Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Color Explorations-and a good colored pencil

Color Rendering, scanned and adjusted
It has been a while. I feel out of integrity, not working on the Hot Chocolate project for a while. I haven't been able to get out and get the solid colors. It isn't that I haven't tried, I went to a quilt shop near my house and the selection of solids was not what I am used to at Glad's. I also was at another little shopping community over the holidays, where there is a quilt shop, and they too, did not have the selection of quality solids that Glad's has. So…. next wednesday, is my day to pick up the espresso and ruby, Jetta said there was no cream, so I will have to improvise when I get there.

In the mean time, I have done some preliminary project things for future posts. Planning and organizing my thoughts for the new year and aligning my self with the goals that want to emerge from my being in 2014.

A meditative practice, I have taken on since moving to this apartment in Roseville, is coloring. Color studies with my colored pencils. My favorite pencils are the Berol-Prismacolor pencils. They are a soft core pencil, but the colors are vibrant and easily blended.

After finishing a book of seashells and starting on an Art Nouveau color book that I have had for years, there is getting to be a collection of colored, copyright free pages for playing with pattern and photoshop.

I also have some fabulous paisleys that I have worked on. The color palettes are great fun to explore and the feel of the finished piece is interesting when looking at organic and geometric shapes.

There are many of these completed and I have wondered what I am going to do with them. But now, ideas are starting to emerge and a new direction is taking hold.

Slowly, I am getting in touch with my core self and seeing how the expression and development have taken hold, unconsciously over the years of my life. It is now time to take that raw passion and create something unique to me… I can feel it, stirring in my bones, pulsating in my cellular walls, gathering momentum as it becomes clear consciousness in my brain.

Yes, I am feeling it is going to be a fulfilling year.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nothing New to Report on the Hot Chocolate.. But a New Race has Begun!

Good afternoon, nothing happening with the Hot Chocolate project since the last post. Well, nothing newsworthy anyway. The next step is to distinguish how I am going to use the stripes and the preprinted panels.

Determining if there is to be any fill in with blocks, strips and such. Then I will have a good idea of how much of the solids to purchase and start cutting.

This week has primarily consisted of re arranging my bedroom. Ever since move in from June, it has been a place to sleep. Sleep has been challenging, as the decor consisted of the unpacked boxes, and miscellaneous items that no longer have a home. Things I want to access and use, but there is just no where to put them.

Then, my sister approached me with the proposition of 'storing' her queen size head and footboard. It is a beautiful iron bed. One that I have always been partial to, it was the bed used for my first Home & Garden show room. They have just gotten a new king size bed, and I have been pining for a headboard, since I relinquished mine from the move last year. (Wow, that was only last year, it seems like it was 3 years ago…)

In the practice of Feng Shui, it is of utmost importance to have a headboard on one's bed. Without one, the experience of no support is rampant. I must say, it is true. Since not having one, it has been challenging to feel supported on so many levels in the past year. There is nothing to ground me in the new location.

My home base has not been established and I am finding it hard to really feel at home here. But now, moving my room around, making room for a headboard and a footboard, it is starting to feel good.

The highlight of the week, being introduced to , Danielle LaPorte on  Danielle has a new book,  the Desire Map…. definitely going to get a copy of that! Both sites are filled with great insights on life, relationships and expression of self, professionally and personally. I am so grateful to have these women show up in my inbox!

Danielle's site and take on goal setting, has breathed new life into my thoughts. This morning, I found myself experiencing


I have finally found my way back to the starting line of a whole new endeavor. I know my thing….. I am working on a way to share my 'thing' with the world. I have been doing 'my thing' for …. well…. almost my whole life…. yes, my first memory… I recall experiencing 'my thing'. Here is a hint… The first time I ever recognized being here… I opened my eyes, and saw the beautiful blue of the sky and the lush green leaves of the trees. I felt to myself, I made it, I am here, and went back to sleep. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Block Candidates from a Beautiful Quilter's Resource

Peppermint candies? 
The fabrics have been determined, the blocks from the panel cut and the stripes have been sliced into strips. Purchases for the remaining Kona cotton will be later, once I have determined the blocks that will be added or incorporated using the panel. A stash only needs to be as  big as a stash needs to be.  Although, a healthy collection of solids would not be a bad idea. There is just that storage and accessibility issue. 

The go to book for an exhaustive and inspiring collection of quilt blocks is “The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns-more than 4050 peiced blocks for quilters” by Jinny Beyers. The blocks are consistently photographed, organized by grid, and beautifully rendered. There is even a grid tool that slips into the back of the book. 
Larger Peppermints, the solid green blocks will be the 4 1/2" printed blocks from the panel

Keeping in mind the sizes I have to work with, I set out just browsing the book of blocks I liked and thought would be fun to do, lending themselves to central blocks and use of borders. 

The block sizes from the panel are as follows. 
  1. Large blocks 10 x 10 finished
  2. Medium sized blocks 7 x 7 finished
  3. Small blocks 4 1/2” x 4 1/2”
  4. Large rectangles
  5. Small rectangles
  6. strips of 2” stripe
  7. strips 2 1/2” stripe
  8. strips of 3” stripe

All strips are 1 3/8” yds long. Pattern repeats are to be determined for matching pattern. 

