Monday, November 29, 2010

AB 101 Prepping the pages

The number of pages in an altered book need to be reduced by about half. I sectioned off 1/2 an inch (200 pages) for a niche in the back. Then I proceeded to 'alter' the book by using two different methods to reduce the pages.

I could easily see the sewn thread in the various signatures so I carefully removed the inner two pages which comes out as one sheet. That is two pages folded as one. I think it is okay to just tear out a couple of sheets at a time but I could see the threads well so chose this way.

Then I went thru the book picking four pages. I'd put a cutting mat behind the second and third page. Use a ruler to cut those two pages 1/2 inch from the spine.

Then I used gel medium to glue the page the two flaps and the two outside pages. To clarify I glued the outside of the 3rd page flap to the inside of page 4. Then I glued flap 2 to flap 3. I spread the medium on the outside of flap 2 and the inner side of page one and made them all fuse together by using my brayer. So you have 2 flaps glued inside 2 full pages. Perhaps I should have let these dry before doing more but I'm not that patient. I used wax paper between wet pages and dry pages and kept going. I found the gel a bit thick and perhaps I could have thinned it.

This is an example of the wax paper and brayer.

Then I put my sewing machine on the closed book to exert some downward pressure for the night.

I removed the wax papers in the morning. It looked pretty flat but was also quite damp so I draped the book over a rung on my clothes horse for the day.

I saved all my pages for future projects. I also did some extra flaps. I want to add some loose pages later so I made two flaps side by side so I can stick in a loose page and glue it in between the two prepared flaps.

So far so good. Now I'm off to the art store in the city to ask all kinds of questions about gels, mediums, and glues.

Friday, November 26, 2010

AB 101 gesso the cover

I've chosen the book that I want to alter.
My cover is very shiny so I needed to sand the cover to rough it up.

Then I applied gesso all over but I went sparingly in the coloured area so that some of those coloured quilt blocks show thru.

I decided not to dry it flat but draped it over the clothes horse so the groove at the spine could dry properly. It'll require some reinforcing because already I have a separation happening from sanding in the groove. I wonder if duct tape will be the solution? ;)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First lessons

There was a small blizzard on Sunday. First we had to shovel out.

But my daughter and I had planned a winter field trip for the kiddies on Monday. Our first. So hubby broke trail to work and I carried on to make a field trip happen. Who knew the Children's Museum of Canada was closed for renovations so we improvised. The welcome tourist area in an adjacent building is very kid friendly. Some of the displays have stuffed toy like animals and this bear has lost his paddle and wears a sign on his neck that says, Be Kind. Do not jump on the bear! We learned some useful first lessons. We'll be acquiring small back packs so our arms are free. We want to do one trip a season and live to tell about them.

While our trippers napped in the car I hit a fabric store for colour wheel fabrics. I took my colour wheel in and MATCHED. True green is not in vogue at the moment. I bought the only thing close and again the camera is not showing how well I did at matching.

I'd tried some of my colours for my double compliment convergence quilt in a black and white photo shoot and I really got confused. Value is such a puzzle to me. First appearance is not always what it seems. I'll be sharing more as I learn more about this convergence experiment.

So I started over with my whole stash and I really got on a roll. I'm short true reds and the best combo did not even have a whole FQ's worth of fabric. So that is why I decided to just go and get 12 one metre sized pieces.

I will need to dye my own colour wheel fabrics but I'm anxious to start work on my colour class.

Today I continued to sub for a friend as a companion to a young woman who works in a Thrift Shop in the morning and we field trip in the afternoon. It's amazing what people will give away and how cheaply quality items can be purchased for. I got 5 brand new double damask Irish linen napkins. I'll dye them. For lunch we went to the other end of the pay scale. Lovely country restaurant, wonderfully decorated and with a store that carries up scale decorating items. Maybe some will make their way thru the recycle system. vbsigh Another first lesson, good things come to those who wait. There is that patience word. ;)

I'm looking forward to staying at home for the rest of the week. Another lesson: you can't get things done if you aren't home to do them!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Altered Book 101

It is VERY important to pick the right book. I thought I had it but then I began to read it and I won't be finished before I want to start which is now! It is a text book, Prose Discussion and the previous owner was Asian and has tiny neat character writing and notes on English definitions throughout.

