Sunday, June 29, 2008

June TIF Challenge, and some extras!!

I haven't blogged a lot about the TIF challenge recently. After a couple months of not being particularly inspired by the theme or the colors, June's piqued my interest. I liked the theme, but nothing visual jumped to mind- so I went with the colors. They are not ones I would normally put together, but they intrigued me. I started with embroidery floss, because I've had a yen to do something with handwork, something more portable than I usually do. Then I just rooted through the stash to find fabrics of similar colors.

When I don't have a specific image in mind, I like just playing with shapes and colors. This came together in fairly short order--

I have several more design elements in mind to add with embroidery and beading. DJ and I are going to an outdoor concert tomorrow night- think I will be taking this to work on while we wait, since I can count on it being light until 9 pm.

Shannon and I went out for a bit this afternoon, to see if we could get any good pictures of flowers to add to my design files. She had better luck with her camera than I did, and she seems to have a knack for getting flowers from unusual angles. But I was happy with a few, like this one of a red lily. I have played with the brightness and contrast in Elements.

I also like this pansy-

Shannon got some awesome ones of other lilies, which I will keep in the back of my mind for a design I've been thinking about for awhile. AFTER I finish some of the other projects I have going!!

On a totally different note, my church had a huge garage sale on Saturday, to raise funds to buy a church building in Uganda for an organization that works with orphans. I wasn't on the lookout for anything, but scored these items for my studio--

I now have a studio microwave,so I can warm up dye solutions, and even play with silk dyeing in the microwave. The nice litle table also holds several storage containers with various dye powders. I also got an overhead projector!! So now enlarging drawings will be a snap. It works, just needs a new bulb, which I've already ordered online.

I am looking forward to a short work week. I'm taking Thursday off, hopefully to play in the studio since I will be the only one home. Friday we'll probably go to Provo to partake of all the July 4 celebrations. If this weekend is any foretaste, it will be a HOT holiday weekend!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Winding down. . .

The weekend is about over, I'm just playing on the computer waiting for dinner to finish cooking. The ironing of the work clothes is done, my hair colored for another six weeks, even the dog is freshly bathed!!

I do have some sewing content, just not quilt related. I had TWO coupons for JoAnn's that had to be used this weekend, so I got some cottons to make a couple of shirts. One of them is almost done, just need to do the hems, buttonholes, and buttons. Shannon snapped my picture trying it on- all with a look on her face that said "I can't believe you are going to wear that in public!!"

I love red, I love batiks- so why not a red batik shirt? It will go great with a red necklace and earrings my daughter-in-law Marly made.

Our friend Patty, the wildlife rehabber, invited us to a barbeque at her house last night. DJ couldn't go, so Shannon and I went, with Sadie in tow. She love playing with Patty's dog Jackson, and feels right at home with all the animals.

Ben was there with his new golden eagle. This one is young, and only a month out of the wild. He handled all the people around him very well. I never cease to be amazed at how magnificent eagles are when you have the opportunity to see them up close.

Ben also brought out the ring tail cat, as they are commonly known- don't ask me the official name. These are actually native to Utah, unlike racoons.

But the best of all was the fawn, brought in from a small town to the south after she was found on the side of the road, a dead doe not too far away. She is less than a month old, and smaller than Sadie, our border collie.

She was a little skittish of all the attention she got, but took to the bottle with relish. I'd never heard a deer make any kind of noise, but she was making little squeaking noises while she nursed on the bottle. I'm not sure what will happen to her, but it doesn't seem likely she'll be able to be released.

And it's not just the animals at Patty's that are interesting, I also learn a ton just by listening. Never a dull moment there, and good food to boot.

After a long, cool spring, summer has finally hit here with a vengeance. We had 90 degree days most of last week, and the same for the coming week. What I would love, a long stretch of 80 degree days. Not too likely now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Three-Day Weekend Doings!!

It was a nice weekend, made even better by the lovely weather. It is finally starting to seem like summer- warm weather and sunshine. All the green we have is balm for my eyes, I never tire of looking at all the wonderful shades and variations of that color. It's no accident that green is a large portion of my fabric stash!

Friday I got together with my small group, the Wasatch Art Quilters. We just had a nice, relaxing workday. I started on a thread embroidery with water soluble stabilizer, Sidney played with Shiva paintstiks, Jalaine and Kathleen worked on projects, and Suzanne has a piece on the design wall. We encourage, critique, laugh, and just enjoy being with others who share the same passion. Here's three of the group, playing or working away--

Saturday night DJ and I went to a concert here in Spanish Fork- classic country. Here is an example of the cultural divide that exists between us at times. I grew up in southern California, and listened almost exclusively to rock and roll. I loved the Beatles and all the others that performed in the sixties and early seventies. Country? I'm not even sure I knew it existed, and would have blown it off as music for hicks.

He, on the other hand, grew up in Utah, and listened to country a LOT. He didn't like most of the rock and roll then, and still doesn't now. Tanya Tucker has been the love of his life for years and years.

Clearly, we come from two very different musical paradigms. My musical world has expanded greatly since my teen years, but I've only had occasional flirtations with country, none that lasted any length of time. He has remained a steadfast fan of the country music from the 60's, 70's, and maybe 80's. So when the classic country radio station puts together a show of performers from that era, he's there. Me, I'm along for the ride.

This year we had six or seven different singers. One has been around so long, he talked about performing at a dance at BYU in Provo in 1954!!!! I'd never heard of any of them, except for one who was at the concert last year.

