Monday, May 30, 2011

Productivity and Satisfaction

Well, I have to say, the weekend went pretty well!  I started to lose creative energy this morning, after waking at 5:00 a.m. because I had too much on my mind.  But I got up, made the coffee and took care of some essential, but non-creative, tasks that had been piling up on my desk.  Here it is 10:00 p.m. almost and I can truly say that I feel good about the time I had and how I used it.  It seems by the time Friday rolls around, I'm reving up my creative juices ready to jump in with both feet on Saturday and Sunday.  I don't get a lot done during the week unless I have some super fantastic idea that is pushing me on.  I find that it is important for me to feel fulfilled and satisfied with what I have produced over the weekend and feel that I have utilized my hours in the studio effectively or I won't be happy come Monday.  Sometimes I expect too much from myself within that timeframe, but I also work better under pressure.

That said, I wrapped up this weekend in the studio by finishing my 3 Creative Studios - May Color Palette Challenge piece.  The colors were rich purples and oranges like a sunset and I really enjoyed working with these colors once I got into the flow.  I turned this piece into a composition book cover and intend on using it!  Here are the finished pictures:

I found a piece of painted Steam-a-Seam that I fused and then hand stitched over in a random pattern.  The cone flowers are from actual photos I took transferred to fabric through free-motion embroidery.  I've got many more where those came from! 

The one thing that I didn't get to do was create a video with my Sony Bloggie.  I really wanted to experiment with making videos to post to my blog, but for some reason the computer was not cooperating with the Bloggie and the software that I need to install isn't showing up.  Hmmmmm, I'll have to put my technical hat on this week and figure that one out. 

One more item before I head off into dreamland.  I was reading through Quilting Arts In Stitches Vol. 2 yesterday and decided to visit Jackie Cardy's blog (Dog-Daisy Chains) to check out more of her embroidered cuffs.  Well.......I HIGHLY recommend taking at least an HOUR to go through her flicker photos of her work!  I love her design elements and the colors she uses!  There is a lot of embroidery, a lot of felting, and a ton of inspiration!!!  Seriously, if you have a few minutes, you should check it out here!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Studio Sunday

Welcome to Memorial Day Weekend!  It is finally warm here in the northeast.  I think in the sun yesterday it was about 90 F.  The pool is now open at my apartment complex and my deck overlooks it.  I left my iPod at work so I am without music in the studio this weekend but the birds are providing lots of their own music.  My favorite time to listen is at dusk when the sun is setting. 

Today, I have been busy working on my May 3 Creative Studios Color Palette Challenge.  The colors for May are oranges and purples from beautiful summer sunsets.  I've got many pictures of those from Maine for sure!  I've decided to make a composition book cover with this artwork.  I want to do a little beading but may have to go in search of more beads.  Here is where I am so far:

I plan on doing a little more fabric painting later on since I have a nice new piece of cotton all primed and ready to go.  Green is calling to me today so I may start there.  We will see.  Check back later for more :))))

I'm getting really excited about my upcoming Guest Artist spot on the 3 Creative Studios in August/September.  It will take a lot of preparation but I am totally up for it!  I'm gathering my thoughts and developing projects for the month!!!!!

Take a few moments this weekend to remember family and friends who have passed and all the soldiers who have died fighting for our freedom in America.  I am thankful every day for having been born in the USA!  I am also VERY thankful for the extra time in the studio this weekend! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Check out my new bag!!!!

So I am off to a very productive long weekend in the studio!  Yesterday, I started painting some tightly-woven cotton fabric that turned into this adorable new bucket-type shoulder bag.  I've been wanting a new bag and I will tote this one everywhere!  My inspiration for this bag comes from the fabulous fabrics that Alisa Burke paints and draws on as well as the adorable bag that Tonia Davenport made and posted on  Take a look through my creative process.  The thermofax screens are new ones that I made a few weeks ago.  I'm really loving my doodled squares and will be selling this one off my blog in the very near future so stay tuned!!!  Here is the finished bag - yummy!!


 I started this project with a piece of cotton fabric approximately 40" x 17".  I laid one coat of Gesso over the entire piece of fabric using a credit card to spread the paint evenly.  Then I let it completely dry.  From there, I went over the entire piece using basic craft acrylic paint adding areas of blue, green, yellow, and orange that I spread around using a sponge brush with water so the paint would move around and blend gently.  After that layer dryed, I went back over the entire piece with the same craft paints in areas, spreading the paint around with my fingers and adding a lot of white heavy body acrylic paint to finger blend with the colors.  The two layers were necessary to cover the gesso background and enhance the blending of the paint for a softer look.  In some areas, I made texture marks with the edge of the credit card.

