Monday, April 25, 2016

Do You Like Doing Homework?

     When you get assigned homework do you get right on it or do you put it off? Do you look at it as busy work or do you enjoy it? I've almost always loved homework. I find that I can't wait to start it and look at it as a challenge and try to do my best. I'm presently taking an Art Cloth Mastery Class from Jane Dunnewold and have lots of homework assignments to get finished before I go back to her studio in October. Many of the assignments involve color studies of one kind or another. A few of them I've done before, but not in the same way. I'm finding that I'm learning a lot from doing them. I decided to start with the painting exercises on watercolor paper. I'm using Prochem textile paints. Here is the result of one assignment.
color gradients with paint on paper
These actually took a long time to make. I spent about 30-40 minutes on each one. They are going to be handy tools when I want to make a certain color with either paint or dye. I still have more paint exercises to do with value and color. It's fun being a student again and having homework instead of grading someone else's.
That's all for now. I just wanted to make a quick post since I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. Things have been busy here (but good). Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Have You Ever Participated In Another Blogger's Activity?

     There are several blogs I read regularly. Some are listed on my sidebar and some I just have on my Feedly reader. One of the blogs on my sidebar is from the wonderful artist, Melanie Testa. A few posts ago,  here, she suggested a sew along to make one of her sewplies purses. I watched the videos she had on her blogpost and decided to try it. I also decided to try to make mine completely by sewing it by hand since the girls I'm working with at our local Boys and Girls Club want to sew purses and they don't have sewing machines. I thought if it worked out making it by hand, then they could try to make small purses by hand. The only part I made using a machine was the straps. Since they are so long, they would take forever to sew by hand. If the girls want to make purses, I'll have to do the straps for them at home on my machine.
     You can see my sewplies purse in process on my blogpost here. And I finally finished it. Her pattern is meant to wear close to your body and has clips that close around your back.
Sewplies Purse
The front of the purse closed
The back of the purse opened

The back of the purse closed

The inside of the purse with a pocket
I had to sew my scissors pocket on the inside at an angle in order to fit my scissors, but it works that way just fine. I love the pattern. Thank you, Melly! Go and visit her website . She'll be starting up some classes soon. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' blogs so that they know you visited. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 1, 2016

How Often Do You Clean Your Studio?

     I dust and clean weekly a little bit here and there and put some things away. And when I finish a piece, I put away all the things that were involved with that piece. While I'm working on something or two or three things at once I have fabrics, threads, papers, books, and all sorts of things out all over the place. I have to sometimes dig a few layers deep to find a tool or a piece of fabric. I generally know where everything is, though and can find it quickly.
     This week, a shipment of paints and dyes arrived and I decided to do some rearranging so I opened boxes and sent a lot to the recycling bin and trash can. I put everything away that was out and about. I got rid of things I hadn't used since I had the studio built. At that time I posted photos of my new studio and have posted photos of it off and on. One of the students in my new class asked to see some photos of our studios so I decided to take them now while it is clean and neat and probably won't be again for some time to come. Plus here are some I haven't shown before with descriptions to help out those who are designing their studios.
     Mine was made by tearing down a wall from a small bedroom and making the room larger. I live in Central Florida and the cost for doing that was not too much. I decided not to add any plumbing because the codes had changed over the years and we would have had to dig up our septic field and add on to that if we added anything to do with water and that would have tripled the price. There is a bathroom right next door for simple water things I need and I use the laundry room (with the deep sink) down the hall for dyeing and clean ups. It's quite convenient.
     Here's the tour.
Basic layout
The room is about 22 feet long and 14 feet wide. The biggest mistake I made is that it has only one overhead light. But it lights up the room pretty well. I put in an LED daylight bulb that is very, very bright and don't have any kind of cover on top of the bulb. There is a ceiling fan above the bulb and many windows. I have several Ott lights and on my craft table, I also put the same LED bulb into the desk lamp so that I have good daylight illumination there at night when I paint.
View from the door looking in
I put Pergo on the floor and you'll see how I used the extra for a sewing table, too. That dark brown wood table you see near the front center is an old Westinghouse sewing machine whose motor is shot. I hope someday to convert it into a treadle machine if that is possible.
My and hand sewing reading area 
The quilt on the futon was made by my grandmother from flannel pieces she had leftover from pajamas she made for me, my sister, and my cousins. She made them into a blanket, I had it quilted, and still need to put a binding onto it. The cinder block bookshelves are the same ones I used in college in the 70's. Talk about being frugal. See the mouse toy on the futon? That's to keep the cats busy and away from the important stuff. Like that works...  That pile under the futon? That's my Gallery Under The Futon. Actually the quilts there are stored very carefully in good bags.
This is just across from the futon
Those are all my Quilting Arts Magazines. You should see the index I prepared for them. Being a scientist and former teacher it's crossed indexed to the T. My printer is there in that bottom drawer so I can wirelessly print from my iPad or plug it into my laptop. In the tall dresser, I keep all sorts of papers for drawing and stationary supplies. On top of the dresser are my sketch books. The box on the floor has my dyes that I'll move into the laundry room once I attach some shelves in there for them.
     Moving farther into the studio is my sewing table. I'm really proud of that. How to build it was my idea. I had leftover pieces of Pergo flooring. I have an old blog post here on how to build it. It works great. Since its surface is so slippery, the quilts glide over it as though it was teflon. Since I took the original photos of the table top, I glued fabric to the 2x4's to make it prettier. The table it sits on cost about $40 from a thrift shop and my rolling chair is from the 50's and is so comfortable.
Sewing Table and window seat
I keep the lights for photographing my quilts in one of the drawers of the window seat. The other drawer has fabrics. The boxes tucked in the window seat have buttons and various tools. That cat is Opus and he followed me around as I did this photo shoot. Under the sewing table, I have a bolt of eco felt, a box with freezer paper, interfacing, parchment paper, stabilizer, other stuff like that, boxes of fabrics.
a close-up on how well the Pergo fits with the sewing machine

