Monday, December 15, 2014

I've said it before, but if it wasn't for Kathy

I fear Christmas would come and go without me giving much thought to decking the halls with bells, holly or the other stuff that most people consider appropriate for the season, like snow flakes and snowmen in Florida...  really.
    I find this time of year in Florida confusing at best, out the north facing window is the scruffy that I blogged about last.  Whereas I see through  the east facing windows palms and on this day a wonderful blue sky
and to add more confusion to that out the south facing  front window grows pansies, yes pansies that speak to me of Spring.
     Thank goodness a card with an ornament arrived last week from Kathy to keep me on track.  I haven decorated a tree since moving to Florida and I won't again this year, but I do display the ornaments Kathy sends me with as much joy as I get from receiving them.  Here's a look at some of them including the one I got this year.  Thanks Kathy...
This is my latest piece, 18" w x 16" l
This is the piece  I am working on now.  I put in a couple of hours yesterday quilting it. 
The above picture taken right after I finished  layering it, making ready to quilt. 

It's under the needle.  Will let you see it again when it is done.
If I don't get back before the 25th , here's wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

The scruffy season is upon us

here in central Florida.  For the life of me I can't say late Autumn or Winter when the day time temperature for the most part ranges from the mid 70's to mid 80's.  When I lived in the apartment (my first home here in Florida) I didn't see any natural green spaces.  The green spaces surrounding the apartment, even the [ark (Cranes Roost) were  manicured  and planted with flowers growing according to the season.  The park was so well maintained that scruffy looking vegetation was a no- no.
One of the things that drew me to this condo was the green space and knowing there would be nothing built behind me because on the other side of this stand of trees and underbrush is a golf course.
Of course I looked at this place for the first time in the Spring when all was green, lush and butterflies were flitting from flower to flower.
     This is my second season of scruff and my desire for sun shine all the time and flowers is taking a hit this year mainly because it has been uncommonly cloudy and we had our first cold spell around Thanksgiving when. it normally doesn't come until January. 
   Living here I am much more attuned to the seasonal changes  now that I can see the leaves turning from green to red and yellow and seeing them fall  from the branches. changes
    When I lived in the apartment, all I watched was the perfectly manicured palms in the garden below, but here  I see those too, but I also see pines and magnolias and many who names I do not know.  I am also taking note of what once was a really tall pine  that lost its top during a storm I was told before I moved here.  Slowly the bark is falling off and I am noticing for the first time that there is a diagonal crack in the trunk.  I won't be surprised  if one day I wake to see that the top most part of what is left has fallen.

 Keeping the gloom at bay;  here's my latest piece, watercolor on silk   The facing is on and sewn down, but not the sleeves and it needs a label.  Measures not quite 25" square. 

I have a larger piece 35" x 44" waiting to get sandwiched for it's turn under the needle. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It has been a while

since I last posted.  It's been a while since I have done a lot of things including going home to Kentucky to visit family and friends.  It's been longer still since I've been home with family for Thanksgiving but I put an end to that  on Wednesday when I  flew  home to Kentucky to  hug my Mom and eat some turkey.

My Mom, Catherine, the wife  of my youngest brother James, my Aunt Helen (my father's sister.
I hugged my Mom several times.  The fact that I didn't eat any turkey  while I was there was not because there wasn't one very large bird oozing dressing from the stuffed cavity but the fact that there was a whole lot of other stuff that I put on my plate before I made my way down the tables filled with food and reached the bird.

     Our family Thanksgiving dinners are always held someplace that will accommodate a lot of people; church basements, firehouses, clubhouses, etc.  Our gatherings are very casual affairs so everyone from the oldest to the youngest feels welcome.   This year about 75 of us gathered at the Marriot hotel near the airport. 
     The Gibson clan long ago outgrew being held in a family members home.  I was the last to do so about 20 years ago.  Back then I had to borrow folding chairs from a local funeral home in order to have enough seats for everyone.  Even with 75 present at this gathering  there were half again, at the least, that many who could not come because of travel distance, in law commitments or jobs.
      Our Thanksgiving dinners are always  pot luck affairs with lots of food.  Some items you would think of as Thanksgiving faire and other items that aren't.   So picking and choosing your favorites rules the day.  The fact that I can't eat wheat, removed from my list  cornbread dressing,  rolls, my daughter Rene's  mac and cheese everyone raves about and  my sister's lasagna that one stands the risk of missing out on if you are at the back of the line.  Then there were the pies, and too many cakes, to count let alone name.  But believe me there was a whole lot of other stuff for me to eat.

