Prayer Flags Flying High (and mini tutorial)

I thought for sure that I had posted about making prayer flags but not so!  Prayer flags have a long tradition and they can be seen in many different configurations.   There is no right or wrong way.  There is a blog devoted to Prayer Flags at :  ThePrayerFlagProject.blogspot.com      There you will find tutorials and many examples of how various artists have interpreted and created their own Prayer Flags.  (mine are posted in March this year 2015)

I had thought about making and hanging some flags for well over a year and was waiting to be inspired it seems :)   A few months ago I was walking down the aisle of a local craft shop and found a package of burlap banner shaped pieces in the clearance section.  The first thing that I thought of was that they would be perfect for Prayer Flags.  And if I messed up, then the investment was minimal.

There were four of these burlap shapes in front of me looking like this:

burlap for flagseach measured 5 1/2 ” by 7 1/2 “

The first thing that I did before anything else was to stay stitch inside all the edges of all the flags to minimize fraying.  Burlap frays. I didn’t mind that,  It enhanced the rustic look that I was trying to achieve.  But I did want to contain the amount.    I used black thread and a zig zag stitch and stitched each flag on every side about 1/4 inch in from the edge.IMG_3498

        I figured there was no hiding of the stay stitching so I incorporated it into the overall design

You are goiing to need to attach a narrow muslin muslin hanging sleeve attachedsleeve to the top.  Do that now by machine UNLESS you are going to use that top space for your hand stitching later.  In which case you will attach the sleeve as the last step with each flag.

inspire_dream

Gather your fabrics and threads and design your flags.  I used muslin for the inspirational words, and a variety of fabrics: cheesecloth, bits of organza, felt, burlap.  Use whatever your design calls for!

hope_loveI also added a few beads, some ribbon and buttons and hand stitched with embroidery cotton of various sizes.      

The final step was to string the four finished flags together by running a length of hemp through the sleeves.

Details of the Four Flags Belowdetail_hope

detail_loe

detail_inspire

detail_dream

Monoprinting with a Gelli Plate – Yes It’s Addictive!

So I’m trying to get back on track and catch you all up with what I’ve been up to for the past 5+ months.  Only a PART of that time has been non art related – boo-hoo, but it will be in the future :)

Rather than try to squish it all into one post I want to tell you about an exciting day I had about a month ago making mono prints.  How many of you broke down and bough a Gelli plate when they came out?  Or at least were tempted to?

Well, I did, and it has been very busy collecting dust – well except for once when my friend and I got together and messed around with some fabric; neither of us knowing what we were doing.

So a local Art Supply store sponsored a half day workshop – a ‘how to’ to create mono prints with a Gelli Plate and I was first in line.

I can’t go through ALL that I learned that day but it was extremely productive and in addition to some beautiful prints that I brought home with me – here are the main points that I picked up.

1.  It can get messy: Do your printing in an area that can withstand the mess of spattered paint – get dressed with that in mind as well.

2.  Use OPEN acrylics.  Yes they made a huge difference!  I suppose if you’re very sure of yourself and can work very quicky you could get away with the much shorter drying time of regular acrylics.  But for a novice like me – or if you want to work extemporaneously, do use the Open type.

3.  Have a variety of objects at the ready to make marks.  Make sure that none of them are too pointy.  You don’t want to damage your plate.

4.  Use every bit of paint left on your plate – have a journal at the ready for instance so you can use the leftover paint to start backgrounds.

5.  Become intimately familiar with the color wheel and which colors NOT to mix together if you want to avoid mud.

6.  Just let ‘er rip – Use your imagination.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You’ll have an ugly print which you can then gesso over and reuse.

I’m eager to show you some of what I brought home with me that day.  Most of these were done on printing paper; some on card stock, and a few on 140 wt watercolor paper.

Next up – as soon as I can work in a day – will be fabric prints!

Some cards using Monoprint techniques with a Gelli Plate:

2 color monoprinted cardbronze_copper_card

Using Stencils with Monoprints

Using stencils in various combos

Trees blue_monoprint

trees_duo_monoprint

Some are even suitable for framing themselves; others can be used in whole or in part in other pieces.

IMG_3280

bronze and more  monoprint

bronze spiral Monoprit3color_monoprint

And look at what you can do by cleaning off your brayer on a sheet of printing paper!!!   :)

red_yellow_monoprint_edited-1blue_purple_monoprint

Tee, hee – Not bad for brayer cleaning, huh?  I won’t tell if you won’t tell!

Who wants to try mono printing next?

A Few Christmas Memories from a Jewish Grandmother

Abby peeking

 The earliest memory I have of Christmas was when Santa came into our living room, unannounced, and handed out cookies to my sister and I. We were so young at the time that my brother wasn’t even born yet! We found out later it was our elderly (she was assuredly younger than me at the time) next door neighbor Mrs. Dubs. We should’ve been tipped off by the hermit cookies she was famous for. But at ages 2 and 4 we were too ready and willing to believe it was really Santa. And I must admit, just a teensy bit scared of this bouncy red clad intruder.

A couple of years later – a bigger deeper voiced Santa appeared – very jolly and carrying lots of gifts. I remember not being quite sure of the situation – my little sister wasn’t either – but we were delighted nevertheless. It wasn’t until much later that we learned it was our daddy himself!

