Friday, November 2, 2012

It has been so good to spend concentrated time in my studio this week. I have managed to get a lot of things finished which in turn has let my brain open up and have some space to think about some other things that I want to try. The pressure has been eased up and I don't feel like I am in a pressure cooker ready to pop the lid. I was always afraid of pressure cookers when I was younger for the fear that they would explode so you can imagine the strain of trying to keep your head from exploding can be. I feel that I am in a good place now with the items that I have ready for the craft sale in December and I can play with some of the other ideas that I wanted to do if I had the time, not bad since it is only the 2nd of Nov. I have plenty of time to play.

I finished quilting another table runner yesterday, I love the quilting motif. I used a frame from one of my stencils and then I divided the areas up and conquered each area seperately, like Irena Bhlum taught us.
Isn't the quilting pretty? I was totally improvising as I went along. I listened to how the piece wanted to be quilted and I think it all ties in nicely. I just love it when that happens. I stitched the binding on this one and another turquoise one I had ready. I also finished up the little winter snow scene wallhanging.
I added some embroidery stitches a la Laura Wasilowski style to the trees and the house then finished it with her wrapped binding technique. This was a block that I had started years ago and just never got excited with how it was going. I knew I wasn't going to do the whole quilt of the different houses from the pattern this came from so in my attempt to finish my UFO's I decided it could be a little holiday wallhanging all on its own. We don't have to let those projects go that we lost motivation to finish in the way we had initially intended. Look at them with fresh eyes and see what they can become now. Maybe you don't want to make 15 more blocks that would finish off that quilt you started 10 years ago but you can take what you have already done and create some pillow covers with them or perhaps add them to the back of a quilt that you are lacking enough fabric for. Think of things in a different context. Could that lone block become a pocket on a tote bag? What can you do to finish up a piece that you have lost interest in? Can you cut it up randomly and sew it back together? How can you make something that you started 10 years ago fit into your style now? How can you make it new and exciting? These are things that I have been asking myself and trying to come up with ideas for fresh new projects. Perhaps that is because I am reading the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain or it could be from watching Project Runway or it could be the combination of the two. It never hurts to look at things with fresh eyes and a desire to try to do something in a different way. Most of all, don't let fear stop you. Ask yourself, what would be the worst thing that would happen if you failed at trying this new "thing"? Would you waste a few materials? Yes maybe? Would you waste a little bit of time? Probably. Would you blow up the world? No, of course not. Would "they" send you to jail? No, not unless you were trying to blow up the world. Do you see what I am trying to say? It is not the end of the world if you fail the first time or it is not as "good" as you wanted it to be. We all fell down while we were learning to walk. We all got bumps and bruises but we kept going. Why are we so afraid to take creative steps forward? I am going to go to my studio now and I am going to play with some fabric and other supplies and see what I can come up with. I hope you will take the time to think about taking some creative steps forward. It could be in anything, like cooking, baking, writing, painting, writing a song. There are so many creative outlets out there. Find something that speaks to you and persue it. Don't let fear hold you back and don't let any other excuse stop you. Be bold, be brave and most of all enjoy yourself.

Have a wonderful day and find what makes your heart sing.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Working hard or hardly working...

I know that from today's photo it looks like I didn't do much yesterday but that is not the case. I was working hard but I just don't have that much to show for it in tangible finished projects. I quilted on the surprise piece so you just have to take my word on that one. I did layer, baste and quilt 2 table runners and attached the bindings and was able to do the hand stitching on 1 of them. Here it is. You can even see the quilting motifs in it.
That is what took the most time, hand marking the quilting motifs. I will finish up the binding on the other one tonight most likely.

My tea water was whistling in the kettle so I now have a nice hot cup of tea to sip on while I finish up this post. I do have some photos of the most adorable trick or treaters that you could ever want to meet. Here is Avery as Dora the Explorer.
And Miss Piggy is Brianne.

Aren't they the most huggable little ones you have ever seen? Yes? No? The little ones nearest and dearest to our hearts are always the most precious. I know that there are lots of others out there too. I just might be a little bit proud of my grandbabies, who by the way I know are no longer babies but you understand....

Well, today I am going to be working away in the studio again and prehaps get out to town for some necessities and to stop by the bank.

Have a wonderful day and remember to pray for those who have been hit hard by the storm and try to find some way to help.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Moving right along...

It seems that I have been making good progress in the studio. Before I went on the quilt retreat, I put together a basket of hand work to do in the evenings and I had projects lined up to quilt for the craft sale in early December. The 2 large quilts are now done for the UMW ladies. This is a photo of the 2nd quilt.

I finished up all the things that were in my basket, mostly cutting out shapes for another table runner,
Holly leaves and berries and some flower motifs.
Some embroidery embellishing work on a winter scene wallhanging.
I just have to do the binding work on this piece.
I even did a little additional quilting on the "surprise piece".

