Thursday, January 28, 2016

Acrylic Painting

It's fun trying something different here in Key West every winter. I believe experimenting with another art form enhances your creativity as a quilter. This year, I couldn't resist the acrylic painting class wth local artist Maggie Ruley.

A 4 week class to paint a portrait of your pet. Right up my alley. The class was at the local art center, The Studios of Key West. What could be better than walking to an art class? I have waited until the end to share, basically because I had my doubts. I am certainly not giving up quilting to become a painter, but it sure was fun.

We came to the class with a photo.

And used clear acrylic to outline our piece. (Something I have done with quilting).

Then we practiced by drawing it on paper.

Then transferring it to the canvas.

And outlining it with paint.


Next step was painting in the general colors and the ground. I was not thrilled at this point. I didn't think it looked like Bailey girl. It did make me happy when people recognized it as a dog! Just kidding! Recognized it as a poodle/cockapoo.

The third class gave me hope. We painted details over the basic colors. I thought it looked more like her, but she had the big shield on her chest that was supposed to be a shadow.

My homework was to do a background. Since one of m favorite pictures of her is on the chair in my studio, I decided to make that my background.

It really made her pop.

During the last class i was able to get rid of her shield, put in wispy hairs and do little adjustments. I think Bailey ended up looking a bit chubby.

Here are some of the other pet portraits.

Maggie was a great teacher. I think everyone did a great job. Now that I have the paints and the brushes, I'm going to play with this. It taught me observation skills and that I need to work on those. Maybe I'll end up with a wall of Bailey paintings as I practice!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why I Love Key West

Many people think of Key West as a place to go to drink and party all night. But if you know me at all, you know that drinking is not on my agenda and I'm usually in bed by 10:00. Although I do spend a lot of my time quilting, and I do try to fit in an exercise class every day. Life here is filled with such unusual encounters.

During the past week, I volunteered to help set up for a brunch at The Studios of Key West, which is where I am also taking a painting class. It was fun to set up for a party for the patrons, but even more fun to see this wonderful painting being finished by island painter, Rick Worth. I didn't measure it but I'm guessing 10' high by 20' long. It's a collage of the island and he finished it in 1 month!

I was invited by one of my neighbors to attend a meeting of the KW Orchid Society. It had been raining for a few days and I needed to get out. Besides, I have been thinking about an orchid quilt and knew I could get some pictures.

There is a raffle at each meeting. Dan bought tickets for both of us, and I won! Not one, but two orchids. Woo Hoo!

Today I went with another neighbor to Nancy's Secret Garden. It's filled with parrots, 23 of them. Nancy owns them and takes care of them and brings them all inside every night.


Baby Blue liked me and walked onto my arm, apparently a first in Nancy's Secret Garden.

And afternoon walks with Bailey to savor a latte or cafe con leche, my new vice.

Life is definitely not dull here if you allow yourself to embrace the opportunities. Why wouldn't you?


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Check Off Another One

I have a long list of projects to finish before my trip to the Daytona Quilt Show towards the end of February. Today I finished one of them. There is an evening program called "All Star Review". I am giving a 10 minute presentation, along with a bunch of other instructors. My talk is called " The Illusion of Curves". It's a 4 step presentation.This quilt, "Colorful Spaghetti" is the basic first step in adding curves to a quilt using linear curves.

It's cotton fusible appliqué on white dupioni silk, measuring 34"W x 25"H. As I started to quilt it, I decided to use it as an exercise in free motion quilting. You can see the quilting on the back better than the front because I used white thread on both the top and in the bobbin. Here's the back.

I am always searching for free motion quilting designs. There's a lot of inspiration out there on the net. I have a Pinterest board where I collect them. So I spent a few days searching and quilting. Here's a close up.


The biggest problem with Pinterest is that it doesn't always attribute the source of the design, even when it's a "how to". One of the designs that I wanted to try was nesting triangles. I'm not sure how the original quilting was done, but these are the steps that I chose.


First zig zag up one side.

When you reach the final triangle, reverse direction to echo it.

Continue echoing

When you have finished filling in the triangles on one side, repeat echoing the triangles on the other side.

I have one more sample quilt to make for my presentation. And if you're interested in attending the "All Star Review", it's Sold Out! That's a first for me, LOL.

But I know there is still room in both my mosaic class and my Baby Curvalicious class. Click HERE to get some details and to register.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tibetan Monks Love Bailey

I was waiting until today to write this post. Today was the end of the visit of the Tibetan monks to Key West.

They arrived last Sunday and visited various locations in addition to creating a compassion mandala. They created the mandala from individual grains of sand with metal tubes bent over on the floor in the knave of one of the local churches.


The intricacy was amazing. They tapped the metal tubes and sometimes blew gently. Everything in the mandala was some type of symbol focused on love, peace and compassion.

Outside of the church was a little market where you could purchase a spiritual object from Tibet.


One if the monks was petting Bailey, so Inasked if I could take his picture. That was when he grabbed her for this photo op.

When another monk saw this, he took her and asked if Don would take his photo holding her with the monks iphone!

On Friday night, we attended a dinner prepared by the monks. They served us momos. They resembled Chinese dumplings. Some were filled with meat and some were vegetarian.

This was dessert.

Afterwards they chanted and then answered questions. It was mesmerizing.


We returned on Sunday for the dissolution ceremony. The mandala was complete. It was so intricate and had a 3 dimensional look.


The dissolution ceremony involved chanting, thank you's

and then they slowly , first with sticks and then with a brush, destroyed this beautiful mandala until it was just a pile of sand.


They filled some necklaces and small zip loc bags with this sacred sand and with the remainder they headed to the ocean to throw it into the wind, because nothing is permanent.



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What's Up?

The weeks I spend in Key West is a very productive time for me. I bring lots of projects to work on and I get to renew my exercise regime. There's a very special gym here that I join each year called Stayfit, where I spin and Zumba. In addition to this, most mornings, Bailey and I take an early morning walk. There are basically 2 routes that we walk. One is down Duvall St with lots of window shopping to Mallory Square and the Gulf of Mexico. I lust after these Mary Frances handbags.

The other is along the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

The shrimp boats were plentiful. The photo is a little blurry because of the distance. Key West Pinks are available in restaurants and the supermarkets. Couldn't get any fresher.

This year my projects are focused on the Daytona AQS Show where I am teaching two classes and vending. I have decided to offer a batik kit in addition to the dupioni silk skinny kit for Curvalicious. I finished the sample quilt.

I love the bright colors and they play so nicely together.

The key to a beautiful Curvalicious quilt is either high contrast or if all the fabrics sing out. This quilt definitely has fabrics with a strong voice.


This kit includes pre fused circles and fabric for binding.

I made up a limited amount of kits. They will be in my booth at Daytona. If I have any left I will put them in my Etsy shop at the end of February or shoot me an email if you'd be interested in one.

Speaking of Etsy, my shop is still open with Curvalicious tools, patterns and silk kits. Click Here to shop.