Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome 2016

Well January snuck up on me.
This past year seams to have zipped by, and no one in my household is complaining about that.  Not a super great year for everyone here, but we are all forward thinking so we welcome this new year with open arms!

Did you have a resolution for 2015?  Did you keep it?  I did.
I decided to set a new years resolution that was reasonable and attainable and I decided I wanted to get into the new millennium by finally setting up online bill paying and banking and I did it.  It may not seem like a big deal but it was something I had never done and I feel good about getting it ALL done.  I had thought about a few other things, like draw and journal every day but that was not going to happen.

Now that it's another new year I need to come up with another resolution.  I need to exercise but to set a regular schedule to stick to is never going to work, as much as it should.  I would like to try adding some yoga this year.  I have only tried it twice in my life but my mind and body seems to be telling me to do it.  Can't promise a set number of days a week so fast but lets try it.

High on my list this year is to up my art quilting skills.  It's another thing that is pulling at me - if that makes sense.  I am kicking off my new year with Craft Napa, an art quilting retreat in Northern California where I had a tough time choosing classes to register for.  There are only three days of offerings and I could have filled more than a week!  Can't wait!

I added some photos to this post that have inspired me this year. Places I visited, people I met and of course some of the quilts on exhibit that I am privileged to see have filled my iphoto files.  Didn't even know where to start but here a some that jumped out at me.  I look forward to having lots more to share in 2016.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful For- and Defending - my Art and Craft

A delightful Thanksgiving.  
All together with both of my boys and both sets of parents.
Add some extra friends and we had an interesting, well fed afternoon.  I cleaned non stop as my husband cooked the turkey, pork, two homemade stuffings, sweet potato gnocchi, mashed potatoes. apple cake, and pumpkin cheesecake.

My immediate family obviously knows what I do for a living/hobby and my parents stop by my shop often.  Everyone else - not so much.  Some of our guests had never been to our home so they had to get educated.  Piles of quilts decorate chairs throughout and bowls of Wonder Clips and thread sit on tables like a candy dish at Grandma's house.  It's after we show them around the house and they walk in to my craft room/ studio and walk around as if it's an unkempt cabinet of crafty curiosities that an explanation becomes necessary.  

Spend some time with me and get me talking about my shop and my passion for what I do and it is clear how much I love it.  I can talk for hours about the quilt industry and all of it's variety and possibilities.  

One of my husband's friends seemed to appreciated the creative chaos.  His ex wife was apparently a crafter.  When he saw my sewing machine he said "wow, that's a dying craft."  I love the fire that lights and continued to tell him how many billions the industry rakes in every year; the worldwide popularity; the international visitors to my shop who gush at the choices and displays.  I pulled out different quilts I had made and the collage quilt that I am binding until I felt that they 'understood.'  

After my speech and show-and-tell we all sat down for a digestive chat and my dad brought up a recent post  I shared on the StitchCraft Facebook page. It was the process of artist Susan Carlson and the creation of her huge fabric collage crocodile.  A pretty amazing video and I was please that even the non-quilter was intrigued enough to watch.  That prompted me to bring the discussion to the true artistic aspect of our world.  The website of David Taylor is a favorite gallery of inspiration and the reaction of my son and his friend was as expected.  "That's a quilt Wow."  Like the end of a Thanksgiving feast, I was satisfied. 

I am thankful for all of our staff and customers who give me the joy of getting to work each and every day.  I am blessed to be surrounded by creativity.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Post Card Art for Fall

I am careful not to commit to swaps and exchanges that I cannot keep up with.  I would never want to be 'one of those' people - the 'flakes'.  Twice yearly iHanna coordinates an international postcard swap and it is one that I never miss.  Making ten postcards and sending them to ten recipients from parts of the world is fun.  What I receive in my mailbox in return never disappoints.   Here are the postcards that I created and sent.  I started with Gelli prints using colors I recalled from the changing  trees in Massachusetts.  Shades of reds, purples (from the maples) and oranges.  

