"I do believe in an everyday sort of magic...the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone." Charles de Lint

Monday, October 31, 2016

It Was Time....

....to make Christmas matches for Folly 101...a lovely gift shop in Portland, ME. The chunky little cutting board works great as a weight while they're drying.  I just keep pushing them through....by the time they come out the other end they're dry. I've made thousands over the years....so I have the process down pat.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Collaborative Calendar

A month ago Connie and I made a collaborative collage for her daughter Andi's birthday. And just recently we collaborated again on a desktop calendar for her daughter Becky's birthday...and it was delivered today. All the images are Connie's art...except the family recipe we included on the October page. Like all my other calendars each page is 4 x 6 and can be displayed in a wall or stand up frame.  I think Becky will enjoy a year of her mom's art.

I'm happy with them all...but my favorite is February.

Friday, October 28, 2016

They're Back!

My little friends are back in the yard in South Portland.  Mushrooms are such interesting specimens....both really cool...and a bit creepy. The way they clump is almost like a little village.

I love how they nested in next to my fan flower (scaevola). How cool is mother nature!

Here's what I wrote a year ago.....I still love how the article described them:

According to this article, "most of the time, the fungi just stay hidden, breaking down organic material.  But, when the conditions are right, they burst forth, like desert flowers blooming after a rain." That makes it sound like such splendid "event."

I couldn't help but pause my yard work...and just explore them a bit.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lovely Walk

Anita, Janet and I had a lovely walk this morning....you'd never know we were in the middle of town. And I loved that I could stop in town and vote on our way home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Star Snippets

Did you see the little bin of scraps in the top corner of the picture I posted yesterday?  It's the start of a good idea...I hope.

 When I trim my star strips I often end up with a little triangle. And...I've learned that scraps of fabric with fusible on the back are valuable. So I'm getting in the habit of cleaning them up a bit and keeping them in a container.

And periodically I'm going to pause and cut triangles from scraps from other projects. I want hundreds of them in all colors and sizes ready to go so eventually.....

....I could make something like this....or some other interesting mosaic looking piece. I may start cutting different shapes too....most mosaics are a mixture.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Star Progress

I've spent little chunks of time here and there on my fused star project...it's a slow work in progress.

After I made the first red star point (with the mistake)...I moved on to a green/yellow one. I sketched a plan for the other colors....then totally changed my mind.  I have a tendency to default to the whole rainbow spectrum quite often. But when I saw the red and green together I decided to keep this whole star in the reds and oranges. I'll use the other one in a green/blue scheme.

So here's where I'm at.  I have three points done...and am working on a 4th.  As I move out to the edge I don't need a whole point because it will be wrapped around to the back of a square canvas. This is how I can hide my mistake on the first point. I don't like the transition of that bottom point to the one next to it...but I can move them around or add another fused strip and make it flow better as I go.

This shows how I don't need to have the strips make a whole point...because it will wrap to the back. I will straighten out the line when I know exactly how much I need to wrap.

It may look like a bit of a mess...but I do think I have it figured out...and I'm looking forward to putting it together and getting some stitching on it. But that's for another chunk of time.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Splash of Purple

Anita and I came across this splash of purple on our walk a few days ago and I couldn't help but think of my friend Tracie.

She also lives in a purple house....and is married to "Truly Remarkable Loon"...a professional juggler who only wears purple. Always. I'm not kidding.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finished Poppies

I finished my poppy project for the "Sticky Fingers" class by Ellen Lindner.  I added a few more blades of grass and fused all the pieces to the background. That worked...but in the end I decided to also go over the whole thing with the diluted medium. It seemed to honor the intention of the class and sealed the edges of the fabric since you can't stitch this kind of project.

Ellen uses a black permanent marker to add definition on her glued collages...creating the illusion of stitching.  I was really afraid I would mess it up....so chose to use Pan Pastels. With a small stiff brush I used the red...with a bit of yellow to create shadows and definition around the petals. I also defined the edges of the fabric with the dark blue and created a little bit of shadow on the stems. You can see it a little better in the image at the top...it's subtle so was hard to photograph. The sun was streaming in the window when I took this picture below.

I don't often hang my own artwork in my house...but this piece may actually live in my kitchen for a while. It goes well with my bright orange trivet and cobalt blue glass pieces...and ties in nicely with my wall tiles.

I'm happy with my result and will certainly use this technique again. This was a fun class!  Thanks Ellen!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lessons Learned

I mentioned that the fusing class is officially over.  I really enjoyed it and learned a lot that I can apply to my own fabric art. Melody had moved onto assignments that were puzzling to many of us...but she had given us the basics and skills we needed to keep going on our own. I opted out of submitting my last assignment to the class because I just wasn't confident. My previous one had gotten a really tough critique.....so I chickened out.

But...for the sake of full circle disclosure (and closure) and developing a thicker skin, I'm going to share it here.

