Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

In celebration of spring and thoughts on the garden.

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." 
- Margaret Atwood

Friday, March 26, 2010

Revised Edition

Meadows and Streams
 24-3/4" x 29-1/4" 
 fabrics hand-dyed by artist,
machine pieced and quilted
©2010 Lisa Flowers Ross

Detail of stitching

The title of this piece is Meadows and Streams, although I think it should be called Heartache because it was such a pain in the puttuti to make into existence!  I ripped many seams, inserted and re-sewed.  As I was pin basting the sandwich with safety pins, I jabbed my finger.  That's par for the course. I just suck on it for a second, look at it and then continue on.  Then I saw a spot on the fabric that hadn't been there before.  It wasn't a piece of fuzz and wasn't coming off.  What is that?  Oh CRUD, it's blood!  So first I went and got a BandAid so I wouldn't bleed all over the piece.  I was upset because I did not want to have to rip out any more seams.  I grabbed some club soda (because I had read that that would work on wine. I was just about ready for a glass of wine at that point.) and managed to get the stain out.  Phew!

I had picked out all the colors of thread to quilt with and started with a variegated thread.  After about a minute of free-motion quilting the thread broke.  I changed needles, tension, etc. and it kept breaking. I asked for help on the Quiltart list.  While waiting for replies,  I picked out some of the stitching I had done, switched threads and continued on.  With all the help, I eventually figured out a way to make that thread work, but it is not in this quilt. So after much ado, it was completed.

Thank you to all who left comments about the first posting of the piece.  Here's the before shot again for reference.

I knew something wasn't right and I thought putting on the border would help.  But my brain said that I haven't used a border in awhile so that's interesting that I would need one on this piece.  

Well, it didn't need that border.  But what the border did was to help me focus in on what was bothering me.  Many of you hit on the same things. It was too light in the bottom right-hand corner and too dark in the lower left-hand corner.  The blue sections didn't seem in balance to me. 

I guess you can see what I did to fix it.  I inserted a light strip of color in the lower left corner.  I added another blue section on the bottom to make it darker, more weighted and to balance out the blue.  Someone had mentioned maybe adding a bit of complimentary red to give it some sparkle.  Obviously, I did not use any red, as I was going for a more subdued, calming effect overall.  But I did insert some white pieces in the blues to give it some more "excitement". 

The border is gone, but I did put a binding on it because I still thought it needed a little containment.  I'm sure some will not like my binding choice of color and having two different colors.  I thought it needed the dark green on the bottom to ground it.  I am happier with the piece now, although I think the original intention got changed somewhat.  But that's art!

Please feel free to leave comments about what you think of the changes, good or bad.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Little Spring Cleaning

These are the "before" pictures of my "work" desk.  The desk where I plan my week, keep my files, keep track of my art business, etc.  It is also used to work on art or scrap booking when needed.  Above I was just finishing up my exchange prints. They were, at one time, laying all over the desk to dry.

The after clean-up pictures are below.

It has actually stayed this way for awhile.  One corner clean, the rest of the house to go! Yeah, right.

Below I wanted to show you the inside of my one drawer.  I have made an organizer using plastic canvas.  I have one I made in my bathroom drawer for hair things and it has stayed organized for years.  I like these better than the store bought organizers because I can customize the sections to what I want to keep in the drawer. I need to make one for Anna's bathroom and one for the kitchen.

Monday, March 22, 2010


33-1/4" x15-1/4"
fabrics hand-dyed by the artist, tulle,
machine pieced and quilted
©2010 Lisa Flowers Ross

This is a piece that I have had finished for a little while.  It was inspired by a photo of her pond that I saw on Melody Johnson's blog, Fibermania.  You might recognize the stitching as I showed a picture of that here on the blog previously.  That is one piece of orange-y rust fabric.  It is the color of the threads that make it look like two different pieces.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


There were lots of things I should have done yesterday.  But I got distracted by some shiny objects.  I made a necklace for my yoga teacher who turned 60 last week.