Check out iHanna's DIY Postcard Swap and the creative people who participate.  Join her mailing list to find out when her next swap will be!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Junk Journaling

I am around fabric all day every day and love every minute of it.  But sometimes as you may know I need to revert back to my original love - paper.  Art journaling is a therapeutic joy.   Book binding is a fascinating art.   Junk journaling throws it all together in a fun way!

I baked some brownies for my son one evening a couple of weeks ago (Betty Crocker, as I am no scratch baker!)  The empty box in my hand felt like a perfect size for a journal (am I sick or what?!)  I  decided to make it a true junk journal - only using leftover supplies - so I covered in with some old book pages and used bits and scraps that came from others in swaps or were left over from other projects.

Extra bits and pieces of Gelli plate printed papers and washi tape added some color here and there.
Five signatures were bound in with waxed linen.  All I have to do is add something to dangle.
Have to admit that I really love how it turned out!  The brownies were sweet and so is my journal!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Name is Johanna and I am addicted to crafts

You are too?  Then you understand. 
Being addicted to crafts doesn't make my life unmanageable.  It makes my craft room unmanageable at times but it makes me so happy and makes me a better person.  I have long extolled the benefits of crafts and hobbies and how it HELPS people.  In our shop we all laugh and say that quilting is cheaper than therapy.  While it is not a substitute for a great therapist (highly suggest that you know one, if not 'just in case') it is such an amazing addition to sanity, stability and happiness. 

This is the latest project coming out of my craft room.  Judy Neimeyer's 4th of July.  Love it, don't you?  It will be the next donation quilt for the Gold Coast Quilters Guild, with tickets being sold for a chance to win it.  Thank heavens I had fellow guild members help with piecing the blocks together.  When I have a project with a deadline I am hesitant to work on anything else, even though I have new toys, projects and ideas piling up like a creative queue.  

The storm before the calm was pulling all of the foundation papers off of the back before it goes off to the long arm quilter.  What a mess (but it's a relaxing process.)

What now, you ask?  

This is a big birthday year for me and I set a goal for myself.  I want to expand my talents and abilities and become an art quilter/fiber artist.  There.  I put it out there.  I will find time for myself to explore new techniques and mediums.  I have signed up for a retreat this winter with teachers that I admire.  Look forward to sharing these adventures.  In the meantime My craft addiction is taking me outside of the quilting genre into paper and other mediums.  Have you seen the planner world lately?  I have always kept and carried planners.  Now there are groups, websites and products to embellish and journal in the planners.  I made my own leather travelers notebook.

Natural leather that I stained red and cut to fit the inserts I chose.  I am enjoying this new journal.  I have inserts for a calendar, to-do list and notes and ideas.  A necessity in my life.
What's NOT a necessity in my life?  This new 'toy'.

It's a loom!  A fancy loom that was given to me by a customer.  I took a weaving class a few years ago using a little portable loom made from PVC pipe and loved it.  When I was asked if I new anyone who wanted a loom I jumped at the chance to explore this fiber art further.  I had no idea how beautiful (and large) it would be.  It is going to be a project to learn how to use it.  Did I bite off more than I can chew with this?  Hmmmm.  In the meantime I will sweep up the paper, clean my craft room and start playing with something new today.  Anything new that is sparking your creativity?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Broken Record and Martha's Vineyard

I sound like a broken record - talking to myself anyhow - wondering how I let so much time pass between blog posts.  I vowed to stay consistent.  Then again I am one who won't whine and complain on social media and in my blog and want to keep things drama free.  That explains the absence, as we have had lots of drama.  Hopefully most of it is behind us.  One of my favorite sayings that I often use in my artwork is "Keep moving forward".  I try to live by it.  

At the last minute (a trip planned in under 24 hours) my husband and I found ourselves in Martha's Vineyard, desperately in need of a few days of peace and relaxation.  A short distance off of the shores of Cape Cod, it is an island practically void of chain restaurants and shops and where most people leave the makeup and heels at home.  Amazed that we found a hotel room, we were welcomed at the Hob Knob Inn in Edgartown.  Pure charm!  We spent 3 days exploring the island and it's different towns, eating a lot of fried clams, lobster rolls and ice cream along the way while taking in the view of ocean, forest and farmland.  

