The Tandem Bike Quilt

I made one Christmas present in 2018, for my sister, Kathi, and sister-in-law, Stefi. They have a tandem bike, but I couldn’t remember what color it is and didn’t want to spoil the surprise by asking.

I started with the Bicyclist block from Quilted Adventures by Sara Nephew. I had a little trouble understanding the instructions, but managed to wrap my brain around it and then added the second cyclist. I sometimes have a kind of spatial dyslexia.

Since they are both musicians, I used musically-themed fabric for the shirts. I tried three times to make nice looking heads but they are both very blond and fair skinned. Translation: boring (and the first one was the wrong size). I opted for do-rags that matched their shirts.

I string-pieced the rectangular units…
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Made some mistakes…p1140194

Had to figure out where to put the bar (maybe not mechanically accurate, but it looked the best) …

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I added a small black border followed by more musical fabric.

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I have been pin-basting small projects and ran across a box of these foam pieces (a gift that included a wrist pincushion). I thought I would try them, as opposed to my curved pins. I am giving the foam pieces away as this method hurt my hands–I’ll stick with the curved basting pins and basting spray for larger projects. Leah Day likes using PinMoors, a product you can buy on her website. Some of my friends had never seen this basting technique and thought I was embellishing the quilt. You never know with me.

I straight-line quilted the background, the tires, and anything that wasn’t lying flat, figuring out how to quilt with the least thread breaks. Sometimes this requires diagrams.

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I changed the lyrics to “A Bicycle Made for Two” for quilting the outer border. I tried once again to sew the label into the backing fabric and still didn’t leave enough margin. I have been unhappy with my attempts at sewing in the label. Next time, I will sew the label into the center of the quilt backing, rules be damned (lower right-hand corner), allowing more room for information. I’ll be sending a better label to place over the original.

Quilting in progress.

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Once again, I have failed to take a final picture before mailing. It had a simple black binding and is called “Ever in Tandem.” Le sigh. Oh well, it arrived before Christmas. I think I put rings on the back for hanging. It’s all good. Till next time…

 

Wanderlust 2019, Typography: Week 2

This week’s lesson (Imperfect/Perfection) was presented by Athanasia Papantoniou, from Greece. Athanasia’s page included chipboard letters randomly placed in the center with another chipboard word, Perfection. She made a tag with the letters “IM” and placed it near Perfection to indicate IM Perfection. You can read that as I Am Perfection or Imperfection.

Step 1. We started by priming two pages, one with white gesso, the other with black gesso.

p1140386Athanasia keeps white space around the perimeter of her pages and since this was going to be a 3D page, I left a margin toward the center of my journal.

Step 2. Add torn pages and stamp/emboss your own stickers. I’m still experimenting with making my own acrylic misters and covered up most of the stamping/embossing–used them anyway. Stamp the page, including some lines for journaling. Use a permanent stamp pad. It’s on my list of supplies.

Step 3. Add your stencil, using light modeling paste. Let dry (and dry and dry). I used my heat gun but finally let it dry overnight.

Step 4. Paint your chipboard letters in white and place them down the center. Not having letters, I used some wooden shapes, painted them white and glued them down with white glue. I weighted down the page at this point.
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Step 5. Make dots of white glue, sprinkle with fine glitter and then coarse glitter. Shake excess glitter off page; save. Vacuum studio.
p1140397Athanasia is not a fan of glitter, so she covered most of it up with white gesso. I’m glad she added this step because I often like to use glitter.

Step 6.  Stamp over everything again. I used paint this time.

Step 7. Use a dry paintbrush to drop small amounts of mica powder; spray with water. Not having mica powders, I experimented with fiber reactive dyes and used them on the page. I had already been practicing spattering.

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Step 8. Paint your word (Perfection) in black and place atop the white letters. I skipped this step.

