Monday, January 30, 2012

Visual/Art Journal continued

I am having a blast with my Visual Journal. I like my colored pencils and water color paints the best, but I am trying to branch out and play with other mediums as well. I am not quite as carefree and unplanned as some might be, but I don't think that is really my nature most of the time. I am trying to push myself to be more spontaneous.

I did pull out my notebook the other day, while enjoying breakfast at a Panera before heading to the dentist. The restaurant I was at had a wonderful sitting area outside, with gas heaters (it was chilly) and a nice big gas fire ring. It was quite relaxing. I challenged myself to attempt the fireplace. Not bad for an amateur.

My cat is always good for a funny story, photo, or in this case a funny sketch. I have seen cats get caught up in something moving on a TV screen before, but Stitch actually sits and watches TV with us on occasion. Many times it is hard to figure out what caught his eye. This time it was the huge parrots and bats on a Nature Channel special about New Zealand. Not hard to see the appeal to a frisky cat this time around.

Besides a visit to the dentist (not a favorite place for me) I also got to have blood drawn for some tests. I am the biggest wimp when it comes to needles. I have always had trouble with them finding a viable vein for drawing even the smallest amount of blood. I usually end up with several punctures in both arms, which equals bruises...It was so bad one time, my family doctor took it from my neck. Yes, you read that right, my neck. Back to my story, I had to have blood drawn and no hubby around for moral support. I lucked out with the tech that did it though. She looked at my arms, decided not to torture me, and pulled from my hand. Yeah only one hole! Drawing hands is always a difficult task. I actually did this while my students were taking a test the next day.

Lastly, this past week and a half have been a major whirlwind for me.
Some on going issues, work changes (about 3 times in one week) and all my stress landed in its favorite place, right between my shoulder blades. That gave me 3 days off work, on my back, chiropractor visits, and not a lot of activity. Oh fun. How come I can't have a sick day where I actually have the energy to do something fun, like quilt or craft? I guess that is why they are called SICK days not CRAFT days, huh?

Well, I still have one day left before it is off to work again. I think I will work on some birthday cards for friends... and maybe another page in my journal.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I have been spending time sitting in offices, cars...waiting.... and have been playing with Zentangles to whittle away the time. In my last class we were working on Tangles based on a grid. I had to play with this concept a bit more... adding and changing as I went.

One of my new favorite sites involving Zentangles is I'm the Diva CZT blog. She shares some great Tangle Ideas and a weekly challenge. I have been playing with her last few challenges. It is a great way to stretch your creativity. I highly suggest finding a blog that offers up challenges in whatever area of crafting or life that you would like to grow. It gives you a structured vehicle to push past your own perceived limitations.

Last weeks challenge had us using purple. Unfortunately for me I did not get this finished in time to enter it. But I still had fun. I used Bic Flair felt pens and a purple colored pencil for the shading.

This weeks challenge is using a moebius strip. I loved drawing this. It made a fun piece to work within.

Keep on doodling, drawing, and crafting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christmas Quilts Revealed

Now that Christmas is behind us, I can post pictures of a few quilts I made for gifts this season. The two I share today were made for two special children in our lives. For purposes of this post I will just call them our niece's children, rather than going into the convoluted connections between our families. Our niece and here family just moved into their first "real" home. Now they have all the joys, and extra work of being "home owners." But I know they are loving it, compared to their small apartment.

The children were given the chance to pick the colors painted on their walls. C. is a girly girl, and chose a VERY vibrant shade of pink for all four walls. A. is into Star Wars and space. So his room was blues, greens and browns.

I did a Nine-Patch Pizazz quilt for A. using a fun space print and several solid bright colors.

For C.'s quilt I tried to tone down and enhance her PINK room, with a pale pink print. I found a 3D bow quilt pattern in an old magazine and knew that it was the one for her.

Of course every quilt needs matching pillow cases. You can see them on their beds as well. I still have a few more to share with you but they will have to wait for another post.

Hope you have a great day. Don't forget to do something crafty today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Tale of Three Sea Dragons

My New Year started with a thorough cleaning and organizing of my sewing room, fabric stash and many unfinished projects. It seems the projects I want to do keep getting moved to the side to work on gifts... Among the unfinished projects I found were three art quilts. The subject of all three quilts is the same but the mediums are slightly different. Sea Dragons! One of my all time favorite animals.

A Leafy Sea Dragon, at the Scripp's Aquarium in San Diego, CA.

Here are my three unfinished Sea Dragons, as of this morning, Jan. 15, 2012.

Sea Dragon #1 - Soft-edge applique, and some thread work. I still have a lot of stitching to do on this one to finish up.

Sea Dragon #2 - Hand Painted/Dyed fabrics. - Obviously I have even more work to do on this one...

