Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Australia Bound in my mind

It is halt time on my Israel souvenir. I've finished it except for the facing. I'm not happy with the sampling I've done for nice, sharp corners for facings so until I can figure it out, I must move on. A traditional binding just isn't going to do it for this one.

I've been drawing and drawing and drawing and erasing, removing and redoing Australia until I think I've nearly got it where I want it. Now, the hardest part is to print my drawing life size and see if what I've drawn is going to work, what needs refinement, enlarging, reducing, or removing. It's the part that shows me what is and isn't going to work. I sure hope everything works on this one because I'm really loving how it looks in print. On this souvenir, I'm throwing in everything including the kitchen sink! There will be a lot of painting, applique, and lots of hand embroidery embellishment. I spied a new-to-me cotton fabric that you must get some if you haven't already done so. It is going to be perfect for Australia because you only need small pieces so buying a 10 inch square package that includes all of the colors will do the trick. It's made by Maywood Studio and is called Glitz. It's 100 percent cotton with a foil face. It's incredibly luscious in rich, wonderful colors.

I so want to share my conceptual drawing with you, but until I know whether it is doable, I think I'd better wait. Thank you for continuing to travel with me!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tsukineko Ink Sampling

A few weeks ago, hubby asked me if there was anything I'd been wanting and initially, I said no to which he then said 'nothing.' I thought about it for a while and then said that I'd love to get some more paints/inks. I really like the Tsukineko inks and had a few bottles from a class that I'd taken years ago. These inks never go bad and it only takes a tiny amount so the bottle never seems to empty. Isn't that cool! Well, hubby gave me the entire collection! Our 35th Anniversary is in July and this present is a wonderful present. Thank you honey!

I thought I'd do something I've never done with any of my paints and that is make a sample showing all of the colors. My goal was to show full saturation of the inks on one half and a light shading on the other half. This sample aided me in learning just how much pressure I needed in order to get a light shading. The fabric I used was an inexpensive white, bleached cotton called Roc-Lon. I think the results would have been even nicer on a nicer fabric. I could feel the ridges of the fabric pulling and in many cases causing a streaking of the ink when shading.

On the last square at the bottom, I used the green, #10 ink but before inking the box, I spritz the square with the #9 potion to see how it would react. I love how it looks but it will take some practice to know how to control the spreading of the ink. I inked the center and it immediately spread out and gave a beautiful watercolor effect.

I finished quilting my Hoopoe and am ready to cut, bind, label, and put the sleeve on it. I can't wait to post a finished picture.

I've been working on and off on my drawing for Australia as well. It's not quite where I want it yet so I'll keep working on it until it tells me it's done and to get stitching!

Enjoy your weekend! We had 2 full days of summer this week and it nearly killed me. Seriously, we've had 50 to 55 degree days and 40 to 45 degree nights. And then just this week, we had 2 days of over 80. My body did not react well to such a sudden change, but I will adjust if the temps stay put and quit varying in 30 degree increments.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ordinary or Extraordinary? Part 1

This past year my focus has shifted into making more fiber art and fewer traditional quilts. I still love to work on traditional, usable quilts but I find myself being pulled more into making art in ways that allow my soul to sing and embracing the itch that is scratching from within myself to be let out. My World Quilting Travel Adventure was my own test to explore myself from within. To my surprise, I overcame my fear of writing and designing, and most importantly gained an inner strength to do things in unconventional ways not caring or thinking/worrying how it would be perceived by anyone other than me. It is a freeing experience and one I encourage you to do as well.

My next push is to create good art consistently. I'm no Picasso or Mozart, but I can become good at my art and occasionally I may just create great art. Finding yourself and your own work is a process and it's hard work. Trust me when I say it is completely worth the effort if, you are in the same place as me, and want to make art because it is simply what you must do even when your work has become hard and you are unsure of where the next step will take you. You must push yourself.

Or as Gene Fowler stated: "Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."

If we were able to speak with some of the famous artists throughout the generations, I would imagine them telling us that we must push through our uncertainties and actually make art to get better at making art. Crazy sounding I'm sure but think about it. How many unfinished projects do you have hanging around? Okay, I won't disclose mine and you don't have to disclose yours, but if you think about it, if you are serious about your art, you must finish your art so that you can move on to the next piece. Thus, the World Quilting Travel Adventure began and I began creating. It has helped me by starting the adventure because it has pushed me to finish so that I can share it with you and so that I can begin the next piece. My next goal is to proceed at the speed that I want. However, I also own a small business that demands normal business hours and spending time with my family is very important to me. So, I've begun carving out slices of time and actually scheduling it on my calendar so that I make sure to get in studio time. I may not be able to delve in with abandon yet, but carving out appointments with myself allows me to have time I would not have otherwise have had.

This will be an ongoing discussion with myself and you as I learn. I hope you will share your journey with me and others so together we can all grow.

Last but not least, please enter your art into as many shows as possible. Also, please think about other places where you can share yourself that is outside the quilt show venue.

Extraordinary Art is made by Ordinary People like you and me. 

I entered two of my souvenirs "View from my Window" and "England's Tea Room" into our local quilt show. I was delighted to see ribbons hanging on both of them. A big thanks to Terry Knott for her wonderful lesson on properly making a hanging sleeve.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Are you enjoying our travels? Australia anyone?

World Quilting Travel Adventure
These past many months, we have really racked up the airline miles with our World Quilting Travel Adventure. We have visited Oregon, Hawaii, Canada, England, and Israel and had absolutely no jet lag whatsoever!