Step 9. Make a tag from vellum. Use a painted reinforcement sticker around the hole and add some yarn as a tassel. Carefully glue to page. I actually used the tag for my word of the year, BALANCE, adding the “im” to indicate imbalance. I practiced with calligraphy pens; none were permanent. I practiced with a bottle with special metal tips–the next day I couldn’t make a fist and the results were shaky. I ended up using my Pitt brush pen. Do not use hair dryer or heat gun near vellum. Do over.
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Step 10. Spatter the page using a paintbrush and thinned acrylic and add some journaling. I am the world’s worst spatterer, but this method actually worked well for me. Not so much with toothbrushes and a special spattering brush. Below is the finished page with detail.

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NOTE: Athanasia likes to staple things down. I wasn’t keen on this idea, but I did use a little craft stapler with bright pink staples to staple down the tag so that no glue would show through.

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In the interest of keeping balance in my life, I will make the dark page at a later time. I am working on finishing a quilt for entry in a local quilt show. I’ll write about that in a future post after it is finished. Till next time…

 

 

Artist or imposter?

Or maybe just student. I started an online mixed-media class, Wanderlust 2019. https://www.everything-art.com/

I have occasionally dabbled in mixed-media art but have saved up more things, from ticket stubs to found objects to bits of electronics, than I will ever use. I gathered up all of my art supplies and bought some more. I got so busy at the end of the year, I didn’t have an art journal and hadn’t made any background pages. Last Friday, I just dove in and didn’t quit until yesterday. Now it’s time to get back to other tasks like The (Neverending) Photo Project and The Monster List. That Balance thing again.

Typography (Kasia Avery) was this week’s theme. I did two pages and plan to make one more about my word for the year (Balance).

Typography 1: Spray background with analogous colors, let dry. Tear words from dictionary (or print from internet) that depict your initials; I ripped out candy, calligraphy, and paper. I ripped papers and included an old business card I found the other day. Stencil on some designs with white gesso. Add some blotches of white gesso and scratch out your initials or name before it dries. Write in random thoughts.

give me a home with paint, paper and glitter

dictionary: use for weighing down stuff or collage

pen, mightier than the sword, it is.

where’s the fabric?

a day w/o glitter is just a day

some pens are the Pitts

scratched out cccp what?

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Typography 2. Paint backgound with analogous colors. My red came out of the tube in a huge splotch. I could have scooped some of it up into a little jar, but just went with it and used a Catalyst contour tool to break up the monotony. I was going to add a complementary green paint so I sealed the page with clear gesso. Changed my mind, added green papers and cheese cloth and some glossary pages from an old dress pattern. Next I stamped the alphabet and words starting with “typ,” including atypical.
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When I sealed the page, the stamped letters ran where they were on top of the clear gesso. I think it adds interest and you can still read the letters/words.

Here are some of my background pages (from Kasia Avery) which will be used in future lessons.

Misty Layers: White gesso (dry), spray four analogous colours (dry), spray one complementary colour (dry), sprinkle with water.

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Tape and Paint: Tear random strips of low-tack tape, spread acrylic paint using analogous colours, let dry; rip off tape, place in different areas, paint; repeat. I pretty much covered up my previous tapings on green/yellow, but it’s an interesting background.
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Peeled Paint: Thin layer of black gesso, dry. Spread metallic paint with cosmetic pad (cotton), wipe off with a wet cosmetic pad; repeat. I only had one metallic paint (other than black) so I used some glitter paint.

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Doily Masking: Use spray mount to hold doilies in place; apply thin coat of thick gel medium with metal spatula. I purposely filled in the larger holes but should have left them plain. Peel off doilies (wash, do not dry); apply soft, dry pastels with paper towel (European term: kitchen roll). Seal with fixative.

Doily Lifting: I applied a doily to a dry painted background. The doily did not wick up color. I tried a thinner store bought doily; no luck.

Thread and Texture: Apply thin layer of clear gesso with metal spatula, place string/thread randomly, push down w/palette knife, add more gesso if necessary. Sprinkle on fine glitter, let dry; spread with thin layer white gesso. I used threads that I save up when sewing plus some small fabric confetti I save for landscapes.

