Simply Stitching

Simply Stitching, yep, that’s how I’ve spent the past few days.  To-Do lists hidden, appointments rescheduled, music playing in the back ground.  Slow stitching disengages my busy mind.  I focus on each stitch, the rhythmic up then down of the needle, each color selection, each pattern.  Calming, methodical and mesmerizing.

Below are some practice stitches on a scrap piece of muslin.

Embroidery practice

My inner critic told me that I was wasting time, “What good is a scrap piece of fabric with random stitches?”

I replied “You’re right!”

So I pulled out my new long denim skirt and channeled my “inner hippie child”.  “She” is not a critic but a free spirit that gives flight to ideas.

Jean Skirt

(I ordered this skirt on line through The Skirt Outlet.  They have a great selection of denim skirts and wonderful customer service.)

Chain stitch, running stitch, back stitch, Fly stitch, French knots and Bullion stitch.  I’m using a mixture of DMC six strand embroidery floss, DMC variegated and Valdani Perle cottons in size 8. All of these threads are colorfast and durable and will hold up to many wash and dry cycles.

Here is a close up of that flower.

Jean Skirt up closeMy “inner hippie child” is very happy.  More stitching to come in the days ahead.

Keep It Simple.

Posted in 2015, embroidery | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Lots of Layers

DLP Journal Page 022015

I’ve been quietly following along with the Documented Life Project by Art To The 5th.  Last week’s challenge was called Cover Up Good Stuff.

I created this page twice!  The first time was much different, it had a Valentine’s Day theme and color scheme, that is until I spilled my coffee on it.  I gesso’d over the whole thing and started down a new path.  This spread is layered with acrylic paint, collaged paper bits and deli paper scraps, stenciling, rubber stamping, lots of mark makings, pencil script, Copic marker and oil pastels.

It is a very simple page with lots of color, texture and layers.  I love it.

Make it a great day and keep it simple!

Posted in 2015, collage, journal, mixed media, paint | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

From This to This to This

Quilt Top FabricsFrom this stack of solid cotton fabric

Quilt Top Strips

To these 3″, 4″ and 5″ strips

Quilt Top 2

To this quilt top.

I saw this design/kit in the new Keepsake Quilting catalog and realized that I already had lots of solid cotton fabrics that I could use.  I recreated the pattern and made the blocks a tad smaller (11.5″ finished) and used brighter fabrics.  The top will measure about 57″ x 57″ when I finish with the backing, binding and quilting.  I have lots of left over strips that I may randomly piece together to make the backing.

My initial thought is to quilt this with floss in a Sashiko style (straight line) hand stitch.  How would you quilt it?

Make it a great day and keep it simple!


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The Cost Of Ownership

I’m selling my car. Yep, that one! The one my late husband diligently searched for and found in another state, drove it home and handed me the keys on my 50th birthday. Yes, that one. The one whose name is “Blackbird”, the code name for a program I worked on many years ago, perhaps you are old enough to remember the Stealth Bomber? The one that screams “soccer mom” but has overtaken many obvious “street race” cars. She is my alter ego that wears gold wire Aviator Ray Bans and black leather driving gloves, reminiscent of my younger days of racing cars on an oval track in California.

I am a numbers/data person. I love to track and compile, compare and analyze, chart and review. I live my life in black and white, yes or no, go or stop for as far back as I can remember. During these last few days of the year, I start my journey, looking backwards, as I begin my compilation and review of the past year.

For me to make sense of the hours, days, weeks and months that have passed, I look to my daily journal, the photos that were captured and my checkbook! Yes, my checkbook. Were the units of exchange (life vs. money) worth it? This is where the rubber meets the road. This is the hard, sometimes cold truth that answers the question “What have I done with the time and money that I was given?”

I calculated the total expenditures for “Blackbird” in 2014 and then averaged out the cost by month.   The total included regular maintenance, repairs, tires, gasoline, insurance, registration and DEQ (smog testing).

What did the numbers reveal? $660 a month! What!? Really? The cold hard truth smacked me in the face and left a mark. I had to let this fact simmer awhile before I could write this and act accordingly. My head searched for excuses to explain the absurdity of this expenditure. “You just replaced the engine two years ago”, “You just rebuilt the transmission last year”, “All of the major work has been done, it will last another 500,000 miles”. Blah, blah, blah.

My head and heart are opposing each other with this decision and I will mourn the loss. It’s more than just the physical act of driving the car that I love, it is the emotional attachment to the man that knew me better than I know myself.

Our thirty year anniversary would have been tomorrow.

Front view blur

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Beginnings: A New Quilt or …

The weather has turned cooler and rainy in the past week which changed my crafty focus from art journaling to quilting. I’m starting a new quilt (or pillows for the couch) using Half Square Triangles and American Made Brand cotton solids.  My hands want to feel the texture of the cotton and my eyes want to feast on the colors while my brain goes into overload thinking of all the possibilities.  Here is what is on the art table.

Full yard of each color.

Uncut 1 yd pieces

Cut into 9″ squares and then sewn into triangles using this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew.

on the table

Each block is auditioned on the design wall for layout before sewing them together.  This may not be the final layout/scheme, but for now I enjoy playing with the color variations and pattern possibilities.

On the design wall

I chose these light and bright colors because they match my FiestaWare collection.

What are you up to?

Posted in 2014, Fabric, quilting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A New Journal – Covers

I am continuing my quest to make art journals in different sizes, with different papers and bindings.  I just know that at some point I will find my “perfect” journal.

This month’s quest has led me to participate in Julie Balzer’s Junque Journal on-line class.  I love her easy, straight forward instruction, free style journaling and overall playfulness while she creates.

I created this 9″ x 12″ journal using canvas panels and a piece of raw canvas for the binding.  The front cover is made with left over gelli deli papers and the back is a watercolor chart that was a test of new colors.

The front cover.

Junque Journal Cover 1

And the back cover:

Junque Journal Back 1

The signatures are still a work in progress and I will post pictures of those when they are done.  Until next time, Keep It Simple.

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Sunbursts, Real and Imagined

Sunrise 2014 08 02

I captured this glorious sunrise a few days ago.  Can you see the sunbursts streaming through the sky?

Sunburst Watercolor journal page 080814

And here I have captured the sunbursts of my imagination in doodles and watercolor.

Tammy, at Daisy Yellow has a new art journal prompt series,  Tangents & Tactics.  Check out her page for the first prompt and video, very fun and inspirational.

Keep it simple!

Posted in 2014, art, journaling, paint | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments