Friday, March 31, 2017

Retreat Project

Our annual PTA retreat is coming up next week and I have started my pile of stuff..There it sits on the dining room table ready to be packed. This annual event which our good pal and PTA member - Mary  S organized years ago has turned into one of the most fun things we do every year. 
 We have 3 wonderful and exhausting days of sewing, laughing, playing games, drinking champagne, eating...etc....For retreat I try and pick an easy project so I'm being productive but not so intense that I miss all the funny goings on during the day. This year our FJ group used Denny's Accu Cut machine to cut pieces in various shapes...all the exact same size making for good piecing. Kate and I chose a half hexagon as we saw a quilt we liked made with them, and thought it would work for retreat.
 I wasn't sure how my fabrics would work, so I started pinning them up on flannel before retreat.
 I'm so glad I did as I had many areas I wasn't happy with and felt it needed different fabrics.
 I also found the best way to see the quilt was through my camera...gave me a better feel.
 I needed some more interesting light pieces;  with this color way, it was hard to find fabrics in values... I found this paint (almost threw it out years ago) I bought for making patina green on copper. The green was perfect.

 I used it along with Lumiere gold and a sponge to add some visual texture to light colored fabrics.
A nice effect and I'll see how they work in the scheme of things.
  I also found some nubby light green silk noil which worked with the other fabrics and perfect for  stamping on.
 I did some stamping on a beige-gray fabric with the green patina paint and
 silk screened some words on the light green noil. The newer fabrics look like they might work.
I also did some re-arranging to allow for some of the hexagons to pop. It's all pinned and ready to go...I'm not much of a piecer but I do like this piece so far and hope I can pull it off. One thing is for sure...whether I go home with a pieced top or will be 3 wonderful fun filled days.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fiber Junkies Pt. 2

So to continue with our fun day of exploring alcohol is the beginnings of Denny's piece.
The base is shaving cream; inks were dropped on top and because of the alcohol, made little hollows in the cream.
Denny smeared the inks and then...
using a stylus, created a pattern. A piece of fabric was laid on top, gently pressed and the image was created.
This is the piece that Val brought to work on...a rusted fabric highlighted with Caran D'Ache oil pastels.
Will be anxious to see what Val does with this. I'm sure this is just the starting point and she will use  other techniques as another layer.
Here are the powdered Primary Elements by Lumiere, mixed with an acrylic medium. You only need a dash of powder to get good color. They are the consistency of paint and permanent because of the medium which also leaves a slight hand to the fabric.
This was perhaps the most exciting discovery of the day. Mary did some research on making your own inks. So here goes....don't get rid of your dried out Sharpie markers....Break the pen in half to reveal the inside. Use inexpensive scissors to cut away the plastic tube and uncover the felt filled with ink. Place the felt in a small container filled with a little rubbing alcohol.
Give it a good shake and let it set for a few minutes...doesn't take long and look at the wonderful color.
These inks work well on fabric (and are permanent) although you don't get the wonderful spreading affect you get on paper.
This is Yupo paper with the same inks - such a different look.
Here is Gen using inks on Yupo paper, dropping them while blowing through a straw.
A really interesting effect.
Denny had screened this image of houses and used ink on top as a second layer.
Kate likes to take hopeless pieces of fabric to try and make them better....and she always nails it. I've given her many "bad pieces" and she magically turns them into a thing of beauty making me wonder "Why did I part with that fabric"?
And another...
Some papers drying.
Here is a book Denny brought to show the many techniques for using alcohol inks....a beautiful publication. Meanwhile, down in sunny Florida at the same time, our blogger friend Robbie was doing the same techniques with her friend...She had many wonderful ideas to share...Check out her blog for even more ways to use this fun ink.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fiber Junkies - Where Do I Begin?

Fiber Junkies met yesterday at Gen's home for a very fun filled day of playing and chatting. We have decided to have our show and tell in the morning with our coffee to give us more time to play in the afternoon.
 Mary showed us a lovely plaid quilt she has been piecing with her new Janome foot which works like a dream. She has experienced so much frustration over sewing a good straight stitch and finally found the foot that works.
 Mary also showed us a house warming present for her son who will be moving into a new home shortly. Since he lives in San Francisco, how appropriate to make the Golden Gate Bridge.
 There is so much detail to this piece such as
 the beautiful and extensive stitching to create grass along the shoreline.
 The bird was a nice touch...and then my favorite...the bicycle!
 Her son who likes to ride his bike had to be featured...well, it took us a while to figure out how she did this very intricate bicycle. Mary printed it on a fusible backed fabric, using the same fabric as the background and then cut around the outside only. When fusing down, it blends perfectly with the background because they are the same fabric. Clever Girl!....
 And the binding...each section done in appropriate fabric to match that area...very effective.
 And the backing using the same color way and a ribbon motif which resembels the arches of the bridge.
 Denny has become quite the piecer and every meeting seems to have at least one new quilt to show. She did a beautiful job matching points which is always impressive to me.

 She has also been taking a 10 year Master class with Hollis Chatelaine. This group has stayed together to work on new challenges presented to them each year. The culmination of their efforts is a mini retreat where they share and present their work. One of the challenges was to recreate a piece they've done in neutrals and to keep the theme but distort it. Denny took an old time theme park and fast forwarded it to recreate it in a very run down state. It's quite clever and interesting to see. She used paint in areas to create shadows and also the refection of the moon on the water.

The old ferris wheel...
 and a delapidated roller coaster..
 This month we were exploring alchol based inks, markers, powdered pigments etc.   - lots of interesting information. Denny showed us her sample of inks and pens all labeled for referece.
 She also had some lovely samples with Sharpies using rubbing alcohol for blurring the edges.
 and more samples...

Val brought along a piece of watercolor paper she had rusted and was going to work on...this will probably become a book cover. There is so much to cover, this will be continued tomorrow and hope you come gets better and better.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chillin on a Chilly Day

On a snowy day, what's one to do....We did have another snowfall just pretty and didn't last but a day which is what I like...

Well I owed my son an apple pie...promised for his birthday last year and never delivered..
I make it from scratch...good old Betty Crocker's cookbook way so it takes hours but it does warm up the kitchen and sure makes it smell like Thanksgiving!

Also a good day to hang out with furry buds who can keep you warm - featured is Fraggle my 16 1/2 pound kitten...well he's 2 but very kitten-ish in behavior and a people lover.
But the best thing....John and Mike were working in the basement on a "Bee House". Mike saw them online and decided to build one himself. Both are avid gardeners - especially Mike (son) who has the eye for color and design; they're always adding something new. John built the frame and then Mike cut the bamboo (from our friend Gary's yard) into small lengths. They are held in place with wood glue and can endure the weather.
I love all the different sizes of bamboo.
The bottom part has holes drilled into wood...more apartments for the bees. Mike has done a lot of reading about these cute little dwellings and apparently bees love them.
And as soon as the snow melted, it was hung outside..They are supposed to be placed X amount of feet from the ground to protect the bees from wasps...will find out more about this later.
It's on a larger tree on the side of the house...easy to see and enjoy. I think they did a great job and can't wait for our little buzzing friends to find it and take up housekeeping.