Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finished, Done, Completed....Hooray

Do you get the feeling that I'm happy this quilt is finished, completed, over done with - Yes I am.  It feels good to finish up a UFO, especially one you really like. The binding was holding me up but I think the black was a good choice and keeping it narrow did not overpower.
 So now it's ready to take to Mid-Atlantic for the Teacher's exhibit.
 And I must remember to pack it.
So now it's on to the next project which is smaller and will be used as a class sample for one of the workshops I'm doing at Mid-Atlantic.
It's raining cats and dogs today - a good day to be in my studio.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Cute Idea

   I always have the most clever students in my workshops and often feel I learn as much from them as they do from me. I teach an Introduction to Surface Design class at JC Campbell.  Students are exposed to simple and fun ways to change the surface of their fabric - lots of techniques and samples are created.   
    One of my very creative students - Winki,  fell in love with the paints we were using on fabric.  Up to that point she was rusting her scarves and using natural dyes from berries and other plant material - they were gorgeous.  One of the things she tried which tickled me to no end, was to soak a ribbon or heavy cotton roping in paint.  The next step was to wet the scarf and crinkle it up. 
She then laid the paint filled ribbon and sat back to watch the fabulous wicking in the fabric. This works especially well on thin fabrics like China silk that will let the paint easily migrate throughout.
The results were beautiful and I can't wait to try it. This was so easy and such an interesting application of paint.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ever Changing River home and retired

It was a number of years ago that I first talked about the "Everchanging River" exhibit.  The exhibit was made up of 31 artists from 3 different local SC groups - The Fringe Sisters, Focus and Thread Heads.  They became collectively known as the Carolina Fiber Convergence.  The exhibit became a huge hit, traveling coast to coast including the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY and ending in Taiwan at their International Quilt Exhibition.
It all started with a blue piece of fabric...that was the link.  Pieces had to be 18" wide and anywhere from @ 22 to 28" high. 
Every artist was assigned a "spot" in the lineup and given a length for both the left and right side of  their piece. Their left side, if it was 7" long would connect with the piece next to it on that side also 7"  high. The pieces would be staggered in the lineup but the river connected perfectly.
I always thought it was an incredibly clever idea.  Each artist could make their "river" anything they wanted as long as it was the right length on each side to match up to corresponding pieces.
Here is my piece - below ...the river on the left had to be 4" and on the right - 6"
I used a lot of techniques including digital imagery for the rocks.

and soil separator cloth to print the mountains on a sheer fabric which gives the feeling of distance.
This gives you a good feel of how the exhibit was put together and how the river connects.
Our final exhibit was an invitational one from the Taiwan International Quilt Festival who paid and took care of everything.  It was very exciting to know a piece of your art was going to be seen in another part of the world.  The Taiwan committee was so gracious, sending us posters in the beginning and when the show was over - a package of "thank you" goodies including this beautiful 430 page publication of the show.  Each quilt in this book had it's own page - what a treasure!
Another goodie sent was a page of stamps of some of the quilts in the show and a matboard that fits with the stamps. I'm debating whether to frame them or use them in my work which I often like to do...will have to stew over that.
It was a wonderful opportunity and the whole exhibit itself was such fun to be part of. My quilt is now home, I had forgotten what it looked like but it's good to have it back again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Candlestick Makeover

I was planning to spend time in my studio today and in a way I did, but not on quilting.  I bought this great candlestick a while back - white with antiquing on it (ignore the blue on top where I started painting it).  It sits on the mantel in my family room and blends in with the antique white wall behind it. It hardly shows and I vowed to try and do something with it. 
 I was off to Michaels to get some craft paint; they have so many colors in these little paints.
 I wanted something in a very "grayed" blue green a blue and green with gray to tone it down.
 And started to paint....I really didn't know where I was going with this but as I wiped up spills and excess, the paint looked rather nice where it had been wiped off.
 So now I had a direction, but it still needed a lot more work. You can see where the original antiquing was when it was white.
 My husband suggested glazing it with ink or paint.  I have distress ink pads - great for working on paper and I thought - worth a try.
 When you lift the cover off, you have a pad of ink to lightly rub on the surface of something.  The only problem is that they work best on flat surfaces so I could only use it on the edges.
 I had to fill in with a liquid ink which I did using Winsor Newton Walnut ink.
 I brushed the ink all over and let it set up for a few seconds, then wiped it off. It's starting to look better but still needs more glazing.
 The finished new look for my white candlestick - you can really see it against the white walls.
 So I got the bug and found something else that needed some primping just by adding an ink glaze and then wiping it off.
 It looks better I think...2 fun projects .

