Monday 31 March 2008

Think Monday - Think ATC - Texture Effects

A quick morning post to upload the ATC I made last night for the TMTA challenge this week of "Texture Effects". This is my first entry this year so I am a bit slow getting back into these weekly challenges...

This one has a painted (Lumieres) and stamped (text) piece of tyvek which has been distressed by ironing (sounds cruel?) to get the textured effect. I've stitched it to cardstock with wire. I was looking for a suitable embellishment and found this little "model magic" mask that I made as part of a workshop with the wonderful and very entertaining Cathy Daulman in Adelaide in 2000 at the SDU convention - I think it was that long ago, I really am a hoarder! I am not into masks at all, they always spook me, but I can't throw something out that is perfectly usable. Anyway I know someone who will like this ATC so it was worth keeping it all these years.

I haven't used tyvek much but making this has reminded me how versatile it is so I really should get it out more often. I would have stitched it to my cardstock if my sewing machine was working as I used a very lightweight tyvek but the wire probably looks better with the mask anyway!

Sunday 30 March 2008

Inching Artists - Wire

Finally back to joining in the Inching Artists challenge again! This week's theme is Wire so I have stitched my new little Oxford Impressions sunflower with gold wire. Hope you like it - stitching on a one inch square of cardstock is very fiddly!!

Weekend Hotch Potch

This is a bit of a hotch potch post as I am having that sort of a weekend! I had trouble focusing yesterday - I kept getting distracted from whatever I was doing and then I found that I couldn't raise the feed dogs on my sewing machine so then I got seriously distracted trying to see what the problem was! Needless to say I wasted a lot of time and will need to get professional help. Of course, now that I can only do sewing with the dogs down, all I want to do needs them up! I had an early start today (well early for a Sunday) as Joseph had to be at the airport by 7am so I should be able to achieve a lot more today hopefully.

The small canvas board at the top of this post is one I made over Easter using some new napkins and my favourite calligraphy stamp (Alphabetique) - it is just a light stamping to peep through the napkin layer. I've used Dimensional Magic selectively to add a bit of interest and to emphasize the glass jar.

This is an ATC I finished off yesterday by doing some beading - it has hot fix Angelina fibres adhered to a fabric base but then I have lightly painted them with Lumiere paints (as I had overheated them and lost a lot of the beautiful Angelina colour!) - I am quite pleased with the result and will probably paint more just because I like the effect - it isn't as shiny and "in your face" as the angelina. The heart is a free form heart drawn with Plexi glue and then foiled.

These are a set of inchies I have made for Anne Lugherini who approached me about an inchie trade. I really do enjoy inchies, especially fabric ones! I have started using my vast collection of dimensional fabric paints for embellishments on these as they are a great way of adding some colour in a very small space. Feels good to be putting those paints to use!

These are some new napkins that Annie Laing has swapped with me - I especially love the black and white ones but they are all really pretty. Might get around to using some this afternoon - Annie has made some great fabric paper with hers as you can see on her blog, very tempting and it is a lovely sunny autumn day here so a good outdoor activity.

Some muslin I dyed last week using Adirondack Color Washes in Butterscotch and Terracotta with some walnut ink sprayed as well! These don't have to be heat set as they aren't for washable items. I used my ice cream container technique - put a bit of water in the bottom, throw in a selection of smallish pieces of fabric, randomly spray with colours, scrunch, move around a bit and then leave scrunched up in the container to dry. Rediscover the container a week or so later (by tripping over it) and discover that they worked out perfectly with plenty of colour graduation.

And another lot (this one includes cheesecloth and some very old cording I discovered in my sewing basket from a cheesecloth dress I wore about 25 years ago!) - colours are Adirondack stream, wild plum and denim.

This lovely surprise package of vintage paper and sewing ephemera arrived last week from the wonderful Keron Lee - look at that lovely strip of old hook and eyes. Thanks so much Keron!

Saturday 29 March 2008

Fabric Inchies!!!!

Yesterday the fabric inchies from the latest trade on Aus_NZ Quilters (a yahoo group) arrived and they are just gorgeous. I've temporarily stuck them all on an A4 piece of black cardstock so that I can have them on my sewing room wall while I ponder a longer term mounting solution - don't they look fabulous altogether?!. This lot are "beige" (lovely wide interpretation!) and they are joining the blue and metallic sets which I have also mounted the same way.

