Thursday, December 31, 2015

We Three Kings

Happy New Year All! This was a challenging way to end the year! I really had to mull this topic over. At first the only thing I could think of was Spicing things up in the bedroom! So I had visions of a thong on a bed post.
Then my hubby suggested the Silk Road & spices so I then contemplated camels all dressed up in tassels etc. but I couldn't find an image I liked enough to do & I do prefer to work from my own photographs. Yes I do have a camel photo but again not what I wanted to make. So back to the drawing board.
I doodled.

My helper liked this one! I may make this one yet! But I got into the spirit of the season.

Now fabric

It had promise so I went with it. I had to borrow some glitzy fabric. I'm really pleased with the result. 
Meet my Three Wise Men carrying Gold, Frankincense & myrrh.


I hope wish you all a happy & prosperous New Year! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"SPICE" (Saffron)

First let me wish you all a Happy New Year 2016
I had a enjoyable Christmas day spent with my 3 boys. I trust all our challenge members also enjoyed a relaxing day. 
I chose Saffron as my spice for my challenge
I used fabric from a sari I was given by a friend for the background and a border for the binding. I thought the colour represented saffron well.   I had fun doing the piece.I encountered a few hic ups along the way when constructing the photo and embroidery but am pleased with the results.
I used some water soluble fabric and printed a picture of Crocus sativus (saffron flower on) and also printed the section printed below and embroidered it in black thread. When I rinsed it the thread in some areas were not secured to well. I also had to paint the flowers after stitching around the petals as the picture disappeared after rinsing I did some embellishing 
I'll need to brush up on transfer techniques for any future projects.
I hope you all had as much fun as I did stitching/making this challenge

Botanical Name: Crocus sativus
Family Name: Iridaceae
The name Saffron comes from  the Arabic za’faran, which means YELLOW – a sacred colour chosen by Buddhist monks for their robes.

Saffron is hugely expensive: consider that 200,000 flowers have to be harvested by hand to obtain 450g/1 lb saffron.      

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hi All "Up for a challenge" members.  How is the "Spice" challenge coming on.
I'm looking forward to seeing the challenges.  My piece is almost done just a little more with a tweek here and there and it will be ready. Are you all starting to unwind and getting ready for the coming festive season.  This year has passed by so quickly.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Exuberant - Jack spam

Firstly apologies for being late with my Version of Exuberant. I have been traveling for 3 months around Victoria in a caravan and just couldn't get my head around this theme.  So it was a challenge both mentally and creatively. It was on the last 200 km of our trip that the answer came to me..... "Jack 
spam". While I was away my daughter would constantly update me with photos of my grandsons antics with photos on texts and face book. Jack is the newest little man to the group therefore constantly doing new things so she nick named the stream of photos "Jack spam". He's usually laughing which made me think of one of the meanings of Exuberant - extreme happiness! And his smile made me smile so he seemed an appropriate subject. 

I traced his facial features onto "Romeo wash away fabric" then went over these with free motion stitching on different fabrics. The centre face is hand stitching. The faces were then applied to a background fabric and more stitching of details added. Once wash away fabric was removed I coloured in with water colour pencils. 
                      "Jack Spam"

    the four boys with "Jack" on the       middle

Saturday, October 10, 2015

New Topic

From Ellen:

The new challenge is “SPICE”.  Choose a spice from the many available,  Colours of spices to be used, drawings, some words, recipe or poem describing the spice to be included, Sew up a fusion of colour and a curry of words that is a feast for the eyes hehe!!!!!!      

Ready for end of Dec 2015.     
While in UK we visited Kew Gardens. They had a summer festival  “Full of Spice” which was very interesting and though it would be a great title for a challenge. 
Regards,  Ellen 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Merry go round

First let me apologize for late posting but I have been so busy since I came home from our trip to the UK late Aug.
I managed to get the piece completed today.  We had a wonderful time overseas and did much touring around Britain. I also caught up with many friends,
I think a ride on the Merry go round and Ferris wheel are a thrill. my idea of exuberance
I managed to go on the "London Eye" and found it thrilling. Something I don't usually attempt
I found this picture a close replica of the London Eye. I printed the picture on fabric and covered it in white organza then printed the Merry go round and castle below and backed them with black felt and did some embellishing with beads and stitching on them I found some circular designed fabric in my stash which I used for binding. The ribbons have EXUBERANCE glued on in gold letters which I thought matched the yellow in the binding. I also stitched rose rosettes in black and white and painted the tips of the petals in gold. I enjoyed making this but was really stumped at first as to what to make,
I kept with black and white with a touch of yellow/gold just because I don't usually like to use yellow but seemed appropriate  Sorry the beading cannot be seen in the photo.
 Cannot wait to see all the others challenges.
Those already posted your works are stunning.          

