Friday, November 26, 2010

Chicken is Back!

Back of Fiona showing quilting
Fiona Featherly  17" x 19"
You will note in my last blog entry that I completely gave up on this darn chicken quilt.  It was just plain ugly.  And then I took a nap - and when I woke up I had one final idea to try.  The chicken obviously needed a cardigan sweater to warm her little body up.  So I found a CrazyWild piece of fabric with the same colors, fused it over the top of the finished quilt, and Voila!  She looked SO much better.  So I added some trim to the new sweater and some buttons and now I like the quilt.  Sometimes the way these quilts unfold amazes me.  Her name is Fiona Featherly..... but you can call her Fiona.     Barbara

Thursday, November 25, 2010

No More Chicken!

Sometimes you just have to give in and give up.  And today is the day that I am doing that with my Chicken Quilt.  No More Chicken!  Everything that I do to make it look better makes it look worse!  Yikes!

I guess this is one of those times when you put the quilt away in the Unmentionable Box at least for a while.  But I suspect that this is one of those quilts I will take out a year from now, look at and cut up into small pieces for another project.  Maybe I could take the border areas and make coasters??  All I know is that when a particular project becomes a frustration rather than a challenge - I need to just let it go and do something fun.

So what will I work on next?  Hmmmmmmmm..........              Barbara

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Poor Chicken looks.....Naked!

The quilting is done and the feathers are added.... and I still don't like the way this one looks.  Boy is it ever hard to post things on a blog when you really don't like the way they look!  Too public!
But I do try to view problems as challenges - soooo - what is the challenge with this particular chicken?  For one thing the feathers aren't nearly as fluffy as I had hoped.  The spiny part of the feather was way too tiny to pierce with a needle so I had to sew them down more tightly than I had hoped.
But I think the problem is that the poor chicken looks like he has been plucked naked of all his feathers!  NOT a good look.  Way too much chicken body showing!  Is this just Thanksgiving guilt as I think of all the turkeys being consumed tomorrow?
The solution I am going to try is to paint part of the body as if the chicken is dressed - if you look very closely you can see that my quilting on his body suggests clothing.... more photos of a hopefully better looking chicken soon.              Barbara

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken with No Feathers - yet...

So here is what my chickenish critter looks like so far.  Very bright colors.  I usually don't use a dark color for the background and a lighter color for the character.... but I really wanted the main body to be yellow. 

As you can tell this little critter has not been quilted and looks rather blah in spite of the bright colors.  I almost always want to throw my quilts away at this stage - I lose hope for a short period of time but then almost always like them again once they are quilted.  Since I do all of the outline stitching and the quilting at the same time, before this is done it seems like there is just no real personality in the quilt. 

But I should be posting a new photo of this quilt soon - perhaps it will even include the feathers!  Does it look more like a chicken or a turkey?  Or maybe neither?  Just not sure yet.....   Barbara

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crazy Feathers

I am ready to start my next quilt so I went to my stack of drawings that I have been using for inspiration these past few months and picked out this one - the wacky looking chickenish critter.  Once I pick a subject to use as inspiration, my next step is to make the pattern by tracing the drawing on a clear transparency and then using my scanner/copier to enlarge that outline drawing to "fit the page".
For this particular quilt, I had no fabric chosen to inspire the rest of the colors - but I did have this really great bunch of feathers with ridiculous colors and patterns.  I pick up things like this whenever I see them even though it might take a year to work its way into a project.  But aren't these crazy feathers fun?  I can't wait to get into my studio to start......    Barbara

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Ornament 5" x 5"
I don't usually make Christmas ornaments - although I LOVE the ornaments that I own and treasure the ones other people make.... but I needed to make an ornament for a friend and, quite frankly, was stumped for an idea.  I was inspired by a Quilting Arts article about adding hand stitching to quilts and this is the ornament that was born.  I like the non-traditional colors and the sparkly bits.  I do mention sparkly bits a lot, don't I?  I guess I am just a sparkly person!     Barbara

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lola has a Secret

Lola has a Secret  17" x 16"
Original drawing of Lola   6" x 4"
I am still having a totally wonderful time making quilts from the scribble drawings that I did a few weeks ago.  This one isn't quite as happy as the others - maybe a little worried about being lost in the woods?  Not sure exactly what her story is.  But her name is Lola.
You may notice that Lola's shoulders grew a bit as she became a quilt - it looked really goofy with the tiny shoulders in the original drawing.  I really enjoyed working the color black into a quilt for more drama.  And I especially like the sparkly bits on her very lovely hat.  What do you think Lola is thinking about?   Barbara

Back in Action

Hortense quilt 12" x 12"
Whew this has been a long couple of weeks!  Too many deadlines with other projects and not enough time to quilt - or to blog!  But I AM BACK and raring to go on projects.  Here is one little quilt that I made as a sample for a class that I will be teaching next August at the Arkansas Craft School in Mountain View.  The class is called Contemporary Quilting - Portrait Quilts.  We will be making a small quilt like this one that is just a Crazy Face and then we will make a more serious portrait quilt.  You can see some photos of my more serious faces in my October 21st post about my trunk show.  But this little gal is called Hortense.       Barbara

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where do YOU get inspiration? WalMart of course!

Inspiration comes from the strangest places.  You just have to be in the right mood to find the perfect items to add to your stash that will SURELY be treasures in the future.  Here is a photo of my latest finds from the jewelry department in WalMart.  The round pink metal bracelets will surely become hair of some sort for one of my quilts.  And the sparkly JEWELS on the three bracelets?  They will be cut apart and applies as sparkly bits for one of my art quilts.  The stretchy little number bracelets will have to be added to something - they were just too cute to resist.  All that fun for just a tiny amount of money - and who knows what they will become???

My Muse has been on vacation

With all that has been going on in my life, my inspiration has been to survive.  I haven't had time to be creative and I have felt dry.  Sort of like all the leaves that have fallen all around me.  I felt that I needed to make a thank you gift for the doctor and his wife.  This always inspires me to be creative and it changes my mind set in a positive way.  My Muse had no choice but to return.  Sometimes I have to threaten her with failure to get her to participate.  I need to remember this lesson since there is always someone in my life that needs a boost or a smile.  Lesson of the day: when inspiration takes a vaction, create something for someone else.  I will post the process and finished item when it is finished.  Jan
I always try to attempt something new with each new project.  This time I wondered what would happen if I fused sparkly organza to the top of the mugs, would they look like glass.  It made it look more clear but then I quilted it and the effect is barely visable.  In order to make the same fabric look different, I used bleach, Shiva paint sticks and Tsukineko ink.  
I am finished and ready to present "It's Still Life" to the Dr. and his wife on Thursday.  If they don't like it I hope that they will keep that a secret.