So I had to go through my options; books I'd gotten at the thrift store. The book must be sturdy, have a sewn spine and have at least 300 pages. It should be in a size that is comfortable to work with.

My theme is *It is Just Me* and road maps seemed kinda neat so I considered Drive North America but there is a lot of dark edged road maps and a LOT of coloured pictures of places I have never visited. The Comprehensive Atlas of Canada and the World offered more subtle geographical maps and lots of black and white index pages and some neat photos but both books are quite large. A colorful book, The Complete Book of Bulbs, with full colour and glossy pages didn't have quite enough pages, and was really glossy. Another glossy book on Real Life Renovating seemed to fit my theme LOL but again, all those glossy pages. A smaller book, with daily readings, has text, and a header with the date at the top of each page which seemed perfect but darned if I could actually see the sewing in the middle of the signatures which are the sections of pages that are combined to make up the book. Glued pages don't work.
So I had to turn to the books I've actually bought. Now I luv books and I rather hate parting with them.
This book seemed to be SO important to have but I actually rarely use it. I have my favorites and I also have other resources. It is not too large and is in good shape, clean, not moldy.

The spine is sewn and seems strong.

I can actually find the thread in the middle of the individual signatures easily.

It is all black and white, a good staring point, ha, starting point. Blank pages, especially white are so intimidating and it won't due to stall and glaze over at the onset.

It has 551 pages. Seems a lot but we'll be ripping pages out.

Now quilting is a big part of my life these last 30 years. Shoot, half my life! There are lots of analogies that can be drawn from quilting. I'll probably kick myself at least once when I think to reach for this resource, but it'll probably be only once. ;~)

So that is the first step. A big one because it is not a good thing to do a whole lot of work and have things fall apart. Ready or not, here we go!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The White Stuff

Everything is white. The snow has fallen and covered the grass, the weeds, the bits, the lost, the soggy and made everything new, fresh, clean, bright and hopefully frozen. I hope they will stay that way until spring is good and ready.

That means a white page and a new start for the winter projects. I'm thankful each day is a new day.

I spent an evening pruning my blog roll and evaluating my computer times. I find the computer extremely useful and it is a great tool but it can sidetrack good work intentions with pleasant and lingering looking. I'm figuring out how to save and store useful information, my files, photos and tutorials. But I especially need to learn how to use it for my best interests. I've found Lisa Call's blog, Contemporary Textile Art, both instructs and motivates. I'm thankful for honest sharing.

I reorganized the laundry corner of the basement for crafting and have begun to do my altered pages. I'd like to paint the background, (white?) but I resisted waiting till it was all 'ready' and began anyway. Elizabeth from Altered Book Lover another busy and productive blogger, has kindly allowed me access to her 14 week tutorial on making an altered book. I've chosen my book and I'll be working my way through that in the coming weeks. I'll share my progress and insights. This is going to be part of the Eggs or Else commitment. I'm thankful for generous fellow crafters.

I've debated the benefits of challenges verses just do your own thing and I have decided that some challenges would be a good thing, especially if they go along with what I would do anyway. I think I work better to a deadline but I must learn to keep my word. I have missed the gals over at 3 Creative Studios, Terri, Vicki, and Sue so I'm waving the white flag and surrendering to some challenges and I am going to try to keep step with their creativity. But I think I'll be sitting on my hand when I see some of the other great opportunities that come up on a regular basis. But I am thankful for generous teachers.

I usually have a white sheet of paper whenever I chat with my friend, Judi, at Approachable Art. She is more than a cyber friend and her willingness to answer my questions has made art very approachable. I'm thankful for good friends.

The white table top in the playroom has been cleared and the sewing projects are lined up. I have some personal goals to make. This top is my daughter's wedding present and she now has 2 grand kiddies. They need quilts also. I belong to a Quilt group that also issues a small monthly challenge and one yearly wall hanging challenge. I also have the colour workshop to organize. I really hope to combine some of these with the Internet challenges. I go to Bernina Club once a month and I dearly hope to sit on my hands more often there. New, and wonderful, and shiny and white! awk!!! I'm totally wanting it ALL! And that sends me into the red and white, not even black and white. ;) I'm thankful to be part of a fabric friendly community. I'm thankful for fellow quilters who hold me accountable. I'm also thankful for family that patiently waits for their quilts.

