Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dot Marks the Spot

My third stamp making try. The impression was made using stamping ink and a stamp pad instead of my usually paint and brush. I like the graininess of the ink on the paper--an effect you don't get with paint. I added inked lines around the shape. I like this stamp. But then I adore anything round and circular. I am crazy for dots.

Some of my commercial dotted fabric. I tried applying my dot stamp but the surface of this cotton, even after washing, is too repellant. It was difficult to apply the acrylic paints to the surface and they never soaked through to the other side. I do like the effect of the paint on the surface. I made only a small 12 inch square to sample the technique. I would like to try to use the commercial fabric and paints in the future. I purchased 10 yards of white fabric--not muslin--and it has a dense feel and smooth hand. I'm going to use my new Seta fabric paints on this white. I have one and a half yards washed, dried and ironed and ready to paint. This will be my first time using the Seta paints which I purchased at a quilt show last August.

A bad photo of a 14 each square Valentine. I finally got it quilted and sewed the binding down last night. I made this 54 weeks ago for my husband. It was his 2005 Valentine. I still need to add some ribbons and two or three keys (to my heart). My husband got a large box of keys from the neighborhood locksmith a few years ago and I'm going to dig around in the box to find the "perfect" keys. Then spray paint them black. Attach them to the arrow. He asked me to pin it to the wall next to his chair. I think he likes it!

For those of you who care (!), I got all the floors vacuumed and mopped. All the dust bunnies are now safely stored in the central vac storage tank. Central vac is a wonderful thing. Just plug it into the wall and vacuum away. No dragging a canister around. We put away all the Christmas stuff (finally!) and Hub carried the Halloween Spooky House and the Gingerbread House up to the newly cleaned and organized attic store room (the result of my hard work in January).

We picked up all the newly framed art from the framer. My watercolor pears and the oil pastel turnip and pear. They look so amazing. Like professional art. So then we had to rearrange all the art on the walls--a good practice, since we stop "seeing" art that stays in one place. My husband got to use all his laser leveling devices ( I read that a quilter uses them to get straight edges on her pieces) and we now have new art in the bedroom, living room and dining room. The house is looking it's best for the ladies who are coming to visit tomorrow.

Now it's time for me to get ready to go to work at the library. And after work, water and care for all the plants in the library. I hope my husband will have dinner ready when I get home. I can dream can't I?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Loose Ends

My love affair--short and very sweet--with Olympic Curling came to an end. The Canadian Men and Swedish Women took gold medals. Well deserved. They were my favorite two teams and---after all that watching--I picked up most of the rules. I was even giving the teams long distance advice on their next rock target. If you enlarge this photo you can see the little stitches I added to make "pebbly" ice. My button rocks are placed in a "freeze". You can't see the guard rock. Love that curling.

The continuing saga of Smaller Traffic collage. I added something to the top of the tube and cut part of it away. I think it may be done now. I like it.

At the end of January, Nikki and I decided to make art out of bowls. We have only dedicated ourselves to this idea on a month by month contract. I have tons of journal art on bowls but decided to actually make a bowl quilt. It's been awhile since I worked--I've been in Avoidance--so my skills were a bit rusty.

The quilt is on the floor and the binding still needs sewing. I'm calling this Macaroni Bowl. The colors are so very cheesey. I was aiming for smaller but it wanted to be this big. Curved seams again--machine pieced. What is happening??? No glue or raw edges. I WAS watching a marathon of Project Runway during the construction so perhaps I was trying to be "BETTER THAN YOU"

This is my 60th blog entry since I began in October of 2005. Wow. On the days I don't post, I feel so *unfinished*. Like I've let you all down. I've really got to go now. "People" are coming to my house on Wednesday and I have to clean the floor---paper, thread and dust bunnies--- and clean off the dining room table of all the books, catalogs, mail, journals, speedball stamps, paint bottles, gloves, hats, empty bowls, wine bottles and vitamin pill bottles. We are such "pack rats".

Friday, February 24, 2006

Another Day in Avoidance

I got some journal page ideas from Keri Smith's Wish Jar Journal. " Cut a shape from several random pages of a magazine and then collage them on a journal page." I grabbed a clump of pages and cut out a circle and then cut out the center. I did use some text from a catalog and a receipt. How do I start? So true.