ironing area next to sewing table
I made the ironing area by putting the fabric covered board on top of the chest of drawers. Inside the drawers are fusibles, Goddess Sheets, yarns, and other fibers. See my bolt of Misty fuse left of the chest of drawers? Under that is the spray starch, spray adhesive, spray water bottle, lint removal roll. Next, I want to show you what is in those white plastic drawers under the sewing table that you see in front of my sewing chair.

First the top drawer.
An old velvet coated knife storage box
I found that box in a thrift store and it's perfect for storing presser feet. They click into the spots where the knives were supposed to go. I bought it for $1.
Next, is the next plastic drawer down:
The other part of the knife storage box
The threads fit perfectly in rows of two. And just underneath this box, in the same drawer, I have a plastic thread holder with larger thread spools...
All in the middle drawer
And in the bottom drawer, I keep the threads I don't use very often. They are called parachute thread and are made out of rip-stop nylon. They were given to me and they are very, very strong and thick. I use them for bobbin work sometimes.
in bottom drawer
Next to my sewing machine on the right, I keep a small fabric covered box with some tools I use all the time while I'm sewing.
A way store common sewing tools and keep cats out

Tools I need handy while I sew
     To the right of the sewing table, I have a cutting table. It is an old dining room table that I bought at a thrift shop and put on risers to make taller. It was a little wobbly so my husband secured it by screwing in some metal braces in the middle of it. I store most of my fabrics in plastic drawers and tubs underneath it. And I have screwed hooks into it to hold my scissors and rotary cutters.
cutting table looking towards the entrance to the room
There's Andy in the window and Opus looking at him.
The quilt on the design wall is in process.
fabric storage
I'm planning on building a removable board to go on top that will have some eco felt and a sheet so that I can do some large-scale printing on the table without damaging the cutting surface.
Across the room from the sewing machine is a craft table where I can paint and be messy.
an unusually neat craft table
I made the table from a $25 table (on the left) and a $25 kitchen cabinet at a garage sale (on the right and its doors facing right) and a door for the table top. Then I painted all of them white. I keep my home-made stamps, tape, glues, strings, and rags in the cabinet on the left. The cabinet on the right is my "junk drawer".
This is to the right of the craft table
On this shelf unit, I keep stencils, shiva paintstiks, tools, hardware, beads, and all sorts of handy things. I have a spare, small refrigerator from when our kitchen one broke. But this one isn't plugged in. I actually use this one to store old denim. :)
     So that's my studio. It works well for me. Some of these ideas I got from other people's blogs. I like to be in a space that looks mellow and pretty. And I need for it to be organized. It's rare for it to be neat, however. I had a lot of fun finding all the furniture and seeing how inexpensively I could put together a studio. I hope some of the things you saw here can be useful to you, too.
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.