Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Hollyhocks are done,

at least the quilting part as well as working back in with some additional paint to darken the centers.  Not sure if I am done yet  as far as painting and cropping.  For now I will live with it on the design wall for a couple of days to see if it needs some more tweaking. 
     I'm a few days past my self imposed dead line so if I still like the way it looks  on Thursday I should be able to get the sleeves and facing sewn in place this Friday while I am visiting with the Friday Fabs at one of the members home.
     Next week is all work/work.  I think of my painting and quilting as fun/work.  Dyeing is work and I plan to dye about 100 yards of fabric, get it ironed and folded as well as checking my vendor booth supplies and pricing quilts.  I bit the bullet and decided to be a vendor at the Mancuso World Quilt Show/Florida in West Palm Beach in January.  It is a three day show and the longest in days and hours that I have participated in thus far. 
     So if you are in the area come to the show and say hello. I'm in booth 222.    Of course while you are there you can buy one of my quilts or watch me demo my technique for painting on silk with watercolor pigment and soy milk.  Maybe I can get you hooked on the process/technique.
     In the mean time, Merry Christmas from sunny  70 degrees Central Florida where is does not in the least little bit look any where like the Holiday is upon us.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last night my every other month group of eight

that meets on the third Wednesday met at Kate's home for the grand opening of her home studio.  The addition to her home was a gift from her husband and allowed her to move from a bedroom into this much larger and well lit space.  She has not moved everything in yet but she cut the ribbon, tada!
And we all oohed and aah-ed.

Kate cutting the ribbon
Sink for mixed media work, there was also a large elevated table on wheels with a granite top that I forgot to take a picture of that was made with too base cabinets for added storage of mixed media supplies.  The room has windows on three sides, with  East, North and South exposure, the west wall is for her 8' x 8' design wall.
Here we are ogling her over sized custom sewing table with a drop leaf extension on the back.  Loved her flooring which was bamboo.  She plans to get everything moved into the space next week after the finial electrical inspection is done. 


Here is a look at her walk in studio closet.  Everything labeled and ORGANIZED. 
Of course when quilters gather around meal time, there is food, in our case it was a pot luck affair with ham, layered salad, beef and potato casserole, bread, there was even some for me without wheat, cheese cake and baklava for dessert as well as other munchies.
   Since some of us were missing at our October meeting and we couldn't  exchange with everyone then, we got it done last night.    Here's a look at what I would call  small works instead of  ATC's (Artist trading cards).  
   I got my wish for weather that felt a little more like the season.   It was a rather nippy 51 degrees with a breeze last night here in central Florida.  Brrrr!!!!  But one night was enough.  It can return to normal now, thank you.
   I'm wishing all a  Merry Christmas  now just in case  I don't get back to blogging before the 25th.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Christmas season begins for me

when the annual ornament from my Louisville, KY friend Kathy Loomis arrives as it did this week.  I smiled when I  saw the return address on the envelope.  But this  year its arrival was bitter sweet in that I wasn't sure just how much jolliness I was would be able to talk myself into this year.  With that said, I had decided that I would not put up a tree nor hang a wreath on the front door, so the best  thing about my gift from Kathy  this year is  it really does not say oh joy, oh joy and since it doesn't  this years ornament will survive the Holiday Season to hang on a wall in my studio space all year round.  That way I will think of Kathy  every time I see it.
 Front and back views of this years ornament.  Thanks Kathy.

The Friday Fabs group had our annual holiday meeting that was held at one of the members home.  Twenty five were present for the pot-luck and show and tell of one finished UFO.  Not everyone participated but we had a good time guessing who the quilts belonged to in that there was two people designated to open the pillow cases or bags to hold up the pieces while the maker kept quiet as the rest of us tried to guess who it belonged to.  That was fun.  Of course I guessed wrong 90% of the time.
There was lots of assorted eats for the pot luck meal.  I didn't take a picture of the food, but here are a
few candid shots of the day.  The blue poppies is what I took for show and tell so I had to finish it, facing and sleeves.  Shhhh... it is signed on the front but there is no label on the back yet.
We lunched on the screened in patio area.  Only in Florida in mid December.  I loving it!!!!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

A before and after

look at my latest piece.  What a difference the addition of the blue black acrylic paint made to the look of the piece as well as some additional working back into the greens to add some subtle shading.
The piece is still hanging on the design wall because It still needs the facing, sleeves and a label.

