A Week Fit to be Dyed....

What a productive week! and a fun weekend! We got up later than usual, so we got some extra sleep (an entire 30 minutes! whoo hoo!) but then we ran some errands - got my Iraqi bundle of love mailed (http://ibol.wordpress.com/ ) - went to a yard sale and scored a bunch of good cottons for quilting - and then we had a wonderful lunch at Red Robin. Got more painting done on the lion and finished up the week's dyeing. Earlier in the week I was having a conversation with someone about the dyeing and they said "oh, what a quick way to make a gift!" and I thought, "huh?". Dyeing, like any other art form, is not quick. At its quickest (for me), there are 8 steps...
1) bring water into the studio and cover table in plastic. 2) prepare containers for mixing dye
3) mix the dye
and make sure the containers are labeled, because several of them look the same once they have been mixed.
4) wet fabric and lay out on plastic
5) add dye to fabric
now go away for a couple of hours and let it set and after a few hours, everything that has been dyed now needs to be 6) rinsed, 7) ironed and 8) photographed. I love the results, so it is totally worth it. But it's not quick. This week's work: long scarves: short scarves
and shawls


Dye Teaser...

Took some time to dye this week as I have a bundle of silk just sitting there screaming for it... here's a scan of the ends of the scarf I'm wearing in my hair today...this is what you get when you clean up (after dyeing, blot runoff dye on table with scrunched up, undyed scarf....).. I took pictures, but since I hope to get more stuff dyed this weekend, I'll wait to post them together...but thought I'd take a moment to enjoy something artistic...(did I mention I hate the end of the fiscal year and spreadsheets will be the death of me???)... sigh...I wish I were in my studio....



This morning's sunrise was just too good not to share...


Just going along...

The last week has been pretty easy going, except for the high excitement peaks of when I reserved my spot on the Saturn rocket (see last post) and the date with my husband.
I was able to get a lot of handwork done; finished binding this
in a bright fuchsia, which made the pink in the design nicely 'pop' - but the picture with the binding is still on the camera...which is 'someplace safe' in the house. And I began knitting up some of the wool I bought at Vicky's shop to make a felted purse...it is sometimes so much easier to sit and knit while watching TV than it is to sew very small stitches...and this week saw the 3 hour premier of Project Runway on the Lifetime Channel, so there was no missing that! I love that show - it fits right in the Shallow TV category. It doesn't hurt that by going out and studying the outfits on the website, you can sometimes learn a fiber technique that might come in handy. I also love America's Next Top Model (same category): not only because those kids think that being a model is the Ultimate Lifestyle (somehow they don't see it for the hard work I'm sure it is), but you can learn a lot about commercial photography from the final shots and listening to what Nigel and the other photographers say - it, too, is even better when you go to the website and study the shots. As to the models - sometimes I'm convinced they choose the least mature and the most whiny because the producers think it makes for a 'better show'. Dave treated me to a lunch date on Saturday - the food was so good and so much, that it nearly incapacitated us both for rest of the day! He said that when I wrote about it, it would end up being "this really great restaurant - did I mention it had a quilt store across the street??"... It is a good restaurant, by the name of Babe's Chicken House (Cedar Hill, TX). Family style eating...and lot of it...

and while their advertising is a little in your face and their ambiance is a little over the top and the restaurant was really noisy, the food was really good...and there is, indeed, a quilt store across the street, which, of course, we were obliged to go shop in. So it was a really good day! The lion is coming along (more slowly than I projected) but the body has been finished and the back wing has been completed. Next is the forward wing, the book, the halo, and, last but not least, the face. It is really difficult to figure out what is in front of what so things can be done in the right order!

So tonight I go the the fiber arts meeting, where I get to show off all of the lovely stuff I have FINISHED (that's the cool part...it's finished), I get to see what else everyone else has finished...oh, and the speakers are usually good, too.

And tonight I go to sleep again dreaming about what that rocket panel is going to look like....decisions decisions decisions.


To the Moon, Alice....

I took the leap this morning and reserved myself a 2'x2' panel space on a new art project.... The International Fiber Collaborative (remember the tree?) is wrapping the Saturn V rocket outside the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville...how very very cool is that?!?!? check out their site http://www.thedreamrocket.com/ and stay tuned to it for pictures of the art submissions!


