Saturday, January 1, 2011

Secret Project Revealed!

Recently I have been working, off and on, on a project that I was keeping a secret.  Why a secret?  Chiefly because if it didn't work out, I didn't want anyone but myself to know about it!  (I know--very silly!) 

Sometime in the fall I read about a contest in my QUILTING ARTS magazine, a contest for art quilts that would then become a part of their 2012 calendar.  The theme was "Feeling Pet-ty" and what contestants were to produce were 12"x12" quilts that portrayed a pet.

My first brainstorm (and I still think this was a super idea!) was to do a quilt called "My Granddogs."  For this I needed photos of the three granddogs in my life, Twist (Rob's border collie), Rolie (Kathy and family's miniature poodle), and Ace (Susan and family's Labradoodle).  I had a good picture of the young Twist, and Susan sent me a batch of excellent photos of Ace.  The problem was Rolie.  Since he is solid black, getting my hands on a good picture of him proved to be nearly impossible.  So, despite having put in a lot of work on this plan, I decided to try something else.

I decided to make a portrait of an unconventional pet, thinking that there would be hundreds of dog and cat portraits.  I wanted something different and edgy.  I delved back into my childhood.  I immediately thought about the little critters we used to call "horny toads."  My friend Kitty and I used to capture a baby horny toad, put it in a shoe box whose lid had holes poked in it, give it water in a bottle cap, but we never knew what to feed it.  So eventually we'd let the little thing go.  How well I remember how we'd stroke the baby between its horns, claiming that this hynotized it, though I'm sure it was just frozen with fright.  I can still remember how soft its little under belly was, in contrast with its spiny back.  (Incidentally, in those innocent 1950s, I had no idea that "horny" had a naughty connotation!)

After doing a search for images, I discovered that these are really lizards, not toads, and their official name is "horned lizard."  I found a wonderful photo online, wrote the photographer for permission to use his picture in a quilt, and then I started to work.  This quilt is now finished, but I am not going to publish here pictures of it, since it's soon to be competing with hundreds of others.  (But I will send my readers who are interested photos via email!)  I wish I had more time to perfect this quilt--I can see lots of flaws.  But the Jan. 7 deadline is approaching, and so I have photographed it as instructed and will send three 8"x10" pictures to the contest, along with a narrative about its inspiration, construction, and materials.

Meanwhile, though, I'll show you the images I was working on for the Granddog quilt.  And actually, all is not lost, for I have ideas for a Twist and an Ace product, to give to their owners!

photo above (taken years ago by me) and
below a traced image after I
scanned and enlarged the picture

Here is Twist, traced onto
muslin.  After hearing about
friend Linda's embroidered pet
portraits, I plan to do that for son Rob!

Here is Ace, a photo above
and then a picture printed onto  regular
paper after I doctored it
a bit with Photoshop.

The Ace portrait printed onto fabric,
appliqued onto a string-pieced background.
I had intended to turn this into
a pillowtop for Susan for Christmas, but I ran out of time. 

Friday, December 31, 2010

One Last Look at Christmas 2010

Giving two parties before Christmas, getting ready to spend it in California, doing the last-minute Christmas projects and gift-buying--all of these meant that I never posted about our Christmas decor!  This is our second Christmas in our new house, and I think I duplicated what I did last year.  Pictures are below.  After tomorrow, all will be put up--I am writing this on New Year's Eve.

This tree was new last year.
It's one of those "skinny" trees,
 pre-lighted.  Since it's
up on the bridge on the second
floor I used out-sized balls and kept
the color scheme to silver and white
and on it put all the clear glass,
acylic, and crystal ornaments.

Our dining room.  Every year
I put all the glass and crystal
candlesticks, trees, and
angels along the glass
centerpiece.  When all
the candles are lit and
the room is darkened,
it looks very pretty.
On the hutch in the breakfast area,
at the end of our kitchen, I always
arrange all the various Christmas decor
items that Supper Club folks
have given us.
The Santas are always on the
mantel.  Bob and I bought these years
This is our "main" tree.  It is located on the
first floor, in front of the window,
in Bob's study.  Pre-lighted, artificial,
pretty old now, but still in good condition.

Mother gave Bob the big Santa years
ago.  He is often on the coffee
table, but this year, I put
him on the sofa table for
awhile, and then moved him
to the sugar chest you
can see against the windows.  You
can see another Santa there, too--a
Scottish Santa that I got for Bob once.

A green and a red-dressed Santa, part of the
mantel display.