My morning collage from Thursday. I over printed it this morning with my new stamp. Sorry for the glare. I have a skylight over the table (where I eat, read and make stamps) and there is always a glare. We have snow today. More glare. That's a toilet paper tube in the center. I had planned to insert something--sort of like a pocket. I'd also like to use grommets. Work in progress.

My new stamp. I pressed it over the surface repeatedly to see what happened. Turning it. I think it might be more graphic in a different color--but this green was "to hand" so that's what I used. A bit messy. I'll do better next time. I have plans for this stamp--as an overprint on some commercial fabric.

And that brings me to the real topic of today's post. Now that I have opened Pandora's Box, so to speak, and painted blank fabric with designs and colors I like---what happens to the thousands of dollars worth of commercial fabric--very nice stuff with dots--that is sitting in my closet? Yes, I hear all of you saying "sell it". But you live in bright colored places. I live in Maine. When quilters here see my work they always ask-"where do you buy that fabric?" and it sometimes is said with an unspoken "and why did you buy it?" I say Atlanta, Chicago, and Sunnyvale & Petaluma, California. Not in Maine.

Now that I have said all this--I can imagine that a few Mainers and quilters on the blog might actually want some of this fabric for themselves. I could also sell it from this site or make another "storefront" site. So there is a solution. I was never a bed quilt quilter. I tried wearing that shoe--but it pinched my toes something fierce.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Made a Stamp

A long time ago, in a galaxy...... no, that was Star Wars. This is a stamp I made today. I had planned to make a stamp years ago, when I bought the stamp "stuff" and cutter. This stamp making isn't as easy as it looks. Well, it is easy to cut. But to make a stamp that has *wow* value--well, that seems to be very hard to do. Where, exactly, would I use this particular stamp I made today? In my journal. As today's entry. Love the little circle dots. Should have made it all about them and forgotten the squiggly lines. Need another cutting block.

Today has been all about Avoidance. I got a big stack of catalogs in the mail today. I looked at all of them--even the ones, like LLBean, that bore the socks off me. I made cream of wheat cereal for lunch with sugar, butter and cinnamon on top (comfort food). I may take a shower. A real long one to use up some more time. Curling comes on at 4 pm. Anything, to stall going into the studio and seeing the awful mess I've made of the Africa quilt. I have to unsew the whole thing. And put the pieces in the trash. Why you ask? If I put it in whole--it will come back out of the wastebasket in hopes of a miracle. There are no miracles for this piece of crap.

And today held so much promise. Still time for something swell to happen. I could go for a ride in the car, though it would be more fun if someone else was driving. I could order tomato seeds and think about summer and my garden. I could take a nap or read my book. Avoidance.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bobby and Stephanie

I have not strayed off the "artful" path very often in this blog but today you meet another side of ME! I have been watching "Boy Meets Grill" a cooking show with Bobby Flay. Well, on Thursday he had his brand new wife on the show and they were "cooking" together. Strange couple.

Bobby is all rough edges, New Yawk, bites his fingernails to the quick (makes watching him cook disgusting) and (as you can see from my drawing) he's not good looking. He does look worlds better in his chef coat. Think Sopranos.

Stephanie is from TEXAS. She's well educated and genteel. Tall, blonde and thin. An actress. She gave up her role as ADA on Law and Order SVU to be "closer to Bobby". Very big diamond on the engagement ring and more on the wedding ring.

She watches him. To catch any mistakes he makes. After all the cooking, the two sat down to eat chicken and biscuits. Bobby was eating chicken, talking etc and Stephanie was saying "use your napkin". Then, Bobby with a huge mouthful of chicken leaned over to kiss Stephanie on the mouth. I could almost hear her saying "EEEEH!

A true Beauty and the Beast. Let the countdown begin on how long this will last! Stephanie just signed on for another Law and Order. Doesn't need to be as "close to Bobby" any more???

Monday, February 20, 2006

Journal Pages and Ruminations

Journal page of tulips and other things. I was playing around with the "theme" quilt idea. Using the same image over and over and getting into the shape and color. When you know it's going to be another "tulip" and the subject is a given: well, you hope for some creative "juice" in the design and details. Notice I said "hope".

