Cynthia St. Charles Store

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Canine Background

More decision making on the Canine. Here it is pinned on my design wall so I can stand back and look at it. I don't do a lot of figurative work, but when I do, I have a rather goofy tendency to place my figures floating in air . . . .This is a chronic problem for me. Or is it a problem?

Maybe it is not the best, but it is what I do. I get all wrapped up focusing on the figure and I forget the ground until it is time to quilt and crop.

I know I could just crop this piece by removing the bottom 12" and bring the canine closer - that would ground him, but I really love all that space beneath him (is this why I always tend to float my figures?). So I am going to just quilt some plant life there and hope that works.

We shall see . . . stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Canine Quilting

I pulled this piece out of the stack of unfinished works and I hope to complete it soon.
It was drawn with glue gel a while back, and then painted with fabric paints, but it had not been quilted yet. This is one of a series of "predator" whole cloth painting/quilts done in an expressive style. Rough, expressive lines sketched with glue gel, then painted with bold, bright colors.

I finished the blue bear last year. I also have a purple panther and an orange lion waiting in the wings.
I find if I can just sit down and quilt an hour or two each day - it will get done. I am pleased with the quilting on his body, but I am not sure what to do about the legs, nose, and inner ears. . . . I would like to do a different pattern since the fur grows shorter there. I am contemplating leaving those unquilted or even doing some hand stitching there - maybe a little chicken scratch.
Input welcome.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Puerto Penasco Pelicans - Travel Log Tuesday

Two years ago we traveled to Puerto Penasco, Mexico for a winter holiday.
We had plans to do the same thing this year, but instead we decided to focus on a big home make-over.

We saw a lot of pelicans at Puerto Penasco - they spend the winter in that area.

Someday I am going to do some pelican art, but it hasn't happened yet.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mail Art Project - Week Twenty Six

Silk Pear

This week's Mail Art

Hand dyed organza fused to hand dyed cotton, machine quilted, hand embroidered.

Today's quote:

"There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

The extra postcard is going to Deborah in Ogmore by the Sea, Vale of Glamorgan, U.K.

Whenever I have an extra postcard, I am sending it to a blog reader. If you have not already done so, please send your mailing address to me in an email, and I will add you to the drawing. Please put Mail Art in the subject line. My email address can be found on my Blogger profile.
I experimented with different machine quilting and hand stitching patterns on these, thinking I would find a favorite, but I am not sure which looks best, actually.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Blossoms - Finally Finished

I've been working on this one for quite a while. I've shared a lot of the process since I've done little else besides working on our gigantic home improvement project.

I am satisfied with the final result, and the deadline has arrived.

My 4 year old grandson, Airus has repeatedly asked if he could have this quilt. He has probably brought it up at least a dozen times.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Glass Beads for Sun Rays

After punching up the leaves and the flowers on this quilt, I felt the sun was a bit weak, and I decided to add some beads. I wanted to go kind of funky with the look, so I auditioned a bunch of different colors and types.

I decided to use a variety of beads on each strand to create visual interest. Below, I have dumped a bunch of beads onto the tray.

Friday, March 25, 2011

3D Silk Ribbon Flowers

The hand cut bias silk ribbon was a satisfactory solution to my time crunch - needing to get some flowers in the foreground of this quilt and up against a deadline.

The ribbon frayed a little at the edges, but I don't think it detracts too much from the effect. I thought I would be embroidering stems and leaves, but now I am not sure it is necessary.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making Silk Ribbon

This is an experiment. I wanted wide silk ribbon for the flowers at the base of the Spring Tree quilt I am working on. I did not have time to order it, and actually I doubt it comes 1" wide, which is the size I thought I would need. I decided to make my own. I dyed a yard and a half of China silk using Procion MX Golden Yellow.

The dyed fabric was cut into bias strips 1" wide.
I will use this to create the flower petals - silk ribbon embroidery.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flower Centers - Felted Wool Balls

Continuing on with this quilt - I have a lot of felted wool balls made for me by my daughter, Michelle. These were dyed, then cut in half and attached randomly around the ground for the flower centers.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mail Art Project - Week Twenty Five

Cowbird Postcard

Hand painted fabric has been pieced. A Thermofax screen of my cowbird photo has been fused over the pieced background. Machine quilted. These birds are frequent visitors to our backyard.

The quote on the back:
"Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent
as a sunny spring day."
-W. Earl Hall-

Extra postcards are going to Helen in Norfolk, United Kingdom and Rita in Milford, Kansas.

If you have not already done so, you can have a chance to receive one of my Mail Art postcards. Just send me an email with your full name and mailing address. In the subject line write Mail Art. My email address can be found on my profile page.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wild Turkey's at the Window

Small flocks of wild turkeys pass through our backyard many times a day. They are scrounging for food under the hanging birdfeeders. Sometimes we toss grain on the ground for them.

Some of them have become quite assertive. When they are not finding the nourishment they want on the ground, they come to the window and beg. They beat the window with their beaks and toss their bodies against the glass.

I admit, I have reinforced this behavior by going out and tossing seed on the ground for them when they beg this way.

The picture above shows several toms gathered at the window. They were knocking and looking in at us - waiting for someone to come out and toss some grain on the ground.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spiral Tree Changes

If you follow my blog, you will know I have been working on this piece for several months. It is slow going on account of all the distractions with our home improvement projects.
I have been invited to enter an annual show curated by Dinner at Eight artists Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal. Last year's theme was "Beneath the Surface". This year's theme is "The Space Between". The size requirement is 36 x 48".

