Friday, September 28, 2012

Meet Lisa!

Last year when I was on my "ladies" kick, and created 3 gals who work at my LQS, I (for some unknown reason) forgot Lisa and by the time I realized it, it was close to Christmas and I (shame on me) was all "ladied" out!  I would have done a terrible job if I had even tried to create poor forgotten Lisa then!  To be honest, I thought about her all this year, and knew I should get her on the wall for all to see in the quilt shop, but I was not in the mood to accept commissions if any of you wanted me to create you too, so I put Lisa off and off.  I'm sooo bad!  Then, out of the blue, the owner, Julie asked if she could commission me to make Lisa.  E-gads, talk about really being guilty!!!  Naturally, I couldn't take her $$ since I had been thinking about Lisa all year already myself.  I knew it was time!!

The drawing:

Lisa - the drawing

And Lisa:


Her pretty green eyes:

Lisa's eyes

And lastly........Lisa with herself:

Lisa with herself!

So there!  I guess you could say that I'm officially back for awhile.......back to creating ladies if any of you would like to see yourself in fabric!  I'm thinking that I can do this for all of October and November (unless you guys overwhelm me).  Each quilt wall hanging is approximately 14x18 and includes a hanging sleeve and O ring all ready for hanging.  The cost is $100 and includes shipping (much easier this way than figuring everything out afterwards.)  My e-mail information is on my sidebar if you are interested.  Usually, I need a picture, and/or information on haircolor, eye color, and any interesting information you care to include.  If you remember the past ladies, many have had specific requests.  (Remember the one with the butterfly in her hair??)  Payment can be made with Paypal, or if US residents, personal checks or money orders.  So, there you have it!  Incidentally, Lisa is #20 on the hit parade list.  Will you be lucky #21?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summer goes too fast!!

I hate looking forward to winter!  I hate the cold, the wind, the ...........(U G H)....snow!!  This year I decided to take pictures of the area under my kitchen windows so I can dream of summer all winter long and think of what I should plant next year.  The first picture was taken 5/31/12, the day after we planted:

And the summer continued.  Now, it's 7/15/12.  This is how it looked with tons of watering since we had such a hot, dry summer:

By now (8/31/12), stuff was getting a bit out of hand.  The tomato bushes were growing all over the place, the basil was going nuts, and the rosemary was buried in there somewhere.  I was picking a bowl full of tomatoes every day!

And this is how the area looks today.  We took everything out this weekend to prepare for winter.  The birdbath is in the basement, the pots are packed away until next year, the only things left out are the wind chimes, which I dearly love and don't take down until the very last minute!  Oh.....and I never trimmed my Rose Bush of Sharon.  I must do that yet!  I'll put that on the list for next weekend, when we have to trim down the perennials.  Ugh......then I'll have to wait a whole 8 months until we start all over again.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I love buttons!!

Do you remember this picture from earlier this week?

Well, let me tell you that when I'm cutting circles, I am in my glory because something good will come out of it!  (At least in my mind!)  I just wish I had the patience to do something really big!  Of course then I'd probably need some REALLY big buttons and then the quilt would get so heavy, it might not even stay on the wall.  lol  Anyway, the above picture preceded this:

"The Button Tree"

I am calling it, "The Button Tree".  It ended up at approximately 12 x 15".  I got the idea from someone's Pinterest board, but I'm thinking that it must have originally come from Karla Gerard or another folk artist.  Circle trees are quite popular in folk art (of course many of them are done a bit "duller").  Not me though!  I try to find my brightest Kona cottons for my circles and then (naturally) each gets a button! How fun!  I went a bit nuts with the thread changes on this one:

"The Button Tree" 

I sewed each of those tiny leaves on (by hand) with one stitch each and doing all those buttons was no easy task either.  I placed them on each circle for color and then took a picture of them before removing them all to sew each of them on separately (again by hand, no less).  For sure I need to invest in a thimble for next time!  I had holes in my fingers when I was done!

If you want to see "The Button Tree" in person, be sure to visit the Houston Quilt show at the end of October.  It'll be hanging in the Blumenthal Lansing Co. booth.  (In case you didn't know, they're the biggest button company ever with so many fun buttons, you'd flip!)  

