Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring???



My latest journal page, done yesterday during the snow storm.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Zentangles

For the first two Zentangles I did, I doodled a random shape, and then divided it up into sections and made patterns in each section.





After that, I traced a CD and divided the circle up. I'm not sure why I never thought to just fill the whole page. You could also leave a space for writing in. I did most of these while we visited our son and daughter-in-law. I'm SO glad we traveled when we did - our whether was perfect. Tonight, on the other hand, it is sleeting!













Anyway, these were fun to do, and really not as hard as they look. You just do one section at a time, and there isn't any right or wrong. You just put patterns into the sections.

Shades of Grey

I'm taking another online class (I know, I'm addicted to online classes, but they're so fun and I learn so much from them). This one is called Shades of Grey, and it's being taught by Pam Carriker. You can see a description of it here (scroll down a bit - it's the third class listed).

If you've read my blog for very long, you'll know that I've been interested in art journaling for over a year, trying several different ways of doing it, not completely happy with any of them. Well, I think I've finally found a way that I really like. What appeals to me so much about this is that it combines doodling with lettering, and I love both. The first journaling I did involved drawing actual objects, which I'm not all that good at. I know enough to know that drawing is a skill that can be learned, and I could learn it if I devoted enough time to it. The problem is, I'd rather quilt than learn to draw.

I've tried other forms of journaling too; mainly painting and collage. The painting is fun, but not exactly portable. Plus it's messy and it takes up space on our dining room table. My DH doesn't complain, but still . . . And somehow, collage just doesn't seem very meaningful to me. I save things, thinking I'll put them in my journal, and I usually don't.

But recently I started playing around with Zentangles, which you can see here (I'll post some pictures of the ones I've done when I have a chance). I really like doing them, and I figured out what it is I like - it's just pattern, and you can do any pattern you want. You aren't trying to make it look like anything - it's just decorative. So this journaling that Pam is teaching in her Shades of Grey class is similar, with the addition of lettering. It can be words you write yourself, like about the day you've had or your feelings or whatever you want to say. Or it can be a quote, or words from a song or a poem, or whatever. I also happen to love quotes, so this seems perfect for me.

And here is my first original page (I did another page first, but I basically copied one of Pam's pages with a few minor changes of my own):



I really like the way it turned out. We're using Pitt Artist Brush pens in shades of grey for this class, but I will probably add color to some of my pages too. And I'm using a Moleskine Sketchbook, which is great. I may also make my own books in the future, since I have the Bind-It-All.

As always, you can click on the page to see it larger.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Second Finished Face Quilt



This quilt is only 6 X 6, while my last one was 12 X 12. Making the face that much smaller made it much harder, in my opinion. So I don't think I'll be making any more faces this small. But I think she turned out ok. The flowers are silk flowers stitched in the centers, and the edges are satin stitched. I'm having a lot of fun learning to paint faces! It's amazing how different each one is. The 12 X 12 quilt in the last post was made for a swap, and this one is a small gift to the swap hostess. Hope she likes it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beppe



We didn't take many photos of our trip to Minneapolis to see our son and daughter-in-law, but I did take this one of their cat, Beppe. Sorry I didn't move the cords out of the way before I snapped the shot.

Finished!



She's finished. She is for a swap hosted by Lenna Andrews of Creative Swaps. I added eyelashes, darkened the outer edges of her irises, and fixed the mouth to make it more even on both sides. I finished the edges a little differently on this - I couched a piece of yarn to the top edge, and then I painted the side edge. I also rounded the corners a bit to make the couching easier. I'm already working on my next one - I can see that this may become addictive!

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Monday, March 23, 2009

Faces on Fabric



We got our lesson for painting our face today, and I worked on mine right away. The white highlights you see in the photo are not as bright in the quilt as they are in the photo. I'm really happy with how this turned out. I HIGHLY recommend this class by Terri Stegmiller if you have any interest in learning to paint faces on fabric - Terri is an excellent teacher. We still have one more lesson on finishing techniques, but I've made enough quilts that I may go ahead and finish mine this week.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

When Wanderers Cease To Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put by Vivian Swift

I finished this book a couple of days ago. It is a beautiful journal with watercolor sketches all through the book. After spending many years traveling all over the world, the author decided to stop traveling and put down roots. This book is her journal of the next ten years. There is a chapter for each month of the year, with her sketches and thoughts, in her own handwriting. For a much more detailed review of the book, see Jessica Wesolek's review here.

The Known World by Edward P Jones

We often check out audio books from the library before going on a trip. Our recent drive to see our son was no exception. We listened to The Known World both going and coming - it was that long. I always prefer unabridged, which this was, so it was 12 CD's. It was a very interesting story, set in Virginia 20 years before the start of the Civil War. It was about a former slave who owned slaves of his own. The story jumped around in time a lot, so it took awhile to get used to - it might have been easier to read than listen to - but it was really good. I had no idea that any blacks owned slaves - it's an incomprehensible idea.

