Sunday, December 20, 2009

Postcards With An Edge

"Garden Party I"
In the spring of 2006, I challenged my self to make one small art quilt each week. My goal for each piece was to try a new technique or to experiment with new design elements. I named the collection "The Notebook Series," both for the size of each piece (8" by 10") and the idea that each one told a story of my inspiration for that week. You can see some of these pieces on this page of my web site.

The project lasted about 6 months, and I concluded recently that one of the reasons for its demise was that I had chosen a relatively large size within which to work (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it . . .). So, I've decided to revisit the idea of weekly art quilts, but to limit the size of each one to 4" by 6". This smaller format should be more conducive to starting a design, knowing that I'm more likely to complete it in a few hours. Also, I'll have a finished piece that I can use in several ways -- to give as a gift, to trade with another artist, or to sell at quilt shows in which my art group, ARTAA, participates (sounds good on paper . . .).
Here is the first of what I hope will be many Postcards With An Edge. The elements are fused, the piece is machine quilted and embellished with French knots, and I printed a fabric address label for the back (do not adjust your computer -- the printing is a little wavy, but I plan to get better at this).

So, in addition to my resolution to Live Outside The Box, I also plan to Make More Art in 2010.
Here's to a New Year filled with creativity, happiness, and good health for all of us.


Monday, December 14, 2009

"It's That Time of Year . . .

. . . when the world falls in love . . .", sings Frank Sinatra from my radio, except I can't seem to get into a very loving mood right about now. The Annual December Stress Level has reached amber, and I'm getting a little crabby. A good friend of mine told me to let some things go, so I tried to eliminate eating, but I became even crabbier.
I do want to thank all of you who wrote such lovely comments on my last post; I did not thank you through individual emails, as I would have liked to do, so I guess I did let something go last week. I just don't like the way I feel when I can't do everything that I feel I should. I don't bake Christmas cookies anymore, and somehow the time that I think I'm saving has been filled up with something else -- I haven't figured out what that is, though.
Okay, enough grousing. Let me tell you instead of how grateful I am for family, friends, and health, and for the wonderful connections that I've been fortunate to build with all of you. Your kind words of support and encouragement lift my spirits constantly, and I look forward to reading your comments, as well as your blogs, each day. Bless you.
And if anyone has any tips on Surviving The Next Twelve Days, please let me know.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Outside The Comfort Zone: The Holiday Version

In looking through Mary Nordeng's book, Extreme Makeover: Feather Edition, I came upon a page of sketches with a lattice design that reminded me of holiday ornaments nestled against each other. I thought it might be fun to make a Christmas card featuring one of these ornament shapes, and I started playing again (this "play" thing is addictive, isn't it?).
After drawing the design and tracing it onto green background fabric, I sandwiched a layer of batting between the green fabric, a piece of Pellon Craft D├ęcor (a stiff fusible interfacing), and the backing fabric. I then stitched the design, using Sulky rayon and Madeira metallic threads. I attached a hanging loop to the back, and since the piece is 5" by 7", it could also be displayed on a tabletop plate holder.
I hope to try making these in different color combinations -- a goal for Christmas, 2010, if I want to keep my sanity this month . . .
As I was writing these last two posts, I remembered a student in one of my math classes from many years ago. "Phoebe" was every teacher's dream student: She was hard-working, polite, and intelligent, and she loved participating in class discussions. She also happened to dress in a style that could best be described as Emo: dark clothing, dye-streaked hair, black boots. One day, she volunteered a wonderfully innovative solution to a difficult problem on the board. I became really excited (we math teachers live for such moments) and I said, "Wow, Phoebe -- you're really thinking outside the box!" And she said, "Mrs. Evans, I live outside the box."
So one of my goals for 2010 is to do more living outside the box, and I'll remember Phoebe every time I do.



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