Saturday, May 28, 2011

Liquitex Playtime on a Rainy Day

Rain.  More Rain.  We've had enough Rain!  But there's a pleasant side effect.  Even here on the coast where we are supposed to be used to rain, we get tired of it....and then we stay inside and do something else that pleases us.  My house is clean, the floors are washed, I baked, and then decided I'd do something in my studio. 

I perused the situation in there.....had a look at a number of different projects on the go.  Several quilts ready to be quilted, but I didn't feel like getting the table cleared and set up for quilting.  One project on the design wall, which is arguing with me so I didn't want to tackle that one.  Some dolls I could finish.  Some mending to do.  Some hand stitching to do.  And amongst all these started projects I couldn't find anything I wanted to do so I started something new!'s better than retail therapy isn't it? 

So I decided on a journal page.  8 1/2 x 11 for size.  I've had an idea percolating at the back of my mind after seeing all the eclectic funky houses in my Mum & Dad's neighborhood (see my post of March 2, 2011).  I thought why not do a small version of it and see how it works. wasn't long before I was buried in scraps and having scads of fun with my machine. 

I had a piece of fabric that I scrunched up, dampened and painted with Liquitex Inks.  The experiment was to see how much differently/the same it worked like fabric paint.  Here are some photos of the results.  It seems it worked very much like fabric paint in this method. 

This piece seemed like a good choice for the background as I wanted to portray bright sunny skies but with lots of snow and ice on the ground.  I used it so that the darker green areas got covered and the white/pink/light blue areas showed.  It has a little bit of Liquitex pearlescent medium in parts, and I hoped that would be the sparkle off the snow. 

Next to the houses.  I used only scraps and most of them in the shape they were already, just trimming here and there.  These were glued down on the background with a bit of UHU glue stick (I'm not a fan of fusing).  From there I proceeded to stitch the pieces down with satin stitch.  It wasn't long before I was trying out the variety of stitches my little machine offers as embellishment.  Here are the results so far.  I should iron things before I photograph them!

I have another piece of fabric done while I was playing around with the Liquitex Inks.  This one was a "mono print".  The inks, thickened a bit with the opalescent medium, were painted onto a big ceramic tile.  When I was pleased with the arrangement of the colors, I put a dry piece of pfd cotton on it and rolled it with a little brayer.  It was left sitting there for about 5 minutes and then lifted.  Here is what came of that experiment: 

I plan to cut this piece and use the brownish red piece on the bottom to add a "sidewalk" to the bottom of my little "cityscape", and then will quilt the little journal page.  When that's done,  I will do a bit of hand embellishing with beads and buttons and whatever else I can find.    All in all, great fun on a rainy day! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mother's Day at the Beach

I heard from all my children, still children in my mind despite their mature ages, early in the day.  I called my own mother, age 82, and she was already out with my cousin but I had a delightful conversation with my Dad!  He was home fielding all the "mother's day" calls.  I puttered around in the house and noticed the floral delivery van going up and down our road 8 times before I set out to walk the dog.

So, all that being done, and being on my own for the day, I decided to take the dog for a walk on the beach.  Such a privilege to have the beach accessible on a daily basis.  I packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a thermos of tea, my sketching kit, and off I went with the dog.  We walked a good long way until I decided on the picnic table I would rest at with my sandwich and tea. 

It was a beautiful sunny day.   I passed evidence of other peoples' exuberance, in the photograph above, and was such a delight to be able to spend my time in this way.  Tuffy and I sat at a table, munched on our snacks, sipped on our tea, and sketched in my journal.  I'm not a dedicated journal keeper, but this particular day it was a pleasure.  Here's a photo of my inspiration.... not anything at the beach, but something that has struck my heart with it's simple beauty.  They are "Pink Fawn Lilies"
and there's a huge patch of them behind our fence, growing wild, as well as a bunch of them scattered along the trail I walk with the dog in the morning.  Here's more information on them:

When I got home I sent an email to my three sons telling them how lucky they were.  I had seen the floral delivery van going up and down our road about 8 times before I went out with the dog.  My youngest son replied that he couldn't afford it this year, but that he would like to take me on a vacation for Mother's Day some time soon.  Nice.....let's make it tropical with a swim-up bar!  Number Two son said he had weeded the flower bed in his front yard and thanked me for the incentive to get that done!  Number One son cracked me up.  His response was "Are you guys under surveillance?  If I saw a floral delivery van going up and down my road 8 times, the last thing I would be thinking of would be mothers!"  Now that made me laugh!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Art of a Different Sort....with Rocks!

