Monoprinting Fun

Hello All! I feel like I’ve been away forever, even though I’ve been sewing and crafting the whole time.

This week I took another class with Jane LaFazio, learning how to use a gelli art printing plate to create some fun monoprint “masterpieces.” In these classes I tend to forge ahead toward a finished product, then I love to step back and use the skills I’ve learned to create new things at home.

Print Once, Use in Multiple Projects

This is a layered technique, not only in the making but in the using. Collage and layering are fun challenges for me (it’s hard to cover up stuff I love and let the “next thing” emerge). First I used acrylic paint and a variety of resist material to create some fun patterns on rice paper. I gathered them in color palettes below.

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Of course it was windy at photo time – the shell from the garden helped.
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These are both uncut because I’m just not seeing it…yet. P.S. The gals at the table next to me loved both of these images. So I’ma give it some time…

Color Palette #2

I was in too much of a hurry toward a finished product in class, so I wasn’t able until today to leisurely stroll through my prints and find my various color palettes. It was really fun to discover the color families I ended up making and I can’t wait to make some more (and work these into new projects).

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I got an encyclopedia page in the mix, though the paint coverage isn’t very delineated (learning…). I think the upper right is my overall favorite – I like the mix of colors and shapes.

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Wait, the bottom right is my new favorite. The red “roses” were made with rubber bands!

 

Color Palette #3

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I added the seahorses afterwards from a rubber stamp I carved.
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The purple and the swirls show up a little differently in this angle.

Color Palette #4

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These are bolder than the rest – I like them!

 

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In Process

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I’m using a gel matte as glue to attach my favorite pieces to a 12 x 12 gesso board.

Ta-dah!

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It needs a second layer of varnish but I’m digging it as a first effort!
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Art Quilting: In Progress

This weekend I took another wonderful class with Jane LaFazio and I’m having a great time finishing my small art quilt. Following Jane’s suggestion I took this opportunity to commemorate a fun trip in an art quilt. My family was fortunate enough to visit Turkey a few years ago and I *just almost* finished the scrapbook from the trip. So I raided the box of leftover souvenirs and I’m creating this art quilt as a final homage and memory creation of that travel experience.

Jane taught us how to incorporate paper and cloth into our base quilt, then we began embellishing each quilt square in anticipation of putting them back together again. Here’s a few shots of my WIP…(I’ve wondered more than once how this will all come together, but I’m seeing it now and getting more and more excited with each finished square and re-working of the pattern).

We'll start with squares I think are close to finished
We’ll start with squares I think are close to finished. I captured the city of Foca in this map segment because it was a favorite for us. The beads are from a bracelet we found on the street there.

 

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Museum ticket, beads, cloth, various threads (the first name of our guide appears in this quilt block “Marina” – her last name is on another block.) First I tried a new zig-zag stitch across the bottom in crewel yarn that I didn’t really like so I wound up the thread with the stem and outline stitch around the feather (better)…then worked up the beads with some metallic thread (they’re cool – turquoise inside and copper around the edges)…and wound up back on the weird zig-zag stitch with more beads. I think it comes together pretty well…it took some time though…

 

The paper at the top of this quilt square is from a bag of nuts we bought at a wonderful store on the coast of Turkey. A whole store dedicated to dried fruits and nuts - so yummy!
The paper at the top of this quilt square is from a bag of nuts we bought at a wonderful store on the coast of Turkey. A whole store dedicated to dried fruits and nuts – so yummy! More embellishment is probably in store for that bottom piece of material…we shall see what happens after I attach everything. This piece of paper makes me very happy in this quilt. It might get center billing…

 

We have another patch of blue here that may or may not get further embellishment. I enjoyed bringing the scroll pattern down into the green on this one, and the red thread is a variegated gift from a class member - so it needed to jump on board. :)
We have another patch of blue here that may or may not get further embellishment (it doesn’t show in the picture but the material is silk with blue on one side and pink on the other – the sheen is amazing). I enjoyed bringing the scroll pattern down into the green on this one, and the red thread around the “Turqui” logo is a variegated gift from a class member – so it needed to jump on board. ūüôā

 

Unfinished Business

I thought this one was done in class, but it's starting to look like it needs some more...
I thought this one was done in class, but it’s starting to look like it needs some more. (The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts was wonderful and highly recommended.)

