July 31, 2008

She Wants It All

"I really think I need it," she mumbles quietly. Yeah, that's me talking to myself, but not too loudly, otherwise Tien will hear and he thinks I have enough as it is. I thought I wanted a felting machine, such as the Babylock Embellisher, but I'm not ready. For one thing, I keep skipping around trying one technique after another to enjoy the process of learning. Last night I wanted to learn hana ami, so Masami is shopping for tools in Osaka on my behalf. Today it is needle felting.

The felting work I admire is made by Beatte Knappe in Germany. Everything she creates is eye candy.

This is my first attempt at felting with roving on wool using a single needle.

My next inventory project is embellished purse hooks. Right now they look like medical instruments. For suspending your handbag from a restaurant table instead of putting it on the floor -- much more hygenic. As much as we girls spend on our bags, we should treat them nicely.

July 30, 2008

Sea of Color

Are my favorite colors the red I consciously choose or the blues and purples that I'm unconsciously attracted to? Today's stash building netted perle cotton which I'll use on my jeans jacket embroidery. I'm inspired by colors in Allie's crazy quilt.

Oh boy, I'm in trouble now. Tien gave me a spare laptop to use. It's wireless, so I can surf, write blog postings, work on my France/Italy trip diary AND watch TV with Tien in the family room. Sewing in the studio just might come to a standstill. I finished the catnip quilts and am in between projects -- it was the perfect time for him to hand me this new toy.

Off Topic: that Los Angeles earthquake gave me a fright. Yep, it shook all the way down in La Jolla where I watched my computer monitor shake. Since I was alone in the office, I had panicky thought that the building might come down and no one would know.

July 28, 2008

Sigh of Relief

My computer was making funny noises and panic set it. What if it crashed and became unrecoverable?! I restarted my machine and waited to discuss with Tien. I'm trying to go paperless, so EVERYTHING is on there: thousands of digital images, documents, recipes, tutorials and notes. We bought this 250GB external backup drive. Ahh, I feel MUCH better now.

This tiny 20 watt iron is far more economical than my normal 1000 watt iron. The face is 1.25" x ~1" which is all that's needed for 1/4" strips of WonderUnder. See the red yarn? I put that there to pull on when repositioning the stand, but because I didn't, I burned my hand five times. Ouch.

Magellan's quilt pile is growing. One more quilt and I'm done!

My brother Russ and sis-in-law Adriana called right as they were leaving their Comic-Con accommodations (say THAT quickly three times), so we dropped everything and rushed out to meet them for dinner. It was short but quality time and I got to give them the paper bag books I made.

Russ had a booth at Comic-Con selling a series of ten prints of his artwork (he gave us a set, wow-ee!). For a closer look at his work, check out his beautiful website. My favorite painting is Surreal Statues on his home page, but now I find equally fascinating Albino Robots in Surreal Landscape. Go through the gallery -- click on images to see the full paintings. His work is astounding. I'd say that even if we weren't related. It really is that good.

July 27, 2008

More Bag Journals

I made two more paper bag books. I'm hoping to give them to my brother Russ and sis-in-law Adriana while they are in town for Comic-Con, but I don't know if I'll get to see them. Hopefully they will clean their paint brushes on the pages before rinsing, or maybe even pour the rinse water over the pages -- why let paint go down the drain when it could be on paper? I'd love to see the books after a few years.

My sis-in-law is Supervisor of Background Color on the long-running program "King of the Hill." Check out her blog and her MySpace page. Ya think we have enough creativity in this family?! Very cool!

Bags were taken apart, then torn with a bone folder to uniform size. Pages were thoroughly soaked in water, then squeezed out ...

... and hung outside to dry ...

...then brought in for ironing ...

... sorted into two piles, then each pile was divided into two signatures (sections) for binding with purple waxed linen cord and size 8 purple beads ...

... finished and ready to paint! I love making these.