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Next week, the theme is Perfectly Imperfect. Woohoo. Till next time…

 

2019: Bring It On

My word for the year is BALANCE. It seemed to be easier to balance work, family, and everything else when I was working. Perhaps that was because I had a 7-4:00 job, which pretty much organized a good portion of the day.  Now, I have free reign (more or less) and need to parcel out the day according to what needs to be done, or what I want to do. The down side to that–there is a lot of leeway for avoidance tactics and for focusing in on what I love to do (work in my studio) and the remaining business of life. Over the years, between chronic illness and trying to get back to the things I love (quilting is at the top of the list), the more unpleasant and overwhelming tasks have been somewhat neglected from time to time.

Enter The.Monster.List. This concept, writing down every stinking thing you want or need to do, was totally overwhelming to me. I put it off for about three years and then was recently reminded of it again by Jackie Wolven (#DoGoodWork).

http://www.JacquelineWolven.com

(Hire Her.) I met Jackie when she gave a series of workshops on branding, social media, and marketing that was geared specifically for writers. I used to be a creative writer, but now basically just write this blog (often about quilting projects) and took the workshops mostly so I could help my daughter who is self-employed as a dance instructor and performer but also writes in an epic way. She is multi-talented; she also has permanent brain injuries, with some cognitive issues, so I often take notes. Right now, she is working on a new venture, on-line instruction in creative movement. (I’ll let you know when she launches–then you can Hire Her, too.)

http://www.Hartebeast.com

After making my Monster List, I still felt overwhelmed. (I know about Trello and other electronic aids, but I prefer notebook paper/Uniball.) Then I started checking off tasks and giving myself silly, smiley-faced stickers. I started out slow, doing things in my studio that would not take much time or effort but that needed to be done. Then one day, I brought in my long white table, plopped it in the front room, and thought about The Photo Project. Then after ignoring that for a week or three, I pulled out one of the boxes full of photos. It only took me a few days to go through this box because it only held three years of Christmas card photos, graduation/wedding announcements, etc. There was also the rest of my loon collection I had been looking for and greeting cards which I was going to donate and never did. After placing everything in my latest album, I pulled out the other box and dispatched most of the contents of that. My problem now is, I do not have room for another album so I’m going to combine the two oldest into the new square archival kind (versus the magic page kind) only so I can get more on each page. Most of my photos now are digital, but that is another overwhelm which will be dealt with later this year. In the meantime, I sent most of my picture frames to Goodwill–just don’t have shelf or wall space–and will make a large collage with some of the family photos. Here are photos I rescued from a fabric book of a fishing trip with my in-laws. Fourteen, count ’em, walleyes that day at Lake X, somewhere in Northern Minnesota.

Balance. I tend to get obsessed with my projects and let everything else around here go until it screams at me–ankle-biting dust bunnies and near bio-hazardous bathrooms, for instance. The cupboards and drawers have been screaming at me for months. Sometimes a small event will precipitate action. I wanted to make Red Lobster-ish biscuits but my Bisquick had live weevils. It took me several days to clean my pantry. A huge box of brownie mix, use by 2007–really?–gone. Old flour–gone. Rubbery shelf paper–gone. Other expired foodstuffs–gone. Now my pantry would rival that of Julia Roberts’ character in Sleeping With the Enemy. Cue Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=berlioz+theme+from+sleeping+with+the+enemy&view=detail&mid=D82F44DD4DC2D01938CED82F44DD4DC2D01938CE&FORM=VIRE
P1140356.JPGIf you are bored, cue to joke about the lesser of two weevils (Master and Commander).

Sometimes The Monster List is too vague. Clean kitchen cupboards and cabinets, for instance. List them out and tackle one at a time. Tackle a task, do something fun–that will be the balance I try to achieve this year.

NYE at our house is boring. Dinner, Netflix, probably in bed by 10:00 as usual. I’ll go to sleep picturing the ball drop. May 2019 bring you health, healing, and, yes, Balance. And, hey–be careful out there (Hill Street Blues). Till next time (and next time will be shorter).