 

Lots of options here...the bracelet is an example of Turkish crochet called "oya" that I bought there.
Lots of options here…the bracelet is an example of Turkish crochet called “oya” that I bought there.

 

Last quilt square that hasn't been finished. This is another oya piece I bought there - looks to me like it needs a little needlework closet to hang in...
Last quilt square that hasn’t been finished. This is another oya piece I bought there – looks to me like it needs a little needlework closet to hang in…

I’ll share finished product when I get there.

Making and crafting to my heart’s content and hoping the same for you…

Flowers in Portland, Oregon

I’m ¬†traveling for work this week and because we use Airbnb for accommodations I’ve found myself in such a charming neighborhood that I now have dreams of buying a home here. OK – it’s not a new dream, but I found my new dream neighborhood.

I took a walk this evening¬†in my neighborhood and captured these moments of Portland love. I miss this area so much! (I¬†lived in Eugene, OR for 5 years and Seattle, WA for another 5 years – it’s such a cool ¬†lifestyle these folks are living – jealous!).

I love the garage underneath the front porch on this one!20160427_193150

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Frothy goodness
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Rhodies!
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Not sure what this is but I sure love it
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Iris Amazing
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More amazing rhodie love
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Iris Crazy

 

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Rhodie Magic

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These beauties growing out of a random wall

Always love visiting this area. How lucky all you inhabitants are…

Needle Lace: Waves

I’ve been working on a needle lace pattern I created to represent a set of waves and I really like how it turned out. I enjoy in-process pics so I’m posting¬†a few.

How It Started

I stitched a few free-drawn leaf patterns first that I liked and didn’t like (yes on silk thread outline, no on structural veins that don’t connect because lace loses its shape).

So then I tried this wave pattern sketch of mine…

my base pattern
my base pattern

 

a few waves stitched: 2 threads per wave
a few waves stitched: 2 threads per wave

 

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Silk and metallic thread combinations

 

Finished product

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left side
left side

 

right side
right side

 

next to the pattern
next to the pattern

I’m really loving how this wave pattern came out matching my expectations for movement in thread. And now an artist friend has suggested that I abstract this pattern and go bigger…I’m hooked and thinking….how can one abstract a needlelace pattern…I have ideas….

 

 

Encyclopedias from the 1940’s

Oh what a great (free) find today!!

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Cover image from the 1940’s encyclopedias…ah the dreams…!

A few months ago I signed up for a site called nextdoor-dot-com (syntax to avoid spam) that has turned out to be a great app that¬†keeps me posted on neighborhood happenings (I think it’s US-only in scope but surely there are others?) Subject matter ranges from lost dogs (I’ve¬†posted¬†in this category more than once, maybe because I live on a corner?) to police/criminal activity (good to know!) to free stuff¬†(be still my heart!)…so an overall amazing channel to tune into as it relates to the streets around my house, right?!

This morning someone two streets over posted a note about “boxes of encyclopedias from 1947-49 with spine damage and some mold.” I think keywords “boxes” and “mold”¬†might have scared off the average person, but this crafter was all alerts on the ready! Turns out it was just a few stacks of some vintage books I’ve been trying to manifest for about 2 years. Maps and everything y’all…and I’ve¬†only seen a tiny suggestion of the possibility of moldish tendencies on one picture. a.k.a. A¬†Gold Mine!! I’ll be stamping seahorses on these pages very soon…

Without Further Ado and For Your Viewing Pleasure
(my two favorite introductions)

The spine and cover already intrigue me – they almost look like leather!

Random Pages

So I started opening books at random pages (before M.¬†started frantically boxing¬†them all up – I think he only got the “mold” alert and was a little worried…understandably).

