Monday, May 30, 2016

Sewing Again!

Since my last post, I actually started two new sewing projects, one of which is completely finished!  We have a window seat in the lower level of the house which looks out on the deck, backyard, and lake.  We've never bothered to get a cushion for it, but recently my daughter suggested it.  I remembered that I bought that cool burlap print last spring, and I loved the way it looked with the pale green and yellow walls we have downstairs, so I decided to use that for a seat cover.  I measured everything out and took a trip to JoAnn's Fabrics for all the supplies.   Even with my coupons, it was a bit pricey (that cushion foam is expensive!) but I like the finished look.  So do the cats! (and the girls, who can now sit there and look out the window and daydream, or watch the birds).  It's a cozy spot, especially in the morning when the sun comes through.

While I was at JoAnn's, I also picked up these fabrics, below.  Even though our Fiber Fall chains were exhibited at the NSQG show in early May, we have the opportunity to exhibit these three or four other places in the next year, so I thought it would be worth completing all the elements.  The last chain would be "fire," hence the shiny orange, red, and yellow choices.

I decided to make a new fabric out of these three, and to use the burnt orange sheer with the sequins as the outside portions of a sandwich.  Inside the sandwich, I layered wavy strips of the other two fabrics, plus a sheer red paper-like material that was wrapped around my Valentine's Day flowers.  I used a fusible webbing between the layers to hold everything together, pressed it, and then stitched with black thread in wavy lines.  Here's what the fabric looks like now:

And here's a close-up:
Certainly looks like fire, right?  And it's still pretty sheer, to suggest flames even more.  I still want to do some more stitching with orange thread.  Then I plan to cut it up into asymmetric triangles to resemble flames.  I'm hoping it will have a real flame-like effect with all the triangles strung and spinning as they hang.  I hope I can have some of the triangles cut up and strung by our next FANE meeting this Thursday evening.

Our next FANE challenge (due in August) is to create a flat fiber art building that is 12-18" wide and 36" tall or taller.  The roofline can be whatever shape we choose to give our building character.  I already have an idea of what I'd like to create so I've started collecting materials.  Here they are, below:

Can you tell what these are and guess what type of building I want to make?  I hope I can pull it off....
Stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

How Do I Begin... catch up on the last six weeks?   It's hard to believe that much time has passed since my last blog post!  I haven't been sick or away on an extended vacation - just trying to juggle it all and getting a little lax about posting (okay, maybe a lot lax!).  So I'll try to catch up as succinctly as possible.

 I'll start with the "Lace" show that was in the gallery for the month of April at the Mahopac Public Library.  Three of my FANE friends participated in the show, as did I.  I only took a couple of shots of the pieces, but here they are.  In this one, you can see two of the three pieces that Gail Ellspermann submitted, the blue lacy one on the left and the one on the left in the group of three.  I wish I had taken some close-ups, as her work is visually very interesting and detailed, made up of a variety of materials and colors.  

Below is my piece which I ended up calling "East-facing window:  February morning."  I was trying to capture those winter mornings from my childhood when the window would be decorated with frost crystals and the beams of sunlight streaming through produced sparkles and a pale rainbow of colors.

At the end of the month, FANE displayed our collection of Fiberfall pieces at the NSQG's annual quilt extravaganza.  I wasn't able to get over to Western Connecticut State Univ. to see the show this year (I worked that Saturday and had other obligations on Sunday) but Norma Schlager took some fabulous photos that she posted on her blog.  Please visit by clicking here to see the dramatic impact of our group display.

Since the fall, FANE members have been researching and sharing bios of modern artists at our monthly meetings to help us expand our horizons, gain some insight and maybe even some inspiration.  I was assigned Josef Albers and at the May meeting, I took an easy approach by reading the children's picture biography about him titled An Eye for Color by Natasha Wing.   Josef studied how our perception of a color may change depending on what other colors surround it.  He published a book about his findings titled Interaction of Color in 1963.    Using the example shown below on the cover of his book, the small tan square is the exact same shade of tan, but it looks different on the aqua background on the top than it does on the orange background below.  Josef also noted how dark colors tend to recede while lighter ones tend to come forward.

As part of our study, we could create something in the style of the artist, so I made this group of squares below.  Josef Albers worked almost exclusively with squares and rectangles and paint straight out of the tube.  I tried to keep things simple and fun by placing orange polka-dot squares on four different fabrics.  As fiber artists and quilters, we have the added dimension of fabric prints and texture.  Do the orange squares look different on the different backgrounds?  Which do you prefer?

 Another thing that has kept me busy this month has been the garden.  Now that the weather is better, I like to get outside as much as possible.  We took down a large oak tree in the backyard to let more light in, and now we have a lot of wood and branches to remove!  The people we hired to take the tree down piled everything very neatly, but right where my ferns will be growing, at the bottom of the new stone steps.  You can see the many logs piled up along the property line in the background - some of those are about 2 feet in diameter - it was a BIG tree!  They need to be split before they can even be moved.  Someone will be very busy for the next few weekends....

It's very exciting to see things turning green, blooming, spreading, and growing.  Last year I only had a few tiny blossoms on this forget-me-not, but this year it looks full and healthy.  Yay!  I also moved some of my large irises from the front of the house down here around the pond.  I hope they do well here.

And the fairy garden is looking good too!  The Irish moss, sweet woodruff, wild violets and other low-growing things are all spreading around and filling in.  It's beginning to look truly enchanted!

Cassie certainly enjoys hanging out in the garden with me while I putter around.  It's a very pleasant and peaceful place to be.

And although we removed a perfectly healthy tree and we have a huge amount of wood to move, it has opened up a nice big piece of sky above the garden.  I'm looking forward to seeing everything thrive now that the plants will be getting a better dose of afternoon sunshine!

Finally, I've been busy doing some spring cleaning and organizing.   This area under our stairs was originally a small mud room, when the girls were little and we parked the car in the garage and came and went through that door.  Then, it became our rabbit habitat for about a year.  When we could no longer tolerate the mess (and the smell!) we moved the rabbits outside and reclaimed this space.  We hung coats here but never bothered putting in a shoe rack or shelves.

Well, I finally took the time to pick up a couple of shoe shelves at Bed Bath and Beyond.  They were easy to put together, hold a ton of shoes, and can be moved easily if my DH needs to get back there to change the water filter.  What a huge improvement!  Why didn't I do this sooner?  Now I just have to pack up those winter coats....

Hope you've been busy enjoying life in the spring!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you've been up to!