Monday, January 31, 2011

Pretty in paint

My first painted quilt was kind of an accident, as I started with a piece I'd already quilted. So I decided to make another and take notes along the way on what works best.

Start by quilting with a contrasting color, then echoing the quilting
with a second color.

Here are the basics on a simple painted quilt, using Lumiere paints.

The paint shows up best on a dark background, so start with a dark fabric and border it with a two inch border. For this one I chose a fabric that picks up some of the colors in the paints.

Layer with a thin batting and cotton backing. I used leftover 80/20 cotton/poly batting. Baste all the way around the edges with a long stitch so the layers won't shift.

Choose two or more colors of thread to quilt the main area. Both should contrast, and the first you use should be the one you want to be most prominent.

Starting at one of the edges, begin free motion quilting. It helps to have some plan of what motifs you want to use and where you want them. Let the design overflow into the border at a few points. Then quilt the border with a color that blends into the border.
Begin painting with main color in larger areas.

Changing to your second color, follow the quilting lines from the first color, quilting inside any motifs like flowers or leaves. This will be your painting line. Add additional quilting to emphasize different areas if you want.

Get out a selection of small paintbrushes, including fine and wider brushes (about one-fourth inch). Wash brushes with soap and water and allow to dry between uses.

Begin painting, using the main color in the larger motifs first. Allow each group to dry (about an hour) before moving on to the next group.  After the main areas are painted, go back to add accents and shading. Paint can be smudged with nearly dry brush for subtle shadings.

Allow finished painting to dry 24 hours, then heat set with hot iron and press cloth. You can add quilting on the painted areas if desired. Finish the edges of the quilt as desired.

 Enjoy your painted quilt! More later.

Add accents and shading after the large areas dry.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photo Friday - Tybee Island Lighthouse

Here are a couple of photos I took of the Tybee Island (GA) lighthouse a year or so ago.

More later.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A little of this and some of that

I've taken a little break over the past few days from creating new journal quilts and have been working on new variations of the painted lighthouse. These will be the first art quilts to add to the postcards already in my inventory at our restaurant.

I'm planning something new with these quilts, framing them. When I finished the last journal quilts my sweetie suggested I should frame them, then several of the members of my quilt guild suggested the same thing. When I read an article in a back issue of Quilting Arts about framing small art quilts, that was the clincher. So I bought a couple of frames and I guess you'll be getting a step-by-step on framing an art quilt in the next few days.

Other miscellaneous stuff. The new issue of Quilting Arts came in Monday and I was pleased to see my letter to the editor had been printed, and then was used in one of the email promos for the magazine. I guess a writer never gets tired of seeing her name in print, even if it's just a letter to the editor.

Anyone a fan of the movie Mamma Mia? I had never seen it and it was on TV Saturday night. I watched it while sewing and enjoyed it so much I watched again Sunday night. I've had the songs running through my head all week and am ready to watch the movie again.

I've been reading lots of interesting blogs lately. Havels Sewing has some nice tutorials for different projects.

American Quilt Retailer has a roundup of thoughts on the increase in price of cotton fabric.

For other quilters in or near Georgia, I found out that the East Cobb Quilters Guild in Marietta, GA, has it's 2011 show scheduled. Here's the information.

And not really quilting related, but cool, NASA has a new satellite with a solar sail.

Have a great day. More later.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tutorial - Pincushion Threadcatcher

A few years ago I learned to make these pincushion threadcatchers from a friend. We didn't have a pattern, so later when I wanted to make more, I had to re-create the instructions. I posted the instructions several years ago on a previous blog, but thought they were worth sharing again.

More later. 

Pin-cushion threadcatcher

Two or three coordinating fabrics, plus muslin
Sand, rice or ground walnut shells to fill pincushion
Plastic (package strapping), tubing (from plumbing section at hardware store) or thick interfacing (peltex)

Cut as follows: (A)
Pincushion, one of coord fabric and one muslin -- 6.5 by 8.5
Straps, one of coord fabric, 6.5 by 3.5
Bag, one each of two coord fabric, 10 by 17.5

Fold fabric along length, right sides together. Pin and stitch along length, leaving ends open. Turn, press and cut in half.

