Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A (Very!) Quick Trip To Napa To Witness The Groundbreaking For "Crafting A Life"!

My friend and fellow-artist Pokey Bolton is famous for dreaming big.  One main difference in Pokey is that she has a way of crafting her dreams into reality, and often, those big dreams rub off on many of us who are fortunate to be around her.  She has seen a lot of changes over the past several years and now she is realizing another big dream:  moving back to her home state of California and buying land in Napa.  Her next project:  "Crafting A Life".
What is "Crafting A Life"?  Well, what do you imagine it to mean?  There are so many ways this theme can be interpreted and I think she intends to explore them all.
First up:  construction of a new "Art Barn".  I've seen the plans and walked on the ground where the future art barn will reside.  Inside this future building I think we can weave some magic in the form of quilts, mixed media, perhaps cooking outside the barn in her gorgeous outdoor kitchen (and I, for one, hope to cook some pizzas in that wood oven of hers).  This future place is built for dreaming.  I think the sky is the limit for what can be imagined inside these walls.
Here are a few images from the day of the groundbreaking.....
I think the seat back tray tables on SWA planes look like penguin beaks....

We met Jamie and Steve Fingal at the Oakland airport.
First time our husbands have met in person!

A trip to what my daughters refer to as "The Precious".

A beautiful old barn door.

Tulip trees in bloom

Jamie's fun heart bunting adorns the entry to Pokey's garden.

Gathering by the pool

Two legends of the quilt world:  Yvonne Porcella (L) and Alex Anderson.

Posing with my dear friend Judy Coates Perez

Pokey gives a brief, heartfelt speech before digging in!
She remembered the late Allison Stilwell, who encouraged 
everyone to "Do what you love, no matter how crazy it may seem!".

Putting on her hard hat before the heavy work begins...

Yvonne shows Pokey how she got some Napa dirt under her new manicure!

Flying away on a beautiful day I can see the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz
in the distance.  
I'm sure to return, and often.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Let's Go To The Birds With Jamie Fingal's New Fabric Line from Hoffman Fabrics!

I was delighted when my dear friend and "Dinner At Eight" partner-in-crime told me she was designing a fabric line with a "bird" theme.  I looked forward to see it and I am not disappointed!  I am a life-long "bird geek".  I grew up in a house where there were feeders outside each window & binoculars placed in strategic locations in the house for optimum viewing of birds.
I still have this habit.  Few things give me as much joy as observing birds and cultivating a habitat for them in my garden.

Jamie's new line of fabric from Hoffman is a delight for the senses.  The deep, rich colors suggest a bit of fall might be in the air, but it is not simply a fall-themed palette.  I love the addition of a few stripes, a bird journal, the bird houses, and her fun bunting in the mix.

For my project I decided to be quite free-wheeling:  I cut pieces of fabric "freehand" with my rotary cutter.  In other words, no measuring and straight edges from a ruler.  Why?  Just because!  I love the look of the more organic appearance that comes as a result of this method of cutting.

First, I cut squares from many of the fabrics, and then some strips.  The strips were pieced around the square(ish) shapes.

Using Mistyfuse I fused some small pieces, then cut bird and leaf shapes with my Sizzix  dies.  I like how they add some additional depth and movement to the blocks!
cutting the "squares"

Pre-fused fabric is run through the Sizzix Big Shot die-cutter.

the results:  two bird forms and several sizes of leaves.
The "branches" were free-cut with scissors
Since it is close to Valentine's Day I thought adding a heart was in order...

But I wanted it to look a bit like an apple...

I love the wonderful shapes and colors in the fabric.
I like that I can see the shapes of Jamie's sketch-doodles in the fabric!

It is such fun to free-motion quilt using the shapes as a guide.

I used the dual-feed feature on my Bernina 750 QE to do some of the straight quilting.
I like the wonky feel of these free-cut blocks!
I am using a double-layer of wool-blend felt from National Nonwovens as my batting.
It is great for wall-hangings because it holds a nice flat shape.
To finish the (somewhat uneven) edges I opted for a border of black and white ribbon trim.
It looks a bit like film negative edge, which seems perfect for this study in birds!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and please leave a comment here to become eligible for prizes.  We are going to do a give away for a bundle of the 'Autumn is for Birds' fabric.  Hoffman Fabrics has been very generous in providing the prize!  Don't forget to check out the other stops on this multi-day hop.  

