Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New year, fresh goals

I sat down this morning to give some thought to what I would like to accomplish in 2009. I came up with a whopping 21 goals - personal, artistic, home/garden and financial. I won't bore you with all of them, but here are the seven I came up with for my Art goals:

1) Visit galleries in the Flagstaff area, and find at least one willing to show my work

2) Participate in at least four First Friday Art walks at the Flagstaff Artists' Coalition gallery

3) Find a fellow FAC member willing to let me share studio space for the Flagstaff Open Studios tour in September

4) Create at least one recycled art piece for the Recycled Art show

5) Try at least one Surface Design technique each month

6) Write and submit an article to Quilting Arts magazine

7) Set up a better system for tracking my inventory, including raw materials

Whew! That should keep me busy for the year, don't you think?

I'm sure I will accomplish other things artistically as well, but these are 'stretch goals' to try and break me out of the rut of creating, but not growing. I have a bit of a problem with risk-taking, and some of these will help me push that envelope more than I have been doing.

On another note, I will say that I am very pleased with my progress in 2008. I created at least 5 art quilts (one of which was a commissioned work); submitted a quilt to QA magazine for their calendar contest; explored a number of surface design techniques; have completed almost 16 small art pieces; and made great progress with reorganizing my studio. Personally, I set out to retire before year-end, and accomplished that in order to devote more time to my creative pursuits.

I am really looking forward to 2009 and beyond, creatively. And I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who have encouraged my creativity, both with your comments, and also with your own blog posts. Contact with other creative people is like a shot in the arm for me, and I feel like I have gained a whole little community of others who, like me, thrive on their creative expression. I hope we continue to keep in touch and share our progress with each other in the coming years... Happy, happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Framed small art pieces

I finally got to Michael's today and found a screaming sale on frames! Yaaay! So I got busy and framed some of my 4" x 6" pieces:

It's amazing what a difference it makes having them framed! Now I'm hot to make lots more...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The joy of giving

We went to visit my husband's daughter and the 4 grandkids for Christmas... first time we have seen them in awhile. Jen is a single mom, with her hands full... the kids are 3 1/2 - 7 1/2, so you know she has a lot to deal with. The kids had an over-abundant Christmas, but Jen didn't received too much for herself. While we were there, she brought out an ancient sewing machine that someone had given her, and we both tried to figure out what to do to solve the problem of the bobbin not feeding the thread up to connect to the needle thread. No luck. This is an off-brand machine, and she doesn't have money to try and have it repaired. So right now, she is trying to sew a patchwork quilt top by hand. Needless to say, when we got home, I logged on to an online source and ordered one of their low priced sewing machines to be shipped to her... it should arrive late next week. My hubby and I both got a great deal of enjoyment out of that simple act, and I hope it will bring her some joy as well! That's what Christmas is all about for me... bringing a little joy into the lives of others.
On another note, before we left for our Christmas visit, I tackled my studio and did a major reorganization of my stash, cleaned up the chaos, and when I walked into the studio today I was delighted with the feeling of order! I work so much better when things are put where they belong, and I don't have to keep moving things around to create a work space. I can't wait to get in there to finish the series of Small Art pieces I started before we left... pictures to come soon!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday sign-off

To all my visitors, I will be out of touch for the rest of the week... travel, family visits, etc. I would like to wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, Happy Boxing Day, Merry Kwanzaa. Safe, happy Holidays, Peace on Earth, Good will toward men.
I will catch up with you all next weekend!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Small Art - progress report

I am working on a series of small art pieces, 4" x 6" each. However, I don't plan to make them into post cards... strictly for mounting and framing, I think. Anyway, I posted a picture a few days ago of them, but they still needed embellishing. I have the 3 below pretty much completed, with 5 to go. Here's how they are shaping up so far:
I added beads and/or sequins to each of them over where I couched the yarn or ribbon. I also added silk ribbon around the edge of the last one. I'm thinking of mounting 2 together on mat board, then using a glass/front frame to finish the composition. Time to run to Michaels, but I'm probably not going to have time until after Christmas... drat! Oh well, something to look forward to!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Small Art

