Monday, December 07, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
We are very happy with his team of doctors and optimistic about the outcome. His biggest worry is if the Saints can go 11-0 tonight (he should be just about coming out of anesthesia for kick-off) and my biggest worry is how the hell I'm going to learn to cook without frying anything, or smothering everything in gravy, or tossing out the bacon grease as seasoning. 50 years of cooking style down the drain!
The best thing is knowing that I still literally make his heart skip a beat, even after 26 years of marriage, when I walk in the room. I saw the ekg that proves it!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
- Political signs - Those corrugated political signs make great work surfaces. They're sturdy, a good size to work with, free, and have a plastic surface that makes them reusable many times. You just have to remember to collect some after an election.
- Fingernail polish remover - Does good copier transfers and bleeds Sharpies to either remove the marks altogether or make them sort of watercolor-y looking.
- Alcohol - Plain rubbing alcohol also bleeds and blends Sharpies for a sort of tie-dye effect.
- Aloe Vera gel - Thickens inks and thins acrylics. This usually needs to be washed out after drying.
- Instant grits, mashed potato flakes and oatmeal - Mixed thick, spread on fabric and dried, these make good crackle textures for surface design.
- Vinegar - Wet fabric with vinegar, wrap around rusty items, cover with black plastic and you get rust stained fabric. Also removes odors if fabrics are washed in it.
- Bleach, bleach pens, Soft Scrub or Sunlight gel with bleach - Used to discharge fabrics. Each one works with different fabrics, but the experimenting is part of the fun! Always remember to neutralize the chlorine with Anti-Chlor or a similar product afterwards. Any fish tank chlorine remover (available at the grocery or dollar store) works to neutralize the fabric.
- Tea bags - The most common use is probably for tea-staining but you can also use wet tea bags or strong tea when rust staining to get a grey/black with the orange. Loose tea can kill some odors in fabrics too. Place the tea in a closed container with the fabric for a few days.
- Spaghetti, string, yarn, wire - Cooked spaghetti arranged on one of the aforementioned political signs (weigh it down so it dries perfectly flat) or string/yarn saturated with thinned Elmer's or thick wire make good rubbing plates, as does dimensional fabric paint just by making your shapes on the surface and letting them dry. They can all be mounted on a piece of cardboard or wood block to make stamps with.
- Bar soap - Slivers of left-over soap can be used for markings on fabric that will be washed. A bar of Irish Spring (get them free at the St Paddy's parade in New Orleans!) in a closed container will kill odors on fabric. Ivory soap can be used to spot clean delicate textiles.
This is not a comprehensive list by any means, and I'll continue to add things as I think of them. Again, please feel free to add any others you think of in the comments.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
- Freezer paper - Applique patterns and stencils. Most of us already know of and use this one.
- Glad Press-N-Seal - Quilting patterns and beading uses. Draw your quilting pattern on the wrap with a water-soluble marker, stick it to the quilt and you have a pattern to follow. You can also stick a piece of the wrap over a beading project. Just put the beads where you want them and stick the wrap over it. You can roll the wrap back a few inches at the time, attaching the beads as you go. Great for just rolling the work up with the beads already in place without losing your placement.
- Elmer's glue - More uses than I'll be able to remember. A thin line around an applique pattern drawn onto the back of the fabric before cutting keeps the edges from fraying, similar to Fray Chek, but can be washed out. Use instead of Wonder Under to attach appliques until they are stitched down, then wash it out and you won't have the change of hand you get with WU or the bleed-through you see with thinner fabrics. Make your own silk screens by coating a piece of fine tulle with glue in every area where you don't want the paint/dye to show. Use as a resist for dying and batik. A thin wash can preserve colored pencil work on fabric. Elmer's can pretty much be substituted for any use of gel medium or Modge Podge. Add paint or dye to Elmer's and it remains after the glue is washed out.
- Reynold's Release Non-Stick foil - NOTHING sticks to this stuff! It makes a great palette for paints, protective surface for fusibles, base layer for Elmer's glue silk screens, and "parking place" for adhesive labels.
- Bamboo skewers - As a pusher when sewing small pieces. No metal flying if you accidentally get it under the needle. Point turner. Paint mixer. I've even used them as hanging mechanisms and surface embellishments for small art quilts.
- Placemats - Bamboo placemats have a ton of bamboo sticks or slats in each one that can be used as hanging bars for art quilts and embellishments. Fabric placemats can be used as a base for art quilts. They come in a huge assortment of fabrics, weaves and colors. Check out kitchen towels and napkins too.
- Laser Level - Great for squaring up a large quilt without a long ruler or hanging a quilt straight.
