Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No 1 on my Bucket List... CHECK!!!!


These are photos I took on New Year's Eve. Not a bad way to spend a holiday! In Florence, Italy at The Galleria di Academia  with No. 1 on my lifelong bucket list... David.   This guy looks darn good given he is over 500 years old. Mickelangelo at age 26 created him between 1501 and 1504. No photo of this piece can prepare you for the impact of being in his presence.It brought me to tears...  when I saw him first and when I left. He is spectacular... sitting atop a protected pedestal, he is 17 ft tall. Nothing else in the gallery could capture my attention, only David as he considered his prospects of defeating the giant Goliath.
The veins in his right hand and arm gave me chills... almost as if he were indeed alive.
The galleria was lightly filled as we entered early in the a.m..... but quickly filled with hundreds, all quiet and respectful in his presence.  A glass barricade now surrounds his pedestal..... Some years back, before the solid barricade, a man with hammer crossed over roped barricades and damaged the right foot.
It was cold in Florence... snow flurries outside the Galleria before and after our visit.  When hubby Ray remarked about the chill, I suggested, even David  had previously stood outside for over 350 years and survived, so we could surely handle the chill. I was on cloud nine the rest of the day!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Red Lions Path

Usually when I am creating something original, I will post progress. The Red Lion was an exception as last Christmas he was being created for a gift... so the only time he appeared on  line was the finished project... after Christmas giving.   So now I thought, I could share the path. I began with a sketched drawing using a dark red colored Conte chalk stick.  I'm working here with the new water thinable oil paints. LOVE THEM!!!!!   This piece was painted over several days allowing my eyes to 'rest'  after each session and gain new perspective painting with 'fresh' eyes.
Since oils can be opaque, I can begin by blocking in the background of red and black.   I want a dramatic lion portrait. A few critical darks on his image added.
Click on photo for enlarged view.
Then, the beginnings of the eye helps me connect with the animal. He starts to live! 
Then some blocked in golden yellow
Now adding further dimension/color variation. I am purposely going for the 'bad hair day look. 
Some white added for highlights, movement, and contrast
and finally bits of red and more darks added in his mane and face.
I don't enjoy painting animals that look fierce so I am always looking on ways to create a calmer, maybe even stoic (?sp)  look. 
The original  oil painting hangs in a private office in Anaheim Hills, Ca though I have had  small giclees on fabric made for quilting. Printing on fabric done by Studio West of Anthem, AZ. They matched the richness of the oil painting on both cotton and silk. Incredible!! Google them and check them out.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

SECRET Pal Presents from Wanabes PARTAAAY

The Queen of Applique( Carol Brodie (R) presents Laurie an exceptionally beautiful quilt!
"What Quilters Really Think" From Laurie Lyon(L)  to Mary Lou Ripper
Mary Lou presented Janmarie Halliday(L) with this beauty. 
What to give one who has everything? Janmarie stitched a formal sketch of (R)Nancy Kastners house, then added zentangle landscaping.  Very Cool!!! 
a partial view  ( click on photo to enlarge) 

Nancy(R) gave Wool lover friend Hilary a framed wool applique
Hilary (L) gave Carl Culbert a wool table runner  plus another piece I failed to photograph.ARGH!
Carol Culbert (R) presented Carol Pankow a gift.
A wooly project of Halloween applique 

Phyllis Reddish (L)  received 2 things from Karon Cornell... a framed Giclee of Karons original oil work.         TALENT!!!!!! 
 and a very classy quilted and bedazzled panel ... It's  Phyllis' kind of asthetic (?sp) Click on photo for enlarged view.

Oddly..Phyllis had Karon's name 2 years running....   so made a very cool quilt carryall
 and a pillow to match the quilt she received last Christmas. Lucky Karon....

 I didn't photograph my gift giving... but it was posted last Friday anyway... and I received 2 beautiful neck scarves AND a full sized crocheted afhgan just perfect for our cold mountains. Love it!!!  Local Quilters wish they could be in our group just for the Christmas Party.  It's fun!!!       MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh Baby Baby!!

A Baby Girl is scheduled to arrive early Spring... as the daughter of a young man Ray has coached in distance running. There's a nice bond between these 2 so I want to honor it the way quilters do.  I've had this fabric kit and pattern for a couple years... just waiting!   It's a "Walk in the Park"... by Quilt Soup which I'm sorry to say no longer publishes as far as I know. These fabrics were uniquely designed for this pattern.
click on photos for enlarged view

Two large fused blocks..... so cute .

