Sunday, October 5, 2014

Watercolor Poppies

(I know I always start out with some comment about the weather and I'm gonna do it again!) 

Today was Autumn perfection!  Sunny, crisp and cool - you couldn't have asked for anything better.   It's days like this that really make me love nature and appreciate all the beauty around us.

This photo was sent to me this morning from a friend, just north of Boston.  Absolutely gorgeous!!

So much so that I had to bring it in to the Studio tonight. 

Carrying on after yesterday's experiments... Remember those random red and orange blobs done with the silk acrylics?

Well they are now poppies!  My inspiration for these comes from the new style of watercolor/impressionist tattoos that feature geometric, avant garde subject matter.  There are bold splashes of color that don't necessarily "stay in the lines" when colored, if colored at all.  I absolutely love this style - be prepared to see more like it!
Roughly 15" tall

Tonight, the first step was to heat set with a dry iron at a very high heat.  I used a tefflon ironing sheet to prevent any extra paint from catching on my iron, but it didn't appear to have any bleeding. 

Next an outline in black.

Then added detail in complimentary colors. 

I had a lot of fun with this and am happy with the out come.  This was only an experiment so I don't think I'll finish quilting the back ground - but then again, I may change my mind in a few days :-) 

Coming up is a marathon week for my office but I will try my best to get the next experiment done and up!  I'm too excited to let it sit for too long...!

Enjoy the Fall and we'll chat soon! Cheers

Mood: Pleased!
Music: "Rasputin" by the Town Pants

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Painting the Rain Away...

The Hubs and I have been insanely busy with home updates.  Boston is not exactly known for gentle winters and our poor little chalet needed some TLC to make it through a bit tighter and warmer than last year!  And the more we do, the prouder I get of our abode.

We had to say "Good-bye" to our 6 trees in the back yard.  Sadly they were starting to grow into our house and back porch foundation, while damaging our roof.  On the plus side, it has opened up so much day light into the house!! 

Brand new door and front steps!! 

And a window that looks like a quilt block??  Oh yes, this will be done!
Every new door deserves a new decoration, right?  A quickie project with wood letters, ribbon and paint!

During the week I work a few days at a bio-imaging lab and watch all the lab techs, in their cool white coats run all sorts of experiments.  In my over imaginative brain, I picture them doing something involving beakers and funky chemicals that create a lava-bubbling in bright purples and pinks.  Or at the very least a beautiful smell.  Reality is far from that, I'm sure.

But today I got to play "scientist" at home!  I'm very excited by a new found product put out by Luminarte.  These little guys are silk acrylic paints and are a lot of fun.  You can use them on wood, pottery, fabric, pretty much whatever you care to try.  In this case - muslin.

The link in Luminate will take you to Amazon, where you can find so many different colors available!

Today was experimenting how to get different effects on fabric.  I tried water, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol; tested the effects of pigment first then eye drop liquid on top vs. wetting the muslin and adding pigment.  I loved watching the dyes spread and change color the further out they went, really neat effects!

In total, each large "splotch" took about 5 minutes to full spread out, and that was with a very wet canvas.  My favorite effect so far is the alcohol on the brown pigment as it turns a blue green then yellow the further out it spreads.

Blending was also fun and very easy!  It essentially turned into water-coloring on fabric.  These are just the beginnings.  Once these dry and are heat set (in about 24 hours) we'll see what they turn into under the needle!!  (Sounds so sinister, doesn't it?!) 

More will definitely be coming!!

Be sure to have a drop cloth or some sort of backing that you're not afraid of damaging as these do bleed through.

I hope you all have some fantastic Autumn projects under way!  Come share them over on the M. Rose Quilt Studios Facebook page (link above!)  Let's see what everyone is up to!


Mood: Curious
Music: "Learn to Fly" by the Foo Fighters

Monday, September 22, 2014

Around the World!! Or at least the NorthEast ;-)

Tonight it is my privlage to share several very talented people with y'all!  I've been looking forward to this post for a while!