- Carpenter's chalk line - Another way to square up a large quilt. Also makes straight quilting lines (I only ever use the yellow chalk, red and blue stain some fabrics.) I've seen the suggestion of replacing the chalk with Corn Starch but have never tried it.
- Sheet rock ruler - 4 foot long ruler that is WAY cheaper than a 4 foot long quilting ruler!
- Full-sheet adhesive labels - Useful as a carrier sheet to print fabric in your printer.
- Graph paper - Useful for designing or enlarging patterns.
- Spring hair clips - Used when hand-turning a binding. Cute decorated ones are 12/$1 at the dollar store or plain silver ones are 18/$5 at the quilt shop. You decide!
- Spray baste - Of course the intended use of sandwiching quilts, but I also use it for tacking stencils down, tacking patterns to paper/mylar to cut stencils, and to place applique pieces on the background before stitching.
- Make-up sponges - These make great stencil brushes.
- Salvation Army store - Clothing, curtains, tablecloths, wedding dresses, etc. have lots of fabric, buttons, and trims for next to nothing in cost. Check out the purses while you're there to use for leather scraps.
- Plain safety pins - Beyond the obvious uses, you can tie bright scraps of fabric to a handful of safety pins and use them as "look-at-me"s to mark places on your work that need to have thread tails buried, mending, repairs, or anything else that you might tend to forget.
I'm sure there is bunch of stuff that I've left off, but this is a good start on some of the things I use almost on a daily basis that are more cost effective and useful than having a studio full of specialized tools.
Monday, June 08, 2009
We unveiled the "River Runs Through It" challenge at show and tell on Saturday afternoon and I was amazed at the variety of techniques and looks for the pieces. This photo by Myra Hester shows 7 of the 8 pieces (Linda McInnis has piece #1 but she didn't make it to the gathering....we'll see it at the quilt show in Sept though) all lined up in order. I am always happy and proud to see the results of the challenges.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
I'm liking this idea of working on journals during the meetings also. Not only will we have a physical journal at the end, we're also "journaling" our techniques on the covers.
The Craft Center is offering a kid's art camp this month also, so I'll be working with a group of kids for a couple of hours each day. First up is Sharpie tie dyed quilt squares today. I drew off some simple shapes (we're working with 5-9 year olds) onto white fabric squares with paint pen. They color the squares however they want with the Sharpies, I'll hit them with alcohol to bleed the ink, then let them go back in tomorrow with crayons and colored pencils to finish them off. Stitch them all together with some bright sashing and a quick-and-dirty in the ditch quilting and we'll have something to show the parents on Friday. Or maybe they'll be individual quiltlets....we'll see. I'm also in charge of decorating the little invitation bags. Foam stick-ons and maybe stamping their names. That comes later in the week.
Meanwhile, I'm still working on my own stuff that is under deadline. The challenge piece needs to be finished by Friday and ready for the reveal at MQA. Mostly finished with it, and it's small, but I'll feel better when it hits the "all done" pile. Another class lesson from Graffiti Chic comes out today too. I still have 3 of those to finish for the show and 2 to bind.
Worked as a volunteer at the Renaissance Arts Festival in Ridgeland this weekend and had a lot of fun. I hate we weren't aware of the call to artists in time to apply, but there's always next year. Not a single textile exhibitor! 3 fiber artists but they were all paper I think. People from all over the country and there was some beautiful art. Some crap also, but that's true of any large arts fair I think.
The best part of that morning (other than meeting some of the artists) was getting word that I've been asked to produce a piece for the back of a piano that's been donated to the Craft Center! Every time they roll the piano out to use it, my piece will be seen! I know that doesn't sound like a big huge honking deal to anyone but me, but I'm excited about it.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A woman brought this quilt into the guild looking for information on it. I had no idea what to tell her so I'll just throw it out here. Almost every single one of the polka dots on the red fabric are missing so I'm assuming it used some sort of mordant that degraded, and the binding was maybe 1/8" wide and a self-binding, where the backing fabric (just one layer of it too) was just brought to the front and stitched. The only inkling of info the owner had was that it might have been a wedding gift in 1913, and it was found in North Carolina. Any information at all concerning block pattern, possible age, value, anything like that would be much appreciated.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The Shamarr quilt "Homage to Shamarr" from the Threadheads raffle http://artofquilts.blogspot.com/2009/02/shamarr-allen.html was won by Jenn Rooney, who promptly turned around and handed it to Shamarr to give to his mother on Mother's Day. If there is a higher honor for an artist I'm not sure what it might be. Melissa Lewis (who wrote the poem I used on it) and her mother both contacted me to say how pleased they were that I used the poem and they both gave their approval for how I used it. The poem is so beautiful it almost brings me to tears every time I read it so I was glad they were happy with my treatment of it in my own work.
