Saturday, January 30, 2010

March Birthday ATC completed

YEAH! Now I've completed the ATC, the card and the envelope for the one and only March birthday! Time to clean up the island and get started on something else for a month or so. Here are the final pictures.

Here is a close-up of the ATC itself. The "wind" blowing an umbrella topsy-turvy.

The front of the card. I used two different green sharpies to make the "windy" marks.

The inside of the card

The front of the envelope

The envelope back. I used the image to make the return label

Friday, January 29, 2010

March Birthday ATCs

I know, I'm getting ahead but I have a big project to start on and I wanted to not get behind on this swap! The color for March is green but I didn't want to do a St. Patrick thing. BUT, March is officially Umbrella month! Who know???!!! And it is also the "windy" month.

The background is one of the gorgeous paper towels I have from snow dyeing clean-up (nothing is wasted in mixed media, right?) I used some fancy yarn to make the "wind" and some umbrella charms I got from e-bay and cut the little loops off the top. It is the wind blowing the umbrella topsy turvy.

In keeping with my Nurturing Creativity concept for this doesn't matter which way they are turned!!

Now, I hope I'm enough ahead to have a breather to begin the other project!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hi..It's me yet again! - Fractured Flower!!

Gosh I'm chatty today!! I think part of it is that I'm so excited to be back in my studio on a more regular basis and doing creative things and completing some projects. YEAH!!

Today, being between projects and almost brain dead I'm so tired, (stayed up late watching football.........and crying because we lost and shouldn't have!!) I decided I had the wherewithal to at least sew together the four pieces of the Fractured Flower! AWESOME!! Oh and the 1/2 inch wiggle room seam allowance is absolutely necessary BTW! I got it all set up like I wanted it, stitched it together and Voila! Here it is!

Now I'm leaving it on my design wall for a bit and let it tell me just what it needs/wants. Then I get to do the fun part of making it into a quilt wall hanging and embellishing!!!

Nurturing Creativity - Week 4

I had mentioned the Nurturing Creativity card choice in a previous post this morning. (Stand on Your Head - get a new prespective and angle on your work.) But I had neglected to mention in another post that the Purple Fire ATC had always been developed with the cheesecloth hanging down from the top. It was one of the things I turned upside down to practice my "assignment" for this week. And it was amazing that the fire was just there then. Previous to that it had been one that was giving me some difficulty in naming! Sometimes things just DO change when seen from a different perspective!!!

Some more ATCs completed today

Just finishing up some ATCs so I can put all my bits and pieces away for a while and work on something else for a time. These are not for anything special....just playing with some of my stuff that was in a box from other projects!

Two for the Money - a test piece from my quilt for ADAPTATION. The coin I have in my "stuff to play with" stash!

Caviar Dreams - there are seed beads in a couple of places (caviar - fish eggs) and the leaves are like seaweed. This is scrap fabric I purchases somewhere and had zapped out a lot of the sheer fabric between the leaves and the background is the dark green film that wraps the package of teas I had purchases some time ago (water). Unfortunately, the seed beads do not show up as well in the photo as they do in person.

Arabian Night - Both the top and bottom pieces are left over from the little boxes project some time ago in another group. I thought the bottom looked like a sand dune or sometimes a Bedoin tent.

Red Sail in the Sunset - Watercolor paper painted with fabric dyes left over from snow dyeing. The sail is Tyvek painted dark red and melted.

Last Two Purple ATCs

Below are the final two Purple Swap ATCs I just completed.

And Purple Runs Through It - Inspired by my favorite Brad Pitt movie - A River Runs Through It. The background is more of the watercolor paper painted with purple dyes. I then used more of the dark and light paper towels from the purple snow dye clean-up. The center is made with seed beads mixed with white glue and spread on with a popsicle stick.

Purple Fire - More of the watercolor background. Left over purple cheesecloth. Flame highlights are Jacquard Lumiere Gold paint dabbed on with a stencil brush. It is also therapy for me this one. Since our Minnesota Vikings (whose colors are purple and gold) crashed and burned (get it - Anyway, they fell apart and lost the championship game. I'm in mourning..........

Lots of things today!

First, I didn't quite complete the Studio Clean-Up but plan to just continue clearing out stuff and putting stuff away (translate - finding a place to put stuff!) until it is all done. Of course, it is never totally done but I'll know when it is where it should be.

