Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tea For Tulips

 Getting ready for another trip, this time to Texas. Today is folding pattern day.  As I was folding this pattern I thought I needed to give it some long over due respect. This is a great design and hardly any one knows about it. So today I am showing off my Tea For Tulip quilt design.
 Yes, it is hand, needle turned, applique and quilted by little old me.
 The original was made for a line of fabric that Quilters Corners got in.  I designed the pattern to go with the line of fabric.  I think it was in 2006?  This one was done just for me and in my colors at the time.  I think I might do it again in today colors.
 Later I added the stacked tea cups, which was not apart of the original pattern, its a new addition.  If you want this easy applique pattern, here is a link to my shop.  It $12.00  Have fun with it and send me a picture.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Green is a Neutral!

I’m finishing up my week of hand-dyeing.  I did a lot of over-dyeing to get some new colors and designs. I wish I had more time or maybe a twin.  But then again, Joe would probably freak out with 2 of me in the house - he can barely handle one.  Yesterday we folded patterns which inevitably means running out of Ink.  Why the printer runs out of yellow ink when you are only printing black is still a mystery to me. 
Did you know that green is a neutral and has the power to make or break your quilt?  Over the past 4 years I have observed my students working with green and found that the wrong shades of green can visually drain your quilt of its color power.  
 Today, as I am washing and pressing my green fabrics, I thought I would give you the secret to a knock-your-socks-off quilt.  It’s in the greens.

To demonstrate this theory I have my students focus on just their flower petal colors first.  They get them working together perfectly.  How do you know if it’s right?   You either get a feeling of AHHHH or YUKKKK!  I know this is deep stuff.  When the student feels happy with it, then we find the best background fabric.  Here is how I have my students think like an artist.  When we lay that flower on the background fabric they brought, 50% of the class will change their mind about that background fabric that they thought was perfect.   Why didn’t that fabric work?   What they thought at home was great changes in class when they see how their flower is coming along.  This is OK.  Artists change their minds all the time.  It’s not a failure to change your mind. It’s the path to success!

Color is a science, a chemical reaction which happens when the colors touch each other.  Now we audition the greens for the leaves.   80% of what the students thought would work at home have changed in class.  It may not be the best for the new flower they have just created.  
Now, what if we where painting with paint, not fabric?  Well, you can paint over paint until you get just the right color.  With the fusible you can peel the color off and change your mind.  You are auditioning a variety of choices to get your quilt looking just the way you want.  
The artist knows this intuitively but even the layman can learn the technique. When the color is right you will have a feeling.  Artists feel…sometimes too much.  Talk to me!  But go with it in your art.  This is how that feeling works.

 Your eyes perceive the color, that message goes into the brain and causes a chemical reaction, then the message shots down the body to the stomach,  turns around and then shoots  back up to your mouth and comes out as YUKKKK or AHHHH.  This is your brain, gut, intuition, telling you if it’s working or not.  It’s a FEELING and feeling in art is always good.

Now back to the power of green.  Greens come in hundreds of shades - just look outside at nature.  It can also set the mood you are trying to portray.  Example: visualize what color green you see when you are in Arizona?  There’s a look.  It’s the cool, light green and grayed greens of the desert cactus.    Which, when you use them in a quilt give you that southwestern look.  What about the greens in Hawaii?  Those are a deep blue green and yellow green, which give off a tropical feel.  So take your time when you use a green fabric when quilting and get the strongest AHHHH out of that green.  You may just win the next award!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Color Summer Yellow

Summer on the porch.
A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.  ~James Dent or was that Joe Bula?

Ah summer! It’s here, with all its glory and fame.  Or is that Flame?

Its force and strength seems to over power the other seasons.  I seem to have forgotten all about my winter blues and my wet, damp, mope, spring.  “Is summer ever going to get here?” I would cry.  Well it's here and there is no going back.

