Wednesday, July 8, 2015

It's Summer So I'm Gardening More and Quilting Less!

It is Summer and I live in Zone 4
which gives me 4-5 months of gardening time. I am quilting less because I love my cottage garden with the whimsical artsy garden art that myself and my boyfriend have created through the years.

This is the front yard decked out for the Fourth of July-it gets a Northern Exposure so not a lot of sun and therefore all the hostas.

I am sewing two BOMs I found on Pinterest and Facebook. The one in the top photo is from Facebook and is from Michelle Foster and her Aiming for Accuracy II-Quilt Along called Mishka's Playground. It began in March and on the 7th and 21st of each month a new set of small (8"-9") blocks are emailed to me and I can make them anyway I want. There is a FB page where we can post our work as well as view all the fun and varied versions of this pattern. I chose a white background and colorful fabrics with white polka dots. Sometimes the I disagree with the instructions and do my own thing!!

This BOM is called Moccasin by Gen X Quilters and the designer is Ann Marie Chany. It is smaller than the first BOM I talked about at 67" square. The blocks are 9" in size and each pattern makes two of the same block but with different color ways. This BOM is more "modern" and I was totally enjoying it until June and July's blocks. The triangle block which is on the bottom of the photo was a huge problem using templates. I haven't used a temple since the 90s and it was still not a fun thing to do-not the most accurate triangles and I cut off the tips but I'm not re-doing it! There is a Facebook group but not many people post their work there. There is a Flickr group but I'm not into that. The BOM sample was in pinks, purples, orange, indigo, white and brown and I chose to do cooler colors plus lime green.

These blocks are from a book called Arcadia Avenue by Sassafras Lane Designs. Each block is 18" in diameter and there are 12 paper pieced blocks. This pattern appeared very fun because of the use of the color wheel and I intend to use it in my color theory teachings. Once I began I realized each block was very slow going because of the pre-cutting all the fabric and making 1 wedges that are difficult to put together. I planned to make 9 blocks but since they take so long to make I am leaning towards only 4 blocks!

Lastly, I am in an art quilt group formed through Facebook and every other month we create a small wall hanging based on a theme one of the members. The current theme is due July 31st and is called "snowflake." This photo is a sneak peek-I used sparkly plastic snowflakes from The Dollar Tree as a crown in the hair and a "statement" necklace on the clearance rack at Gordman's in Green Bay, WI and hand tacked it upside down. I used a few novelty snowflake fabrics, all cool colors with some shiny and some fuzzy fabrics. I will share the full photo on July 31st.
I have had a few ladies request I convert two of my quilts into patterns and I intend to but with the summer weather I just can;t be inside on the beautiful sunny days. It will happen!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I shared a teaser photo of this quilt a few months ago. I made it for the 2015 Hoffman Challenge. I have had the quilt finished since February. I will mail it to the exhibit curator today and thought it was time to show the full quilt. The 2015 theme fabric was predominantly red, black and metallic gold with a little orange and green. If you looked closely at the print there were knitting motifs and small quilt blocks and the general shape of the designs were squares and rectangles-all angular shapes. I decided to create an Egyptian woman and researched ancient Egyptian goddesses. Isis was a common goddess but not a name I want to use anymore since the international terrorist group took that name. I chose Bastet because she was the ancient goddess of fire, cats, of the home and pregnant women. I have a black cat and wanted to incorporate a cat, black or whatever, in a quilt and this idea was coming to life. 

As I was researching Egyptian clothing etc. I discovered they worn an excessive amount of gold ornamentation and their cats did too. Great since I was up to embellish this quilt to the max! I tapped into my "bridal store fabric stash" to get the look I wanted. I used black velvet (I'm humming that 1980s song in my head!) for the hair and black lame' for the underneath hair. I found the awesome white pleated fabric for the dress which I cut at different angles to get a 3D realistic look.

I used the 2015 Challenge fabric for the yoke of the dress, the headpiece, the drapey fabric on the lower left of the woman and the parts of the stool the cat is sitting on. I added Egyptian hieroglyphics I found on Pinterest on the top and bottom panels. I selected my name for the letters-I thought it was interesting the "C" and the "S" are almost the same. When I say my last name strangers think it starts with an "S" so I found that intriguing. I have hand and machine sewed several metallic gold trims to the yoke, the cat, the headpiece and  the seam allowances. The cat's necklace and the woman's earrings are from one set of earrings I found in February at Payless Shoes at Fox River Mall in Appleton WI which I took apart and separated. I used turquiose nail polish on the eyelids and white fabric paint for the eye reflection.