I actually had another quilt started for this show (something more serious, elegant and deeply meaningful), but I had to abandon that one because this one kept calling to me. I am struggling with the fact that it is so frivolous. I am struggling with the fact that it started with a silly doodle and the colors are SO BRIGHT! But I can't worry about that. I need to get it done because the deadline is looming!

As you can see, above - I have diminished the white lines left behind by the glue gel. I usually like to keep them as a design element, but I just found them distracting and too overpowering - so I filled them in partially with a black fabric marker. It is kind of amazing how much that changes things - no? (yes, I know it looks like I may have ruined it at this point)

I was just not happy with the way the block printed leaves looked against the sky. They were just way to subtle for me and disappearing into the blue sky. So, I stitched these lovely silk leaves in place - stitching only on the veins of the leaves - which makes them quite 3-D. A lovely effect, I think.
Now we're talkin'. . . .

No, it isn't finished yet. I am going to add some 3D flowers in the foreground, and shiny beads around the sun. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bright Baby Quilt

Align Center
At one point, I was collecting a lot of bright colored fabrics for quilts. I can't really remember why.. . . well, maybe just for the fun of it! I sure do appreciate bright colors in the middle of winter!

Anyway, this baby scrap quilt is one that Lois quilted for me recently. I do have a nephew with a baby coming. I don't know if they have a color scheme for the nursery yet, but maybe this one will have a home sometime soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baby Blue Scrap Quilt

Last spring, I gathered up all the scrap quilt tops I've made through the years (then stashed away in a drawer) and sent them up to Lois Hajenga in Moccasin, Montana. She quickly got them all quilted and I have been gradually getting the bindings done.

This baby quilt was put together from the leftover pieces from a larger scrap quilt that was given away as a gift so long ago that I cannot even remember what it looked like!

I happened to have enough plaid flannel for the backing, keeping with my rule of not buying any more commercial fabrics. I don't know of any babies coming yet, but I can put it away until it I it is needed (yes, I realize - more storage . . . !)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Graduation Quilt

We had a little break in the weather so I was able to get outside with this quilt and get a picture of it before I mail it off. This is a graduation quilt for Ben. He graduated last spring, and I made him a quilt, but then I decided to keep it because it was too short for his tall body (but also because I liked it so much and did not want to part with it). This one is a long twin size quilt. Ben is still living at home and going to community college so he doesn't need it for his dorm room yet, but eventually he will go to University and will use it, I am sure.

I used up a stack of 5" squares and 2" solid strips I have had in a drawer for 10 years or so.
Simple to put together, but I think the effect is quite nice.
Best of all - I really did use up ALL the squares and strips. (anyone who makes scrap quilts knows it seems like you hardly make a dent in your stash with a scrap quilt, but I keep at it year after year, and I do not buy commercial fabrics any longer, so eventually I think I might get it used up!)

The hand dyed back - as always - I use a good cotton sheet from Target. I stockpile them when they go on close-out.

This was quilted by Lois Hajenga from Moccasin, Montana. Lois is a member of my mother's quilt guild in Central Montana. She has quilted about 10 scrap quilts for me this year and I am really appreciative of her help.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goose Lake, Beartooth Mountains - Travel Log Tuesday

Goose Lake is about 6 miles from the start of the Goose Lake Jeep Trail.
It is not possible to drive all the way in an ATV or dirt bike. About 1/2 mile from the lake, there is a barrier and ATV riders must complete the trip on foot.
We don't have an ATV or dirt bike. So we parked at the start of the jeep road, and hiked.
We hiked all the way to Goose Lake and back to our car (12 miles round trip) in about 6 or 7 hours. Then, we drove back to Billings that evening. The mountains across the lake in these pictures are called Sawtooth Mountains.

This mountain is Fox Mountain on the other side of Goose Lake.
We saw a large waterbird on the lake - black and white - we could not determine whether it was in fact, a goose (as the namesake for the lake?) or some kind of duck. My search through the bird book left me wondering . . .
We would like to return here someday to camp. There seem to be some interesting destinations not far from this lake. There was a mining operation here, and there is a machinery gravesite across the shore just below the Sawtooth Mountains.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mail Art Project - Week Twenty Four

Gelatin Plate Print - Cottonwood Leaf (bug eaten)

This group is constructed from fabric monoprinted using a Gelatin Plate and cottonwood leaves from the native trees growing on our property.

Cotton fabric, acrylic fabric paint, machine stitching.

This week's quote:

"The poetry of the earth is never dead."
-John Keats-

Sorry, no extras to mail out this week. However, when I do have spare cards, I am mailing them to blog readers who send me their mailing address. My email address can be found on my blogger profile. Please put Mail Art in the subject line.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finishing up the Family Room

We finished up the installation of the hardwood in the Family Room and can now put the furniture back in place.

We spend a lot of time in this room and have missed being able to use it.
We look forward to enjoying our new floors! We love the subtle texture of the handscraped wood and the subtle color changes of the reclamation planks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

End World Hunger Now - Finishing Touch

My "End World Hunger Now" quilt is finished and ready to go off to the show.
I have a bag full of these little "worry people" that I purchased for a project several years ago. They came to me in small bags of 50, each bag had a tiny piece of paper inside with the first name of the maker. I love that each artist makes a different style and each little "worry doll" is an individual.

I glued them in place, then reinforced them with embroidery floss. The glue I use is called "The Ultimate". I get it at Hobby Lobby. I like it because it is odorless, but very strong. I use it for everything, and I have never yet had it fail.

The background fabric is a piece I discharged outside in the winter using a spray bottle filled with bleach solution. I hoped for a more crystalline effect, but even though it did not turn out as I hoped - I have used this fabric in a number of different applications.