Tuesday 31 August 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 14

For our challenge this week I have found inspiration in leaves hanging over a brick wall.    I really love the contrast between the softness of the leaves and the hard man made texture of the bricks. 

I used scraps of quilted off cuts from a previous project which I satin stitched together to make a very colourful wall.  The different tones of the bricks are captured by the hand painted fabrics. 

The leaves were free motion stitched on than coloured with water colour pencils.

Friday 27 August 2010

photography-Getting up close and personal

I love capturing the details of flora and fauna.  The teeny tiny stamens,  droplets of water and the veining of the petals.  It takes be back to children's T.V. show Sesame Street  when they would show the viewers part of the object and you would have to guess what the object was.  I loved the challenge it brought to my sometimes very bored brain and I loved to see up close the details that so often we miss by doing the daily grind. 

When taking photos up close you need to use the close up button on your camera.   To get even closer a macro lens would be useful.   They are very expensive.  The other option is a attachment that connects the front of the lens to the camera (i.e reversing the lens around).  I went for a Macro lens attachment that screws onto the front of my cameras.  It doesn't come as close as a macro lens but it is still very good.

Frost on a leaf

When doing close ups try taking the photo from different angles,  different distances and different parts of the subject.

A camelia

A rose

Centre of a lily

Centre of a lily

Palm leaf

Droplets of water in pine needles

Veins on leaf

Try taking the photos outside and inside using different positions of light.  Try taking outside photos at different times of the day,  in different types of weather and in different seasons. Try taking close ups of man made objects and other subjects.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 13

Since I have been sick I have needed to do an extra blog this week to get back up to date. 

My card today is the last of my five retro experimentations.  This one is based on windows in trees and rocks.  I have softened the the design this time by curving all the edges.

The colours were chosen because I felt they reflected the retro theme well

This card was made from card and thread.  All the pieces are punched with square and circle hole punches.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Budgeting for art and craft work

It is getting harder and harder to make the pennies stretch and when I have to choose between Groceries or art I will always choose the groceries. How can I still do my art in this present economic situation.

Over the next few weeks I am going to present different ways to save money in art work. I have found a few great practical and easy ideas on how to do this. For the Fourth week of our journey I am going to look at ways to save on costs in .........


  • Always buy the best sewing machine you can afford.  This will save you some much money in the long run.  Try looking around for good specials or decent second hand machines.  It amazes me how many people buy a machine and only use it a couple of times.  Take into account the how much it costs to service the machine,  replace needles,  to get new feet and how much parts are.  If the running costs are very high it may pay to buy a higher priced machine to start with.
  • The other tool I reccomend you buy top quality is a rotary cutter.  I've tried cheaper ones but they don't last as long and I tend to cut myslef more with them.
  • Buy a few high quality paint brushes rather than a bunch of cheap ones.  They will last longer,  give a better finish and be more versatile.
  • Have a swap session with other artists and see what tools they don't want any more that you could use
  • High pigmant paints are more pricey but go further than lower pigmant paints.  Buy one pot at a time to cut down on costs.  Only buy the primary coulors,  black and white.  Learn to mix your own paints.  Not only will it save you money but it is a great skill to learn.
  •  Clean all you equipment as soon asyou have finished.  This will keep your tools fresh and ready to use
  • Routinely service you machine.
  • Share tools with friends.  Someone may have a felting machine another a die cutting machine andother person a heat gun.  Rotate them around so everyone can have a play withouot huge costs.
  • When looking to purchase a new tool ask yourself can I do the same thing with out a new tool?  where will I store it?  Can I use it more that 3 ways?  Will I use it at least once a month?  Will it do what I want it to?  Are there any hidden costs? I.E.  What does it cost to service?  Do I have to buy any consumables for it? etc  Can I get it second hand? 
  • Talk to others about their opinions on products. 
  • Use before you buy

Sunday 22 August 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 12

I am continuing the retro theme today.  This piece is based on the windows in leaves of trees and the straight tree trunks.  These windows have been simplified.

I have let the stitiching follow the line of the card

Maybe now that I am feeling better I can translate these cards into cloth

Sickness muses

Well I'm back after a rather nasty dose of the swine flu.  I have never been this sick before.  I must say I am very sick of my bedroom and have much more empathy for those who have long term illnesses.  This bug had me laid up for 8 days in bed (no mean feat when I have 5 children)  and still not fully well 13 days later.  But I have had some very valuable thoughts and learned some wonderful lessons

  1. Job is a saint (not sure who Job is check the bible)  I don't know how he got through all he did and lived to tell the tale
  2. As much as the prospect of being bedridden sounds wonderful when life gets on top of you,  it isn't what it is cracked up to be
  3. That I can still have a sense of humour after vomitting so many times
  4. That when you think you have reached your limit that you still can handle more
  5. Having so much pondering time has helped me plan out at least 10 more quilts
  6. That my family is wonderful.  Even my 6 year old was able to help me through such a rough time
  7. That teenagers have feelings for others........They were both very sympathatic and gave me much loving service
  8. That the trees I see from my bedroom window look different throughout the day depending on the light that is cast on them...hmmm maybe a nice quilt series
  9. That a lot of life relies on those trees for shelter and protection
  10. That I am missed when all is said and done
  11. That I have been given a wonderful spouse who worked full time, juggled kids and kept the housework up.
  12. That swine flu helps lose weight (not a reccomended technique for weight lose though!)