Love the polka dot dishes. I'm at loose ends today. Can you tell? I was working on the African quilt and it was all about turquoise and orange ( I thought) and as I was cutting and getting ready to piece it all seemed *so wrong* and I started in on the fabric closet and now it's all lavender and orange. Not what I wanted at all. Does that happen to you? It's like you have a trip all planned out and then you hit a detour sign and end up somewhere entirely different. Not bad--but not what you had planned.

A trip all planned? I'm scheduled to visit my friend Kay in March. I'm dragging my feet this year. We have not had a real winter here in Maine. In fact, I have been driving my roadster (dry snow-free roads) and usually it is in cold storage until April. So I don't feel the usual Maine "cabin fever" that affects us each winter. The sky is blue. The sun is shining. And every 5-8 days we have a *heat wave* of 50 degree days. Nothing to complain about. No snow on the ground either. I just don't know if I want to go.

I have also been doing at least one journal page a day--in the morning--and this has been a very interesting first for me. Gets me thinking about old projects and new for the whole day. Eager to get into the studio and mess around. I did do something terribly wrong the other day. I washed the orange and blue stripes before heat setting the paint. DON'T DO THAT!!! I had to rescue the piece with some fabric dye pens and it is but a shadow of it's former self. I'm keeping it around as a "Lesson".

"One's lifework, I have learned, grows with the working and living. Do it as if your life depended on it, and first thing you know, you'll have made a life out of it." Theresa Helburn

Friday, February 17, 2006

My World Today, Yesterday, and the Day Before

Not much going on here and since I haven't seen updates on many blogs, it's either school vacation or the Olympics that has everyone busy. I finally stopped tearing pictures out of magazines long enough to paint some fabric for my African quilt. Nice big stripes--this is only a portion. And in the way upper right corner you can see the other piece of the African quilt which I used as a color model so the stripes would "look good" with it. I was tempted to put polka dots all over the blue zigs--but I restrained myself. I also used dry fabric and very little water in the paint mix. Fabric is stiff but I like the dense color.

I don't know what the rest of you are watching, but I am watching Curling. I love that blue and red circle or as I think of it, "the Dot". I think it's cute they call the center the "button". I am still in the dark as to the rules or the point of the game but it doesn't seem to lessen my interest in watching. Every evening from 5 pm to 8 pm. Last night my friend Kay admitted to watching also. We are such TWINS! She watches from 8 am to 11 am. I didn't know about the morning curling and she didn't know about the evening curling. Now we can "double up".

Finally, a self portrait. Me, my black sweatpants and my red slippers which I wear all day, everyday, unless I go outside. I haven't been out today but I will be going out soon to get the newspaper and the mail. I hope the newspaper will have the scores from the women's curling with Russia. The great minds at USA cable stopped showing the match just as the USA and Russia were tied at 7 each with a tie breaker end starting. They show all the real boring stuff and when we get to a tie breaker---bang we're done. There better be some "Good Mail" out there in my polka dot mailbox!!!! I'm not in a very good mood. But curling will be starting in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Painted Fabric- Lessons Learned, So Far

My first painted fabric experience, the blue dots, went very well and I was VERY pleased with the result. But I had not washed the fabric first as Sonji suggested and I used the fabric dry not damp, Sonji suggested damp. So on my second and third attempts the fabric was washed and damp before I began painting.

The left panel is in green and yellow stripes. Pale and not very interesting. The right hand panel in orange tones is simply awful. Washed out, without definition and too pale for anything I work with. I was very discouraged so I worked on the Blue Eye while I thought about painting fabric again. What would I do differently? How would I learn from these two experiments in a technique I had never tried before.

I went back into the orange first. It was already a mess so I couldn't actually make it worse--so no pressure on me. It sort of looks "bubbly" now. You may not be able to see it in the photo but the bubbles move from background to foreground nicely. And I can see a use for the fabric, which is the purpose of painting fabric. The white may be too much but the surface was still murky. Next time I will try and leave white fabric spaces when I use the yellow/orange family to add *sparkle* like I do when I watercolor. The surface is heavy and does not have a soft "hand" anymore. There will be no hand work on this unless I use plyers to pull the needle through.

