Wednesday, December 30, 2009

State Fair Quilt Challenge

Catching up on posts:

This is a 20 x 20 inch quilt that I made for the New Mexico Quilter's Association fabric challenge at the State Fair this past September. We were given 3 fabrics--the focal asian flower piece, the batik purple stripe, and the peachy and gold print. We had to use a "recognizable" piece of the focal print, plus one or more of the coordinates. The quilts had to measure 20 x 20 inches.

I always like those simple geometric squares, so went with that idea as the basis of my design, and then complimented the angular squares with the organic focal floral.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Life Changes

Nope, haven't fallen off the face of the earth--just got pregnant! I am now 23 weeks along, and dispite being in the "honeymoon" second trimester, am still feeling extremely tired with ongoing nausea. So, needless to say, that is where my attentions have been these past few months, instead of making art.

Here is a picture of the little guy--yes, it is a boy! My 7 year old daughter is excited about the baby (though she was hoping for a girl), but my 4 year old son is not so excited--a little worried about the baby coming in and taking over his toys. But he seems to be slowly warming up to the idea as we are assuring him that he will get to keep his own room and his own stuff! He is starting to put aside some of his old toys for the baby--how sweet.

I have also been really busy the past couple of months with my longarm quilting business, because people have a lot of projects that they want completed for Christmas gifts or to enjoy themselves before the holidays. For the past couple of months, I have been barely keeping up with family, work, household duties and emergencies (like my washing machine overflowing and flooding our garage and my workspace), and trying to get enough rest, so my late-night art time has gone bye-bye.

I have really missed it though, and now that the busy season is over (even though I am still behind schedule), I need to add some of that art making time back into my schedule. This has been a light week, with company here and enjoying the holiday with the kids, I haven't been working in the garage in the evenings like usual. Instead, for the past couple of nights, after the kids have gone to bed, I have been able to bring out my hand dyed fabrics and begin two art quilts that I am hoping to enter into a quilt show next month. I feel out of practice and out of the groove, but it felt so good to cut, sew and press that fabric!

Hopefully, more art to come soon!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Bleach Discharge

These are some pieces that I made about a month ago, but have been so behind in blogging....
These were done a little differently than my process before. I used circles and leaves as "masks" and sprayed bleach on the fabric to get a resist effect.

These were folded and then the edges were dipped in bleach. Lots of different shapes you can get with folding.

This one was a shibori wrap that discharged a little too quickly! It is mostly brown, rather than its original black. Subtle, but a neat pattern.

Now I've just got to DO SOMETHING with it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thimbleweeds Quilt Retreat

The last weekend in September, I was lucky to be able to go to the Thimbleweeds quilt guild annual retreat in Jemez Springs, NM. I went last year as a teacher, but wanted to go back this year to play!

The class I took was Pet Portraits with a great art quilt teacher from Santa Fe, Holly. I was a little too intimidated to do a fabric portrait of my dogs Anya and Coco the first time out, so instead got a couple of books from the library on fish. These are my results from the weekend.

This one is almost finished--just need to add some beaded eyes and maybe some bubbles.

The goldfish top is done, but not quilted. The fun part with this one was adding the non-cotton fabrics for the seaweed.

Just a fun fish "portrait" with a gilted frame--an African fabric that I had just enough of. I hand dyed the background, and the black and copper fins are black fabric that I bleach discharged to reveal the coppery areas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm Published! x 2

Getting into the back to school routine has really cut into my play time! I end up spending about 2 hours a day shuffling kids to and from school, then work while they are gone, in the evenings, and on weekends. So, my brain has been pretty much fried--too fried even to make much art. BUT....

I have been published in two different publications in the last month. The first is the Jewelry book that several artists collaborated on: Jewelry Beyond Time. Get more information and a link to order with a $5 off coupon here.

The second time was quite a surprise, as I have two jewelry charms in the current issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. I participated in their charm challenge earlier this year, but hadn't heard that my pieces were going to be published. Of course, I didn't take pics before I sent them, so you'll have to look in Issue 26. I'm on pages 51 and 56, with charms #3 and #57.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hand Dyed Rainbow Fabric

This summer, I have been dyeing a lot of fabrics, as you have seen a glimpse of in a couple of previous posts. This technique has become one of my favorites--making a rainbow type gradation from one color to another.

The top 2 pictures are detail shots to show how the colors blend. The other pictures are of the full pieces--about 36 x 44 inches--so you end up with quite a large piece of fabric to work with. I love how the colors blend into each other. Even with planning the colors and order, the end result is always a surprize how they blend--like a unique fingerprint. I can't tell you how many trips to the fabric store I have made this past month for PFD (prepared for dye) white Kona cotton! Total fabric addict here!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shibori Hand Dyed Fabric

As I was loading the pictures for the last post, I saw these pictures that I don't think I posted before. These were done with my dye group friends--the top ones are batiked and dyed fabrics, and the bottom one are various fabrics done with several traditional shibori techniques--fabric folding, pole wrapping, etc. I have had too much fun dyeing fabrics this summer!