A swirling cup with red handles, the green will be a border stripe
Some of the blocks are shown incorporating stripes into their composition. I think this makes for and interesting composition because the element of line is strongly introduced into the work. 
A band of mint candies through the espresso and cream

I went through again and looked at grid and finished size. Some blocks and catagories overlapped in my preference, this became my master list. From this list, I narrowed it down to 4 options, per block size, based on similar elements of the blocks.

Swirling Espresso and cream (not sure why the color shifted when I imported, still same espresso 
I think I may explore adding the rectangles or stripes to one side of the blocks and make assymetrical blocks. This could be an interesting challenge in layout. A hot chocolate sampler, without looking like a sampler.... I like that idea. There are so many blocks and so many interpretations of them! And I would not get bored doing the same thing over and over. Although doing multiples of the same thing in a repetitive manner also has its benefits. Such as streamlining production and efficiency and the ability to just slip into auto pilot and meditation, while working with such a sumptuous material. 
Swirling Mocha with a cherry

Also, my preference in design is assymetry rather than symmetry and one doesn’t see a great deal of it in quilting. Being a non-conventional quilter myself, the appreciation of traditional designs, methods and approaches to quilting is highly regarded. We can’t all do the same thing. Each of us have a passion that is poured into the projects and it results in a self expression that is individual for each of us.  

More Peppermint and chocolate

Espresso & Cream swirl

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Tasty Palette of Kona Cotton Solids

Ruby-a pink enough, deeply saturated, for the  most saturated red

The winter chill has set in, the holidays are fast approaching and my attention was drawn to a festive color combination for winter, boughs of evergreen, strings of cranberry, and HOT CHOCOLATE to warm the spirit.

The palette is what originally caught my attention with this fabric and I quickly noted the images of hot chocolate stimulating my sense of smell and taste. As my eyes wandered across the panels, the scent of baking gingerbread, steaming hot chocolate and creamy vanilla, cinnamon and sprinkles filled my mind.

Imagining, being curled up with a warm cup of tastiness and gazing at the winter landscape. I am connecting with the gathering energy just beneath the surface of the cold, hard ground,  as I know the vibrant life force of spring energy will again emerge in a few months. But for now, I will just savor the flavor of my chocolate decadence. I can just be, allowing the images to come to me. Flooding my senses with imaginary experiences and inspiring the essence of the project. 

The color card of the espresso, too much flash, the colors are much deeper
I know I want the simplicity of a deeply saturated and simple solid fabric. The detail will come from the additional peicing of the quilt, perhaps some pinwheels of peppermint? Cream and chocolate swirls of sweetness. The more vibrant the saturation of the color, the more I can almost taste it with my eyes. As the colors melt together, I can sense the flavors blending and melding. As the warmth begins to release the essence of the flavors, the air is intoxicated with the aromatic elixir of chocolate with whipped cream.

A great tool for a colorist, the trick is finding someone who  has it in stock!
Kona Cotton Solids- that is the ingredient that is going to get me the depth of color that I want. The fabric is a good weight and the colors are deep and intense. My favorite brown is esspresso. It is like dark, rich, raw cacao. It is softer than black, but with the qualities of black, intensifiying that which it comes into contact. It reminds me of my favorite chocolate bar.  Vosges Smoke & Stout Caramel. Paired with a deep chocolate-y  with a hint of cherry Merlot, hmm, maybe that is another project. Back to the project at hand.  (A photo of the chocolate bar here with some fabric)

The red with a hint of blue coolness, with a deep flavorful brilliance,that should set nicely against the almost black of the esspresso. The red’s within the printed blocks vary from deep wine, burgundy shades, raspberry tints and vibrant red of the candycane mints. A red that incorportates all the  flavors that pair well with dark chocolate, that is what I am looking for. The deepest red without turning to the hue of burgundy... Kona Ruby- has a slight hint of the esspresso, creating color relatedness and the illusion of the melting together of the hues. 

The cream contenders…...
Do you add vanilla or cinnamon to your whipped cream? These subtle additions will alter the color. Yes, I want a creamy white that has a hint of cinnamon and vanilla bean sprinkles. Blending colors can be as exact of a science as properly blending the flavors of a recipe. Cream works with the esspresso and the Ruby.  A common thread of flavor that runs throughout the palette. Cream it is! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hot Chocolate any one?

I am doing it! A project, It is simple and I am making it complex. It isn't in my nature to do something simple.

It all started a week ago. I went to visit my mom and we went on an adventure to St. Cloud. We went to one of her favorite places to shop for 'crafty' things as she call them.

We went into the fabric department which is most all quilting fabric, and just looked at the novelty prints. She started loading her cart with things for making her christmas presents and we both found an adorable panel collection called Hot Chocolate. It had stripes, the blocks were fun, and I love the deep rich chocolate brown, warm vanilla cream and vibrant berry red that dominate the color palette.

