Monday, January 28, 2008

Pencil Bouquet

I've been cleaning my studio, gathering like things together, and realized that I have quite a collection of colored pencils! Placed in a flower pot, they look so pretty I just had to post them on my blog. The little painted cat was a gift from my daughter Kate after her first trip to Mexico.
I am working away on my January wall hanging and hope to post the finished piece on Thursday, just squeaking under the wire for January!
I do know that my February wall quilt will contain red, but that is all I know for now! Stay tuned....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Felt Applique Cat

Here's my craft project for the week - a little applique picture of my cat Kristy, the way she looks up at me when I'm busy doing anything that makes my lap disappear!!! If I'm at the computer, standing at my work table or have anything like a book or laptop on my lap, preventing her from climbing up, I see those desperate eyes looking up at me!!! And the little open mouth should have a balloon coming out of it with "meow" written over and over!!
I love the combination of felt and embroidery and plan to do more pictures with this method!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Progress on January Wall Hanging

I have been playing around with the design of my January wall hanging, and I think I'm satisfied that it's ready ready to be sewn. The pieces are fused to some Warm & Natural batting. This week I'm planning to audition a few border fabrics and a backing fabric, then sew the edges of each piece and machine quilt the whole thing. So far, the piece is about 15"x24" and, with a border, it will be slightly larger.
I'm also finishing up a little crafty piece for the end of the week. 
Feels good to be productive! I may open up an Etsy shop sometime this Spring, and I'm thinking of what I might make for that. It's pretty cold here in New England, so it's a perfect time to stay inside and be creative!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Something Blue

 It's Friday night and I haven't finished my craft for the week, so I'm sharing pictures of two bracelets I made for my sister, Carol, last week. 
Carol is a retired teacher who taught first grade for more than 35 years. She lives with her sweet cat, Emily Elizabeth, who shares her name with a character from the series of children's books about Clifford the Big Red Dog.  Carol's favorite color is blue and, when I found some pretty beads with blue flowers recently, I knew that I'd use them in a bracelet for her. The two bracelets are meant to compliment each other and were fun to make with glass beads and pretty findings. 
I'm still working on a chain maille bracelet for Carol, but the pattern is complicated, so it may take a while!! Sorry, Carol!! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January Wall Hanging - Stage One

I have put together a first draft of my January art quilt, which will most likely end up as a wall hanging. I've been pinning pieces of fabric to a sheet of foam core, then leaning it against a wall which I pass by frequently. This gives me a quick impression of what stands out as blatantly out of kilter and which parts seem to "flow". Even seeing this photo has made me see some things I want to change. I've added some fabrics to the original mix and eliminated the leaf shape I thought I would use - that will be used in some future piece. So far, I'm happy with the general look. I didn't, after all, use any hand painted fabrics. I do want to finish it by the end of the month, so I'm keeping it simple!
We had quite a snowstorm in Massachusetts yesterday. The trees are heavy with snow and it really looks like a winter wonderland. I'll see how hard it is to maneuver out there in a while when I go out to tutor!!

Friday, January 11, 2008


Yes, I know that Christmas is over, but I wanted to share this Santa ornament I made in California three weeks ago. My daughter Kate had come to our family vacation with a Rudolph ornament kit which included a red LED bulb for his nose. You can see the felt reindeer shape on the placemat in the photo on the left. Following directions, we did simple stitching with conductive thread along the reindeer's body, connecting one end to one side of the LED bulb, and the other end to where the round 3 volt lithium battery rubbed against the felt of his body. The same thing was done on the other side of his body and, when the thread touched both sides of the battery, Rudolph's nose lit up!!
I decided to take it one step further and designed a Santa with a green LED light on top of his hat! On this ornament, the battery is hidden behind Santa's glove. When I want to turn it off, I slide a little piece of cardboard behind the battery, which breaks the circuit.
Now, let it be known that I barely understand all of this, but it works, and it was great fun doing these projects with my techie daughter Kate!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Little Structure Can't Hurt!

