December 27, 2013

Silk Scarves

I hope everyone is enjoying some relaxing times with family and friends. All three of our grown kids are here and we really enjoy having them all together. We've been playing a lot of cards, ping pong, bananagrams and going for walks on the beach. I was quite surprised to find ten pieces of beach glass the other day. The high surf must be responsible for churning it up because it's usually hard to find.

Here are two hand dyed silk scarves that I recently finished. If you're interested in purchasing one, email me or click here to go to my Etsy shop.

Silk Crepe de Chine-SC3 (red, green, yellow, blue purple)

Silk Crepe de Chine-SC10 (blue, fuchsia, yellow, green)

December 20, 2013

Scrappy Rag Quilt

I've been trying to finish up projects that have been hanging around my studio way too long. This one is for my grand niece, Julia. When she was five years old, I made her a flannel rag quilt with raveled seams. Now that she is nine, she informed me that it was too small for her. I told her to pick out the flannel she liked from my stash and I would make her another quilt. Of course, she loved all the fabric, so she is getting another scrappy quilt. She spent quite a bit of time arranging the squares.

I labeled everything so that it would go together exactly as she envisioned and now I'm sewing it all together. This may be larger than anything I've ever finished. Did you notice I used the word finished?

If you are a book lover and appreciate great photography, you should check out this book. It really is one of the most spectacular books I've seen in a long time.

This is one of the many photos from the book. It looks like one of my hand dyed fabrics. Every page is filled with amazing images and great information about the world.

I won one of the gift baskets at the guild Christmas raffle. It had a lot of fat quarters, a pattern, book and a yo-yo maker. Most of it doesn't match my style so I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it yet.

December 18, 2013

Knitting Projects

Yay! I finished my Russian Wedding Band Cowl, however, mine has two loops instead of three like the pattern suggests. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The loopy yarn adds a lot of interest.

The knitting group I meet with once a month is called "Loose Threads". I really joined the group because I like the women, not because I liked to knit. I used to bring a variety of things to work on, but the last few months I've become addicted on knitting. They are so talented and make such beautiful items . . . I want to make them too. Lucky for me, they are really patient and willing to share.

Katie taught me how to knit short rows so I could make this helix scarf. I tried to flatten the scarf out a bit  to show how it ruffles on each side of the center spine. I'm using a 75% Supersocke 100 wool and #3 needles. It'll probably take me 6 months to finish the scarf but I'm sure I'll love it when it's finished.

Here's a close up showing how the scarf naturally twists. Aren't the colors gorgeous?

December 17, 2013

Fantastic Sunset

After a really cold week and several nights of frost, mother nature delivered some warm weather and a beautiful sunset.

 I'm taking these photos from the pier in Goleta Beach. Campus Point is the whole area of land that extends into the ocean in the background. That is where the campus of UCSB is located. It's a great location for a college. Whenever I see clouds like this, I know it's going to be a great sunset.

The colors gradually begin to shift, but within five minutes, the change is dramatic.

I took this photo after the sun had completely set using a long exposure.

 It was completely dark when I shot this photo of the campus lights. It's a fun little experiment that I continue to play with whenever I have my camera with me after it gets dark.

December 11, 2013

SB Art Association Exhibit

I'm happy to announce that I was recently juried into the Santa Barbara Art Association. My first exhibit with them is taking place during the month of December at the Santa Barbara Library in all three galleries.
There are over 300 members in the association and there are plenty of mixed media artists, but as far as I know, there aren't any other fiber artists like me. That could be good or bad, I'm not sure . . . time will tell. The three pieces shown below are on exhibit now through December 30, 2013. Stop by and see the show if you're in town.

Winter Wonderland, 13 x 20"

Swept Away, 11x 14"

Looking Up, 30 x 34"

Looking Up is one of my latest pieces to be completed. The inspiration for this piece was the skylights in the Santa Clarita convention center. I was fascinated with the structure and took a lot of photographs.  I manipulated the photos in Photoshop until I was pleased with the colors and composition and then printed them onto fabric. Then I took it one step further and made my own interpretation of the structure using my hand dyed fabric. A second top in the series is completed and is waiting to be quilted.

December 8, 2013

Where did November Go?

I can't believe how quick the time is flying by. As I get older, the time between Halloween and Christmas seems to get shorter every year. Of course, it was quite the opposite when I was a child. I'm sure it was the same for you too.

This year, I was really fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends and family at my home for Thanksgiving. I hope that all of you also had a lovely day. It's been an amazing year for me both creatively and physically. Regaining my vision was life changing. After the surgery, I made a major change in my life. I began eating healthy and exercising A LOT. It was not easy. . . every muscle in my body screamed loud and often. But, I've lost 50 pounds and I feel so much better. I'm really grateful that I was able to dig deep and find the strength to stick with it. If you're going though this and need some encouragement, let me know. I'll be your #1 fan.

