Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Heres a sketch I did over twent years ago (OMG, that is awful, I am so old!)
Even though I chopped her toes off in the photo, I thinks she might be an example of BALANCE!
What do you think?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Challenge 5

I wish I could say that I have an idea for the next piece all worked out for this theme, but that would not be true. I was going to choose metamorphosis, but that is the current 12 X 12 challenge, so that doesn't work.

How does B A L A N C E strike you? I don't hear any applause, but I think this will grow on you and that by March 18, we will all look at balance in a new way.

Balance - noun (definitions from the

1 .  an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady:  she lost her balance and fell

2.  a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions: try to keep a balance between work and relaxation.  Mental or emotional stability: the way to some kind of peace and personal balance
3.  an apparatus for weighing, especially one with a central pivot, beam, and two scales. (the Balance) the zodiacal sign or constellation Libra.

4.  a counteracting weight or force. (also balance wheel) the regulating device in a clock or watch.
5.  a predominating amount; a preponderance: the balance of opinion was that work was more important than leisure
6. a figure representing the difference between credits and debits in an account; the amount of money held in an account: he accumulated a healthy balance with the savings bank; the difference between an amount due and an amount paid: the holiday balance must be paid by 8 weeks before departure

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A long way up

Ah well, like Beverly, my idea didn't quite come together the way I wanted it to.  I was beating myself up about it and then I had a very serious talk to myself and said that as I am always spouting off about serendipity and mistakes being a good thing, I should be really happy.
Here is "Up in the milky way"  I think my problem with it is that it is so monochromatic - which as you know is not me, however there are lots of sparkles, more than are shown in the photo. I used  the technique of quilting densely first, then painting.  This gave me the background.  The milky way was originally stencilled in with a silver shiva stick, but I really did not like it as the contrast was too stark, so I scribbled all over it with a variegated blue and white thread  (scribbling being my mode of quilting in the background, too)
Finally, (I thought it was final)  I added iron on rhinestones for the stars.  I was actually very accurate about where I put the stars, using star maps and my own observations late at night to place the major stars, because this is actually what I see most nights when I look up.  The sky is full of stars because there are few lights out here in the bush at night to interfere with the view of the sky.
Anyway, I had bound it and was "finished" and decided that the contrast was still to high, so I began adding hand stitching, seed stitches and cross stitches. 
One thing I am learning about myself is that I actually like to hand stitch and doing the fiddly bits.  Once, I was a bit of a purist and did everything by machine, but hand and machine work both have different textures and work together well.
The contrast is still too high between the sky and the Milky way, but like Beverly, I might still add a bit more stitching, because as I was adding the stitches last night, I was liking the quilt more and more.

Looking Up: The Eyes (don't have it anymore!)

The Eyes (don't have it anymore!)
16 X 16
Oh, I thought it would work.  The temptation to use my recent experience with my cataract and laser treatment was too much.  I thought I had a good idea- depict the blurred vision with blurred words, the halos of light I saw, especially when driving.  Then, for good measure, I thought I'd give a nod to what I see every day when I look up with my use of line and color.  Ah yes, it all seemed like a good inspiration.

But it has never come together in a way that works for me, and the more I tried to salvage it, the more I realized my idea Just Wouldn't Work.  And I had no other ideas or last minute inspirations.  So there you have it, a learning experience but NOT a piece I will be putting out there after this!!

I constructed it very similar to the last challenge, although it has lots less paint.  And I did learn some new tricks- like, how to blur text in PSE and how to do a gel medium transfer.

So there you have it, a learning experience on a piece that just didn't come together the way I'd originally envisioned and hoped.

I am ready to move on!


 Two ideas for 'looking up' kept calling to me so I decided to combine them into one piece. I loved the simplicity of ladders against a wall with simply sky above but I also was intrigued with idea of 'looking up' the meanings of unknown or foreign words. This idea was inspired by the various salutations that my friend Elizabeth in Canada and I use in our emails to each other. I often use a Portuguese expression, from my time living in Brazil, while she often uses Czech expressions as her parents emigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia. So this piece is extra special as it also celebrates my renewed friendship with Elizabeth, whom I had lost touch with but thanks to the internet and Facebook we met up again after not having seen each for almost thirty years!

