What’s next…..

I have finally finished all of the quilts for our local show, and I have laughed as I realized how many of my quilts have a finish date of January or February of show years!!   I guess that I really do need a deadline!!

I am now starting to think about what to do next.   I know that the next three months are going to be super busy and that I wont have a lot of large blocks of time but I do want to make sure that I have something planned for my “creative-20” minutes each day.

The problem is that there are just SOOOO many choices, including a number of UFO’s that came from my Mom!!

She left this quilt top…..

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….which I dont particularly like, but I just realized that it might be a good place to practice some ruler work free-motion quilting!!

She also left several sets of block that I am not sure I EVER want to finish…..

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Since I couldn’t come to a decision about where to start, I decided to  start working on cutting and organizing the scraps that have accumulated in the last couple of years.   Today I worked on them for 2 hours while listening to a webinar about Depreciation Tax Laws…..

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I thought that having my hands on fabric would make the webinar more enjoyable….Not So Much!!   Anyway, it will be good to have all of the scraps cut and stored in an orderly manner and ready to use at a moment’s notice.

One of the things that I also wanted to do was to give my sewing machine a good clean.   To that end, I purchased a vaccuum cleaner attachment that would allow me to get down and dirty with my machine…..IMG_7592.jpg

It seemed to have made a big difference.

Finally, the chairman of our Guild’s charity bee gifted me two quilt tops that I can use to practice my machine quilting.   I love this quilt……img_7593.jpg

…..and am looking forward to quilting it, but think that I will do this other one first……img_7594.jpg

These two will give me some good practice time!!

 

Finally, I have also realized that I am missing having something to work on at night so I am playing with some hand applique….but more about that in a future post.

So for now, I am enjoying doing a few small things and looking forward to creative times to come!!!

 

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Step right up and see the amazing Bovine Woman!!!

Yes, I can officially say that I am a cow…. Yesterday’s Rotator-Cuff surgery ended up being a bit more extensive than planned but it is over now and I will definitely feel better….once I get out of the sling in 4 to 6 weeks. One of the things that the surgeon did was to insert a strip of bovine collagen that is supposed to help strengthen the shoulder tissue. So you see, I am now part cow.

During one of my wakeful periods last night, I started thinking about this phenomenon and had a good giggle remembering how my father felt about his cows. He loved them like pets and I think he would be happy to know that I am now “part bovine”.

As I thought more about him, I was reminded of a photo that I had come across at my Mom’s house in which my dad is pictured feeding one of his favorite cows……2013_08_27_12_14_46

And, the idea for a new quilt was formed!

The photo quality isn’t great but hopefully I can crop it down and pull enough detail to make it look realistic.2013_08_27_12_14_46

I know that I will enjoy working on this reminder of my sweet Dad!!!!!

Words of advice from Lyric Kinard……

I subscribe to the Lyric Kinard newsletter and loved this post from her about creative slump……

“When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.   Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.   You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.   Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Every once in a while you need a change of pace. You feel that you are in a slump, are feeling blue, or you’re just plain tired. Too many deadlines, too much pressure, too much on your plate. You feel creatively blocked. It happens to the best of us once in a while.

I believe it’s part of the process and part of life. Energy and enthusiasm can wax and wane.

It’s what you do with yourself once you hit that slump that matters.

The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong. ~Thomas Carlyle

Go for a long walk. Breathe. Look up at the sky. Notice beautiful fallen leaves or fascinating cracks in the sidewalk. Take your camera. Getting out of your narrow environment and looking at the wider world can work wonders.

Try something new. Take a class in an unfamiliar medium. If you are struggling with portraiture, try a wild abstract. If your usual palette is earth tones, do a quick exercise using only saturated brights. If you only machine quilt, pick up a scrap of cloth and some embroidery thread and randomly stitch by hand for a bit.

Clean your space. Methodically clear the clutter away and make space for new ideas and new projects. You will find materials you had forgotten that will inspire you. Cleaning might also become more unpleasant than the making of art – so you’ll want to get back to it.