Sea Dragon #3 - Painted with Tsukineko All-Purpose Inks and Fantasitcs. This one is a whole cloth project. I still I have to get brave and pain the water on this one. I am a bit nervous about this step as I only get one chance at it.

Well, my drop cloth is in place and table is set up, it is time to get to work. Updates on each version coming soon to a computer near you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Zentangle Class Homework

A few years ago I was hunting around online for quilting designs and ran across several references to Zentangles. So naturally I HAD to go look into those. I read up on the concept of Zentangles and found several great sights with examples. (I will include a few links at the end of this post.) I ordered a basic Zentangle kit, found a book or two and began to play. It is a great way to take doodles to a whole new level.

This last December I noticed that one of my favorite stores was offering Zentangle classes, so I am treating myself to 4 sessions of me time! Last week was our first class. All the "students" seemed to have some similar interests, quilting, drawing... We spent 3 hours learning some basic "Tangles" and shading concepts. Of course we were sent home with homework - complete a few more Zentangle tiles. I love it when I am told I HAVE to draw and play with art. Oh darn!

I thought I would share my attempts so far.

My first class project:

Then of course I had to take the idea back to my students, this is the Zentangle I did with my students. The blue in this was blue colored pencil to help my students visualize the shading I was trying to show them. I use a document camera in my classroom to project on to a screen.

I was given 4 "tiles" to work on for class, so this is the next one I tried. Still need to work on less stop and starts on my lines... they sure are noticeable when I scanned them. Ugh.

Today, I had to send my mother some information before she will fly out next week to visit. So, naturally I had to play again. I took a 6 x 5.5" blank card and worked on this Zentangle when I had a few minutes of down time today. Just finished it at home a few minutes ago. I decided to add a bit of color to this one to finish it off. I used Stampin' Up Watercolor Crayons for the outside shading and a  Pitt pen for the background in the bubble section.

Funniest part of this new interest  ---- my hubby, always a doodler, has been working on some of his own interpretations of Zentangles. I cannot wait to share those with you in the near future.

Zentangle sites you might be interested in:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Saying hello to the New Year.

My husband and I have developed a tradition for New Year's Day over the 20+ years of our marriage. We get up early enough to watch the Rose Parade. I make cinnamon rolls, and we spend the morning all snuggled up on the couch in our Christmas jammies, a crackling fire in the fireplace. Usually, since we were up late the night before with friends, we fall asleep sometime during the first showing of the parade and wake up to watch the replay. This year wasn't any different, with the exception of falling asleep half way through the parade. It was kind of weird going to bed at a decent time the night before... But made for a comfortable, restful day.

In my effort to continue working on a Visual or Art Journal as one of my creative goals, I did the following page about January 2nd.

My main medium for this page was Koi water color paints, I bought with Christmas money. I did use some gel and glaze pens to add detail and a Pitt pen to write my journaling. I splashed a bit of my soup on the page before I had painted the background, and it left spots on the page. The spots did not disappear when I painted the pink background. So I "fixed" it by doodling little swirls of them with a colored pencil that matched my background color. Then to make it look like I "meant to do that" I doodled swirls on the rest of the background. Ha! now no one will ever know - well besides you.

I have to work on my perspective when I sketch a bit, but I think I did ok. I think the hard part is just getting started, no matter how artistic we might not think we are. So jump in, try something new, revisit something you have not done in awhile...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bucket List vs. Resolutions

I am trying to push myself to grow as an armature artist. I love to doodle and play with paints, but don't do enough of either to really hone my skills. I keep seeing many wonderful examples of Visual or Art Journals. They look so neat! The samples I have seen make me wish I had those skills. So, I am combining my desire to gain skills and play with a Visual Journal, to make a Visual Journal for this year.

My first entry is just a quick play with color, as I wrote a small note to myself about the year the just ended. I am using a "sketch" book with mixed media paper, pencil, Sakura Micron pens, and water color paints. I also played with my Copic pens trying to shade...

Earlier this month my hubby made the comment that we did not do a whole lot last year. That got me thinking of things I would like to do this year, 2012. Though it was nice to have a quiet year, I agree, we need to try to get out and do something every once in awhile. Most of my ideas are day trips, or shows that I would like to do/see.

After I started scribbling down ideas I thought it started looking like a resolution list or even a bucket list. And a second entry started to come together... This is done with Sakura Pigma pens, Sakura gel, and water color paints.

I am really having a lot of fun with this idea and have several ideas already rattling around in my head for my next pages. I am looking forward to seeing whether or not I notice any growth in my skills over the year. I am going to have to get comfortable with sketching in my idea at one sitting and then painting... later on, as I go back to work in two days. I can not see myself sitting for huge amounts of time like I did today.