After that second layer dryed, I went in with my doodled squares thermofax screen and printed sections randomly across the fabric using white acrylic paint.  Again, I waited until this layer dried before the next steps.

Next, using thermofax screens of some of my doodled flowers, I printed a variety randomly across the fabric in hot pink acrylic paint and let that layer dry.

After all layers were dry, I used a black Sharpie marker to outline and add detail to the doodled flower prints to help define them from the background.

The construction of the bag was done freely without any pattern. I simply decided how deep I wanted the bag (12") and how wide I wanted the box bottom (4"). I simply folded the fabric until I had approximately 15" for the front and back connected by the fold at the bottom and cut off any remaining fabric to use for the straps. 

For the lining, I cut a piece of coordinating fabric the same size.

Next, I stitched the side seams then pinched each of the bottom corners and stitched a perpendicular line across the corners where the measurement was 4" wide. Reinforce this stitching line by sewing it a few times.  I repeated this step with the lining fabric.

For the straps, I made sure that I ended up with at least 26" each.  Using four 1 1/2" rings, I created a small strip to connect the ring to the bag that would be stitched into the top stitching between the lining and the bag.  I used a coordinating hot pink fabric that matched the doodled flowers and fused strips of the painted fabric to it then stitched through the entire strap.  Then I stitched the straps through the rings a few times to reinforce them. 

I will be working on lots of good stuff this weekend so check back later!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DJ is back from Italy!

One of my favorite and most inspiring artists is DJ Pettitt.  Stay tuned to her blog for more pictures of her workshops from Italy and her amazing photos of the country!  I can't wait to see the students' work!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Studio Sunday....torn

Studio Sunday, I wait all week for this!  Sometimes the pressure I put on myself to maximize my weekend time renders me frozen.  So I find myself torn today; torn as to where I should create.  Because the elements I use for most of my artwork are generated on paper and digitally to use on fabric, I find myself drawn back to paper and paint.  This is where I will be spending most of my time today.  However, I won't be surprised if near the end of my day I find myself driven to create further.  As my fingers get busy, sometimes my brain will be moving faster and the ideas will start to flow.  I've definitely got project ideas that I really want to dive into but I need a little more stimulation; a little more inspiration to get going.

I'm starting with backgrounds and last night I made a few.  The key word here is "white".  I need more white!  Why, you say?  Because it works really well digitally when creating layers and I am continually trying to soften my look.  Color really energizes me but I need to find a balance in its use in my artwork.  Same with collage; I need to balance my digital collage with creating more collage elements into my experiments on paper and then fabric.  Here are a couple of fresh and soothing backgrounds I'm working on.  Still a lot more development to go.

Enjoy your Sunday and I may post again later with some great stuff!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Adorable is This????

Check out this post on the Create Mixed Media site by Tonia Davenport!  This bag that she made using one of Heather Bailey's patterns is simply awesome!!   I just want to eat up this little bag in the fabric that Tonia used.  Great surface design there!

You have to check out Heather's shop site as well.  Total eye candy!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Studio Sunday and the Free Giveaway Winner Is......

Yeah!  Today I am announcing the winner of my very first giveaway!!!  I want to thank those who posted for their interest and comments; all 4 of you!  LOL  I hope the winner will enjoy the mini art quilt they have won.  This little piece makes me smile every time I look at it!  So this is how I picked the winner....

First, I wrote each person's name on a piece of paper and folded them up.

Then I put them in a plastic baggie and shook them up really good!  My husband, Jim, was the designated "picker" and he reached in and grabbed a name out!

and the winner is.........

Congraulations Silke!!!! 

Send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I will send along this happy piece for your collection!

I'm super excited for the new 3 Creative Studios Color Palette Challenge for May!  SUMMER SUNSET is the new challenge with wonderful warm hues of orange and purples!  I can't wait to dive into this one!

In the studio today, I am working hard to finish my project for inclusion in this year's Quilting Arts Gifts Magazine!  I'm really happy with how it is coming out!  On another note, new ideas are constantly popping into my head, I made a trip to the local copy center to enlarge a few drawings up to 350%!!!  Can you imagine??  I would love to have one of those scanners and printers available to me all the time, expecially with a large roll of fabric to print on!!  Anyway, I'm working on some larger format projects and I think you will love them!!  I'll keep you updated! 

