Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trees and Trucks

The weekend after Thanksgiving is usually the time we make our annual trip to the Christmas tree farm in Pineola, NC around and hour and a half north of us.  It's a beautiful ride and lots of farms to choose from.  The prices are great and you know the tree is fresh.  We always hope for a wintery looking day that's not too cold but gives you the Christmas spirit.  This past Sunday was just that kind of day, gray skies but fairly mild and great to be outside. The Twin Pines is our favorite place, guess because we started here and have had good luck finding the "perfect" tree. They all look perfect in my estimation and it's hard to choose.
 It's just such fun walking through this beautiful forest of trees and right away we find one.  Last year we tagged trees we wanted to revisit with the orange streamer tape from home improvement stores. EVERYONE had the same idea, so this year we switched to red ribbon and seems like there were a lot of red ribbons when we got here - Another EVERYONE had the same idea moment.
 In every direction, you see trees.  So this is the one we picked, hope we wound up with one of "our red ribbon" trees. We'll love it anyway.
 So tied to the car and the sun roof open (glass closed) so we can watch on our trip home, we are ready set to go.
 And on the way home, an added bonus, I came upon this old rusty truck - how cool is this. I will add it to my rusty tractor, tires and other Americana photos. These trucks always appear to have "faces" and this has a great one - can't wait to print it on fabric.
A good day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving - I wish you all a wonderful day surrounded by good food and those you love and hold dear to your heart.

Monday, November 21, 2011


My friend Sandy has a darling grandson who is in love with airplanes, so her being a quilter - guess what he's getting for Christmas? You guessed it - an airplane quilt.  He can't get enough of them     and only 2 years old. I personally see airplanes in his future.  Sandy showed me this really cute fabric with airplanes on it
 with a patchwork of grays and neutrals.
 It's adorable I thought but it needed a BIG RED AIRPLANE.  Well, Sandy is a fabulous piecer but doesn't do applique. I don't piece but I can applique.  So I took the fabric home to see if we could add a big red plane.  And another thing - I don't draw, not one single bit, so first thing was to find an image of a plane.  The internet has lots of copyrite free images as well as the Dover coloring books. Here is one of the planes I found and thought would work.  I enlarged it quite a bit and placed it on the fabric to see the size and position. I wanted the plane to look like it was flying into the quilt.
 I had red fabric from Sandy which will also be used in the border.  The headlights are silver tissue lame backed with a fusible web for strength.
 I shaded the wings with Shiva oil sticks and stitching.
 And here it is finished - just needs the border and it will be done for Christmas.
I think little Maceo will like it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Small Works - Trees I"

I've been working on some small pieces. I truly love doing them as they go fast and I get the chance to try out new techniques and USE UP FABRIC. Okay, I admit not a whole lot of fabric but a small step in the right direction. This is the finished piece.

I used some hand dyed fabric for the sides.
Added some deconstructive screenprinted fabric on the top
and bottom. I love using couching thread such as Candlelight by YLI to sew on top between the 2 fabrics. You can see the thin black line which is the couching thread. It gives it a little definition as well as a tiny bit of sparkle. Candlelight is metallic, very soft and easy to use. By soft, I mean it lays well on the surface and doesn't interfere with the way a fabric handles.
I used 2 layers of fabric here - the background fabric which was dyed and screened with an image of trees. Next I placed an overlay of silk organza with trees screened in black on top to give the feeling of distance in the piece.
And here's the finished piece once again.
It will be for sale in my online gallery. Click on the link on the right to take you to the gallery.