     The hollyhock piece is under the needle of the HQ16.   I hope to have it done , at least the quilting, by this time next week.
Last week I also changed the placement of some of the stuff in my studio space to take  advantage of the lower level of  light that comes through the windows,  which is far less than the light  that came through the windows  in the spring, perfect and the summer too bright.  Sigh
The light in this space is proving to be a lot like Goldie Locks and her bears.  Too much, too little, just right.  The just right is March to May.  June to September is too much.  October started the decline and I will have to see how long this period last.   I didn't see this condo  and contemplate buying it until the end of February.  At the first viewing I thought the light was great.  When I moved in in March it was wonderful. 
Now the north light and east light that comes into the space doesn't last long enough for me.  But neither does the daylight in general since it is Winter.  These shorter days are making me long for the Summer days several months back when I was complaining about too much light and having to install plantation shutters to control the brightness. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

It seems like a long long time

since I blogged and even longer  when I began this piece.  Yesterday I finished quilting this piece, blocked it (steam pressed) and cropped it down to this.  I still have to add the stamens (a lot of black dots) to the centers and of course the facing, sleeves and label. Will let you see it when that is done.
     But before that, I am returning to a piece that was painted in July.   The hollyhocks painting was suppose to be the first piece I planned to quilt using the HQ 16.   As it turned out, I got really frustrated with the machine.  I couldn't get in sync with it.  I was not happy so  I set this piece aside.  Worked on several other pieces until I worked through the learning process need for the HQ16.     It is a rare thing for me to have a UFO in my studio and this piece was not going to be so classified for too long even though I  folded it up and placed it in a  "I'll get back to it later" bin. 
    Well a lot of pieces have gone under the needle  in the HQ since that day.  But the time was well spent because I have bonded with the HQ now and the frequent changing of the thread top and bottom no longer take much thought to do which quilting this piece requires. Will let you know when it is finished.
Hope all had a good Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I was a red-orange person for years

it was the color I reached for first when selecting fabric.  My love of this color continued on when I began to dye my own cloth and now that I am painting it remained my favor.  Not every piece I paint is some hue or value of red/orange but a lot are.  But of late I find that the first tube of paint I pick up after Sap green is a blue. 
     Why blue and why now.  I'm not sure.  But one thing I am certain of is my choice of color is not because I am a little down.  I am going to chalk up blue as exploration.
I began this piece before I went to Brooksville.  This is where I left it then.
Now it is done and ready to sandwich.

it measures 43 wide by 60 long, of course that measurement will change after it is quilted and cropped down.  It will also look a little different with the addition of more paint and inks that can't be added until after the quilting is done.  Will give you another look see in a week or so. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

I took the long way home

on Wednesday after leaving The Villages, FL after being there for two days teaching and doing a trunk show for The Quilt Guild of The Villages.  How or why did I do that... my GPS somehow got reprogrammed and when I selected the home button it directed me south, instead of southeast to who knows where, but after an hour and 1/2 of driving and nothing that was coming up looked familiar, I put my home address in manually and discovered I was near Tampa and further away from home than I was when I got in the car and started home in The Villages.  Of course getting home on I-4  through Orlando at the tail end of rush hour traffic was no joy, but finally 3 hours later, 1-1/2 hours longer than it should have taken me, I arrived home safe, sound and just a little more tired than I would have been had I took the right roads in the first place.

