Monday, March 31, 2008

Out of the Box Fiber Art Group

We had our monthly meeting today. What an inspirational group! Nancy has been hard at work dyeing fabric:


Wendy showed us how she paints silk scarves:


I came home inspired and ready to get to work! I am very grateful to have these creative women in my life.

The back garden -- a work in progress

Brian has been hard at work these last couple of months,building a patio in our back yard and digging new garden beds. We took some time out Sunday afternoon to enjoy the fruits of his labors.

Here's the new patio. It is surrounded by garden beds, and we've planted a few things. Lots more space to fill!

This shot looks North from the patio. Our back garden has two levels. The path crosses my herb garden and goes down a few steps to the lower level. The turtles live down there. You would turn left to go to our back door.

Our perennials are starting to come up, and a few are actually blooming. This is a bletilla, a hardy orchid:


Speaking of orchids, I have one in bloom inside. This is Pot. Hawaiian Prominence "America". It's very fragrant, and I love the dramatic fuchsia and yellow:

Friday, March 28, 2008

New Work

I spent today quilting several small projects.

The firstquilt is from my class with Liz Berg, which I have titled, with great originality, "Square Study."


The last quilt was inspired by an article in this month's "Cloth Paper Scissors" magazine. It started with a gessoed piece of muslin, with layers of silk, cotton, tissue paper and handmade paper glued to the surface with successive layers of gel medium.


Quilting it was interesting. Rather like quilting through pudding.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Turtle sighting!

It's a sure sign of spring....
The first of our turtles has awakened. Can't tell whether it's Tug or Charlie -- his shell is too muddy. And he's looking mighty sleepy, though he did manage to eat a small snack.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Two new art quilts!

The first is "Block Study #1." I've quilted them out of order -- this was actually the first one I pieced. I used my hand painted and hand dyed fabrics, as well as several commercially printed batiks, to make this quilt. It was stamped with fabric dye, rubbed with Shiva paintsticks and embellished with copper screening and embossed brass.

I haven't come up with a subtitle for this one yet. Perhaps something to do with spring and renewal of life. Any suggestions would be welcome.

The second is "Block Study #4." It is also pieced with my hand painted and hand dyed cottons as well as commercially dyed batiks. In my favorite colors. This quilt makes me happy.
A closeup of the quilting: The back:
This one will be subtitled "Flame Dance." Maybe.

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter!

We did!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Trinity Valley Quilt Guild Donation Quilt is finished!

I finished quilting it yesterday afternoon. I'm so glad it's done (at least my part of it!) and ready to hand over for binding. Here's a closeup of the quilting:

I quilted it with feathers and flowers. The quilt is 100" x 100", too big for me to hang for a good picture. The guild will take "formal" pictures next week, and members will start asking for donations in April. All proceeds will be used to fund scholarships for Fiber Arts students.

We won!

Just had to report -- Ann and I played duplicate at the bridge studio tonight, and we came in first! Hoorah! We earned 1.5 masterpoints. It was a great evening!

Before the rain started....

...our irises were blooming. The large iris is "Heather Blush" and the small purple and brown iris is "Gizmo the Gremlin." Yes, those petals are really brown. We couldn't resist Gizmo -- we bought it because we liked the name.


I actually think Gizmo is rather charming. It's certainly very unusual.

It rained all day today. The new flowerbed Brian prepared over the weekend has turned into a sea of mud. The irises are sodden. DFW airport has reported 4.5" of rain so far today, and I believe we've gotten a little more than that.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Final quilt from Liz Berg class

30 years ago, as a geology major in college, I found the colors, textures and shapes of rocks and minerals in thin section absolutely fascinating. A bland piece of white rock viewed under the microscope often showed a riot of brilliant color and chaotic structure. I spent hours in the mineralogy lab making sketches and taking micro photographs of some of the more spectacular thin sections, and I've recently been mulling over the idea of using them as the inspiration for a series of quilts."Spiral Inclusion" is from one of the photographs. The bright fuchsia background is feldspar, and the blues and yellows are quartz and various other minerals. The spiral was formed during the crystallization process. The quilt is currently 27" x 21".