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Dear followers and readers

I am sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days but I have been sick with the swine flu.  I will be back on to continue my posts when I am well enough to do so!

Saturday 14 August 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 11

This week I am carrying on the retro theme again.   These pieces are an exploration for a bigger piece of work that I am making.  The flower has been used for today's inspiration.  The quilting pattern is the suns rays.

This piece is made from card and stitching.

The brown and red makes a strong statement and really fits in with the retro theme.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Budgeting for art and craft work

It is getting harder and harder to make the pennies stretch and when I have to choose between Groceries or art I will always choose the groceries. How can I still do my art in this present economic situation.

Over the next few weeks I am going to present different ways to save money in art work. I have found a few great practical and easy ideas on how to do this. For the third week of our journey I am going to look at ways to save on costs in .........


  • Read,  read , read.......Go to the library.  Read as much as you can.
  • Buy books that teach techniques or take you through a series of workshops or lessons.
  • Find an artist who would be willing to mentor you.  This could even be done long distance thanks to the Internet.
  • Form a art group so you can learn from and teach each other.
  • Experiment with objects and equipment you already have.  I couldn't get or afford many different surface design equipment used by many artists overseas so i used children's art equipment instead and have learned to use them through trial and error.
  • Read articles on line
  • Find magazines that teach contemporary techniques.  Ie the quilting arts magazines.
  • Research other art form other countries online or in books.
  • Go to exhibitions.  Sketch and take photos of others work and analyse their work.
  • Get others artists in your field to critique your work.  Learn from their critique.
  • Enter Art/quilt competitions.  For small fees good critique can be given on your work.
  • Take opportunities to go to workshops/lessons/lectures.  Sometimes these can be given for free or for a nominal cost if you belong to a art association.
  • Belong to an association  that supports your type of art work.
  • Visit museums

Tuesday 10 August 2010

photography-using a frame

A photo often has more impact if it has a frame.  Think about an assignment from when you were a child.  Without a frame it often looked incomplete and unfinished but as soon as a frame was added,  even a simple line,  the project suddenly looked complete

The same applies to a good photo.  There are a few ways to do this.  You could use a man made structures ie and building,  a window, an arbour or natural structures ie. a tree,  leaves etc.  Using frames when composing a photo blocks other parts of the image taken and draws attention to the subject.

In this first photo the tunnel has been used to create the frame on the 2 subjects walking towards the light.

Trees are used for the frame on this picture.  The viewer wants to know what is going on around the photo it is intriguing to the eye.

Trees and foliage again create the frame.  It frames the subject which is the marvelous view of the beach.

In this photo of the cliff are used loosely as a frame.  It draws the viewers eye down the river to what might be around the corner.

The climbing ropes make a great frame for a portrait.

In this photo a window in a telephone box makes the frame

Using a frame helps the viewer see where the photos taken and gives the photo some context.  It can help create depth and layers.  It draws the eye to look at the focal point of the shot.

  So the next time you take your camera out consider using a frame for a simple but stunning composition idea.

Friday 6 August 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 10

I am carrying on the retro theme and experimenting with more ideas to include in an upcoming quilt entry. 

The inspiration for this piece came from the long straight shapes of the tree trunks in the bush and of the round seed pods hanging from the branches.

I used card and then machine stitched this piece. 

Keeping the colours and shapes simple and strong in the design makes the pieces have that retro feel. 

Thursday 5 August 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 9

The theme in an upcoming exhibition I am entering is going to be retro.  So I thought I would play with some designs that I might add on to this piece of work.  I took simple shapes in nature and simplified them more to make retro inspired cards.

The first card in this series in inspired by the centres of flowers.  

I have made this piece from card and then stitched it on the machine.

The colours are inspired from old clothing and home decor colours from the 70's.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Quilting achievement-How entertaining entry.

I have had a wee bit of a break due to sickness.  Hopefully the immune system is stronger for it and ready for the productive art work in progress. 

While I was sick I received the latest issue if the Quilting arts magazine Aug/Sept 2010.   This issue is beautiful .  There are many inspirational articles to get the creative juices flowing. 

But the highlight for me was that, an entry I sent to the magazine for the challenge 'How entertaining', was published.  My art was given a full page (page 75). 

It was a wonderful privilege to see my
art work in print.

Here is the link to view this piece.

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