Then, you gotta love FreeCycle! I just picked up 20 hospital meal trays and 20 loaf pan looking containers (but they're plastic) from FreeCycle! GREAT tool for when I'm dyeing, painting, you name it!! AND the person said they have a continuing access to a supply of these used items! YEAH!! Believe me, I'm keeping her e-mail address!
Next, I'm participating in a couple of ATC swaps. The ATCs below are for a purple swap.
Purple Mountains Majesty - The background is watercolor paper painted with purple dye left over from my recent snow dyeing day. The mountain on the left is purple cheesecloth from a project last year. The middle mountain is left over from when in another group we made little gift boxes. The right mountain is a purple candy wrapper I've been saving for ages. One of those "you just never know...." things.
Purple Haze - The background for this one is one of the darker paper towels from the clean-up of my snow dyeing day. I wrinkled it up and ironed the wrinkles in. Painted it with Gel Matte Medium. The tore strips from a lighter purple clean-up paper towel and put those on in wisps. Covered the whole thing with pink netting to make it "haze-y" and then used a stitch on my machine to do the wavey stitching across it.
Now......last but now Creativity Card for the coming week.....I can hardly stand the suspense!!!!
Stand On Your Head
The concept is to look at your work from a different perspective. Like upside down. Only I think I'll just turn the work upside down. This body isn't up to standing on my least and not living to tell about it! LOL! My plan today is working on a couple of ATCs anyway so I'll give it a try. I think it would be fun to try that with the Fractured Flower pieces now on my design wall to see how it looks upside down....or sideways!!! But that will be later in the week.
So now I'm off to play in the studio for the morning!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New FUN!

I just found a site called Fiber Art/Mixed Media by connecting to a link on another blog. AWESOME! And guess what I found there???? A group called "2010 Monthly Experiment"!! Now does that sound like something right up my alley or what??!! The idea is to stretch your creative horizons by experimenting with a technique or material you haven't used before. I LOVE that idea. So I joined.

For January I used this window protection film that we had left over from putting on our windows. It was one of those things I kept - "'you just never know. I might find a use for it someday!" It looks like metal but is a plastic kind of thing. So I decided that would be a good place to start experimenting. You know first instinct is to ZAP it with my heat gun! It was VERY reluctant to react but it finally did. Took a good time longer than zapping Tyvek but it bubbled a little. Mostly it tightly puckered in spots with lines radiating out from that. Different but cool in its own right. I decided to do postcard sizes for these experiments....big enough to get a good feel for the material/technique and yet small enough that if it really isn't worth ever doing again....not much lost.

Here is the first one. I first Inked this one with my Adirondack inks, then zapped it. It was REALLY shiney so I adhered balck MistyFuse on top of it to tone down the shine a bit. Not awesome yet....maybe never!

This is the second one. I zapped the window film and then painted over it with a wash of two tones of blue acrylic paint. It reminds me of brain neurons (OH NO!! I've been hanging out with my husband too much lately!! This is a sure sign!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Operation Studio Clean Up - update

This is really fun!!! I have a big plastic tub that has our grandson's crib set (including EVERYTHING) and it is like new. Friends of our friends are expecting a baby and really need all the help they can get! They are very happy to have it and it will be another big thing out of my studio. We will take it to them tomorrow night!!!

The studio already looks bigger. Once I got started I was running like a locomotive! Another good day like today and this place will be awesome! (Don't want to get it too clean - just in case I don't want to get creative and mess it up.......................NAWH..........can't see that happening!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Little Non-Quilty Stuff

Yesterday my one big project was a fleece throw for my oldest grandson. His favorite color is orange and he is also a NASCAR fan and loves the flame designs. Over the summer a friend was visiting from the Netherlands and bought some awesome fleece fabric for a coat. Jeffrey loved the fabric. She had some left over from her coat so she gave it to him....(or to me to make something for him). Below is what transpired. It wasn't quite wide enough as it was to cut the fringe part so I added on strips to fringe and tie. I switched sides of the fabric to give it a bit of interest. Oh, and the picture below is not that accurate -- the throw IS an even rectangle - it is just the way it is hanging on my design wall.

Here is one corner folded over so you can see both sides.

I gave it to him last night when he came over and it is now in permanent residence on his bed. When he saw it he said, "SWEET"!!! That is high praise coming from a 9 year old!