As I'm sure many of you know already, there is a game of Tag happening across the blog-o-sphere and we are all getting connected with great talent across the World.  Last week I was tagged by Judy Tucker, a phenomenal quilter I get to meet with twice a month in my guild.   She shares regularly on her blog, Sleeping Dog Quilts, and is pure inspiration to watch! 

In turn I am tagging others that I look up to and love to follow!  As mentioned in previous posts, I participated in a MugRug Swap with Marie who blogs at Marie's Creative Space.  From the get go it was like meeting a kindred spirit as we had so much in common and not just in the quilting world. 

My second tag is Marija, a friend and mentor I've known and loved for many years, she might as well be family!  She is my go to person whenever I have a fabric question and is a brilliant quilter, seamstress and designer.  You can follow her at Fabric of My Life blog.

Part of the being tagged is to answer some questions, so here we go!

1.  What are you working on?

Today was an easy day working on some Halloween place mats.  I had a kit given to me a few years ago and just didn't like the pattern.  These mats are those fabrics done totally different!  I've been testing out curved piecing and this was my experiment for a simple project!

This is just the first - the others will have other Halloween-y figures quilted in!  More to come!

In addition to this, I am gearing up to do some abstract work that will mix modern piecing, water colors painting and free-motion embroidery.  I'm collaborating with a good painter friend and am so excited to get this up and running.  This has been a long time coming and the closer I get to starting, the more passionate I get for it!!  Get ready for some new, new ideas!!
Combine The Adventures of Tintin cartoons....

...with abstract watercolors and quilting...  Who knows what will happen!

2.  How does my work differ from others?

This is something I try very hard to be - different from anything else seen before.  I am a traditionally/classically trained seamstress and quilter.  My family taught me all about quilting from a very young age and I added to that with 3 years of fashion design.  Taking all the technique and theories, I like to take an idea, flip it inside out and push it out of its comfort zone but still call it a quilt! 

I am also very applique heavy.  Essentially, if I can sketch it, then it can be cut and appliqued.  I love anything filigree or swirly, like my Pumpkin Patch quilt

or Blooming Peacocks, (which I forgot to mention were semi-finalists in Grand Rapids AQS Quilt Week this past August!  I'm thrilled with their progress!)
 AQS' list of semifinalists!

3. Why do I do what I do?

So much goes into a creation - heart, time, money, effort and then some.  Being on the creating side has given me a whole new appreciation and respect for others works.  And because I know how much goes into it, I am not about to steal their work.  Plus I love the waves of inspiration that hit me and the sketching time to see what could happen.  Some of my favorite pieces have started as post-it notes from a meeting in the office just because someone said something that struck a funny synapse in my head :-)

4. How does my creative process work?

A sketch book lives in my purse.  It goes with me everywhere, even to church. 
Sometimes its the above mentioned post-it note process.  Sometimes its boredom or pent up energy that just gets vented on my sewing machine!  I definitely start with an idea and then get my supplies; it very rarely happens fabric first then creation after.  Which is probably why my stash is relatively small (only half a bedroom ;-)  )

 I am very excited to chat with you soon!  But until then, please check out Judy, Marie and Marija!!


Mood: Fall-y
Music: "Oo-La-La" by The Fugees

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Faulty Stars

It has been an absolutely marathon few days since our last chat.  So all the time I had set aside for quilting was mostly used for anything BUT quilting! And probably the busiest of all the days was yesterday (Wednesday) - the day quilts were due for the Modern Summer Challenge in our Guild!

