Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Work, Just Play!

I am enjoying a week off work. I always plan to get lots done in the studio, and it never happens the way I plan- so I'm just being relaxed about it this week. I've got two scarves with flour paste resist slathered on them, when it's dry I'm adding black crackle lines. Beyond that, the only studio time I've spent is with Bentlee.

She wanted to make a house like I did earlier, so I had her pick out the fabrics she wanted. I fused the backgrounds to the interfacing, then set up my Featherweight for her to sew the 'windows' and 'doors' on. She is really concentrating!

After she did all that, I sewed the parts together, which required the use of my Bernina and a zigzag. She's just not tall enough to reach the controls for this machine. Once I got that done, she saw a crown, and had to model it!

I did manage to get the roof on so she could take it home. She did a nice job picking fabrics, didn't she?

I am not one for video games, but I have to admit Bentlee's dad has got one that I like. He introduced us to Guitar Hero, which we've had a blast playing together. Last week he got Rock Band, which also had drums and vocals. Here's one version of our 'family band', with Shannon and Bentlee on guitar, and Lance on the drums-

Forgive the slight fuzziness, I've been playing with some of my camera's creative settings, and did this using the continuous shoot mode. And, the light wasn't the best.

Well, as one who always had fantasies of singing with a band, that was too much to resist. I had to try the vocals- and promptly got booed off three of the four songs I tried. What do you mean, I can't sing Bob Seeger's Hollywood Nights?' I do it all the time in the studio, and I think I sound just FINE!! In fact, the only song I got all the way through was a relatively recent one that I didn't know, and wasn't even trying to sing on. So what gives??

I did find out I can do the drums fairly well, however, and my skill with the guitar is improving. My only quibble with the game- they need more songs I know, like songs from the 60's!! In other words, make a version with stuff for us boomers!!!

I am still working on Blue Tsunami, doing the hand stitching. I'm too the point of deciding if I have enough, or I keep going. Here's a detail, I really do like the additional texture this gives the piece. And, all I have left with the facing is to sew it down on the back.

More later this week, hope you enjoyed your holidays!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Calm

We had a nice, relaxed Christmas at home. The big storm that was supposed to hit waited until we went to bed to show, which made picking up the grandkids easier for Lance.

Christmas breakfast has always been an important family tradition for me- I try to make things I don't normally do. So, I was up early making caramel rolls, using Laura Cater-Woods recipe from her blog. It did not disappoint!

After cleaning up the kitchen, the four of us retired to the living room and had fun opening presents. I now am a happy owner of Jane Dunnewold's book, 'Finding Your Own Visual Language', a lovely hand-thrown bowl, a new watch, a wide assortment of coffees, and a number of new goodies for the kitchen from Ikea.

We just relaxed until the kids arrived in the afternoon, then watched them tear through their presents. Dinner was a low-key, traditional one with only our friend Patty an addition to the table.

I rather liked the relaxed atmosphere- no stress, just fun. I need to remember that next year!

This morning, we woke up to at least 6 inches of snow. Shannon has to work today, so I was out shoveling the driveway while she got ready. This is the sight that greeted me--

Yes, it looks beautiful, I won't deny that. I just hope that we don't get hammered with storms this winter. Our home is in a high-density development, and when the snow gets thick, it is hard to drive, and harder to park. We may be looking at having to haul the snow out if this keeps up!

I hope your holiday was blessed and full of family, friends, and good cheer. And now, I'm off to the studio in the hopes I can get Blue Tsunami faced, and the hand stitching started.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rushed and Harried- there's too much to do!!

It has been nuts this weekend, what with trying to get stuff done. I'm having some co-workers over for breakfast tomorrow, and wanted to gift each of them with one of the houses Jane Davila did for Quilting Arts Gifts. I got all the pieces fused by early this morning, and sewed like crazy all day. Not a lot of extra embellishment, but I'm happy with how they came out. Please forgive the extraneous stuff from my studio, but the roofs are still drying with the glue, and I didn't want to move them.

While I was busy down in the studio, Shannon was busy all day in the kitchen. She made a dozen loaves of her special Swiss braids for gifts at her work Here's a couple rising,

and here's a couple that are done baking. This bread is yummy!

Friday night I also did some dye painting with some of the silk scarves I have left. I was not happy with most of the results- I just don't like what I get with dye painting as opposed to low water immersion, at least as a first application of the dye. So I took three of them, and overdyed them today after I got the sewing done. Fortunately, I could use the same color on all three, and I took the easy way out and used the vinegar-microwave method. I may go at them again with discharge paste, but that will have to wait until next weekend.

I also got an early Christmas present. Karen Stiel Osborn had a special sale on some of her cards, and I couldn't resist. I got them a week ago, and they are even more spectacular in person. I'm going to try mounting and framing them, that's how special they are. Karen does wonderful collages, in both paper and cloth.

I am so not ready for Christmas. I haven't wrapped a single gift, and still have a couple to buy. I did get the gifts intended for my kids who live in Florida and Chicago mailed last Friday, so hopefully they will be there on time.