Layer coord fabric on top of muslin, right side up. Place straps on one short end, with raw ends even with edge and stretching toward center of fabric. Fold in half across width, enclosing straps. Coord fabric will be right sides together, with muslin on outside. Pin. (B) Stitch from fold one inch on one side, leave gap for turning, then stitch remaining open sides, backstitching when crossing straps, for reinforcement. Turn right side out. (C)

Threadcatcher bag:
Separately, fold each coord piece in half across width. With fold on left, pin right side and bottom. On lining, stitch one inch at top of side, leave gap for turning, then stitch remainder of side and bottom. On exterior of bag, stitch entire side and bottom. (D)

With seams still on outside, flatten bottom to side and pin about 2 inches from corner, forming “ear” at each end of bottom seam. Pin both corners of both lining and bag. Stitch across pinned ears, creating flattened bottom. Cut off “ears.” (E)

Turn so side seam becomes back. Pin straps with raw edges even with raw edge of bag, one strap to either side of back seam. (F)
Turn exterior of bag with seams out. Turn lining to seams on inside. Match seam and pin around top. Raw edges of seams should be visible on both bag and lining. Pincushion and straps will be hidden between bag and lining.(G)

Stitch all the way around top, backstitching when crossing straps.

Using gap in lining, turn right side out, then arrange lining inside bag. (H, I, J)

Using gap in lining, thread in plastic/tubing or .5 width of Peltex to hold bag open. (K) Run stiffener all the way around the top, pinning to hold against seam. Stitch around bag top below stiffener. (L)

Pull lining out, pin together edges of gap and stitch closed.

Fill pincushion with sand, etc., then stitch closed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photo Friday and 100th post

This is my 100th post on this blog! Not bad considering I had only posted two or three times until August last year when I decided to get serious about blogging.

Most of my photos this week have been of the cats or my projects, but my sweetie stacked some firewood on the deck the other day and I loved the look of the wood rings. So here they are.

More later.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Three finishes!

Boy do I have a bad case of winter! Symptoms are a desire to sleep unreasonably late and an uncontrollable urge to eat chocolate. Unfortunately, the only cure is spring and that seems a very long time away.

But I did get three journal quilts finished over the weekend. Dogwood was the first, and needed beading for the center of the flowers, and binding. I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

The other two are painted quilts, which I'd worked on over the weekend and just needed binding.

Iris was the first quilt in my DIY challenge. The words I drew were Metallic, Sunrise and Tech. I really couldn't think of anything high tech for a subject, at least that went with sunrise, so I decided on a high tech look for the flower vase. For this one I pieced the "table" and "sky" together, then thread-sketched the irises and vase. I started by thread painting the irises yellow with a purple center, but they got lost when I painted the sky with sunrise colors. I quilted the outlines of the vase and the sun's rays, and then painted them in with the Lumiere paints.

I liked the sunrise effect, and I do a lot of quilts based on lighthouses, so I decided on a painted lighthouse as the next piece. For this one I started with a single piece of fabric for background, layered (and basted the edges), then thread sketched in the lighthouse, area of water, area of land and sky. Then I used appropriate colors to quilt in the details in each area. I used the Lumiere paints to paint inside the quilted lines. The white and black are Opaque colors in the Lumiere line and looked too flat against the others, so I highlighted the black with a blue metallic and the white with silver.

After I finished up all the bindings, I used my new Sidewinder to wind a bunch of bobbins. It doesn't wind as well as winding on my machine, it stops too soon and isn't quite as even, but it is nice not to have to unthread the machine I'm sewing on to wind bobbins.