I made this quilt as my final project for my Design class. It's not quilted yet, obviously.

Today (Sunday) I have spent quilting the TVQG donation quilt. It will probably take another full day of quilting to finish it. And then I have three client quilts to finish. So it'll be a while before I post the finished project.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

New quilts from my class with Liz Berg

Our assignment in Lesson 6 was to rework one of our small quilts, adding a distinct focal point. I reworked my "exploded rectangle" quilt.

Our second exercise was to make a quilt in three formats: rectangular, square and circular. Although I used three completely different backgrounds, I tied the series together with the use of small squares and rectangles and by doing some stamping in the backgrounds to echo the wonky squares. I had carved the wonky cross hatch stamp earlier in the week.

I did find that the circular format was hard to work with.


I've been working on my final quilt for the class. It's up on my design wall, and just isn't quite what I wanted it to be. I asked Liz yesterday for some feedback/suggestions, and she gave me several very good ideas. So time to get back to work!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Snow!


Well, the forecast was correct. It snowed yesterday afternoon. Here in SW Fort Worth, we got about 1". Other parts of the DFW metroplex got up to 7". It's the first real snow we've had this winter. Great big fluffy flakes -- it was beaufitul! You can see a few flakes falling in front of the bushes in front of our house:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A sunny corner of my studio...

It's cold and overcast this morning, with a chance of rain this morning and snow this afternoon. Snow! In North Texas in March! Doesn't happen very often.

Yesterday was beautiful. Mid 60s and brilliant sunshine. I took this picture of one of my favorite spots in my studio. An absolutely wonderful place to curl up and surf the internet, do some hand sewing or knitting, or read a book.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Need help with edge finishing techniques

I have two art quilts I've just finished quilting, and I don't think I want to use traditional binding. I've seen some tutorials for facings, and may try them. What do you think?

The first is "A Glint of Spring". It has been embellished with embossed brass.

A closeup of the embossed brass:

The second is "Earthworms".


A closeup of the quilting:
How should I finish the edges?

Daily Creative Exercises

In my January class with Susie Monday I set some personal goals. One of which was to start each day with a quick creative exercise. I have several different types of quickie exercises -- Notans (Japanese paper cutting exercises), exploding geometric shapes into tiny pieces, and perhaps my favorite of all, carving a stamp.

These are three of the stamps I've carved this week. Two were carved on linoleum blocks and the little one on a Magic Rub eraser.


Another stamp and a Notan. The Notans are always a surprise when I put the pieces back together!



The raw materials. I purchased the carving blocks and linoleum cutter from Dick Blick.



Doing a little something every morning really jumpstarts my day. And the stamps are useful as well -- I can't wait to use them to stamp fabric!

TVQG Donation Quilt -- in progress



The last few days I've been working exclusively on the Trinity Valley Quilt Guild Donation Quilt for 2008. I plan to have it quilted by the meeting on March 21. It's the most traditional quilt I've done in quite a while. It is 100" x 100", and we'll start promoting it in April. I'm just glad I'm nearly finished with it!

I'd like to thank Karen at Cabbage Rose Quilting and Gifts in Fort Worth for providing the fabric for this top at cost! We appreciate your support!

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Squirrelly Weekend



We had an unexpected visitor this weekend. Sunday morning, while we were making brunch, we heard a terrible squealing noise. We ran outside and found the neighbor's cat playing with a baby squirrel. It was very gusty, and the poor baby had fallen out of a tree. He (or she, it's hard to tell) is about three weeks old, with a little bit of fuzz and tightly closed eyes. He seemed uninjured, just terribly frightened.

We put him in a box and brought him inside while we did a little internet research. All the animal rescue sites said to give the mother a chance to find the baby, so we tied the box up in the branches of the tree we found him under. After 5 hours, though, it started to get dark and the temperature started to drop, so we brought him inside. Good thing, too. It started to rain a few minutes later.
We put the box on a heating pad and called the DFW Wildlife Rescue hotline. They put us in touch with a local rehabilitator. She can't take him until Monday afternoon, so she advised us to keep him warm and feed him little drops of pedialite every few hours.

The pictures above are from his noon feeding. He is pretty cute. For a squirrel.


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