Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Journals and Flowers

Since I have been tending my vegetable garden and flower gardens in between (among other things) making journals up in my studio I decided I would show you, literally, journals between photos of my flowers.  After I uploaded the photos I realized that the flower colors matched the journal covers that I had chosen, this was NOT planned so it must be the colors I'm in tune with right now.  I have been stealing  getting rhizomes, bulbs, and plants from many people lately (no, I'm not afraid to ask people to give me some when they thin their gardens... what's the worst they could do?  Spit on me, tell me no? exactly) so it's nice to see them bloom the next year.  Last fall I brought back some lilies from my sister's house and they are gorgeous right now!  I am anxious for my gardens to be full of plants, but for now I enjoy the single blooms when they occur.  Here is the purple lily that just bloomed this morning:

This is  one of the small quilt squares I had done a while back and posted.  I made several in different color schemes.  I knew they would be worked into books some day and they certainly were.  This is the Purple and Green Gratitude book:

 This pink lily has already fallen off (it only lasted a couple of days) but was beautiful while it lasted.  It is also one from my sister's yard:

A second flower quilt cover, this one in pink and yellow and is tagged Remember

I have been working hard at saving my hollyhock plants this summer.  They were planted from seed last summer and this year they are blooming.  They have yellow, light pink, and darker pink blossoms and have grown over 7 feet tall already!  This is the very first flower:

I adapted an idea I saw on Pinterest to make little notebooks using index cards, fabric, and my Bind-it-all machine.  I made a several from 3X5 cards first and here is the brightly colored Crown Notes book:

Lastly, here are 3 of the many orange day lilies I have planted in several gardens.  These are in the front near the hollyhocks (and in between are mammoth sunflowers that will be awesome when they bloom later this summer!).  The plants are not as tall as the hollyhocks, but are still as tall as me.  I got lots of lilies from the plants this year.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A New Direction

There are several aspects of creating art that I love.  I love that I can take a pile of something and make something else out of it!  I love that I never run out of ideas for creating!  I love that an idea morphs and takes on a life of its own!  And I love that I can take an original creation and keep it fresh!  
My Needle Books started as a necessity for me when I kept searching for the correct needle for the job and was published in the Summer '10 issue of Sew Somerset which thrilled me to no end!  Since that original needle book (which Somerset calls a Sew Supply Keeper) I have continued to create them for my family, friends, and for sale.  The originals were sewn from upholstery fabric for stability, however I was thrown a challenge from my BFF Miranda.  She wanted a book for her grandmother in teal, white, and purple.  If you know anything about upholstery fabric you know that you'd be hard pressed to find purple, teal, or even white in heavier fabric.  Not many people want living room furniture in those colors.  So.......... I put on my thinking cap and went for cotton fabric and decided to reinforce it with cotton batting for that stability I was getting from the heavy fabric.  LOVE IT!  Using cotton fabric has opened up a whole new range of color choices for me and from the reaction on Facebook it looks like a hit.  I'm hoping that Miranda is okay that I featured purple and teal rather than teal and white, I went with what I have (in keeping with my policy of trying not to buy any supplies in an effort to use what I have.... and I have LOTS of supplies!).  I already have some bright fabric chosen for my next needle book so stay tuned.  (BTW Dave has asked me to create something specialized from this idea and I think it will be great......)
The cover:
Pages 1 and 2 -- The left side is for scissors and pins, the right is for needle threaders:
 Pages 3 and 4 -- quilting and crewel needles:
 pages 5 and 6 -- sharp embroidery and tapestry needles:
 The back cover:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One Armed Paper Hanger.....

You know the saying "I'm busier than an one-armed paper hanger."?  You don't?  Well, he's pretty busy hanging all that wall paper with only one arm.  That's what I'm feeling like right now.  And I LIKE IT!  I've been plugging along lately just building up my inventory of books and journals (and then the one store that had my items on commission went out of business, so I got all of those back) thinking that EVENTUALLY and  SOME DAY I might be able to sell them SOMEWHERE where people "get" my style of art books and journals.  You artists know that look and the uncomfortable silence immediately after you show someone a piece you've done and you can hear in their head "What the hell is that and why are you showing it to me?".  Am I right?  Happens to me a LOT so I'm kind of careful about the people who are shown my work.  After a couple of years here in the country I've finally found art people I connect with!  YAY!!  
Tomorrow my work will be showcased (along with two others') at The City Gallery in downtown Galax, Virginia.  My work has been accepted and I am a member of the Gallery and I couldn't be more excited about it!  We're having a show at the Gallery in conjunction with the Leaf and String festival so we'll be open until 8.  (I'll try to remember to take my camera and show some photos.)  I've taken most of my inventory in to the gallery and now am in the process of replacing it for upcoming shows and ............ if all goes well I will be guest artist in another gallery in a nearby town!  Whew!  Better get those creative juices flowing overtime and kick my muse in the butt.  No problem..... I have so many ideas and now that I have somewhere to show them I am super revved to work on them.  That's what I mean about liking the fact that artistically I'm pretty busy right now.  
Here are some of my newest journals:
I absolutely love making the rosettes from Annie's Fabric Flowers 101 workshop over at STITCHED.  I made several for this type of cover.  I also hand strung the beaded wire that hangs below the rosette.  The ribbon is dyed with spray ink.
The flower is also from Annie's class and has an ink sprayed zipper stem with canvas scrap leaves.  The canvas is hand painted.
 The journals above and below are also hand-dyed canvas with free motion stitched flowers and more canvas scrap leaves.  I also raided my large stash of transparencies and buttons for some embellishments.
This journal has a tri-fold cover of painted canvas and cheesecloth stitched together to create fabric.  Again stitched scrap canvas leaves and ink dyed ribbon.  
 I've been loving combing a cascade of button, beads, and french knots lately, here is a close-up.
 When I can't focus on creating, one thing I do is sort and clean my studio.  While doing so last week I decided to cut my scraps and misc. papers into pages ready for journals.   It's easier to make  a cover to match the pages than the other way around for me.  So after cutting, cutting, cutting, and more cutting I then bagged and tagged the pages.  I had TONS of  2" square pages so I used canvas scraps for covers then sewed tiny fabric scraps and buttons on to several 2 inch square teeny books.  Cute!
 The city of Galax is named after a plant that grows in the wooded areas and was at one time used in floral arrangements all over the US.  One of the ladies at the gallery offered my her galax leaf stamp, but it didn't work out that day so I came home and carved my own for this cover.  The galax  journals that I create will be sold exclusively at the City Gallery in honor of Galax.
Here's one made from painted canvas.
 Detail shot of the stamp and embroidery.
 Since I live in the woods I do have galax plants all over the place so I placed an actual leaf on the cover of this book.  
 The label is free motion stitched on canvas with buttons as accents.
 I had a journal with pockets that I had made from Stampin' Up double sided scrapbook paper (I have lots of it since I used to sell SU).  It has sold at the gallery so I made some more to replace it.  Each journal has 20 pockets in which are tags and small pads of paper.  There are also 20 blank pages in between.
 And finally, this area is very well known for it's blue grass and old time musical heritage, thus the String and Leaf festival this weekend.  I'm still finishing this 4 inch square book, but so far I LOVE the cover.  The note bases are blanket stitched by hand with floss and the staff lines as well as the note stems are machine stitched.  I don't think I'll do anything more with this simple cover.  These will be sold at the gallery for the musical folks!