Ideas just started popping into my head and we had them in the cart. I figured out roughly what I thought would be the ideal amounts of fabric to play with and mom decided it was going to be too much. So we put it all back….. and then realized the christmas fabric was 50% off. So, back into the cart it all went.

It seems a small enough project, one that I could do at the dining room table without taking over the living space (as most of my projects do).

The concepts and inspiration is evolving and the details are coming through as I plan this project and keep working at it.

It isn't going to be a project that is all consuming and takes over my life. I have too many things of priority to work on right now. But, it is a small niche of personal creative time that I am allowing myself.

So far the panel has been cut apart and the stripes have been trimmed.

Stay tuned for the next phase of the design process as I discover what to do with each of the blocks and how it will all come together.

I will be drafting blocks, mitering corners and making layout choices. Sharing the journey and documenting the adventure is what you will find here.

Until next time… in the mean time, enjoy your hot chocolate as you follow along with the design process.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cars, colored pencils and patterns...

It has been a week and a half now with the new to me wheels. Snow White is the 06 Jeep Liberty that I have found for the next phase of transportation.  She has plenty of room to haul around fabric totes, furniture finds to paint and what ever other creative goodies need haulin'.

Now that is out of the way, new projects are just around the corner and with the weekend, moving garages is the task at hand. The garages here leak. They flood in the wet season and then the heat of summer grows yucky stuff like a green house! We are moving to garages that the drainage is hopefully better and closer to our door.

Snow White will live in the garage, she is clean and well maintained, even under the hood and doesn't look like she lived outside in the elements much. I wouldn't want to stress her out. I need to be able to depend on her....

So, more boxes came in the house, it felt just a little too much like moving again and made me almost feel sick to my stomach. But.... it is just another chapter in the purging saga... Where does all this stuff come from? I have done a huge purge about 5 years ago... this one seems to be dragging on for ever.

So far there is no space set aside for any creative doings... with my creative overflow, I have been revisiting my colored pencils and coloring... it is relaxing and great for playing with color relationships and value.. I like the Berol-Prismacolor brand of soft core colored pencils. The color is fully saturated and they blend beautifully with one another. I have been focused on a seashell coloring book and some book marks that I bought at the Renaissance Festival late this summer. It is my end of the day winding down routine. It will do for now, but soon I will need to feel the texture of fabric at my finger tips and get back into writing again...As the idea of a blogging schedule would help me, so I thought, I found for right now... it paralyzed me. So random and inspired, seems the path to finding my voice again. To reacquaint myself, this is briefly what has had my attention lately... aside from the logistics of life mentioned above.

Lately the urge to gather my patterns has been nagging at me as well.  There is quite a collection from over the years and I am always on the lookout for some intriguing vintage ones. Clothes just inspire me... they always have. So, cataloguing, sorting and organizing those in one handy and easy to access system is working through my subconscious.

Well, that is the post for today, rather chaotic, but from this will come order... and then it will be time to move again!

How does your creativity get thwarted? How do you make promises to yourself and keep them? Or do you.....?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A New Vehicle for Navigating through Life... for now.....

Emerging back into the 'out there'. I have been hermit like for the past few months. More recently, not by choice.

My car of 11 years decided she was done one friday night a few weeks ago. I knew she wasn't feeling well. She was starting to really show her age. Age spots were starting to mar her complexion (rust). It was just beginning though. But moving quickly along her back door....  When she just had a bath, she looked pretty good on the outside. Inside, the upholstery was cracked and dirty. She mostly lived outside, only last year did she have a garage.

She always had a bit of a tick or knock when I started her. Like a bad cough. I was very connected to that car and have relied on it for the past 11 years. It got me around, except when there was an issue, we took it one thing at a time. She just had brand new tires and new belts put on 3 weeks before her demise.

So for about a week and a half, I was stranded. Literally, no way to get anywhere, luckily, there are stores like Target across the street, on the other side of our apartment complex. (We face a courtyard, so the trees are nice, not looking at Target parking lot!)

It was challenging, projects were becoming ready to install (or so I thought, that is another story, not getting into here). It is like having the water shut off for a day that you become aware of how much you need to use water, if you know what I mean?

Two friends offered to take me out driving to check out new to me cars. It is the first time I have opted not to purchase new. I had a specific dollar amount, years and mileage requirement. The first day, I drove an 06 Jaguar, it was a lovely car, but the maintenance issues that I heard about them steered me away. Also, they aren't the greatest on gas mileage. Then I drove a handful of other cars, Trailblazers, Muranos, Vibes. They just weren't it.

Then I drove an Audi A4. A beautiful red... great handling, pass through back seats, good gas mileage, higher mileage than I wanted and a bit older. Great price.

Then I went on to drive a While Jeep Liberty. The car was in good condition, clean, leather interior, low miles, priced higher than I wanted, but lots of room for whatever I might need to move around. That is the one I got. There are some issues, with the experience of purchasing that car. Would not recommend the dealership to my enemies actually. But, I won't have to deal with them any more, as they don't respond to any calls or questions anyway...

So now it is just me and Snow White, navigating the roads again. She eats a lot though... maybe once I get those new spark plugs, it will curb her appetite.