December 18, 2009

That’s my birthday.  I took a total break from all the have-to-do things of the holidays and celebrated the day to my choosing.  I have pictures to share of what I managed to accomplish!

First is my left hand warm up drawing from the morning…

Then because I was searching for something, that ended up with hours of cleaning in my sewing room…not that it needed it or something. lol!  I soon gave my attention to a piece of “paper cloth” I had made some time ago.  I found it in the piles I was looking through.  It’s called paper cloth because you  make it by adhering papers to cloth.  This particular piece I adhered papers to a product called do-sew (I think that’s what it’s called).  It’s used to cut dress patterns from.  It’s a thin woven product.  Because it was thin is why I wanted to use it as the base to make the paper cloth rather than muslin. My paper cloth actually ended up being quite sturdy.  I cut it in a 5 inch strip and layered it with batting and started stitching vines on it; when I got tired of that I threw some hearts in…then with a fabric marker, I “painted” the leaves and the hearts…

This folds in thirds and, after adding a felt strip on the inside, is now a needle holder.  Keeping track of needles can be daunting, but now with this very cute case, I think I can manage it.

There was enough paper cloth to make a…you guessed it…a cell phone pouch to hang from your neck!

The more I feel this “paper cloth” the more I am impressed with the sturdiness and feel of it.  I think there’s enough left that I could make a wallet if I wanted…yes, it’s that sturdy…almost feels like leather…

Even though I didn’t get any world-altering artwork done, I am pleased with the experiment with paper cloth…now I want to create more of it!

…And I did have shrimp and wine…

Let The Little Children Come…

I had a birthday Friday.  Yep, a week before Christmas…my birthday has always been on that day of the year.  I got a lot of interesting birthday cards, but I have to say I think this one took the cake.  This is the first time I ever got a hand made card from my nieces.  I was pretty impressed and touched. The envelope was addressed to “Aunt Kathy” (no last name)…good thing my address was on there. Take a look…one is a budding artist…she is always drawing and doodling something…and she’s pretty good at it too…”Happy Birthday Aunt Kathy and Merry Christmas”

I know those are presents on the left side and I’m not really sure what the drawing is on the right side of the page…

But it was the last page that really got me…

Friday This ‘N That…

I didn’t get to follow through with my plans for my birthday yesterday.  The plans were that my friend from the St. Louis area would meet me approximately half way, we would do some shopping, some antiqueing, exchange gifts and have lunch.  But due to the weather reports….we didn’t meet up…and you know what?  The weatherman was WRONG again!  They’ve been wrong all week.  So frustrating, especially when you are trying to make important plans, like a birthday meet-up.

So instead of that, I did the other things I would have to do today, like go get some groceries.  I decided to have some Birthday Shrimp for my birthday.  I love shrimp cocktail, so I bought a bag of big shrimp and that was my celebration…as well as  the wonderfully flowery, mushy, big, wordy card my sweetie hid for me in the morning.  It’s  a game we play.  He gets up early to leave for work and leaves the card for me on the kitchen table.  Unfortunately, I frustrated his usual plan, because I got up before him…couldn’t sleep…had to blog…so he had to leave the card on the couch where I would find it later, all nicely topped with a miniature peanut butter cup…it’s like a message, you know.  (I was wondering where that card was.)

Another thing I did yesterday (see prior post) was to start on a piece for a show coming up.  I went ahead and painted the Lumiere paints on it, and either used too much paint, and/or didn’t realize just how opaque those paints are, because I totally covered up the quilt blocks, except for the puckery places in the seams.  Not sure I like that, but I did like the ability to make a new design with color on those quilt blocks.  But the white places bug me a bit.  I think if the background was black, perhaps the Lumiere paints would look good on that.

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Ok, back to the idea of the transparency provided by gesso on the blocks…and another idea.  Here’s what the original blocks look like with nothing on them.

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Now with white gesso.  With this piece I am thinking of layering with transparent paints, fusible web, dryer sheets, etc.  Hopefully, I can keep some of the original design showing.

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This section I flipped over and used black gesso on the BACK, thinking it might be nice to be able to see the orginal blocks on the back side of the quilt.  I will be painting this with the Lumiere paints to see how they look on the black gesso.

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Now I have three different pieces to work with…if they work out, I may put them all in the show.  This is all I got done today as the gesso takes time to dry and I am cleaning house and finishing cookies.  My neighbors are coming over tomorrow for my annual cookie exchange.

Christmas Baking and Other Items…

Last week I did work on the commission proposal like I said I would.  I also spoke to the bank about a time limit on getting it in.  They said if I got it in after the first of the year that would be fine.  Sigh of relief.  So now I can put it aside to work on Christmas gifts and cookies…

Ok, I need some input on sugar cookies.  I have never liked to make sugar cookies with icing on them, because althought they are so pretty, the icing makes the cookie absorb moisture and go limp.  I see all these pretty decorated sugar cookies and they look so inviting.  So how does one go about keeping the cookie  nice after decorating it?  I have never had any luck with them.  Also, does anyone know if sugar cookies can be frozen and then thawed to decorate without them going limp?  That’s why, as of now, these sugar cookies are not decorated.  I wanted to try out the recipe.  I like this one very much.  It was on the bag of flour.

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Then I stood for a couple of hours to make these coated pretzels.  I always like to make pretzels as a nice change of pace on a cookie tray. You know…the salty/sweet thing…

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I still have chocolate ones to make (my favorite), but didn’t have any fresh bark  last week.

My neighborhood cookie exchange is this weekend.  My neighbors come over with cookies, we exchange a dozen to each person, we eat a few, and I serve a holiday punch, homemade eggnog,  or special coffee, and we chat.  The past couple of years I have made a hot cranberry tea with cinnamon sticks.  They love it.

There is not very much art making going on.  Every now and then I sit down and quilt on a stack and slash crazy quilt just because I would like to finish it.  I started a meandering job on it several years ago and was not happy with how that was going(I am ripping it out), so now I am using a 12 weight black cotton thread and just quilting around the shapes that are in the blocks.  It’s the worst quilting job I have ever done…and I love it.  How many of you know that you cannot free form quilt a straight line?  At least not without a ruler or something and even then, it would not be easy.  I am free form stitching “lines”;  they are not straight, but it is ok.  It looks like stones and sort of offsets the straight lines of the piecing.  It takes your eye away from that.  I am liking it. It also gave me the idea of how to quilt the inner border…with stone shapes of course.

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Handmade Christmas gifts: A friend made an embroidered patch for me for my niece.  Katelyn had requested a sweatshirt with a panda eating bamboo on it, so….it’s a great story, but Katelyn will be getting a sweatshirt with a panda eating bamboo on it! The only gift I have left to make is a fleece blanket for another niece.  There are plenty of cookies and candy to make as I will make up cookie trays for a couple of households.

And then there’s the dreaded Birthday.  Born just a week before Christmas, I have  a birthday when I’m just too busy to have one or to actually enjoy it.  Why couldn’t I have been born in September?  Some years I have gone somewhere to shop and just enjoy the day by myself, but I am still shopping for Christmas.  I try to just take the day for me and do something different on that day, like… whatever I want that I probably wouldn’t do some other day.  But I don’t do things like bungee jumping or the like.  At least not yet.