Friday, December 14, 2007

Artists' Cafe'

This is another one of Somerset Studio Best magazines. This one if the best of Studio Art & Design.
There is a great article on the art of lettering. While looking through the six different articles on this subject I came across someone talking about seeing a familiar handwriting on an envelope and getting excited about it. We seldom see that anymore. I used to love to collect beautiful stationary, notepaper etc. for writing notes to people. Then it became rather one sided and I stopped doing it.
I was sorting some old paper work from my grandparents and came across a handwritten letter from my great grandfather to my mother. There was just something about seeing the handwriting that, for some reason, made me feel closer to him. He didn't have a lot of schooling.
I think he dropped out of school when he was 14 or 15 and started working for the railroad. His letter was carefully written in pencil.
There are lots of articles and eye candy of artwork from artists like Angela Cartwright, Michelle Ward, Nina Bagley and Anne Bagby.
Take some time out from your busy day, stop in at a bookstore and take a look at this magazine. It might be just the thing you need to inspire you for the new year or maybe it will make a great gift for someone you know.

Keepsake Quilting Block Buster

Well, I discovered why they probably keep the Fons and Porter magazine sealed in plastic. There was an pamphlet in mine from Keepsake Quilting. It looks like 28 traditional block designs for making 6", 9" and 12" blocks.
If you don't have a basic quilting book with traditional blocks this might come in helpful.
There is the Sawtooth Star, Churn Dash and many more favorites.

Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting

I really, really dislike magazines encased in plastic, on the bookstore shelves. I can understand if you are having it delivered but in the bookstore I want to look at it. So, I had to bring this one home with me. There is an interesting article on making a fabric clock. I actually bought a big ugly old clock, on sale, at Target, last year. I was going to art up the face of it. I still may do that but I'm liking the idea of doing a quilted wall clock. It might be fun to combine photo fabric pictures of the grandkids into the quilting. Something to think about. It's only 12"x12" so that's very doable. Might make a nice gift too for somebody. Certainly different.
There is also a nice article on making scrapbook covers. You can certainly adapt that for journal covers, book covers, etc. I know I love the quilted paperback book cover that somebody gave me years ago. When I travel I don't particularly want people knowing what I am reading.
Of course, somebody in publishing decided to change the size of paperbacks and now some of the newer ones are too big for my cover. Also to big for my bookshelf.

American Quilter Techniques/Ideas/Lifestyle

If you haven't seen the latest, January 2008, copy of this magazine it's time for you to take yourself to your big bookstore, pick up a copy, order a nice cuppa and just give it a look. It's the official magazine of the American Quilter's Society. Lots of interesting articles in this edition.
There is an interesting little article in it that would make a really neat gift for a fellow quilter.
It's called Mousepad Makeover. I seldom use a mousepad at home but when I travel I keep one in my case with my laptop.

Here's the directions from the Reader Quilt Tip section, from Rachel Wetzler of St. Charles, IL.
1. Select a quilting-weight fabric that is dark enough to cover the mousepad without any show through of the original design.Batiks or other finely woven fabrics work well. Cut the fabric about an inch larger all around than your mousepad.
2. Cut a piece of fusible web, like Wonderunder, slightly smaller than the fabric and fuse the web to the wrong side of the fabric, following fusible product instructions.
3. Remove the paper backing from the fused fabric and position the fabric on top of the mousepad. Press, following the fusible product instructions.
4. To enhance the glide of the mouse roller ball on your mousepad, apply a coat of spray starch to the top of the pad. Press, moving the iron lightly across the fabric until the starch is completely absorbed and dry.
5. Working from the backside of the pad for best visibility, trim the excess fabric with sharp scissors. Place the scissor blades parallel to the edge of the pad, using the thickness of the pad as a cutting guide.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More interesting books that have arrived!

Well, I fell in love with this one, THE PAINTED QUILT by Linda and Laura Kemshall. It's the book that got me thinking about doing the first in my Storyteller series. They do some really interesting painting on quilted fabric. I may actually use this as a technique lesson book and work on a number of different projects.
I know there are some wonderful teachers and classes out there that I could attend. It's the thought of paying for something that I probably already have a book about, packing, driving, flying, lodging, etc. that puts me off. I enjoy working in my own surroundings and making my own mistakes.

