Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Geese at Sunset

Sunset Geese

This photo was taken on an evening walk in Marshfield, WI, on a nature preserve there.  The geese were congregating atop a berm.  There was a pond on the other side, so they were not far from water.

This is a great example of why Kim Klassen  calls these black textures "magic."


Here's the original image from my iPhone.  Not bad ...

The super simple recipe in Photoshop Elements :
Layer 1) Background image
Layer 2) Kim Klassen's Flourish Magic (black) Texture - Overlay 92% opacity
Layer 3) Kim Klassen's Wonderful Magic Scripted - Soft Light 34% opacity (this layer adds a subtle frame to the edges, and some words to the clouds in the upper left corner.
Cropped

The black magic textures deepen the colors and add drama -- like a sunset if you stay long enough to see it!  Very different from the  dark shadows you might expect with black textures.  These are amazing!

Linking up with The Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday. 
Come join us!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fabric Post Cards : Moons and Trees

October Trees - as a Fabric Post Card

At Quilt Camp last weekend, I made 3 fabric postcards based on recent photographs I worked up here and here.


By the 2nd round, I simplified the tree silhouette a bit.

Blood Moon - Fabric Post Card
For this one, I also decided that the moon wasn't going to accidentally slip out from under the tree, especially with the tree branches sewn down securely.  

I finally learned to use my satin edge foot to do the edges on these postcards.  It really helps to keep a straight and even edge.

This weekend, I got the disappearing 9-patch blocks together, but before I show you, I need to fix one of the blocks that got turned the wrong way.  I didn't notice it until I had everything sewn together, but now I need to set it right before I continue.    

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

Here's the one I was really working on the other day ...  It's the same tree silhouette, an old oak tree here in Oshkosh.  I was trying to figure out how to limit the orange color to just the circle of the moon.  I finally figured it out by clipping the orange texture layer to the moon brush with layer mask layer.  It worked!

I was also thinking about my friend Sheila's Strawberry Moon art quilt, and thinking that I'd like to do a whole series of moons ...   Then last weekend, there was a story about Fleetwood Mac and they showed a neat moon on one of their stage sets back in the day.  Indigo Moon was just the beginning!  Thank you for the inspiration, Sheila! 

Maybe it will also inspire a journal quilt, too?

Photo Processing Layer-by-Layer :
Layer 1) Karen White's Midnight Blues Texture for background
Layer 2) Nancy Clayes Xeveria Texture - Normal Blend Mose at 49% opacity
Layer 3) Moon Brush with Layer Mask
Layer 4) Copy Layer 3
Layer 5) 2LO Fairy Tales 19 Texture - Multiply 100% (Tied to Moon Brush Layer with Mask)
Layer 6) 2LO Fairy Tales 19 Texture over whole piece (to warm up the blues) - Soft Light 20%
Layer 7) Kim Klassen's Jacob Texture - Soft Light 68%
Layer 8) Tree Silhouette (mine) - Multiply

Moody Harvest Moon
 Here's another version -- just a little moodier.  It reminds me of some of those old backgrounds in the Charlie Brown Halloween special.   Bruised.
The only difference is that I copied Layer 6 and set it at Multiply 31%.

Sharing with The Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Disappearing 9-Patch Blocks


I'm off to Quilt Camp this weekend.  [BIG Smile!]  One of the projects I have planned to work on is a Disappearing 9-Patch.  You know : the one where you make regular 9-patch blocks, then cut them up, turn two blocks, and put 'em back together again.   It makes a really simple block much more interesting.  And it looks like you spent many more hours than you actually did on the piecing. 

At the top of this post, you see one of the blocks.  On the left is the un-cut block; On the right is the cut and "re-formatted" block.  I like to make sample blocks to use as a model, otherwise, it's too easy to go on auto-pilot at Quilt Camp, and discover you've made enough blocks for an entire quilt -- all wrong.  This way, I have a visual sample to compare with to keep me on track.

Here's the other block : 1 whole and 1 cut apart and put back together again.  I really like this color combination, and I'm excited to see how it all comes together ...  Stay tuned!   Gotta go cut strips to get ready ...



Marilyn Campbell demonstrated this super-simple technique at Quilt Camp several years ago, and she piqued my interest.  I'm finally going to make one myself!  Unfortunately, Marilyn is not attending Quilt Camp this year due to health reasons.  I will miss her.  This photo is from 2012.  Did I mention, she's also a great cook?  Especially with blueberries!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

October Trees


Photo Processing Layer-by-Layer
Layer 1) Sweet Leaf Orange Texture - (One of my own National Geographic Citrasolve Textures)
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Blurred multiple times
Layer 3) 2LO Fairy Tale 19 Texture - Soft Light Blend Mode at 75% opacity (to bring in some yellows)
Layer 4) Tree Silhouette  - Multiply 100%

The tree silhouette is from a great old oak tree right here in town.  I cropped it down to an interesting window, and made it black and white.

