Friday, October 17, 2014

A Bit Tulle Much Skirt . . . Off the Wall Friday

If I had a dime for every time someone asked me to sew them something, I could buy a Bernina.  Then I have to admit to them that I don't actually sew.  Yes, I have a sewing studio.  Yes, I have a sewing machine that cost more than my first car.  Yes, I'd rather be using it than anything else. . . but No, I don't actually know how to sew garments.  I quilt.

So when my 16 year old wanted a tulle skirt for her Spirit Days at school.  I sighed.  But Tessa is a good kid.  A really good kid and I mean that machine did cost me  thousands of dollars  you'd think it could sew garments right?  How hard could a little tulle skirt be?

So off to Joann's I went.  Tulle was on sale so I bought a lot of it. . .20 yds a lot!  She wanted it puffy, so I figured  20 yds should do it...grin.  I had no clue of how a tulle skirt would go together, but luckily I found a good tutorial on Pinterest because you know they have a tutorial for 'bout everything on there.  Now the Tut called for a 7 layer tulle skirt but  why stop at 7 when you have enough tulle for 12??

So  I spent the morning cutting and sewing together 12 layers of tulle for  the skirt.  My studio was a huge puff of orange. . . ohhh didn't I tell you it had to be bright Orange. . . yes her juniors class theme was orange jellyfish.  So Tessa wants to go as an orange Jellyfish princess (of course she does).

It came out okay - I didn't have much patience for the tulle so I just slapped it together since its was only a costume.  So Tim Gunn doesn't have anything to worry about me showing up to audition any time soon for Project Runway.

Still Tessa was happy . . . so that's all that mattered.

So what have you been up to creatively?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Say it with Color - Off the Wall Friday

I love color.  I know that I spend a lot of time saying how important value is when I'm designing but I still love color more.  So you can imagine how happy I was that this month's topic is color.  Its fun to explore how color can be used to express the mood of a piece.  Its amazing how much you can communicate  with just picking out the right palette.

How you ask? 

 Well here are some tips. . . .

Red, Orange, Yellow - Emotional Colors - strength, energy, joy, enthusiasm, passion, etc

Notice how I used these colors to express my passion for praise - the joyfulness that I feel when I praise God.

I used Blue and Purple for a calm but rich mood

Green - freshness, rebirth, harmony, newness

Blue - water and sky - calmness or storminess - serenity and sincerity

Purple - always adds richness

White is always pure for me and Black is about power

So with those general guidelines in mind I created my sketches for this month assignment.  I took Elizabeth's suggestion and made one sketch.  It was one that I'm going to do a little piece for with Open Studio so why not kill two birds with one stone??  I then interpreted it into three palettes that  - hopefully - create three  different moods.  It was fun to get out the crayons and the color pencils!  Not to mention I love working with organic shapes!

So what have you been up to creatively?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Good Things in Small Packages - Off the Wall Friday

First of all, let me say a big Thank You for the well wishes.  For the first time in months, I'm feeling like my normal self.  So many things have fallin' by the wayside, that its going to take a while for me to catch up!  I have a new empathy for people who are chronically ill - that's for sure!

So along the line of catching up, it dawned on me that Sandy's Open Studio event was less than a month away!  How did that happen??  She and I had talked about this year creating some art especially for the event.  The idea is that if the pieces were simple enough and priced reasonably enough, they would appeal to a larger audience.

Although this is a great idea, I swear, I don't have a clue of how to make something small and simple.  I mean isn't More is More??  It seems to me that I'm of the mindset that if it takes a lot of time and its really big than it must be a good piece.  Which of course, isn't true but it must be the over achiever in me!

So today I dug deep and tried to create a quick and simple piece.   I think that this piece although simple is pretty.  I always thought it was cheating to let the pretty hand dyes carry the piece, but now that I'm doing all the hand dyeing, I guess I'm changing my tune.  With some nice quick quilting to add texture this piece will be done. (please be mindful that getting handdyed fabric to photograph like it really looks is near impossible with my point and shoot camera!)

With small pieces you can experiment and  try new things.  You can use them as springboards to larger pieces.  You can sell them cheap.. . .grin.  Let's see how many I can get done this month!

So what have been up to creatively?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Off the Wall Friday

This week was hard. . . very hard but it looks like my kidneys and I have come to term and I'm on the road to recovery.  With that said, I will just host this week and offer this as contribution.

Its from - which is a site I highly suggest!

So what have you been up to Creatively?

Friday, September 19, 2014

10 Things Every Quilting Room Needs - Off the Wall Friday

Since I spent my creative time this week sewing together the watercolor quilt.  I had a lot of quiet time to think in my studio.  Over the last year and a half, my studio has become my favorite room in the house.  Its ironic since for the first 20 years that I live in this Victorian, I never went in there.  I think part of the reason is because it has all the things I need to create.

10 Things Every  Quilting Room Needs

1.  A Good sturdy work table.  Now I'm not talking about one that is pretty and perfect.  I'm talking about one that is big enough and strong enough to help you get things done.  The one I have I rescued from my old job's dumpster.  They had rescued it from a school's dumpster.   Obviously it still has plenty of life left in it!

