Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Last Day of the Year - Good Bye 2014

It's been a full year for this blog format. I've enjoyed it very much. And strangely enough, the topic I started with is the same one I'm working on now. TREES. My weak spot, but I guess it's also become my area of expertise.
I've tried many different approaches and I'm sure my work will continue to evolve. I learn from looking at the techniques of others and I offer those new insights to all when they view my work. I'm sure there are lots who will surpass their "master".

I have 3 goals for this new year.
  • master water - I've done a few different approaches but I'm still not confident.
  • master light - Adding this dimension will bring more reality into flat work.
  • use more mediums - I've dabbled in some 3D work but I'd like to put in more embellishment.
I'm entering two challenges this year. One for my local quilt show and the other for the national CQA. Each stipulate fabric to be included and a theme. These take a remarkable amount of brain cycles to decide on how to interpret the theme. Trust me I've rejected many. I went so far as to get permission to use a copy righted image and have since decided not to use it for this event. ( I'll save it for later.)
Right now, I want to get this unfinished piece out of the way. It's been more difficult than I first imagined and I can't really decide why. It is coming together very nicely but I guess I wasn't really as excited about it as I thought. One or two more days should complete it.
So back to TREES.
This was the original image and this is where I am now.
Still a long way to go.
So tomorrow is a New Year.
I hope it finds all my friends and followers healthy, happy and safe where ever you live.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Back to Work

I felt like such a sloth today, actually all week. Had a great Christmas with grown children, but I was dismayed at how tired I was at the end, after everyone went home. Am I getting old??? How did my mother do it?
(Hubby says I get over stimulated and can't sleep. LOL) Can't sleep is the operative. Monkey mind city in my head. But I finally had 3 blessed nights of 8 hours of sleep AND I played sloth on the couch in the afternoons and watched old movies. Heaven.
But I kept thinking about getting back to sewing, turning things over in my mind.
Then this morning I received email from my sister reporting my final Takakkaw Falls piece had sold. It had been the biggest, and it sat there a year, waiting for the right person. They always come along. I've learned to be patient. roughly 24x36 (January -2014 Takakkaw Falls Version 2)

So that's the push I needed. Down to the studio. (Drat I have to clean up fist. Everyone used my table space to wrap Christmas presents.) Think I'll finish what I started the other day. I'll show you when its done.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Tree Quilt - Just in Time For Christmas

So its 3:00 pm on the Monday before Christmas. Have I cleaned? Have I finished shopping? Have I begun cooking?  ..............................No !

I finished this quilt!

I had been in a discussion recently, on another board about whether Feathers were being used too much. I think they fit well in a lot of places but I chose not to use them here. I did consider them but then I decided they weren't a Christmas icon. But Holly is and snow flakes are. So that's what I used to finished this piece. The Log cabin squares received Holly and the borders have large snowflakes scattered around.
The center?
Somewhere I came across this sketch of a tree. It may have been a tattoo. (Don't ask....but there are a lot of excellent drawings in the tattoo sites!)

So it went in the center, in sections, using the tearaway stabilizer.

And after that was done I went over the whole thing again with gold thread. It doesn't show well with my camera but its there.

Just enough Bling!
Hopefully the few shots of the back give you some idea of how this piece looks.

And my center line is perfect!
NOW I can think about getting ready. I have company arriving in 2 days. See you after Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, 19 December 2014

My Sister's Dog - Amos - Another Winner

This is an older piece but one of the first thread paintings I did. It was a gift to my sister as this beautiful dog, who is now deaf and almost blind, was for a while, a search and rescue dog in the Purcell mountain region of British Columbia. He retired a while ago but is still a loved member of the family. He greats the guests at my sister's B&B and graciously shows the ropes to the four footed guests who are allowed to stay.
This piece will be published in the CQA Spring issue in the Challenge section. 3rd prize.
"Best Friends Forever."

Christmas Tree Flimsey

This took a little longer than I had planned. Life does get in the way.

(I guess I should never complain about a date night with my husband; dinner and The movie, The Hobbit. It was great, but its all over. I'm a little sad for that.)

However the flimsy is done (love that word) and I'll mount it on the longarm and I might have this finished ......for THIS Christmas?

6:00 pm ..........Sitting here now with a glass of wine.
There was a small problem with mounting the quilt on the frame. I had no quilt backs. Or rather none that were in keeping with the tone of this Christmas quilt. So instead I spent the afternoon making one. Da Daaa
Tomorrow I'll get this on the frame.