Recent work has been sort of scattered and I can't seem to decide on a "style" to work on. I seem to have 2 very disparate styles that are warring with each other right now. Makes me feel sort of schizo and unfocused, but I can't seem to get past it. I've been through this before and it seems to pass eventually, but it's a bear to work through while it's happening. Yuck. The work I seem to be actually turning out is bright, almost whimsical stuff, but the work in my head that I want to produce is more natural fibers and darker colors and batiks. Heading in a new direction by working smaller seems to be getting some of the pieces out of my system without struggling with it so much. I've reached a point where I HAVE to do some of the quilting on the finished tops and stop just turning out tops. Here is a small piece I did the other day that's completely finished and ready to hang. The quilt part is cut out from behind the agate slice (which is very transparent) and the whole thing is mounted on the glass in the frame. The frame itself is covered with rust-stained cotton sateen. Commercial batik, silk yarn, agate, beading and small glass leaves. Machine quilted and hand beaded.
The fleur de lis was just for fun and it's next up for quilting after I attach the treble clef to it. Commercial prints, gold cotton lame' and my almost-trademark Peltex based individually finished treble clef. I have one more almost-finished piece ready for trimming and binding, that was a challenge of sorts from my friend Dorinda. She did a fused wall quilt using an oak leaf pattern and passed along the fused scraps to me to "put together" and I further challenged myself to only use fabrics that were within reach of my ironing board. I have it hanging on the design wall at the studio and it gets tons of positive comments so I should probably get it finished and down to the gallery, huh?
Codecutter and I took off to Belzoni, MS yesterday for the Pinetop Perkins blues fest and had a blast. I always look forward to the summer blues fest circuit since the majority of them are quick up-and-back day trips for us. Our kids think we're "cute" and "weird" (depending on which kid it is) for festing most every weekend. I think they're just jealous. Listening to an Alphonso Sanders CD we bought yesterday and that alone was enough to make the trip worth it! I also had a "small world" moment with him. During the performance (he was playing with a band, not by himself) Big Steve introduced the players and when I heard his name I turned to Codecutter and said "I get emails with his name on them!" The emails are from another man but are frequently forwarded with other names visible so I recognized his. After the set I went and introduced myself and asked if he was the same person. He is, and told me that the photo on the CD was taken by our mutual friend and even remembered seeing my work a year or so ago at Hoover's Kitchen in Clarksdale! I'm beginning to believe that working in a non-traditional media in the art world is paying off. People tend to remember the work a little more since it's usually the only example of fiber. I also connected with the CEO of MS Delta Blues, Inc who also remembered seeing my work. See what I mean about being memorable? Maybe one day I'll have the confidence to say they remember it because of the art, but for now I'm satisfied if they remember it for the media.
The deciding factor for going to the Pinetop fest instead of the Robert Johnson fest yesterday was the fact that the Pinetop-inspired quilt accepted for the corporate art program that hung at the casino in Vicksburg is one of only two pieces over there that had sold. Everything else was evenly divided and that seemed as good a reason as any to make the decision to head north instead of south. I'm glad we did!
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Monday, February 09, 2009
Marilyn Dedeaux did a great presentation on her self-portrait quilts she's been doing since taking a Yvonne Porcella class and it was all I could do not to make her an offer on the blue and orange one! Shelley Taylor did a presentation on her memory/signature quilts and I noticed several people who have family weddings coming up gathered around her asking questions after her talk. She may turn into our resident signature quilt expert!
All in all, a great weekend. Good to see the people from around the state that I only see at the gatherings, lots of catching up and shopping and chatting. Very relaxed and no big crises cropped up so I call it a success!
And in other news, as of the first load this morning, I'll be moving into shared studio space at the craft center http://www.mscrafts.org/facility.html to be up and working in the studio by Feb 21. I'm excited and nervous. Excited at the opportunity offered, but nervous that I'll hit a complete mental block about what to do once I get there. I love talking about my work and explaining how I do what I do, and I have no problem with people watching me work, I'm just worried about every design idea I've ever had flying out of my head with no new ones to take their place. I'm also excited at the idea of a real studio with things where they're supposed to be and enforced work time with no phones ringing or people needing something. I can just sit down and concentrate on what I'm doing without the distractions. I'm really looking forward to that aspect of it. Maybe I'll get my crap quota out of the way faster!
That's JJ Foley on the left and her daughter's mother-in-law in the middle. My mind is drawing a total blank on her name and the name of the other woman.
This photo was snapped by Myra Hester, and I should be flogged for neglecting to attribute it to her when I published it!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009
The way I see it is we're getting the bad luck out of the way first thing and the rest of the year is going to be great!!! Corned beef and cabbage with black-eyed peas and sausage on the menu for later to guarantee it!