Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays

My holidays have been busy, altho I have done a little quilting. I have machine quilted several 8" x 10" gelli prints, in anticipation of spending time embellishing them with beads and buttons, while I wait in the hospital after my husbands surgery next week. I'll also take my sketchbook and wander around downtown Portland Oregon. I know how to get to Fabric Depot, the BIG fabric store, but I need to find an art supply store, and used book stores. I am sure there are great places to have lunch, besides the hospital cafeteria! So my two week vacation from school bus driving, will NOT be spent quilting :( I may take photos to inspire quilts tho, and sketch patterns and ideas. So I am thinking of it as a time to explore, be inspired by the big city, and get fresh ideas and perspectives, as well as spending a lot of time at my hubby's bedside. Have a great holiday everyone, and a Happy New Year!

My holiday baking efforts, and lots more kahlua truffles.

Charlie with new kitty "Poppy" in front of the Xmas tree.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Beach Scene Progress

I spent a lot of time this weekend working on the beach scene. It doesn't seam like much got accomplished, but it was a lot of work. I finished all the figures, and even got the larger ones glued in place. The entire surf area, from the foam, wet sand to the 1st white wave line, got completed, as well as the rest of the beach. I filled in all the holes in the sand, and continued it as far left as it goes, and got it all glued. That took a lot of time, the gluing is tedious and detailed, but it is all stable now. The whole paper design with the fabric pinned on top, was moved to the right, so the left side could be unfolded, and worked on. My design wall is only so wide, but it can be continued onto the back of the door. I finished the girl wading, in a hot pink patterned swimsuit, and flaming red hair. She will definitely stand out.

Next is the ocean fabric choices. I hand dyed a long piece of light blue turquoise sky, the texture I scrunched into it is not very distinct. It may not be long enough though, I may have to do some creative piecing. If you don't count the sky I am at least half way done, and the ocean doesn't have the detail, that I just worked on. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Beach Scene Figures

5 whole days to cook, bake, quilt, create and relax with a good book. That is one of the advantages to driving a school bus, you get time off, on all of the school holidays. I have been working on my beach scene, creatively fusing the smaller 5 figures and the sand castle. They have many fewer pieces then the main figures in the foreground, but still took time to do. Mostly I just sat and thought, value is very important here, and shadows, and I wanted the kids' swim clothes to be colorful, there is so much plain sand and water, I need the figures to draw the attention.

In the two boys skimming, the balance and body language is very important, and since I have not decided on the colors of the ocean and water, I needed to worry about value. The boys running with the soccer ball, are all about action, they are in the wet part of the beach and will have reflections in the water. Probably Angelina fibers as well, to show the wet sand. There will be a lot of cheesecloth texture at the surf line and shells and driftwood pieces too.

The boy at the far left, has a sister to the left of him, that part of the pattern has been folded under, as my design board is only so wide. There is also a kayaker and a dog swimming to the left. I am going to work on the surf line next and choose colors/fabrics for the ocean. This has become quiet a challenge, there are so many layers and details. My goal is to have this ready for the Seattle Show(Pacific NorthWest) in August.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

5000th View

Thank you everyone who looks at my blog. Over two and a half years, I've had 5000 visitors, and made 150 posts. I try to make it interesting, not only showing you my finished projects, but also some of the techniques, hints and helpful tips on creating them. The most viewed post was "How to Thread Paint a Dragonfly" my step by step photos were detailed, and appreciated by everyone I talked to. My art quilting has been growing in complexity, vision and color, and my newest piece will be posted soon. I am happy with it, as it is totally abstract, my comfort zone is pictorial, and all the feedback is great. I can't wait to show you the finished piece. I have 650 listings in my quilt records, about 100 of them unfinished projects, but I keep track of them all, so I can stay on track. Some of the listings are pillows, purses, postcards, journal pages, place mats, and various other quilted items, not many large quilts. I don't let anything leave the house without a photo. I have been quilting since 1973, when I took a textile class in high school and then made a hand sewn and quilted twin quilt for the final project.

My First Quilt, "Orange Julius"

Since moving to Roseburg, 21 years ago, I took quilting seriously, joined the Umpqua Valley Quilters' Guild, and became the President for two years, after doing all the other jobs first. I became interested in art quilting early on, as I loved applique and liked to design my own flower patterns. I taught classes for many years, mostly beginning quilting, but then taught more advanced classes as well. I joined Fyber Cafe, a textile arts group, when it was being formed, and have made many more wonderful friends. I am blog master for them too, at Now my focus is on art quilting, embellishing, fabric painting, Photoshop & printing my photos on fabric and using them in my quilts. I love applique, but arthritis is doing it's thing with my hands, and I can't hand sew or bead much any more. It's a good thing I can machine quilt and machine applique so well, but I still think I need more beads on some of my work. So thank you for looking at my writing, my photos and my quilts, I'll try to keep it interesting as we move along to the next 10,000 page views.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Peggy's Leaves" Quilting

I finished quilting Peggy's Leaves quilt, she made it with her hand dyed fabric from our workshops. I used various colors of rayon thread to put veins in the leaves, then a variegated primary colors rayon in the background with a small wandering leaf pattern. I added a fern pattern around the border.