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Exuberant! - "It's My Party ..."

The next time it's my turn to pick the challenge -

**Reminder to self:  When I open the dictionary and put my finger on a word, make it a noun! **

"It's My Party ... " began with an experimental watercolour that I love, using Color Burst.

I had a piece of purple silk from a kit that I didn't make and a piece of gorgeous silk in sunset-y colours (The Thread Studio - aka "Other Dale") that I was "saving" for something.  After I applied MistyFuse to the sunset-y silk, I cut it into curvy shapes with a rotary cutter and fused it on to the purple background, using some of the pieces to hold the watercolour in place.
I then put stabilizer under the purple silk and stitched the curvy pieces with copper metallic thread, followed by copper-coloured foil, tiny pink beads, pink metallic fusible Kreinik braid (I am so glad to get rid of some of that!), and hot-fix crystals.


I started with a piece of white fabric and appliqued swirls of purple batik, sun dyed pink and green, a small pop of teal. Painted any exposed white fabric with purple and light blue lumiere. Then I cut a big hole in the middle and inserted a web of dazzle threads in hello, black and red. Exhuberant describes the feeling when I cut the hole out of the completed quilt top.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mardi Gras

“Exuberance” turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to sort beads and sequins while playing with them!  I started with a piece of fabric and Kool-Aid dyed silk roving and handkerchiefs. Did some layering of these, added some Angelina fibres (I would use these more sparingly next time, as they reflected light and made the end product hard to photograph).  Then used Misty Fuse and fine black tulle to sandwich things together.
Next for the embellishments!  Some thick rayon threads for running stitches, and then lots of sequins and beads, and some iron-on stars.

Final piece makes me think of both Mardi Gras and fireworks.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Gotta Dance!

When I hear a great song on the radio I just have to dance! I dance while cooking dinner, cleaning the house, ironing, you name it. I " chair" dance in the car to a great tune! When I first saw the challenge was " Exuberance" I had to admit that I was stumped at first. But nephew commented on how much I loved to dance so I decided this was a great place to start.
I had hubby snap a few pictures of me dancing around my sewing room, then I chose a photo I liked and got to work. First I printed the photo, traced my silhouette then dug thru my hand dyed fabrics I choose the background from my iced dyed fabrics and the figure is from fabrics I dyed for a class I took a few years ago. Once I had the piece fused and quilted it still looked a bit plain then I remembered some beads I was given earlier this month, they where the perfect colours so I got busy hand sewing all the beads and sequins on. 
This piece makes me smile and I hope you feel like dancing with me.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The quarterly challenge that was due at the end of June for my 12x12 group was 'Leaves'.  I was initially excited about it because I wanted to try a technique one of you members, Karrie, showed me.  You take an Oliver Twist "One Off" and make a tree out of it .  Here is a picture of a "One Off".  You lay it out in tree form and stitch.  (Side note- I also love, love, love the Oliver Twist thread shown in the photo.  It quilts wonderfully.)  Another note- I did not have a "One Off" in the color I needed, so I created my own from fibers in my stash. Last note, when I look back at Karrie's tree, I begin to see where I began to go off track; hers is free-flowing and artsy.

I got to this point and my work just did not speak to me (in fact it was yelling some bad stuff at me). At this point, I was already late on the challenge, so I decided to experiment.

Next I used Tombow markers and drew around the trunk and branches and spray it with water.
I made leaves out of used teabags and used a combo of Tombow markers and Dye-Na-Flow to color them.  Still not loving it yet....
Finally, I painted polka-dots on the leaves.  
This is now a piece I can live with- still not one of my favorites!

What do you do when your art is not going in the direction you would like?

Remnants: Quilt Stand
Mt husband and I were recently visiting the Northern Michigan and its fabulous wineries.  We stopped at a quilt shop (of course!) and hubby found this quilt stand for me to rotate my 12x12 quilts. Here is the website for it, it is called a table stand.
Enjoy! Kathy

Friday, July 3, 2015

When I chose the theme "Leaves", I had an interior motive -- to corner myself into actually carrying through on a project I had considered for some time.  In my back garden is a weeping birch tree.  It is a pleasure at all times of the year, but is especially beautiful in early fall, when strands of golden leaves appear amidst the green.

To make the leaves, I coloured Tyvek paper with alcohol inks.  Then each leaf was cut out.  To make the leaf stems, I positioned a small strip of water soluble stabilizer at the top of each leaf, and sewed 4 lines of straight stitching, then "bound" the lines together with a narrow zigzag before sewing the veins on the leaf.  The leaves then had to be soaked to remove most of the stabilizer.