The Villages.  What a neat concept for a community. The Quilt Guild of The Villages has over 800 members and is a collective made up of 18 smaller guilds (or bees)  that meet at different locations in The Villages. 
Everyone, well not every one was zipping about in golf carts.  In this community he carts  are not reserved for the golf course.  The carts have their own paved path with underground tunnels to cross from one side of the auto roadways to the other. and they are everywhere.  They were parked in front of shops in the market squares as well as bars,  restaurants and coffee shops.  Most looked like what you'd imagine a  typical cart  on a golf course would look like while a great many others were full of personality, like little VW's or Smart cars.  They were soooooo cute.  I wanted one.  I was told that some of the gasoline powered ones can zip along at speeds up to 35 miles an hour and are considered street legal.   The other thing I found neat about the community; I wished I'd taken a picture was a lot of the homes had garages with small door separate from the regular sized ones just for the carts to enter.

The guild put me up at the Water Front Inn which was a very nice place with a tropical theme.  Think Hemmingway.
No one in my class admitted to be in witness protection so here is a look at the some ladies who were in my Wednesday class.
Several of my students arrived at the class site via their cart.  This is one of them.
I am home for a 11 days and I plan to get back to the painting I left on the easel and try to get it quilted before I am off to Boca Raton on the 19th. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013


I've had a birthday since I last bogged.  My daughter Rene, son Mike, daughter-n-law Maryellen, Mel for short and grandson Josh went out to dinner to celebrate the day.  Josh and I share the same birth date and so it was a doubly good treat for us all to be together.  Mike and Mel have returned home but I couldn't resist taking his picture while he was here.  He travels with his camera and I was able to get him to take some professional quality images of a few of my newest pieces which I am hoping to get on my website soon.  It has been a long while since I updated the site.  I feel a bad.  Updating it was on my 2013 list of things I wanted to get done this year. 
    Here is a picture of my son Mike.   The "killer" chair got him as it does most everyone who sits down on it for any length of time.  I avoid it like the plague especially when I want to get anything done.  Comfy... a stuffed sleeping pill is more like it.
     I  started painting but had to put it on hold for a few days because I went to Brookville to vend at a small quilt show.
     I was not so sure about my chances of selling my work there once I saw the place where the show was being held, but I was quite pleasantly surprised.  Got a warm welcome.  Got to talk to a lot of the guild members and everyone who came to see the show that was held at a golf course.  I was one of only 9 or 10 vendors but sales were good, so I am promising never to pre-judge again.  Josh, the grandson went with me as muscle. You need those to haul quilts and I needed him to operate the I-pad with the square-up.  It was a good thing that  his I-phone operated as a hot spot since there was no Wi-Fi on site to connect to even though I told there would be.
I had about 25 feet x 8 feet of vending space so I was really spread out with my quilts and hand dyed fabric. 
     Brookville is 80 miles from my front door,  but it took over two hours to drive west toward the Gulf,  because there is no good way to go other than across SR50 which is a heavily traveled, traffic light laden roadway. 
     I am home today, doing laundry, making a grocery list and getting organized to go teach in The Villages on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Between these little task I am making more hexagons.  Yes I am still at it thanks to my friend Lois who let me come raid her stash and slice off 3" x 22 inches pieces from as many of her  red fabrics I wanted.  She has a "lot" of fabric and I got through less than a quarter of her reds but that has been quite enough to keep me busy for the last past week or so.  The pile of hexagons is growing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I never thought it would happen to me