 

 

 

Dumber

than a box of rocks?

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Nah. I am, however, quitting before I get any further behind vis-à-vis using Lite Steam-a-Seam 2. This is a double-stick fusible web. The best feature is that you can position your applique shapes until you are happy with the placement and then press it all down. My battle with this product started in 2016 with this self-portrait. Notice all of the small applique flowers, dots and swirls. Guess how many times I had to stop to clean the goo from my needle!

Self-Portrait/Sugar Skull, quilted/embellished

Self-Portrait/Sugar Skull, quilted/embellished

This weekend I decided to give this product one more try. I cut out some circles, placed them on background fabric, covered with a WET pressing cloth and pressed from both sides until dry. Then I pressed some more. I let the shapes cool overnight; the edges were glued down. This morning I stitched around one-quarter of the small circle before I noticed goo on the needle.

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I finished the circle, cleaned the needle, and went back to the ironing board. I thoroughly wet my pressing cloth and turned the iron to the highest setting. The fabric ran even more, the background scorched, and the needle still gummed up. My job here is done.

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That is my sad story for today. Next post, I’ll be talking scissors and sharp objects in the studio. Till next time–

When the cosmos pokes you…

pay attention. Last week I poked myself three times and then dropped a needle on the floor. This reminded me of PYN–plant your needle. Not in your shirt, not in work–in your pincushion. I found my needle with my heavy duty magnet. The wand is fine but it is only magnetic on the tip so it doesn’t always work. I left the room and when I returned, I sat on my large. It must have caught on my sleeve when I left the room. Enough already.

I no longer have time to volunteer as a docent or hospital aide; however, I do find time to make quilted items for good causes–blocks for Pulse, fire victims in California, Vegas shooting, etc. This year, NW Modern Quilt guild will send a donation quilt for viewing at Quilt Con and we made placemats for Meals on Wheels. I also decided to make a house quilt for The House Quilt Project. These small quilts go to people who were formerly homeless and now have a home!

I started with a paper-pieced house found in The Foundation Piecer, Autumn 2001 (www.zippydesigns.com), both of which appear to have been discontinued. You can find back issues on e-bay. Then I added a Sue Spargo embroidery technique to give the roof some texture. Backstitch with floss (I used two strands) and then weave in and out with a heavier thread (#8 perle cotton). Her tip: weave in and out with the eye end of the needle to prevent splitting your backstitches.

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Because I thought my house block was dull and depressing, I found some swirls from a previous project and made two more and the “home” lettering from a similar piece of fabric. I used a simple zigzag for the swirls and satin stitch for the lettering. The old swirls ironed down well–the needle didn’t gum up. The new ones and the lettering, however, gummed up, even after repressing with a very hot iron–to the point of scorching my parchment paper. I even tried steam. I’m going to experiment one more time with this Steam-a-Seam 2 before it goes bye-bye. Guidelines asked for simple hanging rings (pop-tops) but I crocheted my usual curtain rings instead.

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P1140182.JPGYou can find more details on Jamie Fingal’s blog or you might have seen the call for entries in the Quilting Arts Oct/Nov 2018 issue (deadline is December 7, if you’re an over-achiever).

http://thehousequiltproject.blogspot.com/

Placemats. Since it’s still fall, I bought some Real Tree fabric for the backing and binding and dove into my strip stash to make some improv mats. Do we ever really use up our stashes? I don’t think so, but I try. I took some of the leftovers to make a log-cabin-ish block which I’ll find a use for at some point. Final total: 53 placemats!

Can you see me now?

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At our final Modern Guild meeting each year, we play Dirty Santa (a white elephant gift exchange) with handmade items and bring food. It’s a fun meeting. Here is my nifty-gifty–a pieced, small biscornu pincushion from self-dyed fabrics with beaded stiletto/accessory (hat pin).

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I went home with a cool wallhanging made by friend Judy S.