Wait. Sometimes, it is best to just wait it out – Continue to just keep doing. Let the ideas stew in your subconscious. Studies of creative people show that many brilliant ideas come not during the period of intense study, but in the quiet resting time afterwards when the ideas have had time to mix and mull in the unconscious.

Stop. Sometimes, if you are still blocked, it is time to make a change and leave what you were doing.

There is the possibility that you will emerge a different, a better artist. Don’t wallow or fret – slumping may be a natural part of your growth process. Look up, look out, grow!

I’d love to hear what you do to “un-slump” yourself.

All my best wished to you!
~Lyric

Lyric Kinard, Artist, Author, and educator, can be found at www.LyricKinard.com.
You can sign up for her monthly newsletter there.
© 2011 Lyric Montgomery Kinard. All rights reserved.

Look what I found….

A couple of months ago  I was shopping at Sams Club and, from a distance, spied this book cover…..

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And look at some of the fun designs inside…..

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I DEFINITELY feel an applique or quilting project coming on…..

 

NOW…..fast forward to yesterday…….

The first project that I wanted to work on was to quilt this top…..

_3314970 Click here if you want to read the post about the making of this quilt….

As I sat and looked at this quilt and tried desperately to figure out how to quilt it, my eyes wandered to the book shelf and the Mandala coloring book, and fireworks went off!!!

I am quilting every other block using the Mandala’s from the book!   I LOVE it when I actually use something that was a spur-of-the-moment purchase.

Thistles…..

The other day I had to visit with a client who lives a little way out of town.  On the way there I came across a wonderful patch of Thistles and just HAD to stop and take some photos……

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Seeing these beautiful flowers reminded me of a Crewel Embroidery picture that I made MANY years ago (for my cousin’s, Sue, wedding)……

 

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Now I need to make a Thistle quilt…..just add it to the To-Do list!!!!

Where do you do your thinking??

Over the years I have realized that I often do my best thinking and planning when I am in the shower and sometimes it gets me into trouble….as it did yesterday.

You see, I am working on a pictorial quilt and have been experimenting with using RIT dyes on some of the fabrics…..more about this in another post.  Yesterday morning, just as I was heading to the shower, I realized that I wasn’t happy with the coloring of the bottom part of the quilt.  As I thought about it (while showering), I decided to take the bottom bit off and try over-dyeing it to see if I could fix the color.  I knew that I was going to change it anyway, so I figured I would try this first.

Naturally, I couldn’t wait until I was dressed and ready to sew, so I wrapped the towel around my mid section, closed the blinds and headed into my studio.  The first thought was that I would simply see how hard it was going to be to unpick the section.  Well, that was easy enough.  So, why not go ahead and do the dyeing……still wrapped in the towel and with my hair drying plastered to my head.

After dyeing, rinsing, hand-washing and rinsing again I took the piece to the ironing board and proceeded to dry it with the iron.  Not dark enough….so back to the dye bath….this time for a longer time period.  I went through the same procedure and discovered that this time it had just turned to a muddy grey and would not be usable…..Oh well, it was worth a try.

Back to the bathroom to put  my make-up on.   While standing there, thinking about whether or not I had an appropriate fabric  to use, I had the brilliant idea to use one of the fabrics from the top of the quilt, but to OVER-DYE it to make it a bit darker. (Do you see a theme here?)  Since I didn’t know how long the dye bath would be usable I ran to the kitchen to dye this piece…..ha….success.

Back to the bathroom to re-wet my now dry hair and try to style it into something not resembling a bad wig.  As I am getting dressed, I suddenly remember that the base fabric that I had originally used had been over-dyed as well and that I would need to do the same for this new section.  Off again, this time half dressed, to over dye this final piece.

At the end of my one hour delay, I was clean, coiffed and ready to sew.  AND, I had two new colors of fabric to work with.  It was worth it, but I am just glad that no one else was home!!!

Casa Amarela

A few weeks ago I ranted about a project that I was scared to start because I didn’t know if I was capable of finishing it.