Operation Studio Clean Up - Day 2

YEAH! Today's project is going well. I listed two boxes of family/kid VHS tapes on FreeCycle and they are supposed to be picked up today! And I listed two items that are brand new in their boxes on e-bay. Also, a few left over infant outfits will be going to our friends on Wednesday evening!

Now.......what is next to get out of here!?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Life Upside Down

Well, here it is!!..............all done!!!!

Life Upside Down (& slightly off-kilter) is the full title of this piece.

The challenge title is ADAPTATION. I didn't have to think very hard about what that has meant in my life for the past 9 months! Nine months ago our son and his family moved in with us "temporarily". They have three babies all under 3 years old and because it is a blended family, on weekends we have all the kids. This makes 7 kids in all and 4 adults. It has been a major adaptation for me. I was used to having my days all to myself. I could be in my studio and skip lunch or whatever I wanted to do. I was responsible to or for no one but me during the day. Now we have a house full of people all the time. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having the babies here especially. They are a constant source of entertainment and love and hugs. They are wonderful. It's just that it is so different and therefore required much adapting. That is where this art quilt comes from.

This situation has turned my Life Upside Down and thrown so much slightly off-kilter. The number cascading off the clock are symbolic of the fact that I no longer have a schedule I can count on. Many many times, my plans go out the window due to other things that come up. The flower upside down on the slanted shelf though is significant of my flourishing in the midst of all the chaos. The four front petals are my 4 grandchildren that make it all worthwhile and the three smaller petals are the 3 additional kids we inherited to be kind of like grandparents to them. The big comfy chair and the rug are similar to the ones in my studio. My studio is one of the main things that help me stay grounded and sane (or at least in my life what passes for sane!!) The window is my sometimes slanted view these days....yet the view is pretty and wonderful.

It was a long process and I'm so glad the deadline for this piece was pushed back from earlier in the year to the end of January. It has been a labor of love and a journey of understanding all at the same time.

Nurturing Creativity - Week 3

Shuffle.....shuffle.....close my eyes.......and chose a card!!!!

This week it is:

Creative Space

Well, this will either be very easy or very difficult. Very easy in that I have a wonderful creative space already in my studio. Very difficult would be coming up with a way to make this card relevent given that fact. Hmmmmmm let me think........................

OK, I've determined that to me this card speaks of KEEPING my space creative. While I'm a very messy artist in many ways (just ask those who have worked with me in my studio!!) I find that having it messy DURING a project is waaaaaaay different that leaving it messy before I start the next project. So, what I think to do is this: there are currently several stacks, baskets, boxes of things in my studio left over from a stint of trying to sell things on e-bay (what a waste of time THAT turned out to be!!) My goal for this week is to get rid of them ALL. That will probably mean a trip to Salvation Army to leave stuff there or FreeCycle or something but they will ALL be gone by the end of this week!!! I know that doesn't sound difficult but when I'm in my studio I want to create....not clean up!!! It will be a discipline to walk past all my "toys" to go through boxes and things to get rid of stuff. LOL!! I just wonder how much stuff I'll find that will stay in the studio because "you just never know -- I might be able to use that in an art piece someday!!!" I'll try my best to keep that to a minimum!!

I am going to keep the deadline thing though. That was really an interesting experiment. One - to keep the deadline realistic given my current life situation and Two - to keep the deadline which also means managing time to end up "done" on the deadline time. It really helped keep me focused on whatever I was working on and not to start three other new projects along the way!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Still on Schedule - WOW!! (and Fractured Flower!)

Can you believe it??? I can hardly believe it myself! I finished up all the quilting and today I put on the last of the embellishments. Now all I need is the binding. Trying to decide what to do that would work for this particular piece. So, no picture today......just checking in. Hopefully tomorrow night or at the latest Monday morning, I should have pictures ready to upload! The deadline thing has really helped me stay on task. I don't usually drift off to other things except things in the studio. I'm walking over to put something in the sink and see this way cool piece of metal and it is SOOOOO difficult not to even pick it up and play with it. I just kept telling myself that I HAD to keep on the quilt to have it done by Sunday night!
So, until tomorrow..........
Oh wait!!! I DO have some pictures to post!!! Received the four parts of the Fractured Flower that I need to put into a quilt. Here they are. Soon I'll be playing with them and it should be tons of fun!!! The upper left is mine, Upper right - Gena, Lower left is Karen and Lower right is Wil.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More Snow Dyeing Results

OK, so I now have my backing piece for Adaptations. But there is so much little time (yeh, like all the snow in Minnesota will be gone by next week!! LOL!). So I just HAD to do some more snow dyeing while the previous ones were melting.

