Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Painting Fabric


Just what I needed a new hobby!  Well, not totally new.  I quilt.  I gelli print.  I play with paint.  Now I'm doing them combined.  This little art quilt was made entirely with solid fabrics, paint and thread.  I only had two colors of fabric paint at the time so the color palette was a bit limited.  I snuck in a little permanent marker to fill in a couple of spots.

I'd had the paint for awhile and had experimented just briefly when it came in but hadn't had time to really dive into it.  To make the border fabrics, I used gelli printing, mostly with a 3x5 block.  This created pretty prints however the fabric cuts had to be fairly small.  Since I loved doing this so much I've bought several more colors and am experimenting using my 8x10 gelli plate.

On Craftsy I took a class from Heather Thomas and learned about drawing with your machine quilting.  She used some other products for coloring in but I stuck with the fabric paint and a brush.  It's a lot of fun!  

I was so pleased with this little quilt that it is hanging in my craft room. I'm so obsessed, I've abandoned fabric I had purchased for other projects to enjoy playing with paint and solid fabric.

Thanks for visiting today!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Art Quilt Play

Just playing with some scraps, various machine quilting threads and rulers.  As much as I love my Pfaff sewing machines, I could not get either my old basic one or my new one that is supposed to be more for quilting to work with a ruler foot. The thread would always break.

The new Handi Quilter Capri works easily with rulers which are really more templates to help quilt various designs cleanly.  I was still practicing on this piece.  The rulers would slip so I had some trouble keeping straight lines.  I just got in the little grippy things for the back of the rulers and no more sliding.  I'm practicing more on another quilt.

My husband found this little quilt this morning laying on the sofa and carried it into the bathroom to find me and tell me how much he liked it.  We debated which way it should go.  I designed it for the shaped pieced column to be on the right.  I know I've seen another quilt with that type of element somewhere but I could not find it to link it up.  It's shown here the other way up.

This was a fun little project just to practice.  It is hanging in my sewing room now as inspiration to keep creating.

(ETA this photo, unrelated but I need a place to link it:

Monday, August 23, 2021

Scrambled Stars

When in the craft room lately, I've been card making or sewing.  Recently I finished my first art quilt in many years.

I had this idea awhile ago of taking traditional blocks and mixing them up, literally.  In my original sketch the horizontal black bar was lower and the quilting had channels that helped it radiate from the center more distinctly.  Unfortunately, the time between the sketch and the making extended and I lost my plan a bit.  I got a bit too dazed by technology.

For many years I have used Powerpoint to lay out my quilts.  It's the software I had and knew. It wasn't that efficient but it worked.  With the last couple of quilts though, it had become very tedious.  There had to be something better.  A quick search yielded  EQ8 from Electric Quilt.  It looked to be the most popular quilt design software with plenty of features so I bought it and designed this quilt - without referring to my original sketch.

The software is easy to use and like a lot of software has more features than I really need and is a bit shy in some areas that I use more.  I'm learning as I go. I've already used it to design a simple Linus project quilt.  It was very helpful in determining the amount of fabric I needed and in trying various layouts.

For this quilt, I needed little fabric just a chance to play with different ones to get the effect I wanted.

While it is a bit different than the original sketch, it was an interesting change. This is the most white I've ever used in a quilt - or in a quilt I actually finished!  I'm really a color person and tend to like to fill the space I have so leaving so much literal white space was a challenge for me.

If you stop by for scrapbooking, please be patient with me. I've had a major life change in the last few months.  My mother passed away.  I haven't really been interested in scrapbooking and my time has been consumed with her affairs.  I don't know when I will return to scrapbooking but hope to get back to some type of videos this fall.

Thanks for visiting today.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Mixed Media Wall Art

One of the key goals of my redecorating last year was to create space for more art.  I hoped to find pieces that I really love and to showcase things that I made.  

The space over my server in my dining room is one where I hope to find a painting that I love.  We've actually been looking for something new for that space for about 3 years.  There is one piece we found about a year and a half ago that I wish I'd bought. Otherwise, nothing has been quite right. 

The painting I had here before is now in my living room so I was faced with a big open space in my decor.  I decided to create a mixed media space as a 'for now' piece.

When I first put this mixed media painting up, I didn't love it.  I really didn't like it.  The background of mostly turquoise shades and a little yellow and gold, I really liked.  I'd added the circles created with 5 different stencils using heavy gel medium colored with Stampin' Up! reinkers.  The circles didn't seem to fit and the red/rust ones particularly jumped out. They seemed to take over the room and I wanted a more subtle piece.