Here's a little quilt that I started quite a while ago in a workshop with Esterita Austin. My sister-in-law saw it in my studio and fell in love with it, so I finished it for her.

This is the back view, showing the quilting through the top and batting. Once it was quilted, I added a backing using the pillowcase technique.

Here's the front of the quilt. I added the shadows in the doorway using 2 colors of tulle. I think the finished size is around 20 x 22".

A good friend hasn't been feeling well lately, so we gifted her with a pretty scarf from Houston. Of course, I had to have some fun decorating the gift bag. 

I screen-printed both designs onto the bag using the water soluble crayons, extender and the screens shown. The screen of the wild child is a thermofax and the random shape screen was made using a sheer curtain and blue glue as a resist. Surprisingly, these screens will last for several printing sessions if you clean them using cold water.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to share.

November 10, 2013

Houston Quilt Show Report

I had a great time in Houston and met a lot of really nice people. Some were already online friends, but most were previously unknown. It's wonderful how a common interest can bring such different personalities together. It doesn't matter if you make traditional quilts, modern quilts, or art quilts . . . it's enough of a connection to start a conversation and a potential friendship.

Andi took a photo of me with my quilt, Inside Out: Hormones. It didn't win a ribbon but it was accepted into the show which is an honor in itself. It's always interesting to see what quilts received ribbons. Sometimes you totally agree with their choice and other times you can't figure out what they were thinking.

Overall, it was a great show and I enjoyed the experience thoroughly. I tried to see all of the quilts, but I know I didn't. The set-up was a maze and I never really quite figured it out. The quilts I did see were amazing though. The grand prize winning quilt, Chihuly's Gondola by Melissa Sobotka was gorgeous but it was difficult to see the details because they had barriers set up that kept you three feet away. Melissa said she used tsukineko ink and a lot of reverse applique.

My quilt above has some reverse applique and the class I took with Ann Johnston was on reverse applique. It's a great technique and I'm pretty sure I'll be using it quite a bit more in the future. Here are two of the blocks in progress from the class.

More layers can still be added or subtracted as desired. A third block was sewn, but not cut into at all yet. I think we got a lot accomplished in one day.

Then there are the vendors . . . something like 700 of them!

Honestly, I already own enough products to open my own store, but that never stopped me from finding something to buy. For the most part, my purchases were practical but very specific: applique scissors, chalk marker, self threading needles, awl, shibori book, misty fuse, HQ ruler, Glide thread. I only bought one yard of fabric but it's gorgeous,  Japanese, and it was the last yard. The most unusual thing I purchased is a resin product called Little Windows. I haven't tried it yet but it looks like it will be fun.

It's nice to travel but I love coming home. Quilt shows always get me fired up. I'm working on several projects at the same time. I'll take some in progress photos for the next post.

October 25, 2013

Countdown to Houston

In a few days I'll be flying to Houston to attend the quilt show. Andi and I will be there for several days, so we should have plenty of time to see the whole show and all the exhibits. I will be a volunteer in the SAQA booth on Saturday from 12:00-2:00. If you're at the show, I would love to meet you.

I'm taking a one day "Beyond Piecing" class with Ann Johnston. I rarely use solid fabric and actually had to dye fabric for this class. All the colors look nice together, we'll see what happens when all those solids are put together in one piece. I brought a couple of hand dyed fabrics with lots of pattern and colors . . . just in case I'm allowed to stretch the rules a bit!

See the red case on the right side? That is what I'm using to carry all of my tools for the class. It's really lightweight and fits everything except the extra large rotary cutter and scissors. I generally keep it stocked with embroidery thread and beads so I always have a supply ready to take with me. 

When the case is opened flat, it has four separate zippered compartments. It's made by Laura Ashley and is probably meant to be a cosmetic case. I've been using this case for approximately 8 years and it's still in great condition.

I've added some hand dyed silk scarves to my Etsy shop. Click HERE if you want to see them.

October 23, 2013

Marimekko Fabric

Here it is . . . Merimekko Fabric, all washed, dried and ready to be rolled for storage on my fabric wall.

 Each photo shows about a fat quarter yard of fabric.

 The original price for Marimekko fabric is $45.00 per yard, but once it hits the Crate and Barrel Outlet, the price is reduced to $5.95. The clerk told me that they use this fabric in the store displays, but the only tell tale sign was one staple.

The fabric is really thick and extra wide. I'll probably use these for quilt backs because the extra weight will really make my quilts hang straight.

