local BAM and just
loved it. It reminded me of my first embroidery book I had when I was a teenager.
Every stitch is shown in great color photos with very clear directions.
Even if you've not done this before it's very easy. I love embellishing with beads.

Those are just a few of my favorite books. These get pulled off the shelf often.
I also have several subscriptions to magazines and I guess Quilting Art's 
is one of my favorites. When you visit their site also check out the other publications.
has great ideas for your studio, it shows everything from the studio dreams are
made of and back to the real world of small rooms, and even just a corner of your home.

Tuesday, December 2

S is for Sewing

I had so much fun creating the Q is for Quilting (November post) 
that I wanted to make a series of these.

I'm calling it my Alpha series. 
I've made 3 so far and they are really fun. 
S is for Sewing was made with licensed 
Project Runway fabric and the mini quilt was added to the canvas.
This and our other Alpha Mixed Media can be seen at our Etsy Shop.

This sweet artwork for your favorite craft room or a gift for your crafty friends.

Sunday, November 23

Thankful For So Many Things

There are so many things I am thankful for 
I just wanted to take a moment and share them with you.
A wonderful husband to share my life with. 
Two wonderful little "babies" (yorkies) who's total affection 
warms my heart every min of the day. 
A loving talented sister and her sweet as can be husband.
My husbands family who has taken me into there hearts.
Friends who love me for who and what I am.
That make me laugh and give me a shoulder when I cry.
A life filled with creative thought, and the freedom to use this creativity as I wish. 

A cozy home filled with love. 
Fifteen year old plus autos that still run like new. Thanks Leon.
These few things that cost little to nothing, make my life wonderful. 
I have little to worry about and even less to get stressed over. 
I take life one day at a time and live each moment for the complete happiness it is. 

Our world is filled with many problems. 
Times now are harder than some of us have ever seen. 
I am thankful to be able to fight against this in my own little way.
To help those around me when I can and be there for my friends when they need me.
To give a smile to a stranger, or a helping hand when it is needed.

I try to be thankful every day, not just one day a year.

Thank God for your blessings

Thursday, November 13

Scrapbooking Stencils & Thread Painting

Quilters, check out the scrapbooking
section of your craft shops.

    Working in a lot of different mediums I normally (when I have time) look over all the different sections in my local craft shops. You just never know when you will find that little something that will work just perfect with one of your projects.

    While we were in a scrapbook shop in Gatlinburg I picked up this stencil and thought, hey this will work great for a pattern for thread painting. I'd not done any thread painting and thought this might be a good easy starter project.

    I put the stencil on my fabric and pounced it, then took it to the machine and started sewing. It was a really fun project. I've not determined what I'll do with this yet, but it will come to me. So for now it's hanging on the wall so I'll think about it when I'm at my machine.

    I did the outline first then filled in the leaves in golden yellow and then went back over them in orange to give them a nice fall look. I did the tree in 4 colors. Started of with the med brown for the outline, then filled in the lighter colors. Finished off by adding the dark brown to show the details. I think it needs some grass too.

    One interesting thing I noticed from doing this was a nice surprise when I turned it over to clip some threads. At this point I don't have a back on the quilt, only the front and batting. When I turned the piece over the back was beautful. My bobbin thread is black so it looked like a pen and ink drawing. I'll just have to do one now in all black on a light color fabric.

Wednesday, November 5

Q is for Quilt

Mixed Media
Quilting Meets Scrap booking

This 8 x 10 canvas is the 3rd mixed media of this type I've made. This on is fresh off the machine and is a birthday present for a quilting buddy. When I started this project I had about half of it in my mind but I normally like to design as I go. After the little quilt was completed and I'd picked out the Q I started looking for little bits to bring it all together and started going threw my scrap booking stuff and once again the 2 hobbies merged great. 

I painted the canvas with acrylic paint, then added the other colors with stamp pads. I just rubbed them right on the canvas and then added some distressing with a stencil brush. 
The end result is a cute little bit of art for a quilter.

I will be making these for our Etsy shop for 
both quilters and other hobbies in the near future.
They will run from $20 - $40.
If you would like a custom version just let me know.

Friday, October 31

Quilting With Hand Problems

Keep your work area "ADJUSTABLE".

Hand, neck and back problems are something a lot of quilters have to deal with. When these evil little things take your hobby to a back burner it's a sad thing. I've not been working on much the past few weeks due to problems with my hands and a few days ago got a shot in my wrist and hopefully this will help.

