Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anticipation of this weekend

I have been waiting one year for this Friday to come.  Thursday through Sunday the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XXI will be held in Hampton, VA.  My mom and I have attended this convention in the past and this Friday we will go again.  I am giddy with excitement as this weekend approaches and all of you quilters and fabric enthusiasts out there know what I'm talking about!

I love this show for a number of reasons.  The obvious reason is the time, effort and creativity that goes into these stunning works of art.  They are so inspiring!  And if you're crafty like me you tend to get overwhelmed at the possibilities of making one of these.  Inspirations and ideas come so fast that my head is spinning by the time we leave.

Photographs ARE allowed and my first passion has always been photography so I always go to these shows with plenty of memory cards.  This is my second reason for going.  To be able to take photographs and admire them year round.  I use them for inspiration.  Sometimes I see color combinations that I wouldn't have put together myself but "wow did they make that quilt pop with those colors!"  The other end of the color spectrum is black and white.  There is an entire section devoted to black and white quilts.  This one was my favorite.

But check this one out:
I wish I had the dimensions of this quilt (I'll do better this year).  But more than this quilt having all of the shading of these eyes was the blocks that made up this "portrait":
This year I will get more details so when I post pictures from the show I can give credit where credit is due and I can try to get the story behind it. 

Last year I took over 400 pictures so it would be almost impossible for me to choose a favorite but I'm going to.  My favorite:
Another part of this festival is all of the vendors that are selling quilting notions and fabrics.  Oh how I LOVE fabric!!  

I can't wait to post another blog about this years festival as I'm sure it won't disappoint... HAPPY QUILTING!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Even at an early age I think my mom knew I was interested in art.  This was taken in 1971 when I was 19 months old.

It's never too early to introduce your child to the wonderful world of art.  Cultivate their imagination and praise them endlessly on their creative journey.  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How I stumbled into the wide world of quilting

I had to think back a few years to figure out how I became interested in quilting so here's my story:
Around 1999 I decided I wanted to learn how to sew my own clothes (skirts, jumpers, sleepwear).  So I bought myself a sewing machine and took a class from my local Parks & Rec. In 2000 I went on The Disney Cruise and was SO excited to make all of my clothes for this trip... capri pants, fun summer shirts, shorts and skirts.  This was the first shirt I made and I loved it (I'm sitting in Minnie's chair).
In 2001 I went to a quilt convention with my mom.  I went primarily because I knew there would be bolts of new, different and unique fabric there.  I was very impressed with the workmanship that went into these quilts but I wanted to find funky fabrics for skirts.

Up until this quilt convention I thought that all quilts were "country looking" with dull and drab colors.  But this convention opened up my eyes to all of the amazing colors and variations the world of quilting had become.  I was still there for fabric for garments though.

But then slowly, as with everything else, when I look at something long enough I start to get ideas.  And the more booths I wandered in and out of I noticed myself being drawn to these cute bug fabrics.  Then I found one I couldn't live without...
This spider was screaming "take me home, I'm too cute to pass up!"

I thought to myself "I could make a simple quilt.  6" squares sewn together.  I could alternate cute bug patterns with bright solids... hmm". The idea was born and little did I know I would fall in love with quilting and continue to make more of these treasures.

I was going to just tie it but instead put it away and forgot about it until this post.  As you can see that I never put the binding on it either.  But because of this post think I'll finish it.  And now since I know how to quilt the top I'm toying with the idea of doing that.  This quilt is huge though!  It measures 85" X 96".  

So I guess you could say this is where I was bit by the quilting bug... or spider as it were!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Doin' it my own way

For the past few weeks I've been looking at watercolor books and viewing artists' watercolor paintings on the internet to get a sense of "how" to watercolor.  And this is the conclusion I've come up with... whatever way I want to paint with watercolor is fine.  I'm not trying to please anybody except myself and if I like it then so-be-it.  I know before I've stated that I need to learn to "loosen up" because watercolor paintings, in general, seem to have less defining lines and my paintings have very definite lines.  Maybe one day I'll paint like that but for now I love the way my paintings are turning out and to me that's all that matters.  I'm finding my style now.

I've also been looking at books and paintings for inspiration.  I should have known to look at my own photos first.  This is where I found a picture of a monarch butterfly hoovering over this gorgeous lavendar flower.  I decided to add a little blue/purple to the flower to give it more depth and to contrast it with the rich hues of the butterfly.  I may eventually go back and darken the background too.
I really like how the center of the flower turned out.  At first I was just going to paint it a light green with a few dark green sprigs in it.  But then I used my, I call it my grass brush, to stipple some dark green dots in the center.  It gave it a raised effect plus it blended the dark purple flower with the lightness of the center. 
Some call it cheating but I call it a really cool effect... yes I did use masking fluid for parts of the flower and the top torso of the butterfly (and the spots on the wings).

While looking at my photos for inspiration for this project I found a lot of other photos of past things I've done (like embroidery, knitting, soap making, etc.)  So I think some of my future posts will be "a look back" at my creative journey.