Sep 7, 2008

Sidetracked in September

I spent quite a bit of time making a background and some layered petals for my September sunflower page last Sunday, but the rest of the week I've been sidetracked. Aside from little distractions like jobs (mine may disappear it turns out) and getting new health insurance, I've been trying to get some things made toward an Etsy shop. This week I spent working on a collection in green & navy with butterflies--kinda of Asian in fall colors. I will have a table runner, micro runners, and coasters.

Then yesterday I discovered some great Halloween fabric at the local shop--kinda vintage style with black cats and pumpkins. I just love it, and I'm not even much of a novelty fabric person. So this afternoon I made a cute apron out of the Halloween stuff.

As soon as I get the scanner stuff figured out, I'll post a pic of my September page in progress. I'm not quite sure how to do the leaf, but I suspect I should just do what will get it done so I can start beading. Of course, several have posted that they have already finished their pages (!), but I will be happy with finishing it this month.

Aug 31, 2008

Bead Journal Project Choices

Since September is near, so I've been figuring out my personal parameters for my pages over the next 12 months. The Project's Rules stipulate that each of us sets a size in advance to use for all of the pages. Also, the pages must have beading on them. Other than that, we are limited only by our imagination. After lots of thinking and discussing and trying out possibilities in my head, here are my personal guidelines for BJP 2008:

  1. Each page will be 5 X 10 inches, vertical orientation.
  2. Each page will use only recycled/upcycled materials. (I have enough of everything I could ever need--fabric, beads, batting, and just plain ole junk :))
  3. Each page will experiment with a new (for me) technique--I have a couple years' worth of Quilting Arts magazine, among other things, and I would like to try all kinds of things. This is the place to do it.

So I'm ready to rock-n-roll! This project inspires me to get a lot of sewing things organized, even if it's in my dining room, and I can't wait to just make things for no reason other than I want to.

To fresh starts & new years,


September Sunflower

Ok, so I know it's not September yet, but my mind has been swirling with choices for the September Bead Journal page. The sunflowers outside my kitchen window are calling, with all their raggedy brightness. Really, they are on their last legs yet still so bright and even optimistic. Maybe what I love most about them are that they are all "volunteers" some even rogue sunflowers, sprouting up and absolutely flourishing in places they don't belong (however, since we were gone when it was time to plant the garden, eveything is rogue--only the roses are on purpose).

Because these sunflowers are all reseeded from last year, they are an interesting mix of different types--now I have no idea which ones they are. Some are bright yellow, some are orangey with rusty streaks in toward the center, some are 20 feet tall! Regardless of their lineage, the bees and butterflies and some kind of black wasp love them. We even saw a hummingbird today (rare for us).

What does all this have to do with my bead journal page? Well, September's page will celebrate the rogue sunflowers. I have all kinds of yellow, orange and brown beads and fabrics.

The new technique? I've been reading 49 Sensational Skirts and I'm going to try one of Willoughby's layered template techniques for the petals.

I think I may have to start today--I just can't wait for September!

Kolleen a.k.a. KQuiltyBee

Aug 26, 2008

September Possibilities

So I've been contemplating my September page and thinking maybe 6 X 12 is too ambitious--too much space to fill. On the other hand, a lot of my seed beads and found stuff is on the chunky side, so something smaller might be overwhelmed by big beads.

For this month I would like to try something with butterflies, maybe a 3-D beaded butterfly sort of appliqued onto a flower background. The main problem, as usual, is how to deal with the weight. Maybe I'll do the whole thing on lacey stiff stuff. I would like each piece to be a real quiltlet with a hanging sleeve.

Our weather has been very pleasant for Iowa in August--very little humidity. I see monarchs everywhere. Soon they should be coming through in droves as part of their migration. Sometimes we will see an entire maple tree branch cover in solid monarch butterflies. (The next spring that branch will be dead.) It is a sight to see!

The monarchs and swallowtails love our sunflowers in particular, as does one little gold finch. I haven't been able to get a picture of him--he flits up into the maple trees whenever we walk out the back door. But I can see all of them out the kitchen window; we have a sunflower "folly"--a 10 ft circle planted all with different kinds of sunflowers. In a week or two, the monarchs will be all over them.

This week I hope to piece a simple background and get started on beading the September page for the Bead Journal Project. The background should only take an hour or so, and then I can get started on my butterfly study. I may also include some origami flowers or yo-yos for more 3-D effect.