Monday, September 17, 2012

"A Bit of Japan"

A few weeks ago as I was trolling through Pinterest, or perhaps Flickr (I get lost on both and often can't even remember where I started as I suspect a lot of people do), I discovered a book that sounded interesting.  Who knows where I saw it, but I immediately jumped to Amazon and ordered it.  It was called, "Quilting by Line and Color" by Yoshinko Jinzenji.  Her theory is graphics done with tons of base color, usually white!  (Now, why would I buy something that uses tons of white??  Duh!  I just had to check out that book!!!  You know how I LOVE white!)  Well, I wasn't disappointed!  There are several projects in the book (some of which are even way past my pay grade that I couldn't even understand.)  I especially fell in love with one that I just HAD to make.  First, I went out and bought some fabric:

Decorator Fabric

Now, I wasn't necessarily supposed to use decorator fabric, but it was the only stuff I could find fast that had big, bold graphic designs that I could fussy cut smaller.  (Bold prints aren't so popular lately, I discovered.)  I decided to cut my squares 2 1/2 inches and to make my quilt into a wall hanging.  (Duh again since most of my stuff lately turns into wall hangings.)  I used 1 inch strips in between my squares so they'd end up at 1/2".  I would have loved to have them turn out 1/4", but using the heavy fabric would have made more bulk and since I wanted to straight line quilt at 1/4 inch, the bulk factor was an issue.  Here is what it looks like:

"A Bit of Japan"

"A Bit of Japan"

I decided to free motion my signature on the front while I was at it.  I really like how that worked and will try that again sometime.  All in all, I was really pleased with the result and have lots of fabric left in case I want to try this with 3 1/2 inch squares the next time.  I bet a baby quilt would look really cool this way for a modern, contemporary mother.  I wonder if I know any???

Other than that, I have been doing this:

Why is it that I just gravitate towards circles???  In the past, whenever I've done a circle project (and if you've been a follower for awhile, you know there have been many), I've run around my house looking for cans, pill bottles, tops from markers, etc. to use as templates.  DUH!??  Hello!!!  (It doesn't take me long??)  The other day, it occurred to me that somewhere in the world there were probably stencils for circles, so I hightailed it to my local Michaels and wa-la, right in the art section was the perfect template!  The circles range from 2 1/4 " down to 1/16" all for $5.99.  Talk about a happy girl!  I couldn't wait to get home!  I fused some colors and got to work!  Come back next time and I'll show you.........I hope you love it as much as I do.  Until then........happy sewing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Crayon Method

I think more than anything else, people ask me how I do my crayon method of quilting.  I thought I had explained it many times, but perhaps once more is needed for understanding.  I have done several of these quilts.  Some have had borders and some not.  Some even had trapunto.  Lately, I have been just making up a design on paper and doing rather simple things.  I think the addition of buttons add a lot and maybe the quilts look fancier because of them, who knows?  So, I will try to explain the method again.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures to go along with all the directions.

First, take a plain white sheet of paper and make a design that is pleasing to you.  Make sure that you have used most of the paper because any areas left unsewn later, might gap.  Do your drawing to scale.  (In other words, make the drawing as big as you want your crayon quilt top to be excluding any borders you might want to add later.)  This is mine.  I called this one, "Bloomin'"

Note that I left several areas with circles.  I do circles to represent where I will place my buttons later although sometimes I do color those spaces too.  When you are satisfied with your drawing, go over it with a black sharpie pen.  This is so you will see the design through your white fabric.

Now, iron and cut a piece of white fabric 1/2 inch bigger than your drawing.  (Lengthwise and widthwise).  This is in case things are not exactly even when you are done quilting it.  When you are done, take your fabric and lay it over the darkened drawing, making sure the drawing is centered.  Now, trace your design onto your fabric lightly with pencil.  When you are done, take a piece of freezer paper the size of your fabric and iron the shiny side of the paper to the backside of your traced design.  This is to give the fabric the stability to color on it without the fabric wrinkling.  Using your Crayola crayons (at least that's the brand I use), color the fabric staying in your penciled lines.  When you are satisfied, remove the freezer paper, and take the colored piece to your ironing board.  Cover it with a cheap piece of muslin and without going back and forth, iron the piece section by section until you smell wax.  This is making the crayon a permanent part of the fabric.

If you want to add borders, now is the time to trim the front and add them because the next step is to make a quilt sandwich.  I use a free motion (or darning) foot and use #30 weight black thread to outline my drawing once I have everything together.  (I use 505 spray adhesive, so no need to worry about pins.)  And when I'm done, and have added my buttons, it looks like this:


A close-up of "Bloomin"

This is one of two with flowers that I did recently.  The other one I sold to the craft coordinator for Blumenthal Lansing Co. (The biggest button distributor in the world).  It will be on display in their booth at the quilt show in February so look for it there.  The one above was done for a swap.  It's already sent, but the recipient hasn't gotten it yet.  Won't she be surprised?

I made one more for that swap.  It's not my usual style to be sure, but I thought I might be able to fool the group into thinking it was someone else'.  I was wrong!  I called this one, "Touch of Asia."

