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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back to the Pumpkins

Well, I'm 80% done with the sunflower shawl. My Sky Mist marker is getting weak, so I have ordered more and will finish the front of the shawl when they arrive. The back and lace for the edges are finished and just waiting on the front to be completed. So...today I'm going to work on the pumpkins...since I didn't get to them a week or so ago.
Last week Nickola (granddaughter #1) and I hung my hummingbird feeder and last night she came running into the house to tell me that while she and PawPaw were grilling a hummingbird zoomed by to go to the feeder. She was so excited! I was too. We did a high five and I told her how great it is that the hummingbird found the feeder she helped put out! Her smile and excitement were precious.

Last year we had two hummingbirds fighting over the feeder, and it was right at our familyroom window, so we were able watch them all the time. When we would sit on the patio they would zoom by us and didn't really care how close we were. I took this picture last year when the hummingbird was just sitting looking into our familyroom while we watched TV. It was amazing. I was able to even go outside and take pictures without him (or her) caring a bit that I was only a few feet away.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shawl Progress, Painting Day

It’s raining outside, so I’m in my studio painting the fabric for the back of my shawl. I decided to make it just a movement of the colors on the front. I like to make things simple and not get too extravagant sometimes so I ran the PFD (Prepared for Dying) fabric through the rinse cycle of the washing machine to get the fabric damp. Then I diluted the textile paint in spray bottles and started spraying. The colors were coming out a weaker than I wanted and I wanted a little more variation, so instead of adding more paint to the spray bottles, I got out my paint plates and lightly diluted some more of the paints and started sponging. I was able to control the movement of the colors into each other a little better and got the color depth that I wanted too. Now I have the fabric drying in my studio, partially hanging over a drying rack and partially over some organizing bins on my worktable, with the ceiling fan on high.

Looking through my stash of lace I found some crocheted scallops on old window valances. So I sponged them too. These will go on the short ends of the shawl.

Yesterday my husband and talked about creating a painting area for me in the backyard. We have this little section at the end of the patio, next to the side yard, that the former owners of the house had a hot tub sitting on. He is going to put a stainless steel table up for me to paint on there. That corner of the house gets the most wind on breezy days, so he is also going to put up a 4 foot fence to block the breeze, that way my paints won’t go everywhere like they have before and I’ll be able to have a little ledge to hang and store things while I’m painting. I’ll post pictures when it gets done. His “Honey Do List”, well when he gets a few things done, it seems that we add double the number of tasks for him to than what he just accomplished! What would I do without him! I definitely don’t want to find out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Words

I've started working on writing the words on my shawl. It is turning out great, just the way I want. You can't really read the words from a distance and close up it is hard sometimes too, but that is the plan. My vision is to just be able to know that there are words there, surrounding the sunflowers, sort of an illusion, mystery of sorts, an obscure character. Using the Sky Mist color of fabric pen was a great choice. If I had gone with black or a more noticeable color, then the illusion would be gone and the background would take away from the sunflowers. I have selected Bible verses, inspirational words and poems referencing sunflowers and flowers to write on the shawl. It is really going to be extraordinary when it is complete. The inside of the shawl is going to be hand painted fabric, a weak watercolor image using muted colors from the front of the shawl. The thought of using a commercial fabric to back all the hand painting I had done on the front was going against my grain (okay, I had to stick a pun in there). Along with the hand painted backing I am also going to hand paint lace to put on the short ends of the shawl. I have looked through all of my lace stash, and of course, I don’t have the lace that I want! Isn’t that always the case?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Starting on the Words

Today I'm going to start writing on my shawl. We'll see how far I get, Betty is playing and Nickola is at school... I've chosen a collection of Bible verses and encouraging words to wrap myself in. I heat set the shawl yesterday and will heat set it again after I write the words. I'm going to use a fabric marker by Fabrico, the color is Sky Mist. I didn't want to use a color that would standout and take away from the main part of the shawl, but one to give a hint of movement in the background. I tested several different colors and brands before I decided on this one. I know I won't be done today, but hopefully I will get a good start. Tomorrow should be a good day to work on it also. Till then, have a great day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shawl Progress