We have finally been blessed with some decent weather, which instantly takes me outside into the yard.  Being a yard we've only lived in for one year, there is lots to do!  The house was neglected and deserted for about five years before we bought it at a bargain price.  The yard was a disaster.  It is a conglomeration of buttercups, dandelions, moss, fuzzy fernlike ground cover and one really obnoxious weed I can't identify but let me tell you it STINKS when I pull it out!  But this is a picture of our "Pink Champagne" clematis in bloom already!

I've been mowing, weeding, shaping beds, planting, moving dirt to fill low spots and pruning.  But there came a point where one bed is almost complete, which brings me to the point where I absolutely HAVE to embellish it with some of my rock and pebble collection.  So.....having reached this point, I had to get the buckets and bags of rocks that I moved with us (yes, I move my favorite rocks from house to house, and I know where I got them all! it an obsession!).  I think it interesting that this one looks like a paw print, but I didn't realize it until I photographed it!  Remembering my special dog, Buddy, subconsciounsly. 

But my collection was in a state of disarray having been left in storage over the winter in their various containers.  There was nothing to do but pour a glass of wine, sit down in the sun, and sort my collection.  My husband thought I was nuts.  Of course I had to have some water to wash them off and new containers to sort them according to my plan....the really black ones will go in the bird bath, the olive green ones (quite rare) will be in a bowl that is featured in the garden, the red ones we got in Montana , on a very special vacation, will be kept separate, the weird shaped ones will be used as features, also in the garden, and the flat ones I can't resist picking up will be little "cairns" dotting the landscaping!  I've sprinkled this post with photos of my afternoon of sorting and organizing.....if there's a rock lover out there that sees this post, I know they'll understand!  And here's a photo of my collection of heart shaped rocks, begun when I lost my dear friend "Buddy".  A Rottweiller who wanted to be a lap dog! 

Friday, May 06, 2011

A lesson in contrast well learned! Liquitex Inks!

I was working on a project using Liquitex Inks.  I've had it in previous posts.  I finished it!!!  Did you read that correctly????  I FINISHED IT!!!  Here's a close up photo: 

And then there's "Show & Tell" at our groups recent retreat.  It was set out on display with several other 12 x 12 "tree challenges".  I was HORRIFIED !!!!  There is my beautiful and well loved project looking bland with no focus.  The color of the tree I chose to put on the inked silk background doesn't show from 10 feet away.  Talk about a lesson in looking at things from a distance as well as right at arms length.  The little tree I chose to put in there fades into the background and is lost! Here's a picture from a distance.  See how the tree is lost on the horizon? 

So my only recourse is to replace the tree with something that offers more contrast.  Oddly enough, when I was working on it I made two little thread trees.  The one in these photos, and a blue one.  As soon as I saw the tree was not enough contrast I decided I needed to replace it with the darker one I stitched at the same sitting.  But.......I can't find it!!!  I've cleaned my entire studio and organized all my supplies, UFO's and threads.  That darker trees is not to be found.  So, now that I've wasted more time than it would take to stitch a new one looking for the one I have already done but can't find.....I'm stitching away making new one with more contrast.  And here I thought I'd tidied my studio rather well!

A good lesson learned about stepping back and looking at your work from a distance.  Or perhaps it's a lesson in needing a bigger studio so that I CAN step back to look at it.....either way, next post should be the finished project with a tree that shows from any viewpoint! *sigh* :(