Monday, July 06, 2015

Texas Rainbow

When I spotted this stunning rainbow while driving last week, I gasped. It was so big and full and bright!

I actually pulled over into a parking lot and took a few pictures. In the picture above, I love how the sky is darker above the rainbow.

I posted that picture on Instagram and someone commented that it looked like my signature arch stitching that I include in many of my art quilts. Another gasp! Honestly, I hadn't even made the connection. Isn't that funny? 

I took this panoramic shot just a few seconds later, but the light had changed and the clouds had moved, so the center of the rainbow disappeared a bit. Still stunning.

Texas gives us some beautiful skies.

You can follow me on IG, you know? In fact, during the month of July, I'm doing a special challenge with my mom's church. There is a word for each day in July and we post images inspired by that word. It's a fun way to look at the world and connect with others.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Printed Fabric Bee Reveal! Vintage!

Time for another reveal for The Printed Fabric Bee. Lynn Krawcyzk chose "vintage" as her theme. I decided to explore the idea of vintage bottles.

I started with an image of bottles and cut out the shapes.

Then traced them on sticky-back fun foam.

Then cut them out.

Then stuck them to pieces of styrofoam from a recycled meat tray.

I chose blue, teal and gray paints thinking that might suggest vintage bottles.

I did a test print here. I like the idea that the bottles are translucent. You can see through them as if they are sitting on a window sill.

I printed an 8x18 piece to send to Lynn (that's her requested size), the 6x6 for our monthly give-away and another piece to keep in my stash and for my records. 

After printing the bottles, I wanted to add another layer of design. (Plus the "rules" of the Printed Fabric Bee require at least two printed layers.) So, I used my splatter brush to add a bit of black. It gave it a bit of depth.

You may remember that I when I created fabric for our petroglyphs theme, I wished I had a splatter brush. I've since purchased one! Definitely a nice additional to my box of painting tools.

It still needed something, so I drew this tiny little stem with tiny little leaves in a few of the bottles.

Here is the finished 6x6.

Here is Lynn's piece. It's like three shelves in a decorative medicine cabinet.

As usual, I like to review what worked and what didn't work with my fabrics for The Printed Fabric Bee.


  • The shape of the bottles and the subtle difference between them.
  • Sticky back fun foam stamps are so fast and easy!
  • I love the layers of paint where the bottles overlap.
  • The paint application is a bit inconsistent which sort of makes it look like light reflecting on the bottles.
  • The splatter adds depth.
  • The line drawn stem is sweet.

Less Than Successful:

  • The shapes of the bottle don't fill up the 6x6 size too well. In fact, I'm not sure I love the arrangement of bottles on the larger piece of fabric either. 
  • Paint might have been applied more smoothly with a brayer.
  • The color palette isn't too sophisticated and doesn't really read as vintage. I should I have mixed a light, medium and dark cobalt.
  • The line drawn stem is a little too sweet.
Check out all the interpretations of "vintage!" Find links to all the artists on The Printed Fabric Bee blog. Plus, you can leave a comment on Lynn's blog for a chance to win the collection of 6x6 fabrics. Comment before July 10. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Printing Making Workshop

A few weeks ago, I took a three day print making workshop through the Visual Arts Society of Texas.  The workshop was in Denton, which is only about 30 minutes from my home, but the main road between here and there is under construction, so I opted to take the train.

We printed with Akua inks which are relatively new to the market. The amazing thing about these inks is they stay wet and workable until they are pressed onto paper. Kind of strange actually.

We did several different kinds of printing. This is a dry point plate. The design is scratched into plexi with that twisty pointy tool.

This is a collagraph.

I suppose an art student would learn more about these techniques, but I'm self taught, so it was mostly new to me.

I think this was a mono print. The ink was rolled onto a sheet of plexi, I played around with the ladder stencil, then placed the paper on top of the plexi plate and rolled it through the press we had for the workshop.

Here's a print from the collagraph.

Morning at the train station.

The workshop was led by the experienced and talented Junanne Peck. She's got the glasses on top of her head in the middle of the photo.

More mono prints with ladders.

Heres the press we used. We had a pin press too, which is a super heavy perfectly balanced "rolling pin" that makes nice prints if you don't have a press.

