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!