Granddaughter Olivia, my sister Vivian, her daughter Shevika and my daughter Rene' before the eating began
     On Wednesday when I got in I met up with my friend Kathy A. We had dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant "Lemongrass" located in the neighborhood where I used to live.  I was surprised to have Kath's daughter Stephanie join Kathy and me for dinner and surprised more when her youngest son Willie stopped by.   I was so happy to see both of them and to meet Willie"s girl-friend who came along to meet me too.  After dinner Kathy and I stopped  at  "Comfy Cow" an ice cream shop in her neighborhood , (it's never to cold for me to enjoy a scoop or two of ice cream).  before we went on to her home to sit talking for hours.
     Woke to a dusting of snow on Thursday which reminded me why I don't like traveling north of the Florida/Georgia state lines after the first of November.  And it was cold.  I used the zoom lens on my camera to get this image, from our hotel window that  faced the airport.
I know there are homes in Florida with fireplaces but I've never seen one lit.  So this one in our hotel suite was a nice touch.  You know the Christmas Song with the line about roasting chestnuts, well..  I've never roasted any that way or anyway for that matter,  but as I sat sipping a cup of coffee Thursday morning that line kept running  through my head . 
  And there I was with no coat, hat or gloves.  I wore layers and was not outside very long, just long enough to move quickly from  doorways to the car and from the car through another doorway.  Ahh heat!
     After dinner a friend came to the hotel where Rene' and I stayed and sat chatting with me in the lobby  til after midnight.
     I was glad I went and oh so happy when I got home after a rather bumpy ride on a plane with crying kids.  The crying kids on planes heading to Orlando to see the Mouse or out of after seeing the Mouse is something that comes with the territory. 

   Because my blog is for the most part about what I create with cloth, here is a look at the last piece I finished.  It's been trimmed, but still needs a facing and sleeves.  When that is done, it will measure 20" by 23"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's my birthday, yea.. yea

It has been a good one so far if I leave out the doctor's visit this afternoon to be seen for a scratch sore throat and cough that was getting on my last nerve and I am sure,  on the nerves of everyone within ear shot of me for the last few days.  The cough and runny nose I am blaming on the germ-ie kids that populate flights in and out of Orlando especially the homeward leg I was on for  my trip back from Cleveland 10 days ago.
     What a wonderful and well staged quilt and doll show the African American Quilt and Doll guide presented.   The quality of the work was as good and in some cases better than what I've seen displayed in other guild shows over the last four years.  There was a good variety; from traditional to modern with examples of works created by fusing, piecing, with appliqued and mixed media on exhibit. 
     The program on the night of my trunk show included a wearable/ethnic quilted fashion show.  And then there were vendors, not just your usual quilt shop types, but tables filled with jewelry and clothing and home decorations and beauty supplies.  And yes I made more than a few purchases.  So much that I had my fabric selections shipped home.  I was not flying Southwest with the luxury of 2 bags flying free. United charges $25.00 for the first and $35.00 for the second, I didn't dare asked about a third.
     Yesterday as a early birthday of celebrating,   I was treated  to late lunch by my dear friend Marti who was down from Louisville with her husband.  They were visiting friends in a neighboring town.  Being so close I am glad she didn't pass on spending most of the day with me.  We drank coffee and we chatted and chatted and I coughed and coughed.
     I don't as a rule get excited about my Birthday and I wasn't thinking of doing so this year.  But something happened on the way to the 29th of this month.  Here-to-fore a  simply Happy Birthday acknowledgement, maybe a card would have  sufficed but not this year.
     First came a gift to myself ; the  addition of another silver bracelet.  One nearly filled with beads.
I have never been much of a dangling charms kind of
girl,  but I do very much like these Pandora beads and charms and the fact that you can add to your collection whenever is great.  If I keep finding ones I like I might have to add another bracelet.
I got flowers today too, a dozen red roses from the grandsons. 
And I got a car from my Daughter Rene'.  Love my Mini.
After many successful quilt show and sales during my teaching engagements  my quilt inventory is depleted so it will be back to work tomorrow; working  toward replenishing it.  I have nothing on my calendar until the 17th of November when I will be speaking to a guild in Ormond Beach and taking along whatever quilts I have in the house.
I will let you see what I am working on in a few days, until then.  It's my birthday yea...yea!