Polyester-Marble wrapping

I tried a technique that I found on the blog You wrap in a shibori technique, polyester or chiffon/synthetic fabrics around marbles, buttons, or rocks. Then boil it for 15-30 minutes, and then put in ice water to cool, unwrapped the texture from the tying stays permanently in the fabric. This really looked cool on their blog, check out their site for great pics and more detailed how to. I started with an assortment of chiffon scarves, tied the first one with large flat marbles, and boiled, etc...

Several of the large glass marbles did break when I unwrapped the scarf. So I used regular marbles for the next one, they tied up like a bunch of grapes. It was a narrow scarf with a marble pattern on it and I tied both ends. I was very disappointed with the results. The first scarf, all that happened was the dye came out and I lost all the pattern. No texture at all. The second one I boiled longer and let cool and dry completely before I unwrapped it. It had more texture and a white ring where the dye came out, but not at all like the blog site. The only trouble shooting I can do is try tying them tighter, boil the full 30 minutes, or try a different fabric.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Making Leaves

Several of our Fyber Cafe ladies attended a leaf making workshop for Sherry and Kay. Sherry's fiber group in Ketchican, Alaska has a grant to make a 17 foot fiber tree in the children's section of the new public library. They need thousands of leaves, so we spent the day painting and stamping on paper and layering with a stem and fabric backing.

They still need to be trimmed and coated with gloss medium, Sherry had samples of finished leaves for us to admire. We had a wonderful lunch and it was fun to make a mess with paints and help a wonderful cause.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The White Album

As we are getting ready to put our Beatles Challenge pieces in the Sutherlin Library, an idea popped into my head. To stitch white on white, a picture of the four Beatles, and call it the white album. My supervisor at work, is a big Beatles fan and had several posters and pictures in her office. So I borrowed one that is a black and white silhouette style, traced it onto tracing paper and then onto white fabric. I used a red, heat disappearing pen to draw the pic, and free motion machine quilted it. I added lyrics and song titles around each head to add texture and fill in areas. It looked really strange with the red markings, and I was worried they would not come off. I wish I had taken a picture with the ink still on it. A quick hit with the hot iron and it instantly disappeared!! WOW, Magic!! I got the binding on and finished the sleeve, and had the whole thing finished in about 1 1/2 hours. The black and white picture is really good contrast and you can see how it really looks like them, not so much the outline only. It was difficult to photograph the white on white, I set it on my ironing board and put a small lamp, low so it was table level, casting as much shadow as possible. I had to lighten/whiten it up in photoshop cause it looked all creamy colored, like dark muslin.

We got quiet a few more pieces done for the challenge, so it will make a nice display at the library.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Linoleum Block Stamps

I started with a photograph of a crow on a branch, and was working on photo transfer, using gel medium. I transferred to a piece of paper for my sketchbook, and it came out very clear, but to finish it off, I wanted to make a crow stamp. So I got out my linoleum blocks and carving tools, and used an image from my gelli print masks. The carving went well and I made a second image on the back of the linoleum. It is so thick, it is a waste not to make the stamps two sided. The second image was traced from one of my photographs. I made several prints on paper to check them out, if I use them on fabric I will use black paint instead of ink.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

More Ice Dyeing

Several ladies from Fyber Cafe came over to do some more ice dyeing, as they missed the workshop. We did silk scarves and a shawl, silk yarn, cotton muslin, and almost a kitten.

The pinks are all mine, I put a bunch of scraps together in one basket, so they came out similar, I used fuchsia, red, and burgundy dye. My cheesecloth came out peach, and I got one muslin with bronze dye, that came out a rich salmon color. I tried some silk hankies, in plastic strawberry baskets, but now I don't know what to do with them. They are not handkerchiefs they are layers of silk fiber for spinning. For more info see there are more photos posted.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sketching Blog

