Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Watercolor Chart

One thing that I've been meaning to do is to make a chart with my watercolors.  I sat down Sunday and finally did just that.

I poked around online and found a few that were aesthetically pleasing to me, and finally settled on a simple grid format. I like simple!

My daughter, the math lover, asked if she could make the grid. She graphed it out, leaving some space on the left hand side of the paper just in case I wanted to paint a small design there later. You never know!  I currently have sixteen colors, all are Winsor & Newton Professional. 

The center diagonal line marks the true colors, straight from the palette.  All of the other colors are mixed with the intersecting color, a blend of two colors.

It takes quite a bit of time to complete the chart, about two hours.  There is a lot of mixing of colors, and a lot of clean-up once my palette is full up. I also wanted to move slowly as to not mess up.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this process.  I gasped in surprise at the colors combinations, never really expecting a few of the resulting mixtures.  This is why you make a chart! 

And it's not just about the color combinations either. I saw first hand the way some colors behave when mixed, and how they dry.  I learned, fairly quickly, that I'm not a fan of Cerulean Blue. While it's a lovely color on its own, it just doesn't play nice when blended.  

I'm going to hang this on my wall next to my desk as a reference, and just to stare at because it's pretty! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Work In Progress

Decisions have been made!

Writing my last post really did help me figure things out.  The day after I posted, we got to moving and shaking. Everyone helped me move the sewing room around, making room for the crafting supplies and desk.  I've meshed it all into one room.

Here are some photos to show the progress made this past week.

We flipped the shelves around, simply trading places for the shorter and taller units.  The hanging shelves were moved around, too. The sofa and cutting table pushed to the side wall.  My cutting table will eventually be moved to its permanent spot.

It took one Sunday afternoon to move things, but has taken me another week to put it all back together.

It has been wonderful to reacquaint myself with my supplies, having forgotten about much of it. Out of sight, out of mind.

I've even got all my stamps out where I can see them!  Oh my gosh, I have sooooo many stamps, it's ridiculous.  I decided to re-organize them to make it easier for me to find what I need, so purchased new containers.  I can almost hear the collective gasp of Stampin' Up! demonstrators as I dumped all my stamps out of little bins they came in.  I hate those things. More pictures to come once it's all done.

I've been working (playing) hard to find a home for everything and still leave room for other things that I know I will be using in the near future.

Things are shaping up, the space is feeling much better to me now.  Who knew rearranging a bit of furniture would help so much?

More to come!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Crafting Conundrum

Recognizing this particular conundrum is more of a blessing than a problem, I still need to sort it.  I'd love some feedback!

As I have often mentioned, I have a sewing room.

I also have a little crafting spot at the end of the hallway that leads to my sewing room, turning an awkward little space into something usable (sort of). 

Both of these spaces are in my basement.

On the main floor of my house I have a spare bedroom, that up until recently, housed nothing but my carpet cleaner and seed starting supplies. Bedroom is a misnomer in this case. I now use that room for watercolor painting because of the amazing light. I also enjoy painting whatever I happen to see out the window. 

So, three spaces throughout my house, used for some sort of crafty/creating purpose.  

Problem #1:  I feel completely guilty about using so much space.  Honestly, this is big deal for me. I have truly tried to live my life with humility, and taking up so much space - literally or figuratively - is just not something I have experience coping with. 

I am not encroaching on anyone's space, and no one else in the house is fussed about my using said space.  We don't need a spare bedroom for guests, we never have any.  However, the space exists whether or not someone utilizes it.  So I use it, still managing to feel weird about it.

Problem #2:  My sewing room is tucked away in the basement, and however delightful it may be, I feel isolated when I'm down there. I have started talking myself out of sewing because I don't want to be so far removed from the household. I never sew after sundown because of the loneliness is imparts in me. The room is rather large, and often feels too cavernous.

Problem #3:  The crafting desk in the hallway receives little to no light from the north-facing window, making any type of work exceptionally difficult. The curtains hide a rather unsightly window well that has a safety grate over it, so removing the curtains will do nothing for light. The first photo I posted above illustrates the brightest light that spot gets all day (and I increased the fill light in post-processing), but the photo below is more typical. The light fixtures cast a lovely Melanie-sized shadow onto the desk, and the side-light is bright, but doesn't reach the desk very well.

Also, when I sit there, my back is to the hallway entrance and makes me uneasy.  I don't know why, it just does.  It is also really, really cold right there. This is a major problem for me, even in the summer. These three issues keep me from ever sitting there, pretty or not.