Monday, October 13, 2014

I don't watch this program

but for some reason,  I am not sure why,  the words, "Orange is the new black" kept running through my head as I was trying to think up how I would begin this post.  But I must admit that adding the black, well in reality I added  some black acrylic paint  with a little blue mixed in, to paint the anthers, or centers of  the poppies, makes a big difference
    Facing and sleeves still need to be done and I will more likely than not  get around to doing that today when I get back from my trip to the art supply store. 
     I need a few tubes of paint for my Cleveland teaching trip and a couple of brushes for the class. 
While out and about  I will check out what's new on the racks in the way of sweaters in my favorite clothing store (Stein Mart).  The weather forecast for Cleveland says it will be in the mid 60's as a high.  Mind you when I lived in KY and MO, mid 60's was great and not worthy of a long sleeve shirt let alone a sweater, but my body has gotten accustomed to upper 90's and mid sixties is, shall I dare say, chilly.  I need some patterns for the Cleveland class, but I think I will send John (the grandson) to the printer for me instead of me making that trip later today or tomorrow myself.   Other than those last minute things, I am ready to go.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

100 plus days

and the quilting is finally done. YEA!
     I still need to add the center stamens which I will do after it is trimmed to the finished size and the facing is attached.  I can't remember the last piece I've begun that took me this long to finish.  Because I had  to make several class samples, and a  donation piece for SAQA and a dozen other small pieces for my vendor booth, this piece kept getting pushed down on my "to do" list.
     Then too once I got back to it last week  I had to readjust my thinking and build up my stamina to wrestle this piece under the needle.  It measures approx. 44" x 36".    I've been making so many small pieces of late , 24"or less on the longest side that I  got done quickly, one day or less that  working on this piece had me in my head whining like a kid on a long car trip.  How much longer?   Is that all I got done today?  Not another bobbin refill.
      It's done, so  I am not  beating myself up about taking those 100 plus days,  mainly because I went  back over the last three months and totaled up all the smaller pieces I  painted, quilted   and sold as well as taking  note of all the traveling I did for both pleasure and teaching.
    Next week I am off to Ohio  to teach for the African American Quilt and Doll Guild  as part of their quilt show in the Warrensville Heights Civic and Senior Center, 4567 Green Road, Warrensville Heights, OH 44128.  So if you are in the area of the On Friday Oct. 17 or 18th stop by.  Not sure if there are any spaces left in my class, Painting a Silk with Soy, but if you are interested, call Sandra @ 216-752-3409 to inquire.
     Here are two small pieces I painted as demo in my vendor booth while at the Jacksonville, FL quilt show a week or so ago.  They too are quilted but need facings which I will get to this week.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Painting on Dupioni

Here are my latest two pieces.  One is a  new composition and one is one  I have painted so many  times, in so many different colors,  it is possible I could  paint one with my eyes closed.  Mind you, I am not complaining.  They sell, which is what I keep telling myself when I am painting and quilting  6 of them one right after the other.  This one will be my display sample for the pattern I sell for this design.  It's a beginning fabric painter's project.  One that does not seems to challenging for a first try.  
.  I'll be off to Jacksonville on Wednesday.  It is a three day show with preview night on Wednesday which should make for a long day.   , so I have been a little busy organizing and taking inventory of what I have on hand to sell. 
Someone asked if I am still using watercolor paints and soy milk.  Yes I am.  My color palette has changed somewhat and that might account for the more vibrant colors, plus, painting the background complimentary colors  enhances the foreground colors too.  I think too that just doing them has made me a better painter and given me a better understanding of how the colors work together.
I showed you this piece in the last post but here it is quilted.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Quilting done,