Below is the one where I scrunched SA soaked fabric in a cottage cheese container, packed on the snow and then squirted on the dye. It came out fine....the darker parts were on the bottom of the container. The snow melt doesn't run off in this method and so the bottom gets a full shot of the dye. So, the method really depends on what, in general, you are looking for in results.

This is the one with red, orange and yellow dye.

Remember how I had a big mess to clean up (especially the big pool of purple snow melt???). Well, here are some pretty awesome paper towels!! First from the green cleanup...(oh if only this was re-creatable!!)

And these are some smaller pieces from the clean up of the big purple pool!

Oh yeah, these will find their way in to my art work somewhere along the line!
A little behind schedule on Adaptations (I forgot to figure in time to stop and prepare meals!!!) But I'm not far behind. The window is inset and the whole thing is quilted. Now to add all the fun bits and pieces!!!
CRACK!!! oops....the whip is cracking.....better get back to work!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Still on Schedule!

OK, right on schedule so far! A slight delay due to helping put away groceries. It's always something I guess. But, in the true spirit of learning to dance in the rain......I'm thankful we have food to eat!!!

Snow dyes washed and dried and ironed - here they are!! I had forgotten how wonderful snow dyes can be.

I love the separation of color and the shades of those colors. I used a mix of a blue and yellow to get the green I wanted. I LOVE this piece!!

However, this is the one that won the audition for the quilt backing. This is one of the pieces which got squirted with green, blue and dry bronze
This is the other green,blue,bronze pieces. Unfortunately, it is my little mutant piece. While drying, it slipped off the drying rod and fell into a couple of the drip pools from the other pieces. So, it has a couple of blemishes. Poor baby. However, there are still several beautiful parts left and who know but what I might need a piece just like this one for something someday. So, mutant though it still has a loving home here with me.

This is the all purple piece. Notice the separation of the red and blue I used to make up this particular purple. I LOVE when that happens!!!

These are the two pieces with purple and red. I love these, too!! Just like a mother with her children, huh???

I had a remaining FQ in the SA soaking, and still plenty of snow to take advantage of so I made another piece over lunch. It is currently still melting.

So, to complete todays goals, I have to get busy and stencil to see how that will work out and do the window on the quilt.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Deadline for Today - DONE

YEAH! It feels good to have accomplished what I set out to do today!! Below is the piece which is mainly green as it started out. I scrunched up the SA soaked PFD on the screen, packed snow on top of it and squirted the green and blue dye on it. Then, I sprinkled some dry Bronze onto it. Got a bit heavy in spots but we'll see what it turns out like.

Here it is beginning to melt! The hardest part about snow dyeing is waiting for the snow to melt!! (Patience is NOT one of my virtues!!) So far it looks pretty good. There are two FQs in all that green snow.

Here are the mainly purple two as they started out. Fun part of this one was that later in the day I discovered that the plastic bin lid I use under the screen to collect the runoff was leaking!!! I had a huge pool of purple water all over the island! Changed containers, cleaned up the mess (ended up with some AWESOME purple paper towels, too!!) It is now continuing to melt.

Wanted to try a slightly different approach this time. I scrunched the FQ into the bottom of a cottage cheese container, packed snow on top, squirted on the purple dye.

When all the snow melts I'll let them batch overnight and rinse, wash and iron them in the morning! Stay tuned!!!

Nurturing Creativity week 2

Another re-shuffle of the cards..........picking one...............and the winner is............

Give Yourself Deadlines!!!

Very timely I think. I have Adaptations to complete before the end of the month. This morning while writing my pages I set down that I want to get it done by the end of this week. That is because I have several other things to work on but want to get this done without having to scramble at the end of the month.

Oh, and I had another idea. One suggestion was to have the numbers coming off the clock go across the piece. I bought several different sizes of number stencils hoping to have the smaller ones next to the clock and getting larger as it goes across the piece. Here is what has been holding me up.......The background that I have chosen for this piece (and love because it fits the concept so well) is a one of a kind CCRR piece that couldn't be easily duplicated - if at all. Then I decided to stencil the numbers on a test piece to see if it accomplishes what I'm looking for. Then this morning it hit me!!! If the test piece turns out OK, it would make a wonderful backing for the quilt!!!! YEAH. Next challenge..........I don't currently have a piece the size I need for this project. SOOOOO.....I've been wanting to do some snow dyeing anyway and decided to do it today and use some colors that I want for the backing of the quilt! Now instead of stuck, I'm excited.