The leaves were stitched by hand onto fine cords to create the strands of leaves.

The background is a blue/white batik, fused to a thin batting, then overlaid with sparkling white net and then turquoise net.  I stitched lines across it, then slashed the turquoise net and folded it back or removed it, added more white net and sewed it down to create the cloud-streaked sky.

Finally the strands of leaves were attached at the top of the hanging.  I tacked them down in places, but basically they hang free and can move just like the real leaves.

I was very happy working on this.  Obviously my well of patience runs deep with this sort of detail, even if it may be somewhat less in evidence at other times!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Next Challenge

Happy July, everyone!

Your next challenge, due September 30, 2015, is 


Go wild!
Knock yourselves out!
Have fun!

See you in September!

Crispy, Crunchy Arbutus Leaves

The arbutus tree in our yard is forever dropping something (not the dogs!) - whether it is fruit, flowers, bark, or leaves. Fortunately for us, who love to garden, the tree is in an area where my husband can mulch the droppings into the "lawn", which we do not have.  In the winter, we have a "green" and in the summer, we have a "yellow" because we do not water the "lawn". 

Token photo of "the" arbutus tree and Jake and Molly ...

We have had a very early start to what looks like a very long, hot summer this year and the dead leaves are crispy and crunchy underfoot. They are also very colourful - orange, gold, gray, brown, cream. Such a variety of colour from one tree.

Confession time! This piece is not finished - as in "the leaves are not sewn to the background yet". I thought it might be fun to post a trial run on Facebook, where, to my great surprise, Kim Thittichai (my idol) asked if she could post my photo on her page - where it has now been shared by others. I have been completely overwhelmed by the response to Crispy, Crunchy Arbutus Leaves. Since it has been shared without a watermark, I thought I should get this into cyberspace myself.

Tyvek coloured with alcohol ink, cut with a heat tool, Lutradur, organza fused to Lutradur which was coloured with alcohol ink. The background is PFD fabric coloured with alcohol ink.

Thanks for this one, Chris! It was lots of fun. I see great minds think alike. We west-coasters love our arbutus trees!

Free falling leaves

Free falling leaves

This challenge travelled with me and kept me calm and busy at a difficult time.

It was started in Manjimup western Australia. I was once again on holidays with my grandchildren. They are three boys and they had chosen to go to an adventure park so I was left with time to myself while they climbed trees, played armies and spies and generally amused themselves.
I found several leaves which had just dropped from the trees as we head into winter. The Leaf on the bottom was traced from an actual leaf onto two different colours of felt. I embroidered and beaded over some snippets of crystal organza which was held on by wash away fabric. I put this aside once finished and continue my time with the boys.

After a week we headed home and I sat down on the lounge chair enjoying the peace and quiet only for the phone to ring. My dad had taken sick. To cut a long story short he was in hospital for 3 weeks and I kept him and my mum company over that time. The two leaves at the top right came along the third day and took me on and off 2 weeks to embroider with different stitches. I enjoyed playing with the threads and just getting lost in the joy of creating. The large maple leave is my favourite. I painted an actual leaf then printed it onto a velvet curtain sample. I then filled in the painted area with matching threads.

This was all completed without knowing how I was going to use them. Once Dad was released from hospital and I could get near my sewing room I found the background fabric in my stash. I had bought it many years ago in Canada. I decided to cut, sew and recut then sew again to give the impression of twigs on the ground. The three tiny wooden buttons were a present from my hubby when he was working in Tasmania many moons ago. I had always wanted to use them but there never seemed the right project for them. This one called for some wood, something to represent the trees that give us the beautiful leaves. I hunted through my big button box with glee to find them and placed them on a piece of "tree" print fabric from my stash.

This piece will always be special to me with so many memories and momentoes in it. Thank you for a lovely challenge. I am now on a 3 month caravan tour heading towards Victoria from Western Australia and look forward to the new challenge quilt to come.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arbutus Leave

I love trees! I love bark, moss, roots, leaves -you get the idea I love trees and everything about them! So for some unknown reason I drew a blank as to what I should make when " leaves" came up as the challenge. So blank that I didn't start this piece until 5 days ago.
I just had to look in my own backyard.

I'm from the east coast and we don't have Arbutus trees there. I'm fascinated but the way they shed their bark and their leaves.
I waited so long I had to use what was in my stash.