Jamie shares a link to her Twisted Sister blog talking about how the 'Autumn is for Birds' fabric line was made:
Hoffman Fabrics link

The giveaway is for a bundle of the 'Autumn is for Birds' fabric.   Hoffman Fabrics has been very generous in providing the fabrics!

Feb 16 - You. Are. Here.
Feb 17 - Lisa Chin
Feb 18 - Cheryl Sleboda
Feb 19 - Stacy Hurt
Feb 20 - Candy Glendening 
Feb 21 - Sue Bleiweiss
Feb 22 - Jamie Fingal

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

28 Drawings. It's February, After All...

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer threw out a challenge for the month:  create 28 drawings, one per day.
Well, why not?  I love to draw but often go long periods without actually doing it.  I wanted them to be black and white.  My friend, Jamie Fingal, found a great source for these large white sale tags at U-Line.  I now own a box of 1000.  That oughta hold me for a while.  I use tags as great little printing "warm-ups" so these will be put to use!  Here are my first 9 days of drawings....

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fiberart For A Cause: The 100.

I am both honored and excited to be contributing to this wonderful cause again!  Virginia Spiegel has championed this project annually since 2006.  Collectively, these events have raised $240,000.  This year 100 artists have created artwork for sale and we hope to raise at least $10,000 and push the total to $250,000.00.  And this is the best part:  100% of this money goes to the American Cancer Society.  No one contributing gets a "cut" of this money:  every single penny that is raised goes to the organization.   I hope the recipient "falls in love" with this piece.  I have been looking at the Pinterest board dedicated to this project and I am very excited about all the lovely artwork.

And, as much as I wish I didn't have to say it: this is personal.  I lost my niece to cancer almost a year ago to the day.  I have a good friend who is battling pancreatic cancer as I write.  My mother had breast cancer.   I have a friend who awaits test results right now.   Another close friend just fought this battle.  We all know too many people like that.  Some of you may have fought through this.

The auction opens at 10:00 CST on Wednesday, February 4th!  Here is the link.

I am offering this mixed media construction.
It is mounted on a 16x20 stenciled wrapped canvas so it will be very easy to hang.
The piece is made from a variety of cloth and paper which has been hand and machine stitched.
The collage is overlaid onto a piece of hand-made paper, then a piece of canvas.
I will pay the shipping cost for this piece.  All you have to do is be ready to purchase it!

detail 1

detail 2

detail 3

This is the back of the canvas.....

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you are able to support Fiberart For A Cause! xo Leslie

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fun With Victoria Findlay Wolfe's New Line of Dies From Sizzix!

 I was delighted to discover Sizzix a couple of years ago during International Quilt Market & Festival.  I purchased the BigShot Pro because I was very interested in some of the large dies Sizzix has to offer and have used them extensively in my recent work.
I was happy to receive two dies to play with for this hop:  the "Wave", and the "Double Wedding Ring Tulip".  I used the dies in two separate projects and in very different ways.  Come along and take a look!

the Wave, dimensions of the die edges 12" x 12 3/4".
This die requires the use of the Big Shot Pro cutter and pad.

Double Wedding Ring Tulip,
dimensions of the die edge are 12" x 12 3/4".
This die requires a Big Shot Pro cutting machine and pad.

Project #1:  The Wave die.  Using the Wave die cutter I cut many black and white prints, some black with white, some white with black.  Then, just to be nutty, I threw in a few cuts of a Kaffe Fassett print that I love.   I ran out of that print, which will be the major part of the border of this quilt so I will have to add another post once the needed fabric arrives!  
first, I folded my fabric to best utilize it.  This meant assuring that the fabric 
overlapped the actual die shape.

Here is my stack of cut fabrics...

It's fun to see how it looks as the cut shapes begin to line up on the design wall!