I also used gold metallic thread and many decorative stitches on my sewing machine to further add to the heavy ornamentation. The bracelet also has beads sewn onto it. There is a gold metallic flang on the vertical borders. I had a blast making this quilt and must wait until mid-August to find out if it made the cut to travel from Sept. 2015-Sept. 2016 to various quilt venues across the country. I will miss it when it is gone!!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Art Quilts Around The World-Out Of This World-She's An Alien

 It is May 31, 2015 and reveal day for my Facebook group Art Quilts Around  The World. The theme is "Out of this World" and I chose do a portrait quilt and I thought an alien woman would be a great choice! I wanted to stay away from blue skin because it was too "Avatar" and green skinned martians are too typical. Plus I reserve green skin for witches!!
I also watch every season of Face Off on the Syfy (sp.?) Channel which seems to have an alien makeup challenge every season and this inspired me!
I selected white skin and orange hair. My last 4 quilts have all had orange in them unconsciously! I do love orange but this wasn't planned. What makes this woman an alien? The pointy ears, orange and yellow iris color, the flat wide bridge of the nose and the weird white skin tone. She sports a flaming orange Mohawk hairstyle and small ear gauges. 

I embellished with several clear sparkly buttons on the cheekbones to look like alien "markings", an earring from my jewelry box for in the ear gauge, rhinestones for smaller earrings, several varieties of silver glitter nail polish on the eyes and face and a few black rhinestones in the background.

My alien woman is pretty in her own "out of this world" kind of way and I love the orange Mohawk!!.

The next reveal date is July 31st and the theme is Snowflakes which will be a Christmas is July kind of moment! I have nothing planned yet in my head.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Work: Neon

This is my latest portrait quilt. I was inspired by the hair color industry and the funky neon hair colors that are available in the cosmetology industry. I have been searching and purchasing neon fabric and embellishments since last fall and recently had the time to make this quilt. I really love the yellow print that I used for the dress and wanted to use more of it in the borders but since I do not like yellow in large quantities I chose to use this print for the backing fabric instead. The fabric for the lipstick and the pale yellow highlights was purchased while at the IQF Houston 2014 Show last October which gives me good memories! I used Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics  for the gradation of 6 skin tone fabrics. They are hand dyed cottons and work very well for skin tones and are are equal to me as batiks. I purchased a fat quarter packet of browns for another project and love them to bits!!

I decided to take photos of the various steps of this portrait quilt to show how it come alive with each step of stitching, borders, fabric paint and embellishments. This is just the center of the quilt. I chose to cut some of the top off the center once it was completely fused because all the background was not needed.

This is the top with the various borders added. I love the swirly fabric on the left and bottom borders since it reminds me of the fashion designer Emilio Pucci! I fussy cut the directional pattern once I discovered there was a double direction. My cat Jack photo bombed this picture! Hi Jack!!

The quilt is quilted, bound and on cardboard being blocked. This is a step I only was taught about 4-5 years ago which changed my world because it will square up a quilt and make it lay flat. This is VERY important for having a quilt hang in a quilt show and the judges love a straight quilt without any wavy edges!!

I collected neon colored embellishments. I have a variegated orange/yellow ribbon, a fun neon colored decorative elastic, loose glitter, nail polish, rhinestones, and a variety of beads. I did not use everything which is the part that is hard because I have to use good taste and know when to stop adding more bling!!