And I finally caught up with the exercises from the Art of Silliness. I'm enjoying the exercises, but since I'd been behind I haven't kept up with the class. I'm going to try to keep up for the rest of the class.

It's a gray and gloomy day, so I'm hoping the rain will clear in time for me to go to guild tonight. More later.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dimensional applique flowers

I had a good night in the studio last night. I alternated between working on my dogwood piece and an effort for my DIY challenge. I'm not sure about the challenge piece, so I'll just tell you about the dogwood.

This one is another effort at combining different techniques. The background is pieced from a variety of black print fabrics. Then I layered and thread sketched a branch and leaves, using decorative threads and echo quilting, then quilted the rest of the background using black thread. A good idea here (which I always forget) is to baste all the way around the quilt before starting thread sketching and quilting. That should help reduce the distortion.

After quilting, I painted the branch and main leaves, using the Lumiere paints.

Then I got to the tedious part. I wanted to make the dogwood flowers with dimensional applique, my term for creating the item separately, layering and quilting it, then adding it to the background. I used this technique in my Angels of the Garden.

My original plan was for a lot of dogwood flowers, so I drew a zillion petals on freezer paper, cut them out and pressed onto the wrong side of my flower fabric. Then I cut apart in sets of four petals, laid them right sides together with a second piece of the fabric and stitched around the freezer paper templates, leaving space at the end of the petals to turn them. After cutting them out, clipping curves and removing the , I turned them right side out and used the freezer paper template to cut batting (from scraps) to fill. After tucking in the batting, I hand-sewed the petals closed.

After trying some different arrangements, I decided o just three flowers. Then it was back to my free motion machine (my Singer 15-30 treadle) to stitch down the petals, working from the center and leaving the outside edges free.

Next step is some beading, then finish the edges. What do you think?

More later.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo Friday - the ice storm

I can't say much that's good about ice storms, so I won't say anything. But I did get some nice pictures. Enjoy. More later.

Crape myrtles
The branches look like gold under the ice

Every berry is cased in ice

nature's lace

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A zen of a quilt

I finished the zentangle quilt last night, while thinking about my DIY challenge. I wish all my quilts came to mind as easily as the zentangle. Usually I have a concept and let it bounce around in my head for a while, getting an idea here, an idea there and then I pull them all together. Sometimes it takes a while.

After finishing the zentangle quilt, I worked a while on another piece, which combines quilting, painting and dimensional applique. And I sewed together the bases for two more potential zentangles (or I might use them for something else.....)

I posted my zentangle quilt to the 3 Creative Studios challenge page. There are some beautiful works already posted, it's always inspiring to see what everyone else is doing.

 Here's the finished zentangle quilt and a couple of details. Time for me to get busy. More later.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A challenge quilt or two

Good morning from icy South Georgia. This is the kind of day that makes me glad I work from home!

one of my zentangles
One of my goals this year is to stretch myself as an artist and quilter. I want to try new techniques, ideas, and materials. One way to do this is with challenges, so I'd planned a DIY challenge for the year. I have three sets of words, including techniques, materials, shapes, colors, moods, subjects and more. When I'm ready to challenge myself, I'll draw one word from each of the three sets and use them as the basis for my work.

I was going to do this on my own, until I found the 3 Creative Studios Journal Quilt Challenge. A journal quilt is a small quilt designed to explore a subject or technique. That's exactly what I want to do, so I'm doing my challenge as a participant in the Journal Quilt Challenge. My goal is to average two pieces a month.

My first words are Metallic, Sunrise and Tech. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with them, but I'm thinking about them while I work on some other projects.

And one of those other projects will actually be my first entry in the Journal Quilt Challenge. I recently discovered Zentangles, a kind of structured doodle. Someone asked about using the zentangles to make a quilt and I just had to give it a try.

pieces cut and swapped
I started with three approximately 12 inch squares, layered them, and cut gentle curves through the entire stack. I stopped at six pieces, because I liked the looks and proportions. I swapped the stacks to get three sets with two pieces of each color, then stitched the new set together. You have to be careful to start seams on the interior of the block, because the curves don't match and you end up with extra fabric when you end the seam.

