Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clawing my way back.

Disneyland was so fun!!! I didn't really know what to expect, I was a teenager when I was last there, but the whole family had a great time. I even managed some photos I want to reference later in some drawings.

So why am I "clawing my way back"? Towards the end of our 5th day (yes 5 days!) I was excited to get home and back to my quilt, the kids were ready to just hang out and play together, and my husband was finally sick of the crowds and people walking into him all the time. That was when we found out...... the kids had lice. So our last night at the hotel was spent in the room doing lice treatments, looking on-line, and calling friends who have been through this before. From what I can gather we picked it up at the hotel. It's been a rough week needless to say I did not get to come home and rush to my studio. I came home to laundry laundry laundry and the treatments, combing, and more combing. This has been so bad I almost didn't want to mention it, also it's lice and there is so much stigma around that, but this is an extreme example of how life can interrupt my plans. This time I didn't feel guilty though. I might have just been too tired but I'd like to think I have a better perspective. I realize now that I am not in my twenties pulling all nighters that I might have a delay here or there but am committed to continuing my art which is ultimately the best thing for me and my family, a healthy happy lice free Mom. So it's back to the quilt.

Between loads of laundry a few days ago I managed some time in the studio finishing sewing all of the blocks together. I was so nervous about all of the pieces lining up but everything did! Of course it's not really a traditional layout so how could you tell if it lined up but trust me it did.

For the back I decided to use an idea from another quilt and have some detail there as well. Using scraps I made a strip that divides the back almost in half and ties some of the fabrics together.

Now I just have to sandwich it all together and quilt it. This is quilted with random circles 1/2 to 1 inch apart using a darning foot on my machine. This is new to me so I am a little nervous but ready to see what happens, maybe tonight you never know.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Heading off to Disneyland!

It's snuck up on me but we're heading out in the morning!!!! The kids are excited and really so am I. This is our first time going and we're really committing with 5 days at the park, either we'll have a blast or just drive each other Disney crazy.
I managed to get the final layout figured out for the front of the quilt and will sew my heart out when I return. I am so excited to see it all together. I also broke the barrier, if you could call it that, and shared my blog with some other family members. My husband has been supporting me on this but I haven't shown it to anyone else yet. I do hope this is of interest to other artists and/or Mom's and I am having a lot of fun documenting this journey.
Creative Mom

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I finished the "building blocks"!

Finished them last night and they look great, really fun and whimsical. Each one is different and I laid them all out on the floor to arrange them and then 20 minutes later I had to stop myself. I could move the panels around for hours which is a little crazy. My drawings and paintings have always had a certain amount of balance to them and that's how laying out these panels feels, like balancing the space in the quilt. They just need to click into the right spots so it really works. Is there some OCD happening here? I don't think so but I could be in denial.
The rest of my week is getting busy with some family in town and our family trip to Disneyland coming up this weekend! I haven't made it to the studio today and I am inching to get back and start sewing the building blocks together. I also want to start a little sketching and see what happens with that. I am hoping to make that happen today but realistically it's not looking good. Maybe tonight.........wish me luck!
Creative Mom

One of the many layout versions.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How I got here and Quilt #1

The drawing and painting half of my studio

The fabric side of my studio

My goal to make 5 quilts and start making my own art again!

I have a new studio in my house that I have been excited to work in but haven't made the time for. This has always been a challenge for me since my graduation from art school in 1991. Over the years I have painted (a little), taught art to children, started a creative business, and focused on my children now 8 and 5. After turning 40 last November and with both my kids in school I am really excited to work on my own art again! Now how to do that is another question. I started by getting my new space in the house pulled together and did some sketches then I was ready to start painting!!! Well we had a little water issue in my space and then the holidays hit so here it is summer and I am starting again.
This has been a tough summer for me as I decided to cut back on the kids activity's and save some money, I didn't plan that well...... what was I thinking?! The kids and I have had a good summer but I haven't had the chunks of time I needed to get working.... ok and they have driven me a little crazy at times. So getting into the studio has been looming in my mind for months when and how will I do it? This is the monkey on my back - my procrastination. Once I get started I am good but how to really do that is my problem. So a few weeks ago looking in one of my favorite Portland stores, Presents of Mind, for a birthday gift I stumbled across the book Quilts Baby! by Linda Kopp and it just really inspired me. I have friends all over the place having babies and I have a new Niece, my first who is inspiring in her own right. I thought I can make quilts for my friends new baby's with this book! My business I had years ago was making knitting needle holders out of fabric so I have bolts of fabric left over that I love and I can work with. I'll make my first real quilt!

Quilt #1

I decided my first quilt would be for one of my closest friends, Deirdre, whose baby is due in October. Deirdre is an amazing artist, always prolific, teaches, and already has a son. Long ago I knew that I could not compare myself to her in our work habits she is a maniac in the studio. I searched through the book to find the quilt that really made me think of her work and her family. I decided on the Lemongrass quilt, I love the off kilter rectangles in the quilt and then what you might not see in the picture the free form concentric circles of the quilting. I got started and it was so much fun! I was so excited to get to the studio and work on the quilt squeezing in 15 mins. sometimes. Then yesterday I realized this was the feeling I used to have in school when I was really working on drawings and paintings that I loved! Starting the quilt was what got that energy back and maybe I can parlay this into my other art. That is how I ended up here with this project where I will make 5 quilts (for 4 babies on the way and my niece) and see what happens along the way with my painting and drawing.

The Lemongrass Quilt from the book.

When I started this quilt my only experience was making a very basic quilt from a sewing pattern and this is a whole different ballgame!
I started out by going to the fabric store and found this wonderful duck fabric which makes me think of Deirdre and the birds she sometimes uses in her work. Instead of the light yellow rectangles in the book I used this fabric. For the strips around that I used two fabrics I already had that worked really well together. These fabrics will be bolder but I always love color. At this point I have already cut the different sized rectangles, cut random lengths and widths of the border fabric, and pieced that together to make what the book calls "building blocks". I have 4 more to trim out in white fabric and I can piece the whole front of the quilt together.
Yesterday I ran into my first snag, the book instructs you to cut the white into strips no more then 14" long to make the finished building block size of 11x14. I now have 4 more blocks left to do and I'm out of strips that are long enough but still have shorter strips. I think it would have been easier if they directed you to cut strips in 11" and 14" lengths because I mistakenly cut some shorter. My solution is to sew them together to make longer strips which is the method used with the colorful border fabric. Hopefully I will get to try this out and finish the last four tonight.

A "building block" with half of the white strips attached.

I am excited to finish this quilt and see how the next develops but also if this is going to work I need to start using the other half of my studio to do some drawing and eventually painting!
Creative Mom