The red and green fabric are actually the same design, but the red shows the design towards the edge and the green shows the design towards the inside.

I'm not sure if you can buy it in all of their outlet stores, but I know there is plenty available in Calabasas, CA.

October 21, 2013

San Diego Fun

San Diego is a fun city with a variety of things to do. In a few days I managed to visit the Contemporary Art Museum and saw a very interesting beaded color field exhibit by Liza Lou, Gaslamp District, Little Italy, Old Town, and Balboa Park. I also stopped at Crate and Barrel outlet store and bought a 8 yards of Marimekko fabric.

I spent a day exploring Balboa Park and some of the museums and the IMAX theater.
This was the view I saw as I walked into the park.

The architecture was truly impressive. I spent half of the day looking up.

I got some nice photos of the lily pond and gigantic koi.

 This huge sculpture of a dragon is located outside of the Mingei Museum. It's constructed with concrete and covered with tile and marbles. They allow visitors to climb on it. Quite surprising.

This is Spanish Village Arts Center. It has 30 or 40 talented artists with little studios throughout. It's a very charming area.

 Another stop was Old Town. They are definitely getting ready for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration on November 2nd.
 There were plenty of skeletons everywhere I went. They are quite beautiful with very elaborate costumes.
These two had a whole story line and wedding in progress.

October 10, 2013

Felting and Stitching

I'm such a lucky girl. My good friend Susan Italo gifted me with some of her hand dyed wool for felting AND hand spun yarn. She dyes her own wool and then spins it gorgeous yarn. Truly amazing.

Look at the great items I scored in her yearly studio clean out. I'll use this wool in hand felting projects. I don't know what I'll do with these gorgeous bits yet, but for now they are happy living with the rest of my stash.      
I'm not sure if it's the jabbing with a sharp object or the rhythm that I enjoy, but I think hand felting is pretty relaxing.

Here's a piece that I just finished hand stitching on. It will be a postcard once I add the backing and finish the edges.

Here is one of my Photo Note Cards that I've added to my Etsy shop. There are 25 different cards, all of them are 5 x 7".

October 7, 2013

Etsy Store is Open!

Yay . . . the Etsy site is up and running. So far, I have the half yard pieces of dyed fabric and some fiber art postcards listed. I still have quite a bit more fabric and dyed silk scarves to get listed. I'll also be selling 25 different Photo Note Cards.

The store name is JudyRysdesigns. If you want to take a look, you can click on the name and it will bring you to the Etsy store. I'll be working on Photo Note Cards this afternoon, so they should be live tomorrow. Thanks for looking and let me know what you think.

October 5, 2013

Black and White Photography

Lately, there have been several photographers showing black & white photos at my camera club. They brought me way back to my college days and inspired me to convert some of my photos to black and white. Here are a couple that I think turned out pretty well.

 This calla lily was shot in a shaded area of my backyard.

Lake Los Caneros is a beautiful place to go for a walk.

October 3, 2013

Pepper Jelly Anyone?

Something had to be done with all the ripe jalapeno peppers in our garden and the best solution I came up with was Pepper Jelly.

My tolerance for spicy food is sort of on the low side and I don't eat much sugar, so I won't be eating this, but I'm sure my husband will love it. He has been away this week for work so he hasn't tasted it yet. The recipe uses 2 red and 2 green peppers and 10 jalapenos. I left all the seeds in this batch and I'm too chicken to taste it to see how spicy it turned out.

Tomorrow, I'm going to make another batch and leave only half of the jalapeno seeds in. That level of spiciness may be better for most people. I think I'll chop the peppers a little smaller for the next batch.

Anybody have any other ideas of what to do with a lot of jalapenos? My plants keep growing.

Jelly making was my break from posting information on Etsy. It's going pretty well but I have a question and I'm waiting to hear back from them. I should have the site up and running tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted.

September 28, 2013

Fremont Street Experience

Here are some photos from the Fremont Street Experience light show in Las Vegas. I took so many great shots, it was difficult to narrow my choice down to a four.

 This photo gives you an idea of the overhead canopy where the light show is taking place. See those dark shapes that look like trees. There are a bunch of them that run along the tunnel like canopy and provide the power to the 12.5 million LED lights.

Yep, that's right, 12.5 million lights lit up overhead at one time and constantly changing. And music too! It was pretty amazing.

The designs that flashed by were incredible. I can't believe how well my camera photos came out. I guess there was plenty of light available. haha

There was a different light/music show every hour that lasted about 10 minutes. We were there for 3 different shows. There are 3 or 4 stages set up under the canopy with free concerts going on, and a bunch of casinos, restaurants and stores. Plenty to things to keep you entertained for an evening.