The next round is themed "plastic" so that is going to be very interesting!! Needless to say we are all looking at everything around us with different eyes now - I think there will be some very inventive additions of plastic (melted, laminated, distorted and plain!!) to these mini fabric quilts. I'm planning on trying several of theh techniques from the "Hot Textiles" book which I just love.

PS. I managed to get very busy this week and have barely been on the computer so if you are waiting for a reply from me about anything please know that I am not ignoring you and will get to it this weekend.

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Last day of my Extended Easter :((

Well I am so glad I took an extra day's leave so that I would have a 5 day Easter! I needed every minute of the extra day - I managed to do the housecleaning, which I had put off each successive day, albeit the basic version (meaning one that arty crafty types the world over will understand!) but I also managed to have a bit of a play day art-wise.

(In progress - April Calendar Girls postcard)

I decided last night to start my April Calendar Girls postcard for Susan ahead of time as I was inspired by an article in Quilting Arts (where you trap silk flowers under chiffon on a batik background using free machine embroidery), I finished a fabric ATC (which I have scanned before I finished off the flower centre!), I cut a tree stencil and tried it out with some Moon Shadow sprays using both positive and negative spaces (my first goes are a bit rough but I like the look and they will only be the background!), I coloured some muslin and cheesecloth (my random method which requires a plastic ice-cream container, some water, a range of Adirondack Color Washes and some sunshine), played with my new Oxfords Impressions Stamps and also some new Fancy Pants ones (nothing much finished on either count yet but soon...) and I also finally settled on a direction for my Aus_NZ Quilter's Journal Quilt for March.

We have some choices in this journal quilt exercise and although I was originally going to make an abstract quilt based on a photograph, I just couldn't get excited about it. While I was blog surfing though I came across this site and just loved the look of that home page quilt background (I would love to see this woman's work in the flesh!). So, I am using that work as my inspiration for the theme "Memories" - I have such great memories of my maternal Nanna sewing all through my childhood (I still have some pieces of fabric that she gave me as a pre-teenager for doll's clothes I was making for the cheap Aussie version of the Barbie doll!) and then of my own Mum making our clothes and then teaching me. This quilt is about those memories and I am going to bind it using a button border as another really strong memory for me is my love and continuing fascination with buttons. I just can't walk past a tin or jar of buttons!

This is just the start of the A4 size quilt - a random and haphazard collection of scraps of cream and white fabrics, mostly torn, laid on muslin and felt and covered with dotted netting. I have just started the hand quilting which is going to be "rustic" in style (see lower right side). Not sure about the heart - I have some beautiful fabric that my mother used for her bedroom curtains when I was a child and I am thinking about using that as my centre-piece...

I still love the country cottage look so this little canvas board is now hanging in my kitchen - it is based on a napkin but incorporates several of the new Oxford Impressions Country Girl images.

Monday 24 March 2008

Mixed Media Monday - "Bright Colours"

Last year I participated fairly regularly in several of the online weekly challenges - Wednesday Stamper, Think Monday Think ATC, Gothic Arches, Inching Artists and Mixed Media Monday, but somehow this year I just haven't got back in the swing of them. I think it is because I am committed to several monthly fabric projects and they are taking up so much more time.

Anyway I regularly have a quick look at the challenges to see what the current themes are and this week at Mixed Media Monday it is "Bright Colours" - right up my alley (except for when I am working more vintage style!). So the felted ATCs that I finished last night are my offering for MMM this week.

In the picture at the top they are scanned on top of the most beautiful piece of dyed silk and in the picture at the bottom they are on top of a lovely metallic embellished scrunchy fabric - both are from an inspiration pack I bought in Esperance late last year. I really don't think I am going to be able to force myself to use either of them ...except as a scanning background. I always find it interesting to see how much the background affects the look of the finished item, hence the two pictures (and yes I can clearly see that the orange overwhelms the ATCs which are fairly yellow in real life).

PS I can really see why the felt trend is so big now - quite apart from the fun of making the felted surface, doing the hand stitching into the felted ATC was so relaxing and so much easier than normal hand quilting/stitching. Getting out my embroidery threads felt good too - some in my thread baskets and boxes go back decades!

