Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The End of the Year

It's near the end of 2008; can you believe it? I'm proud of myself for sticking to my goal of creating weekly journals. I went to a mini-tutorial yesterday at the Apple store so I could learn how to upload pictures onto my Mac and here are the last two (sorry, I haven't learned yet how to adjust the sizing of the pictures; I hope to soon):

First, there are Christmas trees on pieced altered fabric. The background looked too vibrant when I finished painting so I covered it with a whitewash to dull it. It's still not great, but it's better than before.

I really like my final piece of the year: ash blue reproduction fabric painted with white and violet/white paint, stamped with the word "snow", then stenciled with silver and turquoise paint stick. Running stitches in ice blue and white sashico thread complete the piece. It looks a bit dull here, but in real life, it has nice depth to it.

I think the journal process was a very good one for me. I've certainly learned a lot since most of my pieces were little experiments. I've discovered that I absolutely love enhancing cloth with paint, whether I use gelatin plate printing techniques, mad dashes with a brush, or paint sticks. I've noticed that most of the pieces that were created more spontaneously turned out better than the ones I thoughtfully labored over. (In other words, I did better when I allowed myself to play than forced myself to "work"). Keeping my blog current was, as I suspected, a good motivator in staying up to date.

On the negative side, I realized that I don't give myself that much time to create my art. My little journal pieces primarily became my art for the year; I just didn't create that many pieces outside of my weekly 6 x 6s. I don't think it was enough. On reflection, it's a bit disappointing.

I'm still mulling over my goals for next year, one of which is whether or not to continue with my journals. They've been a creative exercise, but I'm trying to realistically resolve the time issue. Can I still make journals, but create other art besides? I'll let you know where I come out on that internal debate. The resolution of that will influence many of the other goals I'm contemplating - sort of domino-style.

I don't know that I'll have anything noteworthy to post tomorrow, so just in case, best wishes for the new year! Happy and safe celebrations!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Two sides of the story

Sydney's post:

My mom got a new mac. it is like a ticking time bomb. We've spent days trying to smooth out the imperfections. It has a lot. Mommy hasn't made any new art because she got a headache from trying to work with the Apple people.

But the computer has a hugeeeee screen. And I'm a technical genius, so no more problems.

Mommy's turn:

Sydney's is rightfully very proud of all the work she's done to get my new computer back on track. But now she's hovering, waiting for the next thing to explode. I'm hoping nothing will; I really want to start playing with this really cool computer. I'm hoping to figure out iPhoto in the next few days so I can upload my last two journal quilts for the year. I'm so pleased that I was able to stick with this throughout the year.

Look for another post soon (I hope, I hope).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Birthday Surprise

Yesterday, I received a birthday surprise from Natalya: one of her handmade necklaces! Isn't it beautiful? I put it on immediately to rave reviews. You can find more of her Sketched Fairytales jewelry and art at her Etsy store. The necklace was wrapped in a piece of painted dryer sheet that Natalya uses to such wonderful effect. We'll see what I can do with it.

What a good friend. Thank you, Natalya! Happy Birthday to you, too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Journal Countdown

My daughter's godmother has only boys, so she showers my daughter with all the frilly girly-girl things she loves. This past week, my daughter was thrilled to receive a package with a beautiful party dress and shawl in blues and browns. I didn't have a clue where to start with my journal, so I took out a brown striped fabric and colored over it with paintsticks. Next, I stamped a party dress onto a swatch left over from my New York City trip and created the tag. Finally, I added the bow from my daughter's present. Viola ... a journal quilt.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Circles and the Subconsious

Do you remember the ugly fabric I painted about a month ago? Here's a picture to refresh your memory:

For some reason, the fabric nagged at me. I decided to see if I could salvage it at all. First I painted some bubble-wrap in brown and printed on it. Better.

Then I added some silk strips and a swatch of orange sheer I picked up while in New York City. Much better!

Surprisingly, I've become so engaged with this piece I'm now embroidering around the edges of the red circles to help make them pop. Actually, it shouldn't really be such a surprise, now that I've uncovered my subconcious fascination with circles. See? Here it is influencing my work. But, I had no clue it was doing that. Boy, the subconscious sure can be sneaky.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I seem to go through periods during which I'm attracted visually to one thing more than another. I think my preference is simply an unexplained emotional reaction to a style or color that somehow resonates within me. I'm not sure why it happens when it does, but I'm definately "going through a phase" right now. I've looked through my recent pictures and discovered that I've taken lots of photos of circular images -- some natural, some man-made. Here's a sampling:

I love seeing the rings of the trees within the logs.

There are little circles on top of construction cones! Who knew? (You need to enlarge the picture to see them.)

No explanation needed for this one...

Double-click to get a close-up of this picture -- the pattern of the paint between the letters is just so cool!

I think this is the end of a cable spool, left behind to merge with the landscape. What do you think it is?

The sunflower -- one of my favorite natural circles. I admit to having lots of sunflower pictures.

Has this sort of thing ever happened to you?

Monday, December 8, 2008


To the delight of my youngest daughter, we had some flurries last week. In my journal, I decided to use two of the stitches on my machine to represent the falling snow. I couldn't find any solid blue in my stash, so I tried to paint over a commercial print. Interestingly enough, this is the back side of the fabric because I couldn't hide the gold lines on the front. You can still see some of the print but here it works well as a representation of the swirling wind. Two little sculpey clay hands that were languishing in my junk bowl have become my daughter's hands, outstretched to greet the new snow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A New Tradition

There was a line outside the door before 9:00 am. Those waiting were so thankful to receive bananas and apples to sustain them until the doors officially opened at 1:00 pm. The doors were unlocked just for us and we snuck past the waiting crowd, feeling guilty, like we were cutting in line.

For two hours the five of us wrapped forks and knives in napkins and set row upon row of plates -- wrapped utensils then went to the left of the plate, soup spoons to the right, dessert spoons above, water glass as well. Bowls of crackers and butter were put out on each table.

The tables were finally set for Thanksgiving dinner.

Over the last couple of years it's become a tradition in our family to forego cooking a Thanksgiving meal for ourselves. Instead, we go to a soup kitchen about 20 minutes away from our home to serve others. Last year, we served about 50. This year, more than 200 people were expected (I don't know what the final count actually was).

I can't get rid of the image of the orange and light brown plastic covering the rows of long rectangular tables, each set with lines of white plastic plates. I had to recreate a piece of it here. Seeing the need, I think we'll be serving at Christmas, too.