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The first page I opened: “Hostesses of the White House”
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Different book: We’re learning how to make arrowheads now…

I honestly didn’t try to find the CA map too hard (I still don’t know which parts of the alphabet I have in this book set – they went into boxes way too fast), but this opened up pretty quickly during my photo search and I latched onto the kismet.

 

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This is part of a six-page spread on animals and plants you’ll find in the “Rain Forest.”

Zoiks right? I can’t wait to look through all these books in my non-copious free time in which I am preparing my future artistic career. Getting right on that…but really, what a fun find. I better¬†become a Certified Organizer immediately to deal with my ever-growing craft¬†supply (I just made that up, but I feel certain people are making money doing that today…DIY!!).

Everything’s Coming up Roses!

My across-the-street neighbor grows only roses (she has over 200 different kinds, all with little signs stating their names!). I refer to her as The Rose Lady on my dog walks when people ask where I live (“across from the Rose Lady”) which always gets a resounding, “Oh yeah!” Everybody knows The Rose Lady, and we’re lucky enough to see her garden from our bedroom window every day.

She encourages everyone to cut a bouquet whenever they want so I headed over this (warm) afternoon to trim a few blooms and plunge them in water.

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I lined them up on the floor for easiest pictures…and now I want to leave them there!
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An army of roses!
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I love this splatter pattern. These remind me of candy.
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These rose petals are orange on the outside and red on the inside. I couldn’t capture the beauty of the whole bouquet.
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I enjoyed placing the cute red bouquet in the middle of these pinkies.

P.S. Marge is doing well and headed back to the care facility (from the hospital). Thanks for all your positive thoughts.

Carving Rubber Stamps (and I bought some amazing gourds!)

Today I went to Oceanside Museum of Art and took a class from Jane LaFazio to learn how to carve my own rubber stamp. It was a great class…but before we get to that…I got there an hour early…

And there was an art show in the streets!

So I got to browse around and found one of my favorite artists, Grace Swanson (GourdsByGrace.com). I bought a beautiful gourd from her last year that incorporated a dyed pine needle trim and woven antique silk kimono material. Today I found two new pieces I just HAD to have (I went back to her booth after class for a beaded gourd I had seen earlier, but got stars in my eyes over these two beauties and there was no going back).

She "chip carved" the outside of this gourd (involves a special tool that makes a notch or chip, then you scoop toward the notch). Then she dyed the notches.
She “chip carved” the outside of this gourd (involves a special tool that makes a notch or chip, then you scoop toward the notch). Then she dyed the notches.

She often scoops out her gourds (and sometimes appliques cool textures inside) but this one is left whole so the seeds inside shake around a little (I like that :).

Then there’s this piece of magic…

Grace carved the outside of this one then painted it (it's a flat little gourd - belly button on the back :).
Grace carved the outside of this one then painted it (it’s a flat little gourd – belly button on the back :).

 

I love this oblong cut in the top (jagged on the painted edge and smooth on the back edge).
I love this oblong cut in the top (jagged on the carved/painted edge and smooth on the back edge).

 

Trying to capture some of the glitter of the paint
Trying to capture some of the glitter of the paint

I was so glad to get the chance to see her work again and chat with her about her materials and process (she also does spectacular pine coiling and she uses Montezuma pine needles from Texas – we talked about the differences between those and the Torrey Pine needles in my neighborhood). Getting to add to my “Gourds by Grace” collection was icing on today’s cake.

And Now, Some Rubber Stamps

The class with Jane LaFazio was everything I hoped for and more. I spoke with someone who is taking one of her online courses as well and they come highly recommended. I got to see this gal’s art journal from the class (water colors and sketching) – so elegant and exactly the kind of skill I’d like to learn. I’m sure I’ll be signing up for the next one of those.

So we started with¬†something called a “gum eraser” to get some practice and create something small.

