Monday, January 30, 2012

Facebook surprises

I have posted photos of this quilt before, but it was such fun to check out Facebook and see this photo……


I LOVE that this quilt gets so much use!!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time for the complement... Color that is

On Thursday, I had yet another day free so I spent my time in the studio, and my thoughts turned to the complementary color that is required by the challenge.

But before the color addition I had one other decision to make.   When I placed the plants on the background I had allowed several of the leaves to fall off of the quilt and my original plan was to chop them off when I finished the top. Having said this, I kept wondering whether or not I should put a fabric on the back and allow them to float free.


I had posted a photo of the top  on Facebook and one of my guild friends (Madeline) commented that she liked the way that I had “violated” the borders of the quilt.   Well, that word….violated…..was enough to convince me that I should do it!!!   So my first step was to fuse a backing fabric to a few of the leaves.

OK….that decision made… onto the color…..

When I first started thinking about this piece, I  found a picture of a tree frog that was green with bright red eyes. 


My first idea was to simply have this tree frog in the middle of the piece with borders of green jungle leaves.  The problem arose when I realized that the finished quilt size was a 40 inch square and that was simply too big for one frog!

So over time the idea developed into growing a Rainforest with a few frogs inserted….the red eyes were a must.

I had been worried about these frogs from the very beginning.  I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get the colors right, that I wouldn’t be able to fuse all of the small pieces and that, if I was able to make them, that they wouldn’t look good with the piece.

So, with fear and trembling I took my picture…..

3985 ….turned it into a line drawing and started previewing fabrics.  I had an “A..HA” moment when I realized that I didn’t HAVE to use the exact colors and could make it any colors that I wanted.

Here is my finished, fused frog…..details will be added later with thread…..

DSC01882And I LOVED the eyes!!!!

Once again I was stumped about where to go next.  Do I add more frogs with requisite red eyes or do I go with a red flower or do I leave it with just the one frog.

What to do……what to do……

Answer….bring my husband in and ask him.  He looked at it and said, “why don’t you put red berries on the stalk in the middle of the quilt.” 


I was planning to put green berries there but had entertained the thought of making them red, so this was the confirmation that I needed.

Here is the finished top…..


And here is the state of the room…..


Maybe a little clean-up is in order before starting the stitching!!!!


Oh, by the way, in the middle of all of this, I heard a funny sound from my laundry room and found that our water heater was spewing water out of the top.  So, a fast call to the plumber, an outlay of a fair amount of cash and a new water heater is in place!!   These things happen!!!!

Jungle Growth

Today I was able to spend the entire afternoon in my studio working on my Rainforest quilt.

At the last post, I had added a bunch of plants but really didn’t like the way that the right side looked… needed something else!!

I stood there for a long time, staring at the design wall and trying to figure out what it needed.   I got the idea to head to the Internet and do some more searching and found these two pictures….


Seeing these made me realize that I wanted to add some spiky fern-ish leaves to the whole thing.   I removed most of the plants on the right side of the quilt and started building ferns…..


I have done much of this piece using raw edge applique, placing the pieces on the backing using a spray mount.  But, I figured that these small pieces would be problematic, so I ended up putting a fusible on the back of the fabric before I started cutting.

I finally relaxed enough to enjoy free-form cutting these pieces.  I tend to be very “pattern” oriented so it was a stretch for me to free cut even these small bits..


After I had finished with the ferns, I placed the other plants over the top.  Here is the final look of the day…..


Since I was using a spray glue and didn’t want to spray it in my studio, I set up a spray area in my garage and kept walking back and forth with my pieces.  It was very hard to hold them once they had been sprayed and I finally thought of placing them on a piece of paper, placing the paper on my spray mat and then carrying the fabric back to my studio while still on the paper.  It was MUCH easier this way…..DSC01876


Now if any of you remember the reason for this challenge….it is a complementary color challenge, and you might well be thinking “shouldn’t there be another color”.    That’s up next….stay tuned….

Wednesday, January 25, 2012



The splash of color is nice, but doesn’t this Daffodil know that it is only January!!  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Rainy day in the Rainforest


Today was a warm, rainy day and was the perfect setting for a day spent in the studio.  At the end of the day, my personal rainforest looked like this…..


Lots left to do and no Saturday’s free between now and the due date…..feeling a little stressed!!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Coloring the challenge

Now came my favorite part……adding color!!  Since it was MLK day and an official holiday, I decided (at my husband’s urging) to take the day off from work and spend it in the studio!!

I first pulled all of my green fabrics that seemed appropriate….


but alas, there wasn’t an appropriate fabric for the dark background that I was envisioning.

So, I went shopping!!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find what I needed in the chain stores and our local shop has now closed (BOO), so I moved on to plan B.  A phone call to Anita told me that she had appropriate greens in stock so I headed for a little shopping on her shelves, and came home with these….


The fabric that I had chosen for the background wasn’t quite big enough…exactly 4 inches short on one side so I picked another fabric (after many changes) and added uneven borders on the sides…..

DSC01848 ….sorry the colors in the photo are not good.

Next I drew the bamboo poles onto freezer paper and got ready to iron onto the selected fabric.  Unfortunately the fabric wasn’t long enough to make the entire stem so I glued the pieces together, making sure to place them in areas where there will be additional thread work…. DSC01850 I cut out the pieces…. DSC01852

….added a few leaves and voila…..DSC01853 Next came the rubber plant…..

DSC01855 Some funky leaves……


and I am out of time for the day, but it sure was a FUN one!!!

This should be good incentive to work hard and fast this next week so that I can get back to this project!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No fabric, but still a challenge….

