Monday, October 26, 2009

#3 is designed, I think

I liked the idea of adding more lime green to this (see previous post comments), but couldn’t find the right color/pattern in my stash. A splotchy batik was not going to mesh with these fabrics and every other chunk of fabric was a little off color-wise AND there were not going to be any shopping trips(!) So I added more hot pink, black, and white.

As I’ve mentioned previously, these 4 tops aren’t supposed to be masterpieces. Yet, if something really nags at me, I have to change it. Do you see anything that looks funny in the photo below?
Those two pink and white pieces with the vertical stripes running through them seemed to break up the design in a weird way. Below the stripes are horizontal, which looks much better (to me, anyway.)
Time to sew. I might break down and buy some lime green for the binding, we shall see. One step at a time!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Top #3... needs what?

Here are the fabrics for the third top ironed and tossed up on the design wall just to see how they’re looking. The other related posts in this series are here. I’m thinking it might need some more mostly black fabric, or mostly white, or both to punch it up a bit. Any opinions?
Here is a close-up of the cute retro fashionistas on several of them.
The next step is to start chopping up these chunks into similar widths and making big stripes out of them. Have a nice weekend, everybody!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Top #2 is sewn together

I took out the dreaded purple polka dot fabric (shown here on the design wall.) This definitely looks better. The pink, white, and black certainly is a cheery color scheme. The other related posts are here.

The dots now live on the back of this pillow, which goes with the quilt.
Only two more tops to go!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Announcing the I.N.K. Think Tank!

If you’re a teacher, librarian, parent, or anyone that is interested in nonfiction books for kids, here is a brand new free resource that you’ll love. The bloggers of I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids), including yours truly, have assigned national educational standards to their books and put them all into this database, the INK THINK TANK.
The participating authors are:
● Don Brown ● Vicki Cobb ● Sneed B. Collard III ● MarfĂ© Ferguson Delano ● Susan E. Goodman ● Jan Greenberg ● Cheryl Harness ● Deborah Heiligman ● Steve Jenkins ● Barbara Kerley ● Susan Kuklin ● Loreen Leedy ● Sue Macy ● Dorothy Hinshaw Patent ● Susanna Reich ● April Pulley Sayre ● Rosalyn Schanzer ● David M. Schwartz ● Melissa Stewart ● Tanya Lee Stone ● Gretchen Woelfle ● Karen Romano Young

The titles range from picture books to YA books, all nonfiction. The awards this group of authors has received are many, including Caldecott Honors, Parents Choice Awards, Silbert Honors, Green Book Awards, ALA Notables, and many more.

Please help us spread the word!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A couple of fab links

Wow, the online studio tour was quite a success. According to Google Analytics, over 300 people stopped by to see mine. (Not sure if it really counts all visitors, but whatever!) Here is the link to the various blogs on the tour, in case you missed the updated page:

Also, for my quilting readers, if you haven’t seen the blog below, you must check it out. Leah Day is posting a new free motion quilting design with a video showing how to do it, every day for 365 days! It’s pretty amazing, the designs are great, and she’s up to Day 53. Can she do it? Is she nuts, doing this with a 2 year old? Will there be a movie about it? What actress will play her? Stay tuned!

Hope you’re having a creative week!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Welcome to my sewing studio tour!

The funny thing is that when I set up this room five years ago, the quilting bug had barely bitten. I just wanted a room to work on whatever craft was interesting at the moment. The room was needed as a guest room occasionally, so versatility and things-that-can-be-rearranged were important.