The center panel is made of the cut off from the original panel. The rest I scrounged from my stash. (It was getting too big anyway.)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Sratched another Itch

Like a lot of quilters I know, we have several things on the go or we have a stack of kits we'll get to some day.
I bought a Christmas quilt made with Stonehenge fabrics over a year ago and as I have 8 days till Christmas I thought it was time.

This kit is probably familiar as its center piece was sold separately with LED lights to stand alone.

I understand that didn't go over too well.
I wouldn't meld lights with cloth even if they are supposed to be safe. It happens that a local women designs for this company and she was selling these at a discount at the lost SOLO meeting I went to. (Southern Ontario Longarm Operators) and she had done such a marvelous job with the quilting, I bought one and there it sat.
Till this afternoon.

First job is to sort the fabrics (which when they're all red was a little tough..I had to go by the yardage.)
The center panel is fussy cut. I made a little template from my ruler to help with the job.

And then it took me the rest of the day, (sore back and feet) to cut it out. TA DAA

This is just what I need at the moment. (Actually, it's the glass of wine in my hand that I NEED.) Its now a mindless but enjoyable exercise that will give my brain a rest. (or at least allow me to think about all my other projects and still accomplish something.) So I'll assemble this tomorrow.

Mulling Things Over

While I'm mulling over a number of things in my brain, (and unfortunately I do most of it in the middle of the night. Sigh!) I need to keep my hands busy. (No. No baking today.)

There are two challenge pieces coming up in the spring, One for our guild and one for the CQA. Both of these dictate a theme and the fabric. As unsettling as they are, (and users of an inordinate amount of my time) they do push me out of my ruts and comfort zones. I've spent well over 2 weeks, off and on, perusing the internet for theme jump off points and photos to inspire. I'm almost there,with both.
I'll share those when I start cutting!

As a diversion, today, I turned to a small print by an Canadian artist from Burk's Fall, Bobbie Haviland. I purchased this card when I was north with my quilting gals this summer. This was a study for one of her grand pieces.

I wanted to try this as I need to better learn to deal with reflection. It was also in keeping with the topic I use as my 'go to'.. Trees. What's not to love?

By reproducing someone else's work I'm forced to figure out how the effect was achieved. In this case the mirror image. Not quite as easy as cutting two of everything.

I started with a pencil sketch trying for an impression of tree tops that I could cut out. My material of choice? One of my own (It is getting easier to cut them!)
One thing I have discovered is, because this is paint and not dye, the material becomes heavier, thicker and harder to cut those tiny details. But isn't the colour wonderful? Matching sky and water took a few tries.
It was about here I realized that a reflection is more than a second copy. There is some foreshortening that must happen to the reflection. In theory the whole piece should have been recut to shorten the trees as well. I settled for reducing their height through the solid portion of orange.

With each additional component this was easier to achieve by cutting the material off centre before placing them. The final addition was a piece of nylon in a gold/brown shade to dull the reflection. I put a slight fold at the top to better imply disturbance near the shore.
The rest will be achieved with stitching. Today? Not likely. I like to live with the cartoon for a while and see what the materials say to me.

Monday, 15 December 2014

10 Days till Christmas - Need a gift

Motherhood pays off sometimes in spades. This Christmas will be the first time in 10 years that my whole immediate family will be together. (Be still my Heart). My two boys and my husband's daughter and son in law.
We've managed bits and pieces over the years, but with the work schedules of these young people it has never been possible to get everyone together in the same place at the same time!

BUT doubly fun, My youngest has not been home for Christmas eve proper in 5 years.
Seeing as his older brother is getting his Red Rock canyon piece...DA DAAA!..............

 I thought it was only fitting I construct something for my younger. I seem to be favouring Fox this year. (I'm "Bear-ed out" right now.) I found this little guy and he went together easily.
The only portion that is heavily thread painted is his face and tail. I think My "baby" will enjoy this little guy.!
 This is raw applique work and not fastened with fusible web. This encourages the edges to fray adding to the furry look!
The quilting on the background is simple leaves. Almost perfect camouflage.!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

MORE Baking

Celebratory baking today.
I will have both my employed sons here Christmas eve and Christmas.
That hasn't happened for almost 10 years, when they were still in university. AND my youngest has landed his dream programming job, (so mother can sleep again. LOL)

Today I'm making my Mom's butter tarts. Though I can, I'm not making the pastry today, but I'm sure the ready made will do this recipe proud.

My husband pointed out to me recently, I was diligent in sharing my techniques in my sewing but I hadn't included the recipes for  the Christmas fruit cake, shortbread or the mince tarts (that's a no brainer..its a commercial mixture). My apologies for making you hungry and then thwarting you. Email me if you'd like the recipes I used this year.

