Wednesday, September 10, 2014

So Many Awesome Patterns and Ideas!

My friend Candy Glendening just released an awesome new e-book with Quilting Arts. It's called "Create Handmade Gifts for All." I am thrilled to be a part of a blog hop all this week with several quilt artists all sharing ideas inspired by Candy's book. See the list of bloggers at the bottom of this post. (And visit them to enter some awesome give-aways!)

The book contains 18 projects for home decor, bags and accessories, and holiday ornaments. There are 77 pages of detailed instructions and patterns. It's only $9.99! I swear, you could pay that much for the message bag pattern alone, right? It's really an awesome resource for so many cool projects.

My favorite is one of the most simple... but it's so practical! And there is so much potential to personalize it. The headband!

I do yoga a couple of times a week and I usually tie my hair back with a handkerchief because I really want all the flyaway hair out of my face when I'm upside down in down dog. A flimsy little elastic sports hair band doesn't do the trick. Candy's wide headband with the elastic at the back would be perfect. Plus... it's reversible so I could choose two beautiful fabrics and mix it up depending on the color of my yoga gear. 

Here's a preview of the Table of Contents. There is something for everyone on your gift list! (But of course, this e-book goes way beyond gift-giving. You will want to make several of these items for yourself. I know I do.)

The step-by-step instructions, pattern measurements, templates and materials lists are completely comprehensive and easy to understand. It's a download right from the Quilting Arts store. I can't recommend it enough. 

Leave a comment on this post. The drawing will close Sunday, September 21 and I'll announce 2 winners Monday morning. The first person will receive a hard copy of last year’s “Quilting Arts Gifts” magazine. The second person’s name goes into a drawing for the Grand Prize, the messenger bag Candy made that is featured on the cover of the e-book. Candy will announce the Grand Prize winner the following Monday on her blog. Make sure your comment is connected to an email so I can contact you. And check back on September 21 to see if you’ve won. Don't forget to visit the other bloggers listed above for more chances to win.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Hiking at Arbor Hills

We have a great nature preserve with lots of trails just down the road from our home. Almost every summer, we make a special trip... but not to hike the trails... we hike right through the stream. 

On the way to the spot where we enter the water, we happened upon this clump of... can you guess?

Daddy long legs. Kind of creepy, right? But also interesting.

We love Keen sandals. Perfect for hiking through the water.

Beautiful overhead view. Even though it was in the high 90s the day we hiked, it was shady and cool down in the water.


Dipping... at the deepest, the water is maybe a foot deep.

Claire is slow and exploratory on the hike. Benjamin is busy and active.

This dragonfly looks like she may have seen better days. One wing had a big chunk missing and she had a gray haze all over her body.

Behind us you can see the bridge that crosses the stream. This is where we exited. I think this same stream actually flows through our neighborhood... some seven miles down the way. It might be fun to keep going past the bridge.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Anniversary Gifts

Jeff and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary earlier this month. He's really tough to buy for and we generally prefer to spend money on nice dinners, or travel or special things for our home... but I wanted to make something for him.

So this is what I came up with...

Fun, right? It's "folded book art." I ordered the patterns from FoldedBookArt. Actually, the heart is a 99 cent try-out pattern from the same company on Etsy. It gives you an idea of the craft. Once I made the heart, I thought I'd give the buddha a try. 

The pattern is specially populated with page numbers depending on the length of the book you have, so that the design falls in the center of the spread of pages. Here I'm following the pattern from my iPad, measuring and marking each page for the folds. (A bit tedious.)

Here you can see the buddha is mostly finished. There is a section of unfolded pages on the left.

Since this was an anniversary gift, I wanted to books to relate to marriage in some way. Here's what I found at the Goodwill.

Jeff has a small collection of buddhas lined up on the ledge of the shower in our bathroom.

Is it a little tough to identify?

The pattern was probably loosely based on a silhouette like this one. Can you see it now? Kinda?

After a bit of research, I learned this is the Calling the Earth to Witness pose and is most commonly found in Thai temples. Maybe for our 25th anniversary we should go visit them!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This and That

Just a few snapshots...

Our neighborhood backs up to a ranch that has cows, horses, llamas and lots of geese. I was driving past one day and spotted one of the llamas in the pond! Can you see him? It's hot in Texas! I don't blame him.

Another interesting animal spotted right in our back yard!

And this precious little creature. We had our annual art swap at Dallas Area Fiber Artists last month and I received this beautiful needle felted teddy bear!