The background is one of my very own National Geographic Citrasolve textures from a few years ago -- before I ever even thought of playing with PhotoShop ...  But then, what do you do with all those textures if NOT PhotoShop?

Here's the original version : 
  

Photo Processing Layer-by-Layer
Layer 1) Sweet Leaf Orange Texture - (One of my National Geographic Citrasolve Textures)
Layer 2) Tree Silhouette  - Multiply 100%

I wanted the sharper focus to be on the shadow of the tree, rather than the texture in the background, so I decided to blur the orange background to arrive at the image at the top of this post.

I was working on this image on the way to another one ...  This was just a warmup. 
Stay tuned!

Sharing with the Texture Artists Facebook Group this week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Texture Tuesday : After the Storm

After the Storm : Barn outside of Neenah, WI
One of the New Wisconsin Barn Pics from the tour around Lake Winnebago a few weeks ago. 
I liked the silo and that zig-zag trim detail.  From the looks of it, this barn has a new metal roof -- which means someone is taking care of it!

In this one, the sky was so washed out that I added Kim Klassen's Cool Grunge to texture the sky.  It looked stormy, hence the title.  I also used The Coffee Shop Blog's Vintagram 2  PSE Action, with few minor tweaks here and there.

Sharing with the Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Projects


What do you think of this color combination for a disappearing 9-patch quilt?
I'm going to use Borderline Quilter's tutorial.

This one (above) looks kinda like the curly willow tree outside our living room windows.  
Definitely something familiar about it!


This one might be the closest to what I had in mind, but it's lacking forest green blotches in the mix.I had a little patch of green that I wanted to use from my stash.  Unfortunately, it was a fabric sold probably 10 years ago, and no longer available anywhere.  So I had to look for something similar ...  I guess any one of these will do.

This one is a little too mossy.



It's so hard to visualize the finished quilt with just the whole fabrics. Maybe I could work all 3 greens into the mix?

This will be one of my projects at the October Quilt Camp.



2) Here's a sneak peak at a new project on the triangle loom.  Cozy and warm Alpaca wool yarn.  So soft!  This one might just be done in time for Christmas, J! Weaving goes pretty fast once you get started.   ;-) Don't worry -- It won't be this lacey once it comes off the loom and the tension is gone.


3) I have an idea that is starting to running wild, combining my love of Story with a crazy patchwork polar bear, and Northern Lights.  I bought a kit at a local quilt shop this summer, but I don't think I'm going to actually use any of the fabrics included.  That's ok--into the stash they'll go for some other time.  Now to collect the stuff I'm seeing and requiring in my head ... beads, lace, linen, velvet, wool, flannel--anything cream-colored will work.  Ahhh!  I love it when a plan comes together!  I am so looking forward to seeing this one come into the real world!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Vision with Action

 Vision with Action
[Click on the image to see a larger version.]

It's been a heck of a week!  Busy with one thing after another ...   This background image has been sitting in my archive for a couple of years now-- I shot it in the basement windowsill of an artist space here in town.   The light was beautiful, and the props were nicely set.     You can even see a partial reflection of the model.   I always called this guy Action-Man, because he appears to be in perpetual motion.  Running ragged?  Running TO something?  Running away?  Just running?   I decided to add the star so he'd be reaching toward something -- striving -- stretching, and that changed the mood from frenetic to focused (something I needed to do in my own mind this weekend!).  The star also balanced the ball of twine in the opposite corner.

I looked at a lot of quotes on action -- mostly from BIG men of the world who were risk-takers, and do-ers, not necessarily thinkers or visionaries.     Their quotes didn't quite mark the sentiment I was going for, until I found this one by Nelson Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba.  Action for itself may not get the desired results.  Indeed, action alone could be disastrous - It may get you out of danger in a fight or flight scenario, it can also create bigger problems to re-act or act rashly.  Vision was the missing key : You've got to have vision, too.  Not much happens with Vision without the goals and the plan to make it happen.  Great things can happen when Vision and Action are married together. 

