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Friday, June 19, 2009

Postcard for a Cause

I'm trying to make a postcard for a friend.  She just found out her son has cancer.  It is such a terrible disease and affects so many of our lives.  She is the owner and originator of the learning fiber arts group.  We as a group are making postcards to send her.  Not for her directly, but she will donate them to Wellspring so they can raise money for Carma House.  It is a center for cancer survivors and support for cancer patients.  Shirley has donated many works of her art to this cause never realizing that someday she would be the recipient of their skills.  

So I am trying to make a postcard they might be able to sell.  I tried selling postcards before and didn't sell any so I am a little unsure of what to make.  I just received a package of books in the mail from Dover the other day.  One of those books is called Chinese Lattice Designs.  While trying to come up with an idea I kept coming back to this book and decided to try my hand at making one of the designs.  The designs in this book remind me of those meditation mazes.  It isn't finished yet.  I still need to add the backside and do the edge.  I like it.  I'm just not sure if it will be something that will sell.  

I have a number of other postcards to make as well.  These are just for exchanging.  I need to make some that look like bark, some that look like leaves, some with a recycled theme, and anything goes theme.  Could be a fun summer trying to come up with lots of ideas.  I have an idea for the leaves and I think I'll try that today.  Hopefully I will have something more to show tomorrow.  Have a creative day. Janet

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This, that and the other thing

I've been bouncing around from one project to another lately.  You know what.  That's when I'm happiest.  I love variety, especially when it comes to sewing and quilting.  

I've also been working on my yard.  The front is weeded and the flowers are in the pots.  The back, well that's another weeks work.  I love my daisies but if I don't catch them early enough and pull a few they take over everywhere and than I don't have the heart to pull them until they stop blooming.  This is a photo of my smallest flower bed after I pulled out half the daisies.   They really will take over all the other flowers if I let them and it almost happened this year.  The other flowers are there, they are just short still. I was late to start my yard work.  There is a second flower bed in the front yard with bird feeders and a little arbor.  It's weeded but has too many daisies also.  This week I need to work on the backyard but cautiously.  I ended up with weed pullers syndrome from the front yard.  

I've been making lot's of sampler blocks.  The learningfa yahoo group has been giving out instructions for making them a few at a time.  I decided they would make excellent small quilts for me to practice quilting with my longarm.  I almost have two sets of nine for two small lap quilts.  I've just been using scraps that I have.  I may change the one that doesn't have any blue, since all the rest in that set ended up with blues.  I'm looking forward to quilting the block in the middle with the big open area.  

The second set is more browns and tans.  
I've also pulled out something I started years ago before I really knew much about quilting.  You can probably see the squares aren't square.  I've decided I'm ready to let it be imprecise and I will square it up and put it together so we can use it.  I don't really see any benefit for myself trying to rip a bunch of it apart to fix it.  It's just intended for myself and I can enjoy it just the way it is.  This is called Rachel's Flower Garden.  It was a block of the month.

I've also been finishing up some landscape postcards for the Valerie Hearder landscape group.  I pushed myself a little with these ones.  But can't show them yet.  They should be in the mail tomorrow or Tuesday and once they arrive I'll post photos.  I've been receiving postcards lately that I haven't had a chance to add to my photos yet.  Hopefully later this week I will get that done as well. Have a creative day. Janet

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mistakes and what to do with them!

Do any of you ever make mistakes? Lately I seem to be making more than my share.  I almost gave up on my quilt with a sense of humor several times.  It seemed like nothing I did on that quilt turned out the way I envisioned it would.  Instead of throwing in the towel I used it as an opportunity to learn something new.  If I hadn't done that I wouldn't have discovered I like painting fabric faces.  Some mistakes though are just goofy and I don't know what you learn from them, other than to just keep trying anyway.  
My cats decided to help with my quilt and I had to wash it.  Normally I prewash everything because I just don't like the feel of new fabric and I don't want it to shrink later.  I thought this is an art quilt and will just be hanging on the wall so I won't need to wash it later.  I liked the crisp background fabric for the 'wall' in my quilt.    Well I don't know if it was the lack of pre-wash or the lack of time after applying my inktense pencils and medium or something totally different but when I washed it the intensity of the color washed out and so did my motivation.           Almost gave up again but the deadline was fast approaching and I felt I needed to honor my commitment.  So I persevered.  The back of the quilt had been pre-washed so when the front shrunk the back didn't and I ended up with a very 'textural' back on my quilt.  I thought about doing the entire section over again but I was really up against the wall with time.  So, I pressed, and pressed and steamed and steamed and let it go.  Breathe in, breathe out....
        I do like the overall effect of the quilt.  Remember it is a quilt with a sense of humor.  I needed there to be a big contrast between the two of me in the quilt.  The fabric painted me in the mirror hanging on the wall is what I expect to see when I look in the mirror.  I don't feel I've really changed until I look in the mirror.  I'm still the same age I used to be 20-25 years ago.  The me now is looking in the mirror.  Slightly exaggerated to add to the humor but that is what I think I do see when I look in the mirror. A soft, squishy, puffy version of who I really am.  The grey hair is because I stopped dyeing my hair this year.  I developed an allergy to the dye I was using and because of the reaction I had I was afraid to try another.  I've gotten used to the grey now and my hair has stopped falling out by the handful.  Making this quilt gave me a chance to laugh at myself.
     The binding on this quilt is show quality.  I am very proud of my binding.  Someday I will make a quilt that I am very proud of the whole thing but for now this is step one.  I used Sharon Schamber's binding technique which when I first learned how in a class at Bear Patch sewing I thought was way to time consuming.  It actually made it easier to apply the binding and I love how it turned out.  So, a pat on the back for me, I did something right.
     After it was all done I realized one more mistake I had made.  I wouldn't be able to roll this quilt up for easy transport from show to show.  The Minnesota Contemporary Quilter's exhibit travels to different venues for the next year.  I was afraid they wouldn't want my quilt in the show because it would be difficult to move from one show to the next.  With a little coaching from my friends I made a bag for it with handles.  I attached velcro to the back of my quilt  (soft side) and to a piece of foam core board (sticky side).  Now I could put my quilt on the board and slide it into the bag.  Hopefully this will work for the people who have to set up and take down the exhibits.
Have a creative day!