Making the quilt ...I pieced the lengthwise strips of sky and wall and then used 'quilt-as-you-go' to stitch them in place.

 Next was some free motion quilting. I love using variegated threads and these colors seemed perfect to add to the wall effect I was hoping for. I had placed my fabrics in a brick-like fashion but wasn't concerned if they didn't end up looking like brick, but hoped to at least get a wall look.
Next was adding the salutations. I went back through our emails and copied out various expressions we had used but discovered there weren't as many different ones as I had expected so I went into Google Translate and found a few more including several in Norwegian which is a language I heard occasionally growing up as my great-grandmother was from Norway.

The ladders were appliqued in place and a black binding completed "Vzhlédnout'. You should discover this translates to 'Look Up' in Czech. 

One salutation we often use but I didn't get onto my quilt is 'Namaste' so I end with a big thank you to Janet for this challenge and Namaste to all!

Find, Search, Discover

 My first inclination was to use leaves in some way to signify the theme. In the fall, while driving home from town, I am constantly looking up at the leaves and admiring the changing colors from shades of green to golden yellows, intense reds and coppery oranges. 

My husband suggested clouds as an appropriate theme.  When I spoke about the challenge with my daughter, she said Mother, you were a librarian, you have to use the term the way it was used in your job. After thinking about these options for a while, I decided my daughter was right. 

My first step was to create a list of words related to looking up books or doing research in a library or doing a search on the web. After compiling the list, I typed the words into Tagxedo ( and had fun playing with different shapes and fonts. After saving a number of word cloud possibilities, I took them into Photoshop Elements and changed font colors, backgrounds, sizes of the clouds, erased some words and moved others until I had five or six word clouds that I was pleased with.

The last step before construction could take place was to print the words on fabric. Ironing fabric onto freezer paper works well if the bond between the fabric and the freezer paper is very tight.
The fabric was then cut into strips of varying widths, was sewn together, cut apart and was sewn together again. After playing with various arrangements piecing and rearranging began. A simple grid pattern was machine quilted and luckily, I found some fabric in my stash which was suitable for a binding.

Additional details can be found in my blog.

looking up to - a tribute to Kandinsky

First I want to thank Janet for the Look Up theme. It was quite a challenge!

I started playing with ideas of looking up in the sky and took pictures of buildings, birds, trees, city elements. This was followed by a very simple idea that I will keep in mind for another challenge (aha, maybe when it’s my turn to come up with a theme...). 
I decided to explore another meaning, i.e. looking up to someone. The light bulb moment came when I was flipping through the pages of an art book and found some pictures of Kandinsky’s work. I have always loved his paintings from the Bauhaus period. They have often inspired me.

What better way to show my admiration and appreciation for Kandinsky’s work than to make a quilt inspired by his work? Kandinsky’s paintings that I love most are all about circles, squares, triangles and strong lines.

I used a linen for the front of the quilt and started with the quilting (kind of working backwards). Then I applied some of my Stewart Gill sparkling paints with a stencil brush with a flat bottom, fused some fabric circles, appliqued them by machine. With the same paints I painted some squares and quilted lines around them. In another pair of lines I made quirky squares which I painted with black acrylic fabric paint. The quilt was made like I would do with a painting, step by step and by intuition. I finished the quilt with a non mitred facing. My first time and I love the look. 
The most difficult part was to stop working on the quilt at the right moment, to keep it interesting to look at. I’m not sure if I have achieved that, but I decided that I can always add some little elements, when I want to. 

I’m happy with the result, because I have found my old simplistic self again.

When you want to see more pictures please visit my private blog.  
When you want to know more about Kandinsky you can visit this website: and go here.
When you want to know more about the Bauhaus, please click here.


Two-two-two quilts in one!

It reminds me of this....

I found this particular round tricky to get going.

For one thing, I was feeling blue and in a real creative funk for a bit..
but I treated myself to Rayna's book...

and I decided to make some therapy strips into blocks...

and before I knew it...

Tangled Textiles, challenge #4, "looking up"
(the quilt back now!)

things were looking up!!!!

So that got me in the mood to play!

I started looking through the myriad of photos that I have 
downloaded to my albums on Picasa.

Hubby and I enjoy a good hike up Prospect Mountain nearby
and I had taken some wonderful photos looking up at the moonshine
atop the mountain
looking down at Lake George 
and the village below.

