Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 16

Wow, I don't believe it, I'm caught up in posting again!

Another big day in the kitchen, I made the rest of my jams and jellies for the year. DH likes to give them away at work at Christmas, and we of course need some for home :)

They are all cooling on the counter now. They need to be labeled and packaged up pretty, but the biggest part of the job is happily done.

There are 9 different kinds and approximately 60 full 1/2 pint jars- so that is a couple of days' good work! There are a couple of larger jars, and a couple of smaller ones also, as well as a number of part jars that will go in the fridge for immediate consumption. I'm sure I won't get any complaints about those.

The flavors this year are: Grown-Up Grape Jelly, Vanilla Chai Tea Jelly, Sugar Plum Spice Tea Jelly, Mixed Berry Green Chile Jam, Margarita Jelly, Pina Colada Jam, Strawberry Daiquiri Jam, Strawberry Blueberry Mango Jam, and Mixed Berry Jam. Something to suit any taste when DH hands them out, I hope.

Day 15

Today, all of my creativity was in the kitchen. I do love my kitchen :)

First of all, I finally got the Eccles Cakes baked. Yum, delicious!

Homemade pizza with white garlic sauce...

Chocolate pie with whipped cream...

 And my biggest job of the day- 4 batches of jelly. I made two batches of Grown-Up Grape Jelly, and two batches of tea Jelly- one is Vanilla Chai and the other is Sugar Plum Spice.

Everything you see here was made from scratch today. I tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen- those days aren't wasted, ask my family!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Days 11-14

I don't have photos for these past days; I have been crocheting some Christmas gifts and nothing is finished yet. One of the gifts is going along smashingly well and will be awesome.

The other thing- well, it's too soon too tell. It seems too stiff to suit what it's supposed to be, so I guess I will just keep plugging along and see what happens. lol

My creative endeavor for the next day or two will be jam and jelly making- and I hope to have photos at the end of each day to show for it- so stay tuned!

I always make a LOT at once; DH likes to give a bunch out at work (about 3 dozen jars) and we need to have a couple dozen to last us through till next year when I make the next batch.

I have all the stuff at home and will get going in the morning. See you later in the day tomorrow, Day 15!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Days 9 & 10

Finishing this project up took two of my studio times, yesterday's and today's.

What a lot of fun it was, though. I really enjoyed the slow pace of the hand work, sewing each of the little beads on, and I got quite a thrill out of seeing the pops of color on my piece.

This piece was also done for my color class, and was also taken from a photo I took while on holiday. This particular photo was taken in the Cinque Terre, Italy in early June and all of the streets were vibrant with color in the forms of the homes and the flowers everywhere. It was a beautiful feast for the eyes!

I sketched this onto fabric, free motion quilted the solid lines and heavy areas in black thread, then "colored" in with dry pastels, adding water to give me the watercolor effect. I then added some other quilting/coloring in colored thread, and then it sat for a long time.

It's been pinned up on my design wall for ages and it called out to me yesterday when I needed some quiet hand work to do. It was a joy to work on and finish.

Day 8

First an explanation.

I am taking this challenge to form a habit- a habit of being creative every day.

No- that's not entirely correct- a habit of TAKING TIME every day to do something creative outside of the norm of my every day life.

I love to cook and put a lot into the dinners we eat- but every once in a while, I go the extra mile, even for me. lol Those particular days I count as being creative.

But most days, I don't get into my studio or even pull out a pencil to doodle because I will be honest- I waste time.

Not always on purpose, mind you. Most days it happens without my knowing it. I spend a little too long on the computer or I get sidetracked reorganizing something or I do something that could wait. I don't always prioritize my time the way I should.

I don't make enough time for my art nor for myself and it's become glaringly obvious to me that I'm doing myself a grave disservice.

So, going forward, starting with this challenge and from here on in, I'm endeavoring to make a better effort to take some time every day to do something creative that makes me happy, something that sets a good tone for my day, something that brings joy to my soul!

And in this challenge, it might mean doing a small little project start to finish in a day, or it might mean finally finishing something that has been sitting in my studio, patiently waiting for me to get it done so it can be fulfill it's purpose. I LOVE getting something done, don't you?

