Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Angst of It All

Here is a scan of the first ATC's I have ever made. I think am calling these finished and have quite a few backgrounds ready to go. Maybe I am ready to join a swap but feel I have to experiment a bit more. The background for 3 of them are painted baby wipes. They stayed soft after the paint and have a fabric feel to them. All are done on playing cards - I have a never-ending supply of those here in Las Vegas. The metal circle with the painted 6 was made from the cover of a coffee can.
As I was making these and thinking about starting some altered books and art journals, I came across a 30 year old fabric covered sketchbook of mine that had many unfilled pages. Some of the drawings and notes that I had done where near and dear to my heart so I have vowed to complete the entire thing. Problem is I will have to give up on a theme but I have decided it will have only my own drawings with maybe a few embellishments here and there.

This is the first pages I sketched yesterday from a flier of the Phantom of the Opera which is playing here at the Venetian. It is done with gesso and water-soluble graphite pencils. Drawing in ink is a favorite technique of mine with the pencils coming in second.
One of the drawings from 1983 that I liked were of clowns so I did a sketch (on the left) of some others from a magazine clipping that I have kept for as long.

And finally, this one done in 1984 with brush and ink is a self portrait. Maybe not so well-done but expressive. It expresses some heavy-duty angst I was going trough at that time of my life. Although I am quite happy to not be in that place again, I want to be able to bring back the 'feeling' that I had in my sketching so long ago. When I get to the last two pages I will do the Phantom of the Opera again in the hopes that with all the practice more of my hand and style will be gained again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Odds and Ends

 It was my resolution to get this blog off the ground at the beginning of 2010 so I pushed it out there without too many frills. I wanted to have made my own header and background by now but have been having too much fun playing in my studio. Couldn't bear looking at my sterile page any longer, so went over to The Graphics Fairy and grabbed a background and to Cute and Cool  for a header that matched. They have great tutorials there to help you make your blog pretty! I am very grateful to these and all the other awesome, inspirational and talented sites I have been following.
The rain has finally left us and will be back to 60 by the weekend. Totally enjoying the sunshine today and happy that I can finally take some things outside that need to be done there. I am spray painting some journal pages that I will be posting later. Trying to get a batch of ATC's done also. Even with the small size, they seem to take up more time than I thought they would. Maybe I am over thinking too much which happens more than not!
My mini-quilt project will be on its way to Georgayne (the raffle winner) in the morning. I have decided to make a pillow out of the 'Power of Women' flour resist piece. It sits next to my sewing machine waiting to be free-motioned stitched with pretty rayon threads.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Drum Roll Please......

Here is the final result. After reviewing many options, I decided a simple binding but it still seemed a bit lacking. I printed little butterflies (images from Dover) on fabric using Golden digital ground, beaded them up and added to the bottom.  Georgayne is the winner!  Please e-mail me with your address and I will mail it out to you.

Raffle Today!

I am adding the final embellishments as we speak to the soon-to-be raffled away mini-quilt that I decided to name 'Vintage Reserve'. The names have been gathered and are going into a bowl so that Mike can draw a name which I will post later today along with a photo of final piece.  Sorry for the delay but had one of those last minute midnight inspirations!  I appreciate and thank you all for the comments and suggestions - every one very good! Good luck!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One day to comment for raffle.

Has been a gloomy week with all the rain so have felt better to curl up with a blanket and read my just arrived back issues of Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts. I also have read and carefully considered the comments I received for the finishing of my mini quilt. In a previous post I said that all who comment would be in a raffle to win the finished piece. What I will do on tomorrow's (12 PM PST) deadline is put all the names in a box and have my husband Mike select a name. The winner will need to e-mail his/her address and it will be on its way!
Considering everything, I am leaning towards a simple double or triple gold roping finish.  The rick-rack is definitely out!  I will be working on it this afternoon and will post a photo as soon as I can.
Keep the comments coming!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


After a year and months of our suffering about our economy, job loss, health issues, etc., what has  happened in Haiti sure puts things in perspective. I was in Labadee, Haiti a little over a year ago as a site stop on my first ever cruise vacation. It was oppressively hot, even by my Las Vegas standards, but very beautiful. We were disappointed that there was not a little town nearby to explore, but there were local artists and vendors set up that we could talk to. There is controversy with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line now that they have resumed docking there. You can read about it here:

I agree with the cruise line that every little bit helps, although I would be even more uncomfortable right now than I was when there. The thing is, no one person can fix the bleed in something so big. If everybody gives - just a little - then maybe we can make a difference.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To Art or Not to Art, Part II Raffle

Spent the last several days deciding what is to be done with my now painted flour resist batiks.  After printing the images on organza and deciding that was not going to work, thought I would start with what I called the 'Ugly' before.  Actually, that piece was really not part of the resist process - merely a piece of muslin I threw on the remaining acrylic on my palette!  So I guess you would call it a mono print. Therefore I felt confident to experiment and toss it if I wanted to. Well, the more time I spent on it the less inclined I was to call it a complete disaster! 
You can see 'Ugly' in a previous post where I first laid in some color. At that point I could see trees in the background and maybe a lake and I printed some trees to play with that idea. Nothing worked until I found in my napkin stash some orange colored grapes and I used matte gel medium and glued it onto the muslin.  Hey, that was fun and now I was on a mission to make something out of it. I drew and painted the bird on a piece of the napkin and threw that in the background. Seemed to need something to bring you into the scene, so drew and painted a big butterfly on deli paper and put him in front.  Here is a close-up of the first lay down.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to try some free-motion stitching on this and decided it would become a mini-quilt.  Had some fusible fleece, grabbed that and fired up my new Viking Emerald 183. There were some big frustrations; I broke 3 needles and did a lot of cussing, but after a while I was having great fun.

