Getting started on the challenge project has been fun. I painted a large piece of muslin with Tsukineko Inks, in a water color wash technique in emerald green, celadon green and a little forest green and some splatters of rust. It was a mid range value, but faded to a light green when it dried. I wanted something more colorful, but I'm happy with the results, cause the center glows and it was light enough to print on, without the printing being too dark. I used green acrylic paint to stamp fern leaves onto the fabric, and because it is winter, I used a variety of silk leaves to scatter in the upper corners, and around the fern leaves. The silk leaves printed very well, I was afraid they wouldn't have enough detail, I used a foam brush to apply paint, and pressed them down by hand with a paper towel. They are very subtle for a background, I'll be applying applique leaves and ferns over them, but they will add a lot of depth when quilted around. The tree trunk fabric has been interesting, I choose a Bali batik in rust, browns with tan swirling lines, and a matching color print that looks like a comb was dragged through the paint. One of my books said to texture the fabric, twist it up into a knot when wet and let it dry over night. This gave it a nice wrinkled texture and you are suppossed to iron interfacing to the back to keep the wrinkles, but it was too flat for that. So I cut pieces of interfacing, traced my trunk and root sections, and manipulated my fabric into folds and wrinkles in small sections with my fingers and pressed with a small "Clover brand" iron. This gave LOTS of texture, I stitched free motion with rust rayon threads and flipped the folds back and forth, it will need lots more stitching, and embellishing with moss, beads, etc. I also made long tapered strips for roots to fit my sketch. The photos are ok, but not sure about the color, I think you can see the folds and stitching. Next came the photos to be tucked into the roots, I couldn't finalize the roots with out knowing how many photos and where they would go. I searched Dad's picasa photo albums on the web for old family pictures, he has pics from all my great grand parents and also a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods and the old Wipperfurth farm stead. I got my parents wedding photo too, and decided to add a photo of myself in a knot hole high up on the tree trunk. Haven't decided which photo of myself to use tho. I'd like to add a blue jay and a squirrel to the picture, if you have nuts in the tree, they will be there ;-) Maybe at the last minute if I have time to thread paint them, ha ha ha. So I am making progress, I haven't decided if I want to attach the tree and roots first or add more stitching now. The greenery will be next, 3-D leaves and flowers, I want to make little stuffed mushrooms, shelf mushrooms on the trunk, and I have some really nubby lime green fabric to use as moss.