Many of the things I like to do on aren't able to be done in a day; the ideas seem to come to me bits at a time until they are finally finished.

Anyway, for Day 8, I finally completed an "old" color class project- the front was done except for the description, and it needed the hanging sleeve on the back sewn down. Not much in the way of work, but it took a while and it was just the kind of creative work I needed for that day.

I'd tried to quilt- but after breaking 4 needles in quick succession, I realized that I was far too tense to quilt and needed something else to do. Hand work was just the ticket, and that pretty little piece was just there waiting :)

I love this piece because it started as a photo I took on the Stockholm Archipelago on our last night in the city when we were on the boat tour. It was a very simple photo, which I first turned into a sketch and then a watercolor, using my Derwent Inktense pencils.

For color class, I then took a plain piece of muslin and drew the picture on there, "drew" the outline with my sewing machine in black thread, and then colored the rest of the picture in with dry pastels. I then wet the cloth, and the colors blended together like watercolors, it was wonderful! I used some free motion quilting in other colors to emphasize other things like the water and the sun, used a little bit of glitter and such, and then left the thing alone! (I tend to overdo things. lol)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 7

Another doodle. I'm having kind of a tough day.

I find doodling very relaxing, especially when I am stressed out. And I like the ones I can shade. They are fun. I also like lettering- though there isn't much in this one.

Day 6

Today's art is a doodle with color.

Kind of a flop over all- it didn't look as good as I was hoping. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 5

Here I am, late posting again. How does this happen???

Anyway, I'm still playing with my camera. This time with shutter speeds. I obviously need some work. lol

I'm back to using my mid-range lens again too- it does a nice zoom, but normal photos too.

What I need the most practice in is SEEING, I think. But I am getting there.

We went to Santa Fe back in September and I got a few really nice shots. Some were by accident, like always, but some were thought out and I am quite proud of those ones. I am starting to understand composition and that's a big deal in making and appreciating art.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 4

I forgot to post this yesterday. This is for Day 4, should be November 4th. I will post my Nov. 5th later today.

I have been doing a photography course in an attempt to learn how to use this beautiful camera my loving husband bought for me. He knows how much I love to take photographs and so he bought me this camera shortly after we moved here.

It does take wonderful photographs on its automatic setting, there is no doubt about that.

But as it's a DSLR, and I actually own three variable lenses for it, it seems a shame to not know how to use it better than just on automatic.

Each lesson comes with some assignments, or practice. While I don't expect to remember everything right off the bat (I am taking lots of notes in a small book that I can bring in my camera bag!), I am doing the practice shots to get the feel for things.

So that's my art for today (well, yesterday). I was out most of the day and just forgot to get the stuff posted...

These shots are with my zoom lens. I don't use it too often because I have found it hard to focus- but I am learning :)

Here is our dynamic duo, Riley (yellow) and Rosie (black). We got Riley as a puppy, and adopted Rosie from a rescue when she and Riley were both around a year old, back in May of this year. It couldn't have turned out better if we'd planned it :)

Riley, the loving and rambunctious rascal

Rosie, the sweet and gentle girl

My daughters insisted on buying wizard hats for the puppies for Halloween. They had them on for all of 5 seconds- so I had to be really fast with the camera! You never heard so much giggling in this house as those few seconds... the photos I got were worth the struggles of trying to keep the hats on and snapping away to get some pix... lol

 One of my rose bushes turned these beautiful fall colors this year! I planted this rose the first summer I moved here and it's really the only one that's survived. It's never turned these colors before either. I have no idea how this all works. But I thought I would like to have a photo of it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3

Today is just a doodle.

I have a migraine (still) and am not up to much, but I can always doodle :)

Tomorrow is an early start day and hopefully I will be feeling better- I have some creative things calling my name...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 2

Anyone who has been to my blog before knows I primarily work with fiber art, but I do creative things in many different mediums- it's too hard to stick with just one :)

For today's art, I decided to try and design something to go on our holiday cards this year. I always make our greeting cards because I enjoy it and it's a little bit of a personal touch that I think our recipients also enjoy.