One really caught my eye, however. He definitely did NOT look like your typical country singer, more reminded me of Doc from the Back to the Future movies. And he could sing!! Click on the picture, you'll see what I mean--

I think his name is T. Graham Brown. DJ knew him, he's done some duets with his beloved Tanya. His singing has a rough edge to it that I like, not a smooth crooner. All in all, it was a nice evening of music under the stars and moon.

And I'll end this with a family pet picture. Annabelle is our cat, who can be alternately psychocat running around the house, and lovey-dovey sit in your lap cat. She also has a fondness for strange sleeping surfaces, including human.

I couldn't resist snapping this picture of Ana sleeping on Shannon, happily perched on her side. Can't speak to how comfortable Shannon finds it!

I'll be working on the threadwork embroidery more this week. Hope yours is creative and productive also!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

It's almost Friday!!

And for me, that means my weekend is starting, since I work 4 ten hour days. Hopefully, I will get the blouse sewn that I cut out last night. It's a summer blouse, and we haven't had a lot of summer weather yet. We are waiting impatiently, it is late in the spring to be so cool. And I'm sure we'll wish for these temperatures when we get the 90's for days on end.

I got my most recent quilt project done- I decided I didn't like one set of beads I'd put on, so I ripped them out and found others in colors I think look better. This quilt is going in a book, so I won't post an entire picture- but here's a detail shot of a small portion of it.

The fabrics are my hand-dyes. I have rarely used satin stitching on applique quilts, preferring raw edge most of the time- but I like the crisp look it gives on this piece. So, overall I am happy with it.

And, how about some family pictures? Our cat sheds horribly, and we've found that bathing her helps the problem. We use the laundry sink in my dye room. For a cat, Anabelle is relatively cooperative- but the look on her face tells all.

All Shannon has to do is pick her up and carry her downstairs, and she knows what is coming. She doesn't yowl, she doesn't use her back claws to scratch, but you know it isn't her favorite thing. And, she does let us know with her body language that she is not happy with us, for awhile at least! For all her looks and attitude afterwards, Anabelle is easier than Sadie, who weighs 60-plus pounds and barely fits in the laundry tub. We noticed a new business going up in Provo- a "doggie wash", where they have the tub and tools just for dog washing without breaking your back. I think we will be checking it out.

Meanwhile, the weekend is here, so let the sewing begin!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Take It Further Challenge- May

The last two months have not been conducive to doing much artwork- but I did not want to skip two months of the challenge. And, I had an idea of what I wanted to do this month (unlike April)- it was just finding the time to do it. So, what I have here is incomplete- I want to add machine quilting- but didn't want to leave it any longer, since who knows when I will be able to get to that.

I have read more discussions than I care to remember on the Quiltart list about quilters, and fiber artists, and can you be an artist if you are a traditional quilter, and what makes an artist. I've wearied of it all, and just decided to call myself, and others like me who find joy (and therapy!) in the process- ARTISTS. I show infrequently, I have yet to make my first sale- so, I think that puts me and many others in the same company as Vincent Van Gogh, who never made a dime off his art.

I admire the work of several artists who use words and letters, such as Rayna Gillman and Rosemary Claus Gray. I'm not pretending that this is on their level, but wanted to experiment with words. I created the words in Elements, printed them on my laser printer, and transferred them to my hand-dyed cotton with Citrasolv.

So here's my declaration to all, I'm an ARTIST!! Learning, growing, creating plenty for my crap quota- but an artist nonetheless. I think I'll hang this on the wall of my studio, something to remind myself when the discouragement hits.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I love it. . .

when I can look back and check off tasks and projects completed. This weekend has been a good one- I not only finished the small quilts I've been working on, but my studio is cleaned out and re-organized. And I still have Sunday left!!

The small work will be in a book- I won't say any more until publication, and I don't know when that's scheduled. This project already has me looking around my home figuring out where I could hang a similar piece, and what colors would work. Might even try my stash of metallic threads, which look spectacular with this type of quilting.

My stash closet is done- I got the shelves from Ikea, cut them down, and even had enough of the uprights left to make another long, low shelf just by buying a 1 X 12 and the hardware. I've gone through my big bins, pulled out stuff that I'm not likely to use,and designated for the garage sale. My church is holding a series of garage sales to raise money to buy a building for a congregation in Uganda, and we've been slowly sorting through our home to collect for it. The dye room table is still stacked with all the items I'll be donating.

Anyway, here's the closet, cleaned out with everything accessible and easy to get. I LOVE being able to see all my fabric at a glance!

I took my cone threads out of a drawer, and mounted them on the wall by my Bernina. My growing stash of threads required another thread holder, so that was mounted on the right wall. I have some room for more thread, but not a ton!!

And look what I found for my beads! It's a simple little carousel with six bins that attach around the side. There's another bin for beads on top, and more storage under that. I was able to get almost all my beads in it, nicely sorted by color. Shows immediately where my holes are (purples), and makes it easy to see at a glance what you have. The only downside is the single lid on the bins instead of individual lids on the compartments. The little stacking containers to the right are the only ones I couldn't get in the new system.

Even with all the de-cluttering and 'stuff' reduction, I did get some goodies for surface design. Our subdivision had a lot of garage sales this weekend, and I found these stamps at one. Too cool to resist!

I also entered the 21st century- I now own an iPod, purchased at the same garage sale that had the stamps. A nice little iPod Shuffle that I can wear around my neck or clip to my belt. I'm still a techno-dummy when it comes to music, so Shannon downloaded some of my CD's to iTunes and loaded the iPod for me. We'll see if having the music improves my free motion quilting!

And, I'm finishing the final steps to getting my small private practice off the ground. I have space, my LLC is registered with the state, I got my business license with the city, and my business cards arrived. The last step is getting the malpractice insurance, also in progress. Scary but exciting!