Press after each set of seams, and give it a good pressing when it's completely stitched (I used a starch type spray before I cut the fabrics, made them easier to cut and handle).  For this piece I then squared the block, layered it and started quilting. Next time I'll mark the cutting lines, layer the batting and backing and baste along the cutting lines before I square it. It's definitely worth basting the edges and stitching along all the seam lines before starting the intense quilting, to prevent distortion.

Then I quilted. I looked through my stack of zentangles to choose motifs for each section, and for this one I thread sketched to fill in the solid areas. I think for the next I'll use paint to fill in the solid areas, instead. I just need to finish the edges on this one and it's done, my first journal quilt of the year!
A quilted zentangle

Monday, January 10, 2011

First finishes of the year

Great day yesterday, despite the cold. I figured out how to set up the Treadlin' Bloggers webring, for bloggers who use and/or collect vintage or antique sewing machines. The first sites have been entered, though at the moment two are waiting for their code so they can be activated.

Then it was into the studio. Forget organization, I wanted to create. First project was to finish my painted quilt. I finished a last bit of quilting, then added a tiny binding matching the border, using my Davis VF to sew it on. The binding would have turned out nicely except that in a moment when my brain was turned off (only explanation) I tried to trim up the batting and backing and cut the binding at the corners. We just won't talk about what the corners look like on the back.

The second finish is a quilted purse. This was another of my demo pieces. I kept adding to the quilting, decided I liked it and then had to design the purse to use the piece at the size it happened to be. Fortunately I had more of the black and was able to quilt an additional piece for the back and flap of the purse so I could complete it.

I know I've talked about how these pieces were started before, but a quick recap. I used some random fabrics to set up sandwiches for my demo at our guild's quilt show back in October. I did free motion on my treadle sewing machine, with no particular pattern in mind, just showing people what you can do. I ended up with about a half-dozen similar pieces that I set aside. Some, which showed up better, had light thread on the dark background, some had used a bright pink, which didn't show up as well as I'd hoped.

Later I wanted to try out some multi-line quilting techniques, loosely based on Patsy Thompson's hyper-quilting (she uses stencils and is very precise, mine is more fluid).  I used a very small piece first, added quilting until I was happy, accented with Shiva paint sticks and was pleased with the result. So I started working on the next piece, which I ended up using in the purse. The painted quilt I did a little differently, because I started with just the demo quilting, then worked out the painting and additional quilting together. For that one I used Lumiere paint.

Now its on to the next projects. I have several ideas competing to be next.

 More later.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Treadlin' Bloggers webring

Calling all bloggers who use and/or collect antique and vintage sewing machines! If your blog focuses mainly on sewing adventures using your collection, or on the hunt, repairing or restoring vintage machines, you're invited to join the Treadlin' Bloggers. Users of treadles, handcranks and vintage e-machines are welcome.

Join here

The link takes you to a page to add your site (your blog) to the ring. Enter the name of your blog,  a brief description and the web address (URL) of your blog. Then give yourself a user name and password so you can log in to make changes to your membership. Be sure to include your name and email so I can let you know if there are any questions and when you are added to the ring.

Then the most important thing, copy the code that creates the "ring" box that goes on your blog, and copy it into your blog. On blogger you do this by clicking on Design in the top right corner, then clicking on "Add a Gadget" at the top of your sidebar. Choose HTML/JavaScript and hit the "+" sign. Don't put anything in the title bar, but copy the code into the Content box. Then hit save.

When I get a submission for a ring, I'll check for the code and approve your blog after I see the code is installed.

More later.

Stuff, stuff and more stuff!

The reorganization continues! How is it that I added 33 linear feet of shelving, added three drawer units, filled all of them up and still have more stuff without a home? Never mind, don't answer!

