SEW I SEE!

quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Cherry Crunch Top Completed

Crinched, Crunched, CRONCHED.

The “Cherry Crunch” quilt top is done, done, done!  

I don’t love the process of adding borders to quilts, but sometimes they do add a nice finishing touch.

I’m happy with how this one looks.  There are a few places where points aren’t exactly where they ought to be, but most are at least very close, and it’s busy enough that I don’t think it will be distracting from the overall design. 

I have no idea how to quilt it, but since it’s pretty far down the list, there will be plenty of time to mull it over.  

Here are a few photos of the quilt top as it stands:

The Next Quilt Project...

The next quilt I’m making is another design by Bonnie Hunter, but it’s a foundation paper pieced pattern—”Morning Glories”.  I don’t have tons of experience with foundation paper piecing, especially not recent experience, but I’m familiar with the technique.  (I guess I did make two quilts’ worth of the “Tall Tales” book units, so maybe that counts as fairly experienced, after all.)  

I’m using an add-a-quarter ruler for this project—a new addition to my tools since the last time I did FPP—which I hope will make the process go more smoothly.  I’m also using newsprint for the papers instead of regular printer paper.  (I think it works out cheaper than copy paper, and it’s supposed to be easier to remove.)  

Back to the pattern…

The original quilt uses a rainbow of colors for part of the design, in addition to lots of greens and neutrals.  I’ve decided to make mine all in one hue—blue, my favorite morning glory color.  

Picking blues was a bit challenging.  I decided to avoid combining true blues and periwinkle blues with aqua/blue-greens, which I worry would look yellowed or dirty when used right next to one another.  I didn’t want to go too dark, either, so not much in the way of navy or midnight blue. 

We’ll see how it turns out!  

Watercolor Swatch-Doodles

So that’s what’s happening with quilts lately.  The only other arts and crafts thing I’ve been doing since last time is watercolor.  It’s definitely not a daily thing, now that the 30-Day Challenge is over, but probably every few days, at least, I’m doing at least something with watercolor.  Some things turn out better than others, but the main thing is trying to stay in the habit of playing with paint regularly.  

One type of exercise/inspiration I’ve been seeing a lot is what I’m calling watercolor swatch-doodles.  Essentially, you start by painting a swatch of color, or more often a series of swatches.  They can be gradients, color studies, whatever’s left on your palette, etc.  Make them squares, circles, ovals, stripes—whatever.  Paint, then let it dry…

Next, go back and doodle into/over/across the painted areas.  They can be themed or random.  Some people call this mark-making, if I’m not mistaken.  

Use ink, concentrated watercolor, pencils, paint pens, etc.  The idea is mostly to have fun, though some of the ones I’ve seen are also very decorative.  

This was my first try:

For my second attempt, I copied an idea I saw online where the artist started with tall vertical columns of color in rough gradients.  My columns aren’t equal, but that’s fine, too.  (The colors are a bit washed out in the first photo here…)

As before, go back and add your doodles or “marks”…

It can be a fun way to unwind without needing to think too hard or feel too much pressure.  Whatever you do, it will come out okay, and you can always go back in to add more detail until you’re happy with it.  (I see some things I’d like to smooth out on this one, for instance…)

Assorted Watercolor Exercises

I thought I’d try the watery rose technique again, but they’re still not turning out the way I want them.  I think this is one of those things that is trickier than it seems to get right, but practice should eventually help.  (Maybe…)  

This next one, I almost didn’t bother photographing.  I don’t like it much, but we can’t expect everything to turn out well.  This was inspired by something I saw in a tutorial, but mine was overly simple, so I went back and added more detail to make it more interesting.  Eh, not sure that was an improvement, but it wasn’t good before, either!  (I am not great at butterflies… Something to work on.  I think I need a sketch to start from.)

The next one is more of the “stones” I like doodle-painting, but I haven’t gotten to the point of adding the ink, yet:

And this last random thing is another of those salt experiments from a while back.  I wanted to do something a little different from the landscape doodle I’d done before (rolling hills, houses, trees), so I started just adding texture lines.  At that point, it felt like they were fields of crops, or fields being plowed to prepare for planting.  That led me to the idea of tractors… And then I thought I’d add rays of sun at the horizon to hint at the early-rising farmer already hard at work before the crack of dawn.  (The sun rays are in color pencil.)  

…It’s only just occurred to me that these tractors really ought to be pulling some sort of implement behind them.  Oops!

The whole thing’s very childish, but I guess that’s also an accepted style… (Back off, inner critic!  Who invited you, anyway?)

Paint & Doodle Landscapes

I think this is one of my (current) favorite ways to play with watercolor—paint a rough landscape, without aiming for too many fine details, then go back and add the rest in ink.  I enjoy seeing what the different areas of color suggest and letting the scene grow from there.  

Just the paint…

Starting to add the details in pen… (Waterproof is best if you think you might want to add more watercolor to the picture.  Otherwise, it doesn’t matter.)

Going back in with more touches of color, both watercolor and color pencil…

It’s relaxing and fun to see what emerges, and this process is much less intimidating than feeling that you have to make all the big decisions at the very start.  Just choose some colors you’d like to see together as your base layer and go from there.  

More Super-Simple Autumn Doodle Scenes

I showed one of these last time, I think.  They’re based on a tutorial from Diane Antone.  (You can look her up on YouTube for hours upon hours of tutorials.)  Her version looks nicer than mine (unsurprisingly), but I’m still having fun!  

She compares this style of painting/doodling to those reverse coloring books you can buy online, now, and that is what they’re like.  (Well, I assume.  I’ve never seen one of those coloring books in person.)  

I made two very similar pages, this time, so I’d have two of them ready to go.  

I took the second one and did another tree doodle with ink pen, markers, coloring brush pens, and color pencils. 

Again, my style here feels like something from childhood, but I’m trying to be accepting of that.  It’s okay to like “childish” things.  Some of the real, “accepted”, recognized artwork I’m drawn to is somewhat juvenile.  There’s nothing wrong with that style.  

If someone can look at ultra abstract modern art (of the “single square of color on top of another color” variety) and decide that it has value, I can find value in my silly doodles, if only for how much fun they are to make! 

To close for today, here’s a photo documenting a rare moment when all three dogs deigned to be within three feet of one another!  It doesn’t happen often.  Trixie’s an old lady and somewhat prone to grumpiness when the other dogs invade her pupsonal space, Luna can be incredibly stubborn in her determination to render grooming services to a more than reluctant Trixie, and Frodo’s a bit of a bumbler, cheerful and sweet, but also careless and playful to a fault.  (He’s our own personal Tigger.)  They certainly have their own very distinct personalities, and sometimes they mix like oil and water!

Welcome!

I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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