I have been working on another 'Small Art' series the past few days. I started with a piece of Complex Cloth I created summer before last... I know, not too swift! But I'm getting there... anyway, this was a piece I dyed using Low Water Immersion, then bleach discharged with torn newspaper as a resist. I fused the fabric to pellum, then I fused on some of another LWI piece, added ribbon and yarn, stamped some with metallic fabric paint, then used various techniques to finish the edges. I will probably go in and add some sparklies before I declare them finished. Oh, and I have 2 more I need to bind as well. These are really fun pieces to work on! And I'm thinking I want to try mounting them and framing as wall art. I'll post pictures of the final result when they are done.

More snow pictures

Here are some more pictures of our winter wonderland:
You can't see it to well, but the winds are gusting around 35mph, creating lots of snowdrifts
I caught several Meadowlarks huddled together behind a tree, trying to stay out of the wind
Here's a shot of the deck railing taken through the window... there was about 6-8 inches accumulated on the railing, and the wind blew off some before I got the shot. The snow is about 24" deep on the deck, which means at some point I need to schlep around the house with the snow shovel and dig a path from the door to the deck stairs... oh, my aching back!
On another note, I called my former boss this morning to tell her how happy I was that I didn't have to dig out and drive into town... it's much nicer to be able to stay at home and enjoy the beauty without actually having to travel in it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waiting out the storm

We have been hit with 2 major storms in as many days, and so far we have over a foot of snow with another 8-12 inches due over the next 24 hours. With that in mind, I took these pictures... showing our 2 cats and a bunch of the local birds waiting out the storm:

That's Double, on the pillow in the back, and Bubba in front. Couldn't keep the eyes from glowing! Double is feeling really spoiled... I usually don't let him into the main part of the house, but with the snow so deep, I felt sorry for him.

Here are the birds, hanging out on the fence. Down at the lower left is a birdseed block. Boy have they been hitting that over the past couple of days!
This is one of the trees I planted a few years ago... looks really Christmas-y, doesn't it? Tucked into the branches is a suet feeder, but for some reason the birds aren't going for it. I put another one on the ground near a tree in back, and they have been feeding off of it, but they don't like the cage on this one... go figger!

Here's one last picture, to get everyone in the mood for winter:

This is a rare one where the fire is actually burning! I'm having a dickens of a time keeping one going... the wood is dry, I use newspaper and kindling to start, but it just takes forever to get it to really start burning! But when she does, it's mighty pretty, isn't it?
Stay warm!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yummy stuff!

Saturday, my friend and inspiration, Melly, had an Open Studio to sell some of her fabulous creations... she is taking a trip back east soon, and wanted to cover the cost with the proceeds of her sales. I went to see if I could find something to buy, and could have spent a lot more money... she does beautiful work! But I did come home with 2 pieces of Complex Cloth, and some hand dyed embroidery

I'm really thrilled with my purchases, and can't wait to use them! Thanks, Melly...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Canyon quilt

I just finished up my latest art quilt, "Canyon". I'm very pleased with how it came out... one of those things I had in my mind a long time, and it came out even better than I imagined it would... nice way to end the year! Here it is:
This is the second in my 'Rock Series', and I have ideas for at least 2 more, which hopefully will come to fruition in 2009. This one is made using mostly hand-dyed fabrics, with just the black on the upper left, and the black border and backing being commercially dyed.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