Now Sherry, over at Creatology, manages to do it a great variety of things and encourages and inspires as she consistently produces all kinds of luving things. She should get a white robe as she gently shares that it is better to give than receive. :) I'm thankful for givers.

I have one more thing to add to the Eggs or Else exclamation. I gathered in one place all my house paint. Some are probably mostly empty. Some have never been opened. One used to be a shiny, new, but very empty can that I paid $$$ for because I was going to do some forgotten special mix!!! Some are no longer sporting white and readable labels. I am determined to work my way through all these cans before summer. Eggs or Else. sheesh! I'm thankful for husbands who enlarge their capacity for understanding.

Is it a lot? It doesn't have to be if I can find creative ways to work some of them together. And it isn't a lot if I can focus and use my time wisely. So, What if... I actually set my heart, my mind, my hand and my word to the doing of it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Great turn out for quilting last night and lots of challenges. All quite different but that is to be expected and definitely encouraged.

My art challenge viewed thru the camera caused me to add another line of machine stitching at the edge. I want to experiment more with this 'envelope edge' because it certainly is quicker. I think this method can lead to some problems with fullness but it is minimal if the size is kept down. Not for queen sized quilts that's for sure.

The small traditional quilt pleases me. I did not get the MQing done in the individual squares, mostly because I'm not sure what I'll do. So tonight I'll finish that up. Washing the traditional quilts makes them finally finished in my mind. The art quilts seem to look better smoothed flat.

The back is kinda fun and I'm luving using up all the fun bits from my stash cupboard that holds all the novelty, focus fabrics, or just those busy prints.
I'm always glad to have colour in my life, especially in the grey days of fall and spring.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Finally something

In my attempt to change bad habits I resisted blogging about promises. (dreams) Tonight is our Common Threads group and the challenge was red/yellow/black and white. The size is an 8.5 x 11 inch page. This could be an intimidating colour combo but I like colour challenges.

I got all excited and picked a great collection of prints. But then I remembered that this is also an art challenge. So I changed gears but because I am working on a colour workshop I decided to do up the more traditional quilt to encourage our newer beginner quilters. Then I mixed things up colour wise for the art quilt to encourage shades and tints as options.

White light contains all the colours but in fabric white is the absence of colour. I chose a very light Bali with hints of colours. Then I chose a greyed black. Black in nature is the absence of light but in dyes it is the combination of colours. It also had a little streak of yellow that I utilized. I had no true red so I went with a blend of a dull red and a dull yellow. I very much prefer to work asymmetrically. I was going to do circles but one section reminded me somewhat of a mountain so I rough cut that, added another. The smaller yellow could be a more distant mountain or perhaps a sun. I'm not sure about raw edge applique so I did one seam 'according to the book' and then I left the rest of the seams exposed. I left raw edges for the applique also.

I found a backing which is actually the challenge colours! Another example of how changing the proportions affects things.

I am busy MQing the little table place mat. I'll post it tomorrow *after* it is finished. ;)

I am so glad to be back playing in the Coop and Saucer Playroom. I guess I mean working!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Change is in the air

I think that I can really say I'm done with the yard work. This is a wet snow but the temperature is dropping pretty quickly so I expect we'll be piling on the quilts as the snow begins to pile up all around the yard.

oops! I guess I better remember to bring the bench into the veranda. I seriously doubt we'll be sitting around on it for quite some time. And I must admit I'm ready to bury myself in the drifts of fabric piled up in the playroom. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Revelation

I went down for a final gloat over my laundry area only to discover that the grey water hose had let go and had been recycling dirty water all over the floor for long enough to have the poor pump become all hot and bothered! :(
So what was a quick fix turned into a lengthy process as I had lots of stuff on the floor. So I am still fixing.
While I'm not a fast learner I do eventually catch on. I need to edit some of my stuff and make this into a room rather than a corner. And as I hunt and gather what I'm thinking I need, I have also been actually thinking.
I had a revelation: a journal is a diary and blogging is a form of that for me. Diary comes from latin; diarus, daily and dies, day. It is a daily allowance, a daily written record of the writer's own experiences. It became journal, with the meaning of a record of personal experiences, reflections and daily work, from the French word jour, day. Some synonyms are annals, book, commentary, daily, issue, life, log, organ, volume.
The aha! part came when I realized it is written at the end of the day, not the beginning. 8>0
This will help my public accountability as I need to write about finished projects not just dreams and plans. This has been enlightening and will be all for the good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mixed up Monday

In an effort to be more productive, I am trying to think office job and the blogging needs to be happening before the work day begins, during the lunch break or after the homeward rush!

