Sunday, June 12, 2016

California Drought and Our old Oak Tree

We woke up one morning this last week to discover a large part of one of our majestic old oak trees had split off  and was strewn over our property. We are in our 4th year of a terrible drought in California.  We took a closer look at some of our other trees, noticing cracks here and there as well. Time to call the Tree Guys. We're looking at $2400 worth of work to take down more major branches before they fall down and trim everything up.  Here's some photos.

You can see the rust colored part of the tree to the right and above the basketball hoop where the branch broke off. I'd say a quarter of the tree came down.

Other than dealing with that, school is out for the students
 and one last professional day for me Monday.  Yeah!!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hand Quilting and Symmetrical Design

Last weekend I started hand quilting my latest itajime quilt and am liking it a lot. It took awhile for me to figure out what to do.  To plan where to stitch, I lay clear plastic over the quilt and use a water-soluble marker to try out different designs until something clicks with me.

My students are creating some wonderful symmetrical pieces of art using a very cool multi-step process. It's a crayon etching technique but with a twist to it. You take a piece of paper and fold it in half. On the inside right side you use multiple light colors of pastel in a random design to fill the paper, making sure to rub in the powder. Next you put a random design of crayon over the top in dark colors really laying in a heavy, waxy coat of it.  Then you place a paper inside the folded piece so you can protect the crayon from transferring while you draw half of the design on the outside front from the fold out. When you are done with your half design, remove the protector paper from inside and take a pen pressing hard on all your positive lines and shapes.  The pressure will lift the crayon off the pastel, which acts like a release agent and the crayon will be deposited on the left half of the inside. On the right half will be the leftover crayon against a light pastel background.

Here are a couple of them.

Outside front half of design

Inside on the right is the  pastel with the leftover crayon. On the left is the crayon that transferred due to the pressure of the ink ballpoint pen used on the outside cover. Pretty cool, huh? Below is another great one by a different  student.

Outside Front


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Auditioning Thread for Latest Quilt

Yeah!! A three day weekend. Yesterday I went to Art in the Park in Morro Bay. Saw some wonderful art in a variety of media. Splurged on some  great fused glass earrings.

I recently went on a thread buying spree using up two Beverly gift cards given to me by my sons for Mother's Day and then some. So, I was spending some time 'auditioning' the new threads on my quilt. I'm especially liking the 12 weight Sulky Blends, which are pretty thick and I'm pretty sure I'll have to hand quilt it. The King Tut cotton thread Blends are really nice too. In some places I want the thread to show more than others, so having different weights will help.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wearable Art

This is a dress I finished  Thursday at quilt circle.  I had about 1/2 yard or so of three beautiful Parisian collage type fabrics purchase some time ago that were calling to me to make something of them. Actually I could hardly close the drawer that held the fabric, so needed to use some of it up.  I wasn't interested in making a quilt, so I cut them up and sewed them together to create enough yardage from which to cut  out a pattern for a simple shift dress. I really like it.

Front is above and Back below

Some months ago I received an email from a company called VIDA, saying they had seen some my hand dyed fabrics and thought they would be appropriate for apparel.  All I would have to do is submit high resolution digital images and they would print them fabric, which would be sewn into scarves, blouses, dresses, etc.  Every quarter I would receive 10% what was sold.  They sell a variety of apparel ranging from $40 scarves to $95 dresses. They advertise themselves as a collaboration between designers and makers around the world. It sounded like someone's great start up business. They provide literacy programs to the people who make the garments in Karachi. Clothes are made to order rather than making 100's of items that may or may not sell. Sounded good to me.  So I sent them some images.  At least 3 times a week I was receiving emails from them about how I could buy my items at discount and then sell to my friends and family.  That is not at all what I wanted to do, nor would be comfortable doing.  Finally I did buy one of my designed tops at a decent price just to see what they were like. See below.

I liked it a lot but it took about 6 weeks to get.  I just couldn't imagine people wanting to wait that long for an item.  They apologized for the wait and gave me a $40 credit to use in their ready-made collection.  So I ordered a very cool scarf, only having to pay a minimal amount for shipping.  That arrived in a week.  After receiving that, I asked them to remove my info from their site.  I was really hoping they would do the promoting, the selling part but it didn't turn out that way. I enjoy making the art, but I hate the self-promotion, business part of selling. Which of course makes it impossible to sell much and make my art self-sustaining.  This is something I will need to, or maybe not, come to terms with if I want my creations to pay for themselves.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mothers' Day

Happy Mothers Day to all my readers who are mothers or are fondly remembering their mothers, as I am today. Just taking it easy today, grading papers, doing lesson plans and finishing up a dress I cut out weeks ago. I should have a photo of it in a finished state on my next post. Here's a picture of a beautiful orchid I received today from my sweet husband.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Earth Gowns from Studios on the Park Show

Here is my final post on the great wearables show that was at Studios on the Park. It closed on April 24th.  Here is a link to the Studios on the Park Website

Enjoy the pictures below as they speak more volumes than anything I could say about these very unique wearables which employ many diverse techniques.

This hand made lace wall hanging behind this gorgeous dress was so interesting to me, especially as I got closer and closer to it, as you will see.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Earth Gowns Show at Studios on the Park Part 1

Last week after posting on my blog, my hard drive died.  It cost close to $500 to get a new hard drive and update to a new operating system. The other alternative was to spend $1700 to get a new I MAC. I don't take to technological changes easily. Everything is slightly new and different and a bit frustrating.  I tell myself it is good for my brain to figure this stuff out.  So hopefully this post will turn out ok.

These are pictures of Julie Frankel's exquisite creations which are currently showing at Studios on the Park through today, April 24th.  If you get a chance I highly recommend seeing them.  To see more of Julie's work go to