I've had a great time designing and creating each of the souvenirs for you. Sadly, I've heard from only a few of the 28 original folks who signed on to travel with me, but I am happy that a few of you continue to let me know that you are making the souvenirs and are enjoying our visits throughout the world. I  may cut our travels short but for now, I am planning to continue our journey as planned.

I'm on the homestretch of machine quilting my Israel souvenir. I always underestimate just how long it takes me to machine quilt. I did finish quilting the hoopoe yesterday but it took me days to do him. Yep, I'm definitely a turtle quilter. I have the branch left to quilt and then I'm ready to square it up and put the facing on. This one will not have a traditional binding because I don't want the binding to detract from the piece.

However, I have been thinking about our next destination and ideas have been bouncing around in my head like crazy. I have to make myself stop thinking about it or I would never finish this souvenir! When you get close to finishing a project, does your mind start to drift onto the next project before it should? Come on....I can't be the only one....can I?

It will be a while before you get to see anything or receive the pattern, but I've decided that we must ALL go to Australia! This country is so diverse that it was hard for me to narrow down just one area to study, but I found it and you are going to love, love, love it or let's be Australian and say this next souvenir is going to be fully sick! LOL I am loving learning some Australian English Phrases.

Let's go sew!

Monday, March 13, 2017

LOOK Hoopoe Sighting & FREE TQS shows

Sorry for a bit of blur but you can only imagine my excitement at the hoopoe sighting while watching the Jungle Book movie! I ran to grab my phone and obviously couldn't hold my hands still. But isn't it great! I told you hoopoes are awesome birds. Even the makers of the Jungle Book think so.

Here's another photo of him with his wings spread a bit. What a marvelous bird.

But wait! There's more.  Remember back a post or two when I recommended Grace Errea and that she was a guest at TQS. If you are become a member of TQS, you can learn a lot from hundreds of teachers from around the globe.

Well, you can watch all 200 plus shows for FREE starting on the 17th and going through the weekend. TQS is celebrating International Quilting Day and are opening up the classes for everyone! And, there's even more. They are giving away a ton of gifts. Go HERE to enter the contest and get ready to have a weekend of bliss watching as many shows as you can take in! There will be many winners so you might as well get in on the running.

And, please don't forget to watch Grace's show first! Click HERE to quickly go to it.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hoopoe Construction

jojohall.blogspot.com Israel
Building my Hoopoe
Building the hoopoe was so much fun and I hope you enjoy building yours as much as I did. What you see above is me checking the layout for my next section. I cut the biggest part of the black on the wings in one section and then carefully cut away the sections in your pattern that say CUT. Initially, I was going to cut each of those sections individually and I had an aha moment and thought it would be much easier and nicer looking to have fewer units. This made the gluing easier as well. The only thing I want to caution you here is that these pieces are very narrow and fragile so when you remove the freezer paper, be gentle so you don't distort the fabric.

Freezer paper on wing fabric
What you see is the freezer paper cut precisely. Once I ironed it on I 'roughly' cut it out and applied the glue. After the glue dried and I ironed it to make it clear, only then did I cut the fabric out exactly following the pattern. This allowed me to keep unnecessary glue off of the front of the fabric. Grace doesn't do this but I am not as gifted as she is and really needed that fabric buffer.

Body parts! Ready for glue.
Don't you just love those feet!!!  I do.
Dried glue
This is what the glue looks like when it is dry but hasn't been ironed yet. Once you iron it, it turns clear and has a plastic appearance. Remember you can still remove the glue at this stage before ironing by simply brushing it off with a stiff bristle brush. Once you iron it, it is permanent and cannot be removed.

Please share with me your progress so others can be inspired too.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hoopoe Supplies

I've been a bit obsessive about the hoopoe. I've tried to learn everything I can about it to bring it alive in my eyes and heart. I can't remember another time when a bird has captivated me as much as this bird. Perhaps it is the thought that I cannot see one in person that has driven me to such a lengthy study. Whatever it was, I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now, some history on this souvenirs process of construction. As I've mentioned before, I am pushing myself to try many different techniques in these souvenirs. With that in mind, whenever I learn of something that I've not done before and if I find it interesting, I am ready to try it out. You can never learn to much and you can choose later to continue a process, change it up and make it your own, different version or abandon it completely for another.

If you get public broadcasting where you live, please watch for Quilting Arts, Season 18, Episodes 9 and 10. The artist's name I watched on TV is Grace Errea. She demonstrated her way of doing heat-set applique and also randomly pieced backgrounds in the two episodes. I was captivated watching her and knew I just had to try her way of raw edge applique. She mentioned not liking regular fusible products because the finished project was really stiff and that other methods allowed the fabric to fray too much. I love having control over a project and deciding which projects need to be stiff and which ones do not. So if you can watch those episodes, you will understand why I got so excited to try out her technique.

Grace has also been a guest on The Quilt Show. Click here! You do have to be a member of TQS in order to watch the show, but I will admit to you that it is the best $42.95 you can spend on yourself because every two weeks, you are introduced to new artists and shows plus you gain access to a block of the month that would cost double the cost of the yearly membership. Needless to say, I love TQS and have been a member from its inception.

Or, I found a very short You-tube video where she blazes by really quickly showing her building...wait for it.... a BIRD! How perfect is that? If you want to learn more about Grace, her website is HERE.

Okay, here are some pictures of some of your supplies:

Insulation board - side a

Insulation board - side b

Insulation board cut in half


Wrapped Insulation board with Insul-Bright

Painter's drop cloth 2 mil

Liquid Thread
Make sure you do not buy Liquid Stitch! It is NOT the same product. This product is made by Beacon and is called Liquid Thread.

More pictures later showing construction.