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

Painting Happiness

"Cherry Crunch" Continues...

Well, for the current quilt-piecing project, there’s good news and… weird news.

The good news:  
I’ve gotten better at getting more consistent results with the Simple Folded Corners ruler.  Not always perfect, but more consistently accurate(ish).  

(Below, see some of the units and the pairs of bonus triangles stacking up:)

The weird news:  
While working on this phase of the project, I started to have some doubts about how far that piece of solid red fabric will go.  There’s definitely NOT enough to make corners for all the neutral string units.  

At the same time, I began to wonder if I really needed so very many, many string units… It just looked like a lot of them.  So I went back and double-checked some things, and… I don’t think it needs to be this big.  I’m not sure what I was thinking, really.  (I truly have a gift for messing up with numbers in my quilt projects!)

All is not lost.  I counted what I’ve already sewn, took an estimate of what I have ready to sew and what’s left uncut of the red.  I should have enough to make a reasonably sized quilt top, and once the borders go on, it should definitely be a decent couch quilt.  

(I suppose I could have tried to find more of the red, but it wasn’t going to be easy, and I didn’t really want to add more/different reds to this part of the quilt.  Plus, let’s be honest—I’m getting tired of cutting all these triangle units!  I’ll have 240, I think, by the time I’m done, and that’s enough of that!)

There’s still the question of what to do with all the extra “wild neutral” string units, but I’ll use them somehow, possibly as a border for this quilt!

Another Dandelion, or Is It a Thistle?

Last time, I showed another ink sketch of a dandelion, not yet colored-in.  I did that over the weekend, but because of the colors I chose (to be more harmonious with the background) maybe it more closely resembles a thistle than a dandelion.

Not much more to say about that one… 

And I made another (messier) doodle to tint next time.  Mushrooms and snails:

Painting Happiness: Creativity with Watercolors

I’ve been reading a fun book about watercolors—Painting Happiness: Creativity with Watercolors, by Terry Runyan.  I didn’t realize it until I started reading, but I’ve actually seen this artist’s work before in fabric.  She has a very specific “mid-century” illustration style that reminds me of children’s books from the 1960s, like many of the books I loved so much as a child.  It’s a simple, happy, playful style that is less likely to be intimidating to a beginner.  And while the book isn’t really a step-by-step guide to learning or mimicking her unique style, looking at the illustrations is fun and inspires me to try to take some of her ideas (and that retro look) and put my own spin on them.

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The book is mostly about letting go of self-critiques and just enjoying the process—releasing your own innate creativity—with suggestions for exercises to help you get more out of the experience.  It’s about exploring the joy of creative self-expression with less judgement and worry, approaching art as a journey rather than a destination.

To be honest, some of the language is a little more reminiscent of a self-help book than I was expecting.  One phrase in particular—”you are made of well-being”—is particularly befuddling to me, and I’ve never felt I completely understood the whole “mindfulness” thing.  But I do value activities that are supposedly conducive to “being present”, etc., and maybe this language makes more sense to others and helps them silence their overbearing inner critic.  It’s definitely an encouraging book and one I’d recommend to anyone who struggles with self-doubt in their creative endeavors.  

The first suggested activity involves simply painting for at least five minutes every day for 30 days in a row.  It goes into a little more detail than that, and there is a list of prompts, if you’re in need of inspiration.  I decided to give it a try.  

I’m still finding it challenging to not judge my own work and just let it flow without too much planning or stressing over how it’s turning out.  I do catch myself thinking more than I should, really (because that’s not the point of this), but it’s early days… I’m trying!

Day 1 (for me) was “Dogs”:

Very, very simple, as you can see… But there I go again.  I probably shouldn’t be judging them or making excuses or defending these doodles.  I do like my singing dog, though, if I do say so myself! 

Day 2 was “Insects”:

That’s a bit further out of my comfort zone.  Well, butterflies aren’t so much “out there” for me, but I’m not usually a bug person.  I think it shows, and I was less engaged with that set of doodles…

Day 3—”Birds”:

Anyway, that’s something I’m doing now, and I’ll try to keep with it for the recommended thirty days.  It gets a bit more advanced as the month progresses, so we’ll see how that goes!


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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