I used a purple rayon thread in the background to make that area recede and all the rest a yellow cotton thread. The Ugly Duckling has not exactly became a Swan, but had fun trying!  But now I am stuck on the finishing and am hoping I can get your comments on where to go from here.

These are two ideas for finishing and I apologize for the bad photography.  Another thought I had was to blanket stitch the edges adding either beads and yarn or both.  What do you think?  I will set this aside until next Friday to finish.  Anyone who posts a suggestion or comment will be in a drawing to receive the completed piece! It is 9 3/4 X 11 before I add the binding and it will be ready to hang. To do so, click on the word comments (it will underline when you point to it) just below this post and the form will come up.

Friday, January 8, 2010

To Art, or Not to Art?

Have to tell you about the Good, Bad and Ugly of method experimentation. I mention this poker game as a clue that I need to learn when to keep them, when to ditch them, when to walk or run. Of the 4 pieces that I did the flour resist, two are good, one is bad and one is downright ugly. Lot to learn on the process of painting on cloth. While they were drying I decoupaged this flimsy cover of a sketchbook I want to work in. I also made some prints on deli-wrap papers with my new Golden Digital Grounds for an upcoming experiment. Next Friday is my workshop at Desert Art Supply but just couldn't wait! Also painted some of same papers black and stamped them with some foam art stamps I made. More on that later.

So now we come to the painted, flour resist pieces - where to go from here? I pinned them to my design wall and thought the wavy one looked like my pool and thought of embellishing it with some photos of said pool I had taken last summer. The 'ugly' one reminded me of a tree on the bank of a lake, so I pinned up this deli-paper print of a tree to think about it. Have no idea how much you will be able to see through the deli when I glue it down, so maybe organza? My favorite, the one that looks like window panes (because I spread the flour mix on my counter top which left the impressions of the tile) has a b&w photo of yours truly which works, but I may decide on another figure of some sort. The Power of Women I plan on quilting and painting after that and ideas are floating in as to embellishments.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Flour Paste Resist

Wish I could give credit to whomever it was that I read about this method but I am the Senior Executive of the CRS Club. If you don't know what that means, then you are too young to ask.

I knew of only the wax method for making batiks on fabric but in gathering info to start a project learned of three other possibly easier methods to do the trick! Flour resists really caught my eye since I had a 5 lb. bag sitting unused in my pantry. Will be trying the gouache and gel method next. What I thought was cool was that you could make marks in the drying flour and get designs as well as cracks. You can see in the photo I used stamps, my fingers and the end of a brush to make designs. Although some cracks have formed, this was before the actual cracking process. I believe the mix was 2 water to 1 flour but it was like a pancake batter that I used a spatula to apply to pre-washed muslin. It is best if you can stretch it on something (like the back of a canvas) or pin onto felt covered foam board. After it dries completely, go crazy scrunching it up to make your cracks! Once done, you can use India ink, fabric paint or acrylic to cover and let dry 24 hours.
Try to remove as much flour as you can before taking to the sink - the less to remove by water is best. Let it soak a bit at first and then rinse till all flour removed.
So now what will I do with them? For sure I want to add color so here is my start. I used Lumiere fabric paint and Fabric Mate pens.

There are 4 pieces and my favorite is not shown. They have been drying all night so today I get to continue which I will post details tomorrow.

Nothing like fresh-picked lemons. Thanks Linda! Can't wait till my tree produces like that!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, Blank Canvas

Here is a mini-quilt - my first free-motion project that I actually broke my sewing machine on. No worries, it was very old and it provided me with the excuse to buy a new one. The image is printed on cotton treated with Bubble-Jet Set and is of my mother circa 1946 (on the left, the only gal with slacks).

I am always excited to begin a fresh new year yet nervous as well. It is just like starting a new painting and I spend hours making lists, planning and dreaming. The Resolution List by this time has become totally unmanageable and outrageous, so I have torn it up and decided to just go with the flow and live by this motto:

If it is not fun, don' t do it,
If it is not broke, don't try to fix it,
Love well, myself first, and finally,
Live by the Golden Rule.

My dining-room-turned-studio was definitely broken and disorganized so I have spent the past 3 days re-arranging, sorting tools and gaining a tiny bit more space and a clearer head to work with. I am fresh now to work on some journals, ATC's and quilt projects I had started earlier. The most impressive task I completed was getting my 25 year old image files back in the proper order (like, I can find them now) which really set off my Muse. Some of the images were from old calendars that I had written notes and appointments on. What a hoot to see how far I have come yet how some things never change!
I am experimenting with Never-Dull, dryer sheets and lint, painted fuse-able, dying and painting fabrics, the new Golden Digital Grounds (signed up for a class for this one) and machine free-motion and felting. Whew. Maybe I need to make another list and shorten it!