Here's the progress I made on Friday. I'm using Jacquard Textile and Setacolor paints. The sunflower colors are Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Goldenrod, Apple Green, Olive Green, Brown and Fawn (Setacolor). For the background I mixed together white, Sky Blue and Sapphire Blue. I wanted a modeled look for the background, so I mixed the the colors together a little at a time. After a while I realized the the sweeping motions were a little overwhelming (first picture), so I grabbed my sponges and sponged a mixture of the Sky Blue and Sapphire Blue with some water, to thin it out, and sponged until I achieved a more relaxing look in the background. I'm very happy with the color of the background and the addtional painting on the sunflowers. They have more depth and character now. I've been testing out some fabric pens to write verses, sayings and words in the background. This afternoon I'll be selecting that I'm going to write. I'm also in the thought process of what I am going to do to the other side of the shawl. I don't want the raw side of the painted fabric showing, so do I paint more fabric for the inside or what? I'm leaning toward painting more fabric and doing a light color of the blues and yellows. Little bit of paint and a lot of water mixture. Any other ideas out there?

Friday, April 17, 2009

I Get to Paint Today!

Well, yesterday didn't go the way I thought it would on Wednesday. Instead I was blessed with spending one on one time with granddaughter #2, Betty, all morning and then one on one time with granddaughter #1, Nickola, in the afternoon, when I picked her up from school. It was a beautiful day, Nickola and I bought flowers and planted them in the back yard. She's a good helper and very proud of her flower picks, I am too.
Today I am going to work on my Sunflower shawl. I need to do some additional work on the sunflowers and then I'll start on the background. I'm going to use a couple of different colors of blue and a few different techniques. We'll see what happens! I'm excited about this project!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Next Project

This is my year to catch up on my UFQP's (Unfinished Quilt Projects). Today I straightened my studio, after the girls and I watered the plants outside, and decided what project I am going to finish next (see I’m being confident, I will finish!). I want to complete a project that will be easy to handle if one of the little ones interrupts me and can be put away easily when little fingers are getting too curious in the studio. I really want to paint on my Sunflower Shawl, but that is a bit messy with little ones around and will have to wait for a day when their Daddy is home and Mommy has recuperated more from having baby Hudson. Hopefully Friday will be that day! Anyway, tomorrow, Thursday, seems to be a good day to start stitching the blanket stitch on "The Great Pumpkin Quilt".
This is a pieced and appliquéd quilt designed by Jeanne Davis/Briar Rose Designs. I love this quilt and love a lot of the quilts that are designed by Briar Rose Designs. I have several of their patterns. The Bernina of Dallas store used this pattern as a block of the month last year. I didn’t want to use the fabric out of the kits, so I bought the pattern and have used batiks for the pumpkins and vines. The colors are so rich and beautiful, and I don’t want the thread work to take away from the fabrics, so I am going to use a light-weight thread. I found a King Tut variegated that is going to be perfect for the pumpkins and then I have a Sulky green variegated for the vines and leaves. I may use some other variegated threads for the other parts of the top stitching, otherwise I will use Isacord. I can’t wait to finish the quilt and hang it where everyone will see it when they walk in the house.

Watering Day

I bought two of these precious watering cans for my granddaughters today. After lunch we went outside and they helped water the plants...and the birdbath...

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Quilt Studio Sign

Well, The Quilt Studio Sign is done, without any spelling mishaps! The only mishap that I have not is the "new" external hard drive we bought to house all of our photos decided to die after only one week. So, thank heaven for who ever invented digital camera's! I just took another one and here it is! Now I hope that our "computer dude" can "undelete" the pictures from our main computer that I deleted when I put them on the external hard drive.