Yesterday was actually a pretty productive day. I got all the bins of theme fabric resorted, labeled and back on the shelves in the storage room. And all my regular fabric is up on the shelves. I sorted through lots of stuff, got the main room to the point I can work again, got rid of a bunch of nasty cardboard boxes and a big bag full of plain old trash. I also put up some little decorative shelves over the windows (found them cheap at Goodwill) and put some of my decorative pieces on them, freeing more horizontal surfaces.

My biggest improvement is my new art station. This counter had been covered with stuff, with no clear space to work. Now many of my art supplies are in the wire shelves on the left end, sewing supplies on the right end, beads, specialty supplies and scraps of fused fabric in the cabinet on the left end and plenty of counter space! There are a couple of long-finished cross-stitch pieces draped over my design board right now, as a reminder that I need to get them framed. The work station is already getting plenty of workout with my fabric painting and the drawing class/challenges I've gotten into.

There's still lots more to do, of course. The table in the annex (dining room) is piled with empty containers, which will replace yet more old nasty cardboard boxes. A lot of the fabric on the shelves needs to be refolded. And I need to go through the dresser drawers in the studio and figure out what needs to be in them (close to the sewing machines) and where to put the stuff I take out. And I have to figure out where to put a Pfaff industrial treadle. That's a big one.

So I'll be fine-tuning for quite a while. Today's project is to vacuum (now that I can get a vacuum in there) and then I'm spending the rest of the day sewing and creating. I'm nearly finished with my little painted quilt, then I have a couple of other projects in progress I'd like to work on.

We're battening down for the weather here. We're expecting a rain/freezing rain mix tonight and tomorrow. A little snow is fun, since we never get more than a little here. But if anyone knows anything good about an ice storm, please let me know.

More later.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Organizing fabric

How should you organize fabric? This comes up on every quilting list at some time or other, and this time of year even more often. The answer it to think about how you use fabric, then set up a system that will support that. There's a million ways (more or less) to organize.

Since I'm in the middle of a major studio reorganization, here's how I organize fabric.

Sorting into piles. This is just part of my stash
First I separate all theme fabric. My themes are Christmas, other holiday, floral, Oriental, 30s repros, Civil War and other period repros, sewing theme, juvenile, cats, other animals, patriotic, general novelty, batiks, beach theme and solids (prints that read as solid). Most of these are in bins in my storage room. Also in bins are all my cut up shirt fabrics, divided by light, medium, and dark/reds. Any fat quarters and small pieces stay with the bins. And another, giant, bin holds extra-wide fabric and large yardage for quilt backs.

The remaining fabric is divided by color, and will live on my new shelves in the studio annex (dining room). Fat quarters and pieces from about one-eighth yard up to three quarters or so are kept together and sorted by color. Since I use them so often, the batiks and beach theme fabrics stay in this room, too.

Neutrals, greens, blues and blacks on their new shelves.
Over the past couple of years, whenever I've brought in new fabric, I've folded it around by ruler, for nice even stacks, so part of my reorganization will be to refold all the rest of the fabric.

Muslin, white on whites and black (Kona) are kept in separate bins, as is fabric that is set aside for a particular project (I try to keep only a few of these kits).

That leaves the little stuff – scraps. When I finish a quilt larger pieces go back into yardage. Smaller ones are divided up. Batiks and specialty fabrics are left as-is and go into one bin for applique and art quilts. The rest of the fabric is cut into strips or squares, in a modified version of Bonnie Hunters Scrap User's System. I keep strips in 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 inch widths, and squares in 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3.5 inch size. If I finish a quilt and have a lot of odd size squares, I'll put them in a plastic bag, label with size and drop them in with the closest square size. When I get new fabric that doesn't have a specific purpose, I'll frequently cut a couple of strips off of it to add to the bins.