Aug 24, 2008

Bead Journal Project 2008

I am so excited--the Bead Journal Project begins in September! I have been waiting over a year for this. I didn't stumble across the 2007 project until after the signup deadline, so I just lurked around the blog for months and months. I couldn't wait to sign up for this year.

Originally, I thought it started in June, and I was all set to go when we returned from vacation--and then had to wait some more. I am going to use the journal project to explore a variety of techniques and force myself to spend time making things. I dream about that a lot, but especially this summer, I haven't found time. In June I started a new job at a new tea room, and since I am inexplicably the "manager" I have had little time for much of anything. But now we have been open over 2 months and the systems are beginning to fall into place. I now find myself with a little time in the afternoons and/or evenings. Maybe the fact that school has started helps as well.

The rules for the BJP require that one chooses a size-format at the outset, but otherwise pretty much anything goes. I think I will go with 6 x 12 inches with a vertical orientation. While this will stretch my composition (no pun intended), it will also look nice hanging several together or possibly sewing a few together into one hanging, like a series of little banners.

Another nice aspect of the project is a blog where members post links to finished pages, along with comments and questions about the entire project. With over 200 members, we were required to have three different blogs for this purpose. Mine will be on (see the blog roll since I can't seem to make links happen properly yet).

Well, the banana bread is nearly done, and I still have laundry to finish before the closing ceremonies of the Olympics begin! Peace, Kolleen

Jun 13, 2008

So Many Ideas, Absolutely No Time

Ok, so I STILL haven't done anyting with this blog, for that matter I haven't done anything much with my quilting or beads on quilting, or anything else creative. It's ridiculous.

Yet, my family and I were on the mother of all trips (5,000 miles!), and I got to thinking, I could use one of the landscapes to begin the Bead Journal Project. I had a great time collecting embellishments--sea shells, rocks, postcards (actually they are inspiration not embellishments). With each phase of our trip--beach, mountains, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, storms, family--I would daydream about ideas for representing these things on a journal page.

My husband and I even discussed size and orientation for this project. Something small and manageable, something one could combine several pages into one big piece, or something a little pushy to challenge one's sense of composition, or something just easy and accessible. (He's decided to conduct his own journal project this year in printmaking.)

Next week my "summer" schedule begins, and I think I can just make Monday my sewing day. I have a new job, but Mondays are off and hubby works that day. The kids would love a "day off" from chores, etc. So I began to see, through endless miles of the western USA, that finally I might be able to carve out both time and space to make things, to sew, and to explore my own ideas instead of only making things for OTHERS.

We returned home after 17 days on the road (yes, I know, too long for sanity). I looked up the Bead Journal Project to verify the rules--aw, man! It doesn't start until September this year! Talk about disappointed.

HOWEVER, I have decided to start this month anyway. AND, my husband and I have decided to open Etsy shops. So Monday I start to sew a journal page and a set of postcards. Other days I am developing a plan to open my shop within 4 weeks, building inventory and working on photos, etc. Really, just exploring Etsy and accompanying blogs has been so inspiring. These places are just so inviting and joyful! I realize that I am part of a tradition of women making things of beauty and sometimes function--really this is a place where I belong.


Apr 11, 2008

Starting the Journey--Again

Below is what I posted under a different blog name back in February. Since then I have done very little. So, I'm trying again. I am joining at least one journal page group to jump start the process. And I still offer the pay it forward challenge.

February 2008: I've been thinking about starting a blog for my quilty/beady things for a long time now; I already have a family blog that I use to write family and friends. My hope is that this blog will help me focus on specific projects until they are completed, knowing that I should post progress reports. I'm trying to work on journal pieces this year; in the past I have been sidetracked by making gifts, etc. for family and friends.One motivation for actually setting up the blog is the Pay It Forward exchange I've seen on several Bead Journal Project pages (I'm not part of the project--didn't see it in time to join--story of my life :)). To be part of the Pay It Forward exchange, one needs a blog, so here it goes.I promise to send a quilt art gift to the first three people to comment on my blog with a promise to do the same thing for three other people. I might not send it in the next week or the next month, but I will send it within 365 days. Leave your comment, and I will email you so you can send me your address.Try googling "Pay It Forward" and you might be amazed by the wide range of exchanges going on! What a cool concept.