FUN is coming, will you be there?

Rocking this sew stuff my way!  No brochures or flyers, just awesome videos!  Check the fun! promo2.001 MG.001promo2.002
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Happy Almost Birthday Month!

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Living large on a holiday weekend, with my co-pilot, my own Chewbacca.
My birthday month starts soon! 9/15 to 11/15. Since, I like to give presents away on my birthday, are you ready?
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Rocky brings the toy that his Uncle Waffle left behind, insists,time to play!
For years, I've been asked for years to teach an on going class.  Well, guess what?  It's not a class (but you learn), it's not a workshop (we will make stuff), it is not a party... well maybe it is a little like a party. If you want to sew smarter, faster, and be able to leap out of tall boxes, join us for this adventure. Make It FUN! Make It FUN, is inspired by this fun photo taken by the most amazing, best photographer (ok, other than my husband, who takes amazing photos of baseball games, just for fun.) Bonnie McCaffery, is fabulous.  She took all my PR photos, and caught this funny photo - although she would say this is not that good, not great focus (I don't know, some photo speak like that) and resolution is not great.  But I am totally cracking up in this, wonder what the waiter was thinking.  Like it? I want to announce that Make it FUN sessions will be happening in the Eastern US/ MidAtlantic Area.   I will be less than a couple hours away from many of you once a month, with one cool hangout location to the North and another to the South.  North and South, who else out there is thinking of Oz now? 10257702_10203624292385180_5661325417921594643_nThese first six sessions are going to be such a  treat.  On the topic of treats, my birthday gift to those who sign up for all 6 sessions is that you will get a ridiculously great deal, cause hey, it's my birthday!  These sessions will have some fun and games, make and takes, challenges, and secret surprises; they are perfect for all types of quilters, or sewing people, whether modern, traditional, artsy, improvisational, methodical, and even, gasp... garment sewing people are welcome!  I can't tell you how awesome this is going to be, you will have to see it for yourself.  Want to travel to these sessions? Fabulous idea, make it a friends getaway weekend, contact the shops directly to sign up for the Make it FUN sessions and ask about local hotels. To the North, come see me at... Spring Water Designs, Columbia, Maryland  Sunday afternoons 1:30-3pm, FUN is coming to SpringWater! December 6, January 3, February 7, March 6, April 3, May 1 Don't worry you west coasters and international friends, we will have fun this fall in Houston... I can't wait to reveal those secrets just yet! On the topic of fun, fabulous people like yourself, have you met Muppin?  jump on Facebook and pop in to see Muppin, like her page and tell her I sent you! https://www.facebook.com/muppindotcom Thanks for the FUN! BU BAWESOME LARGE.001 - Version 5
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The Gift List

Amidst the holiday frenzy, I'm pondering the most powerful of presents.  Some folks like the hustle and bustle, but for many it is more like hassle and frazzle in the gifting, giving, guilting, gilding, going, growing...  So to add my slant, I've created a new gift list! Memories - I love that even shared experience result in unique memories.  Memories are such personal souvenirs.  Spinning these memories into stories makes them last longer. Patience - This is a gift that we  give to others and ourselves, so stock up. This is a good secret gift, telling someone you are being patient with them, kinda defeats the purpose.  Kindness is closely related. Perspective -  Seeing life through the eyes of another, slowing down to see what's lasting, being open to uncertainty and Grace.  Not my neice,  Grace, although I wish this gift her, but that unseeable, untouchable, goodness from our Godness.  Perpective can be very powerful.  I found that letting go of perfection, made it easier to hang on to perpective. Humility - Centering and grounding us .  Our awesomess flows through us like electrical currents surging through wires, the reality of simply being grounded helps us harness our power.  A powerful gift, humility isn't a humble gift...  some might even say it glows! Love & Laughter - the dynamic duo! Sometimes this gift box set is all you need!  Love & Laughter often arrives with new and old memories, bits of patience, a new slant on perspective, and glowing in it's goodness of smiles, hugs, warmth and silliness. My gift to you - I invite you to experience "Laugh-n-Learn", a different perspective  to learning, creating art, fun and memories, in a simple safe setting, sharing the love of sewing and a whole lotta laughter.  Currently scheduling Laugh-n-Learns for 2015-2016 with fun shops and fun groups.  Contact me for the full list of fun.  atoz@funfromatoz.com The Toothfairy's Gift... a fast & fun, easy & done creation in 3 dimensions, a mini-class that maximizes the fun.  Click the dates below to contact the fun shops to register for this fun mini-class. January 3, 2015 - Spring Water Designs, Columbia, Maryland January 10, 2014 - Material Girls, LaPlata, Maryland
The Toothfairy's Gift
The Toothfairy's Gift
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Series-ous Fun, process, lessons and confessions!

Saturday at Deborah Boschert's class
Small Art Quilts: Designing a Series 
 
my goals for the day included:

SIMPLIFY -  spending more time sewing and less time agonizing... so when the supply list called for 6,  I brought only 9 - not 39!

