December 31, 2008

Funny Face

Check out this face! Isn't it a riot? I had a lot of fun playing in my studio last night! Just need to embellish, layer and quilt. You may remember that my friend lost her house in the Tea Fire. My Fibervision buddies decided to make her a quilt to cheer her up and let her know we're thinking of her. Susan Italo will mount these little quiltlets (8.5 x 11) onto a Wild Onion quilted background. I'm sure she will love it . . . wouldn't you?
Hope you all have a very happy and prosperous New Year. Given the state of the economy, I'm sure that 2009 will have many challenges, but I'm optimistic that we will be able to reverse some of the damage.
I'm grateful to have such a wonderful stash of art supplies to help me make 2009 a very colorful year!

December 30, 2008

Before and After

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We had a great time with our three kids (young adults). My daughter was on a training trip (swimming) for 2 weeks in Florida, then came to CA for Christmas. Fortunately, she missed all the snow storms in IL. From what I understand, all the melting snow is now causing floods. My youngest son will be moving to Portland in another week, so it's probably the last time we will be together for quite a while :-(
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do anything too creative during our exterior remodel. It's just amazing how a broken water heater has snowballed into a major remodel. We still don't have plants or paths, however, we do have new stucco, new concrete entrance, new paint, new fence and new gutters. The new stucco on the front walls seem to be dry, so we'll be painting the front today. Once that is done, the plants and paths can be installed. Yeah!!! There is an end in sight.
Here's the before and after view from my front door.We removed a hedge on the right hands side, so we decided to widen the entrance. Here's the new entrance. I was tempted to stick something into the wet concrete, but I was good.

Hmmm . . . this concrete and rebar is pretty interesting. I like the industrial feel and the grid.I like it even more after he contrast was increased. Hmmm . . . should I make this into a thermofax screen? Just goes to show that you never know where you'll find inspiration!

December 17, 2008

Goodie Bag

My friend Kathy had a little surprise for me when I picked her up for the Blockheads Holiday Party on Saturday. A Goodie Bag!Either she knows me too well, or she is starting to think like me. Now that's a scary thought! LOL

Here's a close-up of a corrugated box that was inside the bag. It should make some interesting rubbings.While I was at Home Depot buying paint for the house, I found this interesting piece that is used as a gutter guard. I'm going to take the two layers apart and use it to paint and stencil. Stay tuned for yet another experiment!And best of all . . . some flowers from Mike. They're soooo pretty!

December 14, 2008

White on White Tallis

A long time friend commissioned me to applique some white doves and leaves on a white silk tallis. Heidi is doing a lot of white on white hand embroidery. I hope you can see the dove in this photo, it was very difficult to photograph. There are 10 doves in all, 5 on each side panel.It is very understated and elegant. Her son will be using the tallis at his wedding instead of a chuppa. Sounds like it's going to be a very grand affair at the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. There is a very good chance that this wedding will be highly publicized.
Here's a little experiment I tried with a 1" styrofoam ball. I felted wool roving to the styrofoam. Little by little, the styrofoam seemed to disappear, leaving a felted ball in its place. I flattened one of the balls into a button shape and punched two holes through it. This is a lot of fun, I can see myself making enough felted beads for a necklace.
You could feel a storm approaching this afternoon, the temperature started to drop and the clouds were rolling in quickly. It made me want to cook a large pot of chicken soup, so I pulled out carrots and look at what I found!

December 8, 2008

Needle Felting

Here's a close-up of the type of needle felting I'm adding to my Revision quilt (see last post).Unfortunately, I broke all three needles at one time, so I guess I need to buy some more. I find stabbing this poor quilt with sharp needles quite relaxing. I think it's really good therapy and everyone should run right out and buy all the necessary supplies! Could you pick up some needles for me while you're at it?
Progress? Slow but sure. At this point, all the work we've been doing isn't real impressive, but it is necessary. Since the last landscaping post, we've added irrigation, bender board, gutters and stucco patch. The whole surface needs a coat of stucco, and then paint. Once the garage wall is painted, the plants can go in and then decomposed granite paths. So close, but yet so far!

Here's what the back yard looks like. Our own personal dump! We've already had a huge load of concrete hauled away and a load of green waste removed. I guess we should have waited a while; I didn't realize Mike would get so carried away with the chain saw. I'm sure the remaining plants are convinced that they are next and are doing their best to look beautiful so they will be spared!