Four more catnip quilts were completed. Magellan thinks they are for him.

July 26, 2008

Star Wars: "The Clone Wars"

It was my brother's day to shine at Comic-Con in San Diego. Russ was part of a panel discussing how "The Clone Wars" was designed. The film will be released on August 15. There is a photo of him here -- he's in the blue shirt. Although we have not spoken yet, Mom said once the panel ended, Russ was asked for autographs and had three job offers! We're so proud of his accomplishments as an artist. Read this post from the Official Star Wars Blog for more on his contribution to the film, including a drawing of the Y-Wing bomber. For more of his artwork, visit his website.

July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Magellan

He's ELEVEN years old! Well, at least, we THINK it's his birthday. You know how it is -- when adopting an animal from a shelter, they say "two months old," but a stray cat doesn't carry a birth certificate listing accurate vital statistics. We figured two months from the date we adopted him. He's been a loving pet and has provided lots of cuteness to our household. One of the things he loves is a crunchy surface. The pile of paper bags made noise when he walked on them. Eventually he settled down and claimed the pile as his own.

I worked on more quilt bindings. As I did these, I realized the yarn technique opens to door to lots of small art quilts, ATCs, postcards... Traditional techniques are not always necessary. I haven't even tried multiple yarns yet. I can get crazy here!

July 24, 2008

Any Excuse

I can find just about any excuse to keep from failing. In this case I was avoiding a new binding technique. I won't list all the BS stuff I did, but when I finally zero'd in on the task at hand, it came out nicely.

I cut the back fabric 1/2" wider all around than the quilt top, then adhered 1/4" strips of WonderUnder to the edge of the back. The WonderUnder secured the edge closed once it was folded onto the front. The presser foot has a hole for guiding the passage of yarn which I couched on the edge using an S-shaped stitch. Fast, easy, satisfying and new! If fear of failure wasn't an issue, gosh, I could do so much more.

I got so excited about finishing this quilt that I forgot to sew an ABC Rags label to the back.

This is the finished paintbrush can. While making it, it occured to me that I must have feared using paint. I actually like paint. It's smooth, creamy, goes on richly and I feel like a kid again. It feels good. Painting journal pages helped me get over the fear. It was like anything else -- I had to get used to it. Once I figured this out, all my paintbrushes came out of hiding and went into the can. Now they are ready to use at a moment's notice.

I got a color fix by buying floss and a ball of yarn in my new fav color. This time I did not match anything. I opened floss drawers and snagged the colors that appealed to me.

July 22, 2008

Making Progress

My little helper was test-driving catnip quilts. While they don't contain catnip yet, Coppélia does like her soft spots, which is usually on top of my work.

I scored three pieces of vintage brocade. Beautiful! The texture shows up in photographs. I love this stuff.

Nancy gave me big chunks of batting left over from her quilts. I've used them in smaller quilts, ATCs and textile postcards. The leftovers get smaller and smaller, but when should I toss? Slivers could be useful too. Oh brothers, let's just throw them away! Nancy, this picture is for you, heehee.

July 21, 2008

Back to Life

I love having my life back! The studio is my favorite place and, after two full weeks of self-imposed admin work, I'm ever grateful for my stitcher's life.

I sidetracked my inventory sewing by "needing" a can to store paint brushes. There's always an excuse! It couldn't be any old can -- it had to be artful. A piece of splattered canvas was the perfect base. Purple, red and navy yarns were machine couched to the canvas, then red felt flowers were stitched on.

I found old plastic buttons in colors that didn't appeal to me and sandpapered them so paint would adhere.

I mixed too much paint and the remainder ended up on the canvas. I've learned not to waste paint. Remember those journals I made? Before rinsing paint brushes, excess paint also goes onto the pages. I also use pages to catch excess spray from the glitter spritzer. Hmm, I should make a journal for artist sibling Russ to wipe his brushes on. He'll be here for ComiCon, so I'll see if I can get one together for him.

