Monday, April 26, 2010

Another page in my Gardening Journal

I planted delphinium this year, it is one of my favorite flowers but I haven't always had great success with it. I don't know why I am constantly trying to grow things that I struggle with, must be the challenge. My mom planted a few last year and they did ok, but not great. This year , to my surprise they came back so I added more! They are beautiful!! I love the blue, there is no other blue like it, a true cobalt glazed pot blue! It doesn't look real. I debated whether to even paint them knowing I can't capture the blue correctly. I plan on planting more next year and hope that these will come back! I like the pacific giants best, they are bigger than the magic fountain variety.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Funky friends

Originally uploaded by ddhabicht

While we were at therapy today I went to visit with the outdoor adventure group but sadly they were gone, probably outdoors! On the table outside the front door sat this, probably one of their latest projects. I loved them, they all looked like they were happy to see me. Being earthday, I thought that it was a perfect way to recycle old socks into cute new pots. Adding the buttons and faces made them even more special. I am sure it was a project for the kids, but I think I will be going home to dig through my husbands socks to make some new friends for my garden. I am thinking they would be so cute placed around my garden, planted with grass seeds, like hair. It seemed like they filled the socks with potting soil after sewing on the button faces and then tied the end shut. They then cut a small hole into the top of the socks to plant them. Most of them seemed to have some sprouts coming out of their heads! LOL They were sitting in a plastic, recycled container to help with the water not just pouring out all over. The ones in front, which you can't see very well, seem to be fish! LOL They are so cute, not pretty but clever. I love it when I am creatively surprised.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sharing the process- a new upcoming workshop

I am often asked "How do I come up with my ideas?" or "How do you put it together?" when people see my artquilts. I know each one of us is unique and go about the process completely different but I am going to share with you my process with this last quilt I made, my signature quilt, that ended up growing as I assembled it. It became larger than I originally planned. 

First comes the inspiration, that can be from anywhere, books, nature, photos etc. In this case I was admiring and amazed by the month challenge on Wet Canvas in the floral/botanical area. They had posted photos of caladium and everyone interprets it their own way. I loved all the leaves and colors, then when everyone started posting their pieces, it was great. Wow, amazing. I was inspired also by Signchick or Beths acrylic painting where she used purple in the background and I was now filled with ideas to make a quilt. I needed to make a signature quilt for my quilting group. Every camp someone makes a quilt that everyone signs, then names go into a hat and one person is selected to win the quilt. The theme this camp was "Jungle". The leaves were a perfect fit for the theme and I was off and running. I started by drawing up my own interpretation of the caladium leaves. I then took this drawing and blew it up to the size I wanted the leaves to be.

I then took my drawing and painted it to give it color and life.

At this point I am thinking of different ways to transform this into fabric and how will I arrange the elements. I started making small thumbnail sketches of layout ideas and decided I liked the boxes of color in the background. I went through my stash of fabric and found a batik I just loved that had all the colors of my painting along with the purple I wanted to incorporate.

You can see here that I have leaves in bunches and some flowers, which I eliminated. I still like this design but as the quilt evolved I make different design choices and decisions as to placement etc.  Now I choose my fabrics. I choose the batik with all my colors and added some of the colors from that fabric like the green. I painted the pink and lime green fabric that i used for the caladium leaves. Then using my templates I cut out and fused the fabrics together to make the leaves. I even used the cut outs I had left over from cutting out the leaves as new leaves if you look at the quilt you will see that. The leaves without different colored edges are just the left over fabric from cutting out the ribs for some of the leaves. I sew all the blocks together after laying out how I want them to fall. This part of the design takes the longest, I have to square everything, figure out how how much to add to each piece to make it even sewable. I could have also fused all of the squares onto a base but I decided to piece since I need the practice. 