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Decisions and Red Noses

I rarely get sick so I guess I was due for this. I've been battling the typical winter stuff that turned into bronchitis, for the past 2 1/2 weeks, trying to get some things done on better days.  I'm on my 4th box of "Puffs" (200 tissues per box) so my poor little nose is so red and sore.  I think I could be a contender to pull Santa's sleigh   ( - :  
I've been trying to quilt on my "Enchanted Village" piece as I promised it for the teacher's exhibit at Mid-Atlantic this February where I'll be teaching.  I figured this commitment would force me to finish.  I've always loved using the rayon threads for decorative work (top row) but couldn't get them in my local quilt shop.  They've switched to polyester (bottom row) for its strength and ease of use.  They had some wonderful colors and not wanting to hunt down the rayon, I decided to give it a try. It worked fine but didn't have as much of a surface presence as the rayon which is more loosely twisted.  I liked working with it but think I still prefer the rayon. 
The Candlelight was used to make curls around the tree branches to give a little movement.
And the Sliver added a little glitz here and there. It's really quite subtle on the surface as I used it sparingly.
I want to bind the edge with something - just a narrow strip of color.  I thought black might be too strong but might work if it's narrow.
I also have a warm brown I'm thinking about...
and a cooler brown (on left)
The green is the fabric I used on the back, don't think it works but thought I would just throw it in for consideration.
Any thoughts?
Hope you're having a good day.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I've been looking through picture files for inspiration; I've been good about finishing up UFOs and am now looking for ideas for future pieces.  I love printing on fabric so some of these may wind up like that. I also love the technique which uses an acrylic medium to transfer the picture to fabric;  this gives an older look to the piece. I love this building we found on a recent trip to New York; it's a little blurry but the building is hauntingly beautiful. I'm sure I'll find a way to use it or a portion of it.
I love old country roads and there were plenty of them in upstate NY. The old stone walls along the edge were my favorite part.
 I've always been drawn to rocks and crumbling walls which were everywhere.
The old Huguenot village was amazing to see with such beautiful stonework.
The doors were so small, my 6' tall husband had to bend his head to go through.  The windows were all hand blown glass - another favorite of mine.
And the openings for guns in all the houses.  I really like this photo, I will probably use it out of context and do something weird with it.
I'm intrigued with cemeteries and old tombstones.  These dated back hundreds of years.
The writing filled the entire tombstone.
It was one of those magical days, walking through this old town and becoming a part of the past if only for a short time.
I never go anywhere without taking pictures of trees...and winter trees are my favorite with all the wonderful configurations.
and a tree in front of a church steeple - an added bonus.
and this old shed with moss all over it. I really like the door and will probably incorporate it into  something.
I still have a few unfinished small pieces and am determined to get those out of the way before I dive into something new, that's my goal anyway and hope I can stick to it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Holiday Spirits

On a recent trip to New York, we went to wine country which was more fun than I ever imagined.  At each winery, they have a sipping bar and for a very small fee (which is usually deducted from your first purchase), you get to try around a thimble full of times that by 40 to 50 thimbles and it's quite a lot. By the end of the day, you're an easy sell. I was surprised, never having done this before, that all the wines had unique names, no such thing as Merlot or Pinot Grigio but names like "Red Hot Mama" or "Tugboat Charley" so of course we had to sample. The wineries had wonderful decor...
along with furry in house residents which I loved (I'm a total cat person).
The labels on the wine bottles were beautiful and often the reason for buying.
Each winery had it's own unique features helping you to remember your favorites.
The wineries we visited were on Lake Cayuga which is one of the five finger lakes.  Next trip to New York, we're doing the next finger lake, each lake has lots of wineries...too many for one day.  This particular lake is where Cornell University is located, only 1 1/2 hours from where I went to school, so old stomping grounds for me as well.  We ate lunch on the lake and it was beautiful.
Some wineries had antiques like this old piano giving it lots of charm.
We wound up with 36 bottles, some for gifts and many because we just loved the label.
I'm not much of a wine connoisseur, I don't even remember what these taste like, I just loved the labels.
These 3 bottles are all the same wine just different labels to get you to buy all three.  It worked!
This label was fashioned after a cat that lives at the winery a little black cat named Superstitious.
Our favorite labels were those that were holiday-ish like Mistletoe Magic and Rudolph the Red. We bought lots of these to use and give away at the holidays.
It was great fun and we look forward to returning.