The general layout of my "central panel"

To piece, I worked horizontally, one row at a time.
It is easiest to piece with the concave shape on top, convex shape on the bottom.

Begin by positioning the concave shape so the tip overlaps the edge of the bottom piece.

Hold edges securely in line as you work around the edge with a 1/4" seam

And the finished edge will have another small tip overlapping the lower piece.

Here is how they look once pieced.

A whole row is finished!

Press each row with seams going the same direction, and then 
do the same as the rows are joined.

Press each row with seams going the same direction, and then 
do the same as the rows are joined.

And here is my finished central panel!

I'm looking forward to my additional colored print fabric to arrive as I think it will really pull those limited number of colored pieces into focus.  Stay tuned!

Project #2:  Double Wedding Ring Tulip die.  I decided to use this die in a somewhat unconventional way.  Rather than machine-piecing these shapes I opted instead to pre-fuse all my fabric using Mistyfuse and then cut the cloth for the Double Wedding Ring Tulip design.  By pre-fusing my fabric I am saving a great deal of time!  
fused fabric is cut to "just cover" the particular section of the die I wish to use.
The plastic plate is placed over the folded fabric and run through the cutting rollers.
The machine is VERY easy to use and does not require much physical effort to use.
Since I am always struggling with a bit of tendonitis in my arms I am appreciative of 
how smoothly it works.

Once my shapes are cut I work on my ironing board over a Goddess Sheet to overlap
the pieces.  Using a dry iron I fuse the shapes into place.

Now, I can peel them off the Goddess sheet and they are ready to be fused onto my quilt surface!

Here is the back of one.  You can barely see the fusible, right?

How it looks....

Now, all 6 "tulips" are positioned on my white background fabric.
As soon as I was satisfied with their placement I used a dry iron to fuse them into place.

The fusible serves as a type of "basting".  Now I am securing each in place by using a
blanket stitch.  I have activated the dual-feed on my BERNINA 750QE.

In addition, I used the Sizzix Lollipop Shadow alphabet set to create the message.
The fabric was pre-fused before using the alphabet dies, as well.  It is important to 
orient the fused side of the cloth in order to have the lettering show properly on the quilt surface!
I stitched each letter into place by free motion method.
I created my own "needle" and cut it from a pre-fused solid, then used some wrapping string as my "thread".

After all the surface elements were securely in place I began to free motion quilt the objects and background.

Here is the back of my quilt. I used Superior MonoPoly thread in my bobbin.

After the quilting was complete, I created two labels, one on the base of the quilt and one that I attached to the hanging sleeve.  The hanging sleeve contains more information that the more "decorative" label, and I stitched it onto the sleeve before attaching it to the quilt.  
This quilt was created for an invitational exhibit called "Personal Apps", which is to debut 
at the Road To California Quilt Show in just a few days.
Each artist was asked to create a 36" square quilt in the general style of an app.
Here is the website description:  
An App is defined as an application, typically a small, specialized program downloaded onto mobile devices. Artists invited to participate in this exhibit have created small quilts that represents them as an individual. The quilts show an aspect of their life or their identity. Curated by Matt Reese and Stevii Graves.

As an artist I am certainly fortunate to "Do What I Love" and I really "Love What I Do"!

I'm very excited about these new dies by Sizzix.  I hope you will give them a try, and if you do I want to see what you make with them!  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Come back to visit often!
Please click the following link to leave a comment which makes you eligible for a great giveaway!
Sizzix is giving away a fabulous package. The winner gets the Big Shot Pro and Victoria’s three dies. Good Luck!

Be sure to drop by these other artists' blogs to see their projects using all Victoria's cool new dies:
January 16th Jamie Fingal
January 16th Tracy Mooney
January 17th Elizabeth Timmons
January 17th Nicole Daksiewicz
January 18th Ebony Love
January 18th Holly Hughes
January 19th Marni Weaver
January 19th You Are Here!
January 20th Karin Jordan
January 20th Sue Bleiweiss
January 21st Jenny Doan
January 21st Victoria Findlay Wolfe