We also carved stamps in mdf (medium density fiber board). It was super easy to carve. I might consider doing more of that in the future.

Wood block prints.
Look at all those prints!

Happy artist!

I created this 12x12 inch fabric collage with one of the woodblock prints. It was fun to incorporate the print with other fabrics and stitching.

I loved all three days. I made tons of prints. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. I met some new people that I know I'll see again. I began/continued exploring the bowl and the ladder as symbols for my work. I have some new techniques that I could use for printing fabric.

Will I become a printmaker? Nope. The whole time I could barely stop thinking about how all of this could be translated to fabric and stitch.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Minnesota, You Are Amazing!

Claire and Benjamin and I went to Minnesota last weekend. We hiked at Minnehaha Falls with my cousin and her daughter. So fun! 

I love the Mississippi. It flows through many of my favorite places.

I am so glad all our kids got to spend time together.

This spot is awesome!

These kids are awesome!

Grandma was there too. It was great to spend time with her. I sure wish we lived closer.

Look at my super cute nephew! I just think he is so much fun!

We were in Minnesota for my cousin's wedding. Green sunglasses provided!

I love this picture too. The sons and daughters of me, my sister and my two cousins. Ages 4 to 20.

Mostly smiles.

Claire found a book of Grimm's fairytales on our shelf. It was inscribed to my sister from our grandma. So, Claire wrote a new inscription to our nephew and gave it back to my him and my sister. It was pretty special. (Though Grimm's fairy tales aren't really appropriate for four year olds. Yikes!)

After the wedding, we spent a couple of days with my cousin and her kids in Mankato. There is a fabulous collection of outdoor sculptures throughout their quaint downtown including this interactive swing. The artist statement talked about blending spaces for cars and people.

I especially liked this sculpture.

One of the most impressive was this metal living room set. There was a big couch too.

I think our favorite was this Godzilla. Or maybe it's my favorite because I got this great shot of a bunch of people I love!

On the way home, Claire and Benjamin listened to the podcast "Welcome to Nightvale" ... together.

I'm so very thankful for all of these special, small moments and our experiences in wonderful places.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tardis Quilt!

I am so excited to share all these pictures! I worked on this birthday gift for Claire for months. And I kept it a big secret the whole time. No pictures on Facebook or Instagram or anything... until now!

Ta Da!

If you're a fan of the BBC tv series, Doctor Who, you know this is a Tardis! That's the vehicle the Doctor uses to travel through time and space. Claire is a huge fan! And she's not alone. There is a whole world of Whovians who love all things related to the Doctor.

I used a pattern from Hunter's Design Studio. I haven't followed a pattern in so long! Yikes! All that measuring, managing straight of grain and seam allowances nearly fried my eyes and brain. But, it was definitely good to exercise those technical skills. 

It was also so much bigger than what I usually make! I had to move to the dining room table.

Simple gift wrapping job.

Happy happy birthday girl!

More details. I ordered specially designed fabric from Spoonflower for the "Police Box" sign at the top and the "Pull to Open" panel on the door. That worked fine.

But frankly, the black is just not black enough and there are some tiny white specks that were in the fabric when it arrived. (See the dot between the O and L?) Not a big deal, but if I were making another Tardis quilt, I'd do that top sign panel differently. (But I am NEVER making another Tardis quilt.) By the way, this is a problem with Spoonflower, not with the designer. Spoonflower admits their "black" just really isn't.

I chose pretty simple fabrics knowing Claire would want the Tardis to look like the Tardis!

This panels looks awesome. Totally authentic.

After looking at some other Tardis quilts on Pinterest, I decided to quilt some phrases in Gallifreyan on the other five door panels. Gallifreyan is the language of Doctor Who. This required lots of research and sketching.

If you're a obsessed fan, you may wish to try your hand at translating these panels. (Claire tells me there are a few small corrections to be made. So, it will need to go under the needle again sometime soon.)

I chose a starry sky fabric for the backing.

I had a super fun time with the quilting. I was inspired by some free motion quilting tutorials from Lori Kennedy, especially her Swirls and Twirls motif.

I also quilted her name along one of the strips.

Claire is interested in so many cool things and it was such fun to celebrate one of those interests with this gift!

She really does love it! Yeah!