First Fabric post cards

I have finally found time and inspiration to try making fabric post cards, after over a year of immersing myself in fiber arts projects! I guess it takes what it takes. Anyway, I had a piece of fabric I had dyed and stamped a few months ago, and I pulled it out and decided to try my hand at post cards. I also bought some really neat 'eyelash' yarn recently which had a good color combination that blends with the fabric. I also dug into my stamp stash and added a little metalic embellishment with some Lumiere fabric paint I bought awhile back. Here's the result:
I have no idea how others make these, but I fused the background fabric to pellon, fused some cut shapes to the background fabric, stitched down the yarn with a zigzag stitch, then added the gold stamps. Then I cut out the cards, used glue stick to attach to watercolor paper cut to the same size, then finished the edges with a satin stitch. I may go back and add some beading on the yarn... not sure yet. At any rate, I'm sure this won't be the last batch I cook up!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new

Last night was our Quilters' Guild Holiday party. Wouldn't you know it? I didn't bring my camera, and I should have! The party was held at the home of one of our members, who has a house full of gorgeous quilts! Anyway, we had a gift exchange for those who wanted to participate, and of course I did... came away with an awesome (and I mean!) pin cushion:
The one on the left is your 'standard' pin cushion, which I have had for eons. The one on the right is for SERIOUS stitchers, and should be good for another eon or two, don't you think? So the old one goes into semi-retirement. I left the short pins in it... the ones I don't use much any more, and moved the longer pins and my needles (which always managed to get buried in the old one!). Now I just have to make room on my sewing table for the new one. BTW, there are even little pockets around the outside of the cushion to stow things! Too cute!
Oh, yeah... in spite of my swearing that I would not take on any commitments for the next year, I managed to volunteer to be the Program/publicity contact, and also to help with the hanging of the QG annual quilt show at our library... my hubby laughed his sox off when I told him! Sigh...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Update on the latest project

I have been working off and on the past few days on my canyon piece, which I blogged about recently. I am really pleased with how it's coming out so far. The stitching emphasizes the erosion patterns on the sandstone, which is one of the features I love about the canyons. I am also beginning to see the light pattern that comes from above. I have a feeling I will be doing more of these as time passes, although I had a couple other 'Rock' pieces I wanted to tackle after finishing this one. We'll see... anyway, here are some pix of my progress:

This is a picture of the whole piece

This is a detail closeup of the stitching

Friday, November 28, 2008

Coming together...

I have had an idea in mind for an art quilt for quite awhile now, and recently started working on it. I have hand-dyed all but one piece of the fabric I am using. I even embellished some of the fabric with acrylic paint, which is a first for me. I used to paint, but hadn't touched my acrylics in a long time. But a class in mixed media with cloth and paper caused me to revisit them, and I decided to get a little experimental with this piece:

So, I am just about ready to begin my free-motion quilting, but want to study it a little longer.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

I am taking care of our neighbor's horses while she is in Phoenix for the holiday, and walking out to check on them, I saw this:

When we moved here in 2003, the area was in the midst of a severe drought. People who had lived here for a long time were depressed because we didn't have any snowfall until mid-December, and that was miniscule compared to what they were used to. This year, we have had at least 3 storms that left snow on the peaks so far, and one that left about 3 inches in our yard. I am hopeful that the drought is beginning to recede. This is such a beautiful area, and when there is snow on the peaks, the view is stunning!
Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving...

Monday, November 24, 2008


I have been trying lately to get into the habit of doodling... something I have never done much of. I want to do it to loosen up, to 'exercise' my creativity. So this weekend, while I was at the Craft fair, one of the things I did to occupy my time in between sales was to doodle. Here is one that I worked on for awhile, which actually took on a life of its own:

It's not done yet, although when I started it, I had no preconceived plan or idea of what it would end up like. I added the words after I created the shapes. Sometimes, little rhymes come to me, and this one was inspired by the curves of the doodle. I may make this into a wall hanging! Meanwhile, it did what it was supposed to do - helped me pass the time, and let me 'play'!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hand-stitched piece

Last spring, I started a hand-stitched piece using cotton crinkle cloth, hand-dyed, gauze, various colored threads, and embroidery floss. Lately, I adjusted one of the chimney rocks and added some boulders with more fabric and fusible interfacing. I thought I would post a picture of
where it's at so far:

This is one of those pieces that just meanders... I don't work at it all the time, just when I have time to sit for awhile. I don't know what more I will be doing to it, but seem to be inspired when I pick it up. Ideas come, and I have a photograph of the Monument Valley that I refer to for inspiration. I have an idea that this will end up being framed when it is complete, rather than adding a border. We'll see...