The green and yellow stripe was painted on again--dry fabric and undiluted paint straight from the bottle. The fabric was then sprayed with water until it was uniformly wet. Very nice things happened as the paint began to migrate across the wet surface. I also like the places where the undiluted paint dried before the wetting--the streaks of yellow close to the top and bottom edges. There are areas of this which will work very successfully in a landscape type piece.

So, if at first you don't succeed--paint over it. I also would look around for companion fabrics in the commercial side of your stash closet---which in my case is all commercial. After I found some things that I might use with the orange, I knew what I had to do to it in the overpainting to make it useable. In fact, last night before I fell asleep I "saw" the finished piece. Weird how my mind works. It will still be too traditional to be "art" but it could be a good background for something in months or years to come.

I will continue on this painting journey. I have lots to learn. And it feels so good and *right* to have a paint brush in my hand. The time may have come to surrender to painting, finally. I have fought this my entire life. Always knowing that painting will take over and I will have no other interest but the process. Bungie jumping is a near perfect example of how this feels to me. So here we go. Quilting be damned.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Status Report--Blue Eyes

I'm under the influence of caffeine. (it's 2 am) I had a cup of coffee while I was having my hair and nails done this afternoon--Happy Valentine--and it isn't wearing off. I've been painting and taking pictures and trying to wear myself out. So now I'm blogging.

Here it is. I had my choice of too far away or so close the top and bottom edges are cropped off. You've seen the edges but I thought you'd be more interested in my solutions. I was making a stem, leaf and flower. Then *snap* I noticed the flower looked like a pupil. Intuitive art. So I cut and pasted some more fabric around and.... well, it's interesting.

Close up you can see I used a scrap piece of the painted background to make the pupil. It sort of "fools the eye" into thinking you can see through to the background but at the same time it moves forward off the surface. And in and an outie. I'm liking this very much. I also like the top stitching of the magenta wiggly things. Organic and slightly icky. I'm toying with the idea of some eyelash like stuff. I will audition it before actually attaching--it might not need it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Work In Progress- Stand Back!!!

Stay tuned. The results have nothing to do with your input. In fact, I read what you said this morning and the idea came to me at 1 am last night. And go figure, there were two pieces of fabric in my closet that worked. I don't even remember buying either. In fact, I've never seen them before.

So this piece will have machine piecing (hate) of curved seams (gad) and hand applique (love) and machine decorative stitching (like) and quilting (boring). Back to work I go.

Oh, and thank you all for the comments. They are all safely tucked away in my sub-conscious mind and will reappear "as needed". Especially, "Dig In" "Commit" "Go With Your Gut" and "Don't Listen to Other People". Quilting cheerleader terms. Yah, Team!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006


You've see this before. It's painted WU (wonder under) fused to a piece of white fabric with a black pattern. Then tulle is fused to the top and it's stitched from side to side with a variety of threads and some interesting yarn.

This is the same piece, top side, down. With that fabulous "beginners luck" piece of painted fabric stitched all around. And a stick. Now I like it visually, but it isn't *saying* anything if you know what I mean. Is it a vessel, vase, metaphor or nothing much at all. I'm voting with door four right now. I see more stitching and perhaps something attached to the stick. I don't know why I want the stick--but I do. Right now. I wave in the wind on these things.

Now this I like. The eye picture is from an advertising insert. Paper. And there's the rub. Well, there is also copyright law, but do advertisements carry the same legal weight. After all they gave it to me. So if I don't use the eye--then the design is saying I need a STRONG focal point to bring this piece home. Any ideas????

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Strange Fruit

My husband has started to shop around in the exotic fruit department looking for "artist's models" for my oil pastel works. This is a cactus pear I think. I'm adding the model to the art work so you can see I wasn't *channeling Mars* or something. It's strange but still fruit.

I have no idea what this is and by the time he got home from the grocery, my husband had forgotten what it was. He liked it because it was *yellow*. He thought I would like it because it had stripes and "you haven't done any striped fruit". Needs work. Not much in the way of excitement in this fruit. Perhaps if I cut it open??? The biggest obstacle: I don't have the color pastel to actually do this yellowy greenish color. It looks a whole lot paler here at my house.

