Thursday, May 28, 2015

Off to the Beach

We are heading to the beach this morning. It's just after 8am here. I may not get back in time to do a proper post about this day. So, I'm going to put up a few pictures from past visits. Tomorrow, I'll have something more,,,

Folly Beach, just south of Charleston.  

The Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, SC. 

I enjoy collecting along the beach. Sometimes it's a color that catches my eye. Sometimes, it's Wabi Sabi, like the next photo. I can see a piece of art work done based on this piece. Art quilt, painting, or collage, whatever, it would be very interesting. 


Gotta go get the sunscreen and a towel,

May God bless your travels, whether near or far. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mail Art Playtime

The other day I decided I was going to sort through some of the papers I've kept. These are not important documents that need to be kept. They're those little snippets of inspiration or memorabilia that seem to accumulate. Over the past 18 months, I've been receiving mail from around the world. There have been some very interesting stamps on many of the envelopes. I also started to take note of the interiors of security envelopes, both domestic and from abroad. So, the collection has grown to a point where I wanted to reduce the volume, yet somehow keep the sentiment. I used school glue and started glueing them down.  I know these don't follow any artistic design principles. If they do it's purely by accident. I just wanted to be able to look at them once in awhile and recall the memory. 
I hope you can enjoy them for that alone. 


Everyday's a good day to create!

God bless,

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

All I'm going to say is, YEAH!


My new wheels. 

May God bless you with a safe vehicle and people to go see!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Free Flow Quilt Update

I enjoy using lots of colors. 

I also have been trying to indulge my passion for new techniques as I whittle away at my collection of cloth. Basically I'm into trying most anything because I have fabric to let go of. Just a few weeks back I ordered another 25 yard bolt of pfd dyer's muslin and I want to have some space for those new treasures I will produce. So I've been feverishly processing fabric into art quilts, samples of techniques, experiments, and some lap sized quilts for giving away. 
My latest adventure has turned into what I am calling a 'free flow' quilt. It is exactly that! What ever was flowing thru my mind I went with. This can turn out good, bad, or even ugly. But if you just keep going, eventually it gets better or NOT. But if you quit you never know what could have been. 

So, a few days ago I chose these fabrics. 


Did a crazy cutting, shifting, and fusing into place. 


Then separated the four units and started enhancing the lines where each piece butts up to the next. 


And here's a close up of my favorite stitch. I fondly call it 'heartbeat'. 

And I am liking these pieces more than I thought I would. Each section will have it's own treatment. I may put three of them into a wall hanging. The fourth one is destined for some extensive treatments. Whether it works out well or not, I will show you how they end up. God willing, and the creek don't rise. 

May your Memorial Day be blessed with loved ones,

Sunday, May 24, 2015


We went to Continental Corner, a Greek restaurant in Summerville, SC, for our Sunday lunch. I had rice pilaf with scallops and shrimp, fruit cup, and spicey sweat tea. I shared a baklava sundae with the hubby. On the way back to the car, I spotted a couple of 'design inspirations'. 

A manhole cover.


Grill and bricks around a tree. 


And an owl. 


Ok, not quite what you may have expected, but it's on her shirt. 