So as I am munching I will explain why seasons need to do what they are supposed to do and in their designated time. I guess I must admit that summer did finally show up but it is messing up fall and the winter preparations something awful. I should not even have to think about cutting grass, landscaping etc. and here I am still diddling around outside.
My farmer is still playing catch-up from a monsoon summer as well. Things are still very wet but the frosts are doing their work. Of course you then need to do what needs doing before the sun warms and softens the mud. :) It also means he is not doing my projects. :(
He did have time to have a trench dug which will divert some of the water that insists upon seeping into the basement. Dry would be lovely! But the resulting mounds need spreading about now or else I will have a bigger job next spring.
And speaking of the basement, which I'd like to slam the door shut on and nail shut... ( rant happening) Well, I need to get it ready for the primary paint, dye, spray and stamp preparations for my art work. My laundry area is off in the farthest, darkest corner but it is all I have. So I tried to work fast, focused and somewhat frantically as I pitched out all that stuff that insists on congergating in corners. I need to get stuff up and out to the storage area in the big barn. That is the first step and last chance to be useful or your next move is O U T. And I mean OUT!
So after lunch I must be outside but I'll be thinking basement and how to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

At a government surplus sale we got 2 metal tables, lots of metal bookcases and some black lab sinks. I snaffled my share before hubby grabbed them all. My dearie put the biggest sink which is a one piece sink and counter into a wood frame but I need to get a tap up and functioning. The drain is right over where the grey water collects and is pumped out.

I jammed this old bookcase in to hide the fuel tank and it stores stuff. The clothes horse can do fabric when its not drying socks! I have my seasonal accessories in the metal shelving units and the backs are facing the laundry area. It is a good thing I'm short as we put a wood floor over the half finished cement and gravel floor and the ceiling beams are low. But slops won't be an issue and most days I won't be wearing my heels so clearing the beams won't be an issue either! It is pretty cramped but it will have to do. Maybe one of those old half full paint cans can brighten things up a bit but that'll have to wait for another to-do list. Now if I can just figure out what to do with all the laundry!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

To converge or not to converge.

The quilt group is working on a convergence project. I'm not sure I need another project but we are a group and I've never made one.
I'm also spending some of my spare time (ha) thinking about a colour class. I'm reading Colour Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts. It states that a Double-Complement harmony results from using two pairs of opposite colours on the colour wheel. It yields high contrast from colours that do not blend. hmm, the convergence uses 4 fabrics. This could be a colour exercise.
The author recommends making a colour wheel using colours in your stash. This shows what you have and if you make different kinds, solids, florals, Bali's etc. you will learn lots. I'm thinking Bali's for this so I worked up a wheel. I don't have a true red nor a true green so I stuck in others.

The photo colour is abysmal but I feel it is pretty much on the mark in real light.

So I needed to pick the double complement harmony from the wheel but also from fabric that would yield at least a full FQ. Those I took outside to photograph. Darn wind!

Again the colour is a bit off especially for the blue-violet which is the opposite of the yellow- orange. The red-orange's opposite is blue-green.

Now I tend toward low contrast harmonies but my thinking is that the itty bitty slices should be seen and not just blend in as they pass one another. These would be seen! In fact I think I hear them shouting as they even get close! Whoa! This could be a good example of a bad example.

Two opposites really contrast but the four disperse the focus and each colour's importance. I'm quoting. I could tone then down with the same value and brightness but I'm not sure I have those options in the stash. I'm also wondering if the colours are meant for more individual fabrics in each colour group and this is not suitable for a convergence quilt.