Tangled Textiles, challenge #4, "looking up"

This is my first painted quilt

Tangled Textiles, challenge #4, "looking up"

and also one of the first times that I have embellished with fibers too.

Tangled Textiles, challenge #4, "looking up"

Look Up High!

"I made you a Kite so you would have to look up."  -Source unknown

Thank you Janet for a tough challenge. It took me a while to come up with something that I thought would be interesting and out of the ordinary to portray.  I Googled "look up" and as expected, I was presented with pictures of  people looking up into the sky, at the ceiling, into stadium stands, you name it, everyone was looking up.  I asked myself "what could everybody be looking at up there?"  Then I came across the quote above and had my "aha" moment.   I decided that I would try a technique that I had not used before. 

So this is my attempt at "look up".  I used fabric paint to create the background sky, stenciling with shiva paintstiks for the treetops, and dimensional raw edge applique for the kite tails.  I wanted to make the clouds fluffly looking and thought of needle felting, but didn't know how.  So I "looked up" a friend who had some knowledge about needle felting. She very graciously made a sample for me and I incorporated it for some of the clouds.  It is difficult to see these details in the picture., but you can check them out on my blog.

This challenge stretched my imagination. It gave me a chance to use materials and techniques I do not usually use.  Thank you Janet for atough but inspiring challenge theme!

Up Up and Away!

Several years ago we vacationed in New Brunswick and managed to catch an early morning lift off at a balloon festival in Sussex.  My husband takes some wonderful photographs, and this one is one I've wanted to try to create in fabric for sometime.  (Photograph used with permission)
I kept to techniques I'm familiar with, although did try piecing the balloon itself using a freezer paper technique, and have to say it came together well for me.  It contains some raw edge applique, my pre-requisite faux trapunto and dense free motion quilting, although this time, only in a few spots.  The hardest part was trimming the quilt down to the 16" square format.  All in all, I'm very pleased with how it has turned out.

Up Up and Away

For more information and additional pictures, please see my post here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

so close!

yup, things are really looking up with my project!  Here's a peek until tomorrow!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Things are looking up

So how is everyone doing with their challenge?  Looking up I hear.  Well here is a quick peak at where I'm at.

Nope!  You'll just have to wait to Sunday to see the whole thing.  I'll need that much time to finish this up.

Monday, January 9, 2012

looking up cute

For some weeks now we are watching a BBC series called The Frozen Planet. It’s unbelievable to see the frozen wildernesses of the Arctic and Antarctic.

I had to think of the series when I came across this picture on the internet. It’s also a very cute way of looking up, don’t you think?


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Colour Auditions

Planning the transition from sketchbook to fabric .... my fabric dyeing style of serendipity may work well for my color scheme of 'look up'. If these fabrics make the cut it will be my first quilt using mostly my own dyed fabrics. That middle aqua/teal batik is store bought but one of my favorites.
 I found another piece of painted fabric that could fit in with these but it will be on call if needed.
Finding the right colors is a challenge usually so things are looking up!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Well, I've done a quick sketch and pulled some fabrics - now to actually figure out what to do with them!

As much as I love the look of multi-media type projects with digitally printed images and manipulations, and all sorts of wild and wonderful embellishing techniques, I'm just not there yet, and just can't seem to find the time to spend learning and playing, so I'll be sticking with what I'm currently comfortable with.  There will be piecing, some thread sketching/painting and some FMQ.  Probably a bit of applique (raw edge no doubt!) There maybe a bit of fabric paint - we'll see how it goes.  I may even decide to iron that bunch of fabric!
Things are starting to look up in my little sewing space - how about you?  Are you making any headway on this one?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just Playing Around

It is so easy to have fun in Photoshop and not as easy to translate the results to fabric. So here is something just for fun.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

So long 2011...hello 2012!

Well 2011 has come and gone and some of us in blog land have spent time reflecting on what we have accomplished, while others have listed some of their hopes for 2012.  So if you don't mind I will just briefly say a few words to usher in 2012.

I'm looking forward to sharing my creative attempts with my fellow Tangled Textiles this year and that you "look us up" every now and then.  I hope that we "look up" ideas for coming challenges, "look up" unique techniques to share, and "look up" each other when we need inspiration.

Say....isn't that our next reveal?  "look up"  and say hello 2012!