2.  Muslin.  I know, you're saying, Muslin?  Yes with all the pretty prints out there taking the credit in the world of cotton, muslin gets over looked.  I always keep at least 5 yards on hand in my studio because you can use it for a bunch of stuff like. . . foundations, test quilt sandwiches, white strips for blocking, mock ups, etc. etc

3. Sharp Scissors.  OMG don't buy cheapie scissors.  Invest in a good pair of shears (that's the big ones with the bigger thumb loop), scissors (that's the smaller ones), and snips. Sharpen them regularly (I do mine biannually).  Divorce any man who uses them on anything but fabric.

4. 16" square ruler.  Now every quilter has a 6" square and a 24" by 6" ruler but 16" square makes life easier.  Not only is it perfect for rotary cutting those big squares, but you can use it help square up your quilt.  Not to mention it makes a great lap desk.

5. Plentiful Lighting.  Once again it doesn't have to be fancy but there has to be a lot of it.  I have all sorts of lights in my studio - indirect, direct, track lighting and I still don't think I have enough some days!  

6.  Speakers. Most quilters I know listen to music when they work (at least once in a while).  I always do - that or a good book (this week is The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews).  I originally had a cd player in my sewing hole but with good speakers in my studio I can plug in any audio device to it (a mp3 player, phone, my kindle, my laptop)

7.  Thread storage.  Now this is tricky because you gotta find a system that works for you.  I can probably say that throwing them all in a messy basket might not be a the best choice.  Right  now I have my thread board (since my studio doesn't get direct light) and 5 big plastic thread boxes on a designated shelf.  I can always find the right color easily. (Love Maria Elkin's idea - might have to do this sometime!)

8.   Sharpies.  In lots of colors.  In fine point, extra fine point, ultra fine point.  I mean who doesn't love sharpies?  They come in super handy in so many ways.  And even though they are permanent, I did manage to clean it off my sewing machine when my then 3 yr old daughter colored it black! (Rubbing alcohol)

9. Design Board.  Having a decent design board has changed my life.  Make sure its big enough and sturdy enough to fit scale you create in.  It can be permanent like mine, or temporary that can be stashed away when you're not using it.

10.  A Sewing Machine and a good dealer/technician to go with it.  Getting the right machine for you is essential.  Look at what you sew, how you sew, where you sew and THEN look for a machine that will fit those needs.  Price shouldn't be an issue to begin with.  You can always do what I did, find the machine and then save the money (yes, just like when you were a kid).  My first computerized machine  (an Elna Quilter's Dream), I bought with the money from the first quilt I sold.  13 years later, I saved for a year and  bought my Janome 7700 because I needed a bigger yoke space, more lightening and my beloved thread cutter. Still love it - although it can be a bit finicky.

So What have I left out??  What is Essential to your Quilting Room?

And what have you been up to creatively? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Watercolor Wonder - Design Wall Monday

This weekend I went back digging into my quilt closet - you know the one  otherwise known as. . . The Home for Leftovers and found the fusible grid Pellon.  Don't you love clever people who come up with clever things?  Once the watercolor craze hit in the 90's, the people at Pellon came up with the idea that you could use a light fusible to help sew all the pieces together.  The way it works is that you just put the squares onto the gridded interfacing.  Iron them on.  Turn over the interfacing folding at the lines and sew the 1/4" seam.  Cool, huh?!  

You really didn't think I was going to sew all those 2" squares together did you?  That falls under the catagory. . . "I'm getting too old for this Sh. . . ".  Still there is something relaxing about this project.  I love the rhythm of traditional quilting.  Just spending a couple of hours replacing the squares onto the pellon was quiet easy work.  Sorta like Jigsaws for Dummies.  Once again, my idea of ditching my traditional ironing board and using an ironing "table board" comes in handy!  So much easier doing it on a table!

Anyways, I'll spend this week getting it all sewn together.  For once I'll have my assignment in Elizabeth Barton's masterclass done early.  Notice I'm totally ignoring the suggestion that I take this a step farther and use the technique to come up with a new design encompassing praise ladies.  I mean that teacher of mine - give her an inch and she'll push you a mile!

hmmmm that is what I love about her!

See more great design walls at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hard & Soft Off the Wall Friday

Okay - show of hands - how many of you have done a watercolor quilt?  Yeah, I know, they're kinda of gimmicky but  who doesn't like a good gimmick? It just so happens that the  watercolor quilt craze is what introduced me to art quilting back in 1993.  When I first read the book Watercolor Quilts by Pat Margaret, I thought, "Hey, I could do that!  How hard can it be to sew 2" squares together?"  I was a beginner
quilter but even I could do that.  Little did I know that the sewing was the easy part.  Doing this type of quilt was the perfect way to practice value studies. I had so much fun playing around with all those little squares and patterns and in the process taught myself about value!

That's why when this month's assignment was hard and soft edges, I brought back a blast from the past and decided to do watercolor quilt.  Hard and soft edges is what makes them so pretty.  Plus, this would give me a break from all the solid colors I've been working with lately.  Little flowers are fun!

Not to mention, it gave me a good reason to go into my quilt closet where I keep all the odds and ends, the beginnings and ends of projects I've wanted to keep, just in case I need them again.  And yes, there was a big bag of 2" squares still waiting for their next watercolor quilt.
Watercolor Gateway done during the 1990's

20 years later, doing one of these quilts is much easier, but still just as fun.  All week long, I've been tinkering with this one - still have a bit to go.  I probably won't do it as big as the sketch (because I would like to get it done by the end of the month) but I would love to see one super huge.  Can you see the hard and soft edges emerging?? 

So what was your watercolor quilt like?

What have you been up to creatively?