Monday, April 28, 2008

April Take It Further

Here is my TIF piece for April. I chose to do the colors this month, mostly because of the time I lost while sick. I did a lot of thinking about the concept: "How do you see change?" and have a plan and design in my head. But it will be a slow cloth project - one that requires hand work and a thoughtful, thorough working pace. So I will have to put it aside for another time.

Here are the colors as Sharon posted them, and a photo of my selection of fabrics and floss. I usually start with the floss and then find fabrics to match. Of course, the colors tend to morph as the work progresses for some reason. But, hey, they start out as close to the challenge colors as possible. That counts . . . doesn't it?

So, this is the finished piece. As you can see, the pale yellow/green picked up a bit of brightness, as did the red/orange. And I rather like the resulting combination. The picture is not as clear as I'd like either. Hmmm. Need to check that out.

I used Jodi Barrows' technique and ruler for Square in a Square blocks. The ruler is really a nice tool and makes cutting the outer "squares" fast and easy. However, adding another set of corners requires stitching along the bias and I discovered I need some more practice there. By the last round I was delighted to actually get 90 degree corners, so I count this project as successful!

Here is a close-up of the seam treatment. At least it's a much clearer picture!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Journal Making for the Fiber Artist

I got a couple of journals finished from the online class I'm taking from Sue Bleiweiss. Sure seemed to take a long time, but that's because of the time I was sick I guess. And the time spent shopping, going to doctor appointments, visiting family, helping in the yard, paying bills, eating, etc., etc. What happened to spending all day in my workshop? Oh yeah - Life!

Well, back to the journals: The first one is made from an old pair of jeans. One leg was ripped so I cut off the other one and made this sketchbook journal. Inside are pockets to hold pencils, paints, whatever. I have not loaded it with paper yet, but it will have drawing and watercolor papers so it could be used for artistic endeavors.

The second journal has a collection of plain, lined, and graph papers and is bound with posts so pages can be added or removed fairly easily. I added a couple of library pockets inside this journal to hold notes and/or bookmarks.
This class is really a lot of fun. I have another journal just about finished - just needs some decoration on the cover - and the lesson for the last journal was posted this evening.
I have learned a lot of things from this class. One of which is that denim jeans are not easy to work with! But I've also learned some basic book binding techniques as well as different ways to make covers and decorate them. I can see how I can put these techniques to use in the future. If you think this looks like something you'd like to learn, the next class starts June 2. Go to Sue's website for the information.
I will have more pictures when the last two journals are finished. I also have some other projects that are al-l-l-l-l-most ready for photos and sharing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Day with Puppets

Yesterday was doll club and, as always, it was a lot of fun! This month I demonstrated how I made my soft sculptured hand puppets. It was so much fun to share what I had made with everyone and even more fun to see what they could do with my pattern and instructions. It was an exhausting day for me (I am still fighting off the cough), but well worth every bit of energy spent!

I'll give you a little bit of background first. One of the church youth groups in my small town asked if I could make some puppets for their after school activities. I'd never done puppets, but I was willing to try. I ended up making seven different puppets that everyone has been very happy with. This first picture is my original puppets which (sort of) match the characters in a book of skits the church group has.

Back to doll club: There were twelve "students" and they all completed AWESOME HEADS!! I can't believe that these great characters all came from my pattern! Oh, we had some struggles and a few people had to re-do or re-think; but the beauty of these puppets is that they are such great individual characters. I know I would not have had as much fun if they had all come out the same. Take a look at these!

Aren't they awesome?

Hmmm. That's ten heads - and we had twelve students. OK, guys. Who sneaked out early? We need to see your heads, too!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taking Baby Steps

Little by little I am getting better. I've learned I can't push this bug to go faster, so here I am taking "baby steps."
At least I am getting so I can do a little work. I finished these satin slippers this weekend. Aren't they sweet? I stitched them all by hand - too small to do well on the machine - and sitting quietly with handwork was exactly what I needed to be doing!
Today I will see if they actually fit the doll. LOL! Won't that be a downer if they don't fit! We may have to alter her feet. I have the worst luck making shoes that fit. These are from the same pattern as the doll, but I guess I stuff the feet too much or something. Well, I will let you know later what the verdict is.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Checking In

I just realized it's been a week since I posted. My blogging commitment is to post AT LEAST once a week, so here goes . . .

Okay, not much to say this week. I've spent most of it battling the Spring Crud! It started as an achy, sniffly, sore throat, knock down drag out, flat in bed Crud. Pretty much your normal Crud. That lasted a couple of days and I figured I've done my duty for the year. But, No! These bugs aren't through with me yet! Now it has evolved into the Cough-Your-Lungs-Out version! When I can catch a breath I feel pretty okay. I've even spent a few short (very short) sessions in the workshop trying to stay caught up with my current online class.

I am taking Journal Making for the Fiber Artist from Sue Bleiweiss. I am learning great stuff - and the other students in the class are making some Ah-mazzzzz-ing things!!! I am way behind, of course, but I'm taking notes like mad and getting super frustrated because, you see, I've got these wonderful ideas - and I can't bloody breathe!

Ahem. Sorry about that.

Actually I do get minutely better all the time so I know that this too shall pass. When it does I promise I will have lots of fun things to share with you. Just not now (cough, cough).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sumptuous Finishes

Well, I have finally finished AND framed both of my embroidery pieces from the Sumptuous Surfaces class I took last month. I've shown you parts of the colored piece before, but not the whole picture. This was inspired by a photograph of three types of flowers (see the bottom of this post for a portion). I initially tried to use realistic shapes, but the flowers are unknown to me and the photo was actually a scanning of a pile of these flowers. Impossible to see individual shapes! So I winged it!

I love the colors and that is what drew me to the original in the first place. So I mostly played with the colors. The shapes sort of follow the flower shapes, but I wanted a pleasing arrangement and shapes to show off the beads and stitching. I toyed with the idea of placing more yellow or brown at the bottom of the piece, but everything I auditioned looked like too much. In the end, I decided it needs some blank space to balance the heavy stitching. Rather, I framed it so the heaviest stitching is just below center which looked better than right at the bottom.

This is the framed monochromatic piece. I blogged about it earlier and I feel very pleased with the way this looks stretched and framed. Right now it is sitting on my dresser and I believe it is a good spot for it.

I really had a good time with this class and learned a ton of good things about embroidery and design. SharonB - of the TIF Challenge "fame" - was the instructor and she was a great teacher. Thank you Sharon!