Our final assignment was to THINK BIG but work small. Melody gave us this image of a Matisse piece and talked about the importance of scale. I'm not really sure I fully appreciate his art....but what do I know!

We were to make a small piece that could be imagined large and hanging in a gallery. 

This is how it started...
.....and this is how it evolved. It was like playing with building blocks.  

I did work small and ended up this little graphic piece that's only about 3 X 3. When I enlarged the photo (below) I could see that the hand stitching was really terrible. I should never stitch without my glasses.  I second guessed everything about it...so just couldn't put it out to the class....but here it is. Final assignment: Check! 
I had as much fun digitally adding a couple of women looking at it as in a gallery.

Here are some of the lessons learned from the fusing class:
There's always something new to learn...even with something I've done before
Don't overthink
Always stand back and look
Audition, tack....then fuse (once it's fused it's fused)
Have a good variety of fabrics prepared with fusing so I have good choices
Don't take shortcuts...do it right...use what I've learned
Be patient
Keep it simple
Take time to plan and do the stitching...it makes a big difference
Laugh at myself and my flops and move on
Public critique is tough but helpful
Make it my own

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hanging in There

I almost gave up on these mums...I could barely keep them standing during the drought this summer. They lost most of their leaves and looked scrappy and sad...I almost pulled them up.

But late summer/early fall has brought some relief...and some rain.  The grass is greener now than it's been all season and the mums are hanging in there. They are standing tall... still a bit scrappy...but are starting to bloom. It's a nice little splash of color in my fall garden.

I wrote this post this afternoon....and ironically tonight we've had some torrential rain. If the mums made it though the storm...they should have plenty of water for a while.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Box

Last time I visited my mother-in-law Margie, I came home with this awesome old wooden box.It's been holding threads and bobbins...but today it was part of a little photo shoot.  

I may have some fun with "the box"...I'm sure you'll see it again.
My friend Janice brought these tiny acorns home from Florida several years ago...and I filled them with felted balls.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Poppy Progress

Well....here's where I am with my class project for the "Sticky Fingers" glued collage project with Ellen Lindner. The class pattern was poppies....but I changed it up a bit drawing from several different images I found on line. The background is all glued....but the poppies are actually just tacked. I'm still mulling it over but I may add a few pieces of tall grass and a few that cross over to give it more texture.  I actually cut out some leaves that I may play with a bit....but I'm not sure they're right...or needed.

Here's how I got there...

I started with a blank canvas...and lots of blue rough cut scraps. Everything is glued down and top coated with diluted medium using a foam brush. 
My first plan was to have a point of light...working out into the darker blues....but after some feedback from the instructor and a closer look...realized it looked more like a hole. And the dark fabric was too stark. So I covered up the light spot...and softened the dark area.

I actually cheated just a bit...using skills from the last class.  I fused my flower motifs ahead of time so I could more easily audition them on the piece.

Here are the leaves...and a few buds...also fused. I'm far enough along that I may sit with it a bit before I finish it up.  It's an interesting process...and I'll reflect on it a bit more when I shared my finished piece.  I do think the mix of fusing and glueing could be really useful for me. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sweet Little Sourwood

"Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another."  John Muir

Our sweet little Sourwood tree in South Portland is still pretty small....it's going to be a long time before it provides shade for the deck. But it's sure putting on a good show this fall as it prepares for the winter.

Here's how it looked at the end of August...it's a cute little tree! If you look closely you can see it's first bloom on the right.

At the end of August/early September it bloomed these interesting long pearly blooms.  And just this weekend I noticed one last bloom....so pretty against the red.

The leaves are turning a deep red....and it's almost as if you can see the green chlorophyl retreating back into the tree.  
This particular leaf on the left was my favorite...half of it desperately holding on to summer.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Sticky Fingers"

The fusing class has officially ended and silly me signed up for another on-line class. I guess I'm what you'd call a life-long learner. But seriously...my house and gardens need major attention....so this is the last class for a while. Probably.

This class is just one project over a few weeks...and I'm actually coming into it a little late.  It's called "Sticky Fingers" taught by fabric collage artist Ellen Lindner.  She uses a variety of raw edge collage techniques but for this class we will actually be glueing the fabric with diluted gel medium. It's kind of like decoupage.  

Ellen creates interesting backgrounds and compelling designs. I love this vibrant leaf quilt which is the feature quilt on her website:  adventurequilter.com  

"I consider making art to be an adventure: one filled with challenges, joys, frustrations, and surges of adrenalin."  Ellen Lindner

Another one of Ellen's raw edge collage quilts.

I have been following Ellen's blog for quite sometime now. As a matter of fact several years ago I did a spread in my Pinterst inspired journal inspired by on her work. They aren't masterpieces by any stretch....I was just experimenting with her technique of raw edge collage...pinning the pieces in place then top stitching.  No seams...no fusing. Stay tuned for my "sticky fingers" experiment. I'm willing to try anything.  Well...almost anything.