I'm not sure if I will use this little guy or not, but he was a lot of fun to do anyway.

This is in a Strathmore 3"x 5" watercolor book. I just love this book because it's so small and light, but it will easily take anything I can throw at it. 

I did the sketch with a 2H pencil, outlined it with a Pigma Micron 05 pen in black, then added color with my very favorite Derwent Inktense pencils. I take these pencils with me often when I travel because they are so versatile and I just love what I can do with them.

So far, so good!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Art Every Day for a Month- Day 1

In the interest of kick-starting my creative juices, and getting back to where I feel I really need to be, I jumped in to the Art Every Day for a Month Challenge :)

It's not too late for you to join in if you are interested. It's a very relaxed challenge, check it out here and see what you think:

I am a very creative person overall, and I don't expect my endeavors to be of one kind only this month. I will be happy with myself if I get photos of my stuff posted every day! I look forward to the extra push this challenge will give me to be accountable to my time and my commitment.

For today, I started with a sketch. I love to draw, and this is a great time to practice. I need it too. lol

Now that I am looking at the photo, I can see where I need to make some adjustments in the fairy's body. I also need to flesh this out with shading and some color, but hey, at least I sat down and did sketched. That's a big deal for me- I'm not great at making time for myself during the day to do things that I love.

Also, I think I need to clean my camera lens. lol

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Working but not posting...

I don't know where this summer has gone... my son got married to a lovely young woman- so there was a whirlwind trip to Nova Scotia for a beautiful wedding... my eldest daughter decided she wanted to make some life changes and is now happily living here with us, going to school... we adopted a sweet girl to be Riley's BFF (another lab)... and somehow with all that and work and the other stuff that pops in and out of our lives... well, it's November tomorrow.

But I have been keeping very busy. I gardened all summer. Other than copious amounts of herbs, I didn't get much to SHOW for it all- but it was just great to be out there working with the plants all summer.

I made pickles and canned tomatoes and have put lots of veggies in the freezer. I have been cooking delicious dinners all summer, and enjoying myself immensely while doing it.

I have also been wading through fabric.

I made a stack of place mats for our table. I have been finishing up old projects- and- GASP- throwing out ones that I hate, are ugly, or aren't worth my time anymore. I am taking Heather's advice- if I have already learned what it has had to teach me and I don't want it- out it went. Boy, did that feel good.

And I have continued on my Elements series. The first was Water, my mermaid girl. She's done up to the point where I showed you. I won't finish any of them past that until I decide how to mount them- finish them- because I want them to have some unity as a group. I want them to be able to hang as a series, even though I expect to give one to each of my three daughters and they likely won't.

Anyway, the next one I have almost finished is Fire, my phoenix girl. I actually intended for her to be a dragon, but she came out a phoenix. Funny how that happens, isn't it???

Here she is, with all of the fibers and everything laid under the water soluble plastic. This plastic is top and bottom, and helps the sewing machine glide over the fibers- otherwise it would be a mess for sure!

Here is a closer look at her face, again done on Lutradur (photocopied on there from a sketch of mine) and then colored in with Prismacolors. I have used a variety of fibers throughout. For her hair: wool and silk rovings, Angelina, and ribbon. For her wings: dyed cheesecloth. For her body: various ribbons, crinkly cardboard, silk carrier rods, and thread.

Most of her hair is quilted in the photo below and one wing is done. Once the other wing is done, the body fibers are tacked down, and her face is outlined enough to hold it down, I can gently rinse off the plastic and let her dry.

I will show you what she looks like when I get to that stage. Which should be tomorrow, because I am determined to get started on the next one ASAP. I have all of the supplies I need and am itching to get her going. She's been in my head for a few days now and needs to come out!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Getting to work!

Howdy all!

As you may have noticed, I just posted photos from all of my color class projects. I still have to go back and fill in some details, such as how the project was made and how I "did" on each assignment.

I was one of those students that made more design mistakes than not, and boy, I learned a LOT in that class. I still have a lot of questions about color, and I have by no means figured it all out. But I have a better idea about how to look at things a little more objectively and that really helps.