After posting two blogs on my recent sketches I decided I would start yet another blog. it took me several days to scan in my 50+ sketches and get them posted. I have always had a notebook in my purse, for quilt ideas, quilting patterns, sketches, to do lists, etc... But it was lined paper and ball point pen. After finding several blogs on sketching, and getting the book "the Artists Journal Workbook" by Cathy Johnson, I decided I wanted to practice my drawing skills, and try to add a little color to my notebook. I do mostly original designs in my art quilts, and have been trying to use my photographs in my recent quilts, so sketching patterns is important, composition, balance, proportion, all the "BASICS" of good design. I think regular sketching will help me with all the basics. I can see improvement already in my drawing skills, and I'm getting better with the watercolor paints. So I will leave this blog to my art quilting, and if you want to check out my sketches go to the other blog. Check out our group blog for "Fyber Cafe" a textile arts group, here in Roseburg, Oregon. at-- Also check out to see how painted fabric can make wonderful quilts. Her paintings, classes & student work, and "Route 66" project are awesome.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Walking Iris

My new journal page, "Walking Iris" is the Everyday Matters Challenge by the challenge was to draw your morning cup or mug. My cup is always accompanied by "Iris" as I walk to the coffee stand with my neighbor and her Australian Shepard. The photo of Iris is collaged, and the drawing is mechanical pencil, and cheap kids watercolor tray paints, then over drawn with a Pigma pen for detail. Who can resist the beautiful blue & brown eyes as she stares at the Baristas, she has them fawning all over her, and often gets biscuits from both of them. A "Two Bone Day" is what she has come to expect. And it makes me want to go for my morning walk, as I can't disappoint Iris.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flower Sketches

I have been trying to do a little sketching lately, and have been drawing flowers. I have been following the blog and also they are both wonderful for helping you learn how to draw, and for inspiration and ideas. I use a mechanical pencil to do the original sketch, then use colored pencils, watercolor pencils, or kids watercolor paints to add color and detail. Then I do an ink detail over it all, to outline and detail, I really like the finished look this gives it.

The bunchberry was done from a book on drawing, and the gaillardia was from a blog, so they are both copies of other drawings. They are done with a kids watercolor set from the dollar store.I am getting better with the watercolors it takes a little practice to blend colors and get the right shades.

The poppy was done from my imagination, I have drawn them lots of times for quilt patterns. The colors came out very bright. The hydrangea was drawn from life, sitting in my garden on a bench, under the shady maple tree. I am getting better at the depth and perspective. I used colored pencils and am happy with the blending of the colors, but I wish I had used watercolor pencils instead, for a smoother, more intense color.

The ewe and lamb are done in mechanical pencil, and is from a photo on the cover of the Dharma Trading catalog. I think I managed to get some fur texture in it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Try at Marbling

I tried to get the marbling to work again this morning, I put the goop in a small 8 X 8 pan, and tested paints. Adding water to thin them and adding dispersant, I kept shaking them and trying a drop on the goop. Still sinking, still not dispersing, some were getting close, but the second time I tried them, Nope. :( The Marbling book suggested Synthrapol as a dispersant instead of the Ox Gall drops that Dharma sent, so I tried that and it seemed to help. As I got each color paint just right, I made a few prints, so most of the prints are pink, lavender and light teal. As I worked on the blue, green and burgundy, I tried for more color variations on the prints.

I mostly just used a bamboo skewer to stir the pattern free hand, and did not worry about trying to make a pattern. It was still frustrating, so I decided to try again tomorrow, with maybe a new batch of goop, thicker this time. It should NOT be this hard to do! It makes you appreciate the marbled fabrics that are available commercially, and the price you pay for them. If I have more luck tomorrow, I'll have a few of the ladies back to my house to try it again.

August Winner

The winner for August of the change purse is....Andri Chama, I'll email you, congratulations!!! Her favorite was the purple pansies. Check again at the beginning of September for your next chance to win. Thank you for checking my blog, Amy


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dye Workshop

What a wonderful weekend, dying fabric and trying to marble fabric. 10 of our artists from "Fyber Cafe" got together and had a dye workshop, this is our 5th annual event. The ice dyeing on the silk scarves worked out beautifully, we all made several scarves and some even dyed yardage. See more details on It was a hot weekend, 93 on Friday, 104 on Saturday, yikes! We were outside most of Friday, and thankfully her studio had air conditioning. For details of the ice dyeing see previous post here also.

In the afternoon, we did prep work for marbling on Saturday, soaked the fabric in alum, and hung it up to dry. Prepared the goop that is used to float the paint and make the patterns on. Unfortunately we had trouble making the paints the right consistency, for the marbling, and got rather frustrated. A few of us are going to try again on Wednesday at my house.

We did have a great time, opening our scarves after we left them to sit over night. We hung them on a tree and they flapped in the wind and glowed in the sun. The potluck was tasty as always, lots of goodies, including apple crisp and chocolate zucchini bread.