Here's the Photo Processing Recipe :
Layer 1) Background image.
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Screen Blend Mode - 20% Opacity
Layer 3) Star Brush - Hard Light 96%
Layer 4) Kim Klassen's Sepia Scratched Texture - Soft Light 51%
Layer 5) Copy Layer 4 - Multiply 30%
Layers 6 + 7) Text - Clive Barker Font with FB Buttercream (Change)
Layer 8) 2LO Cracked 10 Texture - Soft Light 100%
Layer 9) Kim Klassen Scratched Magic Texture - Screen 38%
Layer 10) Color Fill Frame (Black) - Soft Light 46%

Sharing with the Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.   Cheers!

Kim Klassen {dot com}

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Indigo Moon ... Dreaming One Night


Indigo Moon ... Dreaming One Night
[Click on the image for a larger view.]

An appropriate posting for the day after a Super Moon!

I saw this very scene out walking the dogs one evening in my neighborhood.  One house on the Lake has a lovely wrought iron fence that creates a wonderful silhouette when the light is right.   I didn't have my camera with me at the time.  By the time I got home, and ran back to take the picture, it had changed quite a bit--the moon has risen higher, the colors washed out.   Indeed, the actual photograph as it came out was not as good as it was in my memory.

Enter PhotoShop!  With the magic of textures, I made the sky the blue I remembered, and erased the tiny little moon, and replaced it with the pearly giant you see here.  There, now : This is what I remember from that night!

Photo Processing :
Layer 1) Background Image - tiny moon erased
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Screen blend mode - 100% opacity
Layer 3) Nancy Claeys' Xeveria Texture - Multiply 100%
Layer 4) Stock Vault Free Texture Friday (a starry night blue) - Soft Light 56%
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's May Magic 1 Texture - Screen 15%
Layer 6) Caticat Moon Brush on DeviantArt - Normal 100%
Layer 7) Copy Layer 6
Layer 8) Text - Tangerine Font with color sampled from image - Normal 80%

Sharing with the Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.  Enjoy!

Kim Klassen {dot com}

Saturday, September 06, 2014

A Conversation about Using a Design Wall

My Blog-Land Friend, Sheila over at Idaho Beauty and I were having a conversation a few weeks ago about using a design wall.  Sheila thought about how she uses the design wall in her creative process and thoughtfully answered answered my questions, posed to make her meditate on the process.  Read Sheila's post here.  I suppose it's only fair to answer the questions I posed to Sheila (though I asked them originally because I've learned how Sheila works, and where she gets frustrated with the creative process) :

Do you prefer creating on the design wall or from a sketch?
They work hand in hand.  I may sketch out something, or collect scraps from other mediums and put them in the sketchbook for safe-keeping until I've developed the idea or collected other supplies enough to take it to the design wall for the next step of the creative process. Then I can start to play ...  auditioning fabrics, yarns, scraps, etc.  Trying to figure out what will work.   For quilts the design wall has been wonderful to layout the blocks and let them stew a while before I actually sew them together.  I guess I could say the same for the smaller journal quilts.  Even the journal quilts usually start as a sketch, though.

This post from 2011 about the Bluebird Journal Quilt is a good explanation of how I tend to work.

Is working on a Design Wall more like improvisational jazz, offering more freedom for the piece to grow and develop as it wants?
It can be--although it's hard for a perfectionist like me to let loose and just let it flow like jazz.   At some point, you can get into "The Zone" and just let it come ...  I tend to be more deliberate and take more time than being in the moment allows.  Usually, I have something in mind before I start, something that's been percolating for some time on the ideas level.    For the bluebird quilt above, I thought I wanted to use that lovely pink snow dye, but it didn't make it into the final piece.  I used the dyed cheesecloth instead because it was more opaque -- like a tree full of spring blossoms is opaque, allowing you to see the sky through all those sweet flowers.



When I'm creating composed fabric from scraps, that whole process feels very improvisational.  I never quite know what I'm going to end up with.  I may start with a general idea like Fall Colors but then the process takes over : a little of this- a little of that - a little bling here - a little sparkle there.  And then there's the stitching for a whole other dimension. 

Does a sketchbook lock you into a design that may or may not be possible in real life?
I don't usually feel like a sketch locks me into the original design--Of course, I might feel differently if I were designing a building with millions of dollars were at stake.   To me the sketchbook is just a step in the creative process.  A placeholder for possibilities, rather than a blueprint etched in stone.  I'm usually working out the process as I go along, and wouldn't necessarily know that I needed to do B before A until I get there.