There are two metal rectangles here.  One is a cut out of a lotus flower and the one underneath has the word "karma" imprinted on it.  That was one thing on my to-do list.  But then, since I already had the stuff out anyway, I decided to make a necklace for myself.

This one has a cut out symbol and underneath it says "namaste".  Of course, I had to make some earrings to go with it!  Then Anna came in and wanted to make a necklace.  I said o.k. but she had to get some stuff together for a sleepover first.  As I was waiting, I made another pair of earrings (they are so easy to make when you already have all the tools).

There was a free project sheet at Craft Warehouse to make these angel earrings.  Of course, I had to buy the beads because they were so cute.  (That was before Christmas.)  I like to think of them as my earth angels but they will work for Christmas, too.

Anna didn't have time to work on her necklace yesterday, so she is doing it today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In the Hood

Yesterday was mostly spent ripping out seams and re-sewing. But it was a very nice day so I decided to take a walk down to the pond (read: drainage ditch).  I thought I would try to get some pictures of the brown grasses.  Lots of red-winged black birds like it there.  You can't always see them, but you can hear them.

The grasses had lots of interesting angles, but the position of the sun made it hard to get many pictures.  But look what I found on the ground!

A skeleton leaf! I've seen where you can buy them for collages.  And I've seen instructions on how to make a leaf into a skeleton leaf.  But I don't think I've ever found one before.

Anna was with me and we decided to walk back through the "field" (reserve area).  The rocks had lots of beautiful colors.

The hills are alive with funny faces.  Of course right after I took this picture, she had a nice smile on her face.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's a Process

I thought I was done with this piece I've been working on, until after I put on the border.  I thought it needed the border to "contain" all the lines.  I don't think that was it. Now I see it needs something else.  What do you think?

I have several ideas on what to change, all of which will require ripping seams.  Sometimes it just doesn't come together very easily.  And yes, I realize the lines are "wonky".  I did not use a ruler for anything but the border (something Nancy Crow wanted us to do in the class I took from her).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quotes Galore

Yesterday I mentioned my quote book.  This is an old book of mine.  It started as one of those diary books with lined pages.  I'm sure I got it in the bargain section of some bookstore and liked it because it has an oriental design on the cover.

The date on the first page is Feb. 1986, my senior year of high school.  The first few written things were just thoughts of mine and a few poems.  But then I started writing in quotes or sayings I like (and probably some hallmark greetings, too, I'm sorry to say).  And that's when it became my container for quotes.

I've written quotes in it all these years.  I started with one quote on each page.  When I reached the end of the book, I went back to the beginning and started writing one quote on the back of each page.  I'm almost to the end of the book again and will go back and start writing more than one quote on each page.

I like to go back and read through it once in a while. I have also used it for inspiration for my art.  But it's not the only book I have.  Here is my collection of quote books.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." -Gustav Flaubert

I rediscovered this quote scribbled on a post-it note this weekend as I was trying to clean out and get organized with some of my art stuff, papers, files, piles, etc.  Seems very appropriate don't you think?  I rewrote it in my quote book and threw the paper away.

I accomplished quite a bit this weekend but there is plenty more to do.  Spring cleaning has begun.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm Working On It

I'm here and keeping busy.  I've completed my two online classes and my MS Excel class.  I'm now taking another online class from Alyson Stanfield of ArtBizCoach for getting organized (which includes all kinds of art business stuff and just plain organizing stuff).  That will be keeping me extra busy this weekend, along with the usual suspects.

Although I have not spent as much time in my studio as I would like, this week.  I have managed to piece two smaller artworks and am working on a third piece with some of the leftover fabric.  You can see it in progress in this photo.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Bird

 Spring Bird
hand printed linocut
image size: 3"x 2"
@2010 Lisa Flowers Ross

I have been noticing more singing of the birds lately when I have been outside.  I think spring is in the air.  If not in the air, then, at least on my mind.  This little birdie above is from my mind.  I created this print for a print exchange that was initiated locally called Leftovers.  The idea was to use up the leftover scraps of paper that people had leftover from other prints they had made.  And the paper size couldn't be any larger than 5"x7".