Here you can see the smaller black fabric on the top of the quilt, that was my original size and it is under this new quilt. I am beginning to place the leaves onto the base to see the composition etc. Once I am happy I can iron these elements into place and then add the other smaller elements such as the leaves, outlines.  I ended up taking out a few of the leaves and adding in the outlines of the leaves instead. I ended up simplifing as I went along.

Here is a piece of my hand painted fabric that I didn't cut up, I love this piece and may want to make it into commercial fabric for one of my next fabric lines. So here is the final quilt.
The colors arent great here, I need to photograph it during the day, the incandesent lights make it yellow at night! Uhhgg.  I finished it off by satin stitching the caladium leaves down, I wanted a thicker black outline around them, then I just freemotion quilted the leaves and additional lines, I did a minimum of quilting on this quilt due to my machine acting up, since its an artquilt and will be hanging I will be fine.  I plan on teaching a workshop where we will first do our sketches and then translate into a quilt design. Look for that in the next few months.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last day of garden tour

I meant to post my final sketch from Sunday. We enjoyed getting to meet some online friends in person, so they are no longer just virtual friends now! Pat, from sketchersize, came up and sketched with me, we had a great time but filled with interuptions from people asking questions. I loved it, its so wonderful to share the yard with fellow gardeners that notice everything and have questions. I dont usually get that, often guests never even notice the yard let alone a specific plant.  Randy got to be home and soak up some of the comments from the guys, that was fun for him too. We had so many people feeling the lawn, they couldn't believe it was real. LOL. Here is my sketch from Sunday, another in my 2010 garden sketchbook. Under the window, standing about 30" tall are some angel wing begonias that Randy saved from the clearance rack at Lowes. They are so thankful that they haven never stopped blooming. 

New Signature Quilt for Quilt retreat WIP

I am working on a new quilt for the quilters group I belong to. We have two retreats per year and we do a signature quilt, that everyone signs. This camp I am doing the quilt, I will be adding some lettering and the idea is to have them write in the leaves since the theme was jungle.  I started with a painting I did for a challenge on Wet Canvas. I liked the leaves so well that I translated it to fabric. I mixed my hand painted fabrics with commercial fabrics and did geometric shapes along with the organic shapes of the caladium leaves. I hope you like it, I will post a finished picture in a few days.  What is everyone else up too?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The first day of the garden tour

Well we survived the first day of the garden tour. It turned out being so much more fun than I could have imagined. I at first thought of hiding in the house, letting them explore the yard without the owner lurking about.  But then decided I needed to be a part of the whole experience, be out painting and talking to fellow gardeners about the yard and plants. It isn't often I get to share my garden with fellow gardeners so this was me big chance. It turned out so amazing, groups of people around me asking me questions and sharing their stories of plants and gardens. I loved that so many people had to come in and feel the lawn, not believing it was real. I had wished Randy could have been home to see that since he worked so hard on having it look so perfect. I ended up only sketching one quick sketch but did manage to get sunburned! I will have to apply more sunscreen today. With a storm approaching I was worried that it would have been raining today but now they are saying tonight which should give us one more day of sunshine!!! I also met fellow artists, quilters as well as gardeners, it was a great day.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Beautiful April Fools Day at the beach

I took two pastel paintings into Manhattan Beach yesterday for a pastel show. What a glorious day, a bit chilly, but that didn't stop everyone from enjoying the day. It was a mix of clothing from jackets to tank tops. On the pier the wind kept it cool as only a handful of fishermen were actually fishing. The little sidewalk cafe that sells ice creams and waters at the end of the pier was almost empty. Behind the cafe they had a classroom with all the aquariums full of eels and fish, they were teaching the kids about the dangers of littering in the water and taking care of the oceans. We walked along the boardwalk and admired all the houses and little flower gardens that lined the streets. It is hard not to notice the weathering all those beach front houses take, it looks like that salt water even eats the cement away. Cute little shops line the main streets with cafes and boutiques and as we walked by the smells of food cooking enveloped us. A wonderful day in Los Angeles.
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