Monday, November 24, 2014

THANKSGIVING WEEK

Like so many of us.....Turkey Day preparations have begun.  I'm having a difficult time containing my excitment.....our son/wife and 2 1/2 year old grandson are traveling all the way from San Francisco to celebrate the holiday with us.  Kuddos to them for making such a long and difficult trip during a busy holiday travel time with a little one.

Having a young one in the house requires a bit of planning.....no kid friendly toys here.  However, I've developed creative activities that we can do together.  As an example, I've cut felt shapes that we can play with on my flannel design wall.  Fun, yes????

Saturday, November 22, 2014

DONE!!!!

If there was any question left in my mind about my decision to retire from travel teaching......it's gone.  As Thanksgiving week is nearing....I'm going to share a bit of what it's like to travel these days, but mostly reflect on what I am thankful for.  #1  The amazing career I've had for the past 25+ years!!!

Without going into too much drama, though I could probably write a novel.....I'll begin by saying that on Monday, my first flight of the day cancelled and USAirways could not accommodate me on any future flights that day. Delta could get me to Atlanta, but not to Ft. Lauderdale that day.  Of course not going was NOT an option! Ultimately, I wormed a ride with two business men who had decided to rent a car together and drive to Charlotte in the hopes of making their flights.  I'm thankful for the kindness of strangers....who helped me haul my heavy suitcases in the rain from the rental car facility to the bus to the terminal and inside.  Turns out my flight to FL was delayed....then after arriving late in Ft. Lauderdale, my hostess and I sat on I95 in heavy traffic due to an accident making me even later for dinner with a couple of the Boca Raton Quilt Guild members.

To top the day off.....my credit card company alerted me that they were cancelling my card due to fraudulent charges on my account.  I'm thankful that the bank overnighted a new card to my hotel.  Now home, I spent 90 mins. yesterday updating everything that required a credit card on file...... geesh.  

My itinerary for the trip home got changed too.......the first flight departed nearly 30 mins. earlier than what I booked.  I'm thankful the president of the guild generously and with good spirits picked me up at 6:00 AM for the 45 mins. drive to the airport.  That flight was on time....but my original flight to Asheville was eliminated after I booked it so I had a 3.5 hour layover in Charlotte.  I'm thankful for my ipad.....which kept me busy rewatching season 4 of Downton Abby.

 I'm thankful and astonished that one of the students in my workshop not only remembered the story behind this quilt, made in 1997, but wanted to purchase it as well.

It's titled, 'Along The Quilting Highway' 17" x 17" - hand appliqued, hand quilted, painted, featuring 3-d trees and Barbie Doll shoes beaded to guardrail posts.  It was inspired by a teaching trip to Los Alamos, NM where shoes show up regularly displayed along the highway.

I don't know if there's a statue of limitations on what might be considered destruction of government property.....so all I'll say is that while there.....I did my part!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SUNSET MOMENT - NEW FELTED PIECE COMPLETED

While I'm away in sunny FL.....here's a look at my now finished most recent felted piece. 

After a LOT of deliberation, I decided this piece needed to stand alone, rather than mounting on a museum wrapped frame as discussed here. 

Framing should enhance and help to highlight the piece and I just couldn't find the right combo to make that happen without making it appear too Halloweenie......  Now I'm happy with the feel of a rural sunset and its casual uneven edges.   Thanks to all of you who voiced your opinions.....it's always great to hear feedback.


SUNSET MOMENT  15" X 9"  © 2014


Hand felted and dyed wool by the artist, machine & hand appliqued,
 hand embroidered.

Monday, November 17, 2014

BIG RED - PATCHWORK LAP QUILT

Like two weeks ago on a Monday morning....you'll be reading my post as I'm winging my way to visit a quilt guild.  This will be my last teaching trip so it's with anticipation and sadness that I travel this journey to the Gold Coast Quilt Guild in Boca Raton, FL.

I blogged about this lap top last week.....with more 'seat time' at the machine this past week....the top is complete.  It's for personal use and will have simple straight line quilting, therefore there is no need to rehash it later when it's finished.  