Chickens, and Lions, and Learning Things

This week was mostly catch-up and handwork. Put a binding on Cosmic Chicken (finally) and I was pleased enough with it; now I just need to make a label for it... Also worked on the lion - I believe I can safely say it's in the final stages and hope to finish him off by next weekend. But a new trick, for me at least, was that I finally dropped the feed dogs on my machine (those are the little toothy things under the needle that feeds the material through). By dropping the feed dogs, I was able to free-stitch...which reminded me of using an etch-a-sketch....but let me just say it was a blast! I made a quilt sandwich (about 18"x14") and just started doodling. I know a lot of artists have done this but it was really cool...it was the little things that stumped me - I mean did I like doing the little circles clockwise or counterclockwise? was there a wrong way to do this? and just how do I adjust the tension on this machine...CAN I even adjust the tension? Took me several evenings to do this and after I filled up the entire piece I put a binding on it. I had a great time and I look forward to adding this type of thing to a 'real' piece. (p.s. this piece is more rectangular than it appears in the picture....bad camera angle....). Now...where did I put that machine manual???


Prime Lion

We just came back from seeing Julie & Julia - cute movie and a little endearing to those of us who grew up watching Julia on television. It did make me want to rush out to the bookstore and buy books about Julia to learn more about her!
But it also made me think about blogging and when we blog and why we blog - I blog so that our family and friends can see our vacation pictures and my art friends can see my latest work without me having to lug it around all of the time. I also think some of our home projects (such as the bathroom re-do) is easier to share this way - it's not like any of the kids live close by.
Earlier this week a friend of mine was sounding slightly guilty because she doesn't blog more often - I reminded her that that was fine - I only blog once a week, or when something worth sharing occurs, because what is there to say on a daily basis (except when we are traveling)? "got up at 6:45, went to work, became one with my spreadsheets and bureaucratic paperwork (the Zen approach to a job), came home, accomplished one or none part of some project-or-other, and went to bed"
I'm not complaining; we love our non-exciting life, getting things done as we can, visiting friends when we can, and traveling as we can. But on a daily basis, really, it's nothing to write home about. Literally.
I do find myself treating Sunday like a deadline of some sort...it's as though in a week's time I've got to have something to share....I've actually worked really hard on the weekend to finish some fiber project, just so I can write about it!
Yesterday was spent with friends and I truly enjoyed their company. I have also finished priming the lion. Now, for those of you who have never painted on a Venetian plaster wall (and I haven't before now), you should be informed that it absorbs paint just like regular plaster. In other words, the paint is almost dry by the time it leaves my brush. There is no 'blending' time available. I discovered this while painting that first paw. It has taken a lot of paint until I don't see some wierd shade of brown. So I finally figured out that if I primed it in the darker versions of the final paint colors, anything that shows through in the final round will just add texture. This also means that I get to paint the lion about four times before it will be finished. First there was the sketch. Now it's been primed. Next is the final colors. And last will be the details. But I'm beginning to believe he's going to turn out okay.


Changing my mind....

okay...I changed my mind about this....
The more it stayed on my design wall, the less I even liked it...so taking my rotary cutter by it's lovely flowered handle, I cut it all into 3" squares!
And I cut batting and backing for all of them and now they get to be carried around in my purse (a few at the time), along with embroidery thread and I will just embellish the (now) abstract little squares as time permits (commuter time, end of lunch break, waiting for med appts etc.) and I will then bind each one seperately and connect them in some manner.
Thus I have saved some infant from being exposed to murky design at an early developmental stage!
Whew! I feel better...


Tail's Tale and Blocks

Welcome to Isabella Grace Appleton! and Congratulations to Richard and Sondra! We look forward to meeting this latest addition to the Grandchildren List!!
This week saw some work on the lion - now that the new gold paint has come in - I thinks it's going to look great once all of the base coats are down and all of the highlights and 'hair' is added (that mean a really small paint brush and gold and brown paint) - the texturing is supposed to visually remove the color lines...
Also took time this week to put blocks together - I handpieced the blocks last year and this week I machine-stitched sashing - I think it would have looked better if I had sashed it in black to make the blocks stand out as right now it's just kinda muddled - but I'm not going to worry about it - I'm just going to add more sashing to size it up and quilt it and then let some baby enjoy it. That will get it out of my house and let it be useful - I was just trying the Jane block patterns using cut up small pieces of the butterfly material just to see what it looked like - what it is, is far too many seams and I probably won't try that technique again. I also made some blocks using leftover scrap strips that was in my scraps bin and some squares of rainbow fish fabric. Okay but nothing to get excited about.
The rest of the weekend will be spent on hand-stitching (the fish is coming along) - it's way too hot to spend time outside.