I went with a wavy pattern. I call this my "water phase." :P
I went with a wavy pattern. I’m in what I call my “water phase.” ūüėõ

I borrowed the carving tools from the museum but I’m definitely going to invest in my own set because this is a fun and easy way to make amazing reusable patterns. In the class we talked about making Christmas cards, printing tote bags, combining these patterns with watercolor painting – the possibilities are endless. Some people¬†made a printed envelope in class with some brown paper, and the teacher showed an example that she¬†stamped, scanned and printed on vellum. So many options!!

tbd
My next design was a seahorse. I’m proud of the detail I was able to achieve in his body and fin (I worked thru the lunch break :). I’m planning to cut away more background so he isn’t framed with a rectangle.

So the bottom right design is my first print test after cutting out the seahorse (I kind of like the black background). Then I went through a series of trimming and printing to get at the effect I was after.

My stamp, next to some trial prints and a first drawing rev
My stamp, next to some trial prints and a first drawing rev (the yellow-green paint represents where I’ll shave next to get rid of some of that “chatter”)

 

The teacher likes to work with black ink so she can watercolor the insides, but colored ink yields some cool results too...
The teacher likes to work with black ink so she can watercolor the insides, but colored ink yields some cool results too…

What a fun day and an interesting class. The materials for this are not too expensive (cutting tool, some rubber pads and ink) and the results are really fun to play with (I haven’t even started to play with coloring in my designs with pencils and water colors). I saw some really artistic renderings today from folks who have some experiences with these stamps. We also learned ways to repeat patterns and create mosaic type designs. This might play a role in this year’s Christmas cards…

Sending Love to Marge

I learned this evening that our beloved Marge broke her pelvis yesterday and she’s in good care while Aaron is stuck at home (without his beloved Marge).

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Please take a moment to close your eyes and send healing thoughts to 93-year-old Marge and her life partner Aaron, who awaits her return home.

Excited About What’s Next: Classes and a CAL!

I have WIPs, I have Done Stuff and I’m signed up for more – yippee!

Signed up for More…

Through a friend I made at the Art and Soul Retreat (who doesn’t live locally) I found an artist and teacher who DOES live locally – right here in San Diego!! I’m beyond excited and even though she offers online classes that look awesome, I’ve signed up for three in-person classes to learn some new skills.

Artist and Teacher Jane LaFazio

Jane LaFazio teaches lots of cool skills I can’t wait to learn!! (her website, her blog, her teaching schedule – including online classes you can take from anywhere!!)

I’m signed up for these in-person classes over the next month:

  • Stamp Design & Carving
  • City Block Art Quilt
  • Abstract Collage with Gelli Plates for Mono Printing

These are some art techniques I’ve been wanting to learn more about so I’m delighted and thrilled to have the opportunity to take some all-day classes with an artist. Of course I’ll share pics of my learnings!!

Done Stuff

At my last machine sewing class I made a small zipper bag. I love first attempts because of their history…and yet, so much to learn about elegant machine zipper stitching…it’s kinda wrinkly…

My first zipper bag (complete with trick cover-up stitching on this side)
My first zipper bag (complete with trick cover-up quilting¬†on this side…which is now my favorite side because that feather stitch is cool!)

I’m not sure how I feel about stitching zippers. I need to stitch more to have a valid opinion. I’m slightly afraid of stitching more…and so I must. (P.S. My attempts in class to stitch a button hole sent my sewing machine to the hospital, but good news! It’s fixed and ready to sew¬†another seam…and zipper…and, uhm, gulp, buttonhole? I better check youtube first…)

I want to add that I took my tote bag to the local pet store on tonight’s dog walk (along with my zipper bag, which carried my credit card, DL and phone) and everything fit in my tote bag for the walk home: big bag of dog food, other sausage things we add to his food and my zipper bag). I want to make a million more…tote bags. ūüôā

CAL (Crochet-A-Long? never typed that out before)

I’m happy to be part of a Crochet Along offered by Scheepjes.

I love this colorway
I love this colorway

This pattern is inspired by a blogger who I happened to find as inspiration in early 2015, and I’m happy to commemorate her contributions in this CAL. The colors are blueish-green and yummy and I can’t wait to get started.