December 6, 2008

Revision Quilts

For this second year in a row, Fibervision had a Revision Challenge. Each participant put a quilt or quilt top that they made, but no longer want, in a brown paper bag and trade their bag with another participant. The challenge is to take whatever piece your receive and Revision it into a new, wonderful, useful object or quilt.
Some people remove pieces and reuse them in some way. Some make additions and turn them into useful items like bags or boxes. Some change the look by dyeing, discharging or painting the fabric.
I received a finished quilt, complete with binding, a label and a poem. It's a pretty traditional pattern, but it had bits of yarn and tulle running through it a lot of beads. I had a very difficult time with this piece, because I know it took many hours to make. I didn't want to destroy it. I stared at it for months and often used it to cover up when I was chilly in my studio. I knew I had to do something dramatic to change it but what? Cutting it wasn't going to be enough and I couldn't take it apart because the quilting was quite dense. I decided to paint it.

Here's the quilt after it was painted with Setacolor, stamped with Neopaque and rubbed with Shiva sticks. It's very different, but it still isn't quite finished. Now I'm needle felting wool roving on top in a swirling circle pattern.

I told everyone that I was going to turn it into a bag, but they all thought it was great as a quilt and didn't want me to cut it.

What do you think? Keep it whole or turn it into a large tote bag? Hmmmm

The big reveal was today at our holiday party. Everyone made fantastic Revision pieces and fabulous food. We spent the afternoon at Cathi's beautiful house enjoying each other's company. It was a great day . . . a very welcome break from the ever present landscaping project.

December 3, 2008

What Color Green Are You?

If you haven't visited Tracy's blog, you really should. She is really colorful and very creative. She posted the results of a color quiz on her blog. I took the quiz and ended up with the exact same results as she did. It made me wonder how many of us bloggers fit into the Teal Green category. Let me know if you are also Teal Green! Here's the link for the quiz.

What Color Green Are You?
You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you. Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible. While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks. Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

Personally, I don't think my habits are strange. I'm sure everyone has a baggie of colorful leaves in their purse. They were so gorgeous, I just couldn't resist . . .

December 1, 2008

Landscaping Overload

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I'm afraid my life has been taken over by my very own DIY landscaping project. Just when you think it can't look any worse; you find out you're soooo wrong. New irrigation, paths and plants weren't enough . . . we've also removed the ledges and ranch style trim. It's looking pretty bare right about now. Yuck!!Mike is building a new fence and gate. When will it end?? I'm hoping most of it will be done by Christmas. I'm pretty tired of all the mud being tracked into the house. Well, the new paint job probably won't be finished, we may just have to slap a quick coat to cover all the ugliness of the missing trim.
I've managed to bond with a needle felting tool I recently purchased. This little pen can be adjusted to hold three, two or one needle. The instructions were pretty sparse, mostly keep the needles straight and don't stab your fingers. Warning: the needles are sharp! Don't ask.

What do you think about my first piece? If you have any instructions or know of a good link for needle felting, drop me a line. This piece measures 6" x 9", just the right size for a small purse to carry your camera or cell phone. Stay tuned to see if I actually find some time to put it together.

PS: Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was fantastic. All three of my kids and one lovely girlfriend came home for the holiday. I'm really thankful that my kids have become kind and thoughtful young adults. Life is Good!

November 15, 2008

Giveaway Winners

I asked my husband, Mike, to choose two numbers between 1 and 38 and he chose number 2 and 17. Congratulations Fulvia and Lisa S. Please email your address to me and I'll get your prize package in the mail.
A bit of good news: Many of the evacuation orders have been lifted, so a lot of people can return home. The bad news: A really good friend lost her beautiful house and everything in it while she was on vacation.
I'm working on a couple of projects that can't be shown yet. One is a Revision Challenge for my Fibervision group and the second project is a collaboration on a Wedding Tallis. I will applique some white on white silk doves. It's going to be gorgeous.
I'll post some photos tomorrow!

November 14, 2008

Another Fire!