SEW MORE - selected the "4 sided angular shape"as my design element (maxing my design time and maxing my time to sew, by cutting out the extra cutting time!)

HAVE FUN - fun to work at something that you enjoy - I love the handwork!

Color Scheme
I picked colors based on my inspiration fabric - FUN hand painted and hand stamped fabric I made in Lyric Kinard's Playing with Paint class through Quilt University this summer.


Background is a commercial mottled fabric that I had gelatin printed with bubble wrap. Orange is commercial print, one yellows is from my Lonni Rossi scraps by the pound grab bag, other yellow is from my first handdying, pale green is hand painted fabric, dark green is handdyed and stamped (from 12x12x12).  So I actually used 6 fat quarters - hmmm, lesson? listen to the supply list!

Look at what I found in my orphan blocks box... I think it's a sign that the 3 sided Angular Shape wants attention and I should continue to play with this color scheme!

Design
Here it is early in the design process - the  top set was nice and clean/simple but the bottom had a complicated flavor -AND for the series to be cohesive, I needed to go one way or another - AND I wanted to be able to go wild with stitching both hand and machine, so I went the simple route! 

I think the complicated bottom ones would be good to do on a much larger scale... ideas!

there was something very compelling in the weaving of strips and frames... I had to keep some of that in...

Can you see that this was done on my nephew's 11th birthday? and that I am one of 3 sisters?

Stitchin'
Denying my nonconformist nature, used some embroidery stitches from the class handout... But soon my nature emerged as I stitched the bars on my twin towers piece (bottom right), and stagger longer and shorter bars up the left tower.  I felt like some of my machine stitching was weedy looking so added some loopy weed heads... 

The top left started to looked like a building, so I added the top level in stitching (both machine and hand).  Later I would realize it looked more like a mission church than a home or factory...  And a dark night sky over the mission that needed a star or a few...

Added some weaving, squares, stars, bars, y's and french knots (last count was over 70 french knots before adding the  alien flowers),

Something about the bottom left one looked wrong, so I turned it upside down... hmmm  - a flag pole with 2 flags and a detail at the top?  hmm, what would Rorschach say?

I wanted to do a blanket stitch in navy blue, but didn't have it and didn't want to wait to get some, and had black dmc floss.  I like the black edge on the navy background!  Lucky I didn't have navy blue! 





reordered the quilts so that the weeds are growing up from all of the bottom 3.




Lessons and Confessions
 
Lesson 1 - free cutting is fun, takes a creative leap of faith, but it's freeing and loose.  That overall looseness is a design element in this series... 
Confession 1 - NO ROTARY CUTTER OR RULER USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS SERIES...  in fact even did free motion sewing - the feeddogs were down for all the machine stitching except the arc across the sky in the Mission Church


Lesson 2 - navy background was a comercial print and comercially printed fabric has the color laying on top, so the back is lighter and the cut edge is also
Confession 2 - I inked the edge after the blanket stitch with my favorite tools - the humble sharpie - but the fancy "clicky" one in black...

Lesson 3- hand painted fabric has a slight stiffness makes for fantastic raw edge applique if you don't want any pokeys like in the other fabrics - the light green has a very crisp edge.
Confession 3 - I don't have another confession, yet am compelled to have a balance of confessions to lessons (I guess that's my confession!)

Lesson 4 - DON'T FEAR THE REAPER, you need to prune!  Sometimes it's what you remove... I saw many times in the designing that removing a part allowed the rest of the piece to breathe.
Confession - Took photos or saved parts removed - those can feed another project.  This color scheme, loose style, simplicity is very appealing to me and it might just become a large singular piece... That's my next mission, should I chose to accept it!
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Series-ously on a mission! reveal

Seriously on a mission!  from Deborah Boschert's class Small Art Quilts: Designing a Series  I am very pleased with my four-sided angular shape motif throughout the series top row from left to right Mission Church                                  Raise the Flag                     Twin Towers
bottom row Eleven                      Power of 3               Home is where the weeds are... Circles in background are repeated in the curvaceous weeds and the alien flowers roundishness.
 
The open frames in the Power of 3 is simple from a distance, but up close a bit more complicated... and almost too busy, but did repeats of 3 from the 3 stars, 3 french knots in the green frame and 3 orange cube shapes...
Love, Love, Love the weaving - does have an American Lung Association thing going on in the weaving on Eleven.  Quite pleased with how the weeds along the bottom turned out! Quite a nice surprise that the colors and style complements my family room! I realized that while sitting in this chair doing the handwork. Totally unintentionally, the color scheme and style really go in my family room.  Seriously, goes with my mission style lamp, my $29.99 painting from Ollie's and my orange focal point wall. next up, a glimpse into the evolution of this design and adventures in learning!
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Seasons of Sewing

cool mornings, warm days... makes me wonder which way to go!

