July 31, 2010

Sitting Pretty

As a new quilter, I made tons of bed quilts.  Every sibling, child, grandchild received the gift of a quilt.  At that time, we had two homes - total of 4 bedrooms - all beds had quilts.  Somewhere along the line, I stopped making bed quilts - I still love them - just don't make them.  Remarkably, there are no longer bed quilts in our home (unless you count the quilts piled up on the guest bed waiting to be shipped out to various exhibitions!)

I do have a number of quilts hanging on walls throughout the house.  Also, I made a couple of quilts as throws for couches.  The living room couch is white - with 7 grandchildren - well, white was probably not the best choice.  A multi-color quilt, pieced and hand quilted now covers the living room couch.

As a Christmas surprise,  I made a quilt for my husband who spends much of his time reading in the den.  This quilt was made using nothing but scraps stored in bins under my sewing table; machine pieced and quilted.

I love the color the quilts add to the rooms.  These quilts have been washed a number of times, and still look great.  How do you decorate with quilts in your home?

July 26, 2010

Art in Public Places

I love going to the opening receptions for new art exhibits.  There is always a lot excitement in the air and it's the best time to actually meet the artists!

I had the good fortune to be juried into the "Unseen" Juried Art Exhibition in the ARC Gallery at MOSI (see sidebar).  The exhibit features paintings, sculpture, photography, fiber, installations and video art that "takes the viewer on a visual journey and exploration of existing and new realities and unique perspectives.  The unseen exhibition features art exploring concepts such as dreams, visions and images that are taken from our current environment, a personal viewpoint and imagined idea."  The exhibit runs through August 27, 2010.   

4801 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL

The ARC Gallery is a very interesting space.  It's tucked behind the IMAX Dome theater.

Reception guests were treated to musical entertainment by Blind Dumb Luck

Here are just a few of 46 pieces of art in this exhibit.  Please visit these artists' websites to learn about them and their work.  Better yet, go to the MOSI and see the entire exhibit for yourself!

"Newborn" by Betty Bolivar

"Launched" by Sally Gilmour

"In the Shadows" by Hooshang Khorsani

"Unreal, Unseen" by Basha Maryanska

"8:47 9/11" by Robert McNabb

"Birdsong" by Jenny Medved

"Shield" by Meg Pierce

"The Outsider" by Gail Rubinfeld

Now that I've whet your appetite, don't you just feel like jumping in your car and driving to MOSI to see this wonderful exhibit!

July 24, 2010

Piece by Piece

I don't even pretend to know all that much about paper piecing.  I rarely use the technique even though I like the effect.  What I have found helpful piecing in this fashion is printing the full pattern on freezer paper and cutting it up as templates.  I print the "sewing" patterns on the back of junk mail - waste not, want not!
My favorite freezer paper is made by C. Jenkins Company - it's very sturdy and can be used over and over.  (In the long run, it's a real time saver.  I cut a generous 1/2" seam allowance around the template pieces.)
I put pins through the stitching line on the "sewing" side of the paper
The pattern template is pressed (dry hot iron) to the wrong side of the fabric - the fabric piece can easily be positioned for stitching.  (I remove the template before sewing.)  
The pins also keep the fabric in place.  I don't know about you, but my fabric has slipped out of place when flipping the piece over - I HATE unsewing!! - using pins, I have had no problems with slippage.
A tool I find useful is a wood folder - it give a really good crease to the paper which will make removing the paper later much easier.
finished block cut to size and ready to go!

Check out Pink Saturday for more interesting stuff!

July 17, 2010

Boxed In

Making boxes is challenging and exciting.  Little bits of this and that come in handy when making a box - they are small so one doesn't need a lot of any particular embellishment to make something wonderful!  These boxes were made not only as decorative items, but to house something especially dear.

Small scraps of silk, organza, beads, buttons and/or charms add pop to these boxes.

The "bean" in Chicago - I love that town! - inspiration for the next box

sketch of Chicago skyline

paper pieced pattern and samples of materials and stitching to create the box

back of box - Jay Pritzker Pavillion (silk and sequins)

front of box - high rise buildings (ultra suede) and John Hancock building (window screening)

 As a surprise, this box holds my version of the Picasso sculpture (free motion machine embroidery)

I challenge you to make a box to house one of your treasures!

Please visit Pink Saturday to see some amazing things!!

July 10, 2010

Landscape Pillow

Quite a few years ago,  I had a chair covered with my needlepoint.  This chair needed a pillow - don't they all?!  A couple of vacation photos inspired the design of the pillow.

Sketches were drawn combining pleasing elements from both photos.

The pillow is made of hand painted silk dupioni.  Several layers of silk organza stitched in place represent the mountains.  Dark green silk dupioni stitched over top represents the trees.  The topmost layer consists of light green silk dupioni (flower stems), raspberry silk dupioni and ultra suede (flowers).

Narrow piping made of lilac silk dupioni adds a finishing touch to the pillow.

I prefer an eclectic style of decorating.  The landscape pillow looks happy in its new home.

July 3, 2010

I'm in the Mode....

I've been working my way through several Photoshop Elements books.  The result of layering two or three of my own photographs, adding blend modes, changing the opacity, levels, etc. is amazing and addictive.  There are at least 3 different ways to accomplish the same task.  Learning the shortcuts is a big time saver.  I only recently discovered that by pressing down the Shift Key and the + key repeatedly allows one to toggle through the blend modes - seeing how each blend mode affects the layer below - tres cool!

European Flower Market

 Scanned brown paper bag

Gaussian Blur added to first photo layered with brown paper bag blend mode Difference; an additional layer of black brushed around the outside of the layer - Gaussian Blur added 

The above layers were merged and layered over top of another photo of coneflowers.  This is still a work in progress...the possibilities are endless!

layered photos I took of the Statue of Liberty, beach sand, cactus; color removed, several blend modes added.  This is my personal favorite!

color removed from a my photo of granddaughter, Emily, then color brushed on

layered photos I took of granddaughter, Abby, pavement, then eraser

See what I mean - addictive!