I want to make a quilt

It happens every January. I start to get itchy and obsessively search the internets to see all the new quilt-block-of-the-month offerings. Being stuck in bed with my good friend iPad so much this year has made it even easier to spend hours drooling over quilts. 

  

 This 365 Challenge is my favorite this year. It’s sooooooo delicious. But it’s really a block a day which clearly isn’t happening. 

  
This  Longmeadow quilt is super pretty. But if I’m going to invest the time to make something like this, I’d rather design it myself. That’s actually the thought that stops all my block-of-the-month dreaminess in its tracks every year. Because I never actually make one of these things. That would be crazy. 

So….I’m reevaluating crazy. My word this year is open…I want to be open to ideas and experiences. Also, my cat Sark digs a few pieces out of my fabric stash in the basement and brings them upstairs to me every day. He’s reminded me how much beauty is packed away in that stash and how much I love fabric. 

Then I found The Splendid Sampler, a mystery block of the month by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. It’s two blocks a week (I know, big challenge to keep up) and it’s all different block styles. I’m thinking that would give me the complexity that I love about the 365 challenge quilt. Except without, you know, actually making 365 blocks. Anyway, here’s the fabric I pulled from my stash:

  
Also Bobby. I’m thinking the turquoises would be my neutral. Because right now I’m in love with the way Kaffe Fassett uses color:

  
This is from Passionate Patchwork. Yummy. 

  
Here’s a picture of Sark. 

And here’s to crazy!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Doing it anyway

Hmm, I wonder if this thing still works?  Guess I’ll shake off the dust and find out…

So, um, long time no blog. Lots of things have happened, lots of blog posts have been written in my head and left there to fade away. With the new year and some newish circumstances there have been the inevitable thoughts about things I do and don’t want to spend my time doing going forward. For whatever reason, this blog remains stubbornly on the “do” list, so here I am. Explanations and excuses are boring so I’ll start over like I mean to go on, just doing it anyway. 

  
   
 
Because just doing it anyway, on the oh-so-important creative front, is how I’m rolling these days. In a time of overwhelm and stress, of surgery and loss of electricity for 9 days, of deliberately induced exhaustion and discomfort, daily creativity has become a dear friend that sits with me and tells me jokes and comforts me. 

   
    
   
Big paintings, small paintings, art journals, crochet hats, quilt blocks, there’s time for everything if you do something every day. I’ve known this with my head for a while now. Perhaps the blessing of my current challenges is to write this knowledge on my heart. I don’t know, I’m just doing it anyway.  

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Home sweet lovely home

20150614-104958.jpg

20150614-105011.jpg

20150614-105021.jpg

The views were amazing, the accommodations lovely, the weather was perfect, the time was productive…

20150614-105144.jpg

20150614-105156.jpg

20150614-105228.jpg

20150614-105237.jpg

20150614-105249.jpg

But there’s no place like home.

Posted in cats, home, life, simple pleasures | Leave a comment

Around here

20150520-190638.jpg

We’re trying to figure out how things work without this dear sweet boy. We lost him suddenly last week to a stroke.

There is so much I could say about Pistol, so many stories and memories. He was my steadfast friend, my constant through so many changes and challenges in my life.

20150520-191346.jpg

He was smart and funny and bossy. He was my guy and I was his girl.

20150520-192009.jpg

He taught these guys everything they know.

20150520-192509.jpg

We all miss him so much. I am so thankful that I got to have him in my life. The world is such a strange place without him.

20150520-193454.jpg

Posted in blessings, cats, family, friends, grief, life, loss | 1 Comment

The 100 Days Project

20150416-125000.jpg

So I joined the 100 Days Project. “It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal.”

I’ve written before about how make-x-every-day challenges are not something I’m much good at. Back then I said, “I have a limited amount of creative time and energy each day and the commitment to make something extra every day just doesn’t work well for me.”

But I also said this, “once I get into the momentum of making, the ideas start to flow and it’s easier to keep making.”

In the almost 2 years since I wrote that post, I’ve tinkered a lot with the concepts of habits and practice. I learned this. I decided that I needed to add more energy to my days since more time is not in the cards right now so I’ve experimented with a lot of new habits to increase my energy level. I figured out how much I can accomplish if I work at something steadily in small increments.

20150416-130909.jpg

I learned that skipping your new habit for a day (or a week) is not a good excuse to give up. I also learned that recording your habit progress has to become a habit of its own. Some of those blank spots on my habit tracker are days when I didn’t make time to color in the dot and couldn’t remember later whether I did any drawing or not.

20150416-131329.jpg

So yeah, I made a commitment to paint and stitch a 3 inch collage square every day for 100 days and post a picture on Instagram. Because I’ve always wanted to make a patchwork-y piece with lots of different colorful little blocks. Because it’s a good way to strengthen my habit muscles. Because once I get into the momentum of making, the ideas start to flow and it’s easier to keep making. And more than anything, I want to keep making.

Posted in collage, color, creativity, drawing, embroidery, habits, painting, pattern, practice, stitched collage | 1 Comment

A Public Service Announcement from Sark

20150404-081744.jpg

Dear cat friends:

It turns out mom has a good reason for saying “No Cats on the Stove!” The stove bites. I’m ok now but I had a rough couple of days this week.

It’s true that moms say a lot of silly things, but when they say “No Cats on the Stove!” You should listen.

For real, don’t jump on the stove.

Your friend,

Sark

Posted in cats | Leave a comment

Tutorial: Freezer Paper Stencils and Masks

Way back in the day, before I got into painting and collage, I was really really in love with quilting. (Honestly, I will probably always be a quilter at heart.) I am well versed in quilting tools and tricks and I often turn to those tools when I’m making mixed media stuff.

One of my favorite quilting tools is freezer paper. Freezer paper is white butcher paper with a plastic coating on one side. It makes a great drop cloth for my messy work space since wet stuff like paint doesn’t easily soak through the plastic to the table below. But one of my favorite uses for freezer paper is stencils and masks.

20150309-165432.jpg

In quilting this would be a template for appliqué. You can draw any shape you want, exactly the way you want it on the freezer paper, cut it out, and then iron it on your fabric as a cutting guide.

20150309-165724.jpg

And it peels right off when you are done! No residue and the template can be used multiple times.

20150309-165835.jpg

So when I wanted to paint several dresses on collaged paper, freezer paper was exactly what I needed.

20150309-170147.jpg

Here I’ve cut out a cat shape and ironed it on my background paper. It just needs a few seconds with a hot iron to make the plastic side stick to the paper. If you’re worried about your background burning or melting, you can use a pressing cloth between the art and the iron. I like to use gauze as a pressing cloth so I can still see exactly where the freezer paper is going.

20150309-170542.jpg

The freezer paper acts as a mask, keeping paint off the background under the cat shape while I paint the rest of the piece.

20150309-170814.jpg

When I peel away the mask (after the paint dries) I have a cat in the original blue background color.

20150309-170936.jpg

Conversely, I can use the freezer paper I cut the shape out of as a stencil to paint cats wherever I want them.

20150309-171107.jpg

Just iron it down and paint over it.

20150309-171145.jpg

This time I have a green cat on the original blue background.

You can find freezer paper at the grocery store with the aluminum foil and wax paper. A few bucks will get you a big box, plenty of paper to make your own stencils and masks for any little mixed media project you dream up!

Posted in cats, collage, color, crafts, creativity, mixed media, painting, tutorial | 1 Comment