After painting the ceiling to cover the footprints of the previous owners’ bunk-bedded twin boys, scraping off the kiddie wallpaper border, and painting the walls a soft sage, it was time to get some furnishings. The futon was one of the first acquisitions. (It’s only full size so it’s really a tad small for two. Oh well!) I heard about various DIY design walls on the Quiltart list, so below is my portable one.
It consists of two 4' X 8' panels of insulation foam, with about a foot cut off the length so they fit easily in the room. They are covered with gray felt from Jo-Ann’s that comes in 6 foot widths. The felt is wrapped around to the back and pinned at an angle towards the outer edges. This is mostly because the pin tips would otherwise stick out the front... not good. The felt has held up well, though the cat has made use of it for unauthorized scratching a few times. Chunks of fabric cling to it beautifully for designing purposes. It’s also handy to hang small supplies on a pin like embroidery floss for certain projects. If necessary, the panels can be easily moved.
When a project is underway, I set up an ironing board with a wide surface on top. It can be adjusted in height for sitting or standing. The wide board is a sheet of homasote covered with ironing board fabric on one side, and flannel on the back. The flannel keeps it from sliding. Homasote seems to be a variable product, because some people say they can stick pins in it easily. Well, not this stuff! But it is a good surface for ironing.
The area shown below is an assembly of flat files, countertop, and wall cabinets. There are actually four flat file units. The lower ones have 5 drawers, then stacked on top are 3-drawer units. I ordered them from a local art supply place. They were only available unfinished, so first they required three coats of clear satin polyurethane. The handles were flimsy plastic, so I ordered unfinished wooden handles from a woodworking supply place, stained and varnished them. (I hate sanding, varnishing, sanding, blah, blah, but love the end result.) The little metal label holders were spray painted a copper color to cover the original shiny brass. The wall cabinets were off-the-rack, already assembled cabinets from Lowe’s. Fortunately their color was close enough to the flat files. I added the knobs.

The countertop was custom made (big box home supply store) to be as long as possible yet still fit in the room. It’s just sitting on top, it’s not screwed down to the flat files. All these pieces could be taken out and the room turned into a plain bedroom in the future, if needed. The bulletin board under the cabinets is made from homasote covered with a thin veneer of cork. Though difficult to push tacks and pins into, it works reasonably well and certainly takes advantage of the space. The little white 3-drawer unit to the right of the sewing machine holds my larger spools of thread. The green pad is for the comfort of my kitty Knickers as she gazes out the window, or more likely, snoozes.
As previously mentioned, I originally didn’t know what was going to go into these flat files. Not surprisingly, they are now jammed with fabric, mostly fat quarters. The nice thing about a flat file drawer is how it can be left open while working. For example, the 4th drawer down has the smaller thread spools, needles, bobbins, etc. in it for easy access while sewing.
These drawers are on the right of the sewing machine. Love to just open them up and look at all the colors and patterns!
Across the room is this bookcase filled with most of my quilting books and mags. In order to fit it there, the bi-fold closet doors were removed and a curtain hung instead. The closet has filing cabinets and shelves full of batting, fabric, etc. The table is covered with fabric for a particular project. Rather than constantly dig through the file drawers, I pulled out all the geometric and small prints and put the fat quarters into photo boxes. The bigger cuts are sort of piling up, but I don’t really need any more fabric, need to just get working(!) Those little nested tables come in handy to move around and pile things on mid-project. Or, if guests are in the room, to put next to the futon.
So there you have it! In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit to moving aside a pile or two of clutter to take these photographs. When I’m in the middle of making something, the room gets... shall we say... messier.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An award to crow about

Zowie, someone gave my blog an eggs-citing award. A quote directly from art quilter Diane Evan’s excellent blog DEsigned will explain all:

“The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the Zombie Chicken-- excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of Zombie Chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the Zombie Chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.”

I wouldn’t dream of angering a chicken, especially a zombified one, so here are some of my fav blogs (though there are many more, check my profile to see the ones I follow.) It appears that all of these blogs are by artists... go figure!

Doodles & Scribbles by fab artist Joyce Shelton. I have some of her Tea Party set and can’t wait to get more!

BARBARA STROBEL LARDON, a talented quilt artist who coincidentally ran a recent post titled “On the Farm.”

Silver Apples of the Moon by illustrator Tara Chang. She often shows her intricate paintings in progress.

Postcards from Cairo by Jenny Bowker, a quilt artist who lived for many years in the Middle East (she now is in Australia.) Don’t miss these amazing images made of fabric.

Dee Sanchez: A Painting Today. And she means it, all inspired by her New Mexican home.

Adventures of a Migrant Art Worker by Larry Moore. Outstanding plein air painting and illustration.

Many thanks to Diane and to these artists who are sharing their work and process with us all. By all means share your favorite blogs in the comments if you like. Happy viewing!