This is the finished close-up of the face. I added the ribbon and elastic to the dress neckline; the loose glitter was used for eyeliner; rhinestones were used to make an earring; nail polish was used in the yellow of the hair to add to the highlights; rhinestones were added to the right and top borders and beads were sewn to outside of the binding. I intend to enter this quilt in a national quilt show and beyond!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Whimsical Victory Rolls x Two

I love 40s hair especially victory rolls. I also love a Split Complementary Color Scheme of lime green, red and purple. These two ideas are on my favorite quilt "Victory Rolls" which is also my business card. 
I made these two 12" square quilts as auction quilts for two national charities-Studio Arts Quilt Associates and National Quilting Association. 
I used my original pattern Angelina, which I use in my Intro to Portrait Classes, and created a hairstyle with 1940s victory rolls. I used the leftover floral print from the original quilt for the dress fabric. The dress received a 1940s shoulder pad silhouette and a sweetheart neckline.
I did not use green skin because these are not for me and I thought they were more "auction-able" if they were traditional skin tones. I used the lime green in the binding.
 This hairstyle did not lead itself to an easy shape/silhouette like many of the others I have created that are in the pattern or the "bonus" hair my students receive when they take my class. I used a lighter purple fabric paint to add highlights to the pincurls and a dark purple paint for the insides of the curls to create depth. I accomplished this idea with the original quilt but with four values of fabric. These quilts were meant to be simpler so I painted the values which was fun and successful. 
I embellished with red rhinestones in the background, two colors of glitter nail polish on the eyes, red glitter nail polish on the mouth and a felt, wooden and plastic button for a flower hair accessory. I added a bit of cosmetic blush to the cheeks, chin and forehead for fun!

Time to mail them to their proper destinations!
Here is the original Victory Rolls Quilt which has won a few ribbons at quilt shows and was in the Sacred Threads Quilt Show in 2013 and their featured book "Sacred Threads Exhibition 2013."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunglasses Wall Hanging-Bring on Summer!!

 I did a spin on my original Angelina pattern by making four of the same bobbed hair style, two skin tones, facial features and a few sun glasses and a Andy Warhol style placement to create a fun Summer wall hanging. I added two of the glasses I used in my pattern in this wall hanging so if you have purchased this pattern from me online, from one of my classes or when I was vending you can make this quilt. 
I'm not going to make any instructions-just go with it!! I found the fun sun glasses fabric locally at Pine Street Quilts and the idea came together. I originally had just the red sun glasses on one of the women and posted a photo on Facebook. One of my fine artist friends (Mary Mc.!) commented that she thought all four of the women should have sun glasses. I had considered this and went back and pulled a few of the different frame styles from the sun glasses fabric print and color coordinated it. I love to make the eyes on the portraits so to cover them up with the sun glasses seemed sad to me. I knew I wore my sun glasses on the top of my head and sometimes peeked out over them so that is how I positioned the sun glasses without sacrificing the eyes.
  I added a small amount of red glitter nail polish to all the lips, nail polish to eyelids and a few red rhinestones to the upper left sun glasses to get the retro look!
I had most of this wall hanging finished but used it in the Open Studio at the International Quilt Festival March 28, 2015 in Chicago as a demo for my portrait quilt presentation. I was antsie to finish the wall hanging because I am personally ready for warm weather and it will be a seasonal quilt on my wall very soon!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Art Quilts Around The World-In The Garden Challenge-Mosaic Garden Art

My Facebook art quilt group Art Quilts Around the World has reveal day for the current art quilt challenge. The theme is "In the Garden" which sounded easy because I garden but it is the beginning of what the calendar says is Spring and I am challenged to remember what my garden looks like. As you scroll down I took a photo of the same side of my house where I have a big flowerbed and the comparison photo today March 31st and at the end of May. If you garden you will understand the zones of gardening and I am in Zone 4 and a bit of a wait to plant anything or put out my garden art.

So I resorted to photographs of my garden and found the photo of the mosaic stained glass stepping stone my boyfriend Ken made in 2006. I drew the image of a woman with blue skin and a sun around her head. Ken added the yellow triangles to the outer edge. It sits in a flower bed by my side door into my kitchen and I plant a lot of yellows, blues and orange flowers and have other color coordinating garden art near it. It makes me happy!
I also have done a art quilt technique with a mosaic style where all the applique pieces are separate from each other and the background "grout" shows through instead of overlapping the pieces. This style is not my fave because you have to stop and start each stitched applique piece because they do not touch. More work and more thread. But to make this project look like a piece of garden art it had to be made this way.
I added very little embellishment because it's garden art but I did add a little red glitter nail polish to the lips and the purple eye lids got some purple bling.

The next challenge is due May 31st and it is called "Out of This World" and I am feeling like an alien invasion!!
The east side of my house on March 31st-brown, barren and last Fall's leftovers.

A file photo of my garden on the same side of the house on May 31st. Green and happy!!