Triangles of any size and bonus or leftover half-square-triangles go in their own bin. Leftover binding goes in another bin. Strings go in their own drawer and crumbs into another. Anything else, slivers of fabric from trimming, thread bunnies, stuff too small or strange to use as a crumb, goes in a big bag. I occasionally rummage through it for things for fabric collage and eventually that stuff is used to stuff pet beds.

I'm excited about getting more of my fabric out where it's easily accessible, and getting each type of fabric together. While my system of sorting hasn't changed, moving some things closer at hand and getting all of each type of fabric together is going to be a big help for me.

If any of these ideas help, let me know!

More later.

Photo Friday

Where ever I go I see things that would make an interesting photograph. But I seldom take the time to stop and get the picture, usually saying "next time." So to encourage myself to spend a little more time looking and taking pictures, I'm going to do a Photo Friday and try to post an interesting picture each week.

This picture was taken last weekend on Tybee Island. This is what I call shell crumbs. At first it just looks like sand, but when you look closely you can see tiny shells, interesting shapes from broken shells and a whole range of colors.

More later.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Themes, words and challenges

Anyone thinking about New Year's resolutions? I like the idea many of the members of the QuiltArt list use, choosing a word as theme for the year.

Last year I chose "Dance." First, it was a reminder to be more physically active (I feel so much better when I work out). Second, there was a song a few years ago "I hope you dance." The lyrics include "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance/ I hope you dance.... I hope you dance."

That's such a great reminder to me to go out and do things I know I will enjoy, and not just sit back in my comfort zone.

I'll keep "Dance" as an overall word, but for my professional and artistic life I chose a set of three words. Focus, Balance and Stretch.

Focus because I often try to multi-task, stopping to check emails, or jumping up to do things around the house. That's one of the drawbacks of working at home. So I need to focus on work, or focus on my art, finish what I need to do, then move on to the other stuff.

Balance because when I get really involved in something I tend to focus on it and forget about other things. So even though I want to focus on several things, I need to balance and not forget the rest.

Stretch because I want to try new things and learn new things in my art, and to remind myself that I need to  make a little more effort to do necessary things that I don't always enjoy.

As a reminder of these ideas, I made a little sign, which I'll post at my desk and in my studio.

And speaking of stretching. I used to love to draw. When I was growing up I was always drawing and was pretty good, though untrained. As an adult I've tended to doodle and recently have started doing Zentangles. Such fun.

So my first stretch of the year is to re-learn the fun of drawing. I signed up a couple of weeks ago for the Sketchbook Challenge. The challenge theme for January is "Highly Prized," and this is my second effort on that theme. I'm sure I'll be doing more versions before the month is over.

And yesterday I heard about an online class called The Art of Silliness, which started today. With a name like that I had to check it out. There's a daily, fun exercise in drawing that you can do in a few minutes (or as long as you want, I guess). I signed up for it and have the first exercise. Registration is still open, if anyone is interested.

Back to fabric. I made more progress on my little painted quilt last night. Now I just need to decide how to finish it. And more progress on the organizing. I pulled out a box of vintage fabric I got a couple of years ago and packed it with the new scraps I got before Christmas, so that's all in one place. And I started sorting through fabric and deciding how I'm going to rearrange it. And I decided to put up shelves on the last section of bare wall in the room. It may look like a warehouse when I'm done, but at least I'll be able to get to things!

More later.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Painting, stitching and organizing

More quilting and more painting
I am in love with this paint! After starting off by using the Lumiere to paint the flowers, I decided to add more quilting, then paint more.

The original stitching was an off-white. I stitched around the leaves, feathers and swirls with a light blue green poly, for a nice sheen, then stitched inside the feathers and around the flowers with a pink. Then it was back to the paint. I used the light blue green paint that I had used for the base of the flower petals for the swirls, and used it to accent the darker blue on the feathers. I used a green-gold for the leaves and accented it with the dark blue.

I'm thinking fill in with some dense quilting in a darker color, then a bit more paint as final accents.