You might have noticed that I'm not usually a print maker.  But I did have a class in college and have done some local workshops.  So my few pieces of leftover paper came from the workshops.  But I didn't have enough scraps to make the baker's dozen that was needed so I had to go buy some paper.  Since I don't have a printing press, these prints were printed by hand using rice paper, or Japanese paper.  I also did some on white paper.  I'm planning on putting some of the "leftovers" in my Etsy shop, soon.
Which color do you like better?  I am kind of leaning toward the tan paper as my favorite.  On one of my extra proofs I tried coloring the bird in with colored pencil.  I used yellow and a bit of orange.  I liked it on the tan but not so much on the white.  So, I did not do any hand coloring on the prints. 

I'm very excited to see what prints I get in exchange as well as see the entire 77 pieces.  Yes, there are 77 participants!  And there will be an exhibition of all the prints in April 2010 at Saltgrass Printmakers Gallery in Salt Lake City and August 2010 at Woodriver Cellars Gallery in Eagle, Idaho.  Oh, I hope I don't have to wait until August to see them all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Signs of Spring

I was surprised the other day to look out my window and see the crocus flowers were out.  I grabbed my camera and went out to take some pictures.  As I walked around, I noticed other things were sprouting.  I probably have a gazillion pictures of the plants in my yard.  But for some reason I have to take more. . .






. . . and I'm glad I did because I love the shapes and swirls in these last two pictures of leaves that I took from above.  They still have some rain in them that kind of looks like marbles.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Smelling Roses?

I don't really have a regular schedule. I don't know if/when I work at the art museum until, maybe, a month ahead of time.  Lately, there really hasn't been any of that anyway.  My schedule also revolves more around Anna and Frank than myself.  Therefore, for the last year, I have sat down on Saturday or Sunday and planned the upcoming week.  Each day I list what needs to be done, activities to attend, how that time will be spent, etc.

I have to be flexible, at times, as things come up.  Like yesterday, Anna stayed home from school because she was ill. Originally, I had planned to volunteer at the museum, but switched that to another day.  So the plan was to have some studio time to work on my art. 
In the afternoon, Anna came in and asked me if I could read to her.  I said no because I was working on something.  But after a while, I started to feel a little guilty.  She is twelve and who knows how much longer she is going to want me to read to her.  So, I finished the section of quilting I was working on and went upstairs.

I told her I would read to her but she had to put some socks on and grab a blanket because we were going to read outside.  It was a gorgeous day! The sky was clear, the sun was shining and the high was near 60 degrees.  Eventually, I laid out a yoga mat on the deck for her.  She laid down with her blanket and pillow and I read to her outside (I wonder if the people walking by or the neighbors enjoyed the story, too). 

When my voice was starting to get sore, I stopped reading.  Anna eventually fell asleep on the deck.  I left her there, as what could be more pleasant than taking a nap outside in the sun? especially on the first day of March?  She looked just like she did when she was a baby sleeping, except much, much bigger and with her mouth open and tongue hanging out.  I thought I should take a picture.  But I decided to be a nice mother for one day and not embarrass her.  No picture.

I like to think that I am pretty good about stopping to smell the roses now and then.  Or if not stopping, at least noticing the roses.  The point of this story, though, is that I still get caught up in my to-do list sometimes.  And I have to remind myself to take that time to read to Anna or sit outside in the sun and enjoy life.  I hope you do, too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blue, White and Black

I can finally show you my latest artwork.  I was playing along with the Twelve by Twelve group's recent theme: Blue, White and Black. My piece is obviously not 12"x12". 
Winter Birches
commercial fabrics and fabrics hand-dyed by artist,
 machine pieced, machine quilted and hand stitching
©2010 Lisa Flowers Ross

 detail of stitching

This piece has a lot of quilting on it and took me awhile to do.  Although you may not be able to tell, there are three different variegated threads in the blue areas.  On the birches, I also used three different colors of thread.  There are hand stitches on the birches and in the blue areas. 

Go check out all the wonderful quilts the Twelve by Twelve group did, too, by clicking on their name.