Monday, October 26, 2015

A Few Things...

This month I've been working on some UFOs that have been hanging out in drawers and on worktables in my creative space.  The library has some display space on the second floor and they've asked me and a few other creative staff members to display some work in November and December.  I only need a few pieces, but most things have already been on display there in the FANE shows, so I wanted to choose a few things they haven't seen yet.  The above piece was made for a traveling SAQA exhibit a few years ago and I received it back recently.  It needed a frame or border, so I covered a stiff piece of interfacing with the upholstery fabric you see above.  Now it's suitable for display!

I also (finally!) finished the Thanksgiving-themed piece I created last year, below.  I had done all the embroidery but wasn't sure what to mount it on.  I found the plaid binding among my stash and decided the colors were just right.  Also now suitable for display.

Here's a close-up:

I've also revisited the "Summer Blues" piece I started in the summer.  I wanted to experiment with some other surface-design techniques on a few small (9"x9") pieces of fabric and the results are below.  I used acrylic paint to do some monoprinting, as well as using some stamps and stencils.  I wanted to keep the palate to the blues and white with a touch of yellow and green.  The results were okay, maybe a little busy or messy.

I decided to do a third when I came across this blue tie-dye look fabric in my stash.  Here, I simply stamped circles in a three sizes with white acrylic paint.

While handling the fabrics, I noticed the reverse of the first two were also kind of interesting, maybe even better than the front.

Finally, I cut the fabrics into strips of various widths and wove them together on top of some fusible webbing.  I used all three altered fabrics, plus some strips wrong-side-up of the first two.  This is what it looked like:

I like it much better than the each piece alone!  Some other FANE group members have been using this weaving technique for a years and I've always wanted to try it.  Now that I can see what the appeal is, I'd like to experiment with it some more.  But first I need to figure out what to put on top of this and how (or if) it fits into the larger "summer blues" piece.

Finally, I've been doing other fall things, like baking!  I recently came across a "candy corn cake" design somewhere on the web (maybe Pinterest?) and decided to try it myself.  Here' my version, made with pumpkin spice cake and cream cheese frosting. (See how each piece resembles a candy corn when sliced? Isn't that fun?)  And delicious! Yum!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Where does the time go?

I haven't posted on my blog in about a month!  It's hard to believe that summer is long gone and the  fall weather is here!  So where has the time gone?  We managed to get away for an extended weekend in mid-September (to Utah to visit family), the preschool and elementary programming at the library is in full swing, and the girls are back at school, so I guess all the busyness has made time fly.  Since I finished "Bamboo Grove" last month, my creative projects have been on the back burner, and I am just starting to get back in the groove lately.

Yesterday I created this Halloween door decoration (it's technically not a wreath) out of what I think is a felt placemat, some cute sticky-backed felt spooky shapes, a few laser-cut painted wood phrases, a pipe-cleaner spider, and some sheer orange ribbon.  I got most of the supplies at Michael's yesterday, and I'm pleased with the colorful and fun result!  I try to hang something seasonal on the door every month and I have used, re-used and maybe abused my previous October/November wreath over and over.  It was time for an update.  But I do continue to rehang this felt banner the girls and I created years ago.  We traced cookie cutter shapes onto felt for some of the ghosts, bats, and cats, then cut them out with scissors.  I think it's retained its charm and whimsy (although it certainly could use a pressing!).

A short article in the April-May issue of Quilting Arts magazine titled "Stitch and Discharge" by Mary Ruzich inspired me to try discharging with Softscrub with bleach.  At first, I tried regular bleach out of the bottle, but it's so watery and thin that there is very little control.  I actually painted the Softscrub directly onto this piece of denim with a paintbrush in this design and look at the results! (Now my daughters are getting all kinds of ideas about decorating their jeans!)  In the article, the fabric is layered and quilted first, then she discharges the raised quilted area.  I experimented with stamps, with okay results - not great, but not totally ineffective.  Probably larger, less detailed stamps would work best.  I haven't tried stencils, but I bet they would have great results.

I'll have to play with this technique some more.  It would make a nice addition to my "Summer Blues" WIP which is still hanging out on my design wall.  The other day, I revisited it and actually stitched a few pieces together.  It was originally going to be 18"x36" to fit into the FANE group show currently at The View in Old Forge, NY, but now I can make it any size I like, which is changing my thought process and throwing me off a bit.  Maybe I should just continue to think of the 18"x36" size.

I'm not as motivated to work on this as I was in the summer (seeing as there's now no deadline!) but I'm trying to stick to "showing up at the page" at least a few times a week, if I can't do it daily.  It's so much easier and more relaxing to just crack open a book!

Anyway, that's where the time's gone!