I was supposed to be working on catnip quilts instead of the paint brush can, but eventually the tops got done. This is an example.

July 20, 2008

Cat Face

Cat face multiplied by almost-17! Oops, I ran out of eyes and need another pair. Yippee, I'm sewing again and it feels GREAT. I get to sew more when I make pockets out of these. You'll see what I mean.

Nancy and I have been juried into the Bernardo Winery show. This will be my first two day event and I'm a little worried about inventory, as in
having enough. They draw quite a crowd. Nancy keeps reminding me, "We have until mid-October." Gotta calm down; gotta calm down.

July 18, 2008

Lil Ms. Stars in Her Eyes

I finally get to share the entire doll! This is the Dotee Swap doll I made for my partner Kathy in Michigan. Isn't it a scream that we made purple dolls for each other?

I miss writing to my blog. It is my final day of temporary admin support for a busy lawyer in Fairbanks Ranch. Beginning next week I will have two jobs outside of home (instead of three), and can get back to work on inventory for shows, YIPPEE! I miss my life too. Thank you for hanging in there with me.

July 15, 2008

Who's Matt?

I have no idea, but his video is happy, fun and clever, and I'm all for sharing what makes me smile! Maybe everyone else has seen this -- I might be the last to know. Anyway, click to play, then read more about him on his website.

July 14, 2008

Ms. Verbena

I'd like to introduce Ms. Verbena, the Dotee Doll that my swap-partner sent to me who now resides just above my sewing machine. She's LOVELY! Her eyes are in my favorite pose (nap-like) and she has a loving heart-shaped mouth. I wasn't able to photograph her successfully, but the color is primarily eggplant, with other rich brights, esp in her hair. The funny thing about this swap was that Kathy generously asked what my favorite colors are. I wanted something of Kathy and left her to choose -- it was as if she read my mind! Kathy used embroidery and beadwork, and I really like the charms Ms. Verbena is sprinkled with. See the green vine trim? I like! Thank you, Kathy. It's been a pleasure and I will treasure her. See Kathy's work on her blog (which I check regularly).

This is a test pocket for catnip quilts. The cat-color is based on our boy Magellan, even tho he doesn't have lavender eyes or a red nose, heehee!

July 13, 2008

Postcard's Done

My fabric postcard is finished and I'm satisfied I did a good job. I like the spray glitter on the roses. It adds just a little oomph which, in this case, is exactly enough.

Rust, rose, green and blue was inspired by a Cloth Paper Scissors magazine cover. The silk ribbon was hand dyed, wow, just beautiful stuff.

July 12, 2008

Stitch Fix

I really shouldn't be up until 2a, but I needed a stitch-fix and, anyway it's not a 'school night.' I reworked the message by writing on antiqued canvas. One more stitch-session and I hope to have it completed.

July 10, 2008

Mommy's Little Helper

This is the help I get. Coppélia provides the kind of company I enjoy: quiet, unconditional love and an appreciation for my handiwork. This was my first attempt at couching threads. Now I can see my stitches are loose -- as my basket teacher would remind me, "It's made by hand." The fabric I wrote on is a kimono scrap. Makes it hard to toss even the little bits when everything can be used.

Maybe you've noticed my preference for white flowers. My new boss cut this from his colorful garden for me. The huge blossom is slightly past its prime, but it's still lovely.

July 9, 2008

Fabric Postcard (to be)

ATCs, inchies, fabric postcards, I gotta try them all. The 4.5"x6" fabric choice was inspired by the name Nicole Kidman chose for her baby, 'Sunday Rose' -- I love it. Some years ago a co-worker aptly named his little red-haired girl 'Briar Rose,' another unforgettable name. (Please, Lauren, get back on point.) The coordinating fabric with small roses was adhered to WonderUnder. I see adding beads, ribbon and embroidery floss, maybe even a tiny kimono flower too. It's handy to have lots of pre-drawn doll faces handy. At some point I'll have to draw more.