I think I need to think about this. The grandson is visiting which was why I wasn't painting and pasting while he played at my feet. But I could fiddle with fabric. 8)

What if...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Getting in step

This NOT a tutorial. This is in line with the Process Pledge. My intention is to get started journalling and I need to start preparing the pages. This is what I'm doing and I can't claim to know what I'm doing. And I'm less than sure how things will turn out. But, I am creating. Messes? Well, maybe. But this is the first layer.

I opened up my work table as big as I could and covered it with plastic. Next time I would throw on an old blanket, the plastic and then an old sheet or possibly some fabric I'd want for later dyeing as the top layer. I have learned to put larger pieces of paper under the smaller ones to get the slops, spills and missed swipes.

The hard cover notebooks have lined pages that are too thin. I am gessoing them together. I use wax paper to put behind the page. I gesso it, turn down the proceeding page, add a sheet of wax paper and brayer it smooth. I close the book, stack them up and add weight. Inside one cover I tried to get a textured effect with gesso.

After an hour or so I grew impatient so I jury rigged my doors and drawers so the books can have their pages dangling and maybe dry faster. Some curl but I can stack and weight later, I guess. The picture is blurry but then I'm trying to get as much done as I can.

The three albums are nice heavy paper and there is rice paper (?) between each page. They were a sale item from some place that escapes me now. So I'm slapping acrylic paint in various and sundry ways. I'm leaving some blanks for some future bright ideas. These dry fairly quickly.

I like the effect of spray. But this isn't really great here in my sewing room. What a mess I make! One container had a crack and ... well, at least I didn't step in it and get it All over. This will take some practice. I have to hold the spray bottle upright but get the paper down before the drips happen. ;>)

I can see this being a perfect job for using The Shed To Dye For. Especially this preliminary stuff. I can then fine tune things on my wet counter in the playroom, it is at least on one side of the room and not dead centre.

So I am 'doing'! I can see there are lots of steps and even more options. I will probably need to get some more 'inventory' happening and then I can begin to think about the second layer. The gessoed pages have not even the first layer as they are only glued together.
I also want to make it known that I have quite the spring in my step, says she, with a few little fancy shuffles and a hop!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stepping Out

Common Threads was a busy crowded place last night. I did not take my machine as I need to find a more efficient method of packing/traveling. But I did learn the basics of 'convergence'. That's pretty cool! I got some input into a colour class and I found lots of support, encouragement, and motivation. We are a great sisterhood, us women, whether we be 'net' friends or near neighbours. Thank you.
I am off to a good start. Typically I did something else. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I was looking thru my 'puter for some basic info that I've saved on journalling and sketch books. I know how the 'save as' function works but I never take the time to organize the info. So I was organizing while I looked. I did need the time to think because I had a few decisions to make.
I had started a couple of 3 ring binder scrap books for each of my kids but they look very juvenile to me. The album book I have is kinda small but classy. Might be too small. Hmm, what to do? A firm stamp with my boot and I am not going to postpone while I wait to buy the perfect book. So I'll use the small book but make lots of loose pages. Victory, YES!
I'm sure that lots relate to postponing the mending but the articles are all now washed and dried so that's where I'll begin. My farmer's over-alls.
I copied out the Loose Feathers list and I can't recall who or what Pippa is!!! But I know I am not alone. That Girl has a great post on finishing old projects. I think instead of viewing them as this large pile of dead objects, I need to lift them up, get some light on them, and give them a reason to live.
Time to get marching!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Here's the plan

The snow was dispersing by early afternoon but I am still going to make the transition too winter work. Goodness knows there is as much to do inside as outside.

I think I may be having a midlife crisis. After recognizing I need some help with being accountable for my behavior I went out all by myself and bought some high heeled boots. Not exactly impulse but definitely not the kind of boots I went looking for. Add the purse, and then a brief snatch and grab thru a trendy store. yikes. A friend told hubby on Sunday that she was glad that the midlife thing hadn't happened to her yet. I'm not sure what I think about that statement.

But lets get these boots walking.

I have a number of mending projects to get off the work table. :( So I'm thinking I'll start with a journal. I think that while I'm into some retrospection I may as well do a kind of an autobiographical journalwith a title like, It's Just Me. Ha, birth to crisis!!! I shall be finding a suitable base and then I think the first thing is to splash some colour on some pages.