Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Mystery Quilt done

     Alycia posted a new mystery quilt- A Winter Quilt Along, with each step supposedly taking one hour. Some of the steps were longer for me, especially since I had to do a lot of ripping as I sewed together parts wrong. Sometimes I am angle challenged, especially if the design is not symmetrical. 
     It started out with lots of HSTs. It was divided into three sections- top, bottom, middle. 
     The center section was last. When I laid it out, the center did not work for me. I thought the center should pull all the diagonals together and have some points, instead of a truncated star. 
Testing out the new design
     This meant I had to make more HSTs (half red, half blue) and leave off a few half red/white. 

Going to choose the red fabric
      I was happy with the result and choose the red fabric for a border. I won't be able to sew this on until after Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Card saga one more time

    Since I was 18, I have made Christmas cards every year. The number keeps creeping up, and every year I hold my breath to see if I can make it. This year I made 110. I don't like copies, so each one is handmade. I find people always love my cards and tell me so, but I can hardly ever sell a painting when I exhibit them. Hmm.
    This year, I experimented with Brusho, a watercolor crystal product, I saw demonstrated at a rubber stamp show in September. By the time I started this last week, I totally forgot the demos and had to reinvent the wheel. I used two Brusho blues sprinkled for the sky, a fine spray bottle, Arches cold press watercolor paper, a self carved stamp of an evergreen, brushes, kosher salt, white paint, and regular watercolor paint. The Brusho is a dye, so my fingers have been blue all week. 
Brusho skies
Skies with trees, ready for cropping
My mess, stamps, gelli plate, etc.

    I painted the skies in long strips, stamped and painted the trees, spattered paint and added shadows with a brush. Then I cut the strips into compositions for the cards. I bought A7 cards and envelopes with coupons from Joanns. 
     I printed out the poem I used for the inside (Longfellow's original "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day") on white paper, rubbed yellow/yellow orange pastel dust over it and glued it inside. Now I am writing a greeting in each one- the hardest thing for me to do. The out of town ones are mailed- I keep on writing in the rest.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Sometimes dreams take a long time

     Back in the 80s, I tried repeatedly to become a published children's book illustrator. Because there was a cheap airline, I flew twice a year to NYC to see publishers and attend the Society of Children's book writers and illustrators. Learned a lot, met a lot of great illustrators, but the endeavor went nowhere. I gave up, ran a graphic design business and went back to school at 41 to earn a teaching certification and masters in K-12 art. I taught for 13 years, retiring due to chronic migraines and middle school.
     I embraced quilting again just before I retired, having put it aside for the above. I love making all quilts, but especially comfort quilts. Almost all quilts I make are given away many, to people in need of them, mostly by referral. Included here is the most recent giveaway, an original design done as a mystery for my guild and Alycia Quilts. Some people asked me what I include in quilt package, so here is a photo of the bag, book, card, pocket quilt, and quilt.
All washed and fluffed.
All the pieces. Bags were donated, I sew a pocket on the front.
Recipient fighting brain cancer who I have not met. I don't meet most of them.

     I could not find a suitable childrens book to include for chidren referrals, and extensively searched along with my neighbor, Sandra, who is a professional writer. She wrote a suitable script and asked me to illustrate. I explained to her the above and she was not deterred. As I back out of my driveway, I pass her bedroom window. She kept taping signs in it, like "Do the Book", "You can do it", "It is waiting for you", etc. She wore me down. Using my grandson as a model, I posed him according to what I saw in the text, took tons of photos, did lots of sketches, painted all the 11 x 14" watercolors over a year.

    You guessed it, we could find no one willing to publish. We had some hard covers self published printed to try and find a publisher. Cold silence. For years. 
     Last summer, a small publisher, 50/50 press, contacted us. They had received one of our hardcovers through a convoluted trail. Almost a year later, Amazon printed it. Not thrilled with how the paintings printed, but thrilled for it to be there. Later, Barnes and Noble picked it up. Last week, our local paper, the Ken Ton Bee, interviewed us. 
     Finally, I have a book to include with the quilt package and a book for others to share.
     My grandson was five when I started. He is nine, going to be 10 in March. How is that for a long delayed dream?