Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just Playing!

A new tenant has arrived in the garden!
I have been having fun in the studio the last couple of weeks- doing stuff  "Just for fun"!  It's a joy to have no looming deadlines, nothing that HAS to be done anytime soon.  At first I was a bit lost at sea without the list. But then I decided to enjoy it while it lasts!
Of course, part of  the incentive for the playing is so I can get to know the new tenant in the sewing room.  I must have been a good girl last year because I got this elna "excellence" for my birthday!  I wanted a quickie project I could use to push lots of buttons and get to know how this machine and I will get along.  (even thoughI've had an elna for years- and Love it!)

So I dug into the scrap basket and found some strips left over from old projects that went together nicely and decided to piece them all together and see what I got.  I strip pieced, cut then pieced again, then used the bits I had cut off for smaller pieces- just playing! Here's what I ended up with.
OK, so what do we do with these?
Cut them up, of course!  Now, what else does it need??  I know, I'll dig in the bins and find a fabric to put in between the pieced sections.  Something to give the piece some unity, right?

I found a nice hand marbled piece made by one of the members of the ArtCGirlz! Ooh!  That has potential! But what else does it need???

Lime green of course!!!!  So this is where I left off when last I had time to work in the studio. I had planned lots of thread work and embellishments, but now I'm not sure it will need much.  Stay tuned.

For a "quickie" project, it has turned into kind of a major work, but the important part is I am just having so much fun doing this!

In the same issue of Quilting Arts where Mary read about ice cube dyeing, I found the article about finger paint mono-printing, which sounded like fun!
It was!  I tried some finger painting, and a little stamping and a comb.

Then I used a silicone hot pad I found somewhere to see how that looked.  At first I didn't like how uneven the paint was, but then I decided it's a pretty cool texture, even the blobs on the edges!

For this one, I used a metallic paint, and stamps, over a piece I had used to absorb the extra paint from a paintstiks piece I had done.

What will I do with them?  Well, I just got this paper bag full of oddities to use in a project, so...  who knows?   I'll just play!

I am grateful for:
Regular rainfall allowing me to work at my own pace in the garden.
The wonders of nature I wouldn't enjoy if I weren't always out there pulling the darned weeds!
The people in my life who make even simple events special.
Time to play!
Being in a good place at work, finally!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sew, what's new?

I have been trying to get an update ready for weeks, but I just haven't had much to say.  So I'm combining all the news from the last few weeks.  Hopefully my life will become less boring soon, and I'll have more to talk about.  :-)

As I mentioned I have been addicted to making the "Kanzashi" flowers.  There is still a production line in the living room where I do my hand work.  I have not yet become bored with this process, although I have let the flowers pile up a bit.  One solution was to make a bouquet!   There are 16 flowers in this one, including the teeny ones on the stem together.   I improvised the leaves, and added some dried greens to cover up the wire stems.

Meanwhile, my real flowers are doing much better now that we are getting rain on a regular basis again!  it is so nice not to have to spend an hour every day lugging water to keep them alive!  Here are a couple of my favorite spots.
The front walkway.  Aren't the Convolvulus  magnificent this year?!?
The walkway to the back door.

I had a birthday recently.  My hubby surprised me by going out and spending way too much money on the sewing machine I had been saving up for- the elna "Excellence". He had help from the very nice staff at Calico Gals in Syracuse, NY.  They all think he's the best hubby on the planet now.  (me, too!)
Not only does it have many buttons for fancy stitches and fun features, it has a nice wide throat for machine quilting!!!  (Now, of course, I need a better sewing table for it)

My best friend Mary came over with a surprise of her own.  She loves to dye her own fabrics- and she's pretty good at it!  After reading an article on ice dyeing in the current "Quilting Arts" magazine, she made these.  I had to choose which one I wanted as a birthday gift.  (she's so mean!)
I chose the big spiral one.  It's going to be a focal point in my new office once I figure out how to get the design I want to quilt on it marked. The hard part may be deciding which way is up!

That brings us almost up to date. 
Here is my August Calendar quilt.  In the book, August is a sailboat.  I love all the yellow sulfur butterflies around my house in August better. (no offense to Nancy Halvorsen.  I get sea sick.)

My "Green" tip this time is a reminder about those compact florescent bulbs.  I have had a few of them for long enough that one finally burned out.  You should NEVER throw them in your regular trash!  They contain mercury! (I personally don't think the mercury is a fair exchange for energy efficiency, but no one asked me)  Some retailers will accept them for safe disposal.  If you cannot find one, check with your municipal or county offices to see if they offer hazardous waste collection. Here are some other options.

I am grateful for:

A good relationship with my new boss.
Birds and butterflies around the gardens.
Frozen desserts of almost any kind on a hot day.
Summertime means low effort meals.
The love of people around me who have embraced my inner 6 year old.