July 8, 2008

Cranking Quilts

Eight more little quilt tops have been finished. These fat stripes were purposely cut on a slight diagonal.

These flannels remind me of my friend Fong. Purple irises are her favorite flower.

Magellan and Coppélia, our cats, see the sewing activity and ask, "But Mom, what about US??" A sorry little quilt from the leftovers for my furry friends and an example of "the cobbler's children have no shoes..." Hopefully, cats are blind to poor design. I won't share their other quilts here; they're all pretty bad.

July 7, 2008

Cultural Ghosts

Hiromi said something really important to me, "...being an artist is your main career!" You know, I never thought of it that way, or maybe I never allowed myself that attitude. For one thing, it doesn't pay the bills (yet). Also, we Asian Americans are told to strive for careers as doctors, lawyers or engineers, none of which I fancied. Many years ago I realized what my sister was earning and it became clear that if I were going to provide admin support, that I should follow Janine's lead and work for lawyers. Anal responsibilities appealed to the organizer/perfectionist in me. Still, it's as if being an artisan is not valid, so I continue doing legal work. It's a struggle.

I cranked out small quilts. The square ones are approximately 16"x16". I've had some of these fabrics for 10+ years - time to stitch 'em up! More to come in the days ahead. The sewing room floor is piled with fabrics which will become quilts.

July 6, 2008

Dotee Swap Doll

I finished the Dotee Doll for the stitchin'fingers swap. Heehee, I'm pretty excited -- I like the way she came out. I can't show you the entire doll just yet. It's only fair that my swap partner sees her first, but here is a peek.

July 5, 2008

Stitch So Good

Since stitching hasn't been in my schedule, I've been feeling cranky. I also miss posting to my blog.

As soon as I could begin again, I started this doll. More on her when she's done. As you can see, I love to work with purple.

Our epiphyllum bloomed. There is only one blossom this time but I feel the need to share, even though the flower looks exactly the same as in September. This is the inside and the outside. What a fantastic flower it is. The tube of seed beads is there for scale.

I am kicking myself for accepting a two week temp job (see first paragraph) which requires 3 full days a week. Being a temp is not easy: I must learn processes specific to this office (although the rest is a cinch) -- no fun because, as a perfectionist I'm hard on myself. The long days will kill me (a little drama here). With six shows till year end, I'll buckle down and work diligently. The benefit is I'm supporting a quality lawyer.

July 2, 2008

Love My New Dress

This dress was so simple to make but I can't get over the results. No doubt it was time consumming to make all those little flowers, but it was just the right thing to do, giving even more texture to the already textured cloth.

The next series of dolls won't start until Catnip Quilts are sewn, but OH BOY, did I find inspiration: John Galliano is a genius. Every dress inspired me. It's worth clicking through all 45 images. Note the hair and eyebrows. Can you just see a doll like one of these?

I started my new part-time job today (now I have two permanent PT jobs, three if you count art work). I support someone who provides expert witness services. Besides managing the office, I also transcribe depositions, which are interesting. I am finally in an area of law where human beings take center stage, rather than the operations of corporate entities. The office is one block from the beach in Del Mar, a converted bait shop. After work I might go wiggle my toes in the sand.

July 1, 2008

Pretty Yoruba

She's done, she's really beautiful and she is my new favorite. Looking straight on at her face, her avant-garde hair is not visible. My hair inspiration is shown here too, although I don't know who the photographer was.

The photo was taken from my new favorite community blog. I love fashion photography as an art form. Texas-pal M2 turned me onto this.

In case there's any wonder about how the doll's hair was done, I built a cone, sewed it to her head, covered the form with yarn, then sprinkled the hair with stars I made from seed beads. Yes, this doll was difficult to photograph. The color and the angles came out wonky, but you get the idea, right?