As I continue on with my creative plans for the year, I've decided to set up some structure for myself!! I'd like to attempt one quilted wall hanging per month. A tall order, but I think it will be good for me to always have a design in progress. Here are some fabrics I have pulled out for my first project!! I need to add at least one handpainted fabric to the mix, and will probably add or eliminate one or two fabrics as I go along. I'll write about how it's going at the beginning  each week, with pictures of whatever progress I have made!
Also, at the end of every week I'd like to show a small craft I've worked on that week, be it a card, jewelry, a drawing, etc. 
I know this sounds like a lot, but it's what I love, and 'showing up' with my work on this blog is why I began it in the first place!!! I'd like to grow as an artisan and, at the end of this year, be able to see a substantial body of work and, hopefully some growth in my skills and abilities.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Winners!

Tonight I drew the winners of my blog giveaway! Since my husband is on a business trip, Kristy, our cat stood witness as I chose the winning entries! They are KJ, from Eye-Dyllic, Connie, from Life at Tree Top Cottage and Beverly from Tea Time and Roses!!!
I had already decided that I had enough materials to make up a third folder of goodies, and Beverly was the third winner chosen, so her assortment may be slightly different from the others'. But to all the winners, Congratulations!!! Please email your info to me and I will get those packages out right away! (my email address is on my blog.)
To all who left comments on my blog, a heartfelt thank you for helping me to celebrate my blogiversary!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Creative Plans

I've been so pleased with the response to my blog giveaway! The best part has been meeting so many nice people and catching a glimpse of their lives through their blogs.
As I look at the blogs of other artists and crafters, I'm really overwhelmed by the amount of talent and diversity I observe. There are so many levels of creativity and means of expression! As for myself, although I started out drawing and painting, for many years I have been in love with fabric, using it for applique, quilting, crafts and home dec sewing. Many years ago I made my own clothes, (when I was a size ten!), and actually made my own wedding gown and two of my bridesmaid's dresses. How brave was I to do that! I would never attempt it now!!
Seven days into the new year, I'm a little behind in setting artistic goals for '08. Still, I've decided to list the things I'm interested in pursuing and learning and then, set up some sort of a plan for the year.
I want to create several art quilts this year, using commercial fabrics as well as fabrics I have painted, discharged, stamped and embellished. I'd like to play with collage and abstract forms, as well as the pictorial applique wall hangings I really enjoy making.
Other things I'm hoping to play with are various crafts, such as paper cutting, felting and ornament making.
Artistic sewing projects would include handbag making, embroidering and doll making.
And I would also like to do some pen and ink drawing!! Aha!!! An ambitious list!!
Well, I want to get back to using my blog to document what I am doing creatively and to give some structure to my time.
Next up: A plan!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Giveaway!!

I'm announcing a giveaway in honor of my one year blog 
anniversary!!In a lovely Anna Griffin folder I have packed three red blank cards and envelopes and a selection of black, white and red beads, buttons, ribbons and trims. As I go through my private stash of embellishments, I keep adding more goodies, so it should provide a good start for the winners' valentine card or collage making experience!!
There will be two winners. You can enter by leaving a comment on this entry and, if you refer someone else to this giveaway, I'll put your name in twice!! I will pick a winner Wednesday night at midnight. There should be a nice package of creative materials to give away by then, as I am cleaning my studio this week!!!! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Joyous New Year!

I pulled this photo out of my files because it symbolizes warmth and home to me, things I value as we go forward into the New Year.
Home and family are everything, and I'm very grateful for mine!
That said, today I am celebrating the one year anniversary of my blog!!! This has been a wonderful adventure and I'm looking forward to another year of keeping up with blog friends, creating new artwork and meeting new friends through this medium!
In the next few days I'll be offering a giveaway as part of my anniversary celebration! For now, I'm sending out warm wishes to all who may read this, for a joyous and creative New Year!!