There were 4 stacked fabrics on the wheels and many overlapping fabrics elsewhere.  I've done lots of fusing but this is the first time I took the time to cut out the center of each paper backed fusible material before attaching to the back of the fabric. I always thought it would take too much time. It didn't and the result is far superior when you want the quilt to be soft.  I used regular wonder under and it worked great.
I even decided I wasn't about to  hand embroider the baby faces... so I stabilized the back side, and free motion machine embroidered the stitching. Worked fine and fast!
I did mark the locations with a Frixion  pen first.. then stitched. Front and back of both babies shown below.
'Likely February before I can get it quilted... but I do like this quilt.  It was relatively fast to make too!
I got this done several days ago before the Christmas craziness began.  Much more in  all our futures I guess so I may not have much posted during the holidays. But I'll be back!!!!   Happy holidays and enjoy a 'Walk In The Park' if you can squeeze some time out.

Friday, December 19, 2014


At 10 a.m.  today.. it's the annual Christmas party with Friendship Group "The Wanabes"!  The Wanabe Quilters to be specific ... but since they have been together for 25 years....  they are no longer Wanabes but rather ARE  exceptional QUILTERS. I was lucky to join the group a bit over 10 years ago...   Blessed me!... to enter the quilt world with such experts all around me. I learned alot fast. No slackers in this group!!!  :-)

One of the fun things we did this year (a voluntary project in addition to regular basket pass projects)  has been individual interpretation of the "Christmas Album" pattern available still today through Quilters Newsletter (quilters It's fun.   There will be others finished in the next few months...   but Here's Carol Pankow's version where she added borders to make it a gifted full sized bed quilt rather than  pattern-sized wall quilt.
Phyllis Reddish always thinks out of the box and creates challenging and beautiful work.  She worked a miniature black and white abstract grid background which reads as grey from a distance.  Yet to add:  Christmas sweaters on the border. Phyllis dressed her gingerbread cookies, made cold blue snow trees,  and made licorice and peppermint candy canes. Too cute!
 I was thinking Christmas Candy when I created mine on a soft green polka dot on white background.  This was such fun.... I'd love to create a miniature of something like this.

and finally..
the best part of the day.... I get to present my secret  pal with this gift. Merry Christmas Carol Lundquist. It's 60 x 60 inches using an antiigue linen atop antique gold drapery fabric. We have the name of our secret pal for a full year.... enough time to change our plans multiple times.. but this year, I knew immediately what I wanted to do and stuck to it.  This can be used as either a wall quilt or table cover.

The quilting of the linen began earlier   Click here to see the start.
Click here to see progression.
Click here to see feathered border.
Click here to see the overall progress.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Finish Up Face and Paws

On those areas reflecting a more white area, I've changed thread to a warm but near white cream. You can really see the flecks of red/black on the previously quilted area. I found these flecks of color interesting. It's German made  40 wt. Madiera Rayon Col. 2302.  Click on photo for enlarged view.
The white/ cream  thread added on this paw. It adds to the feeling of soft fur.

I finally decided to straight stitch the snout area flat...  stopping at the top of the nose.  I have left the eye balls, nose and the whisker area to the lower right and left of the nose... UNquilted which pushes those areas slightly forward and adds dimension. I like this but will let it 'jell' for a while to be certain I am done.
I noted earlier I am quilting this on the road so will wait til home to block and trim... Then... it goes to it's owner: Jan Stewart. I'll have trouble parting with this guy!  We've become close.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hello Kitty!

The eyes were merely secured with black outline  ( not shown) and a bit more thread work (albeit minimal) surrounds his nose. I like some unquilted areas...   the eyes and ash rose colored nose seemed perfect candidates to 'leave' alone.
Using a Madiera thread that includes an occasional '1/8 inch flick of alternate colors ( mostly red, black)  I'm adding some simple fur-like quilting motifs generally surrounding his spots. That thread is interesting. .. and this was a chance to use it!  WHY NOT?!

This will take some time....   but looks okay!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Gift For Loretta

While in Auburn at their guild last month, my lodging hostess Millie Ruffalo took me to the local quilt shop "The Whistle Stop." This is a top-notch shop by the way and there I found this last of the bunch  ice skaters fused appliqué kit. It had friend Loretta 's ( lifelong ice skater enthusiast and quilter) name all over it.  I bought it in an instant so wanted to get it  bordered and quilted and of course to her before the holidays....   TODAY is delivery day.   Hubby is home but I am away curled up  recuperating from injury and illness so thanks to my friends Prudy Carter and Janmarie Halliday, it  gets delivered. 
Loretta has had a tough physical year and awaits major  heart surgery ( on the wait list)... thus we are looking forward to her  future skating and quilt retreat outings.   ;-)  Merry Christmas Loretta!