sleeves made and waiting to be sewn on as well as hand stitching the facing down. .  I am waiting for the acrylic paint that I use to add the stamens to dry.
This piece measures 16.5" x 20.5"
Not sure that I will get around to quilting much on this piece below before I leave town next week, but I will try get it sandwiched.  I am speaking to and teaching a workshop for the Garden State Quilters Quilt.  I think they meet in Chatham, NJ.  If you are in the area, contact them to see what you have to do to attend my talk and trunk show.  Not sure if there are still openings in the workshop.
It is always good to come home to something you left in progress.  It keeps you from standing in you studio looking about for something to do to get back to the life you left.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My how time flies when you are busy

which I have been and no, I am NOT complaining.
     I am off to NJ next Monday.    I will be speaking to the Garden State Quilter's Guild on Monday evening and teaching a one day workshop on Tuesday.  Tried to get a non-stop out of Newark on Tuesday evening, but no go.  But will get out on Wednesday before noon, so that's not too bad.
    Then it is back to work in the studio.  I am still  beefing up my supply of small quilt works.  I will be making a list and ordering in some supplies for my vendor booth at Quiltfest in Jacksonville, Fl.  This will be my first time vending there, so stop by to see me if you are coming to the show.
     The pattern has always been a popular one at the quilt show and for me to teach.  I also can not keep my class sample because I someone buys them. Again, not complaining.  To be prepared,  I made three more.  That makes  6th, 7th & 8th version of the same quilt.  Over the last week as I was constructing this piece I took lots of pictures of it in progress and wrote and e-book that I hope to see with the pattern at upcoming quilt show and online.  The online thing I'll tackle in a couple of weeks.
this is the image of the 6th one.
Ii used this simple flower pattern that I sell in my beginning silk painting kits and workshops to make it up as an applique sample for my booth so customers will understand my patterns are not just for painting.  In this case the applique was faster than the painting.
     I've found two locale sources for dupioni.  I brought 1-1/2 yards of 54" wide from one place.  And  1 yard of 44" wide from the other.   

This what I painted today.  Am doing this post while it is drying.  At tis stage I am always wondering, pondering and critiquing myself so I will live with a day or so before I begin to quilt it.  Not sure if I will get it done before I leave next week.  If I do I will show it to you.  If not I will when it is finished.  It still needs additional shadows, highlights and stamens.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Working with Silk Dupioni continues

This is what I did with the largest piece of silk I got from Tee.  It was beige more so than ecru so I thought it would be best to create something with a colored background.  Here is what I did and the steps I took to get it to its current stage.  I have blocked it, trimmed it down so it is ready for the facing, sleeve and label which I plan to get started on to today and finish it up  on Monday.
      I'll take it along with me on Tuesday to be part of my trunk show/presentation when I speak to an  art quilt group in Tampa.  Will more likely than not I will spend the night and drive home on Wednesday.    My old eyes do not like driving long distances on unfamiliar roads  any more.

     Along with trying silk dupioni I have been using Invis-a-fil thread by Wonderfil .  It is a 100 wt polyester thread that comes in 60 colors.  The good thing is you don't need every color of the thread they make so you can match every color of fabric you use.  Or in my case every color I can mix to paint with, rather the good thing is the thread tends to take on the color of what it is sewn on as long as the value is close.  Mind you after trying several spools and quilting three pieces with the thread I am not ready to discord my Isocord yet. 
     I found this thread to be finicky and frustrating.  It tended to break when I was speeding along using my HQ Sweet Sixteen to free motion.   I had no trouble with it when using the walking foot for straight line quilting on the Janome Horizon 7700. 
     When it didn't break ever five square inches or so I loved that it went over an area with two or three values changes without one being able to tell that there hadn't been a thread color change.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Of late, I'm not sure why I feel I have to finish every piece I start

