Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ending with Fish

It's traditional at the end of a year to look back and celebrate or complain. Without getting philosophical about what's wrong, I admit I am at a very happy place along this journey. Having just turned 82 and being able to pursue my passion of art quilting, I am looking forward to more creating, more cats sleeping on my lap, more pictures of my granddaughters and great-grandchildren, more wonderful friends, and more music! I hope to be sensitive to the needs of others and lend a hand and support worthy causes.
The Window Watchers is nearly finished, but it has been shoved out of the way in my enthusiasm for creating two more fabric collages, using Susan Carlson's Carpe Carpem fish pattern.
Click on any picture to enlarge.

When I gathered the possible fabric choices, it was obvious that I needed to make two fish. Here was my starting dilemma:

Beginning the yellow fish. (Ignore the polka dots; my white base fabric was thinner than I wanted, so I backed it with a scrap mint green/brown dot fabric for stability.)

Completed yellow fish, ready to glue and add background
Completed  yellow fish, ready to glue and add background 

Next I began the green fish. Here is his progress. Some of the yellow fabrics were needed for the end of the ruffled tail.

Completed green fish--ready for gluing and background
I use the term "completed" loosely. There is always the chance and temptation to tweak and keep adding more beautiful touches! And, of course, there will be quilting stitches over all.
Daughter Linda has thrilled me with her falling in love with quilting--not just the idea and admiration, but the actual sewing and quilting. She has completed far more than I did when I started, even donating two quilts to our guild, Pine Belt Quilters. We have enjoyed discussing and sharing our projects. Here are two of her completed quilts. And she just started watching videos and buying fabric in January.
Started in Barbara Cline class at 2017 MQA Educational Seminar

Started in an online challenge
Looking forward to another creative year in 2018!

Linking to Off the Wall Friday

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas

It's hard to believe this year is nearly over. I feel as if I've been in some sort of time machine zooming along. Here's hoping I can recall some of just this one busy month's happenings.
Making a little progress on The Window Watchers although it has taken a backseat to more pressing matters--like a bit of Christmas mail, beautiful choir special music, SMAA art show, and quilt meeting.
And we had a beautiful one-day 5-inch snowfall in Hattiesburg. We only get snow about once in 5 years, so we take lots of pictures, close schools, stores and streets. Here's what it looked like at my house--outside and in.

Elizabeth, My Almost Perfect Cat won a 2nd place ribbon in the South Mississippi Art Association's annual show. Coming in 2nd to Andrea Kostyal's 1st place always makes me feel like a winner.
I also entered Winter Cabin and Jacob's Ladder, all in the Mixed Media/Other Category
Elizabeth, My Almost Perfect Cat--2nd Place
Mixed Media Category

Winter Cabin

Jacob's Ladder
My guild, Pine Belt Quilters had the reveal for the challenge we have worked on during 2017--a "modern" quilt. We drew three crayons from a bag and had to use these three colors (plus neutrals),  using at least 20 of the 27 patterns given during the year. My crayons were bittersweet, peach, and green. We were to stretch, skew, alter, "modernize" the blocks in some way in our 59+ inch quilts. I did not alter but chose to use different size blocks and set with some negative space for a variety of quilting designs in a smaller quilt. All the guild challenge pieces can be seen Here.
Crayon Challenge, 42" x 52"

Detail of quilting
Detail of quilting
Decorating takes a back seat to other holiday celebrations--like music and church gatherings and communicating with friends. The Boehm Spirit of Bethlehem porcelain figures are on display all year but are difficult to photograph in a lighted, mirrored cabinet. Two Santas and an elf are added, which makes enough around here, as long as there is music!