If interested, here's peak. We quilters all pretty much agree.....all blues can coordinate.....reds?? Not so much.....but since I have a vast collection going back 25 years of reds, I found enough that worked and......I barely make a dent in the pile!

BIG RED  - 42.5" x 53"


Did you notice??  I screwed up on rows 2, 4 & 6.....somehow getting off track in the placement of short and long rectangle sections.  Sigh.....I'm not changing it.  See....this is why I don't like patchwork...I swear I have no ability to "SEE" patchwork correctly....until it's way too late!!!  And I even arranged them row by row to be sure I have all the blocks placed in the right order before assembling....geesh......

Saturday, November 15, 2014

SOY WAX RESIST RESULTS

Overall, I'm very happy with my soy wax resist & dyed results which was the subject of the Fiber Junkies meeting this month.  The last step is to remove the wax resist...which should reveal the original fabric color.  

A LOT of time was spent pressing each piece between newpaper with a hot iron to melt/remove as much wax as possible.  That was followed by several hot water baths to remove any reside.

I'm not convinced I got it all out since the silk noil pieces (the majority of the fiber I used) are still a bit stiffer than I'd like.....however they are still very usable. 

 This is the only one that was not silk noil.  For this base I used hand-dyed rayon or possible silk....not sure of the fiber content after it sat for years in my stash!  This piece is quite drapable....vibrant in color and should be fun to work with.

 Right side
 Wrong side......I like them both!
Do grab some friends and organize a small group...then make monthly play dates and experiment!!!

**** After several comments and a question or two on yesterday's post, I thought I'd add a reply here:  

Soy wax melts at a lower temperature (safer I suppose) and it's also supposed to be easier to remove.  I worked mostly on silk noil......which I suspect rendered less effective images due to its natural texture.  Though the results are fine......I'm not sure I'd bother again.....unless I did some big pieces.  I LOVE our FJ's experiments, yet with so many different small finished pieces of fabric ......they can be difficult to incorporate into projects.  Perhaps that's the challenge that keeps me going!

Friday, November 14, 2014

SOY WAX RESIST

I must admit, I was dubious about whether or not I'd enjoy the Nov. technique our Fiber Junkies group had planned.  We worked with soy wax resist. WOW.....fabulous fun and so many great results.  I took about 50 photos but am only sharing a few.
 We all brought various tools to transfer designs to fabric using melted wax.  My thoughtful son gifted me several wood batik stamps he sought out for me during a trip, along with several custom metal stamps.  Unfortunately, none of us could achieve quality designs with these stamps.....we either tended to use too much or too little wax.
 Small dedicated 'electric pans', wax chips, dyes, and other stamping tools such as brushes, corks, spools, etc. were organized.
 Once the wax was melted....the 'design' tool was dipped into the wax and pressed onto fabric that was placed on rug padding.  Here Gen is using the end of an empty plastic spool.  
 I played with a silicone brush (a cooking tool) and pale green silk noil. Here too I found it difficult to control the design.
 My next stamping tool was a potato masher....again, it took some practice to control how much wax to retain on the tool before stamping.
 Val always quietly dazzles us.....her wax resist fabric has already been painted....using a credit card as a scrapper and a stencil to create the birds.
 Kate also used a stencil.....which created this wax design on a recycled cloth napkin.  I was surprised plastic stencils could be used...I assumed they'd melt but the wax wasn't that hot.
Once the wax dried, the fabric was painted using Dyna-Flo.  Time ran out before any of us were able to remove the wax....so it will be interesting to see the final results when we gather in December.
 I think this was Denny's.....she works so fast....it's hard to get photos of her work.
 Another one of Kate's...I think she may have used one half of a tennis ball for the circles......followed by several colors of Dyna-Flo.
 I worked on this hand-dyed silk piece.  The dark lines/spots are the melted wax.....added with a foam brush, and a hand-held waffle vegetable cutter.
Now painted with several colors of Dyna-Flo.
 Here's another one of mine....yellowish silk noil stamped with a egg beater.  Did I say practice is required?  
 This is Judy's....a pleated/crushed piece of silk, wax applied with a waffle veggie cutter. Sorry, I can't remember what created the circles.
 I caught Gen here putting the last bit of paint on her yellow fabric that featured numerous wax resist designs.

