Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Sea Monster in My Pocket, 4

Stitching has now been demoted to "free time" until I can get a grip on my new teaching schedule (British Civilization & Literature--rather massive subject matter). Every second of every day counts. 
And yet, stitching and art can never be demoted because they are such necessities. I am driven to do this. Hardly recreational.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Round and Round We Go

Dear Blogging Friends,
      Thank you so much for your feed-back as you helped me to decide to keep the comments open. Please read my letter over at MulticoloredPieces

And as I find myself grappling with big issues, I am finding beauty at the same time. My next sketchbook page must address murder, the shedding of blood. Well, that requires red, a color that I like (but a pity about the subject). I started with a sheet of paper from my sketchbook and glued on a red print.

I cut into another fabric and glued it on top of the white spaces and red print. Then I stitched all that down and trimmed off the edges. I like this odd combination of fabrics and shapes.

I cut out a simple figure in white satin into which I cut holes and then glued it down. 

I am feeling sad today. This happens rarely (fortunately), so I should finish this page while I'm in the mood. Part of the text on this will read: "They knew, and did nothing." Indeed, a sad state of affairs.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Sea Monster in My Pocket, 3

Dear Blogging Friends,
       Since January when a loved one encountered serious medical problems consequently adding a number of responsibilities to my workload, I have been struggling to keep up with my blogs. In addition, I have just returned to teaching after a long hiatus, and having never taught in a Tunisian university, I'm surprised at the course-load and amount of preparation required. Every second of my day is now precious. I refuse to stop blogging because it has become such an essential and enjoyable part of my life, however, I'm unable to just sit and cruise the net, visiting blogging friends (which gives me immense pleasure). The problem: I feel embarrassed that I can't respect some kind of basic blogging etiquette that requires some kind of acknowledgement of people who have the kindness to leave comments. I am consequently thinking of turning off the comments section for the time being on both blogs, with the hope that I can turn it on again during vacation...or if there are so many strikes and protests this year that I can't teach. 
         I would appreciate any suggestions or opinions you might have on the subject to help me decide. 
         Thank you so much. 
         best, nadia

And as usual, inching along.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fruits of the Season, 3

For me, the easiest way to get a "sketchy" look is to go over lines 3 times. The first time is the line you "want". The second and third lines should waver around and not follow the first line exactly. This is the back side with 2 lines.
And the front side with 2 lines:
Back side with 3 lines:
By the time I get to the third time around, I'm all over the place and really loosened up. The front side with three lines:
Now, the stitching on the front side requires attention.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Sea Monster in My Pocket, 1

Stitching late a night as usual. 
The combination of blue and white is so pleasing. The print in the fabric lends some interest and depth. I had only planned a small appliqué above the pocket, but it looks like it will insist on creeping onto the shoulder.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Yes, finally I got my Tunisian driver's license, I mean, the actual card. It wasn't available for a couple of months (ok, all summer), because they said they ran out of plastic--an indication of how things are slipping down a slippery slope toward who-knows-what.

In any case, while in town, I celebrated with a cappuccino and a sketch, with a touch of watercolors added at home.

Fruits of the Season, 2

When I stitched down the fabrics (on the right side) with a lavender thread, I added some extra lines into the shadow fabrics at the bottom, just to play.
Then, with a black thread on top and a navy blue thread in the bobbin, I stitched over the sketch on the back. The results on the right side, first time around.
The navy thread reads as black, yet brings some blue into the sketch. Looking at this photo, I realize that this composition is unbalanced, however, I need a place for text so the empty white space will work well. Don't ever think I plan things like this--purely serendipity...I may add some scraps of fabric as a background to the text in order to break up the white, which seems stark. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fruits of the Season, 1

Sketching grapes and figs on paper and adding a bit of watercolor.

Then sketching on a fabric page of my textile sketchbook/journal. The empty page:

The pencil sketch on the reverse side:

Then I pinned on some interesting fabrics on the right side while holding the page up to the window to see the lines of the sketch on the wrong side.
As my rule for the textile sketchbook is rapidity, I'll stitch these fabrics down by machine, then go over the sketch in black on the wrong side.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another Interlude

Time to get ready for the school year and get things in order, repaired, or finished. So, one white cotton blouse,

plus one small hole in a strategic spot,

plus a bit of one of my favorite fabrics

equals =                                         

Hard to say how these designs will turn out...I could have a sea monster coming out of my pocket.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Puttering Around

As my new plant table (here) now sits majestically in the patio off my bedroom, I'm feeling rather motivated to get some mosaic pots done to fill in some of the holes. 

Old paint cans make fairly sturdy plant containers. I grouted a small one and am using up some old green floor tiles on another. I can't use any other tiles with the green one because of the thickness which explains the lack of any sort of design. I'll grout it with white cement and it will still be interesting. As I have dozens of succulents in plastic containers (they multiply when I'm not looking), there will be no end to mosaicking.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Really Like...

