Saturday, May 29, 2010

Progress Report

We have a clump of Columbine that grows by the front door every spring. They are a delightful way to begin and end the working day. And they look especially good against the new house color.
Here are two new clutch bags designed and made by Melissa of 100 Billion Stars, using a vintage Sassaman fabric and the "Jack"design from the current Sunshine and Shadow line. They are sturdy enough to carry a note pad, your check book and credit cards. I like the way she matched the design of the Jack-in-the-Pulpit on the front flap.
The strong snap also adds to their practicality. Her choice for the lining is nice, too. It is much easier to find something against a light color, plus the inner fabric adds to the optimistic attitude of these fun bags.
I have devoted a little time this week to play with my new digitized embroidery motifs. This is an idea that I have been dreaming of for years... creating an embroidered fabric to cut in appliqued pieces and enhancing the background fabric with embroidery. I am very happy with this simple experiment, as it does just what I had hoped.
In this case, I used the spiral design, which I altered directly in my 730 Bernina. Then I stitched out several spirals by rehooping a few times. I also tried some different kinds of threads. The leaves were cut from another embroidered piece. Each layer of the quilt became more exciting. The fabric, the surface and the texture can all be enhanced by this extra thread work. My head is reeling with all the possibilities!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Emerald Forest

New spring energy is everywhere. As the days get warmer the green canopy grows denser day by day.  The Farmer's Market in the town square has begun with truck loads of potted flowers and starter vegetables. The weeds in the yard are overwhelming! It's time to adjust the wardrobe and the brain to adapt to this season of rampant lusciousness and labor.

The Emerald Forest Quilt has recently returned from the quilter. I could not resist taking it outside for a photograph since it blended so nicely with the fresh spring colors. I showed you this quilt a few months ago, when it was pinned in pieces to my work wall. It is another quilt made with Jan Kentz's Fussy Cutter Diamond Ruler, which suit my large Sunshine and Shadow prints perfectly.

Here is a detail of the quilting done by my friend, Audrey Esarey in Louisville, Kentucky. She used a clear top thread which doesn't compete for attention, but adds some nice texture and movement. It also helps to blend the kaleidoscopic elements together.

The turquoise bedroom as a natural fit for this quilt, because it feels like a tree house in all seasons.

This is also the happy season for weddings and graduations. Here are two wine/gift cozies that will dress up those bottles of bubbly for the celebrations. They were designed by my buddy, Melissa Peda of San Diego. You can find these designs in other fabrics at her inspiring Etsy shop.

I think the ribbons and buttons make the presentation fun and thoughtful. The hard-working hostess will feel that she is getting a present, too.

This is the next installment of my embroidery journal. Juanita, my Bernina embroidery trainer, coached me though the hooping and stitching process. So I am pushing buttons that have never be activated before on my 730. Now I can play and compose with the designs that she has digitized for me. I am having a blast! I know it is a baby step in the Big Picture, but it is a giant step for me. I really feel that digitized embroidery designs are going to expand my work in a monumental way!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stormy Weather

It has been raining for days. It just drips during the day but the middle of the night and early mornings have been earth-shattering. The rain seems wilder than ever and the thunder and lighting battle for hours. The fresh lush green foliage overwhelms us with it's luminosity in these dark deep days. The tree trunks are black with wetness and the few remaining pink tulips sheltered under the big oak stand out like lonely beacons. Ahhhh... what better time to bury yourself in the studio!

I have been treasuring this opportunity to just stitch and dream. I am hoping to finish all the embroidery on the center portion of my new quilt before my next job. And I have been dreaming about the design possibilities for the remaining black border.

These opportunities have recently expanded thanks to my new friend and "personal trainer". Juanita has worked with the Bernina Artista software for years and she is patiently mentoring me through the learning process. There are also classes on the Bernina website. I am a slow learner. She has digitized a few of my designs and here you see one of the first!! I LOVE IT!!!!! Move over Ralph Lauren. No more silly polo players on shirts... it's flora, fauna and critters for me!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day

I am just back from a wonderful visit with the Friendship Star Quilter's Guild in Germantown, Maryland.
Happily, I was able to fit in a quick visit to my favorite museum along the way, the American Visionary Museum in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore.

This wonderful place is devoted to "outsider and folk art". They have a permanent collection, but also have theme shows that are always incredible. Plus it has one of most entertaining museum shops ever!
The Kinetic Art Race was the same day, so there was music, happy people in funny clothes and fantastically decorated bicycles parading by. A memorable day!

But now that I am home again, it is time to focus on the next calendar event... Mother's Day! My Mom has lots of pink and blue in her home, so we had one of my new prints matted and framed to match her decor. It turned out beautifully. Shhhhhhh... don't tell her!

Even if your mom doesn't have a coffee table stacked with Sassaman ephemera, she still might enjoy one of these limited edition fine art prints, too. Happy Mom's Day to you all!