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Silk Screens

I've been working on some new screens; I really love making them and hard to know when to stop. I did a screen of this chair some time back but the finished product had too much "noise" in it (leaves, grass) which made it difficult to see the main image of the chair. Sometimes the background noise is hard to remove from the picture but I thought I would give it another try. I made a copy of the original and using some white-out, was able to clean it up a bit.
I like it better and think the chair is much more obvious....
This old tire might be my favorite image. I played with it in Photoshop to make it into a photocopy, printed it, cleaned it up to make the tire prominent and then made a lazer copy of my copy which I needed for my Thermofax.
I made a screen in 2 sizes. I store my screens in file folders and print the image on the outside like you see here. It's also a good test to see how the image turned out.
And the old tractor, finally got around to doing a screen. Doesn't "he" have the best face.
It made into a really nice screen.
And the side view of the same tractor. This was taken quite some time ago. I saw him again (think I've humanized him) while at my friend Dorts house and he's now covered with greenery.
It's done in 2 sizes also. I'm really happy with this screen.
All of the above images I'm hoping to use in my "Americana" quilt. I don't remember where I took the picture below. I think it was on one of our outings. I loved all the circles and wanted to see how it would work in a screen - so Photoshop to photocopy to printing it out, cleaning it up and then a lazer copy.
And the screen.
And of course some trees.
This next screen was from corn silk from some corn on the cob. I think it will provide some great texture.
My son who is an artist did this drawing of an eye. I love faces and eyes so this was a fun image to use. I also like to have a bit of his talent popping up in my pieces.
It was a fun, productive day and am anxious to try them out.

Friday, November 11, 2011

PTA November

As always, this wonderful group I'm in, met yesterday and surpassed last months Show and Tell, laughter and good conversation! We've all been working on challenge pieces for an invitational exhibit we're part of at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in February. Our challenge - to create a piece inspired by a 2-dimensional artist we like. Cathy N finished hers and it's wonderful! Her artist was Kandinsky. Each block has so much detail with embroidery and interesting threads.

And with the leftovers - another great piece!
Connie celebrated a "big" birthday last month and received some surprise gifts at our meeting. Connie has more energy than anyone I know and has a wonderful zest for life. One of her many passions is collecting aprons - which she also uses. This apron was a shirt made into an apron.

Mary B made this wonderful piece based on a picture from her childhood. She had the picture with her and this is a wonderful rendition of it. Mary is the small child in the quilt;  her mom is sitting on the bench.
Dort is our "detail" artist - nothing too small to overlook. This quilt was made for her aunt. It's a map to her house which apparently is at the end of a very winding road. The details are so much fun to see including a helicopter which flies over the house each day - can you see it front and center?
Connie organized a few people from our group to quilt at the Biltmore with children who designed some of the blocks. The quilt will be given to another child who is ill. The children wrote messages of anything they wanted and then quilted it. It was a wonderful experience for adult kids and little kids alike.

Gen is almost finished with her challenge piece based on the work of Klimt. She admits she's ready for it to be done, it is wonderful to see in person.
All in all, it was a great day with just the nicest gals I know. I feel lucky to have them in my life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Does my "Christmas Cactus's" not realize.....
that this is only......
November 6!
Where did I go wrong?
Hope you enjoyed your extra hour of time today. I still haven't adjusted the clocks; I like to feel like I still have that extra hour every time I look at the clock - Silly....I know!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Small Works - Windows 1

I haven't had too much studio time, that time of year when things are crazy. I've taken to doing small pieces when I get a chance; at least I keep my fingers in my art and my mind on a creative track. I have a series called Small Works - small quilts that aren't matted or framed, just small. They're fun to do; I get to use up fabric, try new techniques and best of all feel like I'm creating something with an end in sight. I love using my own photography as it's mine and copyrite free! I took this picture years ago in Old San Juan; I loved the aging walls and colors. I transferred this photo to fabric using an acrylic medium, giving it an aged look.
I have bins and bins of scraps, sometimes I'll dump them out on the floor and just fish through. I find some great treasures. I found these fabrics to frame my window.
They definitely needed more "zing" so using my silkscreen of a tree
I screened part of the image on one piece of fabric,
and the other part of the screen on the corresponding side. I also screened some discharge paste through a "recipe" screen on the light green area. I love using things from my family in my work. This is a screen of one of my grandmother's recipes written in her handwriting.
The top piece of fabric needed something so I screened discharge paste through one of my favorite "tree" screens, I like the way it turned out.
Almost there - a little quilting;  I'm most interested in the imagery and don't want to detract from that.
So here is the finished piece. I was working on this while at John Campbell last month and one of the students bought it so it has found a new home and I know a good one!