So far, so good!

Yesterday was the first of a 2-day show I have been selling at for 3 years now. What with the economy in a major world of hurt, I really wasn't expecting to have a great day yesterday, and my major hope was to a) make rent, and b) hopefully make enough to put a dent in my business' credit card debt. Well.... let's hear it for the buying public in Flagstaff! I made double my rent, and then some yesterday! And Saturday is usually the big sales day of this event, so I am looking forward to a brisk business today (oops! Shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch!). At any rate, the big sellers so far have been my silk/rayon Devore scarves from Dharm Trading... they dye up beautifully, as you can see - the Aqua one on the right is the 'Water' pattern. Other scarves are chiffon that I dyed last year:

And here's a shot of my booth:

I have a really nice ez-up canopy, but it's a @#!*? to put up, so I drug out the cheapie and washed and repaired my gauze cover... much easier to deal with! My neighbor Linda came and helped me set up, and promises to come this afternoon for take-down. I think I owe her a shirt, don't you?
I'll let you know tomorrow how the show goes today...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mixed Media update

I am working on lesson 3 of my mixed media class, which has us painting on fabric, then adding the painted portion to a background. I did several backgrounds in lesson 1, but decided to try my painted bird on a couple pieces of fabric I had created prior to the class:

The background here is a leaf print I did awhile back... I am using the back of the fabric, because it is more muted, sort of 'misty'.

This background is a piece of rust-dyed fabric I did using rebar and rusty wire.
Then I remembered I have some collage papers I purchased for the class, and decided to try one of them:
I can't decide! What to do... what to do!
Meanwhile, I finished the last tie-dye yesterday for my upcoming 2-day show (at last!), so now I have a few days to get my stuff together for the show, and maybe work a little on dyeing fabrics for my next art quilt. The beat goes on...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Well, it's come to this...

As usual, my project list keeps growing... I came across a dry-erase board I had from my former life, so decided to put it to good use, keeping track of my to do's:
Here's what is going on right now:
Work in progress for my Mixed Media class
Rust dyed fat quarter I'm working on for a swap
Line drawing for an art quilt of the Slot Canyons I am starting
Start of the fabric stash for the Slot Canyon quilt
tie-dye for my upcoming craft show, and a bunch of rusty bits waiting to be used on my rust dyeing fat quarter
It's always something!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

ACF Gallery opening

I am a member of the Artists' Coalition of Flagstaff, and last night we celebrated the opening of our very own gallery, just in time for First Friday Art Walk! Here are some shots I took:

We had a wonderful turnout for our first show, with lots of great feedback from folks who stopped by. We're hoping to be open on the weekends as well as First Friday Art Walk, with the help of volunteers from the members who are showing their art. BTW, the last picture is of a 'restored mannequin' by one of our members, Nancy DeBlois, who restores mannequins and makes Luminarias as well... there was a great story about her on the front page of our local paper yesterday! Great going, Nancy...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New class

I am taking an on-line class in Mixed Media with fiber and paper by Jane LaFazio, which started last Thursday. Our first assignment was to create several backgrounds which will be used for upcoming lessons. We were asked to use untreated canvas, watercolor paper and muslin, and apply gesso, acrylic paints and liquid medium, stamp, stencil, etc., to create the backgrounds. It has been a long while since I used acrylics, and I have always been a little heavy-handed with color, so I had to rework the first backgrounds I created. Yesterday, I did several more, and this time I was able to tone down the colors some and come up with better results. Here is what I have done so far:
Now I'm waiting for lesson 2, which should be coming any minute! Stay tuned...