"Touch of Asia"

Check out that 1/8 inch straight line quilting.  I thought I'd never get done!!  Good thing I have a big stash of white thread, huh?  So, that's the scoop for today!  Not much else new here!  Until next time.....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Untitled 2012"

Instead of titling this post "Untitled 2012" I think I maybe should have called it, "Wow, oh Wow" all over again.  Seriously friends, I was not only blown away about the art teacher using my quilt as inspiration for his students on my last blog post, but also I was overwhelmed at ALL of the awesome comments you wrote to me about the inspiration that I give to you!  Wow.....oh WOW!!  Your comments were the frosting on the cake, believe me!!  I am truly blessed to have the BEST readers in the web!  Thank you ever, ever so much!  (Although I really don't think you will be inspired by today's post, so perhaps you might want to leave now......I had good intentions and I really was excited to make this, but alas, it didn't exactly turn out like I envisioned.......although I really don't know what I expected.)  Just a warning, in case you wonder what happened to me.  lol

I got this idea from someone's Pinterest board showing a ceramic vase.  I thought it was cool, so got out my trusty wire notebook and sketched a picture.  I think I showed you awhile back:

How my Ideas Start

Needless to say, I had to transfer this to a working pattern since most of my stuff is done from scale.  This is what became of it:

I knew I didn't want to just do it on one solid because I thought it needed more depth, so I sandwiched a white with white quilt sandwich and quilted the whole thing with 1/4 inch lines.  That was to be my base.  You'll note on the pattern, that I "X"ed out the windows that I wanted to make white and noted the part that I wanted to cut out.  The other windows would remain the same color as the base color I choose.  I wasn't sure at this point if it would be grey or light tan since I bought both colors.  As it turned out, I thought Kona ash was the "right" color against the white for the look I wanted.  First, I transfered my drawing with light pencil onto my grey fabric and then fused the white windows:  

That's not the best photo.  Sorry!  I took it at night......thus the shadow!  When I took this picture, I wasn't sure if I was going to show you this whole process, but since it is different than anything I've done before, I thought you might be interested.  After I was done fusing the windows, I put fusible web on the back of the entire building pattern and cut it out.   Note that I also fused some tiny green trees.

Then, I removed the fusible web and fused the entire thing to my already quilted white quilt sandwich and added more tiny trees:

So far, I was still enthused.  I wasn't sure if I should use black thread (which is always my "go to" color) to outline stuff, or if I should outline the white windows with white and maybe do a darker grey thread for the grey windows.  I loved the look as it was at this point;  very contemporary and stark.  Now,  I wish I had followed that thought!

This is what it looks like finished:

"Untitled 2012"

"Untitled 2012" - Closer

Note that I followed my "go to" norm and I think because of that, I lost the contemporary feel.  I don't think the black enhances the windows at all.  Anyway, it's not my favorite, to say the least!  Maybe someday I'll make it over and do it the other way.  I'm thinking I'd like it much better.  Then again, maybe not?  Oh well, they all can't be winners, huh?  Several of my Flickr friends told me to color in the white windows to see if I could "fix" it, but I don't think so.  The whole point of the design was for a clean and stark look with just a bit of whimsey of the little trees.  I do have someone who wants to buy it, so I'm pretty sure that's where it'll go.

On another note, I got my mug rug from the mug rug swap and it's a beauty!  Jana (megmormel) did a fantastic job.  Her piecing is perfect, her quilting is amazing, and her binding is above reproach!  Bravo, Jana!  It is gorgeous and I love it!  (Besides, she also sent me some salt water taffy, fat quarters and floss for a little extra gift.) Now, as long as I don't pull out my fillings, I'll be fine!!

Mug Rug from Jana (megmormel)

So, that's it for today!  Next, I have to work on a commission and I'm all excited.  I have to reproduce something I did last year, and I can't wait since it was one of my favorite quilts.  I can't tell you because I have no idea if the recipient reads my blog and that would spoil the surprise.  We wouldn't want that. would we????  Until next time, my friends!!!  And again............smooches to you all for being so nice!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wow......just wow!

Just a moment ago I got an e-mail which completely made my week.  In fact I am sitting here beaming as I write this!!!  Sometimes, I wonder why I have a blog.  Often the pressure of creativity really stresses me out trying to come up with new stuff to show you all the time.  Hey.......I'm just being real here!!  I rarely take a break and I rarely talk about others work (unless I get it for a swap.)  E-gads, I sound really strange, huh?  Like where in the heck is this going, Carol???  OK.......let me tell you what happened!

Tonight as I was cleaning out my spam e-mail folder, I came across an e-mail from a stranger.  Now, with all the crazy virus' out there, I mostly don't even open stuff from people I don't know, but for some reason, I did and I'm soooo glad.  The e-mail was from a gentleman named, Don Masse who is a teacher at Zamorano Fine Arts Academy in San Diego who used one of my quilts as inspiration for his students.  You must read about it here.  I am so honored!!!  I never really tell many people, but in my younger years, I wanted more than anything to be an art teacher for middle school.  I went to college for it, but never finished because my mother was a widow who needed my help financially.  Instead, I got a job in an insurance company and climbed the ladder there.  Needless to say, I never stopped loving art and crafts and anything creative!  In many ways, I feel as though I have taught kids now.  I am beaming!!  Please read his blog!  How completely cool!