Friday, January 12, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, January 5, 2018

Mark Making - Off the Wall Friday

My sister in law, Susan blessed me with some new Gelli Printing Plates for Christmas and it really
has my mind working over drive.  I can't wait to explore the myriad of ways that this product can be used to make a mark.  Researching I found these great videos
and so on, and so on, and so on. . . . . . .

  Yes, I did fall down that rabbit hole known as youtube tutorial videos.  (As an aside, my brother in law Steve, has a saying that if it doesn't have a tutorial on Youtube than its not worth knowing.  We in this house, totally agree!)

Watching these videos, not only was I amazed at the ease and versatility of this product, but of the limitless ways to make marks.  I mean, I guess I realized it before, but seeing them flash in front of my eyes one after another, after another really brought to light how many ways you can make a mark and the type of marks is only limited by your time and energy and creativity.

So I start looking at different marks you can make on fabric and THAT was its own rabbit hole.

I really can't wait to practice trying some of these different marks  One of the things I like best is most of these are done with fabric paint which I can use in my cold winter house (rather than thicken dying of summer weather), use any kind of fabric with no need to prepare it and use very little  chemicals.

Like I said you are limited by  your time and energy and creativity.  Besides, what human doesn't like to make their mark on the world!

So what have you been up to creatively??

Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year!! Off the Wall Friday

There are White Christmases and then there are White Christmases Erie Pennsylvania style!!  You might have heard, but this week we had over 5 feet of snow drop in a couple of days time.  It put a big damper on the holiday for a lot of families.  For us, we just sat and watched it snow. We broke all sorts of records and it puts us at 103" of snow already for this winter!   Just in case you wonder what that looks like . . . .

There is the pretty side of it . . . .

And then there is the not so pretty side of it. . . . .

sighhhhhh #LifeonLakeErie

Sooooo . . . . 

I took some days off this weekend to spend exclusively in my studio and it looks like the weather is going to cooperate since we are suppose to get a foot more this weekend.

Also -


Recently, I spent just over 5 hrs listening to an enormously amusing book, Tim Gunn, The Natty Professor:  A Masterclass on Mentoring Motivating and Making it Work.   I bought the audio book to listen to Tim himself read the book on what I thought would be insight on Tim, the Mentor. So I was surprised when  that really wasn't what the book was about.  It was a hodge - podge  of stories from his life that spoke to life lessons and his views on the academic world.  There were some wisdoms thrown in there on how to critique and encourage, but what I found so fascinating AND entertaining is  his down to earth look at his life. Also, I love the little inserts of stories of inspiring teachers.   I loved the book and I'm sure I'll listen again.  I mean, its like he sitting there talking to you!!  I would recommend it to anybody who teaches, mentors, or parents!  Plus since most people found Tim Gunn's Life Little Lessons much better, I'm going to read that one too.  Too bad that isn't in audio form too!

So hopefully by next week I'll have something new from my studio to show  since I got fabric, thread, Gelli Plates AND a new Rowenta Iron for Christmas!!

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Art of a Selfie - Off the Wall Friday

SelfPortrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird , Frida Kahlo
Rembrandt, at about age 60
As the snow comes down outside my window, its getting to be that time of year for self reflection.  I always try to carve some time out at the end of year to look back at where I've been and get an idea of where I want to go.

That got me thinking about the idea of self reflection  . . . . onto the idea of reflection. . . .and our society's new fascination of the selfie.   But really is it new? I started thinking about how many artists spend time creating their own selfies and what that says about them.

Some artist create several portraits of themselves.  Rembrandt has over 90 of them.  Yes - 90!!  They create a type of autobiography of himself since he painted himself as he really was.

My favorite self portraits are the ones that really depict more about the inner artist than what the mirror reflects.  Case in point, Gustave Courbet's  The  Desperate Man manages to blend the romanticism style of the time (1845) with the very real emotional struggle he wanted to convey.  Its the kind of portrait that makes you want to look at over and over again.

The Desperate Man, Gustave Courbet

Rockwell's Triple Self Portrait

Another one of my favorites, is Norman Rockwell's Triple Self Portrait.  As always, its Rockwell's mixture of humor and relatable subjects that is so interesting.  This time its him at work.    Notice the artist self portraits in the upper right hand corner, showing that even Rockwell was inspired by other artists.  As his assistant will attest to most of the features of the piece are real on how the artist actually worked.  Really its the cleverness of a the triple reflection that is so intrigued me in this piece.

How about Andy Warhol's self portrait.  For a man who courted publicity and walk in the limelight, you can tell with his self portrait that he really was a deeply private man.  It's him but he's still camouflaged to plain view.

I really could go on.  There are a TON of amazing self portraits out there  - to inspire and reflect on.   I might just have to start thinking about making my own.  Until then I'll just have to content myself with this selfie taken with my sister Laura.

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, December 1, 2017

10 MORE Gifts Quilters Want - Off the Wall Friday

Its time for my annual "What to Buy a Quilter for Christmas" List.  You can read the first two years of the lists Here and Here.  I even made a list of what to buy a Creative Kid (all tried and true on my own creative kid).  So here are this year's selections!!

10 More Gifts Quilters Want for Christmas

1. A Big Cutting Mat - Having a big self healing cutting mat makes a quilter's life so much easier.  You can buy a couple of 24" by 36" ones but they also sell bigger ones and even CUSTOM ones!   Getting a custom made one for my studio table is still on my wish list!

2.  Color Pencil Case - Every quilter ends up with several sets of color pencils.  Want to make her  
life easier?  Buy her a case to put them in.  They have them made of all different materials and all different sizes.  I bought mine at Dick Blick.  Its made out of just regular nylon with several pages and holds A  LOT of pencils.

3.  Tracing Paper - Did you know that tracing paper comes in all sorts of sizes and rollsYessssss it does!! Now its not the sexiest of gifts but  having an assortment of sizes at my disposal has made my life easier.  I can't believe how much a roll can hold.. . . its like the "Loaves and Fishes" of tracing paper!

4Quilter's Planner - Although I have never successfully been able to use a planner, I think they are a fabulous idea.  A planner that is themed for quilters is a Really fabulous idea.  Now if I could just get myself disciplined enough to actually use it!

5. Class - There are a ton of great classes out there for your favorite quilter in all different price brackets.  You can give a $15 class from Craftsy, a several week class at Academy of Quilting, private classes from your favorite local teacher or the mother of all gifts - a week at a quilt conference like Quilting by the Lake.  My mother has more than once given me classes for presents and I LOVED them.  The gift of knowledge is one gives a lifetime.

6.  Audible Gift Card - I'm not a huge fan of gift cards because they aren't the most personal gift, but let's face it, they are practical.  With an Audible gift card, a quilter can pick out  her favorite book and listen to it while she sews.  For that matter you could give an Echo Dot  for her to listen to it on.

7.  Thread boxes - I love my thread boxes.  They have made my life so much easier and they are so much fun to paw through. I have two sizes, the slimline boxes for my small skinny spools and  ArtBin thread  boxes for my regular and medium spools.   Ohhhhhhh, and what's better than giving a a thread box??  Filling it with her favorite thread.  

By nancysJLifestyle

 8.  Etsy Creative Gifts - I love Etsy because the artisans there make gifts that I as an artisan really want.  This year I have my eye on a ring that is made out of a needle - yes - A NEEDLE.    You can find all sorts of things quilt themed including THIS GIFT for the quilter who has everything including a wicked sense of humor (Tessa and I are still debating whether that was intentional or not!)

What's On Your Christmas List This Year?