Several friends and I celebrated with Gwen Yijuan Yin as Kat Kimmel pronounced a house blessing at her new home. Gwen lived with me for a couple of months while she was making this move. She is a talented artist and musician and friend, a real asset to Hattiesburg!
Gwen and Kat
Linking to Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday

Monday, December 4, 2017

After Elizabeth--The Window Watchers

Progress report: I have just about finished all three cats and am working on the background--the window and sunlight and shadows and table and deciding on a name--The Window Watchers. I dare say anyone who owns cats has seen theirs in a similar pose. When I check on what they are so intrigued with, there's usually nothing there (that I can see, anyway).
Putting in background behind cats
The edges of the cats have to be left loose to slip background behind them. Yes, it seems the background should go in first, but that would cover up the lines I have drawn on the foundation for the outline of the main subjects--the cats.
Adding shadows with black tulle
I used white organza over the light green fabric for the windows. Black tulle will make the shadows the cats are casting. Organza and tulle are squishy and elusive to cut and place! But they create the look I need.
Cutting tulle is like cutting Jello
Another thing that makes me happy is a perfectly cooked egg, and I found this clever little pan that I think is going to do the job. (I admit that some days it doesn't take much to make me happy.)
Mini-Chef tiny egg pan

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Things That Make Me Happy (a.k.a. Thanksgiving)

For many years we celebrated Thanksgiving at my brother's home in Austin, Texas. Roy and I would drive from Mississippi through East Texas and pick up my parents for the large family/friends gathering. This year Linda and I ate the buffet at Golden Corral. The food was acceptable but not memorable. A good thing and a sad thing--we didn't have all those delicious leftovers. But we were thankful for many things!
I had the neatest surprise recently. I love to make and mail fabric postcards. One I sent in 2007 turned up in an estate sale and was returned to me. What a delight to know that someone had placed this little card among her keepers. An additional surprise was to see that the postage stamp pictured the image of my Baltimore Album quilt. At the time I had these stamps printed, first class rate was 41 cents. Did you know you could get stamps printed with your choice of images (for a small fee)?
Click to enlarge any picture.

I have made progress on the three cats fabric collage, beginning on the left with Rahrah. Her coloring is a strange mixture of tan, gray, orange, with a hint of darker stripes irregularly placed.

Tarbaby is in the middle, with his solid black fur, highlighted by some sunlight from the window.

Elizabeth is done with shades of lavender and purple for a little whimsy.
How does Elizabeth know when I'm working on her image? She didn't pay any attention to the piece as I worked on the other two cats but had to be close enough to supervise her part!
Another thing that makes me happy--the dedication of my daughter Linda to fostering kittens. She was recognized in a monthly feature as "People Who Make a Difference" in our newspaper. She not only fosters kittens but will take kittens with ringworm and treat and bathe them to get them back to good health. Here is a link to the article and pictures in the Hattiesburg American.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

After Elizabeth, What's Next?

I enjoyed creating the fabric collage of Elizabeth (and have so much fabric already sorted by color!) that I think I will tackle another piece, this time of all three cats. They are intently looking out a window with bright sunshine on the table and on their backs, making interesting highlights. There is probably a squirrel or lizard out there.
Rahrah, Tarbaby, and Elizabeth

My starting point

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Susan Carlson Retreat Part 3--Elizabeth, My Almost Perfect Cat

Elizabeth, My Almost Perfect Cat, 34" x 25"
Well, Elizabeth's whiskers are done and facing on the back, even the sleeve.
I thought and experimented with several ways to depict her whiskers (and even those little eyebrow hairs) and decided on a Madiera Glamour thread in two sizes--two-ply and six-ply white/glittery thread with a touch of glue for stiffness. The whiskers are attached to the face but are loose except where they are sewn in. They are stitched to a tiny bit of batting over white lace, which added a slight fullness or puffiness to the two cheek pads.
Click any picture to enlarge.
Detail of whiskers

Elizabeth checking on the Madiera threads

Ear hair made with hairy ribbon overlaid with tulle
Okay, can I take a nap in your lap now?
Linked with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Portland, Maine, retreat with Susan Carlson, Part 2

It has been two weeks since I came home from Susan Carlson's fabric collage retreat in Portland. I've had such a good time working on Elizabeth! Here is how she looked on the last day in Maine, and then her progress:

Elizabeth on the background

Adding shadows

Adding more shadows
Trying to quilt with Elizabeth's help
She seems quite pleased--won't stay off of it!
All done but the whiskers and facing

Susan Carlson wrote a blog post about the retreat. You can read it here and see pictures of the  other students'  pieces in progress. She is an amazing teacher and I would love to take another class with her!