I painted 2 pieces of fabric today and they are less than interesting. Yesterday I painted on dry fabric and today on damp. I now know I don't like the way damp turns out. I may overpaint the two "losers" and get more of a range of light to dark. Right now all is light. I took photos but Blogger doesn't want to load that particular photo. I tried to do the two fruits and the fabric and I got the --makes me so happy--"this file contains no data"--note. Four times. So I did just the fruit and here we are.

If I have a few hours of free time later--I'll try and load the fabric picture four or five more times. Yeh, sure I will.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Painted Fabric a la Sonji

Last night I was feeling rather glum and right before bedtime I got a reply to a comment I had made to Sonji on the wonderful fabric she painted. I asked "how" and she replied presto, pronto. Now after reading her tutorial--I couldn't get to sleep--dreaming about painting fabric! And today I made this blue fabric. My box of paints runs to baby colors--nothing very exciting--so I settled on blue because I had a range of tones. I forgot to wash my fabric first. So maybe things could have been better. This was unbleached muslin so the clear, white background wasn't present. I'm not complaining though. I love my fabric!!!!

So when my daughter called regarding a visit to Joann's I jumped on it. I needed fabric--Sonji buys a bolt with her coupon--so I wanted one. And I needed vibrant paint not baby colors.

Shopping Haul. Paints in a range of yellows to orange: blue to turquoise: lime to dark green: pinks to dark red. And I got metallics in gold, copper, silver. Tomorrow I will be washing fabric and then painting more fabric. This is fun! Thank you, Sonji for being my mentor in this process. I can't stop smiling.

Happy Post

Found this site on Red Shoe Rambling and just had to have one. Wish Work. Art Avoid. That's me.

Know what? Yesterday I was feeling sort of sad. Kept checking and no one to talk to. Then Sonji sent a message and we chatted and she gave me so much to think about--hard to fall asleep last night. Dreaming of painted fabric. This morning--wow! It's like the cosmos heard me whining and I got lots of happy mail. I spent my morning sending replies and just SMILING! You all are the best!!!!

I'm going down to the workshop now to make something. I think it's going to reflect all the positive energy sent my way. I think it's going to be painted fabric with big dots and little dots. Remember, I love dots. Will post my progress.

By the way, the library patrons love Planetary Motion. I couldn't stop smiling at work yesterday because of all the nice comments. PM looks great at the library. The lighting is perfect and shows up the embroidery so well and the tones of the dye painting. Why did it take so long for me to "see" the painted panel? I know I sorted past it a few times. I know I pressed it flat as many times and passed it by each and every one of those times. Till now. Mrs. Mel has those "Ah" moments with her old stuff too. To each it's own time.

Monday, February 06, 2006

For Deborah

Deborah and I have been talking about using a stamp to make a logo for business cards and for the sale of our art. I saw this very nice lost wax method silver pin in a catalog and thought immediately of Deborah. To the right is an artist's business card. A scrap of batik is handsewn to cardstock---all of this artist's work is custom and handmade. Above a small printing of branches and leaves on a card. A tutorial suggests one, two or a maximum of three colors on a card. A suggestion of trying out fonts you find on antique cards or other sources. To the very far right--a card with hand dyed ribbon and thread knotted to one corner. What would your card say about you?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Friday's Art on Sunday

I finally got my collages done-on Saturday, in my robe and slippers, well into the day. I just can't seem to get up any earlier than 11. And I try. Is my nose growing? These chair images from magazines have been around for quite awhile waiting for me to notice this arrangement. Glad I waited because I like this--alot. Good color, pattern--interesting to the eye.

Now this one serves no purpose other than amusing me. Year of the Dog. I tore out every one of these images I found in magazines--it's an ad for a carpet cleaner. Tediously cut the dog part out of the ad and then just piled them up---till I found the dog in the chair--red, too. They are having a little lesson-about lazy behaviour. Talk about the pot and the kettle!!!