May God bless your weekend,


Saturday, May 23, 2015

What was I thinking? Free Flow Quilt

Yesterday I posted a picture of the four pieces of fabric I wanted to use in a 'free flow' of creativity.  This is what they looked like BEFORE the bright idea that I will explain further on. 
They are all quite nicely patterned and full of varying colors. Two of the things that tend to draw me to any fabric. 
Now the bright idea. Imagine you're standing in a workshop with me and I tell you to just do what I say, and everything will work out. By the way, if that is ever the case, it might be wise to just watch, take notes, and THEN do it with the 'oh, we should have done it this way' situations all taken care of. But, I digress,,, 
So, there I was in my sewing room. It was early evening and the caffeine from late afternoon coffee was finally kicking in. Funny how sometimes there seems to be no affect at all, and other times, well, soon you'll see just what can happen. 
I decided to put Mistyfuse on the backs and then trimmed off those areas that were beyond the Mistyfuse. I wanted to be sure that each piece I would cut could be positioned and ironed in place. Good idea, but I also should have made all four pieces "identical" in size. You'll see why soon. I laid them on top of each other, aligning two sides, and using the back of my hand for smoothing to make sure I wouldn't start them sticking to each other. I had this idea that if I cut them, with my wavy ruler into strips, I could put the red and gold together into two new pieces, where the colors of stripes would just be alternating. Then I would do the same for the blue and green. That was the plan, but something went awry. After cutting the first strips across the fabrics (all four), I took the red and gold pieces out. In doing this everything started shifting! I hadn't layered them with those two colors on top. One was on top and the other was on the bottom. I wish I would have just left them all the way they were. I finally decided to try to put them all back together on the cutting board. This is where the same dimensions off all pieces would have been helpful. As I would get close to edge pieces, some colors were nonexistent. Oh well, live and learn, so I continued.  My next step was to cut wavy strips again, this time going across the first cuts. Now I want to say, I've done something similar in the past and it turned out quite lovely. This time I'm not so sure.  I then cut a piece of batiste to use for fusing the design onto. I marked the center lines horizontal and vertical so I could build things out from there. I knew I wanted the colors to rotate, but be random. It took me until the wee hours in the morning to get this figured out. I would put down one shape into each of the quadrants, press and move to the next shape. Oh, I forgot to mention this. When I did the second  wavy cuts, all of the fabrics were sticky side up! That meant that each shape came off the board and flipped over before being placed on the batiste! What a goofy thing to do. I am very good at putting puzzles together, but not if all the pieces are upside down and many very similar in size. I did interchange two shapes, eventually I figured that out. With some warming up and gentle persuasion they were removed and put into their proper positions. And how it looks at present,

It actually looks nicer in the picture than in person. This piece has a lot of possibilities. I could cut it into four pieces and have a go at each one with a further technique. Or screen print something over the majority of it. Well, I'm sure you may have some ideas also. Leave a comment or two. 

I know now that if I had kept all pieces together until after all cutting, I wouldn't have gotten the cracks of white coming thru as I approached the edges. Also, and this is the biggest takeaway for me. If the fabrics had not had the Mistyfuse on them, I could have done a rotation flipping of the pieces and the wavy lines would have met, I think? I will try this again and the Mistyfuse will go on the batiste. All fabric will be trimmed to exact same size, nothing will be moved until I am done cutting. And I may just do this in either smaller pieces to start with, or larger waves. Basically, bringing it down to fewer puzzle pieces. 

Time for some pondering,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Convergence, Fibonacci, Thread Play, Decisions, Decisions

There are so many decisions in the creative life. Today, I'm pondering a piece that would incorporate several different artist's techniques. I like the interplay of fabrics in a 'convergence' piece. Ricky Tims has shown us that. And ever since Caryl Bryer Fallert was on The Quilt Show I knew I'd enjoy making a 'Fibonacci influenced' piece. They have some similarities, yet they are different. I have done some free-cutting and improvisational piecing. Liked the freedom when I was working on those.  I think that can be attributed to Joe Cunningham.  So, as you can see, lots of possibilities! 
To start with, it seems that I want to use some of those recently dyed fat quarters. Maybe one of each subgroup that came out of that workshop. Here are my choices. 
If I choose to put them together in a 'convergence' sorta way, these are the pairs. 
The one on the left is NOT goldens, it is the greens like in the top photo. The light reflected at the wrong moment. 
These look pretty close to reality. You may notice some dye specks. That's due to the ice dyeing method. Sometimes an ice piece melts faster than it can mix with the dye powder that's sitting on top of it. I don't let little things like this bother me. I love the overall textures and color splitting and mixing that happens. 
Because I have 20 more fat quarters that coordinate with these, I will be able to do something a bit out of my ordinary on the borders, outer edges, ?? And if I keep the narrowest strips on the wide side, I could do a little Libby Lehman 'ribbon thread play'. That's another technique that's on my bucket list. 
I really do need to get a bigger bucket, this one has been spilling out on the floor,,,

I'm off to do some creative playing. I hope you're having a great day too. 

