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December 15, 2015

Making More Christmas Tree Ornaments

I just finished making my second group of Christmas Tree Ornaments, these were for adults in our family and a few friends.  During the summer I stamped many pieces of hand dyed fabric with a wood stamp, my first experience with a stamp of that kind. I used Jacquard Lumiere Textile paints, a sponge, and a stamping pad to get clear images.  The irregularities in the paint are actually gold flcecks!

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I didn't think about the design for an ornament until last week, but I knew I wanted it to be even more sparkly.  The tree was stitched to a dark green fabric with small gold metallic stars, right sides together, and then turned.   I had several spools of YLI Kaleidoscope green metallic thread in my stash, and decided to stitch around the branches.  This was the only tedious part of the process, but I actually liked the challenge!  This picture hopefully shows the metallic thread stitches.

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Here are the final ornaments, and one already hanging on our tree.    

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Now that the 2015 ornaments are finished, I need to set up my Santa Workshop for gifts for our grandchildren.  A few of them outgrew their minky blankets from several years ago, so now they requested BIG ones.   No one in my family starts to think about Christmas until December - or maybe I wouldn't be sewing so much now!

     

December 1, 2015

A Pathway From One Creative Idea to Another

Fabio Consoli, one of the faculty from the Sketchbook Skoolhouse Stretching online class, wanted us to explore "child's play," combining a child's drawing with ours.  My grandson Zach made the figure on the right and I completed the picture with figures from my own imagination.  Here is the original blog post about this homework assignment.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2015/05/sketchbook_skool_homework_for.php 

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I was doing a 100 day challenge at the same time - drawing from my imagination - and eventually Axel (the figure on the left) was featured in many of my drawings, and he even acquired a girl friend.  I asked Zach to help me create a back story and he said that Axel and Alice were from the moon and their head shapes were determined by the phase of the moon at their birth.  They were playing in Axel's Mother's space ship and accidently started it.  They are very confused by Earth.

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I sketched Axel and Alice many times over the next months, eventually leading me to "draw" Axel on Fabric. 

During July I spent part of every day dying fabric and one of my projects was to create Axel and Alice on fabric by drawing and painting the fabric with Procion MX dyes. 

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I make many Christmas ornaments for family and friends, an annual project since my own 3 children were born more than 40 years ago.  Now I'm making Axel ornaments for our 8 grandchildren + one for our tree.

I scanned the dye painting of Axel and resized him (6 inches long) in Photoshop.  The JPEG was transferred to a piece of fabric on a plastic support (EQ Printed Treasure Premium Cotton Satin) and 9 copies were made using an Epson Artisan 50 Photo Ink Jet Printer.

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Each Axel was then sewn to a backing and lightly stuffed to hang on our family Christmas trees.  Here is a finished ornament. 

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And here are all 9 that I made - for 8 grandchildren + our tree. 

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November 3, 2015

International Quilt Festival - 2015

I just returned from my annual trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas.  In high school I became a seamstress, then in 1980, while living in Texas, I learned how to make quilts.  By 1990 I was starting to dye and design fabric and loved mixing dyes and painting them on silk.  Watercolor painting became a natural extension after I retired.  But I only acquire new interests and don't easily give up the old ones.  This was my 30th annual visit to Quilt Festival where I look at 100s of quilts, take classes, and replenish supplies.

The Houston Convention Center is huge - think multiple football fields, and is now undergoing more building and renovation.  All 3 floors are devoted to this event and the last attendance record I heard, which was several years ago, was 55,000 attendees.

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I painted once each full day I was there, and here are my sketchbook pages.  Jane Dunnewold's class was about working in a series, and we had many exercises to do during our 3 hours of discussion.  In one of the final exercises we had to quickly write down lists of words that we associated with colors.  Of greatest interest were the half of the class that hate purple and had lots of bad associations with it. 

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My next class required 3 hours of sewing and I didn't paint during the session.  But I did draw one of my favorite dolls from the Hoffman Challenge Doll Exhibit as I walked through the exhibit areas. 

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My third day and class was with Judy Coates Perez and we dyed and painted fabric using Acrylic Inks.  Wow!  the textures created were gorgeous, and were very different than those achieved with dyes.  But they also are not completely water resistant, making them better for art quilts that will never be washed. 

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August 11, 2015

July Was Surface Design Month

I spent the month of July playing with fabric and dyes.  I use the fabric as bookcloth for my watercolor sketchbooks and a variety of other projects.  It takes me awhile to get out all of the dyes, tools, containers, and PFD fabric (prepared for dying), so I love it when I can find blocks of time to concentrate on fabric dying.  Then I can leave everything out in my apartment, play creatively, and dye lots of fabric in a short time. I used procion MX dyes, low immersion dying, fabric folding, clamping, monoprinting, corn dextrin and soy wax resists.

This is a photo of my total output for the month - July 2 - 31, working 1-3 hours per day for 19 days during the month.  I made over 20 tree stamped pieces of fabric and a total of 4 thick dye drawings of Axel and Alice.  The two best ones were on this blog already (July 31st).  The small piles of fabric in the middle and left were samples on which I was working out designs.

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On the left above, and spread out below, are 32 pieces of fabric (12 X 22") that can be used for bookcloth, but I'm sure that I will use it for other sewing as the need arises.

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I wanted to try a technique I learned from Susie Monday at a Craftsy demonstration at Quilt Festival in 2013.  I did a color drawing on a silk screen with Neocolor II crayons, and then used Golden Silkscreen Medium and a squeegee to transfer the print to fabric.  This is the first print - darker than I expected - but I probably left the medium on a little too long before pulling the print. 

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This is the second print - with a Sakura Pigma Micron pen outline to restore some of the shape lines.  The third print was too pale.  I could have added more crayon, but didn't.

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My final project:  Figuring out how to use the tree wood stamp (which I'll probably use to make some Christmas ornaments), and my first dye painting of Axel.  The thick dye was not quite think enough, the drawing line spread, and I continued to use this piece as a test sample while painting another drawing of Axel and Alice. 

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I'm thrilled that I set aside many blocks of time for one month to play creatively.  Some days I dyed 4-6 pieces of fabric, and the next day just had to wash out the excess dye.  Then I thought about other experiments as I went around the City, ready to begin again the next day.  I have a totally different mind set when I have unlimited supplies and a spirit of experimentation and play.  I made a list of techniques that I know and then added some new things to try - realizing they could be awful and need further manipulation. 

April 8, 2015

Zach Makes a New Mouse

Rice Mice are very important in our family.  I started making them for my children decades ago and now I make them for and with my grandchildren.  There is an important story about their origin, and when I first posted it, I had many requests for the pattern and the book.  You can read the story here  

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2010/10/rice_mice_are_nice_mice.php 

 

My 5 year old Grandson Zach and I had a playdate during Spring Break , and he asked if he could make one with me on my sewing machine.  He chose the fabric and buttons, and sat on my lap at the sewing machine to control the foot pedal.  He added the rice and I stitched up the opening.

Zach and his New Rouse Mouse

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The Rouse Mouse 

 

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Zach and Charlie Compare Rice Mice:  

My oldest son's family has accumulated a whole family of Rice Mouse, and Charlie wanted to join the picture with his mouse. 

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Their Family of Rice Mice

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