This came about because as I sorted through a LARGE box of magazine pages I came across a page with fish on newspaper. Then, hours later came across a fine art painting of fish and newspaper. How long do you think it took to find the first picture again???? Way too long. I added some tissue over the real fish on the plate--I just do not like fish. This is sort of an essay in pictures of art and reality. Not.

A little "happiness" collage. One door closes and another opens type of thing. I like how the dove is sort of flying out of the heart. The dragonfly represents rebirth or renewal. It's all symbolic and just plain colorful. I collaged a section of a paper napkin--the circles-- to the surface and that was messy but kind of fun. Layers of Meaning was related to Art Collage and Journals this week and was appropriate reading for me, as I had just made these.

Now I am returning to the workroom with a box of gallon size plastic bags. I sorted the images--yet again--and plan to segregate them into subject: florals, vegetables, eyes, repeats, text, chairs (I have more). I pulled out the "how to" and decorating stuff that always manages to get into everything. The recipes have calmed down some. They have their "special place" in a rather large bag--which I notice is sitting much too close to the shredder---I will move that to a safer spot in the kitchen. A friend has her images in boxes. Less likely to slither around as plastic bags do. But where would I put boxes????

Friday, February 03, 2006

It's Raining. It's Pouring.

My latest batch of newly "ripped out of magazines" pages. I now have a large container of these selected items and really need to actually find a use for them. I am interested in collage. I recently purchased a journal with a wire spine --so the added bulk of the collages doesn't splay the book out. I have paste in a jar specifically for collage. Sounds like I'm ready. Today being a horrid, rainy, windy, freezing cold day--I don't think we'll be leaving the house.

My "portrait" out of the wastebasket. If you click to enlarge, the fabric in the eyes was so perfect. Gives the face some life. And I adore the way the cheekbones came out. And the hair. I am just so sorry I read the instructions "incorrectly" and missed the mail in date for the QA magazine contest. Oh, well. It's not the first time I've missed a deadline.

I must have taken six shots of this trying to get the flash off the surface. I found this somewhere and it had two "Objects of My Desire" on it---Dr. House and Mao. I found some silky, floral chiffon at 70% off at Joann's on Wednesday for my Mao quilt. Also a library patron gave me Chinese money with Mao's picture on it. Don't ask why. I have no idea why I am fascinated by Mao--especially the Warhol Mao. It just happened. Johnny Depp and Beckham the soccer star in England are also Objects. As is a 1950's pick up truck, a vintage Airstream camper and a Viking range. This is my life, and welcome to it.

I'm sending the Hub out for homemade pizza fixin's. Pepperoni, cheese, mushrooms and onion, maybe some pineapple. And some beer. See you all later.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why ME????

VIRGO (August 23 - Sept. 22)
Build a shrine to gossip this month... you might as well, since you've been privy to your fair share of grapevine chatter these past few weeks. All the rumors and whispering can't obscure the reality of your situation, however, and setting out on the warpath of truth will do you no good. There is no reasoning with craziness, remember? So before you light a candle at the alter of justice, evaluate your position as clearly as possible and start planning some ways to deal with the invasive lunacy around you. The good news: YOU ARE NOT THE INSANE ONE.

Oh, yeah?

I always expect a fabulous horrorscope from Crazy Aunt Purl. This is what I get. Shrine building, Altar of Justice and candle lighting. Do I have a prayer?????? My daughter suggests my REAL birth month may be when I was conceived. Now that's an interesting conversational topic to bring up with my 84 year old dad. So, Dad............. Not.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ta Da! A Finished Quilt

I took this picture while standing on a ladder in a very dimly lit room. It is a miracle it even turned out this good. I call this "Planetary Motion". I machine quilted and then added some embroidery, using a Melody Johnson varigated pearl cotton. I've tried to use this embroidery thread before and it never showed to it's best advantage.

But on the dye painted fabric the thread looks fabulous and makes everything look so much more interesting. The variations in the dye show up more. Gosh, I like this.

More interesting little x's. This was fun to work on and it will have a hanging pocket added during Project Runway--if I can do two things at once. It may NOT be possible. On Thursday I will hang "Planetary Motion" at the library. They are really nice to me there and let me hang my quilts behind the Lending Desk--everyone in town gets to see them.