Sunday 23 March 2008

Creative Frenzy

I am in the middle of a creative frenzy - I had been re-reading my Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines while I do my daily walk on the treadmill and my mind is bursting with things I want to try and things I want to make!

As a result I have several things "on the go" but these textile ATCs are finished for several trades I have happening at the moment. The foiled bits, glittery threads and and sequins really don't scan very well but I thought the whole lot looked rather nice on a piece of silk fusion paper I made a while back (and which forms the centre of the "flowers"). I am still finishing off several felted ATCs I have made using the Embellisher so they will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm also working on a set of blue inchies I am trading with the lovely Anne Lugherini.

I am supposed to be making my March Journal Quilt but I have decided I am not "in the mood" to make an abstract quilt based on a photo (which I what I had originally intended to do) so I have checked the other themes/techniques for this month and decided to go with "memories". Planning on starting tonight after dinner.

Joseph and I watched La Vie en Rose on Friday night as I have always loved Piaf's music but I had so little comprehension of her life! Needless to say I am now reading a biography (thanks to my mate Merle Ann, with whom I shared a little napkin art session yesterday.)

PS I love Easter and the four day weekend - it feels so luxurious to spread the necessary (and generally humdrum) bits of life over four days instead of the usual two!

Friday 21 March 2008

March "TIF" Quilt Finished

This month the theme for Sharon's "Take it Further" Challenge was to pay attention to the tiny details. I had what was probably way too many ideas for this as I love noticing and honouring the small details but in the end I decided to make a small simple quilt that focused on the delicate colours and intricate patterns in some vintage Japanese fabrics that I have been hoarding.

I intended to do a nine patch grid with each tiny square coming from a different piece of fabric but it took all of about three seconds to realise that my collection is of wildly contrasting fabrics which are not particularly attractive when all together. So, I choose my favourite one, which has a lovely pattern in a gorgeous bunch of colours, and cut all nine patches from that. It is simply fused and stitched to another equally gorgeous piece of fabric that has graduated colour. All the quilting (and there isn't much of it as I didn't want to take away from the fabrics) is machine stitched in a gold thread and the binding is made from the same fabric as the patches. Last night I finished the quilt by sewing on a little oriental metal embellishment at the base of the quilt. I was planning in sewing on some oriental coins but the dangling embellishment looked a lot better. The colours in the photo have come a bit bluer than they should have - the quilt is more of a teal shade. The (somewhat blurry) scan below of the quilt is more accurate colour-wise.

I have just realised that two of my three TIF projects have had an oriental flavour - I seem to go in spurts with these sorts of things and working with this fabric has made me think about doing some asian themed stamping too (another thing I haven't done for a while despite having a beautiful collection of asian rubber stamps - geishas, text, flowers, symbols etc). So don't be surprised to see some postcards and ATCs along these lines very soon.

Wishing everyone a wonderful relaxing and creative (in any way!) Easter.

Thursday 20 March 2008

So Much Lovely Mail...

I've been pooped this week .... but boy, did I receive some lovely mail and I am SO inspired to make art this Easter break (after I get some sleep)!!

Look at all these wonderful things that came in the mail:

House ATCs from a CreativeChix Exchange-

House ATCS (left to right, top to bottom) from Lyn Avedikian, Hope Clinchot,
Dot Christian, Joan Lawrence and Patti Gramza.

A stash give-away I won on Susan's blog (check it out - she does beautiful stuff - just look at her stunning blog header!) -

And a gorgeous ATC trade from Albine in France:

Monday 17 March 2008

Happy St Patrick's day!!

I think my glass of champagne has a slightly green tinge but it could be the reflection from my green ear-rings, worn especially today to set off my green linen shirt...

These four ATCs are available for trade to celebrate green in general and St Patrick's Day in particular - just leave a comment - there are just the 4 available.

Other stuff completed last night (before the thunderstorm to end all thunderstorms - it lasted from 1am to 6am, was SO loud & bright and robbed me of my sleep) - some more ATCs, this one for Albine using my new Oxford Impressions stamps and another piece of fabric paper (does anyone else do this and just work through the pile of stuff left next to your desk from the last project?),

this one a variation on my earlier Cyber Fyber embellisher and angelina ATC (this one has gold glitter dimensional paint "beads") -
and to finish off this post, this my latest art journal page for the CreativeChix group and a couple of sunset shots from my front yard - look at the contrast in the clouds just two days apart! The journal prompt was to address our fears, especially in terms of our art. I focused on the act of banishing the fear rather than the fear itself. Enjoying the journaling process - whenever I sit at my desk and can't settle on anything one thing I am doing a background on a page in my journal - I am amazed how productive it makes me feel even though I haven't finished anything!!