So I remembered what I'd learned about mixed media canvases from Christy Tomlinson that you need to use some of your foreground colors in the background. I started adding subtle touches to the background.  I would take it down and go back up to my craft room, add a little more paint/gel and then back up on the wall.  Over the next couple of days, I finally landed on the number of layers that made me happy. One thing I learned years ago when doing mixed media is that the key is knowing when to stop. When to say 'when.' 

I think I stopped at the right point and I like the piece.  I still don't love it but that's fine.  It is a place holder until I either find a painting I want to purchase or create something new for the space myself.

One thing I did learn is that I really like the portrait orientation for this space.  The first thing that hung here was a square wall quilt I made when we built the house.  Next I had a landscape oriented painting.  I think this 30x40 size is a good fit.

And guess what?  I had to really clean up my worktable to fit such a big canvas on it.  That inspired me to get back to my papercrafts.  I have a scrapbook page on my worktable in process!

Thanks for visiting today!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Ribbons and Jewels

 My crazy drapery project is complete!

In an earlier post, I explained why I'd gone off the crafting deep end and was embroidering my own drapery fabric.  Now a month or so later, the draperies are complete and hung. I'm delighted with how they turned out.  

I left the white Fabricut linen cotton blend unlined so they have a lighter look.  The fabric has substantial weight and body to it so they aren't skimpy.  To create the look, I used my Pfaff sewing machine to embroider each length with a top to bottom design zig and zagging back and forth in a light gray thread. I think of these as the ribbons. Then I added shorter straight rows of a variety of decorative stitches in gold, darker gray and beige threads  including a gold metallic.  They look like rows of gems to me sort of like straight earrings.  On the backside, I had some tearaway stabilizer pinned in place and tore it away from the stitches when each length was stitched.  It did a marvelous job of completely eliminating any puckering of the fabric as I'd had in my samples without stabilizer.

Since I was making the draperies, I knew how far apart to do the embroider and that I only needed it on the face of each pleat.  A perfect pattern repeat for a deep pleat on stationary panels is about 10 inches so that is what I did. The embroidery covers about 3 1/2 inches of each repeat so there isn't nearly as much embroidery as you might think to look at them.

Still the project took over 40 hours. That sounds like a lot until you think about the time invested in a quilt, crocheting a throw or knitting a sweater.  

Now that I have that white fabric out of my craft room, I can move onto some messier projects. The next thing I want to do is a mixed media canvas but I wouldn't dare get paint out until these were completely finished.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Scarf Storage

So here is one bit of my cleaning and organizing that is interesting.

I love scarves. I've always loved them.  I don't wear them as often as I used to particularly since I resumed knitting about 4 years ago.  I've knitted cowls, ponchos and shawls that have take the place of wearing scarves in cooler weather.

When I worked in a corporate environment from the mid-1980's until the early 2000's, I wore decorative scarves weekly to work.  I still have many of them. 

Recently, I needed to shift some things around in our walk-in closet displacing my crude scarf storage system made up of a bunch of coat hangers tied together with the scarves draped over them.  I know that things buried in a drawer are forgotten so I wanted at least some of my scarves still out where I could reach for them.  

This is the solution I came up with.  The last free wall space in the closet was a small area behind the door.  I used 2 - 1x4x6 boards and 6 - 4 foot dowels.  I painted the boards and then my husband suggested I screw them together before drilling the holes to assure that they lined up.  He also has a drill press which made drilling the holes fast and exact.  You could do the same thing with a regular drill.

Here's the finished scarf rack with a few scarves on it.  In the end, it held 25!  The rest, and yes there are more, are in a drawer.  Some of the ones on the rack are winter and can be removed in just a couple more weeks.

I did this project on Sunday and all week I've popped into my closet to admire my storage solution.  I also wore one of the scarves this week.

Drapery embroidery continues, I'm through two widths of the 4 needed. Thanks for visiting today!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

You won't believe what I'm trying to do

I woke up this morning and quickly seized on these 3 points.

1.  I slept really well for a change.

2.  It's March and I missed blogging in February.

3. I hate Facebook.

The first is probably the most important to my life as I've been having a lot of back pain.  I have a chronic condition though I've gone months  or even years before without pain at night.  The last couple of years though it has been worse and sometimes, like lately, I can't remember the last night I didn't wake up at some point in pain.  Last night I elevated the head of the bed just a few inches.  Will this work going forward?  Am I inviting the curvature in my spine that my father had?  All I care about today is that I feel good!