I've tried to learn all I can about setting up an ergonomic work area and doing what I can to help the strain on backs and arms. I'm short so I don't keep my foot pedal on the floor, it's on a office style foot rest which raises it up about 2.5 - 3 inches. That helps! I got the side table to fit my machine (clear plastic on adjustable legs) and that helped with the stress in my arms, plus it makes sewing a lot better too. I use an office chair with arms, but I know folks who don't like arms, but it helps me during those little mini breaks and if you have iffy knees it also helps you get out of the chair if you sat there too long - no we don't do that. All my tables, except for my cutting table are adjustable and I have them set for short person, but still needed the foot rest for my pedal due to the height of the machine and I like to be able to look down on my work when I'm doing free motion. That's a point too. I don't always keep the chair the same height. When I'm doing piece work I can sit a little lower cause I don't need to look down on the fabric area. When it's time to quilt thou I just raise up the chair and off I go. You can also give your machine a slight tilt towards you and this helps if you lean over the machine. 

Another thing that has helped with my shoulders is a little goodie I got at the last quilt show that makes free motion so much easier I was shocked. I tried to find a link to this but haven't yet, but it's Quilt Sew Easy from Heavenly Notions and is the best sewing goodie I own. There were 2 in the package and they are a wonder. I'd tried using nubby gloves to move my fabric and rubber finger tips, but nothing I'd tried could touch the ease of this product. It's made of plastic and is horseshoe shaped. The lady I got it from told me to think of it as something that just came out of the oven and just barely touch the 2 easy to hold handles and not push down on the fabric - WOW it glides. Can't say enough good about this product. They also have another product which is 2 seperate pads to use under your finger tips. I've read the same excitement about these as I've had with the round unit.
Another thing that escapes me is forgetting to get up and move about and stretch. A kitchen timer which I keep on the sewing table. You would be amazed at how fast 30 min. goes by.  

I've got lots of Holiday stuff to do and now that the home decorating project is almost done (still have pillows and a table runner to make) I can get back to the fun projects.

Monday, September 29

Prize Drawing - Free R&E Creations

Free Goodies from our Studio
We are starting a new R&E give away including completed  one of a kind items, our custom patterns and of course everyone favorite, fabric. The prize drawings will be once a month for the rest of the year. So for the next 3 months just leave a comment saying enter me in the give away and your name is in the fish bowl. When a winner is selected you will be notified and given a choice of prize. It will then be shipped to you. This is our way to say thanks for stopping by our blog and Etsy shop. We are planning on launching our web site next year and will continue our customer appreciation with give aways and discounts.

At this time we are going to limit this give away to the US, 
but next year we plan on adding lots of international areas. 

The Last Min Rush

Getting Ready For Shows
 When you are working on building inventory for shows you seem, or at least I do get so involved in the creative process you sometimes don't remember all the little things that need to be done for each item to be completely finished. The business side of the art and craft world isn't the fun part for me, and I have a tendency to put it off till the last. With the fall season in full swing and so many craft shows it's time to get all the little stuff done. I was surprised at just how long it took to just get labels and price tags on everything. Then we have 2 new items this fall and had to work out the display for our booth.   You need all kinds of little graphic stuff and I have to make myself sit down at the computer and get that done. Below is our t-shirt design and our 2x3 ft. booth sign.

Then there is that hand sewing. I'm really bad about putting that off. Went out to visit Paula Saturday and took it all with me. So glad I got it all done! Whew.

And speaking of getting ready, it's crazy at how fast Christmas is coming up. I must admit I put the counting tree on this blog to keep myself on top of things. I have several good size projects not even started yet that need to be done by Christmas.  Should have a non traditional wall hanging finished in a few days. It's my first piece with woven fabric. I'm excited about getting it finished.

Back to the studio

Wednesday, September 10

The woes of a fabric junkie

I have several different types of fabric I am always keeping my eye open for.  I'm putting together a stash of pig fabric for a quilt and I'm also trying to find a large panel, borders and general Olivia The Pig fabrics.  Oh that's 2 pig quilts.  Well I like pigs.  But with putting my little piggies aside the most space in my studio is taken up by oriental fabrics.  Oh I wonder if they have oriental pig fabric?  Just kidding.  It's a sickness.  I sit at my little computer and look at fabrics on line and rush to them in stores as if they were life lines.  My friends give me fabric as gifts and I give them fabric. We're all junkies I guess.