May God bless you with the ability to see your bucket as overflowing, and not see the floor as getting messy. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dyed Sheets and Pfd Cloth

A few days ago I got the urge to get the 'grunge' out of some sheets. I did an ice dyeing process. I also did a heap of snippets and 2 dozen fat quarters of fabric. I put up pictures already of the cloth but finally have a couple of the sheets. First, a 'group' photo of those fat quarters. 
A total of 6 yards of scrumptious eye candy. 
And the sheets.
I really like how these came out. Try to ignore the purple rug bombing this picture!

Yesterday I set about doing a second set of sheets. These were NOT done with the ice dye method. More of a low water immersion. I squirted dye stock onto them and gave them a good massage. After all was said and done, this is how that set looks. They aren't on a bed, just over the back of the rocker for 'portrait' time. I like the colors as they combined to make new hues and shades of my favorites.
All in all, I like both methods. Each has its own final look. These will be fine in the same room. After all they are usually covered up with a blanket or quilt. And I may just need to make two coordinating quilts for these beds. Since I lean toward intense colors when dyeing fabric, I'm sure I can find plenty to look good with these sheets. 

The best part, about doing ice dyeing and 'squirt it on' method, is the serendipity  of it, and I don't keep records of mixtures, etc. 
The worst part of doing them in either fashion is that sheets weigh a ton when they're wet and they are near impossible to rinse properly. My back will testify to this. 

All in all, though, I like having things personalized. And what can be more personal than the sheets you sleep between done up in some favorite colors. Hmmm,, maybe the hubby's undies could be more blue and green and,,, ahhh, maybe not! But I bet my grandkids would think it was cool. They're just young enough to not be embarrassed by such things. 

Well, I'm off to see what else I can 'personalize',,,,,

God bless your color adventures,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

And The Results Are

Yesterday I showed you some pictures of sheets, pillow cases and fat quarters. They were basking in the sunshine, after having spent some time going through an ice dyeing. Later I finished them with a good pressing. And, here are they are.

I just love that purple highlight on the first on the right. And the mottled colors on the second one has me thinking about mermaids and under the sea stuff. 

Third one from the right could pass for a piece of rust dyed fabric.

And then we have some midnight sky, and ocean currents.  
Deep rich reds, golden bronze, and some that will work nicely as tree trunks. 

And now for all of them in a group shot,,,,


I sure do enjoy dyeing fabric. It doesn't matter whether I'm ice dyeing, low water immersion, shibori techniques, indigo vat, batiking, or any number of other methods. 

Surface design has become a passion of mine. I have dabbled in computer generated and printed fabrics, gelatin plate printing, screen printing (conventional as well as deconstructed), painting directly to fabric, and well, the list goes on and on. 

One last photo. I painted this quilt top back in the early 1980's. It was for my kids. I used acrylic paints watered down and some sort of permanent marker, and a Father's Day card. Yikes! It lasted through over 30 years of on and off use. The batting and backing have long since departed. But I love it,


I've been pondering turning it into a 'family art quilt'. I'd like to have all the "users" sign it, or doodle on it, something. It will be my fidget quilt when I am 127 and the great grandkids are carting me about! 

That's my plan, and I'm sticking to it!! 

Let's Create Pleasant Memories with Loved Ones Today,


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Upcycle Old Sheets

Do you have some sheets and pillow cases that have gotten a bit grungy? Well, this is something that bugs me. They are still in very good condition except for those 'sweaty head & body' stains. And because I like changing the color of things by using procion mx dyes, today, I fell for my favorite serendipitous method. Ice dyeing. Good idea, maybe, maybe not. Wet sheets are very weighty. And trying to wring them out by hand was trying and tiring! But, they sure were pretty laying on the grass to finish 'cooking' in the South Carolina sun and heat. 

I forgot to mention, I'm not good at keeping things simple! I tore up 6 additional yards into fat-quarters to accompany the sheets. And all those little pieces, well, they're the trimmings from my New Year's Eve project. 