So yesterday was a perfect day to put my hands and elbows, in the color yellow.  Yes, I was dying fabric kits for my upcoming classes.  How many values and shades of yellow can I make?  This was the theme of the day.  I even carefully wrote down my secret formulas, which I never really do.  I just seem to always be able to mix just the right colors.  But what if I have to have help?  How would I instruct someone to do my flower colors palate? That's a little scary.
My careful notes.
So I carefully made notes and slowly started the process, documenting all my steps.  Thanks God, Joe is out of town, so I could keep the mess up in the kitchen for a few days.  
I also was trying to get the yellow of my pumpkins and cucumber blossom.  The cucumber is a little more bright yellow with a touch of green than the warm pumpkin yellow.


Now for sunflower yellows.  There is really a wide range of sunflower shade out there.  Whenever I teach my sunflower class, it is always so interesting to see the yellow fabrics each student bring to make there sunflowers.  It always is a surprise.  They may be making the same pattern but they all turn out totally unique!  Just like the student in class. I love that!
Yes! red sunflowers
 In Huntsville, Alabama  it was brought to my attention that there are red sunflowers out there?  That will be for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


 I am getting ready to make my next quilt.   I was inspired again by the Monterey Bay.  The colors,  the sounds, the foggy mist, the flowers, the smells and the history.  I walked for a mile taking this all in. This week in Sisters I started collecting my fabrics.  This is how I start the process.  Art is in the process.
 The reflections
 It's not in the finished piece but every detail of the process. I tell my students to feel.  
So I also prepare to be surrounded by the feelings of that moment.  That "ah ha!" moment when you are moved to create.
Flowers I found in a secret garden.

Dinghies all lined up

Beach jewels.
 As I walked the beach I would see treasures under my feet. These sandy jewels feel so cool in my hand. 
Hair cuts of the 1709-1800's 
 Inspiration can come with the rich history of the region; in the Spaniards funny hair cuts. What where they thinking?
 I love the way the sailors dock their sail boats.  The tide changes their direction through out the day.
Nothing but Trouble!

   In Monterey there are secret gardens around every fenced gate. All are open to the public and filled with local  plants and flowers.
Wherever you look, there is inspirations to be found. Take it all in and then create.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

4th of July

 It has been a busy 2 weeks and it still not over yet.  I spent 5 days in New Mexico teaching in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Then got home on Wednesday and drove down to Monterey to watch our son graduate from the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio and be promoted to Corporal in the United States Marines.  
So the week before the 4th of July I have been immersed in great pride for our country.  Where else in the world could you live in peace with all the diverse ethnic blood pulsating through this country’s veins?  No place but America.  We aren’t perfect, God only knows, but we are free. Free to choose our path in life.  Free to vote.  Free to worship our God and free to Love. 

I was talking to a woman recently about how my son’s generation is different than mine. It’s like no other before it with the possible exception of that of WWII.  There has been a very strong feeling within this younger generation of pride in country and the desire to serve it. She said Sure, it’s because they have infiltrated the schools with military recruiters!   WOW that hurt!  

 You mean I had nothing to do with the raising of my child?   God knows I didn’t want this path for my only child.  I was hoping for, maybe, a dentist.
 But every day he watch Joe and I stand up for our rights. Events such as the Yellow House incident and the Asbestos Fraud, not to mention the yelling at the pastor over children being hurt.   The idea that he could be easily swayed or recruited to give up his life for his country by one guy on campus or be influenced by the dreaded video game and not years of seeing and hearing his parents and grandparents live their lives standing up for what was right, made me sick.
My flight home from New Mexico was through San Diego, another great and beautiful city.  Not just because of is beaches and great weather, but because of its diversity. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a young man of 12 and his mother. We started up a conversation right away.  You could tell he was bright and very polite.  He was visiting family in San Diego.  I could see the pride on her face she as he talked to me. He told me he was Irish, English, Scottish and Samoan. I told him Young man, you are a true American!  I am English, Dutch, German and Cherokee.  He gave me a nod of his head and a high five and then we all laughed.  This young man did not get this way because of the influence of school but because of the influence of his parents.

So as my son graduated we had the opportunity to meet his instructors who originally lived in several countries in the Middle East.  They, too, came to America just like your family and mine, seeking the freedom to raise their children, worship God and be free to choose their own path.   As proud as I am of my son, it was obvious that his instructors shared that same feeling for each of their students. 

I hope you and your family celebrate a safe and happy Independence Day.