But then you know how that is, yes you do admit it. 

All quilters have that one or two types of fabric that they just can't pass up.   Every one has that one chink in there armor.  You set limits in your mind to try to talk yourself out of buying any more fabric, but sadly it never works.  

At one point in time I said that fabric was the new paper for me, but I truly don't think I was ever this bad with paper. I did get a good deal of new oriental fabric recently and felt like I just had to make something out of it, rather than just taking it off the self from time to time and petting it. 

Wednesday, September 3

Finding The Perfect Fabric

The hunt is as much fun as the capture!

We went to a total of 4 fabric shops hunting down the perfect fabric
for the borders of our current project the baby clothes quilt.
If you sew you know how that can be. 
The quest is overpowering to find the fabric that is just right.

After looking at the shops close by my house we determined we would make the sacrifice to drive down to Franklin and visit the dangerous to my wallet Quilters' Garden. It's not that they are over price by any means, they just have such a huge selection that I can NEVER  just get what I went in there for. There is always several things that just end up going back home with me. Yes, I'm a fabric junkie, I'll admit it. Paper used to be my ruin, but now it's fabric, not that I've stopped buying paper.

So after over an hour in this wonderful shop we are looking over some of the last racks and we stumble onto a great find. The owner of the shop had the first machine she purchased in there. This wonderful sweet pink brother. I went to the counter at once and asked if I could take photos. It seemed to be in perfect condition too. Just too sweet.

Well a wonderful day of fabric shopping, what could be better. 
Now I have to go find a place to put all my new treasures.

Oh yes, if any of you see any pig fabric when you are out shopping please let me know.
I'm having a hard time finding many different types. - Thanks

Tuesday, August 26

Journals Are Here!

I mentioned a while back that we were planning on making 
journal covers so here they are. 
I selected my favorite 2 to show off first. 
I just love this stamp fabric.  

  • The interiors are finished with double fabric and no raw seams showing.
  • The bookmark is sewn in so you'll never loose it.
  • Quality lined paper in the hard back journal gives you a nice writing surface.
If your not the journal type, keep track of 
your favorite wines, exercise history or use as a address book. 

The journal is standard size of 5" x 8" and is easily replace when 
you have filled it with you important information. 

Earth-tone batik 

The quilted journal covers with hard back journal are
$18.00 (including shipping)

A good gift idea for people who still love the feel of a pen on paper.

See all the quilted journal and paperback book covers on our Etsy site.

Sunday, August 24

Nashville Quilt Expo

AQS  08 Nashville Quilt Expo

Oh my we had such a wonderful time.
All those fabrics, threads, tools and the great things we learned.

If you are a quilter you know who's in the center of this photo...Eleanor Burns. I've been a big fan for years and seeing her was great. She was so sweet in person. It was the end of the last day of the show and we were dragging, but she was her sweet normal self, kidding with us and making us all laugh. 

The show was in the Opryland Hotel which is huge and the one thing I love about this show is it's all in one really big room. No stairs, no wandering around to find something, it's all so very organized. We visited half the vendor booths on Friday and then took in about half the quilts on display. There was some wonderful stuff there to see and I will be very inspired for a good while. I do regret I didn't take the time to write down the artist's names thinking I'd be able to read them in the photos, but I couldn't. I will not make this mistake again.

One thing they had that Paula took advantage of, was a quilt appraiser. She has an antique quilt and had no idea of it's history. She found out that it was worth a good deal more than she paid for it. It was made in 1895, and was made from silks, Victorian ladies garments, men's vests and vest lining, men's hat lining and other garments from that era. 

Finding out that ladies in that time had to use anything they could get there hands on for fabric even the lining of men's hats, was very interesting. They even used the samples that were sent out to sell fabrics. Oh, are we not the lucky ones with out endless sources of fabric. What would those ladies think of shopping on line. I guess one trip to Joann's would blow there minds.

There were so many quilts to look at too. Many guilds from across the country entered their guilds challenges and these were wonderful to see. How different artists interpret the challenge was very inspiring. Some quilts made you laugh and some made you look in wonder at how much work was in each stitch. Also seeing the handwork, something I don't do was amazing. My mantra is if you can't do it on the machine you don't do it. Hand quilting or piecing is beyond my patience level at this point. I may get where I do it at some point. Paula tried to teach me to hand quilt, but I just couldn't seem to get the rocking motion down. I'm sure I didn't give it the time needed to learn. 