How convenient that there was a Blueberry Festival?!

You can imagine that if there is a quilt shop nearby I will find it.  The Vineyard did not disappoint and I was thrilled to find that the Heath Hen Yarn and Quilt Shop in Vineyard Haven was participating in the Row by Row experience. 

 I stopped in and met Jan the owner while perusing this charming island shop.  She had a carefully curated selection of fabrics and patterns, including fabrics one would hope to find there - lobsters, sailing and other nautical themes.  Colorful skeins of yarn invite you to create something warm for the New England winters.  

The island was chock full of farms, farm to table restaurants, and locally made goods.  We stopped at at some of the little farms that were open to the public.  One advertised wool and had adorable baby lambs.  I was a bit horrified when I stopped into the farm shop and they advertised lamb chops next to the yarn.  Noooooo!

An alpaca farm was a well known stop along our travels so we couldn't resist.  (Okay, it was me who couldn't resist. Husband went along with it).   Education about alpacas is an important facet of the farm, and they sell babies for pets!  There were lots of the cuties, including two babies, and we were welcome to pet them - as long as it was done properly.  While I am not bringing an alpaca home to Boca, I did enjoy the visit.  Boy are they cute!!

A little beach, a little boat (a 10 pound bluefish) and a lot of fresh air. Ready to return to the running of the shop, the donation quilt project for the guild and lots of other things on my plate.  

It's all good.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Curious Bundles

Online classes are such a temptation, as the ability to learn from wonderful artists and instructors is easy and at our fingertips.  One can learn virtually anything - an endless menu of tutorials with eye candy samples and forums to share.  The problem for me is time.  There are only so many hours that I have at home - it is difficult for me to sit still and watch the computer for a long period of time.  

There are a few online workshops that have enticed me to register.  Most recently was Curious Bundles from Susie LaFond.  Her projects mix stitching, book making and journaling.  My favorites.  She has a whimsical, free style that appeals to me so I gave myself a push and signed up.  I watched her first project in the class step by step and followed along.  Cutting up old jeans and gathering scraps of bright fabrics formed the beginning of very creative project.

I think any level of stitcher can follow along with this class. I am happy with the results (above).   I made it a little shorter than Susie's samples, as I am only 5 feet tall and my cut up blue jean legs weren't very long! 

With pockets inside and out I can keep pages and mini journals as well as pens, stickers and anything else I fancy.  [the photos were taken on it's side so I could show the fringe).  I made a smaller bundle book without fringe for an Artsronauts swap.  Fun project.  Next up is to find the time to make one of the other projects.  
Not enough hours in a day!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ice Dyeing

I eat, sleep and breath fabric and crafting.  And as I always say, it makes me so happy.  Memorial Day rolled around and we quasi-planned the typical family outing of a boat ride and lunch.  Younger son didn't seem eager to go and after checking the marine forecast, neither did I.  I suggest to the husband that he and my older son have some quality time on the water, as they both wanted to go.  I got a little guilt but not much grumbling and off we went in our separate ways - me heading straight to my craft studio. A day off with free time, what to do?!!  Woo hoo! I decided to do some ice dying.

Prepped the muslin and got it all nice and smushy to take the melting  ice and make patterns.

Carefully prepared the dye.  No matter how neat I try to be, something other than the fabric gets dyed.

Covered the fabrics with ice cubes (a bag that I bought at the grocery store and smashed against the brick patio to crush it).

Added the dye to the ice and waited for it to melt.  Being a hot day in Florida that did not take too long.

Each piece of fabric gets rinsed and then washed in the machine. The results were fantastic!  I am hooked!  The question asked now is what will I do with them?  Good question!

Here is the result!  The colors in the photo are not exactly true to what they are in person, however they are bright, saturated, juicy colors and I love how they turned out.  12 fat quarters up on my design wall.  What do you create?!