It was a quilt based on this photo that was taken when I was in Porto, Portugal back in May……


I knew that I wanted to replicate the stairs and houses, but was frightened to start it!!!!!

I started out by printing the photo in an 8×10 format, using Black and White printing, on regular computer paper. I then used a ruler and fine point Sharpie to draw the major lines on the drawing. If the Sharpie is fairly new, the ink will soak thru the paper so that you can see it easily from the back side. I re-traced those lines on the back, giving me a reverse pattern.

I then printed out the reversed version of the line drawing using the poster function which allows the one page to be printed out onto 4 pages….2 across and 2 down. Finally, I printed the photo itself out onto four pages as well….of course I ran out of toner mid photo!!!

I began working with the fabrics by dividing the picture into straight-line sections and tracing them onto Golden Threads paper. I paper pieced each section and then sewed them all together. A couple of the seams were hand sewn to help me get the parts lined up properly.


At this point, I decided that I wasn’t happy with the piece, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. So, I took it to my Charity Bee the next week and asked for their suggestions.


They immediately said……add the details from the photo and add some shading to the stairs!!! Simple little changes, but they definitely did the trick!!!!

I was nervous about using gray markers on the piece to shade it, but once I finally got my courage up, it made a HUGE difference. I ended up adding shading to almost every part of the picture.

The quilting was fun, although I had to take several lines out and re-do them because they didn’t match with the perspective of the quilt.

Here is the final version, named “Casa Amarela”, which stands for “Yellow House” in Portuguese.

Thoughts about creativity

I have been thinking a lot about creativity in the past few days. The reason for this is that I have completed several projects recently, including a charity quilt that turned out MUCH better than I expected…..I forgot to photograph it but will put one on in the next couple of weeks.

Also, this time of year is a slower one for my profession and I am actually looking at having time to quilt and I cant decide where to head with it.

When we were in Portugal in early June, I took lots of photos of stairs….some just simple, short staircases, some long and windy and some even circular. As I have thought about these photos I am realizing that I would love to try a series of quilts using stairs. BUT, the bottom line here, is that I am scared to start it!!!!

WHAT IF I CANT DO IT?????

I have been trying to look thru some of my older, forgotten books and came across one by Andrea Balosky called “Transitions…Unlocking the Creative Quilter Within” (published in 1996). It does not contain any patterns or instructions, although it does have a nice selection of quilts to get your creative juices flowing. Instead, it has lots of pages of text where the author is doing her best to motivate you to get up and get going. There are wonderful tips and lots of “you can do it” pep talk.

As I have read thru her steps to creativity, I have realized that I already do many of these earlier steps, including recognizing inspiration and researching the idea. But I am intimidated by the later steps including “inviting impulse and intuition” and “playing”..,…really….I’m allowed to play???

However, I love Phase Three…. “Just Do IT”…..I think that she had that idea long before Nike took it as their slogan.

I recently read a quote by Walt Disney that said “The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”. So, my goal for this weekend is to just BEGIN!!! Stop cleaning my studio, refolding my fabrics, cutting my scraps…..and just BEGIN.

Hopefully I will have something to report at the end of the weekend…..but if not, there is always next weekend!!!

Thanks for reading my ramblings!!!

Last Day in TX

Well, today is the last full day that I have in my home state, so thought that I would share a few photos. This part of Texas (Abilene) is hot, dry and not many trees. Here is a scene as I was driving out to my M-I-L’s house…….

I have always been enamored with Prickly Pear Cactus and stopped several times to photograph some big bunches. I think that they might make a fun quilt design……


I loved this fence row outside of her house…..


Finally, when driving back to my Mom’s house, I passed this wonderful windmill….definitely lots of inspiration here…..

I am glad that I made this trip, but am definitely looking forward to getting home and returning to normal things. My husband is flying from Indianapolis tomorrow and we are hoping to arrive in Atlanta within an hour of each other…..it will be interesting to see if our plan works!!!!

Bye for now….