Found on a Dog Walk

We found this tiny creation on the sidewalk y’all (thumb included for size reference).

We found this tiny creation on the sidewalk y'all (thumb included for reference).

At first glance it might look like it’s made from a paperclip (that’s what I thought), but it has a silver tag that suggests soldering, so now I’m intrigued…and inspired to write a haiku (lucky you!)…

treble

It was on the ground
Silver treble and bass clef
Left for me and you?

WIPs (Works In Progress)

OK – enough poetry posturing. It was fun while it lasted and I’m going to save that little silver creation for one of my future art works. (I think it might get sewn onto my “City Block Art Quilt”!)

In the meantime, I’m off to work on my newest needle lace pattern…

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I tried variegated thread and a larger pattern on the brown leaf with mixed results. Now working the surf pattern with metallic and silk threads…digging it so far… pics to come…(sorry for poor lighting)

Let me know if you have any cool zipper bag patterns I can try and/or if you sign up for the CAL.

Rule #1 in Learning a Craft: Learn How to Fix Mistakes

I took dance classes for about 20 years…

Same year: Recital included the Pink Panther theme song and "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Don't miss the orange shag carpet and my feather headdress!
This year’s recital included the Pink Panther theme song (acrobatics) and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (tap). Don’t miss the orange shag carpet and my feather headdress!

One of the things I learned early on is the value of learning how to fix mistakes¬†(in dance this involves keeping your face in the right configuration – usually a huge smile unless it’s modern dance – and moving around dramatically until you catch up. It works¬†every single time…even in real life sometimes…).

Fixing Sewing Mistakes

Today I prepared¬†for my last sewing machine lesson (which is tomorrow), and to get the most out of my time (still have to finish up those pj’s) I prepared some things ahead of time for another project: a small zip-up bag made from the remnants of the tote bags. I want to learn about my machine’s zipper foot and button-sewing attachment before the day is over (I’m just going to sew¬†two random pieces of material to button together – not digging the pillow cover with buttons she’s offering – it’s cute, we just have too many pillows already).

The teacher suggested that I just cut out my pieces and bring them to class, but I decided to work ahead on the instructions as much as I could. So this brought me to quilting two pieces of material together with batting in between. Only I forgot to add the 2nd piece of material to the back of the first one (basically “quilted” the batting to one layer of material…not exactly “quilting”), and I got a line of stitch in on the second piece before I remembered. Ah well, forging ahead…

When I was done I had one piece quilted properly (the lining material with the¬†batting makes it looks a little puffy), and one piece that was stitched “like” it was quilted – but it was completely flat (missing the attached lining piece). I thought about just using it as is and letting the seam stitches hold things together, but¬†one of the linings would have been wriggling around inside the bag if I did that so I got creative. I tried a decorative stitch on my new machine!!!

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top piece is quilted to original design; bottom piece has been amended with feather stitch on top of the original vertical lines to fuse the lining piece to the batting

I am MOST IMPRESSED with myself for getting all those feather stitches directly on top of that already stitched line (of course I HAD to use a lighter color thread for “creative purposes” – which shows everything). Looks like I did it on purpose now (though I probably won’t make this decision again as a design choice – pain in the butt to line those stitch lines up).

Once again I have learned a new and important skill: how to undo or fix sewing machine mistakes (P.S. the seam ripper was involved on this one because I also sewed 3/4 of a row of feather stitch with no thread in the lower bobbin Рdoh!).

Can we also take a moment of silence to enjoy my nearly perfect 45 degree angles on those lines (heck, maybe they’re perfect! They look perfect to me!!). I used another new sewing tool to do that (it’s just a huge flat ruler with a bunch of angles and stuff printed on it) but¬†there was almost math involved, as well as a dull piece of sewer’s chalk from my 7th grade home ec class, and I had to sit down and think about it for a second.

Flower Time!

Meanwhile on today’s dog walk, one of my favorite flowers:

Amaryllis - These usually show up a bit earlier in the year here...shifting weather patterns
Amaryllis – These usually show up a bit earlier in the year here…shifting weather patterns