n matter what, but that's just me.  For the last three days I have been quilting and putting facing on these three pieces.  The red/orange flower below has been hanging on my design wall for over a month.  It was one of six pieces that I paint a while back that I kept putting to the back of the quilting line because it was my  least favorite of the ones I painted in that session and I have found every excuse in the book for  letting it hang on the design wall  until this morning.  When I walked into my studio this morning, with nothing else on my agenda and saw it hanging there, I said to myself... just finish it and be done with it.
Well I tried to get it done today, but two phone calls shortened my studio time so tomorrow I still have the facing, sleeve and label to do.  The do the hand work on the facing and sleeve tomorrow while visiting with the ladies of the Friday Fabs group. 
It will be a small group that will be meeting  as most of them are going on a road trip to see a quilt exhibit at the Stetson Mansion in De Land , do lunch and possibly visit the quilt shop there.
14" x 17"
Now that it's done.  I like it.  The quilting helped, then the shading and then the over painting with yellow to add some value changes to what was a flat vermilion and pedals without definition.  True red is a challenge to work with.  It  is hard to change the value of it without making it  pink or orange.  In this case I  do like how I pushed it into the warm orange range.  If you know me, red/orange is my favorite color.

7" x 10.5"
 These two pieces, which are quite small, were painted to try a combination of three paint colors to see how they worked together. 
I like contrast in my work and  I think the background value is too dark. 
I played around with some water color pencils.  Using them with a stencil and rubbed on a damp stamps.  When using stamps in the past, I have dabbed  not so diluted water color paint on them.   As I continue to test my silk samples I noted that these two pieces of silk were  more beige than white which I think also influenced the color/value.  I am leaning toward using only white or slightly off white in the future
6" x 7.5"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's always fun when....

you are with a friend which I was yesterday morning and it's always fun to rediscover a part of the area where you live that you love.
    Last Friday one of the topics of conversation moving through the group was the not being able to find a good tasting tomato in this part of the world.  We attribute that to the weather and the soil or lack thereof  "good dirt".  Our  soil is more sand than anything.
    Of course I had to brag about my friend Marti in KY and her tomatoes and the great Farmers Market that I visited every Saturday when I lived in Columbia, MO where the produce was brought in fresh from the surrounding farms by the farmers who actually grew the crops as opposed to the produce that is trucked in from who knows where.  "oh what I wouldn't give for a good BLT.  It's been years".
     Then Lyn, one of the ladies in the group told me about a long held  Farmers Market in Winter Park; a community not far from where I live,  which I wasn't aware of.  We made a date and off we went yesterday morning in search of a good tomato.    Lyn has lived in Winter park and knew the history of the community so it was great getting to hear all of her stories about her time living there and how the area has grown and changed.
This is my friend Lyn.   She needed a picture of herself in a pose for an online  Jane LaFozio workshop. 
These were the biggest carrots I have ever seen.  We were told they were really sweet and great grated in a salad.
We did get tomatoes, and dark cherries and I picked up a sweet onion, all grown in Georgia.  The tomato while not as good as I remember tomatoes can be wasn't bad.  I am looking forward to a tomato sandwich for lunch.  I wonder if Marti would overnight me a few ripe ones from her garden? hmmm...
There were also plants, flowering and not everywhere.  Of course I took lots of pictures.

After our stroll through the market we visited the rose garden in a nearby park.  Roses are just about at the end of their season here and while I got a few good shots, I have promised myself to come back next year in April.  That's when, Lyn who is a gardener says they will be at their peak.
Then we went to have our second cup of coffee for the morning at a nearby restaurant on Park Avenue that was "line out the door" busy, but we grabbed a seat at the bar and were served rather quickly. 

We had coffee where the yellow umbrellas are.  This is looking south on Park Avenue toward Rollins College.

When I got home, I started painting this piece on another silk sample. (15" x 18").  It was labeled as 100% silk Duppion made in India.
In the middle of quilting this piece I made a trip to the Quilt Shop in Lake Mary to buy some thread.   No - I wasn't out of thread.   I have almost every color that 40 wt. Isacord comes in.  But now that I am multicolor backgrounds I am changing the color of the threads on the top and in the bobbin  often along with having to decide where on the background to make the change where it will be a smooth transition.  To solve the issue I have been using and off white  Invisa Fil by Wonderfil and I love how it melds into different light value colored areas seamlessly taking  on the hue of whatever color it is being stitched over.  Wonderful..
No more having to make an  exact color match.  In this piece, I tried four colors, a very soft pink, a dull yellow, a soft grey and a off white.  I brought two values of beige and a true white that I am going to return and exchange for other hues. 
I hate that threads now come in these sealed wrappings.  Wrap that prevents you from  pulling out a length of thread to test it against your work to see if it is the best fit.  But then too, there is the lighting in most stores that prevents you getting a true reading of the color anyway.
After lunch I am going to paint on the largest piece of Silk I was given to try.  Will let you know how that goes tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Here is  today's small quilt, painted and quilted that was done using another piece of silk from my samples..    At the same time I am also working on ways to make the backgrounds more interesting at the same time trying to not have the background take over.
I do sell my quilts so if you see one on my blog that  you are interested in having, just send me an email.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Searching, I've been searching