I picked leaves from the yard and used them as " models". I cut leaves from each fabric. I fused two layers together so I had some stability for stitching. Then I used water colour pencil crayons and Inktense pencils to colour each leaf.
I was pleasantly surprised at how the leaves turned out. So now I present to you my Arbutus Leaves.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

In Pusuit of Purple by Margaret K,

LEAVES – In Pursuit of Purple
I love leaves.  From previous posts, you know I live on a small acreage with trees – lots of trees – deciduous, evergreen, native and non native, fruit bearing, shade providing, upright, weeping.  Leaves, ferns, mosses, vines, creepers, needles, bracts.  Green, red, orange, yellow, brown.  And purple/burgundy!  Huchera, Japanese maple, frosted fern, berberis, smoke bush, black beauty elderberry, cut-leaf weeping Japanese maple.  A beautiful warm sunny day, so time for sun-printing.  I didn’t like my mixed Setacolour red and blue for a red violet, so used their pre-mixed transparent parma violet as a background.  After drying in the sun and ironing the fabric for colour fastness, I painted some Lumiere burgundy lightly on some of the background as most of the leaves are in fact burgundy, not purple.  Then some pearl white on the two Japanese maple leaves to give them a bit more oomph.  Very light quilting around or through the images, self binding and I’m done.  I’ve included two photos of other leaf projects I’ve done over the years.  

In 2006, I used a photo image of two of my grandchildren (4 and 1) playing in a pile of maple leaves in October 2002.  The leaves were snippets of fall colours.  This was one of my first ventures into textile art.  The kids are now 17 and 14!  I call it “Pure Joy”.

In 2010, I created “One Red Leaf”.  It is a celebration of a young man’s life that ended far too soon.  The leaves represent us all, how we are the same but different and our differences should be celebrated, not belittled or bullied.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I'm off on a trip to UK for 2 1/2 months so managed to get my challenge completed early before we leave on 12th June
I picked some leaves off a tree in our garden and used these for the challenge. The autumn colours are exquisite here in NZ at this time of the year.
I painted a piece of white cotton fabric with Gesso and traced many different sizes of leaves on and then when this was dry I painted them. I then put some iron on vilene for stability and free motioned stitched around drawing outlines and the veins in the leaves. I then cut them out. I then took a piece of silk I dyed in a Shibori dyeing class and used it on the background and after drawing and painting  visoflex with acrylic paints I ironed these onto the background and sewed leaves over top of  these areas. I enjoyed doing this challenge    

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My goodness, I completed this early. Leaves, love leaves but here on the coast of Australia we don't get the beautiful coloured leaves from deciduous trees.
I drew the leaves on white homespun and coloured them using Inktense pencils and then used Jo Sonias textile medium to blend the colours. I then made a quilt sandwich and free motion quilted the leaves adding their veins before carefully cutting out and placing on a piece of handdyed fabric, a bit more quilting and done. Hope your enjoy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Scream - It's all about Fear

Hi Everyone, firstly I apologise for my post being a little late. Once again the blog and I did not see eye to eye.
I had read the theme while in limited wifi, only seeing the original note and not the detail of "what I am afraid off" so I took it on a different journey. The word FEAR instantly put me in mind of a painting I seen while at TAFE a few years back. This painting truly made me think, this is how someone who was very frightened would look.  I thought it was a Van Gogh but in fact it is painted by Edvard Munch - other artists copied it and gave their own twists. I wanted to try and "paint" it with threads and fabric.  Below is the original inspiration.

I layered blue cotton fabric, white muslin then the orange fabric for the sky, with the plan to slash through the top to layers to give me the blue, which in the painting seems to be behind the orange and white. Then I hand embroidered the orange paint strokes followed by free motion white detail to lighten the orange as suggested in the painting.

I played with "texture magic" on the blue chiffon, to give movement to the water. It worked brilliantly except I hadn't allowed for the white background showing through the chiffon but I loved the effect so, with more patience than I usually process I unpicked the backing and found the creases and folds the shrinking of the chiffon had caused, stayed and gave me exactly the movement I wanted.

More playing with free motion sketching using browns and blues. Looking closely at the orginal design I was amazed at how much brown is used in it. Next came blue hand embroidery followed by the addition of the bridge.

Once I was happy with the background, it was time to figure out how to give it my twist plus a person on the bridge showing fear. Using a photo of my crazy grown up son acting frightened. I traced basic details with a black texter then using a light box transferred that to fabric. Next came much fun with the sewing machine and cream thread to get the shape and brown thread to fill in the detail. I wasn't sure how I was going to colour it all in as I wanted to keep it in the same brownish tones of the inspiration. Low and behold in my cupboard of gadgets and tools was a set of water colour pencils. I spent a day colouring and playing.

This is the end result 

Thank you for this inspiring challenge. I had so much fun playing with new and old techniques.