The pieces have all been cold water shocked and are now in the washer going through the first hot water wash. Once that's done, I'll put them through another wash with color catchers. I rely on these little pieces of treated cloth. They let me know if there are still loose dyes to be removed. I don't want surprises later on so I will continue washing until no migrant dyes are present. Ice dyeing can take lots of wash cycles. But I sure do enjoy it.  Here are some pieces I have from previous experiments. 

A group using various groups of colors.  

This sheeting fabric had whiffle type golf balls tied up inside it before going into the ice dye process. 

This was a piece that I did some stitching on during a two day drive back to the Midwest to visit family. 

And this next one has a spider web free motion quilted onto it for a 'fabric book page swap' that I participated in last year. 

I really do need to practice my free motion stitching!

Tomorrow the sheets and fabrics should be ready for some final pictures. 
See you soon,

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hibiscus Bloom

Isn't this lovely?


I just love the colors of this. Maybe I could draw it with fabrics, and start another art quilt. Hmmmm,,,,

Creativity is blooming too. 


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ben and Low Country Bistro

We met Ben a few months ago at Low Country Bistro. He makes the dining experience a memorable one. Always smiling and putting you at ease as soon as he approaches your table. We will miss him this summer. But we will be asking for him again in the fall when he returns, from his internship. Best of luck to a young man with the gift for serving. And, Ben, if you read this, send an email to let us know how your summer is going!


And the food. Well, I just can't say enough good things about it. From the choices on the menu;


To the presentation on your plate;


And bottomless glasses of sweat tea,


to the goodbyes as you meander out the door, you will know you've gone to the right place. 

From the moment you walk in you are 'treated' to Southern Hospitality at it's finest. I know there are a lot of upscale, and pricier, places to go in Charleston. We've been to many of them. But this will always be a favorite for us. Next time you come to Charleston, SC, be sure to stop by Low Country Bistro. And if you've never had 'fried chicken and waffles', try it. I'm from the Midwest and never heard of it until I came here. When prepared their way, it's obvious why folks like it so much.

Low Country Bistro, you have the friendliest staff around. 

And to all reading this (whenever you read this),
May God bless your day with smiling faces,


Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Gardenia is Blooming

I just wish I could include the fragrance. They are so softly scented. 

The last one I used the 'chrome' setting on my new phone. I love how it picked up the edges. This blossom was sitting on my lap while the hubby was driving us to the Ashley River Festival. We had a great time. Listened to the Gullah Lady tell a story and sang along with her. Cruised down the Ashley River to Middleton Place in a Rotary sponsored boat ride. Sun was shining, people were friendly, and we will go again next year. 

May God bless you with happy days and good friends along the way,

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Princess Needs Something

My art quilt that I have named, The Princess, is in need of something. What that is I haven't quite figured out. However, several of my online friends (StitchinFingers and The Quilt Show) have been giving me some very good feed back. I have found that real friends will encourage you, and are willing to respond with thoughtful suggestions. I'm not one to use the phrase, constructive criticism, because I honestly don't think the word constructive can be used appropriately with the word criticism. I know it's a phrase that has been around for quite some time but I hope my remarks are never referred to as that!  My hubby said, "thoughtful suggestions" and I like that a lot better. Being kind and thoughtful has never gone out of vogue. 
But, I digress.  This is what The Princess looked like when I asked for suggestions. Even though everything measured accurately, and was square when flat, it looked out of kilter to me. 
I wish I had a B&W or monochromatic picture at this point, but I don't. 
After hearing back from my friends, I did a little 'snippet placing'. Now keep in mind that these pieces are just for trying to figure out what's not working for me. So, here are three pics. Please look at each one, then move to the next one, to see if you have any suggestions based more on the first two than the colored one. 



I felt that the long strips on the left side were making the right side look shorter. The design has her leaning to one side. It seemed to be adding to the "falling down on the right" look that was going on. That's why I put in the strip along the lower right portion of her dress. And, as I look at it now, I think she needs more hair, not a lot, but a bit more on the left side. 

She definitely needs something. And I will figure it out, and post more pictures. 
If you have any 'thoughtful suggestions' please leave a comment. 
Thanks for stopping by. 
And by the way, what have you been up to creatively this week?

May God bless you with many pleasant memories,