but I've caught a really bad case of "Hexagon-itis".
     WHAT?  Hexagons.  They are everywhere.
     When I first started going to the Friday quilt group I noticed that a  few of the ladies were busy stitching pieces of fabric to hexagon paper shapes that I learned later they had order in quantity from an online store.  I knew "English Paper Piecing" was what they were doing.   In the very early days of my quilt making I tried  my hand at this.  Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts in 1930 colors is a favorite of mine and if I were into making bed quilts I would more than likely in all these years made at least one along with maybe one or two Wedding Rings.  But while I loved looking at them as well as most traditional quilts I  never fell in love with the process of making them.  I think more than anything I found sewing fabric to paper, one piece after the other, or many, many small patches together boring.
    So as the weeks of me going to the Friday group turned into months, Spring into Summer and now Fall, I have watched these ladies continue on determinedly.  But I was sure that the bug that make you want to produce a zillion little patches measuring 3/4" on each  side was not going to infect me.
     Yesterday I was back with the ladies, but as on most Friday, with me having my own hand work to do I could look and not get infected, but on this Friday I had not hand work of my own to do,  I did not escape. 
     I came into the room and greeted everyone and all was well until I sat down at a table with one of the ladies and watched as she made one patch after the next as we chatted.  I think it was the charm of the fabrics that she was using that got me  and the itch to touch some cloth, but I asked if I could try my hand at making one or two of them for her since I did not bring anything to work on and she cheerfully smiled and handed me a threaded needle, a scrap of fabric and a hexagon shaped piece of paper and said, " have at it." or something similar.
     I think by the time we broke for lunch  an hour or so later I had made a dozen of the little patches and was itching to do more.
   On the way home I stopped at the Quilt Shop in Lake Mary to see if they had any of the foundation paper hexagon shapes.  They didn't.  I was not disappointed.  I thought the bug would be short lived. 
     When I finally got home after picking my daughter up at the Airport, I went on line at first to order some of those paper shapes and then went in search for ones that could be downloaded.  I found them.  I  selected the 1" on a side ones and ran out three sheets of them, 45 hexagons in all. 
     My case of 'Hexagon-itis" had me wake late into the wee hours of this morning.  I watched some programs I had saved to DVD and searched for fabric in my meager stash of commercial fabric for fabrics in the red color family.  Will these shapes ever grow into a quilt?   I don't know.  Maybe I'll be like the other ladies who bring theirs to Friday group and keep making one after the other, after the other as  I haven't seem a quilt top from one of them either yet.
I have a piece of silk stretched on the design wall with a drawing ready to paint.  I'm going to try completing it before  the Dec 2 entry deadline for the Mancuso World Quilt Show Florida IV. 
I'm sure I will not be painting.  Right now I have to go make some more hexagons.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I did not like this piece as it was

with the corded edge finish so I looked for an option and found it with this piece of fabric that I quilted then stitched the small piece to.  My original thought when it was done that it would serve as a class sample and I still think that that will most likely still be its fate.  The pink in the fabric looks a little jarring, but in person not so.  The other four were faced.  Every one has a sleeve put need labels. Since I finished all of the hand work yesterday and today I not sure what I will take to tomorrow to work on during the Friday group meeting.  I'll take my thimble just in case someone wants some help with some handwork, like binding. 

The iron that steams like crazy is a Euro Steam, got it at a quilt show about two years ago. 

The Soy milk made from scratch from dry soy beans does not smell, well it does in a way.  It smells somewhat like fresh mowed grass but once the silk is soaked and air dried  the smell goes away.  The smell comes back when the dried fabric is ironed but over a period of a couple of weeks it dissipates entirely.  Or it might be that my nose gets used to the smell..  Once the painting is dry you do not wash the top which is why I like using this technique so much.  Paint, press, sandwich and quilt.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dyeing done

but more importantly so is the ironing  and folding of these 52 yards of cloth.
I much prefer the process of dyeing  to the chore of ironing the dyed cloth.  However I must say that ironing this batch wasn't so bad  A couple of hours last night and  a couple this morning and it was all done. Instead of depending on the iron to produce enough steam to soften the wrinkles, I resorted to an old technique my Mom used in the old day.  Sprinkle the cloth, put in a plastic bag to set for a spell.   Much credit also goes to finally finding an iron that gets hot enough to press cotton cloth.    I won't say this iron made it easy, just more like easier than the other irons three irons I have and tried to use for this task. Two I brought recently after my Rowenta  stopped heating and one I've  had for a couple of years and brought because it  makes steam like a locomotive which I love using to block  my finished pieces but dislike using to press my clothes.  Since I live in jeans, from shorts to ankle length and t-shirts there isn't a lot of clothes pressing required as far as my wardrobe is concerned but  I do have a few shirts that need touching up when they come out of the dryer for those occasions when a t-shirt is too casual.
While a load of the dyed fabric was washing yesterday I sat down at the sewing machine and tried my hand at finishing the edge of one of the five pieces pictured in the previous post.  This corded edge is  a new to me finishing technique.  My finish of choice for many years has been a facing.  I  decided that this edge treatment  it is not for me.  I won't redo this one.  I have decided to let it be and it will become  my class sample rather than a piece to sell. 
With the dyeing done, I will spend the next day or so putting facings, sleeves and labels on the others.
To answer your question... I use watercolor pigments to paint my images on silk that is first soaked in soy milk then air dried.  I also use soy milk to dilute the watercolors instead of water. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Five pieces