No sunshine here today but I'm in my brightly lit studio with tons of fresh colors all around.  I took some great flower photos of flox and violets yesterday and this one is up on my computer destop.  Yummy!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Little Mid Week Pick-Me-Up

Here is a spring update from New England - it has been damp and dreary here and we all need a little (or a lot) of sunshine!  Here is a little sunshine from me - if you haven't figured it out yet, I LOVE flowers!!!  And I really love them up close!!  So to brighten my day, I went through some recent photos I've taken and decided to pick a few to share with you! 

This first one (not flowers) but VERY FUNNY!!!!  I can't help but laugh hysterically when I look at this picture of my sister's chickens!  She says they are just like dogs; want to be held and patted.  I wonder what was going through their little chicken brains when I took this one???  I think the girls were actually posing!

Anyway (LOL) back to the flowers!  Here is a shot from the tulips that I bought a week or so ago.  I love the way you can see the thin orange edge of the petals.  Well, I can when I have it up on the big screen.  You know these babies feel like velvet and that shade of yellow is so soft and like a perfect glass of lemonade.

 I am always fascinated by the variety of colors that flowers grow in.  This is one of the reasons I love nature so much is because of the colors!  Color first, shapes second.
 Texture!  Lots of texture!  I could sit and stare at this shot of crocus close up for an hour just to study all the tiny fine purple lines against the white of the petals. Yes, I heart this one!

I will be revisting plenty of my flower photos and will be sharing them throughout my blogging.  I hope I spread a little sunshine your way!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Studio Sunday

Happy Mother's Day!!  I've been working hard in my studio this week and I am super excited to say that I have been invited to include artwork in the upcoming issue of Quilting Arts Gifts that will come out later this year!  So, of course, I am really inspired to create lots of new things!!  I need to focus on format as I have not been designing from a "form follows function" direction lately.  It's been more of an outpouring of imagery that I'm impatient to get to fabric and play with.  I will be creating interesting ways to use my artwork from a practical perspective.  I think it is time to put some of my finshed pieces up for sale!  My Shop might be set up sooner than I expected!

I spent some time yesterday making some YUMMY fabrics using the Adirondack Color Washes.  All the pieces were hung in the sunshine on my deck yesterday which must have created quite a stir in the community for those trying to figure out why I had a rainbow selection of fabrics blowing around in the breeze.  I do admit, I lost a piece of newspaper off the deck and I didn't go chase it.  bad girl :(  Ooops, you are getting a sneak peak at a piece that I screen printed with one of my new thermofax screens.  That one is my "doodled squares" screen.  It's fun to use because you can creatively incorporate hand and machine stitching directly on this design.  You will be seeing more of that soon!

I can't wait for the new Color Palette Challenge coming up May 15th!  My ideas are already brewing!!  If you haven't yet, go to this post and add your comment for my free giveaway for the adorable 8" x 10" mini art quilt!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final 3CS April Color Palette Challenge Art Quilt

Well, here it is!  The final, all stitched up with free-motion embroidery, hand embroidery and a little beading!  From DIGITAL to FABRIC.   Make sure you leave a comment on the previous post for the FREE GIVEAWAY!

Lots of texture here!!

3CS April Color Palette Challenge and GIVEAWAY!

Finally - time in the studio.  I had hoped for more this weekend, but that's the way things go.  I'm taking another shot at a design for the color palette challenge that I am going to add a lot of stitching to.  I can see hand embroidery and free-motion on this one and maybe beaded areas as well. 

ALSO, can I tell you how much I love this little 8 x 10journal quilt in these bright, cheery colors I made using some of the same images and a thermofax screen print of the flower names.  Little beads and French knots adorn this cute piece!  And guess what?!!??  I am going to GIVE IT AWAY!!!  On Sunday, May 15th, I will choose a random number based on all the comments left on this post!  Leave a comment and on May 15th, I will post the name of the winner.  Be sure to leave me your blog or email so I can get in touch with you!  So get to posting!!!

I made a bunch of new thermofax screens yesterday and I can't wait to play with those.  The images from both of these designs are included.  The thing I love most about this design is that the images are all from DOODLES!!!

They just make me smile.