This elephant quilt was one of the favs for all of us. 

I've never seen a white crazy quilt and my photo just does not do this justice at all. It's all white, not the tan/yellowish color in this photo. We stood and looked at this for a good while. The tiny detail was so well done.

I took 60+ photos and I'll put a few more on here very soon.
It was a great show.
Well I need to go put all my wonderful new stuff away.

Wednesday, August 20

08 Quilt Expo In Nashville

Well it's that time again and boy am I excited. We've been planning for weeks. We're so very lucky that it's here in our home town. I've talked with other quilters on line that will becoming from as far as Canada for this great event. Last year was my first time to go to the Nashville show. We'd gone to the one in KY before, but I liked this one much better. The layout of the vendor area is really nice and all the quilts to see are mind numbing. Your head is reeling when you leave. I made the mistake last year of only going for one day and I learned that their is just no way to see everything in a day, so I missed seeing a lot of the quilts and had to rush threw the vendor area. I'll not make that mistake again. I guess that's the reason the show is 4 days. 

Even if you are not a quilter I'd suggest you go to this show and just look at the wonderful craftsmanship in these works of art. When you think of quilts you may just see your grandmothers in your minds eye, but boy have things changed. The addition of the art quilt really broke open the quilt world to just about any thing goes. Seeing quilts from different regions of the country is very inspiring too. There are over 400 quilts to see and 450+ vendor booths. The wide variety of fabrics and notions found at this show is wonderful for garments too. Designer patterns, unique buttons and tons of stuff for the fiber artist are there.  
Visit this site and you'll see what a wide scope quilting has become today.

So break out the walking shoes and be ready to be inspired.

Show Information: 

And if this isn't enough to inspire you Nashville has a wide range of art galleries
just google nashville art galleries

Friday, August 15

Tomato Festival

Paula found some cool retro stuff at the show. 
I got several nice items for my sister who loves 50's stuff.
I got it for her for Christmas, but gave her part of it already.
Typical me.

There were craft booths and so much nice art to see. 
The gallery was packed ceiling to floor with tomato art. 
Must have been a huge job to get it all arranged. 
Everything looked so nice. The art was so good. 
Such a wide range of styles, some with humor but all with excellent talent. 

The craft booths were filled with beautiful items that tempted me. This jewelry booth had some very nice items. Everybody was sporting there tomato wear. Paula made our "cool" visors and big tomato button with google eyes which we got a lot of comments on and several folks stopped us and wanted to know where we got our visors cause they wanted them. Last year the weather was in the hi 90's and the humidity was a drag. This year it was 80 and we had a breeze. The day was wonderful. There are several nice shops in the area with all kinds of unique finds. One had antique/collectible quilts which we looked at in depth. Paula knows more about the traditional quilting than me, so I learn something each time we're out. One shop had tons of 50's stuff,  I've got to go back there, or should I...hum. Watch out wallet.

After tromping around and looking at arts/crafts one does work up a thirst. So we had a beer at one of the many nice restaurants in the area. Then we skipped over to another one I'd been wanting to try for lunch. It was seafood and great. We had a very nice day. 
Thanks Steve for taking the photos. 

Sunday, August 10

Photos On Fabric

I  experimented with photos on fabric for months before I got it all figured out. I printed on cloth I'd purchased first and ironed it onto freezer paper. I ruined a printer doing that. One loose string and it was all over, making a white line on all my paper and fabric print-outs from that point on. Needed a new printer any way so that wasn't a huge drama. 

When I got the new printer thou a Espon C88 I didn't want a redo of this so I started trying commercially made fabrics for running threw the printer. I tried about 3 brands and far and above the rest is Printed Treasures by Milliken. It's not the cheapest, but I've had only a few non-perfect prints. The worst problem I did have was getting it to run threw my printer which is a vertical feed. The Printed Treasures isn't a stiff material and tended to get started off-centered or get a little fold on one corner. I called a few quilt shops and it seemed I was the only one having this problem? Well I fixed this by putting a sheet of card stock behind my Printed Treasures and putting a 5-6" long strip of tape on the leading edge. This solved all issues and I've never had a problem since. 