that average about 10-13" x 19-21".  I started out testing different colors for a larger piece I have planned, so I guess you could say they are  practice pieces or color studies in prep for that  larger piece .  The line drawing is done and waiting, but I need to soak and dry a length of silk first.  It is 82 degrees with a little breeze, so drying time should be rather short. 
These pieces need facing and sleeves, but first  I think I will do  dye some fabric today.  The sky is a little overcast as well  so working in the garage should not be that uncomfortable.

Only three of the ladies in the Art group I meet with on the third Wednesday of even months had their artist card completed  and three of them were not present so I will wait until our next meeting in December to assemble them and show them to you. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Five pieces, really little to much bigger and all done with yellow

     So you would have a sense of scale I grouped all the pieces  together on the design wall that I have completed since the first of the month. 
     The block, upper left top is  done on a paper foundation and will, to finish at 6-1/2".  I made it to be part of a quilt the Friday group is making for a member as a goodbye gift because she is moving to Kentucky to be closer to family.   
      The smallest piece is an artist card.  One of 10 I made to exchange with the members of the group I meet with every other month on the third Wednesday at Panera for dinner, chatting and show and tell.
      The other small piece was used to demo how I face my quilts.   When I got home from Coral Springs I couldn't leave it unfinished... done.  That small piece and my artist card are painted on a piece of my hand dyed cotton.  I  liked the orange and yellow combo so well that I thought I try making something a little larger, again using my hand dyed cotton.  For those pieces pieces I did not pre soak the fabric in soy milk, I simply used the soy milk to dilute the water color paint.  Because I wasn't sure how well this would hold up I painted over the flowers and the stem with a diluted coat of Golden GAC 900 Fabric Painting Medium which did not change the hand of the fabric or the quilting.
     Oh, the tray dying I did a few days ago came out okay.  Five of the ten pieces I had to over dyed because there was way too much white spaces left when it was washed out.
     I will be vending at several quilt show in Florida.  The first one of which will be in a couple of weeks.  The last one I committed to is in March of next year. I am going to be a little busy until then with a few teaching engagements schedule during the same time frame as well, so at every opportunity I will be making some work , replenishing my inventory of quilts .  Here is a look at the  largest piece I did this week.  Just finished quilting, blocking and cropping it this evening.  Will get to the facing tomorrow and save the sleeves for hand work to do when I go to my Friday group.   It seems the sleeves go on a little faster when I am engaged in conversation with others and not home alone humming to myself.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

October. Really!!!

Last Friday  I drove about 4 hours down Interstate 95 to Coral Springs to speak to a quilt guild and conduct a one day workshop.  I remembered my camera but if you are the driver of the car, you can't be a photographer so I have no pictures of what I saw getting to and fro from that very nice part of the State of Florida. 
     I was however up close and personal with a Palm tree.  They still fascinate me and at the hotel where I stayed one was growing within arms reach of my second floor room which had a balcony with two chairs and a bistro size table.  All of which  would have been great if I'd had time to sit and sip a cup of coffee on Saturday morning before I went to teach the class.

Here are some candid shots of the ladies in the class

I promised you a look at the fabric I dyed and ironed before I left last Friday morning so here it is all nicely stacked and ready to use.
I tried my hand at tray dyeing yesterday and layer dyeing.  I can't tell you how successful that was right now since the yardage is still in the dryer. So my day is laid out.  Iron  until the  dry soy beans which are soaking are ready to use,  then spend some time painting.