I've got 2 traditional quilts that need binding and I'm looking forward to some handsewing time under a warm quilt.

As the earth revolves around the sun, while rotating, I think of my evolution as an sewing artist too... Birthday month introspection!

Throughout my school days, I doodled echo lines around words.

Later, I sewed garments, curtains, reupholstered furniture, machine embroidery... then I fell in the rabbit hole of quilting...



quilts of my own design (didn't know the term art quilt or traditional quilt) it was just play!  This was a slow design process, but oh so enjoyable...  Love the bike close up in the center with the Kermit leg, and the Vanna White posing Kermit!  No pattern, just drew it!

 
traditional quilts following traditional patterns made it faster and got me to hone skills, piecing, binding and machine quilting - repetition is great teacher.  Tried lots of techniques like this small stack and whack












took classes, like this one at Bears Paws West (no longer in existence in HoCo) made art quilts following patterns,


playing in three dimensions, the garment sewer in me loved this, shaping, using my Marks pinking shears (my oldest pair of scissors), following patterns but adapting them.





Here is Professor Moskovi of Duck U.  I wrote a whole little back story for him.  One of these days I will get all my ducks in a row (I've made at least 6, all but 2 have flown the coop!) 

Felt Doughnuts, love working in felt by hand!
Sewing the sprinkles on the pink one was laborious, but fun!


 stretching a technique, here's watercolor background, broderie perse dog, and freemotion zigzag applied black eyed susans. Inspired by a good friend's dog "Daisy" so it's "Daisy in the Blacked Eyed Susans".  I spotted this last week at her house.  It's the first piece that I ever sold, not for money, but for a steak dinner... mmm






art quilts of my own design - these 3 were created in Ideas for Art Quilts class with Deborah Boschert.  Looking forward to this Saturday as I'm taking her class, Small Art Quilts: Designing in a Series.






and now having fun with surface design (dye, ink, paint, beading, needle felting)...












Like the earth revolves, I get back to a different season of sewing, a little older and wiser.  I've got ideas of for a garment and a young neice asking to sew with me, hmm...





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simplicity ain’t so simple

if necessity is the mother of invention, what is "excess" the mother of?

A couple weeks ago I attended a great class...

Here's the question of the day - if the supply list clearly says bring 6 fat quarters and suggested 3 solids and 3 prints; so why do I show up in class with 14 solids and 20-some prints?
I love the Little Lonni's prints!


As we started, Deborah had each of us pull a slip of paper with an inspiration word. I picked...

Simplicity

 or maybe simplicity picked me!


picking fabrics for this class (during class)
I am naturally attracted to the cool colors, blues and greens.  So being a rebel, I picked an orange print first, a solid orange that would be good to paint on, then the yellowy green solid,the green print with gold swirls, then the mossy blah color - a few friends warned me off the mossy blah color - but I had to listen to my inner artist so I kept it!  I helped Georgia with selecting her fabrics, and she more than return the favor - check out the fabulous stripe she gave me.  Love the random red stripe!

The wise and powerful Deborah, quickly advised me to put the others away quickly! She gave me 2 good reasons 
1- Too many choices=bad, Bad, BAD - distractions!!! 
2- If I left  Lonni Rossi fabrics out, they might just disappear - I didn't really think she was serious, but in just in case I put away my other fabrics quickly!

So as the class went on, I definately learned some great techniques and am super pleased with my results - but my big takeaway is that too many choices can cause 
creative paralysis.
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fun with numbers

2011 – prime number extraordinaire
if you add up eleven consecutive primes
157+163+167+173+179+181+191+193+197+199+211
tada! you get
2 0 1 1 

I love'm the numbers! 
Eleven, my favorite number, the only 2 digit, prime that has two of a number, tis also the first prime with a one!


I especially love the prime numbers
they are the building blocks of numbers
like  atoms are the building blocks of the universe
like thread and fabric are the building of quilts

so why this attention to the numbers?
Today is April 23
23 is the 9th of the first 11 prime numbers
2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23,29,31
Serendipitously, I started this blog on a prime number day, 17 and there are 11 primes that land on days of the month.  So for fun with numbers, why not blog on the primes? Sounds like fun!
Count on 11 posts a month or so..
cause I don't always color within the lines
often the winds of whim take me where they please!

and what am I doing on the next prime number day?


what else am I doing lately for fun?
five weeks of fun in Quilt University class
Artist ToolBox class with Lyric Kinard
just opened last night - so much fun and frivolity - no seriously it's a great chance to learn some tricks, tools, get critiques and practice


So to leave you with a question...
does art have just a few simple building blocks?
  lines, color, perspective, shades would be the building blocks of art techniques, what about just "art" not the making of it - what are the building blocks of that?
I think humanity, joy, pain, fear, and the need to communicate and the need to create might be some of the building blocks, but what do you think?
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