Another wonderful book is ALTERED PHOTO ARTISTRY by Beth Wheeler and Lori Marquette.I am a novice at photo editing. I would like to learn more and it looks like this is the perfect book to walk me through some basic lessons. The book includes a CD in the back of the book called OEM 3817 PS ELEMENTS Trial which is apparently something to do with Adobe Systems. Since I haven't loaded it in my computer I can't really say anything about it.

The book and CD come from C & T Publishing.

And, yet another book, FABRIC ETCHING by Iris Lee has arrived in my mailbox. This is about another technique that fascinates me, fiber etching. Fiber etch is a fabric remover, gel, which creates decorative effects by removing fabric or fibers within a painted or embroidered area.
I'm not quite sure if I can purchase this product in my local craft store but it can be bought, online at

And, last but not least is the UNIQUELY FELT book by Christine White. Here's another book to help me work with another technique, felting. I have a felting machine. sigh I got it at a close out sale. It was the demo model and I got a really good deal on it. Sadly, to say I haven't had the time to work with it. I'm thinking that those cold winter months of February and March are a good time to experiment with this book and my machine.

I send books out and more arrive!

I've been clearing my studio shelves of books that I no longer need. I've been dropping them off at my local library. They seem to be very happy to be receiving these books so I know they are going to a good home. An interesting thing has been happening. I drop off about a dozen books and come home to find a new book in my mailbox. It's happened three times. I guess the Muse approves. Of course, approves too. I've found that buying Used Books is such a good deal. I check my local Half Price Store first to see if they have the book and if not I order it on line. I've received mint condition books from some wonderful suppliers.

The newest book to arrive was WATERCOLOR PAINTING FROM PHOTOGRAPHS by Ron Ranson. I've been taking some interesting sunset pictures for the past two months. What I would like to learn is how to paint them on fabric or combine a hand painted watercolor painting within a fabric landscape.
I also want to do some sky fabric painting this summer. So, I am really enjoying this book. He covers skies, trees and woodlands, water, flowers, figures in the landscape, buildings and how to do the four different seasons.

The second book that has me smiling is CREATING TEXTURES IN WATERCOLOR by Cathy Johnson. I have also been taking a series of texture photos. I'm sure some people have driven by me shaking their heads as this older middle age, traditionally built woman, hunkers down next to a rock formation or woodpile to take a picture.
I've even volunteered to ride along in the golf cart while hubby golfs so I can jump out and take close up pictures of bark, weeds, flowers, etc. He likes the company and all it requires of me is to comment occasionally on what a good shot he just made.
This book covers water textures, foliage, tree bark, earth, pebbles, sand, rocks, weeds, weathered wood, lichen and moss, flowers, fruits and vegetables, fur, hair, skin tones and textures, glass and metal and finally my favorite, rust.
I'm also finding this book interesting for adding texture to my fiber pieces. There are many interesting stitches on my sewing machine that I can use that mimic some of these different techniques.

The third book is INNOVATIVE FABRIC IMAGERY FOR QUILTS by Cyndy Lyle Rymer and Lynn Koolish. I absolutely want to incorporate more fabric imagery into my art quilts. I haven't been happy with what I have done so far. At first I was quick to blame my printer but after reading this book and how to really use my printer I see I have a lot to learn.
Who knew that even spraying your printed images would improve the colorfastness. I certainly didn't. There are three different techniques listed. One to spray with with a fabric protector such as Scotchgard. This will make the fabric slightly stiffer but the image will be protected.
The second is to spray with a Krylon acrylic spray. And the third is to make your own mixture.
Gloria Hansen suggests that you mix three parts water to one part white glue to make a protective coating for photos on fabric. You can soak the image in a flat tray filled with the mixture, brush it on, or use a spray bottle to spray it on. You only need a thin coating.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday at the Library

It's quiet at the library on Friday mornings, no book clubs meeting or story hour. I enjoy Friday mornings at our new library. It still has the new construction smell. The reading room is beautiful, with plush comfortable chairs scattered around the room.
I spent time at the computer requesting a number of books whose names I had gotten from my Shalfari group. I was in luck when some titles were actually on the shelves and I could look at them this morning.
The first one I found and immediately sat down with was The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan. This is a non-fiction book and it's a collection of musings on her life , fate, chance, freedom of expression and so on.
Only two chapters into the book I am really enjoying it. She writes about her life as simply and with the same humor, as she does her wonderful fiction.
Unless something changes drastically this is one book I would put on my bookshelf and recommend to others.