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TIP OF THE MONTH. In case you have to stretch a block just a little to reach the desired size, learn three ways to block a quilt block here.

 

Till next time–

 

Happiness is…

going on retreat with quilters. Thank you Liz E. and Denise G. for organizing. Camp Egan is a United Methodist camp and retreat center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. We stayed in Holliman Hall, which has a wonderfully lit work space, kitchen and rooms for sleeping–a very clean motel! We walked over to another building for meals, but who cares–someone else was cooking. We were joined by a mission group of young people who did rhythmic table banging, asked us to join in prayer, and let us cut in line. Sometimes being older has its advantages.

I brought a mini-iron caddy and a pile of microwave bowls to sew up

and took both classes, a zippered tablet pouch by Janet R.

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and confetti landscape by Leeanna W.

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I had an allergic reaction to my pouch fabrics which for some reason were unwashed so I didn’t finish that. The quilted pieces are washed and ready to finish. The landscape class was a little different than what I have done in the past–place larger confetti fabric pieces directly on batting with backing, cover with tulle, stitch down to hold in place. Here is my landscape so far. I laid down a fairly light background and have started adding rocks, covered with a light grey tulle. I used a postcard of The Witch Tree (named Manidoo-giizhikens, or Little Cedar Spirit Tree, by the Ojibwe). It is located in Grand Portage, Minnesota, on Lake Superior. A future post will take you more through the process. Photo by Charles and Joann Jordon.

My microwave bowls feature sugar skulls, which fascinate me–so much so that I did a self-portrait of myself as a sugar skull with a stream of consciousness essay on the label–all of which just popped into my head as I was working on this project–it wouldn’t shut up, so I wrote it down. I realize that sugar skulls are more associated with Dia de los Muertos, but I see it all as celebration of the departed.

Self-Portrait/Sugar Skull, quilted/embellished

after I’m gone

…when my job here is done I’ll be buried in my mushroom suit and weird wildflowers never before seen or named will sprout up along with daisies and Icelandic poppies and wind anemones and Johnny jump ups will play all day long and maybe into the night. Pluto will once again be a planet and you’ll find tan m&ms in your Halloween candy because they taste the best. In my new world there will be eclipses every month and stars will nova every night–watch for them because that’s me–everyone will be kind, color blind, and rewind. More people will be artists of some kind and have Fun Fridays and Silly Saturdays and stuff like that. the end.

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Besides burial in mushroom bags (TED Talk, Mushroom Death Suit), there are green cemeteries sprouting up (see Green Burial Council), no embalming, good for the environment. There are none in Arkansas yet, but there is talk! And I think Pluto has once again been declared a planet.

I’ve run on long enough–need to get busy. We have really good color this fall. Have a safe Halloween. Till next time–

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Five years ago…

or so I started taking classes from my friend, Suzanne Tourtelot, at ESSA (Eureka Springs School of Art)–Complex Cloth and Bookbinding. I got the bug for mixed-media art but really never pursued it. Now that my Janome is once again not working for quilting, I started the great purge and clean. Last week, I spent my time vacuuming the window frames and window coverings. We hired a family outfit to clean the gutters and siding; power wash the sidewalk and driveway; and clean the windows inside and out. After all of that, I went back to my rock painting and am almost finished. Here is this week’s rocks:

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 I always have to do a ladybug–the cure time is for the glue for the googly eyes.

It took me three tries to transfer my drawing–finally dug out the graphite transfer paper. Because of the rock shape, I was going to quote from an oldie, “My Boomerang Won’t Come Back,” but when I looked the song up, it mentioned it was considered racist so hence, the tree frog.
P1130238The poppy on the rock is from several years ago. I thought I could decoupage it to the rock, but the PVA glue I used on both sides should make it waterproof–nice 3D effect. Note the crepe paper bud that is currently used. I will drop this off at the Veteran’s Memorial on November 11.
P1130236Edvard Munch’s, The Scream, with hands on the sides of the face.
P1130240Abstract ROYBGIV (Violet not showing).