Just to record a thought in passing. 
While falling asleep with needle in hand last night, it came to me (in a sort of dreamy state) that I really liked appliquéing over the hand-stitched X's of the border of the Wing Cloth. I liked the feel of it. 

Flash of light! This could be interesting in the Retirement Quilt. I could randomly stitch those cool X's into the background before I get into the extreme needle-turn appliqué. However, being of a practical nature (well, sometimes), I don't like to do hand stitching unless it's visible. Why take all that time if you can't see it? But I really did like the feel of stitching on X's. I'll have to make sure I do it in a more visible spot or swirl the appliqué around it and not entirely over it.

And then I drifted back to sleep....

Monday, September 9, 2013

Back to Wings, 6

The Wing posts mostly begin with "inching along". Yup, that's it.
The left side will only vaguely resemble the right side, I suppose.
I sort of missed working on this piece. I'll try to get at least half way through before I start hand stitching on the Pomegranate Tree Quilt.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

To Look Again

Early Fall heat ripens pomegranates, so I don't mind the high temperatures. Yesterday, while checking the growing fruit on my trees, I looked again at the trees. I mean, I looked. Fruit trees seem to put forth lots of leaves to hide and protect their precious production. Then I looked at the Pomegranate Tree Quilt and realized it seemed bare and needed more leaves.

And so I pinned on odd green shapes, especially in soft greens that whisper of leaves. 
The building up of layers has added more depth. This may require trimming from the back or it will be a bear to hand stitch, but, think what I can do with French knots and running stitch now. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a glutton for punishment.)
It's not that I'm trying to make an exact replica of a pomegranate tree. Rather, it's getting a feel for a tree, sort of thinking like a tree, or getting under its bark--to express its essence.

And did I mention how much I just LUV insane, off-the-charts, unrestrained, tumultuous patchwork and appliqué?

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sketchbook: Memories of Summer

This page finally materialized to commemorate vacation days at the beach. Many years ago I sketched a series of shells and photocopied one I liked. 

I put the photocopy on the back of pieces of fabric and light weight pellon. Then I machine stitched  on top of the photocopy (on the back).

For the outlines, I used black thread in the top and bobbin for the white fabric, and white thread in the top and bobbin for the black fabric. 

To get the dotted effect for the white fabric, I used white thread on top and black in the bobbin. For the black fabric, black thread on top and white in the bobbin.

I chose a fabric background, but realized I could only use one shell effectively.

I drew in black lines with a permanent marker.

Then I tested the shell on the background and penciled in the text. More stitching to come...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Drat, I Forgot My Stitching, 3

During an unexpected l-o-n-g wait when out and about doing errands, I once again turned to my trusty purse sketchbook. As stitching projects are bulkier, I usually take one along only if I'm sure the wait will be lengthy. 

This is the old Casino in Hammamlif (Tunisia), a beach town that has become a suburb of Tunis. It dates from the colonial period (probably late nineteenth century). I'd always wanted to sketch it. The palm trees,  for which I have a healthy respect because they take years to grow, are dramatic.

I confess that I started with a light pencil sketch to get the composition right. If I had had the time, I would've done another sketch with just the marker, free it up a bit...maybe next time. I go by there often.

Or I'll take my textile sketchbook and work on fabric, and then stitch over it by machine...I'm rather liking that idea.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Studio Clean-Up

The urge to clean out and put things in order as we launch into a new season has me going in circles between garage (1/3 done, a major job because the garage is actually 4 big rooms including my laundry room--do you have any idea how much junk 4 rooms can contain???), garden (much of the garage junk is useful in the garden), and studio, where I make more stuff for the garden. In an effort to finish and clear away, I found this last bamboo planter (bamboo glued onto cut off plastic soda bottle) that I had neglected to finish. It took all of 15 minutes.

With the test of time, the bamboo pots have proven not very durable. I probably won't do anymore, and yet, I like them.

While tackling what to do with stuff that simply cannot be thrown out, I came up with this novel idea for a plant table.

Yup, gas bottles (we don't have city gas), which we no longer use, as a table base with a table top of left over wrought iron. 

Of course, it would all require paint, and then wall tiles on top of the wrought iron to hold plant pots. I thought it was a brilliant idea to disguise those unsightly bottles. Then my husband told me he had found a buyer for the bottles--he must've gotten wind of my idea!

And so it just goes round and round.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Shredding a Shirt, 3

The second shirt is now attached around the collar and the shoulder line. Looking at this photo, it just occurred to me that I should pick out a few choice words from my label collection and stitch them around the necklines...I'll have to see what I've got.
Now that I've gotten this piece started and have resolved some of the technical issues, I'll put it aside for awhile and turn to more pressing work/play.