I would like to condense the madness!  

I am considering turning the sewing room into an all-purpose crafting-type room, simply moving the crafting desk and supplies inside the sewing room, and shifting the current arrangement a bit.  There is plenty of space in there for everything I do.  My issue with moving the painting downstairs is I would lose the light from the upstairs window and I know I would never paint if I did move.  So, do I keep two rooms for creating, condensing three spaces into two?  Do I move it all into one room anyway?

Or, do I move the crafting supplies upstairs with the painting to enjoy better lighting overall, and still maintain two rooms and only feel isolated while sewing?  Perhaps the isolation will fade over time. The sewing room is wired for a sound system, but I've just never gotten around to dealing with that. Maybe now is the time?  

Oh, and that Tanker-style crafting desk weighs 300 lbs. and is NEVER being moved upstairs.  While it will slide through the doorway to the sewing room, it just won't fit through the doorway upstairs. I'd have to get a new desk if I moved upstairs. Oh, dear budget, how I respect thee! 

So, that's where I'm at.  I am trying to decide which to move, and why. What is most important to me? How much money do I want to spend to make this all work out? Why do I feel so isolated? What is it about lighting that makes me nutty? Blah, blah, blah . . . 

Sometimes I just can't see the solution until I share the problem.

It's not truly a problem.  I am blessed to have such a dedicated and hard-working husband who spoils me so, and I assure you that not one second goes by that I don't recognize this.  However, he and I both agree that there is not point to having all this stuff if I don't use it, and if moving it around helps, then I should move it.

What do you think?  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Following the Creative Flame

I've been rather quiet here on the blog lately.  I suppose I just don't think about posting anymore!

Since it has grown seriously hot outside, I'm perfectly content to spend the day indoors, egregiously abusing central air-conditioning. You'd think I'd be hiding out in the sewing room, but since finishing up my Farm Girl Vintage quilt blocks, I haven't set foot in the sewing room other than to retrieve a dog food dish.

My sewing creativity seems to come in waves, and not gently flowing waves either, more akin to white river rafting.  There are times when I cannot stand going in the room and the thought of sewing seems abhorrent, other times I feel I'll never leave it again and want to sleep on the sofa at the other end of the room just so I can stay there longer.

I no longer force myself to sew, or whatever else I might be interested in.  If the creative mood strikes me, I follow that.  It took a long time to recognize it, and an even longer time to accept it was necessary.

As an example, I would often tell myself "I should be sewing . . . I have an awesome sewing room and I shouldn't waste that . . . Get in there and sew!" Etc., etc.  I would go in there and sew, but at those times, when there was no creative spark, I would end up making a mess and not enjoying the process.  Sometimes I would grow moody as well.  No good, I say.

I have learned, through much trial and error, that I burn out.  I don't fizzle and die, my candle just dims for a while.  Funny thing is, the flame seems to jump to a different candle, and the blaze of light grabs my attention, so I turn my energy toward the project whose light is burning so bright.  This is not a form of distraction, I don't follow any old shiny thing, and I'm speaking only of my need for creativity.

So, I step away from the sewing room, and into the kitchen, or the garden or library, or as is the case lately, the spare bedroom where I've set up my watercolors.  The need to paint is where my flame lives these days.

Painting in progress

So, what is your flame doing?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Farm Girl Quilt Blocks

I'm done!

All 45 of the Farm Girl Vintage Blocks (plus the extra stars)

I finished the last of the Farm Girl Vintage blocks this past week.  The first block I ever made from the book was the Woolly Sheep, because I have a silly love for sheep; however, it was the last block in the book line-up so it was the last one I sewed for the quilt. 

For this last batch of nine, I swore I wouldn't cut into any more fat quarters, and I didn't.  I wanted to use up as many bits and pieces as possible to make the scrappy-ness a bit more cohesive.  I don't think I'll know if that worked until the quilt is complete and quilted. 

There was a surprising lack of a sense of accomplishment as I finished. I didn't realize I was so close to completion and hadn't really thought much about it, so there was no anticipation of the end approaching. Placing the block on the design wall, I kinda just thought "Oh, done with blocks then." 

Now onto the sashing and setting stones . . . I call them setting stones, the book refers to them as corner stones (I have this thing with words, I'll just leave it at that). I will sew it up a bit differently than the book suggests; I don't like the strip piecing, I find it too difficult to match corners with a long strip of various pieces; maybe it's my lack of experience, or maybe it's a personal quirk.  Click HERE for a great example of the method I use for sashing if you're interested.