Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Art in 2016 – Part 1 Review

It has been a banner year for art – especially in the making of art. When I stopped to reflect, I realized we created more this year than any other year – some big, many small, and all taught us something! I’m doing several blog posts, since I don’t have pics for a bunch of gifts – awaiting the jpgs in the email….

Yesterday was the presentation of a commission for dear friends of ours. It was supposed to be for their anniversary in September, but just didn’t happen….Once knee surgery was over and I could move around fairly easily, I set to work. The marbled fabric had been done since April, and I had been mulling designs since then. It was time….

I started working with the Chinese symbol for “family,” and after just this first littyle bit, I have even more appreciation for the art quilts of Kathy Nida. This involved tracing the symbol, determining which side would be “up” when ironing onto the front of the fabric, adding WonderUnder, and then making sure it actually worked – especially since I had a limited amount of the fabric choice for the symbol. First success.

Next was creating the pattern for the side panels, loosely based on a table runner by Lonnie Rossi and definitely made my own. Same issues with being sure of right and wrong side, since there would be two panels, and the designs would mirror each other. Much angst – especially on the choice of the background – I had a peach silk that worked with the overall colors, but looked terrible with the small pieces actually on it. The fabrics were extra marbled fat quarters that didn’t make the cut in terms of main color, but they were all complementary.

I put off for the longest time doing the zigzag satin stitch and then discovered that the fabric frayed very easily. A lot of adjustment, sharp pointy scissors, and FrayCheck got me through this section.

The satin stitch….forever…..

I had one panel completed and then started on the second panel. It probably would have been easier doing them both at the same time, but I wanted to be sure the idea could be executed before I was completely committer.

The request was for some apple blossoms quilted into the design – originally to be on the border….but it worked out differently. I Googled images of apple blossoms and determined a free motion pattern, and then began. As long as the petals had ragged edges, the pattern worked.

Starting the apple blossoms

Lots of flowers over both panels – really liked how subtle the patterns are.

Checking to see if the three panels really do work together….

Time to square off and do the binding – the side panels had a LOT of ironing as they were becoming distorted. Note to self – allow more edging next time around…..

Preparing the canvas for mounting the panels. We have started mounting much of our work on canvas frames covered with a complementary fabric. Much sturdier, easier to hang, and people seem to view them more as “art.”

20-inch square canvas covered in poly-linen.

Thinking it’s going to work…….each side panel is three 8 x 8-inch  canvases, mounted together and covered.

The final product – “Family.”

The Christmas Quilt – Completed!


I must confess, by Tuesday evening I wasn’t sure I would have the quilt for our good friend completed……We had plans for Wednesday and Thursday, so last-minute was going to be Tuesday evening…..and I still had to finish a rolled hem on a silk scarf………But I made it, hubby photographed it Wednesday morning and finished cutting off miscellaneous threads. It was a HUGE hit last night at the presentation – everyone needed to take a turn snuggling under it! Originally I was going to make another nap quilt, since the first one I made for our friend turned out to be too short to wrap herself in. This ended up queen size…..









Making Cristmas Merry Via the Minions!

Just because I love the Minions! (forgive the commercial……)

Holiday Opportunity – Coupons

I need to think this through, and writing seems the best way for me to work out all the details and kinks. We are doing holiday gift baskets , and we are in the process of putting together the samples for photography. We did this a number of years ago and had a lot of success. The idea is to offer a basket of goodies, mostly marbled items. But…we would also like to include some coupons, and not just for us. We will have a coupon for 10 percent off anything in our Etsy store.

We are looking for others who would like to stick a coupon in our basket. Why? 1) You could make some sales. 2) Not a lot of work involved in this promotion – create the coupon and send us 10-15 copies. 3) This is a chance to move some goodies that could be strictly holiday promotions. 4) It gets your name out to potentially a different audience.

Seems like it’s a win-win situation for all of us. Postage, printing, and some design time. That’s all it takes. You get unexpected advertising as we promote our gift baskets, and this is something we will continue all year long. If you think you have something that you create that our customers would be interested in, be specific in your coupon – expiration date, amount of discount, what items, contact information, and anything else you think is important. Once the basket leaves us for its new home, it’s up the the recipient to deal directly with you, so be specific.

You’re getting a first shot at this coupon idea – I plan to advertise for coupons through the TAFA List, Art Marketing group on Linked In, and the Art Business group on Linked In. Plus…you get to advertise the gift basket if you would like – we’ll send you one of our coupons.

If you are interested, let me know in the Comments and I’ll send you more information. We’d like to have all coupons by October 31 so we can begin advance sales. Anything we’ve forgotten? Any questions? Just let me know.

On Christmas Eve…

I love Christmas Eve. There’s always such excitement, contentment, and the like. When we were little we’d set up the tree, and as we got older we’d beg to open just one present on Christmas Eve. I usually got hand-knitted sweaters from my mother and other clothes. One year a complete set of Cherry Ames, with the bookcase for my bedroom. As I got older the best present was a slide projector, as I moved away from prints into slides. It was tough to carry home on the plane!

Hubby and I set some of our own traditions. We’d set the tree up after Thanksgiving so we had plenty of time to admire it. We’d do presents and wrap them for each other and stick them under a tree, and then give each other a “special reason” to open a few of them ahead of time. The best part was always shopping for my in-laws, who would open presents on Christmas Eve. Most of the time I would make things for them, as they were the most appreciative of hand-made in the family. The year we shipped the tole-painted picnic basket wrapped in a garbage bag was memorable.

When my i-laws both were gone, Christmas kind of disappeared. We stopped with the presents to each other, gave away most of the ornaments, and ate dinner out. Then about 6 years ago our second family stepped in and insisted we come to their place for Christmas Eve, making us even more a part of their family. The best thing I remember was EVERYONE got books! When I was first teaching I gave a roommate, who was the French teacher at the school, a French cook book. She ws insulted that I gave her a book and couldn’t think of anything better.

Well, books to me have always been THE gift, so being with my second family is just perfect. This year we are doing the cooking for 15 people on Christmas Eve, my favorite Portugese Bean Soup from an old recipe from the Kula Inn. Then we open our stockings. Now these are not ordinary stockings. Members of the family spend the year collecting lots of little goodies as stocking stuffers. The major presents are saved for Christmas morning and night, where we meet for dinner again.

For the last few years I have done hand-made for everyone. One year it was fabric bowls, which a few members wore as hats. Last year it was hand-made fabric fortune cookies, in their own take-out boxes, with fortunes customized for each member. This year it’s zentangle initials. Did I think to take pictures? Of course not, and the big ones are pretty spectacular.

This year has been different in a few other respects. Now that the move is over, and most of the boxes are unpacked, the studio at least workable, we set out our stockings, started playing Christmas music, put out the Christmas quilts, and started wandering the malls just for fun. We are relaxed (no barking dogs or drug deals across the street…) and enjoying the season. The school semester ended well, I made the decision to officially retire in May of 2012, and hubby is more relaxed and at ease than in the last coupe of years.

The world is a mess, far from peace all around and good will toward human beings, but I am content for now to enjoy the season. There’s friends to see, cooking and sewing to do, projects to start, and love all around. May you have peace in your life in the New Year.

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