 I have a very few of these recipe cards in my mother's hand. She's been gone for 17 years so I do cherish these little bits. Most are food stained but this one is still pretty clean. Its a very simple and versatile recipe. I omitted the currents, (didn't have any in the pantry) and today I added pecans, my nod to the decadent pecan pie I don't dare let into this household.

I placed 2 pecans in the bottom of a PRE- COOKED tart shell and one on the top of the unbaked mixture.
This is a slow oven temp, 350F, so I eyeball cooked them for around 20+ minutes.
They will bubble over if you over fill the shells. That's another reason I stopped doing these in a tart pan. Too many broken tarts stuck to the pan.

This recipe made exactly 12 tarts so the last 3 are filled with peach jam.......and a pecan.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Pine Tree - Final, unbound

I spent a lot of time playing with ideas for snow. I didn't want a lot, but I didn't want the tree entirely spared from that indignity either.

I had planned to use my pearl paint. It had been effective in the mountain piece and after trying a bit on some spare "foliage" I thought I could do the entire thing with it. However, when I put it on the base of the bole of the tree, it was too grey and muddy. I wanted to retain some texture and if I applied enough paint to cover the grey/black it would have been solid. After I blotted off as much as I could I tried a few other ideas.

I had the idea of stitching wool yarn together to keep it tactile, but it looked like a braided rug slapped on the side of the tree. Could have been a poor toupee.
Straight white cloth was....plain cloth. So I ended up using the method I used to make water. I wrapped the white cloth with a piece of organza and stitched down the excess into folds.
Much better.

A few passes with "snow" thread blending the edge into the trunk and a little bit of thread applied to a few branches on the windward side, I stopped.

A bit of paint on a few branches was all I I'll see how bright it dries tomorrow and decide if I need to add more.
Now I have to decide how to bind this. I tried a few things today and didn't like anything. The sky is altered too much to simply pair it with the original blue fabric. Needs some time and thought.

Final with Snow - 21"x34"
I removed some of the branches and foliage from the lower left. They made it bottom heavy.

Final without snow
The "grass" was given a heavy treatment of gold and brown to soften it's artificial feel. Rolling mounds of snow were made with lines of stitching, primarily, so I could breakup the shadow of the tree. This scene is not bright light, so a pale grey blue was all I used.
Bole - snow detail

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tofino Bound - Forest Floor

After talking with a few members of this group I discovered we had ( at some Point that I missed) decided not to enter this as a group project. Every man for himself!
So I finished it today.
Cut it down about an inch, bound it and then remounted it on an asymmetrical backing.
I'm rather satisfied with this.

Looks rather dark and damp......, and that's how it is!

Monday, 8 December 2014

December 8 - Mincemeat and Shortbread

8 art quilts in the mail..........
Husband out buying who knows what.................
Christmas cake ready.
Kitchen is MINE

Shortbread with my FAVOURITE Shortbread pan. (I used to do it the way my mother did and roll them out and decorate then, but my husband eats them tooo fast. One stop baking: mix, press into the pan, cook, and eat.

Mincemeat. A pie last for ever, but TARTS .........they're gone in a mouthful.
(Bless Costco for 120 tart shells) (Never thought I'd EVER use the word Bless and Costco together!)

This is EXCLUSIVELY Christmas Fare in our household.....I'd be a pumpkin otherwise.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

In the Birches

I played today, with some painted fabric and a set of ink pencils.
I took this lovely watercolour and turned it into a piece of quilted art.

I went from this..................
to this......

The material for the birch I had prepared the other day, while I was painting the ski slopes and had to wait for them to dry.
This was done with Derwent Ink pencils and with a touch of water this material did this......

The original animal was a moose but as there are none in in BC, I changed it to an Elk. Pencils first and then wet.

Adding these pieces to one of my early painted cloths was easy. When it was all assembled it looked like this.

Sewing the birch branches, thread painting the Elk and moving the trunks of the trees beyond the border, lifts this already pleasing piece to a new level.
                                                             In the Birches  16"x 14"

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Terminator Peak - Ski Season 2015 - Final

These four pieces finished quickly.
It just goes to show simple can be really effective. This is 4 pieces of material. In addition to the pearl paint, I added black along the edges of the green to more realistically resemble trees jutting upwards. And then, I stitched trees and more trees, but only around the edges. I added titches of white paint, just to raise the level of snow among the stands of forest.
These each finished out at 8 " x 11"ish.
I included at close-up of my TINY trees. Really need those twitch muscles to get those fine movements.
While all four are the same, there are some differences.

This covers an area of about 2 inches.

But here's the finished one.