One of my goals this year is to experiment more, trying out new ideas and techniques and seeing where they are going. I'm finding it very freeing to work on pieces that don't have a goal other than the process. This one started as one of several to demonstrate free motion quilting during our quilt show.  Since these pieces have served their purpose, I can do whatever I want now, and if I like the way they turn out, it's a bonus.

Work station after removing sewing machine. 
Working on this was my reward after getting back to my organizing efforts. I put up a second set of shelves in the dining room and collected more of the stuff onto them. My new shelves total 24 linear feet and they are almost full already, with more stuff still to put away! Amazing how much was piled on the floor, chairs and on top of the sewing machines in there.

Work station after adding shelves, drawer carts underneath. More still to do
This is going to be a continuing project. My goal is to get like things together, and the things that I use constantly closer at hand. My fabric has outgrown my bin system in the storage room, so will have to be divided, but at least I can have all of a type in one place or the other. It's a nuisance to look through a stack of blues in one place, then another looking for a specific piece.

Speaking of fabric, I was talking to my sister yesterday. She's also working on organizing, and also a fabricaholic. The difference is, she lives closer to sources of fabric and doesn't sew as much as I do. We agreed we both need to go on a fabric diet. No new fabric, unless it is something specifically needed for a current project, until our trip to Mary Jo's in June.

With that in mind, I started a new ticker on the blog, fabric in, fabric out, starting with my purchases on New Year's Day.

Back to organizing. My best progress so far has been creating an art work station. I cleared part of a counter by moving out a sewing machine I seldom use and cleared off a bunch of random stuff. By moving over the wall mirrors, and putting up a little set of wire shelves I made a place for basic art supplies. Under the counter I removed open boxes that I dumped crumbs and strings in, and replaced them with two rolling drawer units. They house crumbs and strings, crumb blocks, solids for postcard backings and palettes and containers for art. On top of the carts are a flat basket with sketchbooks and a divided container with stamps and ink.

The thread stand at the end held all my cotton poly mix threads, for garment making. Since I'm not using it that much, that thread went into my new drawer unit for thread, with additional thread that had been stashed away going in the other drawers. When I'm finished all my thread will be consolidated and I'll free up more space on the work counter.

Well, that's enough for now, so more later.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, new projects

Happy New Year! There's a lot going on, with wrapping up the old year and starting the new.

I love the lacy pattern of these dried flowers growing in the dunes on Tybee.
We spent the weekend on Tybee Island, with my sweetie keeping our restaurant on track and me taking pictures and otherwise trying to stay out of the way. We had a nice time visiting with friends while we waited for the fireworks at midnight. And I wore my sequined shoes, which everyone loved.

And I even got in a nice walk on the beach Sunday morning, despite a chilly breeze.

I used the Lumiere paints to fill the quilted flowers on this sample
piece. I'm going to do  more quilting, then paint some more.
I brought along a sewing machine and quilt to work on, but decided Saturday to take the chance to go shopping in Savannah, so made the trek in to JoAnn's and Hancock's Fabrics. I was so glad I did. I've been looking for quite a while now for Lumiere paints, and was about resigned to ordering online. JoAnn's had their fabric paints on sale half-price so I took a look and found the Lumiere. At half price, plus an extra 10 percent off, I bought about every color they had in the opalescent and several in the opaque.

I couldn't wait to try them out, so last night I pulled out one of the small pieces I'd quilted during demos at our quilt show. The colors are gorgeous against the dark fabric. I'm going to add some more quilting, then paint the rest of it, and see what I come up with.

Other than that, I picked up some topstitching and metallic needles, to see how they do with the specialty threads I've been using lately. That was my first visit to that Hancock's store, and I was impressed by how big it was. I found several really nice batiks (my weakness) on clearance for $2.95 a yard, so three of them had to come home with me.

There's lots more going on, including my studio reorganizing project and a couple of challenges, so more later.