How this led to remembering my neglected blog, I don't recall but it did.  I don't think I've ever missed a month and I missed the one with my 12th anniversary of the blog, too.  Why don't I blog more?  Do people still read blogs? I used to read a lot more but I stopped as it became more difficult to keep up with them.  When Google got rid of whatever it was we used to hop around from blog to blog, I tried another app but didn't like it and just fell out of the habit of reading them.  This got me to thinking of alternatives. I love Instagram, but we seldom say much to go with our pretty photos.  Twitter is limited on the amount of content and ... oh, speaking of Instagram, that red headed woodpecker I photographed and posted a few days ago is back on my bird feeder just now.  He's more gorgeous than ever.  Anyway, this all led me to Facebook which is where I think people babble on about their lives and that led me to the inevitable...

I hate Facebook.  I've always hated it from the first time I tried it, the same year I started blogging, coincidentally.  I could tell you all the reasons but my fingers would get very tired of typing.  To try to summarize, it's a terribly written app and has evolved into a place of hurt feelings, meaningless connections, and misinformation.  Plus I now know what some of my 'friends' and family really think about the world and their fellow men and women. It's as disheartening as it is disorganized.

So I'm back to the blog for my babble.  And that brings me to writing about what I've been doing creatively.  (I've been doing a lot of non-creative things like taxes, cleaning and organizing but you don't want to hear about that.)

I have made a lot of things in my life particularly with needle and thread but this time I'm doing something I've never done before and really never heard of anyone else doing.  For 16 years in the late 90's through 2013, I made custom window treatments.  Fabrics came from various distributors or sometimes from fabric stores.  Twice I made treatments from beautiful fabrics customers had acquired on trips to Europe - their trips, not mine. I combined fabrics in creative ways to make interesting bands on draperies, pillows and other bedding. But I never made my own fabric, until now.

Samples made to experiment with threads and designs
Now, I'm not actually making the fabric itself.  I'm embroidering plain fabric with my sewing machine - 12 yards of it!  

Why am I doing this?  Well, I just couldn't buy what I wanted.  It's gotten awfully hard to find fabric anymore.  There are few places selling it by the bolt and I've been to all I know of in the area over the last few months. I've looked online and I brought home numerous sample books and spent far too much time at a decorator showroom looking for fabric for the dining room.

So am I asking for the impossible?  Apparently.  I wanted a lightweight fabric I could leave unlined, embroidered with neutrals that would match my room particularly gold, preferably in a more modern print.  I really had my heart set on having gold embroidery.  Of course, I had an upper price limit but even stretching that limit a lot didn't get me the criteria.  If a fabric had gold in it, nothing else matched my room with now taupe/gray floors.  The closest I came was one for $60 per yard that had some pale gold, would have had to be lined and was awfully traditional in design.  It seemed foolish to go above my price limit for something I really didn't like.  So I didn't.

Completed panels will go on either side of this door.

I ordered 12 yards of white linen/cotton fabric and I'm using my Pfaff sewing machine to add embroidery stitches to create a more modern, fresh look for my dining room. And yes, it is taking forever!  No wonder my back hurts.

Portion of one panel

I've done some other creative things this winter but this project has taken over my craft room and my free time.

I certainly hope to have this done before my next blog anniversary.  If all goes well, maybe by the end of this month.  In the meantime, my papercrafting table sits fairly idle while my sewing machine is practically smoking!

If I take a notion to share my projects, I'll update my blog.  As usual, there will be a link on Twitter, Instagram, and yes, even Facebook.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Stampin' Up! Shopping Video

 I shopped for scrapbooking and cardmaking products!  I haven't bought anything much in years.  I've bought some Christmas stamps and replenished adhesives but paper? Embellishments?  No, nothing fun in a long time.

I shopped the Clearance Rack, the mini catalog and the regular catalog.  Check out the new items in this video:

If you are looking for Stampin' Up! product, be sure to visit my friend Karen's website:  Karen's Blue Ridge Stamping

Karen is a new Stampin' Up! demonstrator.  She has been stamping and using their products for years and is very knowledgeable about cardmaking and scrapbooking.

We had a dusting of snow this morning but mostly the storm missed us. Hope everyone is safe.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year, 2021!

 A new video for a new year!

I think we are all happy to welcome a new year and are hoping for a healthier, happier year.  

Recently I moved some things around in my craft room to make room for a room air conditioner I bought last spring.  In the off season, the air conditioner needed to go where I had a craft storage bin.  All my rearranging finished with a basket of mists being displaced. I'd decided a long time ago that if something had to be thrown out it would be those mists since I seldom used them.

Since I haven't used these mists in so long, I knew there was no point in even trying to spray them.  Some of them would probably have still misted; others would have spit and others would likely not have put out any mist at all.  

This video is what I did with the mists without touching the sprayer on any of them.  There are several techniques and I look forward to using them on a new layout coming soon for the new year.

Misting video:

Thanks for visiting today.  

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