String Improvisations : 2 Potholders and a Pillow


I had 6 extra blocks leftover from the Black-White-and-Red String Quilt.  At first I sewed them together 2x3, but that seemed a little wide for a table runner.  Then I thought I could pull them apart into the current configuration : 2 single potholders, and a 2x2 pillow.    This is such a great and easy way to put together single blocks for potholders.  I made these 2 for my Sweetie who does most of the cooking at our house.  Big enough for his hands, with 2 layers of batting for extra protection from any hot pans.  Works like 2 charms!

I haven't quilted the big quilt yet.  Since I hadn't pre-washed the fabric nor the muslin foundations [I know--I know : I've been on the lookout for the Quilt Police ever since!], I wanted to do a test run with these smaller blocks.


The perfect pillow for my reading nook on the porch!

The verdict is that I think I'll be just fine. I was actually hoping that the foundation fabric would shrink up more than it did.  I know the Hobbs 80/20 batting will shrink up in the bed quilt.  That's what gives it that nice antique-y look and feel.   This old mattress pad in these smaller pieces didn't shrink at all.  It's been washed so many times, it's done shrinking--but then, that's the beauty of such materials.

Tree of Life : Wall Quilt Completed


[Click on the tree to view a larger size.]
This quilt has been in the works for about 2-1/2 years now.   It wasn't difficult, though it looks putsy.  I just needed to put in the time--and take my time with it.   I am grateful for the sewing table my husband made for me a few years ago.  It makes free-motion quilting so much easier than it used to be.

Detail photos of the quilting ...  I used my new embroidery threads to quilt it.  It's a strong polyester with a nice sheen.  I don't have to worry about the threads breaking as I would with rayon.   And I have so many colors in the set that it's easy to find a match! 



 



Detail of the stitching on the tree trunk.   
The edges of the tree were top-stitched down to the background layer of the quilt top, along with a stabilizer.  Then I quilted the background through the quilt sandwich (batting and backing included).  This helped to make the tree pop out.  

Originally, I wasn't planning to quilt/stitch on the tree, but I had a doodle in my sketchbook that my mother happened to see.  She liked it and encouraged to transfer it to the Tree above.  
It worked out nicely!

 

Although I love Hobbs 80/20 batting for bed quilts, I find that it sags over time (gravity's effect on all of us!)  in wall hangings.  I know people like to recommend Warm'n Natural which was originally designed for window quilts / winter insulation, and does NOT sag.  Although I've used it, it just doesn't puff up and look like quilts.  They are too flat for my tastes.  I've started using old mattress pads (after the parts that wrap around your mattress pooch out and tear off).  The padded part makes a nice puffy batting for wall hangings, that doesn't sag.     These are also good for quilted pillows and pot holders.    It's a great way to recycle them, too.  They're good yet, even if they won't stay on your bed!


I haven't done up an official quilt label yet.  I don't have a great way to do it yet.  My printer doesn't do fabric, and writing with a fabric pen is functional, but doesn't look so nice.   At this point, I just have the info written on an old library catalog card (recycling again!) pinned to the back.  Someday, I'll do a batch of them at once. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Old Barn


I've been wanting to try my hand at iPhonography, so I used one of my Barns-of-Wisconsin pics.  First I worked it up in Photoshop Elements,  with basic edits, repairs, cropped, adding a number of textures.  Then I moved it over to my iPhone and iPad respectively, using a number of different Apps.  Let's hope the metadata gets transferred when I send them back to my laptop! (Unfortunately, the only one that sent meta-data was Waterlogue.)

My first thought was to use Waterlogue on a Red Barn, so indicative of the Wisconsin rural landscape. Yup--You can tell it's farm country even in this rendition.

Then I took the same base photo and ran it through a few other Apps, like SnapSeed and Distressed FX, PicTapGo, and 100 Cameras.    These filters in the Photo Apps are not unlike the Actions in PhotoShop.  I feel like when I find an effect I like, I could deconstruct it -- do it manually, so to speak.  Like this one :

 
It appears to have upped the contrast and downed the saturation.  Why didn't I think of that?  I think this is my favorite treatment.  It might have been in Snapseed?  I was hoping that the metadata would transfer when I saved them to my laptop, but none of that came along, and I was having too much fun to take good notes on the process.  So much of it is trial and error--playing until you see something you like enough to save.  This one makes it look more like a November sky.




Here's the photo I started with.  One from my "drive-by" series of Wisconsin Barns.  Because we were in motion, the foreground is a little blurry and out of focus.   It's an effect that works for this scene.

