Thursday, July 1, 2010

She says she's "benignly crazy" and her passion is crazy quilting. Longtime friend and fellow cq'er Cathy Kizerian (formerly Flox) has a popular blog, Cathy's Crazy by Design, that reflects her engaging personality and showcases her beautiful needlework. Cathy has announced the July 1, 2010, opening of her etsy shop where she is selling her hand-dyed "golden" lace, a highly sought after embellishment for crazy quilts. She promises handmade aprons, vintage laces, trims, and linens to come.

Help Cathy celebrate the opening of her new shop by visiting Crazy by Design where you can enter to win one of two wonderful giveaway items, the laces shown above and a collection of Parisian-themed treasures.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friend's Birthday Needlefelted Pincushion

Here are the instructions for this pincushion, made for a friend's birthday, unillustrated because I forgot to photograph the process.

I marked a piece of canvas with the stitching line ~6"x6" and left a 2" margin around it to allow for shrinkage. I used wool, soy, and silk roving for the background, and some ready-made craft flowers into which I sewed pearl bead centers. Before I started felting, drew some composition lines on the canvas, just to give me a general idea of where I wanted to change colors. I backed it with a floral fabric and stuffed it with polyester batting and ground walnut hulls. My plan was to stuff it firmly with the batting and then pour the walnut hulls into a center pouch in the batting. It didn't work very well so the walnut hulls are scattered around in pockets in the batting.

This project didn't take a long time, but I really like the result. My friend said that she liked it, too, which was what I wanted. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sewing Machines Suck

I am working on my painted lace cuff bracelets. I need to finish the edges with a satin stitch. My sewing machine is not cooperating and I am ready to resort to violence. Which leads me to this: Why are sewing machines still made like they were 100 years ago? Yeah, I know, you can spend $9,000 on a Bernina embroidery machine and it will do all sorts of fancy stuff. But the basic machinery is the same on all sewing machines. Clunky threading process, dangerous banging up and down needle, hard-to-get-to-and-impossible-to-adjust bobbin, all arranged to make us go blind and/or suffer permanent nerve damage in hands and neck.

For now, the bracelets are on hold until I can get someone to help me figure out how to adjust the bobbin tension, which the manufacturer has deliberately made almost impossible to adjust. It's completely trial and error. Like we have nothing to do but sit around and fiddle with this stuff for hours.

I bet if men sewed these machines would be made much differently.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Blessings of Spring

Today I am grateful for the flowers blooming in my yard.

(Enter the contest at communal global! Entries end midnight April 4.)

Lace Collage

This is lace that I have fused to crinoline with MistyFuse, then painted with Jacquard Lumiere and DynaFlow paints. I followed (loosely) instructions from Three Creative Studios free projects, which are available on their website. If you are as clueless as I was, you'll need the one for Painted Lace Surfaces and the one for Painted Lace Cuff. These are pdf files that you can download to your computer. Thanks, Three Creative Studios!

First I fused down a layer of very flat lace, the wide kind that is probably made of nylon. Or you could use torn silk strips as the instructions show. Then I put down another layer of Misty Fuse and fused Venice Lace over it. MistyFuse is great because it can be layered several times and it does now show or add bulk to the piece. I added paint after all the lace was down. I used water to thin down the paints but fabric medium would have worked as well and left the piece with a softer hand.

My plan was to back it with ultrasuede, cut it into strips, and make cuff bracelets from it. I had a senior moment and cut it into strips before I backed it. Oh, well, it's just a little more work to back the pieces individually.

I used free motion with clear thread to stitch over the bracelets and secure the lace. Now it's on to decorative stitching, beads, backing, and edge finishing, in that order, if I can remember it long enough to do it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Artist Identity Crisis

For years I have made crazy quilts. I love them. I love everything about them. Making them, looking at them, touching them. If I could hear them or smell them I am sure I would love that, too. They are the original mixed media fiber art.

A few months ago I found myself drawn more and more to mixed media of a more contemporary nature. Those strange raggedy little fabric collages. Highly textured and passionately colored canvases. I took a calligraphy class with Lisa Engelbrecht and became enchanted with making marks on fabric. I learned about Lesley Riley's TAP, and now I want to transfer images to everything. I have two art journals and love painting and collaging in them.

And I have no desire to work on crazy quilts right now. How can this be? It is my passion, for goodness sakes. I am having the hardest time letting go and following what my heart is telling me. I should finish that big quilt that I have been working on for three years. I should finish all the other crazy quilt projects that I have in the works. I should be designing new crazy quilt projects.

But I don't want to do any of that. Will someone please give me permission to make what I want when I want so I can let go of this guilt?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gold Foil & Painted Gold on Fabric

My local quilt shop has lovely batiks -- nice colors and designs. But the thing about quilting cottons is ... well, they don't sparkle or shine. I am all about sparkly and shiny. So, I got out a fat quarter of one of those batiks, fabric medium, jacquard sparkly powder stuff, foil, and foil adhesive.

First, I drew glue lines along the spine of the frond, then drew a few lines down the centers of the leaves. After it dried overnight, I laid a sheet of foil on it, rubbed it a little, and amazingly the glue was covered with shiny gold. Since I seldom want to stop with just a little shine, I mixed fabric medium with gold metallic powder, and painted that on more leaves. (It's a little hard to see in the photo, which I took with my iPhone and my hand must have moved a little.)

I like what I got and will use this technique again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pale gray twilight outlines the leafless black trees. I hear the blues coming from the living room where Bruce is setting up his ultimate iPod playlist. I sit in my studio, waiting for paint to dry and drinking a glass of champagne, looking out at wintry dusk. Barry is in Durango, and I imagine him missing Bandy and dreaming of his new Chum Bucket Red Karate Monkey bicycle, which is schedule to arrive any day now. We are reasonably happy, healthy, and productive. I am tremendously grateful for this life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art Journal

I am playing art with paper, paint, collage, crayons, pens, and pencils these days. I love working on my art journals for the same reason I love crazy quilting: the results are unpredictable and random. Unlike crazy quilting, however, the finished piece comes together very quickly.

The photo is a two page spread from one of my journals. I gessoed the pages because I wanted to use acrylics, then layered paint, stamping, and collage. For the collage I used an image from a Cherry Republic catalog, some torn strips from a linens catalog, and white tissue paper.

I know it isn't great art, but I am developing a finer sense of what shapes, colors, textures, and so on appeal to me. Lately, I have thought about using the art journals to explore what I'd like to put on canvas. How odd. I never imagined that I would like to paint.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wishing you peace, love, and beauty in the coming year. And lots of time and energy to create. Joy and inspiration. Chocolate and champagne. Happy times spent with family and friends. The thighs you've always wanted. Only good hair days. Challenges. Naps. Laughter. The love of a good man (or woman, you choose.) Time to reflect. A sense of living your life well.