So back to the beginning–that itch for mixed media. I am hoping that the Sculpture class, using recycled materials, at Crystal Bridges is not filled up. Regardless, I have signed up for an on-line class for 49 weeks–Wanderlust 2019–all about art journaling. I’m gathering up all my art supplies and papers and this will be a weekly Artist’s Date with my daughter. If you are familiar with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, you will know all about Artist’s Dates.

Am I giving up quilting? No way. I just need a break to pursue something different and will either be done with mixed media art, or fit it into my life on a regular basis. I have always been a maker, but now I want to just make art for awhile. Most of my life, I felt that I was not creative. I have gotten over that. It will be a new adventure. Woohoo.

Till next time—

 

The purge continues…

but I still get the urge to do something creative. Last month, my friend, Jan W., brought a crocheted bowl she had bought to our monthly Van Go-Go Girls meeting. Then while shopping at JoAnn, I saw this yummy yarn on an endcap and bought it. I should have taken a picture of it before unwrapping, but it was Yarn Bee Stretched Taffy (Lollipop), 10 oz. (49 yards) of variegated bulky yarn that looks like wool roving. The yarn is wound into a large loop, so I just hung it around my neck rather than rolling it into a gigantic ball. Here is my round basket, apprx 7-inches diameter and 5-1/2 inches tall. If you crochet, the pattern is below. I used a P-hook and used the entire skein except for about 20-inches of yarn. You can adjust the size of your basket by making the base and side smaller.
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Make a magic circle loop.

Round 1: Make 6 sc in the loop. Do not join but mark the beginning of each round (I used a large paper clip).

Round 2: 2sc in each sc around (12 sts).

Round 3: (1sc in next sc, 2sc in next sc) around (18 sts).

Round 4: (1sc in next 2 sc, 2sc in next sc) around (24 sts).

Round 5: (1sc in next 3 sc, 2sc in next sc) around (30 sts). Base is finished. Do not tie off.

Round 6: 1sc in each sc, working in the back loop only. This starts the side of your basket.

Continue working evenly in sc for each round. I worked six rounds for the side and finished the top edge with a round of reverse sc. Finish off, pull the beginning tail to close up the center hole, and weave in the loose ends. You now have a utile work of art.

Till next time…

Budger is gone…

Our favorite hummingbird, named for a character in The Cowboys, has flown the coop. Last week we had five birds going crazy so Thursday I decided to film them. Battery in camera died; spare was dead, too. Rats. So Friday, I did manage to get a couple short videos, although we were down to three hummers. Now we are down to two, with fresh nectar (temporarily taken down because our roof is being replaced–hail damage from last spring). The last two are named Twitcher (won’t sit still) and Chirper (constantly chirps between sips). Hmm, can’t upload the videos. Will try to put them up on my Facebook page (bycandyp).

Moving on–since I’m not quilting right now, I gathered up my rocks and paints and have been working on Bella Vista AR Rocks. It should cool off in a week or so and then I’ll place them on the trails for relocation. I started with gesso.
P1130203 Then I painted one rock, and did all of the backs.
P1130216Here is my log cabin–what is wrong with this picture?
P1130217Here it is fixed, with the others, including the start of a ladybug.

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As promised, my new dresser in my studio–I managed to fit almost everything in the drawers and now my Ott Lite is off of the floor and handy.
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Next month I’ll be going to a quilt retreat and thought I would make some potholder bowls since I’ll be taking my travel machine. Go to the link below for 10 versions and pick the one you like best. I followed the first one but found the double Pellon Wrap N Zap batting too thick so ripped the first one apart and used one layer of batting. These are for my daughter. Next time I’ll try two layers of Warm n Natural. Just to be safe, use all cotton fabrics, batting and thread.
P1130225https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/make-microwave-bowl-potholders-2978118

It’s interesting to hear comments from non-quilters. We were discussing our new HVAC (coming soon) and one of the guys asked if my quilt was a bar code–cool.

Till next time…P1120896