I really like this product and it washes well and I've had no fading. It also sews well once you get it to the machine. Another product I've used and liked is Jacquard Silk. I have had some problems getting the backing off after printing and found if you soak it in cold water it comes right off. The silk dries very quickly and you are back to sewing. I did notice it's easy to get a moire (pattern that can show up on your photo-not good) in large dark areas, but all in all it's very nice product. I've also noticed you should lighten your photos prior to printing them on either of these fabrics. Fabric absorbs color differently than paper and you should sacrifice a sheet for a test run. Just keep your test cause it will come in handy down the road. I printed my test on both paper and fabric so I could compare the two. Then later you will only need to print on paper to see what you will more than likely get on the printed fabric.

If you are a scrapbooker and like that look 
there is a site I just love called Designer Digitals 
that has wonderful graphics to use with your photos. 
Check it out I think you might get hooked.

Monday, August 4

Little Sewing Helpers

It's sew easy to get all caught up in tools and gadgets for your hobbies. I try real hard to not get sidetracked into buying every new little thing that comes out, but it's not easy. One thing I had when I first started sewing was the little wrist pin cushion, you know the red plastic one that never fits your wrist comfortably. I did like the concept of it thou and used it a lot, but it just didn't fit my arm well. So I thought dudh, make one. So here is what I came up with. I have a basket of scraps, (don't we all) that has quilting experiments in it, along with small cuts that just can't be tossed. So I cut a strip from one of these and started playing around with it. I wanted it to Velcro on and be comfy and of course hold my pins.
So after a little tweaking this is what we came up with. I've been using this for several weeks and love it.

Sunday, July 27

Handmade Home Decor

In today's world of mass production it's not as easy to find the one of a kind items. I like the items in my home to reflect my personality. One of a kind decorations are not on department store shelves, but they are out there. A great place to find one of a kind decor is designstyleguide.ning.com.
This is a wonderful group of artists and craftspeople who's beautiful work will inspire you to add to your collections. Check out this video for a small sample of the great work.
Handmade with passion for our craft.

Photos clockwise: www.shaylamaddox.etsy.com, www.blackmountainfurnitureco.com, www.jakeybb.etsy.com

Thursday, July 24

Elvis Sited In East Nashville

Most of the time I'm not this silly, but every once in a while you just have to cut loose. 
This wall hanging was designed for the East Nashville Tomato Festival Art Show. The art was to be tomato themed (or other veggies). I wanted to have a personality related to TN and Elvis was one of the first to come to mind. With the Bloody Mary contest at the Tomato Festival this seemed a natural. Tomato Elvis plays his celery guitar in this blend of humor that was hand and machine stitched. Non-traditional quilting materials were used to give "Elvis" a 70's flair.
This was a lot of fun to make and made me smile the whole time.

Sunday, July 20

East Nashville Tomato Art Fest

Well it's that time again, wooo wooo tomato festival! It's Aug. 9th. Located in Historic East Nashville's Five Points area, which has been coined by Budget Travel Magazine as "Nashville's version of New York's East Village. It's FREE. Check out the site.

There is also the Tomato Art in
 The Art & Invention Gallery @ 1106 Woodland St.

This Mixed Media Tomato Art is one or our entries for the art show. The pepper was drawn in Painter with a wacom tablet and printed on fabric then quilted. The painted canvas background was then embellished with paper and the mini quilt. There will be lots of local artists in the gallery. Come by and check it out.

Sunday, July 13

For The Love Of Beading

I've dabbled with making jewerly for years and make a lot of stuff for myself and a few years ago I even sold some. This has become a background hobby for me now, but I still have a lot of beads...humm. So at some point I started putting beading into my mix media and it all started with this jean jacket. I wanted to snaz it up and also needed something to keep my hands busy while watching TV. I'll snack on the ever present chocolate if I don't watch it. (otherwise known as energy pills). So, I'm looking at this jacket and thinking I'll put some of this cool fabric I have on it, but that just didn't give it what it needed, untill I started adding the beads. It's looks so time consuming, but really it's not too bad. It's very relaxing too. So now I can use my beads and this also gives me the excuse to buy more!

Friday, July 11

Quilting Books

One thing any crafter can never have enough of is how to books. I love them second only to fabric. I've been very interested in Stained Glass Quilts for some time and found a great book today while out getting fabric at Hancocks. Stained Glass Quilts by Liz Schwartz & Stephen Seifert is just great. It comes with very easy instructions and patterns. Oh it's foundation paper pieced, by the way. Some of the blocks are traditional quilt block such as the log cabin and rail fence, but with their technique they are real show stoppers. I'll be scanning my first pattern and try it out hopefully tomorrow. I'll post a photo of the block after I get it finished. 