As an aside, I regret doing that drive-by series now.  Many barns fell down under the weight of last winter's excessive snow and extreme Polar vortex temperatures.  These barns deserved more time and attention than a sloppy drive-by photograph.   I started the series because I knew these barns would no longer be part of the WI landscape one day.  That day has come sooner than I thought.  So for Labor Day, my husband and I went for a drive around Lake Winnebago with the express notion of taking some decent barn pictures--where we actually stopped the car, and got out to shoot.   Calumet County has some magnificent barns : It is farm country, meaning people actually still make their livings off the land, and so they keep their barns in working condition.  I have quite a few new pics in the stock files now!

 
Here's the base photo I worked up in PSE, with the recipe :

Layer 1) Background image
Layer 2) Copy layer 1 - erase crappy tree and crop
Layer 3) Copy Layer 2 - Multiply blend mode at 13% opacity
Layer 4) Kim Klassen's Stained Texture - Darken at 77%
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's Partings Texture - Multiply 21%
Layer 6) Kim Klassen's Stained Texture (again) - Screen at 5%
Layer 7) Kim Klassen's Revolution Texture - Multiply at 53%

After that, I added a graduated tint in Picassa to subdue the sky.

Here are a few more versions :  Sorry, I can't tell you what app they cycled through :




I think it was 100 cameras with some amusing and interesting names for their filters.   I think the last one had something about ghosts in the title.   The emulsion texture layer kind of does look like ghosts floating through the image ...   It's amazing how the various textures and treatments change the mood of the image.

I've been looking at this online iPhonography class, thinking about taking it ...  but the last 2 classes I've signed up for, I haven't been good about doing the lessons for various reasons--too much content, no time, too many professionals in the class and I just can't compare my stuff with theirs [Yeah--maybe a few personal demons rearing their ugly heads here, too) ...  I'm afraid I might waste the money again ...  I did find the guy's book at my local public library.  I will study that ...  At the same time, I'm really enjoying the weekly Texture Tuesday challenges which are pretty wide open as far as what to submit.  I know enough to be productive without having to go through a lesson.  It feels good!

Sharing with  The Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Magnificent Grunge Work Horse


Magnificent Grunge Work Horse [aka "The Tinker Horse"]
[Click on the image for a larger view.]

This magnificent piece of sculpture stands in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  This huge rusty draft horse is made entirely of recycled metal parts.  Gears, chains, wire, shovel heads ...  It's amazing!  The longer we looked it, we discovered new things incorporated into it.  It's a beauty to behold!  We were mesmerized by it.  It also says a lot about horses being replaced by "iron mules" when tractors came into use.  My dad even talks about what a revolution that was in farming.  You didn't have to feed a tractor through Winter, or stop working when it was tired.   Still, there's a beauty and a nostalgia about horses -- even work horses.  Maybe that's why we think of the winter sleigh ride with the neighbor's Clydesdales as such a treat!

I tried to find out who the artist was--there was no title card near it on the street.  Anyone out there in blogland know the sculpture artist?

I love-love-love the way this turned out! : No wonder with my love affair with grunge and rust.   This feels so much more comfortable for me than the flowers posted last week.  If I have a personal style, this is probably it.
Photo Processing on this Image:
Layer 1 : Background Image
Layer 2 : Copy Background Image - remove Security Camera in Right upper corner
Layer 3: Copy Layer 2 - Soft Light Blend Mode - 50% opacity
Layer 4 :  Kerstin Frank Texture - Multiply - 48% - masked off of horse
Layer 5 : 2LO Junkyard2 28 Texture - Multiply - 52% - masked off horse
Layer 6 : Polaroid 5 - Screen - 78% (added last as a frame)
Layer 7 : Kim Klassen Beekeeper Texture - Soft Light - 74%
Layer 8 : Copy Layer 7 - Multiply - 63%
Layer 9 : 2LO Relic 17 Texture - Soft Light - 45%

Sharing with  The Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.
 
“Texture

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Texture Tuesday A Dream is a Wish ...



I've had this photo for a few years now, not quite sure what to do with it--until now!  I woke up with this old Disney princess song in my head., and it suddenly clicked with this pic ...  and then the flourishes -- Obsidian Dawn and Kim Klassen's original Flourish and the subtle magic texture.

Photo Processing Recipe
Layer 1) Background - cropped
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Screen blend mode - 19% opacity
Layer 3) Text - Tangerine Font
Layer 4) Obsidian Dawn Brush Flourish under text
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's Flourish Texture - Flipped - Multiply 27%
Layer 6) Kim Klassen's Flourish Magic Texture - Screen 16%
Layer 7) Color Fill Frame - Soft Light - 38%

Sharing with  The Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.




“Texture