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that Claire and Benjamin recently earned their black belts in taekwondo. One of the things they regularly work on is breaking boards. We went to Home Depot recently to restock their supplies. Claire breaks 11 inch boards and Benjamin breaks 9 inch boards.

Maybe next time I show you a picture of the big stack of broken boards we have in the garage. What to do with them?!

Check out the community garden plots in our neighborhood. I love walking through this beautiful little oasis just down the street from our house.

One of Claire's teachers's is building a "little free library" for their high school. I donated a bunch of books.
These are all from the Goodwill where paperbacks are only 69 cents! I chose only books that I've read and really enjoyed and I thought highschoolers might enjoy. What a bargain!

I've been to two nice restaurants lately where the sinks in the restrooms were filled with ice. Odd, right?

Hello from Lincoln!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Creating Fabric Collages with Lynn Krawczyk's Stencils

I know you heard about Lynn Krawczyk's beautiful new set of stencils called "marked" from artistcellar! There was a fabulous blog hop including many wonderful artists who used the stencils in lots of creative ways! 

I'm excited to share how I used them too! Plus a give-away! Just scroll down and leave a comment to win the set of four stencils.
I decided to play exclusively with sheer fabrics. So, I pulled out tulle, cheesecloth, organza and chiffon in a variety of colors. (By the way, I love Lynn's signature on the packaging of the stencils.)

Here are two of the stencils laying on two different fabrics and the Adirondack color wash ink...

that I sprayed over them.

The chiffon bled a bit, but created an interesting look. I love the speckle you get with a spray.

Next I used acrylic paint and my beloved spouncer tool.

Check this out! So ethereal and subtle! This is very light blue paint stenciled onto navy blue tulle.

This is a reverse print. First I dabbed paint through the stencil, then I flipped it over and pressed it onto the purple organza.

After an hour or so of painting, spraying, dabbing and printing, I had this collection of printed sheer fabric.

Now the fun part... actually this is just more fun! I began cutting and arranging pieces to create a small fabric collage. I added some solid fabrics as the base.

Eventually, I ended up with these two designs. I machine stitched curvy arched lines over the top and trimmed them.

Another fun part: hand stitching!
Can you see the stenciled pattern on the blue organza. I really love these shapes!

Here is a bit of the cross shaped stencil with machine and hand stitching.

I call this stencil macaroni, but its official name is "commas." This is that reverse print you saw earlier.

Here is a bit that was created with the spray ink. The best part of creating a collage with layers is seeing how those blue shapes look different as they sit over the lavender and then transition to sitting over the blue base fabrics.

Finished pieces...
Concordance, 6x6 inches

Alliance, 6x6 inches

I mounted both pieces on stretched canvas and painted the edges. Here they are hanging. Isn't it fun to see them in a real setting!?

Stencils are a great addition to my studio. I love the ability to create original fabrics in unique ways with stencils, then pair them with other printed and solid fabrics to create collages that have depth, detail and interest.

Let me know how you would use the stencils in a comment and I'll pick one random comment to receive Lynn's set of stencils. You have one week to comment. I announce the winner on Wednesday, August 20. But if you must have them now now now... check out the amazing collection at artistcellar. Lynn's are there, plus lots of other stencils by other fabulous designers.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Indigo Garden

I am thrilled to share images of my quilt Indigo Garden! It's 40x15" and is a part of the fabulous art quilt exhibit Living Colour which premiered at Australia Quilt Convention in April. 

You can see some photos of the premier on the Living Colour blog.

Here's a long shot of the exhibit. It's along that back wall and you can get a sense of the beautiful flow of colors across the spectrum.

My friend Brenda Smith (and fellow Twelve) organized and curated this exhibit. She's created a stunning website with images of all the quilts and lots of info about the artists and the exhibit schedule. There's also a catalog.

I started this quilt with just two bits of inspiration... this striped fabric and the idea of botanical shapes.

Here are some sweet little embroidered leaf pods and a bit of the free motion quilted leaves.

I created a freezer paper stencil to paint the large willowy branch. The green pattern at the bottom is stamped with a wooden hand carved tjap.

 More tiny stitched botanical bits.

Another shot from the exhibit showing the progression from the blues into the multicolored works. My quilt is second from the left.

I am thrilled that the Living Colour exhibit will visit the US on the American Quilters Society tour of shows in Grand Rapids, Chattanooga and Des Moines. Dates and details here