"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Monday, September 28, 2009

One Down

I finished one of my September commitments. Did you ever read "Catch 22"? I read about half of it ... never could finish ... but I remember one character. His name was Major Major and he became a Major ... so he was Major Major Major and he could never tell if his subordinates were being respectful in addressing him, or were calling him by his first name.

So this month for the house front swap on Textile Challenges, I had to do a Greenhouse. I decided to make it a "Green" Greenhouse by using as much recycled material as I could. I even considered (and started out) making it mostly green (in color) so that it would be a Green Green Greenhouse, but as you can see, the monochromatic thing didn't really happen!

Below is a peek in the door ... cut from a coffee cuff from Panera Bread. You can see the green background, which is a piece from a wallpaper sample. The flowers are old embroidery samples that belonged to my grandmother. The nameplate on the door is from a paint chip, and even the wire is from a string of bamboo beads that I took apart.
The roof in an aluminum can which I ran through a crimper. The vent/fan is from a floppy disk. The brass "blades" actually spin. The venting solar windows were made from the thin plastic that housed some fancy dog biscuits. I recently learned that No 6 plastic is actually shrink plastic! It shrinks A LOT but what a great discovery! I just used a heat gun to do the shrinking. So check those cookie trays before you toss them!

Oh - and eat more cookies!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Zoo of Inspiration

September has been a busy month, not least of all because my kids have been out of school for three weeks. We've managed to have some fun ~ mostly of the non-fiber art variety. Last week we took a day trip to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which is about an hour and a half west of us. The day dawned gloomy with a promise of rain, but we went anyway. The rain held of, except when we were eating lunch (inside), the crowds were extremely light, and the animals were all reveling in the cool moist air. It was a perfect day at the zoo!

I always manage to take tons of photos - of the plants and the animals - and always find inspiration. I thought I'd share some of my favorite photos with you.

The Zoo is huge, and divided into two "continents" - Africa and North America. The original plan was to have all 7 continents represented, but it has since been scaled back. Above is a banana palm and some baby bananas. I love palm trees. Can't get enough of 'em.
We had the incredible good luck to visit on the day a new baby baboon was born. He (or she!) was born in the morning before the zoo opened. Here are mama and baby, and the proud papa. It was quite amazing.
There was also a little one month old baby baboon. Her main goal was to escape mom's clutches and go exploring. Good thing for mom she has that tail to hang onto! Are you sensing the animal world is not too far off from our own???
Near the baboons were these gorgeous flowers, many of which had gone to seed. The seed pods were just as beautiful as the blooms.
This guy preferred the blooms ... and happened to land right where I had my camera focused!
Purples do not usually show up well with my camera, so I was very pleased with this photo.
They have built a platform that extends into the giraffe enclosure. You can walk right up to the fence, hold a branch with leaves and the giraffes will come up and strip the leaves and eat them ... eating right out of your hand! The platform just opened earlier this month and it is a terrific addition to the zoo. I can imagine it would be awful on a hot, crowded day!
And how can this NOT be inspiring! Just absolutely gorgeous. This is the same giraffe as above. She is about a year and a half old and one of the smaller ones at the zoo.
I was pleased to get such a crisp close up of this lantana bush. I was reminded how much I love this plant ... so much so that I bought one to plant in our yard. You gotta love a plant that blooms in yellow, orange AND pink, and all at the same time!
This bloom was about 1/2" wide. It looked like a tiny hibiscus flower about to unfurl.

We loved watching the otters play. This one found an acorn and was having a ball with it. He would drop it and then chase after it while it sank.

Bonus animal! This guy was hanging out near the Elk enclosure. We have lots of lizards in NC, but I haven't seen one like this before.
My son wanted me to take a photo of this sign. He found it quite amusing!
The prickly pears were fully fruited. How nice it would have been to pick a few to enjoy with our lunch!
And even at the end of the day, the animals were enjoying themselves. I think they enjoy posing for photos! This was just before quitting time (5:00) so this guy was about ready to punch the clock and call it a day.

I hope you enjoyed my little diversion. Back to the studio!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The results are in ...

Here are the pieces I dyed yesterday ... I'd like to try them again using different colors. The fuschia is a bit overpowering and I always get speckles...

This is the piece that was wrapped up. It's a one yard piece of fabric, so that's one big heart! I think it kinda looks like it has a smiley face in the heart. Not sure if I will use this for the quilt or not.
These are the stripes I had hanging on a clothesline. Kinda cool. Looks like a rainbow zebra. I think I'll enjoy cutting this piece up.

And this is the tone-on-tone that was in my sink. Kinda fun. I wish there were more blues yellows and greens over on the right, but the fuschia decided to set up shop on that side. I think it's kinda crazy with all those wild white flowers popping through. Sort of like a garden in reverse.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just a Little Time Today

September has proven to be a busy month. The first two weeks were spent clearing out and organizing my studio. It doubles as a guest room, and this week we have guests. They have taken the kids to a movie, so I set up some dyeing that has been long overdue. The weather is gorgeous - mid 80s with tolerable humidity and blue skies. Lovely late summer weather. Perfect for dyeing!

This is batching in my sink ... I'll have to rinse it soon, as I don't want to leave it for when they return. It's a tone-on-tone and hopefully the background will retain a decent amount of color and make an interesting piece with the flower resist.
This is a one yard piece which will hopefully be the basis for a baby quilt ... if it turns out well!

And this is a piece on which I drizzled the dye while it hung on the clothesline. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. Right now it is just dripping a line of dye on my mulch.
I used Fuschia Red, Cayman Island Green, and Bright Yellow for all three pieces. I thought I had Turquoise, which is what I wanted to use, but I guess I don't have any more. The CIG will hopefully be a decent substitute.
Stop by again soon to see how they turn out!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


My friend Tracy had a birthday yesterday. Well, I won't be the one to tell you how old she is, but I made her this little book and I wanted to share it with you! Tracy was having a bit of trouble accepting her new age status, so I decided she might as well head into the new decade with a bit of attitude! I followed the directions for this nifty little tutorial to make a one-page book. Instead of paper, I used interfacing as my base.

I made some soda can charms and beaded dangles for the spine. I loved that part!

Tracy's hubby threw her a big birthday bash at a local brewery, so I stitched a little vinyl pocket to each page for her to insert photos of the big event. Hopefully they remembered to take lots of pictures!!!

Each page has some little impertinent saying on it, as well as little bits of this and that which I pulled from my scrap bag. This page has painted paper bag pieces on it.

The trick was to decorate the pages in the right orientation and in the right order before folding and stitching the book. I made a paper sample book and labelled everything. Even then, it took a bit to make sure I folded it exactly the same way. If you are directionally challenged, just go slowly! It was a fun gift to make, for a great cyber-friend who really has nothing to be worried about in the age department! Happy Birthday, Tracy!