Who would have ever guessed that we would have 3 major fires in Santa Barbara county within a 15 month period. The first was the Zaca fire, then the Gap Fire, now it the Tea fire. Unbelievable . . . yet it's true. And this one is by far the worse of all. It's in a heavily populated area in Montecito and Santa Barbara. Multi-million dollar mansions are burning to the ground. The unofficial count for the first 24 hours is 150 homes lost, and the fire is 0% contained.
I helped my boss evacuate last night and talked to several friends that also had to evacuate. It sounds like one may have lost her home, but we can't be sure yet. And of course, the air quality is horrible again. I wore my mask today and I can honestly say that I am over my mask phobia.
Tomorrow, I will draw 2 winners for the 100 item Giveaway. If you haven't left a comment yet, you still have time. Make sure to leave a comment here.

November 8, 2008


I've been waiting patiently for the 100th country to visit my blog. Well, it finally happened on election day! It was quite the historic day for the USA and my blog. Now it's time to celebrate this memorable occasion with (2) Giveaway Prizes of 100 items from my stash.

There's a variety of buttons, paperclips, beads, shells, wrapped sticks, hand carved stamps, a bead tray, several types of cording, dyed, painted, screenprinted and discharged fabric . Two lucky people will receive a package similar to the one above.

All you have to do to WIN is leave a note. I'll randomly select two names on November 15th. Good Luck!

November 3, 2008

Painted Fabric

As promised, here are the results of my layered fabric painting. This sample shows two layers of stamped fabric and the plain fabric that picked up the excess paint.

This stack had one stamped fabric and two pieces of white fabric. It really picked up some really interesting textures. It would be interesting to use the same stamp on top of the painted background to see how different it would look.

And what is this? Perhaps a piece of beautiful granite. No, it's my new printing mat. I assembled it today using insulation board, carpet padding, vinyl and duct tape. It's 2 feet wide by 4 feet long, so now I'll have a great surface to print on and clean up will be a snap.

As I was getting ready for work this morning, my boss called to tell me our main highway was closed. I turned the radio on and heard that a gunman handcuffed himself to one of the highway overpasses. Traffic everywhere came to a standstill. The highway and surface streets become parking lots. So, I had a few unexpected hours to myself and decided to work on my printing mat. The SWAT team eventually took the man into custody and everyone went to work. What a way to start the week!

October 31, 2008

Gummy Body Parts

Here's one of my Halloween offerings, "Gummy Body Parts". Ewwww . . . . that was my reaction as I put them into my shopping cart. No chance of me eating the leftovers, that makes this the Perfect Candy. One Trick or Treater said, "Bloody Fingers Build Character"; he grabbed a handful and ran!!

October 28, 2008

More Stamp Carving & Fabric Printing

I'm back . . . Here's the second installment of my stamp carving and fabric printing experiments.The first two photos show the carved stamp and the printed fabric made with that stamp. I used Neopaque paint to print the stamps in an all over design and let it dry.I layered this batch a little differently than the last one. I put a white piece of fabric down first, then layered the blue printed fabric face up. I sprayed it with water and squirted apple green and blue Dyna-flow on top.Then I added the red printed fabric face down and squished. Here's a photo of the stack when it was still wet. This is a great way to add a bit of background color to white fabric. I'll show you the final outcome in the next post.

October 27, 2008

Stamp Carving and Fabric Printing

I led the Fibervision design workshop this month. It was loosely based on Jane Dunnewold's book Finding Your Own Visual Language. A creative group of artists really doesn't require much in the way of instruction. Place materials in front of them, give them a general idea and off they go. Everyone enjoyed carving their own stamps; some used Exacto Knives, some used carving tools. I used Jacquard Neopaque to print my stamps on cotton fabric. After drying for a couple of days and heat setting, I began to play with the printed fabric.
I sprayed the fabric with water and squirted some violet, blue and green Dyna-Flow on top. As expected the Neopaque acted as a resist and the Dyna-Flow bled together around the stamped area. It was pretty juicy and I didn't want to waste good paint, so I added a layer of fabric on top and squished (technical term) the layers together.This was pretty good, but it needed a little something. Hmmm . . . Apple Green and Red should do the trick! It was pretty juicy again, so I added another layer of fabric and squished.
I couldn't wait to see what it looked like, so I peeled back the layers and took this photo. I can't wait for it to dry! I also painted two other pieces that I'll show in the next post.

October 24, 2008

More Fabric!