On Sunday, I decided to get a good start on my Challenge so I cleaned off the design wall, including removing all of the strings…..DSC01823

Next was to mark out the mandatory 40 inch square  (I learned this simple technique from Elizabeth Barton)…..DSC01826 WOW….does that look like a lot of empty space!!!!

OK, now to put something on the wall.

I will be the first to tell you that I CANNOT draw, but I do know how to use the available technology and that is exactly what I did.

First I scanned the drawings that I showed on yesterday’s blog, selected the plant that I wanted and printed it out using the poster function on my printer (the larger pieces were printed on the 3x3 format)….

I started with the rubber plant…..

DSC01827 ….and look, the size doesn’t look so vast.

Next came the bamboo……

DSC01828 ….but not side by side.   How about overlayed…..DSC01829 ….Better…..

Now to add some other funky leaves (after I used the photocopier to make smaller and larger versions of them)……

….Looking good….lets add a few ferns and maybe a few large leaves…

Hmmmmm….it’s looking pretty good.  I bet that I can fill it in with other smaller leaves.

Next step….fabric!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Feeling Challenged

OK…for the last few weeks months, I have been complaining on this blog about not feeling creative and not having any motivation to work in my studio.

It seems that all it took was a good challenge!!! 

My quilt guild has issued a “Complement Me” challenge where we are to use two different techniques and two complementary colors.  The size has to be 40 inches square.  Oh, by the way, it is due in 3 weeks!!!

I have spent the last 4 months lazily thinking about the quilt, but decided to get down to business last week.   My first step was to search the internet for inspirational photos.  I started by searching “purple and yellow” and found a wonderful purple daisy that would have leant itself to beading, but the size was just too big.  Then I found a green and red tree frog but the problem remained the same…..40 inches was just too big for the subject.

However, this got me to thinking about rainforests and the photos that I had taken in China and the ideas just started flowing.  I spent the next few days searching the internet for pictures of rainforest plants and leaves.

After I had collected and printed a good number of them, I started tracing out the ones that appealed to me.  To do this, I used a piece of transparency film and a fine point sharpie. 

Here are the resulting sheets…….


Scan_Pic0012 Scan_Pic0013 Scan_Pic0014 Scan_Pic0017

Also this week, I have been reading a new book that I purchased a few weeks ago….

4FF0875-250In this wonderful book, she talks about making a quilt based on a photo and talks about three different forms of applique. 

The first is turned edge……no way  (especially not in three weeks time)!!!! 

The second is fused edges…..been there, done that!!!!

The third was raw edge …..definite possibility!!!

Her technique for raw edge is to draw the design on freezer paper, iron it to the front side of the fabric, cut out along the lines, remove the freezer paper and have the perfect shaped piece ready to glue to your backing fabric…..interesting!!!

……more to come……

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What a difference a shelf makes…..

Well, my week has not started out great in the creative department.  It got off to a bad start when I had to have my eyes dilated early Monday morning and couldn’t see for the rest of the day and it was NOT a day that I wanted to sit and “watch” TV.   Since then I have been trying to get caught up and studio time has not been in the cards.

I did however make a wonderful discovery.   For years I have fought with finding a place to put my shoes.  I have a small closet and had initially put a shelf in the bottom so that I could have more room.  But, when push came to shove, the shoes were stacked up on top of each other, thrown in the floor of the closet and the door was never closed.

The other day I started looking in the closet and realized that most of my clothes are pants, skirts and tops.  I no longer have a bunch of dresses that need the full length of the closet.  So, I went out and bought another shelf to sit on top of the first one. 



There is now a place for every pair of shoes, I can see them easily, it is super easy to put them away, and I can close the door whenever I want to!!

Silly…..yes, but OH so satisfying!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Still working

Today I had a few hours to work in the studio so I enjoyed finishing the piecing on the Archway piece. 

DSC01768 Sorry for the crooked photo!!!!

I am thinking that I will cut off the top border (and maybe the bottom) a  bit more but I want to think about it a bit first.

I have also been working on a scrap top that I saw in a book that I got for Christmas.  After putting together a few simple blocks I decided to lay them out and see how they looked.  

Here are two of the options that I came up with……

Blocks without sashes….DSC01696 

Blocks with navy “sashes”….DSC01697

But I actually like it better vertically…DSC01698

Neither of these are what the actual pattern calls for, and I am not sure that I actually like either of these, but there is a LONG way to go.


The really good thing about this project is that I started out with my 3-1/2 inch drawer looking like this……DSC01694

And it ended up a lot emptier and tidier at the end……DSC01695

Glad to have a few more Baby Steps behind me……

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby Steps…maybe that will be my “word” for the year!!!

In continuing  with my theme for the year…….

We actually started the year out wonderfully at Barnes Noble, with a cup of tea, Oatmeal Raisin cookie and a set of inspiring Quilt Magazines…..


When I have had a few minutes, I have been sewing on this top which was started at the Elizabeth Barton workshop back in November……

DSC01708 I picked this one to start on because it was heavily pinned to the design wall and I was not excited about the thought of taking it down.

I have managed to spend 30 minutes sewing on several days, although today’s “sewing” was actually re-sewing one seam three times and finally taking it out again!!!!


I have also spent a bit of time learning how to make an embroidered    “Featherstitch”.     This new aspect of my education is thanks to the “Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST)” challenge issued by Sharon B. at “Pin Tangle”.  If you want to learn more about the challenge, click on the TAST button in the right column.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I sewed TWO seams!!!!


The above statement might seem a bit of an understatement, but I am thrilled to have actually "touched” fabric today.

It is the start of my desire to try to do something fabric/art related on most days of 2012!!!!

Here’s to a year of creative fun!!!!


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