Today, I plan on quilting the 3 table runners that are prepped and that will be the end of the things that are waiting to be finished. I have this crazy idea for some cool journal covers I want make so that just might be my hand work in the evenings. I get so excited when ideas and quilts are just crying out in my head to be made. It is so hard to contain myself at times. Well, instead of trying to come up with more to say here I might as well get myself down to the studio and get to work. It is all calling to me.

Have a safe and prosperous day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back to work in my own studio...

Yesterday was my first day back to work with all of my own supplies and things around me. It is wonderful to go away for a working retreat but it is also stressful in trying to pack everything that you think you could possibly need yet not take too much. I did better this time in having a plan and taking the right fabrics, I just didn't have quite enough of the right values that I needed and then part of how I was going to do my project wouldn't work so I had to change gears there and I needed a few extra things that I wasn't expecting. No big deal though. I must say that everyone in the class was willing to share what they had if it would work for your project. It was a great group of ladies.

Now to get on with what I accomplished yesterday when left to my own vices. I started out, after finishing my blog post of course, with loading a printed panel and quilted it.
I did a loose swirl all over pattern to keep it soft and fluffy. It will be sold at the craft fair at our church the first Saturday in December. It is for the UMW fund raiser table. I have another one to do for them that I plan on finishing today. Then I can begin playing on my surprise piece. After I finished up the quilting on the panel, I moved upstairs and worked on the applique part of a block of the month quilt that I participated in back in 2009. I finished up the next to the last block. Isn't it adorable?
I think the pieced blocks even though they are called Puzzle blocks look like bugs. Very fitting with the flowers and watering can. I have to finish the last block and then I can put it all together and quilt it. That is my goal this next year is to finish up all of my UFO's and work on more artsy style quilts. Expand my talents. Another goal I have is to work through a workbook that I got entitled Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Last night I did 2 exercises. They are actually pre-exercises so you have a record of where you were when you started out so you can see the progress you make as you work your way through all the lessons. I bought the book at the beginning of the year but I guess I have been too afraid of seeing just how bad I am at drawing. But here it goes, I am going to hold myself accountable to everyone here that reads my blog and I will post my work here hopefully, weekly. If I get lax and don't post any drawings I need you all to prod me along and demand to see my work. Ok? I am counting on you to help me here. So these are my first 2 drawings. The first is a self portrait, don't be too hard on me that it doesn't really look like me. It is a pre-exercise remember.
The second exercise was to draw our hand, this is my hand.

I also made Texas Cavier for dinner last night. It is super easy and delicious. You take 1 can of garbanzo bean, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of whole kernel corn, drain and rinse all of these, put in a bowl, add some garlic, salt, cut some cherry tomatoes in half, splash on a little lime juice and season with a little chili powder or ceyenne pepper. Give it all a good stir. I like it with tortilla chips. Hope you try it.

Have a great day and stay dry and safe as the rest of the storm moves along.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Recap of last week...

I will give you a little recap of last week's activities. The inn we stayed at is on the historic landmark registry and is very quaint.
The studio where we worked is behind the main inn. I didn't take any photos of the outside of the studio. I wasn't thinking again. Here are several pictures of our room. First off this is the porch.
Our room was rather unique in that you had to go upstairs and then outside a couple of steps onto an upper porch and into our room. It was a rather large yet cozy room.
The draw back was while you were working in the studio and you had to go to the restroom you had to go up and outside to your room everytime. Not a big deal, it was part of the exercise program for the week. LOL.
We did get a group shot at dinner our last evening.
The 2 ladies on the right joined us for dinner as they came early for their workshop the following week so they were not part of our group.
Here are some photos of the projects that the group did. You will notice that mine is not shown as it is a big surprise.
This is Tina with her project. She mastered eyes during the week. Her's is awesome. Linda's project was of her granddaughter and she used the machine method. She was able to start laying out her background also.
I love the photo that Catherine used for her project. It was of her daughter in a tunnel on a playground writing in a book, evidently a favorite place and past time of hers. It is turning out fabulous.
I am very sad that for some reason I did not get a photo of Liv's work. Tina did and she will get it to me soon so I can add it too. I hope you have enjoyed our work. It was very intense work but I think all of us enjoyed it and came out knowing so much more about layering values to create depth and realism to our pieces. Tina and I have decided to schedule play dates weekly, or there about, to experiment with these things that we have learned, to push our creativity a little further outside the box. We have come home energized to create more realistic and more artsy type works. We had a wonderful week. I am not sure how we will top this one next year but we will try.

Have a great day and do whatever it is you need to stay safe from the effects that we might get from Hurricaine Sandy and remember to pray for those who are closer in harms way, but do not live in fear. Our God knows where we are at all times and is ready to save us, all we have to do is call on Him and His angels will swoop down to save us.