The most unexpected part of my day was the tiniest visitor we've ever had - Lilly!  Django, our 80 lb Catahoula Leopard,  has always been a cuddle bug and a sweet puppy, but yesterday proved he is a kind soul through and through.  When I went to bring him back in the house yesterday morning, I found him cuddling a little, black kitten on the front walk!!  And I mean little!!  I've never seen a kitten so young!  With no sign of Mom or any other kittens, we brought her in and for 6 hours we were foster parents to the cutest week old baby.  She chilled with me most of the day, though Django did spend a lot of time watching, too!  We named her Lilly and, had the Hubs not been hyper allergic to cats, we would have kept her.  But the wonderful and capable staff at the Boston Animal Rescue League took Lilly in and, from the sounds of it, there is a potential adopter already lined up!
Don't let her size fool you - this little girl has a good pair of lungs!  She was quite vocal when she was awake!
**UPDATE - She is spoken for officially!!** >>insert happy dance here!!<<

Last night was the Proper Bostonian Quilters Guild's first meeting of the season and it was an exciting start to our year!  There were so many beautiful and creative entries for the Modern Summer Challenge that it really ended up being a small show...

... which I almost missed!!  Guild started at 7:30p and I was sewing right up until 7:28p!  Luckily I live just up the street from where we meet.  I am very pleased with the final product.  My goal was to do something that would normally be found in a traditional work, push it off center and twist it.  
"The Fault in My Star," 48" by 70" at longest length, pieced, machine quilted

This is called "The Fault in My Star," based off the book by John Green, "The Fault in Our Stars."  In it, young characters are faced with terminal cancer and yet still chose to make the most out of life.  I found it a bright comfort while I read it during chemo procedures.  We shine at our brightest during the worst trials in life and that light touches so many more, we may not even know.  And when we lose someone, we still have their love and example but our lives are never as brilliant for their passing.

I dedicate this quilt to the memory of a friend, mentor and one greatly compassionate lady, Jennifer A. Strassburg, who passed this Summer after a very long a difficult battle with cancer.  She was a gifted teacher and powerful friend who remembered the little things and knew exactly what needed to be said to brighten your day.  Everyone who ever met her left a better person, but the World is not as bright without her in it. 
The link in her name above gives you just a glimpse of who she was to so many people. 

This quilt was a work of love from the start and also a lot of challenges!!  Because I so typically rely on applique, I did not want to do any applique in this piece.  The Lone Star parts were easy and went together easily.  Getting all the falling pieces, which were all improve-pieced, to fit together at all odd angles - not as easy as I thought!

Close up of the back material!

I also knew that I didn't want this to be a strictly squared off quilt.  The bottom part was the first part quilted by layering the batting, top face up, back face down; stitched in my shape; then flipped right side out.  Working from the bottom up with my basting and quilting went a lot easier than expected, too!  Having one spot solidly anchored made a HUGE difference!

Now that these pieces are done, I'm excited to focus back on things I started in June!  My overall goal is to keep my UFO stash at a minimum (she says while laughing!)

Keep stitching and we'll be in touch soon!!

Mood: Exhausted-but-happy
Music: "Rebel Yell" by Black Veil Brides

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Finishing up Summer!

August was FANTASTIC!  So much quilting, so much sunshine, just so much happened it's hard to believe it's September all ready!

August was also a month for finishing projects!  Around the house and yard we've been doing a lot of work landscaping and cleaning and we're starting to feel really proud of our little corner of earth!  The best part was celebrating with friends over Labor Day - sitting back to enjoy how far we've come this year and sharing it with our favorites!
We added a pool!!!  My favorite part of this Summer!!

Mr. Django was our fantastic helper outside - always happy and just so darn cute!!

Watching sailboats from my office!

Labor Day was a fantastic celebration with the best of family and friends!!

In the Studio it was all about finishing up Summer projects!  First was for a Mug Rug Swap from Quilting Gallery!  The theme was "Summer Memories" and my absolute favorite memories all have sailing or being near water around them.  Lucky for me, my amazing swap partner, Marie, also happens to really love sailing.  So designing was easy and a lot of fun!
I was feeling romantic, Summer date nights at the Fair!

Sunset sailing - from memories back home on Lake Ontario!

Made for me by the wonderfully talented Marie!