Fabric is soaking in the soda ash as I type. No problem having enough snow!!!! Now I'm going to go mix dyes and start playing!!!

So, here are my deadlines for the week. Complete the snow dyeing this morning (batching overnight). Tomorrow morning I'll finish the fabric and start stenciling. In the afternoon I'll pick the piece if it works out (I'll just use a different snow dyed piece if the stenciling is awful). Then do the window. Wednesday - start the quilting of the piece and hopefully finish it. Thursday and Friday, start putting on the other pieces and stitching them down. Saturday, add any painting or other embellishments I need and start the binding. Sunday, sew on the binding and take photos!!!

The challenge with deadlines is the limbo in which I live these days. Ever heard of the Tyranny of the Urgent???? Yep, that happens on a regular basis. It comes from trying to coordinate the lives of a minimum of 4 adults and 3 babies!!! We'll see how it goes! Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

And the NOT SO Mundane!

Had a blast in my studio today. I completed the February ATCs for the birthday swap I'm in this year. My little attempt to stay creative so matter what else comes down the road.

For the February birthdays I chose the color purple because of the month's gem (Amethyst) and flower (violet). Also, it is National Heart Month and Friendship month!! How cool is that?!!

I used a technique I learned a little over a year ago working with Lutrador, cheesecloth and lace. There are several layers of paints ending with Jacquard Lumiere Halo Violet Gold. I also love to collect old costume jewelry and add bits and pieces of it to my artwork sometimes. Each of these ATCs has three gold heart charms from a bracelet I bought a while ago on E-bay. Each ATC has different heart charms. The title of these little gems is "Passionately Purple"

Then I made the cut out cards and stamped them with purple hearts. Used the same windows so the ATCs could be removed from the cards. Here is the outside of the card.

And the inside of the card.

The envelope was a bit trickier this month. All I can say is THANK HEAVEN for free clipart websites!! The envelopes aren't as purple as I would like but hey -- it still works!! They are all addressed and ready to put in the mail closer to the end of the month!

I already have the fabric chosen for the March birthday (only one other besides mine). Now I'm just waiting for something I just bought on E-bay to add to it.
The additional challenge I'm making for myself in this swap is to make the ATCs relevant to the month. It takes some research but I'm enjoying it! It's quite a learning experience!

Being Creative in the Mundane

OK, so it seems this is more difficult than one might think!!! My current experience is that I'm so anxious to get back to the studio that I spend as little time on mundane tasks as possible! This doesn't lend itself to even considering how to make it creative. I just want it over and done with. Other observation -- The other option I take is to just not do the mundane task!!! LOL! And I must admit that is my most often chosen option. The most regular mundane tasks I do are cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. And it seems I put it off until I just HAVE to get a dish started and then I just want to get the meal on the table.

Now, as for cooking. Could I count planning new recipes as creative??? We've decided to try at least one new recipe each week. We being Annette and myself. We are developing quite a cookbook of things that are real hits with the family. This week we tried THREE new recipes. SOOOOOO I'm counting that as being creative.

The other cooking creative thing is making meals with what we have on hand. Cooking for 7-11 people - three of whom are under three years old - one can't afford to waste food!!

Ok, so now I've talked myself into thinking I AM being a bit creative in the least a little bit.....................

Friday, January 8, 2010

Let's Try This Again!!

As some of you will remember - at the beginning of last year I started going through the "52 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity" cards. One per week. Then life fell apart and I hardly had time to breathe, let alone be creative and post on a blog!!

Now, with 2010 starting, I'm going to give it another go and hopefully keep more on a creative track this year. There are several exciting projects already in the works that you will read about in the coming months.

So, here we go......the deck of cards is shuffled and the first one out of the box is....................

Everyday Life As Art - the concept is to find art in everyday seemingly mundane tasks (and who among us doesn't have a load of those????) Hmmmm. I'll let you know how the day goes today - making mundane into art! How artistically can I prepare Tuna Bagel Melts??????? I'll let you know tomorrow!