Sunday, August 21, 2011

Are You a "Handmade Artist?"
There are lots of you (us) out there!  If you are part of this group, here's something that might interest you!
The Handmade Artists Shop (HAS) is giving away a free shop for life!  You didn't read that wrong and it's not a typo!!!  All you have to do is blog about the Handmade Artists Shop to enter.  If you attach/post their badge on your blog, you get two entries into the contest.
"But it's small," you say.  "Don't the bigger sites like Etsy and Artfire get more traffic?"  You're right it is small, but growing every day.  And you're right about the traffic too; Etsy and Artfire do get more traffic.  The real question is where will YOU get more traffic?  From personal experience, it's no contest...  according to Google Analytics, on a bad day, my shop on HAS gets at least five times the views my shop on Etsy did/does.  In fact, I'm allowing my Etsy shop to dwindle away - I love the views I'm getting, the no-listing fees, the no-commission fees on sales (yes, I've had sales on HAS!), and the personal support and attention I receive on HAS.  Besides, aren't you tired of competing with mass merchandisers, importers of misrepresented goods, and hundreds (maybe thousands) of other artists offering items in the same categories you are?
Ready to enter the contest for a free shop for life on HAS?  Here's the link:  Free Shop for Life Blogging Contest 
Good luck! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Embroidery Progress Report
"Progress" is a positive word, but it's slow going for sure!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Embroidery Update
 I have already learned that there are a boatload of stitches in a palm frond!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Part 6 - Embroidery 
(One down - Eleven to go!)

Well, that was fun!  Seriously!  And I learned something in the process...  five fronds is enough - this palm has six.  But I like it a lot and it's staying exactly the way it is!
This will be the largest set of fronds as well, since it's the closest to the front.  I'm using two different greens and four strands of embroidery floss.  Although my camera doesn't see it very well, it seems the fronds have a shimmery quality in person.

This quilt now has a name.  Many times, the title of a quilt is there before it starts; other times, I title it on completion.  But most of the time, for me anyway, the name materializes during the creation process, as this one did.  This one is now officially In My Dreams.

The embroidery is going to take a while, but I will keep you posted with progress updates and pictures.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Part 5
I have been SO BUSY!  Between my 8-5 day job, chairing a show, doing a show, and shipping orders (hooray!), I haven't had a block of time to work on this quilt.  I walk past it sadly, wanting to proceed, knowing full well that it's not in the cards.  So all this week, I planned to spend Saturday with the quilt, and here we are!
I cut out a bunch of trees a few days ago - and I do mean a bunch.  They were big in the foreground tapering to really, really small in the mountain.  This did give the quilt a lot of depth.  It sat on my work table for days this way and the more I looked at it, the more I knew it wouldn't work.  The tiny slivers of material across the base of the mountain were far too small to appliqué... they'd disappear under the thread.  So, I thought, I'll just zig-zag those trees in.  But ultimately, I didn't like that idea any better because some of the trees would be fabric trunks and others would be zig-zag stitch trunks - where's the dividing line?
So this morning, I opted for less depth - still some, but not nearly as much.  Before I cut these tree trunks out, I ironed a glue backing on a section of material so that the entire tree trunk would be glued.  This made it possible to use a narrower appliqué and not have to worry about anything fraying.  I liked the way the trees will be more against the mountain, too.  With the depth-trees, the mountain was quite an extensive piece of the same color, which bothered me.  
So now that I was happy, I peeled all of the paper backing off the trees and ironed them in place.  My original plan was to appliqué the trees with brown thread.  But when it came time to do it, I noticed this deep sage thread in my rack.  Looking at both on the quilt, I preferred the sage.  Question...  do I have enough of it; answer...  I think so!
And I did!  This is always cause for celebration!!!  In this picture, the quilt has been ironed and sized.  Sewing machines were designed to sew in straight lines, and I do those only occasionally.  The trick with appliqué - and it's taken me perhaps years to get to this point - is not to twist the material through a curve.  You have to turn the fabric so it continues to lay flat.  This one laid virtually flat when I got done with the trees, so I'm finally getting the hang of this!

At this point, I spent the better part of an hour cleaning up my work room.  No more need of that pile of materials, so it got sorted, folded and put away.  Done with the Heat-n-Bond, so it and all the usable scraps got re-rolled, re-packed and put away, too.  Not going to be cutting anything else, so the cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter got hung on their place on the wall.

With the quilt on my nice, clean work table, out comes the chalk!  I love using my chalk pencil on a quilt.  If I goof or I don't like it, you just brush it away and start again.  I drew in all of the centers of the palm fronds, stood back and nodded!  Out came the embroidery hoop, the correct needles, the greens I'll be using and the pinch scissors.  I'm sure you can guess what the next installment of this journal will be!