For the longest I've been searching for a heavy weight silk in widths wider than 44-45 inches without luck.
About a month ago my luck changed.  I was chatting with Tee, one of my Friday Fabs buds,  telling her I was looking for a local source for silk to paint on.  At the back of my mind I knew she , worked  for an Interior Design Company that caters to the Florida  home decorator  market, but the thought of  asking her for help in my search never entered my mind.
Last Friday Tee  handed me a bag of samples of different silk.  All of the pieces were at least 19mm, which is equal to the silk broadcloth I order from Thai Silk and the Silk Connection.   All of the pieces were priced and labeled as being made in  India.  Best of all, all were  between 53-57 inches.  Most were off white or ecru.  A few were too beige and a few were white, perfect.
The sample sizes varied from 6" square to one piece that was 24" x 30", big enough to make something, as are the pieces that were 12" square.  I used one of the piece to paint the pictured below.
If you look closely you can see some slubs (?) scattered through  this piece of fabric, but to my eye they do not distract from the finished piece .  Good thing I am still working on building my inventory for the coming quilt show season.  This gives me the perfect reason to make small pieces to test  how the silks look and handle the watercolor paints. 
I was suppose be in Louisville last Saturday for my friend Kathy A's surprise birthday party.  Since she reads my blog I couldn't  say that when I posted last month.    By sadly I did not go.  Usually flying in and out of Orlando this time of the year is reasonable but for some reason the cost was way more than I wanted to pay for a quick two day visit.  Oh well a phone call to catch up was made.
Kathy, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

This was suppose to be a low demand summer

with lost of time for me to be in the studio working on some large pieces.  My to do list for next year included plans to enter a couple of quilt show,  but I've made very little progress in getting one let alone several large works done.  To date I have only one large piece painted and just a square foot of it quilted so far.
     I've finished a dozen or so small pieces (12-15 x 18-24" inch) range to fill out my vendor booth supply.  I have developed a new pattern (see below)  and I have five pieces waiting to be quilted.  Four on the design wall and one under the needle of the HQ 16. 
 I have painted the above design it in several color ways and with different backgrounds.

     My summer calendar is filled with one day teaching engagements in locales I can drive to, teach and drive home in the same day which has kept me busy as well. 
     I've been watching the flowers bloom in the area beside my back door (slider) to my little patio.
And I discover a flowering tree growing on the adjacent property to my condo community that is visible above the brick wall that I did not see last summer. 
Of course this time last year I was not venturing far from my bedroom because of health issues.  What a difference a year makes.
     Just got back from  San Juan,  Puerto Rico.   My daughter Rene', granddaughter Olivia and I flew down to enjoy the sun, the sand and some down time.  I lost $18.00 of the  $20.00 max I allowed myself in the casino at the hotel/resort where we stayed while I waited for Rene' and Olivia to get dressed for dinner after coming back from the beach. 
 Views from our room and from the roof top restaurant where we ate a late lunch on the day we arrived.  The resort was ocean front and we had our toes in the sand and the water with only a short walk through the garden and pool area.  Because I love flowers I was struck by the fact there were orchards attached to the trunks of the palm trees on the property.
This is a view of the smaller of the two forts we visited with the adjacent grave yard.
  Olivia on the street in Old Town and in the turret of the largest fort.
On the way home our plane got diverted to Tampa because of a severe summer storm over Orlando.  That said the landing in Tampa was bumpy as was the one in Orlando once the airport was open again.  The pilot and crew were applauded for getting us down safely.  They would have gotten a standing ovation had we been allowed to unbuckle our seat belts :).
       Going back to Port St Lucie on the 11th of July to teach a one day class and I have one other trip planned for this month that I will tell you about later.  Now it is back to work.