Sunday 16 March 2008

Weekend ATCs

Stitched Fabric Paper ATC for Laurence

I've had a lovely weekend - the sun has been shining but not baking us ( I think it only got to 36 degrees), Joseph is back from his trip to the desert, Zach is happy and Josh rang during the week to let us know he is fine - what more could I ask for? Well, of course I would want art time and I had it! I have made ATCs for Laurence, Sabine and Albine, painted and decorated papers and canvases for future projects and I've nearly finished my March Take it Further Challenge. This is all good as it means I can take some time over Easter to make this month's Aus_NZQuilters Journal Quilt. I am SO enjoying playing with fabric these days!

Painted & Stamped Fabric ATCs for Laurence, Sabine and Albine

And here is a slice of my March TIF - celebrating the little things - in this case the beautiful colours and patterns in some vintage Japanese fabrics. I'll post a full shot as soon as it is finished.

Saturday 15 March 2008

My March Calendar Girl Postcard

This month it is my turn to make a postcard for Val Thomas. This is the Calendar picture that is this month's inspiration prompt -

I loved the variety of flowers and vases in this picture and was inspired to use just the central pink flower. I have use, as my postcard base, a piece of one of the very textural fabric papers that I made last August in Beryl Taylor's Perth (Western Australia!) workshops. This fabric paper has a soft closely woven material as the fabric base, is covered in torn strips of wallpaper, torn fabric and various papers (which are glued on) and is then partially covered with plaster before before lightly painted and foiled. To make the connection with the swirls on the vase I have stamped a swirl stamp in dark green ink several times across the background. The flower and leaves are cut from other less textural sheets of fabric paper that I made after the workshops. I am really happy with the "pieced" look of the postcard and want to make some more now!!

Friday 14 March 2008

The Final Inchie Set

I did manage to get my inchies finished and mailed today and this is what the final set of 9 looked like. (Bit blurry because some of them are quite dimensional)

I had to make 7 sets for the swap but I made 9 and have one full set available for trade - first in first served and you don't have to trade inchies - it can be an ATC or postcard! Plus for once I am ready to post - this is not one of my trades where you have to wait for me to actually make it! (And to Laurence, Sabine and Albine - I am making your ATCs this weekend!! Promise)

Thursday 13 March 2008

An Update...

A very quick post as I am busy finishing off my inchies so they get in the post tomorrow and get to their Eastern States destination by the deadline!

Last night Annie traded me one of her beautiful ATCs - she has made them for an Aust/NZ exchange - quite apart from the wonderful craftsmanship and perfect edging (that's my Annie!!) Annie has achieved a wonderful lustre on the napkin surface as a result of using acrylic wax. Just gorgeous and something I will have to try! PS I love the beaded flower centres too.

By Coralee Barker

And then today I received these gorgeous "Veil" themed postcards from a small ongoing Australian exchange. They don't all scan very well but they are absolutely stunning in real life!!

By Karin Hutchinson (yes, there is an incredible dimensional face under the veil!)

And these are the next few sets of finished inchies - I am finishing off the last three sets tonight and will share them tomorrow. And yes, my interpretation of beige is a little liberal...

Tuesday 11 March 2008

ATCs from Sabine

No new art of mine to show today as I am too busy making inchies. BUT I did receive two beautiful ATCs from Sabine - we agreed to trade and before I have even started hers have arrived! I need to get my act together...

And they are beautiful - but gee I wish scanners really showed up shine and glitter and dimension! What is showing up as grey in the one above is actually silver and sparkly!!

I also love the postcard (above) that Sabine sent with her ATCs - I don't read German but I am assuming it was advertising a fabulous clay/pottery exhibition - it certainly looks interesting! My Dad was a functional potter so I can't help but be interested in other potters and clay artists.

And these are older stamping/collage pieces of mine just so that there is something of me in this post!!