Sunday, July 6

Frozen River - Mixed Media

Not much art done during the 4th weekend. Hubby was off and we tended to just relax, grill and zone. I did do some sketching while sitting on the deck.  I finally completed this one project that had been going on for several weeks and wanted to share. 

This is #2 in a series of mixed media, mini quilts. "Frozen River" is made with silks and satin which were dyed and then painted with fabric paints. Quilting and beading were next, I sometimes have a hard time stopping the beading part. 

Frame Size: 13 3/16 x 11.25
Art Quilt Size: 9.5 x 7.5

When I started quilting I only looked at cottons, but now the whole fabric store is my pallet. I enjoy mixing the unexpected fabrics together and often get a surprise result. Isn't life wonderful.

These small art quilts range in price from $25 - $75. 
Custom colors and designs are just a request away.
They can include your photography.

Monday, June 23

My Little Studio

Since I mentioned cleaning up in my studio I though, well it's kind of orderly (that's always short lived) so I'll take a few photos and share my favorite little room with you. I have so many things crammed in there but somehow I do know where most everything is. I did have my sewing in one room and my paper/paint in another. I kept telling my husband I know I can get it all in one room (I think) He didn't see it happening. I had this huge desk, one of those L shaped things I'd gotten just for the computer and to draw at and it took up half a room. It was a good workspace, but was just sooooo big. I had it for about 8 years and then it started to feel too big. I was running out of places to put the flock of  plastic roller carts with drawers that were seeming to overrun the room. When crafting you end up with so many little things and since one of my things is scrap booking the paper and stamps alone quickly got out of hand. My friend SW and I comment often on storage problems and what we are doing to fix the over flow of tools and materials. I'm sure this is a problem with lots of crafters.

When my sweet little mother passed away I brought her living room couch home with me and wanted to make a little sitting room upstairs with all her things. So I thought I'll make curtains to have in the room and when I went to Joann's to buy the fabric I some how left with a sewing machine. That was several years back. I ended up putting the sewing table in the room with mother's furniture. She was a wonderful seamstress and could make most anything she set her mind to so it seemed to fit in there with her things. I even named my machine after her.  

As time passed that machine was replaced with a better machine and of course fabric came in and piled up like dust bunnies under my bed. Very soon my sweet little sitting room was a constant mess and mother's couch ended up with fabric all over it. I wasn't happy about this, but just couldn't figure out how to fix the problem. I knew I had 2 rooms and could get all the craft stuff in one and have "Mother's sitting room" in the other, but it just wasn't that simple.

First I had to deal with the huge desk. It wouldn't fit in the room I wanted to make into my studio so I thought maybe I can just use part of it, well that didn't work either. So I asked one of my quilting buddies do you need a big desk? (Her husband's a graphic designer) Yes she said, so several weeks later it's loaded up on the truck and off it goes. This is when the fun really started. (not) just clearing off the big desk was a nightmare. The day before the desk move I moved everything off the desk and it covered the bed, bedroom floor, mother's couch, and even the upstairs bathroom floor. After breaking it down this way I began to fear it would never fit into the other room. We drug the couch, mother's tables and rocker into the center room and put up the new table I'd gotten for the painting/scrap booking area into the studio. Then I put up shelves over this table and started cramming all my scrap booking stuff onto them. I did get rid of several of the roller charts, which I was so glad about. So that corner of the room was somewhat under control. Then I put my cutting table in another corner and was able to keep it open all the time which was wonderful. Corner #3 was for the fabric. I had a book shelf which held fabric and all my craft/art books. I knew if I got all the books out of there the fabric would fit. Well it did. But then I needed another bookshelf for the books. The new bookshelf went into Mother's room between 2 small windows, perfect! It took about 3 weeks to get the dust to settle and for every thing to find a place. Then I went to a class and came home with the Embellisher, so where do I put this? Went out and bought another table and with some minor adjustments it all fit. There is even room to walk around in there now, amazing. I learned a lot about putting up shelves, moving and removing stuff and what you want to keep and what you really need to just let go of. Somethings just had to go. The two rooms aren't that big. This house is late 20's and they didn't make rooms that large, but when you are determined you will find a way.  

