SEW I SEE!

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

October Already!

September Slipped By...

How is it possible that I didn’t update my blog during September?  Where did that time go?!  Now that I’m finally logging in here again, I can’t believe it’s been that long since the last post. 

At least it finally feels like autumn, now, which is great.  I love the cooler weather and the chance to open windows and air out the house.  But somehow it took until yesterday to muster up the willpower and energy and “care enough” to decorate for fall.  I don’t do that much, these days, but I have some pumpkin and gourd decorations and fall-colored doilies I like to put out from late September through Thanksgiving.  (To be perfectly honest, some of the autumn doilies have been out and in place since last autumn… That’s how things are going this year.)

I also have seasonal quilt tops still waiting to be quilted since last year, and if I’m honest, there’s probably no way the Halloween quilt top is getting quilted before the 31st this year, either.  And I have a fun Halloween-themed panel I eventually want to turn into a wall-hanging, but probably not this year.   

We’ll see what gets done.  I guess it doesn’t matter, but I’m kind of annoyed at my lack of progress.  I need better systems (and to waste less time sitting and scrolling on the laptop)!  But there are only so many hours in a day…

I can at least pull out the completed Punkin’ Patch quilt and enjoy it this month and next!

"Morning Glories" Quilt

Last time, I mentioned that I’d chosen “Morning Glories” as my next piecing project.  I’ve been working on it since then, but it’s slow going.  The process has gotten a little more streamlined with practice, but I’ll never been a speed-piecer, and I think foundation paper piecing is particularly slow.  

Here’s my set-up… 

The Juki has a thread-cutter, which has come in very handy with this project.  (First time using it beyond just testing it out when the machine first arrived.)  I’m finding the add-a-quarter ruler handy, too.  

I was planning to make the whole quilt in blue, green, and neutrals, but after making enough units for a couple of blocks, I realized that the contrast isn’t what I want.  They’ll do, but I don’t want a whole quilt of this, so I’m going to make it in rainbow colors, after all.  

Next up is joining the units into completed blocks, then I’ll move on to the next color.  Maybe changing colors will keep the project more interesting, anyway!

My piecing isn’t absolutely perfect, but it’ll do.

Watercolor Stuff

I recently set up a new palette of watercolors.  It’s a set of Arteza tubed paints that I bought in a sale quite a while back.  I kept putting off dealing with setting them up, but of course once I started, it went quickly and easily enough. 

There are some interesting “convenience colors” in this collection of paints—that is, colors that are premixed so you don’t have to put in as much effort to get the color you want.  In theory, you can mix any color from a handful of primaries, but that takes more time and skill to accomplish.  Sometimes it’s nice to take a shortcut, which is what so-called convenience colors allow.    

I even made a chart to go with them, though I didn’t bother trying to get an even gradient from dark to light.  This version is good enough to let me know what each color looks like on paper, which can be hard to tell when the paint is concentrated in the pan.  

I’m looking forward to trying these out!  

Watercolor + Embossing Powder

I wanted to try embossing powders in combination with watercolor.  I already had some embossing powers that I used as inclusions with polymer clay—and an embossing heat tool—so all I needed was an ink pad designed to work with embossing powders.  

My results were mixed.  I think part of the problem might have been my technique, but I was also using up the end of an old (poor quality) pad of watercolor paper, which might have contributed to the less than perfect results.  Still, good enough to play around with, and I can learn more by watching some videos online.  

This first one was made with small leaf stamps and orange-red embossing powder.  As you can likely see, the leaves weren’t evenly embossed.  One in particular (bottom right) seemed to be absorbed into the paper rather than liquifying and hardening on the surface, and some loose bits of powder blew around and gave a messy spatter effect:

I started by going over the whole page in a watercolor wash, using yellows, yellow ochre, and some yellow-green.  

Already an improvement, in my opinion!

After that had dried, I went back in with pen, outlined the leaves, and added some swooshes to indicate wind.  I didn’t bother to use a waterproof pen, and that proved to be a mistake…

I thought I’d just color the leaves a bit, but my brush slipped on one of them, and so I decided I should hide the error by adding more windy swooshes, but in water color this time.  That was okay, except that the black ink ran a bit in a couple of places where the paint touched it.  

Still, it was fun to try, and it could be nice if executed with a little more care.  (I don’t actually mind running ink, if it looks intentional.)