This next picture is of the dress I made my little Nickola today. She's our oldest granddaughter and she loves to wear dresses. This dress is made from the "The Little Vintage Jumper" by Favorite Things. She just loves it, now if the Texas weather would get warm and stay warm, she can wear it! It suppose to be freezing again tonight, this is the time of year when the themometer rides one of the roller coasters at Six Flags!
I've cut out another dress for her that hopefully I will be able to finish tomorrow and then Wednesday we will wait for our new grandson to join our family!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cosmo's Condo Complete!

Well, I actually got Cosmo's Condo complete today. The Quilt Studio sign will wait until tomorrow, my sinus/ear infection would only let me finish one thing today. After pressed the letters back, in the correct order and no additional letters it was ready to hang! Instead of putting a traditional binding on the sign I decided to stitch a multi-colored ribbon on the edges. The ribbon goes so well with the batik fabrics that I used and I like to use different finishings on my art quilts. After I finished the re-application of the letters my "Mr. Wonderful" put three black grommets across the top for me. Then we hung the sign quilt with nails and colored the nail heads with a black Sharpie.

Medicine Warning Labels

Any of you out there suffering with a cold or the sinus crud that has plagued me, my family and most of North Texas, and may be taking cough medicine that has a warning label on it cautioning you not to mix with alcohol and not to operate heavy machinery, beware, we need to petition for additional labeling. I think we need an additional label "Use caution when appliquéing." Yes, it happened to me. Now most of my family will tell you that my spelling has always been on the side of "creative", but my husband and my DIL both looked at the "Cosmo's Condo" sign and no one caught the extra "s" until after I was completely done and ready to hang (see Raw Edge Applique' posting and you'll see my error!). I thought something looked odd when I was ironing the letters down, but just couldn't figure out what it was...you know when you look at something so much the error is hard to pick out. Well, thank goodness the sign is raw edge appliqué. I carefully picked off the COSMS and repositioned the COSM and ironed them back down, carefully. Since I quilted the sign with black thread and it is going to be hung above eye level in the laundry room (aka Cosmo's Condo), I didn’t have to requilt any of the sign. Now, if I had put a decorative stitch or satin stitch on the sign…I would have started over completely. It’s not a big sign and picking out would take longer than making new one.
I did have another incident a couple of years ago when one of my daughters' friends was having a baby girl. Val kept vacillating between the names Mia and Ava and the last Amanda Jo had heard it was going to be Ava. Well, the quilt was a name quilt and I had appliqued Ava on it, but hadn’t put the decorative stitch on it yet. I received a phone call from Amanda Jo telling me she was at the hospital visiting Val and baby Mia, yes, Mia. I told her not to sweat, that Val could change the name! Hahaha! No problem, I picked off the first two letters and replaced them with the correct letters. Mia loves her quilt and looks like a Mia, not an Ava.
So my warning to all of you is, let your three year old granddaughter practice her spelling by looking at the sign before you iron it down! And, make sure the baby is here and the name is on the birth certificate before you finish the quilt!
We all have to learn something new everyday!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sign Quilts in Progress

Yea! I actually feel better today and have started quilting "Cosmo's Condo" and "The Quilt Studio". Oh, it feels good to be behind my Bernina again! I picked out a remnant piece of grey cotton for the backing and black batting. There was enough of each in my stash for both sign quilts. I am also using black Isacord as the top and bobbin thread. I like to stipple tighter than most people, I just like the way it looks.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I was semi-productive today!

Well, I got up feeling better today. I dusted the downstairs, organized some things in the studio and got 6 loads of laundry done! I also took care of the granddaughter's while AE slept in a bit, this sinus crud is not being nice to her and being 9 months pregnant, I hurt for her every time she coughs and sneezes.
I was able to pin the "Cosmo's Condo" and "The Quilt Studio" signs, maybe I'll get them quilted tomorrow. I'm using black batting and black Isacord to quilt them.
Well that furry white dog of mine is pestering me for a treat...what is new.
Till tomorrow!