What can I say? I'm weak and I know it! I know . . . I always say my studio is ready to explode, but yet, I cram more in. The trip to Pacific International provided lots of opportunity to buy beautiful things. I was pretty good, but couldn't resist everything.This first photo has some purchases from a store in San Jose that Ellen Anne Eddy recommended called Fabrics R Us. If you like fabrics that stretch, shimmer and shine, this is the store for you! Actually, they have two other stores in the same mall, one has upholstery fabric and the other had and odd mix of stuff. I bought the lime green ultrasuede and three types of silk, and some plain white canvas fabric that is waiting for some paint. The three fabrics on the right came from PIQF.This is a sampler pack from Cherrywood Fabric. Cherrywood is the only solid fabric I ever buy. Well, I suppose that isn't completely true. I buy white to paint and dye and black to discharge. Anyways, if you've never seen their fabric before, you're missing out. It's all hand dyed and has a beautiful, suede like finish to it. Each piece is around 8 x 10" and there are a zillion colors.
I also bought some white on white fabric to paint and two patterns which I forgot to take a photo of. One is a Quiltcoat by Tabitha Quilts and the other is a Bellino Bag by Ghee's. I seem to collect patterns but never make anything! I'm sure I'm not alone . . . please, tell me I'm not alone!

October 17, 2008

Design Exercises

I'm off to Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara for 3 days. I thought I would leave you with a fun design exercise to try. Last month, Jeanne Surber, shared this exercise with our Fibervision group. It's an exercise that I find very useful and have been doing for years.Cut a hole out of an index card, I have 4 different sizes that I use. Move it over a magazine page, fabric, etc. until you see a composition that you like. Jeanne traces the design, but I have a hard time seeing the details through the tracing paper, so I just draw what I see.Turn each one around to see if a different orientation looks better. Choose a composition that you like and develop in whatever way suites your style.
Sorry about the photo quality, I'm in a rush . . . I need to get ready for our road trip. Yeah!

October 12, 2008

Photo Manipulation

After a full day of gardening, I needed a break. I decided to play with Photoshop. The image that I started with is very different that what I ended up with. I thought you would be interested in seeing the progress. This is a close-up of the bark of a palm tree.This is the original photo with a little contrast added.
I wanted to change the color dramatically, so I decided to solarized it.Next, I posterized it at a setting of 5. It didn't change it too much, but it added a lot of depth.Here I've changed the colors by changing the master saturation to +60, the hue to +52 and the lightness to 0.I've decided to displace a photo of circles. The horizontal and vertical setting was 70. The displacement map was stretch to fit and the undefined areas are wrap around. I like how the circles added texture to the large areas, but it's a little too obvious.

So, I added a tile filter. The number of tiles was 50, the offset was 20% and the background color was black. It knocked the circle back a bit and added another layer of texture. I like it, so I'll stop here.
Photoshop is a lot of fun. The more you play with the tools, the better you will understand what they do. Just remember to rename all your changes and Save As.
Image how surprised I would be if I opened the palm tree bark photo and found the altered image above!

October 11, 2008

Pyramid Pazzazz

I watched Kathy Rose piece zillions of colorful triangles together. She seemed to have a plan, but I didn't know what the intended outcome was. When I'm not making the quilt, I kind of like the final surprise. This quilt top was on my bed as we auditioned the inner border and I saw it again after it was quilted. I wasn't prepared for how different it looked hanging vertical on the wall. When it was flat, I hadn't noticed the plaid design, the triangles within triangles, the diamonds,, the hexagons, etc. Every time I look at it, I see different shapes! The colors are gorgeous and the color values were handled beautifully. Great job, Kathy!

Here's a close up of Pyramid Pazzazz. Kathy added the misspelled Pazzazz in honor of the musical I worked on earlier in the year. It took Second Place in the Large Traditional Pieced, Commercially Quilted category. Nancy King from Santa Barbara Quilting is responsible for the beautiful all over quilting.Here's our next project. Not quite so beautiful, huh? I didn't really get the "before" photo. All the Juniper bushes have already been removed. Those itchy bushes should have been removed 20 years ago! All you can see in this photo are the stumps. Yeah!

We also removed the Veronica bushes along the curve. We still need to remove all the dead grass/weeds. We ended up with 55 trash bags full of green waste.

Now I've got to come up with a design. Something that incorporates curved paths, drought tolerant plants and pretty colors. My husband thinks planting a garden is like designing a quilt. Do you think they are similar?