Sunday, June 22

Blog Addict

About 2 months ago I asked a friend of mine what is a blog, and that was just the beginning of a new very addictive habbit. I've always known that there is tons of info on line but didn't really have a good grasp of how to find it. I've now determined, blogs are it! If I don't watch myself I'll get lost in blogville and end up not going up to the studio. It's a great place to share and learn, but before I know it I've been sitting here for hours. My monitor is covered with stickies and my brain is whirling with info. It's great! Yesterday I found Fiber Arts/Mixed Media and started looking at some of the wonderful art there and was overjoyed with the richness of talent. So please go check it out, you'll be so glad you did.

I'd been looking for needles for my Baby Lock Embellisher and found them yesterday on line at a good price. During my learning curve I broke a few, sometimes 3 or 4 at a time. (Was embellishing a denim handbag.) Have I said I love my embellisher lately? My husband said I needed to start wearing safety goggles if I keep that up. Haven't broke any lately.  Well speaking of not getting any work done due to blogs here I am again. Must be off to the studio. Worked in there 4 days in a row and didn't straighten up at the end of the day, you know what that means. 

Thursday, June 19

To Frame or Not to Frame

When working in small sizes your work can just get lost if not displayed properly, 
so do you frame it? If so how. 

I read a good artical in Quilters Arts about framing or mounting your work and they suggested this gives your work a WOW Factor. 
I made a mini art quilt yesterday and framed it, this is my first try at this and I like it. 
I have lots of photos around the house of my family/friends and pets, and I normally just pick out a frame that I like. I figure if I like it, 
it will match the decor in my home. 
I used the same thinking when picking out this frame, but rather than it matching my decor I felt it matched the art. Not being a pro photographer I did have a bit of a hard time with the reflection on the glass, but thank 
goodness for digital cameras and photoshop.

But all in all I like framing small quilts.

Sunday, June 8

Little Experiments in Quilting

It's hard for me to stay focused on one project. Yesterday, I completed curtains for my sister in law and today I'm ready to start something new. Oh dear, something new. I've got 3 quilts up their waiting to be quilted, but I still want to start something new. I don't know if this is a common problem with other quilters or not, but I sure can get way too many things going at one time. I try to make small things when I'm experimenting with a new block or technique to keep the pile of unfinished stuff under control. I'd wanted to make some book marks the other day to try a new fabric embellishment and ended up making several. This got the painted fabric bug out of my system for a day or two, but then I started thinking how would they look with beads? It's never ending.

Friday, May 30

Mix Media With Quilting

This is my first mixed media with quilting tossed into the mix. This painted canvas with handmade paper works as a great background for the quilted Samurai. His face and other accents were done with fabric markers. The dragon (his inner self) is printed on fabric with my inkjet. I distressed the edges of the fabric around the Samurai with my Baby Lock Embellisher. This machine is a wonder and if you haven't seen one check them out on line. 

Thursday, May 29

Yes, you are creative!

Sometimes we get in a creative rut and can't think of new things to do or find ourselves thinking we just can't do something we have in mind. Don't go there. My first rule of creativity, and I might add my only rule is, "yes I can". I often find that working in one medium for a while curbs my thought pattern for creative ideas. That's my reason for having several interests. One feeds the next. Been sewing for days, then swap off and do some paper crafts. It always amazes me how switching projects can kick start your thinking. Look to everything in your day as inspiration. Take time to notice the color of the trees as you drive to work, or the texture of the fabric of your shirt. The smallest things inspire, if you give them the chance. If you have a digital camera don't leave home without it. Snapping shots of simple things that catch your eye can later become patterns for painting, scrapbook pages or a necklace, you just never know. So keep your eyes open and enjoy the world around you. It's there for you, enjoy it. Remember when the day gets too rushed take a moment to think about your art. It's part of you and can calm your soul and excite your spirit. Always remember, "yes I can".

Monday, May 26

I have so many ideas and not enough time to make them all, sound familiar? Then mix in sitting around with your friends and all those ideas multiply. So I got a sketchbook and started putting all the ideas in it, before you know it the book is full and you have only made a few things. What do you do with all those ideas then? Well I decided to share them. I have 2 good friends I quilt with and a group of scrapbook friends too. We all get together as often as we can and share our ideas and experiences. 

I'll be posting my quilt patterns I've designed in the near future.