Last night I finished my Guild's Modern Wall Hanging Challenge and am really, really happy with the outcome.  I stared at the top for 2 months and doodled on post-its a ton until I figured out a theme I was happy with.  My secret design helper, the Hubs, also came to the rescue when I worked myself into a corner!  It is an amazing help to have a second pair of eyes to keep everything balanced and, in my case, to get the non-quilter's point of view! 
"Odd Feather" wall hanging, 20" by 23"

Feathers within feathers quilting.  I took the feather motif of quilting, enlarged it as an applique then added more feather quilting in it.  I have never been more proud of my quilting - so love the outcome!

Pieced back from scraps of the front, shows off a lot more of the quilting!

See you all here soon with updates for the Lap Quilt Summer Challenge as I finish that one up!

Cheers and happy stitching!!

Mood: Sunny
Music: "Big Black Car" by Gregory Alan Isakov

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sun-Sunny Days!!

I love Summer! Mostly because it means I can go to one of Boston's many beaches!  So when a good friend invited me to a beach outing, I was excited!!

But I couldn't find my beach bag anywhere...! 

Well, it was time to update it anyways, right?  Last Friday evening I whipped up this guy: 

It was super simple to make: cut various width of fabric strips, alternate colors, sew strips into one big panel, fold in half and sew up the bottom and side! Add handles and you're done! I did not want to put a huge amount of effort into a lining or pockets (by all means you can!!) and if I were making it for any other purpose than the beach, I would have put more details into it. I did add top stitching and French seams on the side/bottom to keep things from unraveling but that's as fancy as this one gets! Start to finish, this project took a total of 35 minutes!

Same night, still feeling the glow of a new bag and couldn't shut my brain off.  Plus I had The Princess Bride playing in the background (ooo that Dread Pirate Roberts...!) and ended up with this little tote.  Lately I've been thinking through what our family coat of arms might look like, if I were to create one. Of course it would have to be piratey on some level. Combine the two trains of thought and you get:

Not bad for a project started after midnight!!

The next day was GREAT!!  We went to Revere Beach, just outside Boston.  Our original plan was just to see the annual Sand Sculpture contest. It also happened to be Disney's Kid Triatholon, a country music fest, and the Food Truck fest - all at once on the beach!! What a day!!  It was a bit breezey and cloudy but, with the overwhelming crowds, I didn't mind one bit!  Not to mention just having a great time with friends, new and old! 

I can't rember the exact title but it had something to do with her transforming into waves of the Ocean. 

This one is called "Fear"

This is "Double Vision" - study it a bit you'll see why! And this beauty won first place!

I LOVED this one, called "Eternal Love"

Dedicated to our Troops of all branches of service!

And finally, the sand castle!!

Keep enjoying the Summer Sun and we'll chat soon!  Keep stitchin'!!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Feathers All Around!!

My poor husband has been so sick the past week or so, making me the loving nurse! He is finally feeling better (thankfully!!) but his nurse caught all his germs.  There is nothing worse than being sick in hot weather, agreed??

Which is why I hid in my sewing studio the past couple days - it has beautiful air conditioning!! :-)

My studio recently got an upgrade, which my fellow tall quilters might appreciate! I've always complained about cutting because it meant bending over to awkward heights. When you are 5'10", the standard table height is not comfy at all.  The Hubs suggested bed raisers. Sold in 4 packs from Amazon or Ikea for roughly $15, these are back savers!!! Best $15 I've ever spent!

Today's post is a combo of 2 different day's work, both of which are part of my Guild's summer challenge.  We were given the panetone of Radient Orchid and told to create a wall hanging using at least one fat 16th of that color.  Luckily it happens to be one of my favorite colors!!

The top I made 2 weeks ago and really enjoyed making it! It is fusible applique with random pieced sides, no boarders.  It measures 24" by 21".

I held on to all the scraps in order to make the back - today's project!  despite feeling like Death warmed over, I had a lot of fun with this.  And I find myself loving the back a smidge more than the front...  

Did this just become a pair of wall hangings?  Or perhaps a double sided piece to blow in the breeze?

Next step - quilting!! Which will be my weekend project!

Enjoy the sunshine!!