Face Quilt



Progress on my face quilt - I'm actually caught up now. At least until the next lesson comes out on Monday. That will be painting the face. You can't tell in the photo, but the petals are loose - only stitched down in the centers. I also just realized that the flowers are HUGE in relation to the size of her face!

The white line around the edges is the approximate trimming line - I like to make things a bit bigger and trim them down to size, but I also like to see what the actual size will be. This one will be 12 X 12, because that's the size required in the swap that this is for. I'm going to hate to send this away, but the quilts that have been received by the swap hostess to date are all wonderful, so I'm sure I'll get something even better in return!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

This is the story of 67 year old Trond Sander, who has decided to spend the remaining years of his life alone in a remote cabin far from civilization. His neighbor turns out to be someone he knew over 50 years earlier, which brings back memories that he would prefer to forget. The story moves smoothly between the past and the present. I thought it was very well written and would rate it 4 out of 5. I read this as the second book for my WWII Reading Challenge, and the subject of WWII is a secondary, rather than primary, theme, being a part of Trond Sander's memories.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

I have to start out by saying that I never would have read this book if it hadn't been the current month's selection for my book club. I'm not sure how to write a review of it, other than to say that I really didn't like the book at all. I didn't understand it very well either. I had a really hard time finishing it, feeling the way I did. If I had liked it even a little bit better, I might have been willing to put in the time it would take to study it, but I didn't. I hope that doesn't make me sound shallow or illiterate, but if it does, it does. The part I had the hardest time with was the third chapter, when the main character attended a 3-day spiritual retreat. This went on for page after page after page after page, and since I am not a Catholic, or even a Christian, I really couldn't read it all. After this, I pretty much lost any interest in the book I'd had up to that point. I rate this 1 out of 5.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quilt



This is the quilt that took me so long to finish quilting - not because of the quilt, but because of problems with my machine. But it's finished now, and my son and daughter-in-law are holding it up in their apartment. We're visiting them this week. You can also see a quilt I made for my daughter-in-law folded up over the chair in the right of the picture. I don't know what's on top of it - maybe a scarf that she knitted for my son. Anyway, we're having a good visit, and we'll be home on Wednesday.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Faces on Fabric

I worked on the Faces on Fabric class today that I'm taking from Terri Stegmiller. I've got my face fused to the background:



We're going to be adding stitching in the next lesson and painting in the lesson after that.

I'm going to be adding flowers on the right side of the quilt.



I fused two fabrics wrong sides together and cut out some petal shapes. I hooped a water soluble sticky stabilizer and attached the petals (if you didn't have a sticky, you could use a spray adhesive, but the sticky makes it easier). Then I free motion stitched around the edges of the petals and in the centers. That's as far as I've gotten, but the next step is to remove the stabilizer. Then I will put a vase with stems to the right of the face (I haven't chosen my vase fabric yet, nor have I named my girl). The petals will be attached to the tops of the stems in the centers only so that the flowers will be 3D. I will also probably put some beads or crystals or french knots or something in the centers of the flowers.

Ultimately, this quilt will be sent to Lenna Andrews for her Fabric Techniques 12X12 swap. This is the first time I've participated in one of Lenna's swaps, but they look really good. The deadline isn't until April 22, and she's already received 3 quilts. I would be happy to have any of the 3 she's received so far. We have a couple of trips planned in the next few weeks, so I'll be working on this quilt every chance I have in order to have it finished in plenty of time to get it mailed by the deadline.

And speaking of trips, we're leaving in the morning to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Minneapolis. It's a lot colder there than it is here in Oklahoma! I just hope we don't hit any bad weather on the road. I was making them a quilt, and I finally finished it over the weekend. I'll try to take a picture of it with them and post it from there. I had hoped to finish it much earlier, but I was having trouble with my sewing machine. I solved that problem last week by trading my machine in for a new one. The problem was in the electronics of the machine, and the repairman was just going to have to start replacing circuit boards one at a time until the problem was fixed. As he was telling me this, all I could think of was a car we had several years ago that had an intermittent problem that we were never able to fix. After spending much money trying to get it fixed, we were told the next item to replace was the computer. That's when we decided to trade cars. I didn't want to start down that path again (you know - been there, done that).

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Two More Faces

This is the face I drew yesterday:



And this is the face I drew today:



I think this last one may be my new favorite.

The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle

This is the story of two couples in Los Angeles: one, a wealthy writer and his real estate agent wife who live in an exclusive hilltop community; the other, illegal Mexicans, just trying to find work to survive. They are thrown together by a freak accident and series of events. The story is alternately told from each person's point of view. It explores the issues of immigration and racism in a very compelling story; it is very well written. I rate it 3 out of 5.