Hopefully I can share photos next month of the final look to these fabrics after the wax is removed.  I can say this was really fun and we are all looking forward to perfecting the technique next year.

Follow these links to see what others have been up to this week:  Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Off The Wall Friday, and Crazy Mom.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

FIBER JUNKIES SHOW AND TELL

WOW......our show and tell this month was over the top.....that's pretty amazing since it's been barely 3 weeks since we last gathered.
 In keeping with the "birthday paper doll" theme....Val brought a delightful collection of clothing for this paper doll.  A round robin of sorts organized by some of her friends several years ago.
 This creative embellished wire dress really caught my eye.
 Kate has continued to be inspired by our recent play date where layers of house paint transformed previously completed (and maybe not entirely succesful) quilts.  I wish there was a before photo to share......but this 'after' is stunning enough to enjoy!

 Denny and Kate, who live close to each other in South Carolina, have been having fun experimenting with all sorts of techniques and materials.  Here is a piece of.....well....you'd NEVER guess.....toliet paper that has been painted!!
 This one also knocked my socks off......it's Press & Seal plastic wrap which was used beneath fabric that was being painted (acting like a drop cloth) ........most impressive and unexpected results.
 Darn it....I can't remember what unusual fabric this was......maybe a paper towel.  Great design, yes???
 Judy undercovered an older silk painted & marbled piece of fabric.  It's so lovely.  Perhaps with a bit of quilting and framing this piece will be completed soon.
Detail
 Here's another one of Judy's pieces.  A screen printed center, surrounded by machine appliqued leaves.......which were samples from one of her workshops.  It's been mounted on a burlap covered canvas frame.
Detail
 We all LOVED this piece......it's one of Gen's creations from a previous Fiber Junkies painted shibori play date.
 And another shibori painted piece by Gen.
 It's nice to put a face to a name.....here's Val holding an amazing piece of microwave ice dyed fabric created by Denny.  You'll never believe it......it's a cheapie workshop type towel from Home Depot!!
 And...here's Denny.....with a smaller towel....it started out white and through the magic of parfait/microwave ice dyeing it became a winner.
Does it get any better?  Hardly......we all enjoy our creative time together......next month is our holiday gathering.  Tradition dictates that we use this time as a goal planning session for our 2015 monthly meetings.  You can review what the Fiber Junkies have done in 2014 by clicking on the label 'Fiber Junkies'.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

FIBER JUNKIES NOVEMBER MEETING

When we were a tad younger.....perhaps sharing our age was avoided....but heck, now we can glory in the fact that we are still active and enjoying life in our 70th year.
 It was Judy's turn to wear a birthday crown.....with good wishes and a hug from Val.  We all thought we pulled a fast one on Judy by having her surprise celebration this month, rather than in December since we didn't want it to conflict with our holiday gathering.  NOT.....she guessed.....but went along with the sneaky preparations anyway.

 She often talks about her fond memories of playing with paper dolls when she was a little girl.  So that was our theme.......  What a fun collection we gathered for her.
 Denny dyed a table cloth.....another tradition....the birthday girl gets a great hunk of dyed fabric.  Don't misunderstand....we don't celebrate every birthday....only the really 'big' ones'.  I made poster board place mats.  While we enjoyed a yummy chili lunch....we used a variety of marking pencils to 'dress' our dolls.

Now this may not be little girl paper doll material......but we aren't dead yet!
I tend to be the dessert maker for our group.  In keeping with our ages....we are trying to eat healthier....so rather than the normal sugar filled birthday cake, I made an apple torte, topped with an apple slice rose.....  Really it tasted better than it looks.

Check in again tomorrow when I share the rest of our day's activities. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

OKAY, WE ARE GLOATING!

It's happy days for Cheeseheads........
Packers 55 - Bears 14
The Bears didn't score till the 3rd quarter....when Rodgers with 6 TD's was rested and Matt Flynn came in for the remainder of the game.

 Our two heroes.....Jordy Nelson (amazing back to back catches!!!) Rodgers.....  That's not to diminish the outstanding play by the rest of the Packers.....honestly, we are all smiling......