Continuing with the embossing powders, for this one, I used a floral stamp and black embossing powder.  Again, the coverage of the embossing was iffy.  In spots, it seemed to sink into the paper and not really “emboss” at all.  

(Oh, and I also started by testing an old black ink pad with a text stamp.  The pad was very dry, unfortunately, so the text is barely there, which is why I moved on to the flower instead.)

Here, I had just started to paint in the flower with watercolor…

And this is how it turned out.  I painted the flowers and leaves, then added color and texture to the background areas… And finished up with some additional black details in pen.  

I think it turned out pretty well, considering that the embossing wasn’t perfect.  This could definitely be a nice technique to use for card-making, and it would be a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to draw their own pictures, but still wants to watercolor.  It’s essentially a coloring book on watercolor paper.  

I used the same floral stamp for this last example, but this time it’s embossed in white/cream.  I didn’t take a photo before adding any watercolor, but as you can imagine, it was only faintly visible against the white watercolor paper.  I think this attempt worked best, as far as the embossing goes, though still it’s still not perfect.

First, I added a watercolor wash of a few blues.  These steps alone could make a very pretty (and quick and easy) card, if you kept the paint concentrated and dark enough to contrast well with the white embossing powder.  

Next, I went back in and added darker layers of blue and green to the flowers and leaves, leaving the background as it was.  

It could probably have benefitted from even more contrast, but I thought it turned out pretty well.  I like it!  

The whole process is very simple, assuming you’re better at working with embossing powders than I am.  I’ll try to learn a little more and give it another shot, sometime.

More Random Watercolor Stuff

Last time I posted a picture of this with just the paint.  Here it is again with messy ink outlines.  I wondered if I should add a shadow to each stone, but never did.  I’ve since watched a video of someone painting similar stones, but larger and stacked, with a plant silhouette across the whole thing for added interest.  I’d like to try that, one of these days.  

The next one turned out to look kind of boring.  I was watching TV and just wanted something to doodle on, so I took one of the few remaining salt experiments and a pen.  Hm.  It’s a little too abstract and blah.  I don’t like it, really, but that’s okay.  You don’t have to like everything you do(odle)!

Remember that I had another of those autumn-themed “reverse coloring book” pages painted?  No?  Well, I did.  Here’s a photo of the page before I did anything more to it than just applying some random-ish watercolor splotches:

First, I went back and added brown marker outlines of trees and a few houses.  (Search YouTube for Diane Antone Studio for the tutorial I used for inspiration.)

Then I kept going with more markers and pens and watercolor touches to create a colorful autumnal forest scene (with houses).  It was a lot of fun, and I intend to keep going back to this style/technique, because it’s just so enjoyable!

Here are the two pages side by side:

This style reminds me of something, but I’m not sure what…  I wrote in an earlier post that it makes me think of the 1970s… It’s also a bit folk-arty… But there’s something else it brings to mind, as well.  Maybe medieval tapestry?  I don’t know!

Well, moving on, this next one came to be because I wanted to try out a new-to-me product.  It’s just some very cheap shimmer or metallic watercolors, and I didn’t know what to do with them, but wanted to do something

This one’s abstract, too, but I like this better than the boring TV doodle.  

What is it?  What’s the point of it?  No idea.  It’s just something I had fun making while my mind wandered, which I guess IS the point.  

More Watercolor Doodle Landscapes

There are three more watercolor doodle landscapes, since last time.  

The first is very simple.  Too simple, probably, but I couldn’t think of anything to add to that huge sky, at the time, so I left it empty.

Then there was this one… Not much to say about these that hasn’t already been said.  Just watercolor washes followed by ink details, with extra watercolor or other media added as necessary.  

With this one, the placement of the moon almost at the edge kind of bothers me.  It’s too close to the edge!  I only put it there because there happened to be a missed blip in the paint where the paper showed through.  

And finally there’s this one, which is my favorite of the three.  I like the colors better, and the scene is more to my liking, too.  

Recent Listening & Reading...

I’ve been listening to an audiobook lately—Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager.  An interesting enough story, so far.  It reminds me in atmosphere of the recent-ish miniseries adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House.  

For non-creepy entertainment, I’m reading A Heritage of Shadows, by Madeleine Brent… which I realize sounds a lot like a horror title, but is actually a historical mystery / gothic romance.  A little formulaic, once you’re familiar with this author’s writing, but still entertaining.

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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