I'm working through the 24th, then will have a blessed vacation until January 5. I'm hoping to spend a lot of it in the studio.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Modeling and Quilting

A rather interesting combination, no? I did quite a bit of work on Blue Tsunami yesterday. The circles are quilted with metallic silver, and the curved lines (waves?) with Superior variegated Rainbows.

I thought a lot about how I wanted to do this. This piece says 'water' to me, and I wanted to evoke that same sense with the quilting. Not to much, just gentle curves rolling around the circles. I wanted a sense of piece and calm, and gentle, rolling waves. Did I achieve my goal?

This piece has been an interesting journey. I started it to answer two questions: can I make my hand-dyes and printed fabric play well together, and what would happen if I worked with strip sets that were made with curved piecing. From there, the piece began to tell me what it wanted.

I still need to trim out (curves, of course) the top and bottom borders, then put on the facing. But I've answered my questions, learned, and am pleased with the results.

As for the modeling, I was invited to a gathering last night with my wildlife rehab friend Patti. It was a group of people who get together regularly and draw, mostly portraits. It was an eclectic group, lots of interesting discussion. When they asked if I'd model, I agreed. Lanny, our host, has a large studio behind his home. Part is set up for drawing, and the other half is his woodshop where he makes this incredible furniture from fire-killed and other dead juniper that he collects out on the dessert. You can see one of his couches in the picture. Anyway, here I am, all set up. Lanny is drawing on the right, and James is on the left.

And here I am with Candee drawing.

It was fascinating watching how the different portraits developed when I took my breaks. Each one was different, yet each was me. I learned that my ability to dissociate comes in handy when you have to hold a pose for twenty minutes, and that it is harder to dissociate when they play good rock and roll music!

Here's James' finished portrait, just to give you an idea.

Like I said, all were different, yet all were clearly me. Lanny and Candee gave me their finished drawings, and I'm trying to figure out how I can mount and hang them.

We're off to church, some grocery shopping, and hopefully more work on Blue Tsunami. It's freezing cold, we had our first snow yesterday with more coming next week. A good day to hole up in the studio! Hope your week is a productive one!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A New Winter Tradition

Shannon has been talking about the apple fritters she ate while in Switzerland last year- and today she finally decided to try making her own. Judging by how fast they went, I'd say she succeeded in recreating her memory.

She found a batter recipe in old trusty Joy of Cooking, and used Granny Smith apples. Here she is putting some slices that have been battered into the oil.

And here is the final, yummy, result- a little powdered sugar, and I'm game for a new family tradition!

Didn't get anything done yesterday, other than mundane stuff like laundry. Shannon's car battery went dead yesterday, so we spent part of the afternoon dealing with that. But today, I got Blue Tsunami sandwiched and the anchor stitching done. I've decided that whoever thinks that stitch in the ditch is the way for beginner's to start quilting is nuts. It is hard, there were a couple of places where I wasn't quite there. But it's unobtrusive enough that I'm not ripping it out. Next is outline stitching the circles with a silver metallic thread, then quilting the whole thing in gentle curves- easy, I'll use my walking foot.

I did forget to mention- Friday we went to Body Worlds, a special exhibit in Salt Lake. A German company figured out a way to 'plasticate' bodies to prevent them from decomposing, and there are multiple exhibits of bodies that have been donated and plasticated, many of them in athletic and/or artistic poses. You could see the musculature, how our innards fit together, what a healthy lung looks like vs. a smoker's lung. It was fascinating, and all of it was real human bodies, not models or replications. And there was a camel and her baby,too. Anyway, if this show comes your way, by all means go. It's not in the least gory--

Hope your week is a good one!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I've Been Nominated for a Blogging Award!

Katherine Sands from Illinois dyes luscious silk scarves, among other things- and she kindly nominated me for the Kreativ Blogging Award. Considering she also nominated Rayna Gillman and Denise Aumick, I'm honored!

The rules are:

1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from in your blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

Like Katherine, I'd like to nominate bloggers that perhaps haven't gotten something like this previously. So, my five nominees are:

Karoda at Seamless Skin. Karoda is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, and creates fiber art in that same vein. I love reading about where her muse takes her.

Nellie at Nellie's Needles is one of the most creative bloggers I know. She is generous in sharing her processes, and has created a series based on the moods of Lake Michigan that is stunning. She uses leftover fabric bits and thread to create her unique pieces.

Judy in the Dyes creates gorgeous silk scarves and Complexitees- T shirts with wonderful surface design! We also became political soulmates the past few months, two blues adrift in seas of red.

Lisa in Boise writes about her life in Idaho, raising a daughter and volunteering at the art museum when she is not creating. I love how her art seems to find its way into almost every aspect of her family's life.

Kathy Nida reminds me that creativity can be nurtured in the middle of apparent chaos. She earns my everlasting admiration just by being a junior high school teacher- but she has two children of her own in that age range, and she manages to make wonderful quilts in her own unique, graphic style. She pulls no punches in her blog, it is a chronicle of her life.

I have lots of blogs I follow, but these five just jumped out at me. Have a look, enjoy their one of a kind creations!