Saturday, July 26, 2008

Creature Comforts

Well, I'll just cut right to it. We now have another Eastern Painted turtle that my almost 11 year old 'rescued' from the lake in our neighborhood. He/she (how do you tell??) is a bit bigger than the original "Turtle Buddy", and seemed a bit freaked out by his/her new luxury surroundings at first. Luxury...that's what I call clean water and cool rocks to climb on...well, if I was a turtle anyway. As a human I have vastly different ideas about luxury....but I digress. Now the pair are a happy little duo. I wonder if we will be hosting a turtle nursery one day??

Anyway, it has been a fun week of discovery. We also spent the better part of one day visiting friends who have lots of land to explore and, yep, the boys found a turtle there too. A cute Box turtle. I didn't let that one come home with us...two are plenty, thanks! But here he/she is...
Don't you just love the colors and patterns on that shell? Awesome little creatures, turtles are. I can see this inspiring an art quilt...oooh, maybe that's where I can use my rust dyed fabric! Hmmm...
I had a wonderful, relaxing visit on the porch of my friend's home while all of our boys (she has 3, and another friend came with her 2) ran out some of their summer energy. Sometimes you have to slow down and enjoy the company of good friends, the beauty of the world outside, and the creatures you find along the way.
Ah, back to work now....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm Getting Rusty

Well, another beach vacation has come and gone, and I'm glad to be back at home. Because of packing limitations I couldn't take Bernie with me (my sewing machine...yes, my husband and kids got to go!), so I took a small case full of fabric to play with. I played with rust dyeing for the first time, which was really fun and I was pretty pleased with the results...

Here's what I started with... some plain muslin. I started confiscating everyone's empty water bottles and soda cans, then took chunks of these fabrics, soaked them in a white vinegar and water solution, bunched them up around the various containers, and wrapped them with silver toned florist wire. Then I tied them up in a plastic grocery bag and set them out on the porch to do their thing. At this point I smelled quite like a salad, which made me hungry for lunch...

Fast forward to the next morning and two of them looked 'ready', so I unwrapped the wire and saved it in a large plastic bowl, then took them down to the dock to give them a saline rinse. A couple of the others didn't look 'ready' so I left them - and almost forgot about them! They rusted for a couple more days, which was probably too long. But here's how they all turned out...
Cool huh? I also took another muli-colored piece of fabric and draped it over the unwrapped wire in the bowl (which was all curly springy)...I moved it around a couple of times over a couple of days and kept it covered while processing and here's how it turned out...

The larger areas of rusty color were already in the fabric...what the rusting did was leave the little trail marks. I really like this one...the rust over yellow is a yummy combination.

The other thing I did was some discharging...I've done that before with stamps, so this time I thought "why not try a reverse tye-dye?" I bunched it up, tied it off, and dunked it into a bleach water solution. I used the green and blue batik fabric shown above, which turned, well, mostly white! Ugh!! The blue swirls were still there - though much fainter but all of the green was gone. Plzzzz. >:-P

I tried to salvage it by overdyeing with left over coffee. There's a story there...see, my FIL thinks coffee is watered down shelf brand, and I think it's full-bodied coffee shop brand, so every year at the beach there is a race to "own" the coffee pot. (I never win that one...he gets up too early!) Anyway, it seemed to be working and I figured I'd continue to alter it with paints or something. Well, when I threw the whole lot of fabrics into the washing machine, guess what...the coffee came out. See, another argument for the benefits of non-watered down coffee!

I had good intentions of doing some 'regular' dyeing, but I didn't get around to that. Oh well. All in all it was fun to experiment. I think I could get used to being rusty...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Art Now For Autism

I'm a firm believer that whatever your gift, it is enriched when you give some of it away to help other people. I was glad to have found an opportunity to contribute to an autism event -

I don't know anyone who hasn't either had a family member or friend affected by is a mystery and a challenge to those who know it first hand.

When I reflected on what I know about it and how I see the children I know affected by it, the word "Flourish" popped into my mind..."to sustain strong steady growth". The ones I know have come so far, and my hope for them is that they continue to grow. My hope for the ones I don't know is the same, and that someday the mystery will unravel and we will all understand.

This is my contribution to Art is titled "Flourish"

Commercial batiks, hand dyed fabric, Etal, Extravorganza, metallic sheer fabric, Lumiere paint, variegated thread...and it really has straight photography is off!

Monday, July 7, 2008

All Grown Up

How does time fly so quickly? I'm certain that one of the reasons children are brought forth in this world is to make us more aware of the passing of time. Think back over your own life...didn't your childhood seem to go by at such a leisurely pace? Summers lasted was an ETERNITY between thought you'd NEVER get old enough to get a driver's know what I mean? Then you get past about 25 or so and things pick up pace...and then before you know it - WHOOSH!!! You hit 30...40...and before you know it the little baby you kept vigil for the day he was born, and who used to do flips off your arms is now towering over you in height and has GRADUATED from high school!!! I feel like my hair should be blowing back away from my face even when I'm sitting still. It all happened too fast!!

And I'm just talking about my nephew (I bet you thought I was talking about my own kids...the same thing seems to be happening to them too!! But they're still in elementary school...for a little longer...)

Yes, here he is...all grown up. He will be heading away from home next month to start college, and of course I had to send him with a quilt! It is a combination of his high school colors of blue and gold, and his soon to be college colors of gold and green. The backing is pieced as well and includes some shirt fabrics of my dad's (who passed away 3 years ago). It is titled "Many Pathways."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Night Watch

This little fellow is a side trip acquired at a recent quilt show...there was a vendor there with lots of needle punch stuff and wool stuff and I saw this design and just had to have it -- didn't matter that I don't usually go for kits or other people's designs, or that I didn't know how to do needle punch! He was just too wonderful to pass by. So, after a quick "how to" demo and the relinquishment of a fair sum of money I brought him (well, the kit to make him) home to play.

The snag was that there was not quite enough of the background thread included in the kit! What to do?? I went on line to the pattern designer and requested a strand to finish him up. I was so pleased to get a quick response...even though the pattern designer doesn't sell the kits - I found out that those were done up by the vendor - I received more than enough to finish my project. I can't say enough good things about the value of that kind of customer service!!

This pattern is "Night Watch" by Shawn Williams. Visit for other totally cute and cool patterns and supplies. Thanks Shawn for helping me out on this...and don't you just love the irony that I was in a bind over thread? ;-)

(Incidentally, I did track down the kit-making vendor, who offered to sell me a package of the floss...since I want this blog to be positive I'll refrain from further comment about that...)