200th Blog Post

Apparently, this is my 200th blog post! Wow, who knew I had so much to say and share!

I am just popping in to post a couple of little canvas projects that I recently made, inspired by Alisa Burke's cool free-wheeling style. I simply painted plain duck canvas with acrylic paints, drizzled more acrylic, and added a little glitter (who can resist?) and a little faux graffiti writing with black sharpie. I turned them into a reusable notepad and pen mini portfoli and two simple bags with a zipper closure--about 6 x 10 inches or so. They are turning out to be great travel bags for little bead/ wire work projects or for sewing notions.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weekend Sewing Retreat

Catching up again. A couple of weeks ago, a friend invited me and another buddy to her cabin in the Jemez mountains, about 1.5 hours NW of Albuquerque. We spent a long weekend there, working on our quilting projects, watching the hummingbirds on the porch, taking a small hike here and there, and all-in-all having a totally relaxing girls weekend.

Mind you, I have a 3 year old and a 6 year old, so they got to spend some quality time with Daddy, while I enjoyed some much needed peace and quiet.

I was also very productive. Got 3 full quilts assembled (I had all of the blocks done before I went up). Here are two of them:

Party's almost over. School starts for one kid on Thursday, so its early mornings and rushing around time again. I think that this is the first summer that I haven't been looking forward to back-to-school. I've been having too much fun dyeing fabric in the back yard while the kids make mud pies, and "chocolate milk", and lakes, and moats, and snail habitats. My longarm quilting work schedule kicks into high gear when the kids go back to school, so I guess I'm just not ready for that yet. Oh well, it is coming, ready or not!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Parfait Dyeing

I do have one more vacation to post about, but I thought that I'd get some art stuff on first. This is the other thing that I like to do during the summer time when the kids are home: fabric dyeing. I can set up the tables in the back yard as dyeing stations, and be out there with the kids while they play.

This time, a couple of friends and I played around with "parfait dyeing", which is a layering method of one fabric and color on top of another. The colors seep down to the bottom layers to create wonderful effects!

I am totally addicted, and have another trick up my sleeve that I will show in a couple of weeks when I get some new supplies in. Meanwhile....check these out! Which is your favorite?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Next Stop: Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Our second trip for the summer was to southern New Mexico visiting Carlsbad Caverns. My father in law, sister in law, and brother in law all came here to celebrate my FIL's 70th birthday. I had never been to the Caverns, and was a little bit apprehensive, as I am quite clausterphobic, but I am telling you, these Caverns were AMAZING!

We went on Friday night to the Bat Flight, where something like 20,000 bats fly out of the cavern in a spiral pattern to go out for their nightly hunt. No pictures allowed there, so you'll have to use your imagination.

The next morning, we went to their once annual Breakfast With the Bats--to see the bats fly back into the cave after their big night out--and as part of the first 100 people there, we were able to go on a lantern light tour of the caverns. These caverns are huge--we went 800 feet down, in sprialing switchbacks through different cave "rooms". During the lantern tour, things were VERY dark! Not fun to carry a terrified 3 year old through! But a very unique experience. So, afterwards, a couple of us went through again with the trail lit up this time.

I would definitely encourage all of you to go check them out one day--and as a bonus, you can stop in Roswell, NM which is about an hour away, and see the UFO capitol!

Summer Vacation

This summer is just flying by! Particularly last month. The kids are out of summer school, and we have been gone for 3 weekends in July, so I am recapping finally. The photos are in somewhat random order, because I don't feel like wrestling with Blogger to get them rearranged.

We spent the 4th of July weekend in Iowa for a family reunion. The weather was very atypical for July in Iowa, thank goodness, and we spent a lovely several days with overcast skys and light rains.

One of my favorite sites was seeing quilt blocks painted on several of the barns throughout the countryside.

My grandparents were farmers--this is a picture of their old barn. Its seen better days, but still has so much character. I remember going to that barn as a little girl to help Granddad feed the cows and the barn cats!

And who can resist a little bit of Nature's Color Palate?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Surprise--More Polymer Clay

Surprise! I've been working with polymer clay! Not surprized, huh? Yes, the obsession continues. For the past several weeks on our T.V. night, I have been dabbling with polymer clay as we catch up on our shows from the week.

These are some of the latest products: Blue and copper leaf beads, buttons and dangles. And here is a bracelet made with some of the tube beads.

DH finally asked me, "So what are you going to DO with all of this stuff?" So, I whipped up several pairs of earrings:

Added some wire spirals to a few for a little extra touch.