After the color class finished, I took Heather's six-month design class. Much of the "homework"was very intimidating but I loved every minute of the classes. It was just exciting and fun and I learned SO much in exchange for overcoming my fear and diving in.

I would highly recommend this series of classes, the color class and the design class, for anyone in the area looking to make their own original art. Though Heather is a fiber artist, both of the classes had artists of all kinds in them: quilters, weavers, knitters, even sculptors. What Heather teaches applies to all of us who have that need in us to create!

There is another after the design class, the Series class. I had signed up but due to unforeseen circumstances, I just can't do it right now.

But that doesn't mean I am not making art!

I have had some ideas running through my mind for some time now and wasn't sure how to proceed, and frankly, didn't really have the confidence to even try.

Now I know, without a doubt, that it's okay if I fail. Because there is a pretty good chance I will- but I will learn while I do, so that's not really failure. I also know that I should only start out with an idea and let my work progress as it wants to, rather than having a stiff and unyielding plan. The pieces that you listen to and work with are always better than those you bend to your will.

I had the idea of making a series of the elements: water, fire, earth, and air or wind. I wanted a way to combine something I have drawn with fibers and other interesting things.

To start with, I took a face I drew a while back because she speaks to me right now. She seems calm and serene and is everything that I am not right now- but am striving to get to. She just naturally seemed to suit water, with it's soothing palette and gentle flow of things.

I copied my drawing onto Lutradur by cutting a piece of Lutradur to fit my printer and running it through. I did not treat the Lutradur with anything.

I colored her face using my Prismacolor pencils, which I LOVE, and then fused her face to a batik that looked like beautiful water to me.

I didn't have a specific plan for what came next, but I took an idea that I saw Tamara working on at the Golden Fiber Arts Studio just recently, and went to town!

Using both silk and wool roving, I tried to form her flowing hair. I used produce bags from the grocery store, some silk hankies, and some Red Heart Sashay "yarn"to make some base underneath her.

I made a mermaid tail with a piece of silk fusion. This is a technique I learned from Tamara at a class recently, and it suited this purpose wonderfully. I cut the rows of scales and attached them with some Wonder Under to tack it all temporarily and then I stitched it all, row by row.

When everything was where I thought it should be, I put a layer top and bottom of water soluble stabilizer, pinned the edges, and started quilting! I chose thread colors in the three main colors in the piece, violet, green, and blue green, and used them all over.

Lastly, I dissolved the stabilizer and now it is drying. I have no idea what it will look like when it is dry, and I am excited to see.

I haven't quite decided how I will finish this either. I want the series to be able to hang together and look cohesive, but I expect each one to be able to stand on it's own. Mostly because my 18 year old daughter Heidi has claimed this as her own already and can't wait to hang it in her room!

Color Class Lesson 12- Simultaneous Contrast

Color Class Lesson 11- Depth & Dimension

Color Class Lesson 10- Transparency

Color Class Lesson 9- Temperature

Color Class Lesson 8- Luminosity

Color Class Lesson 7- Tetrad

Color Class Lesson 6- Triadic

Color Class Lesson 5- Analogous

Oh my, how remiss I am in posting. I won't make excuses because there are none. I don't know why I stopped posting about my classes or art-making. But I am back!

I finished the color class and went right on to Heather's Design class. It was scary, challenging, but also more fun and enlightening than I would have thought it could be.

I am going to post the rest of my photos from the color class, and then go back and add the comments, let you know how I did. Because I have current projects I want to post about too, but I would like to keep these all together first.

For any of you who have been fortunate enough to take classes with Heather Thomas, you will know that she is kind but she doesn't lie. One of her favorite questions to any of us who needed to be told that we missed the mark in some way was "Have you got your big girl panties on?" lol Guess who heard that a LOT? Yes indeedy, it was me. A few times I was asked to pull up a chair because I was going to be there a while.

I went to that class to learn and while I can't say I was proud that I made a lot of mistakes, I am proud that I tried. I didn't take any of the criticism the wrong way, I listened, made notes, and I learned. It was a great experience overall. I still need a lot of practice.

Without further adieu, here is Lesson 5, Analogous colorways. I didn't exactly "pass" on this one,  design-wise.