Click on photo for enlarged view
I inset a quarter inch fillet of cranberry dupioni silk  before bordering with a metallic gold and white dressmaker fabric. The fabric was exquisite all on its own so I essentially used gold thread for quilting and used the fabric as my guide  as to how to quilt  in order to play up the beauty of it's elegant design.

Key Learning... cotton is much easier  to use as binding... (Cotton holds the ironed fold over crease where softer/slippery synthetics don't)

 If using something soft for binding, I suggest 2 things...
1) Before adding binding strips to your quilt, sew ( and perhaps overlock) the 2 raw edges of your binding. WHY?  I found that when straight stitch sewing  binding to the quilt,  slippery raw edges of binding ( particularly the out of view edge)  easily slides out of place and fails to be caught in the straight stitch.  ARGH!
2) Once binding is on and turned to the back side of the quilt, consider adding a straight stitch 1/16th inch off the 'ditch' seam and on the binding itself.  WHY??  I  found slippery soft fabric used in a binding... somehow looks a bit lumpy even if the binding is on perfectly. The stitch off the ditch forces the  filled binding to lie down a good bit better.

Snake Shaped LIMBS

Using a slightly lighter value brown on golden brown twist, I used a linear graceful curved pattern to suggest movement that seem to be present in curved movement in the limbs.  Click on photo for enlarged image .
I'll start the big cat  on next post.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quilting The Jaguar

The painting at the start shown here....    First things first, I  pinned... then secured major areas with monofilament.  Out with the pins then quilting can begin.   I normally quilt from inside ( center of quilt ) outward. This is a strangely integrated image ( one area to another) so the pre securing ( .004 monofilament) permits me to move around a bit as long as I refrain from seriously dense quilting.

This background area is pretty much there to support the central image so I minimized the quilting density.
The tree in which this guy is hanging out... has interesting structure. The photographers photo showed both  a rough dark greyed large horizontal limb and trunk structure and some lighter warmer colored snake-shaped  broken limbs which doesn't seem to fit w/ the former structure... BUT .. I found it interesting and painted them without trying to understand. I'll tackle the rough greyed limbs first.  How to QUILT?
Sometimes the fabric can give you a clue ... i.e.... just play up the fabric message. Gotta start somewhere.... I used a dark brown/black twist for this. Here's a start.

Slow quilting but basically a general outlining of the  somewhat out of focus pattern beneath.

I'm thinking I like it . 
A few more days hiding in Sedona, and I'll get it done.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tucked IN in SEDONA

I left So. Cal Friday a.m. ( to outrun the major storm) in route to Sedona... Sunny upon arrival Friday but storm moved in  here later that day. Still one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Pics below are taken of and from the Chapel of the Holy Cross so beautifully inset into the Red Rock Mountains. A must place to visit when coming to or thru Sedona.
I'm sewing like crazy. What a blessed time in advance of the Christmas frenzy.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Georgia Loves New York Quilt

A former student Georgia Heller has taken off by leaps and bounds.  Here is a finished painted quilt done for a guild challenge. Really Sharp!! I apologize to Georgia for a slow posting.  I'll just say it's been a heck of a year and it finally caught up with me in both injury and cold/sore throat. Dang...  we don't bounce back as fast as when we were 16!  Beautiful piece Georgia.

The quilt had to be 18” w x 48”h  and it should be inspired by where you are from. We have so many transplants here in AZ from all over the country and other parts of the world, we thought it would make an interesting exhibit.
Wanda Seale suggested I send you a photo since it is all painted with the Tsukineko inks.
To get gradations of blue for the sky and water I mixed inks with the Folkart Floating Medium. Since this mix bleeds a lot when wet, I painted them separately and then appliqued the center section to them. I also painted the statue of Liberty separately and appliqued her to the piece. The poem was printed from my computer, painted, and then appliqued. 

Until moving to Arizona in 2010, I lived most of my life in NYC and several suburbs near NYC. Of course you have the iconic skyscrapers of Manhattan, but to me, NY is also about the many neighborhoods. There are beautiful parks so I included grass and autumn trees (living now in AZ, I miss the colorful autumn leaves). It is a city with people who came from all over the world, who made lives there, and created the wonderful place called NY. The Statue of Liberty, with the poem by Emma Lazarus, welcomes new arrivals. On one side of my family my grandparents and on the other side my great-grandparents came to NY  from Europe. Note, I quilted an outline of the twin towers in the background.

Thank you again for getting me started on using the inks.
Georgia Heller