It was around that time, maybe a couple of years later that our mom would take us downtown and we’d visit Santa himself at Smith’s Department store. We’d then visit the perennial Christmas exhibit set up on the walkway between Smith’s and Bartlett’s (the snooty store). It was one of those you used to see with miniature mice sitting around playing cards and yet more mice jamming away on their musical instruments with appropriate Christmas music playing in the background.

We LOVED it and couldn’t wait to go see it each year.

 But it wasn’t long before that display was overshadowed by the one across the river. We’d all get on the bus at the Tunnel in downtown Windsor for the short drive across to the states. Once on the other side we’d trek on over to Hudson’s and join the throngs already assembled to ooh and aah at the window displays there. To this day I haven’t seen anything to quite match the magic and fascination of those Christmas scenes. There’d be anything and everything from solemn nativities to Santa’s elves at work to children singing around a beautiful twinkling tree.

 And I am so glad that my elementary school years were well before the years of rigid political correctness.   We had a Christmas pageant every year and for many of those years I got to sing in the choir. And I enjoyed every moment of it. As a little girl from a Jewish home who was simultaneously learning Torah and Hebrew, it didn’t bother me one bit that we were singing Odes to the birth of Christ. To me it was a time of fellowship and joy and I belted out those carols with gusto!

 And so I wish to all of you – whatever your personal beliefs may be – enjoy this time of year for the sheer joy of it. If your personal beliefs differ then take the opportunity to focus on the good in people. I believe that is always essential and especially when day after day we are reminded of the worst.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very Happy 2015 to all!

Tutorial – Fiber Art Collage – Greeting Cards

Fiber Art Collage

Here’s how I approach the process. It’s art, after all, so feel free to bend, change or ignore any of the following steps.    

Supplies: (read through the tute – it’ll make more sense)

  • Blank Greeting Card (or medium of choice for mounting)
  • Background Fabric – a scrap from your stash
  • Batting or stabilizer to match size of background
  • Various scraps of coordinating fabric, threads, fancy fibers, Angelina, cheesecloth, ribbons, other non-cotton scraps such as wool, silk, burlap etc.
  • Glue stick – acid free
  • Thread to sew together layers of the collage. Machine or embroidery thread
  • Other embellishments of your choice: beads, charms etc.

Method:

  1. Determine the overall “feel” of the piece – Elegant? Playful? Modern? Romantic?
  1. Gather from your scrap bag and from your stash – pieces and bits that you think might belong in this piece (I often use color as my theme)

 

Gather scraps and other possible materials to use

Gather scraps and other possible materials to use

  1. Vary these design elements such as you would for any composition
  1. I think of these pieces as mini art quilts and assemble in layers
  • Layer one – background (stabilized)
  • Layer two – texture and color
  • Layer three – focal motif   (just one example of my approach)

5.   If preparing your mini fiber art collage for a greeting card – roughly cut your background fabric to measure at least one inch in from all four sides.

 

photo 3 (2)

e.g. card is 5 by 7; background fabric no larger than 3 by 5

Your collage will be built on this background; may entirely cover it; may extend from any or all of the sides.   If you prefer a frayed edge, tear your fabric instead of cutting.

6.  Stabilize your background by whichever means you prefer (and happen to have on hand). I like to use something like Pellon Craft-fuse or Décor Bond. Or I may use regular cotton quilt batting.  If you use batting, cover it with muslin so that it will adhere firmly to the card.

Stabilizer of your choice added to wrong side of background fabric

Stabilizer of your choice added to wrong side of background fabric

7.  Add your texture and color elements into a design that pleases your eye. Pin first, then stitch to attach elements to background.   Or just go for it; don’t overthink t!

First layer enhanced by ribbon and hand dyed cheesecloth.

First layer enhanced by ribbon and hand dyed cheeseclot

another possibility explored

another possibility explored

8.  Quilt by machine or by hand with thread of choice. Get crazy!

First pass at the machine with a narrow zig-zag stitch.  You can see that I was tweaking as I went.

First pass at the machine with a narrow zig-zag stitch. You can see that I was tweaking as I went.

The angelina scrap was pinned to the piece after the stitching.

 9.  Add your final element(s). This may be a focal point OR it may be something (for example a circle of couching or beads) that enhances the focal element.  In this case I isolated one element from some vintage lace trim and painted it.

photo (1)

10.  Affix your completed piece to the front of the card with an acid free glue stick. (I like UHU best but also use Avery or others)

 Have fun!  I’d LOVE to see what you come up with.  Send a pic to me at Honeyquilts at gmail dot com and I’ll post it here!

an aside – I was just looking at the lace on the piece – it looks like a turkey head to me this morning!  Really!!  Is it just me?   gobble gobble :)

© Guila Greer 2014

This tutorial and all photos are the exclusive property of Guila Greer. It is for your personal use only. Please do not copy.
Thank you very much for your understanding.

Class Alert – Gorgeous Autumn Wallhanging (or Table Topper)

Tumbling Leaves Wall Hanging or Table Topper

Tumbling Leaves Wall Hanging or Table Topper

Grace your Thanksgiving table with this beautiful Tumbling Leaves quilt – shown in a versatile size ready to decorate your wall or your table throughout the season.

2 sessions on 2 consecutive Saturdays from 10 AM until 2 PM

 Part 1 October 18  10-2

Part 2  October 25  10-2

Call Quilty Pleasures in Simi Valley today to reserve your spot  805-581-1577

leaves_quilting

Closeup of Quilting

The Most Exciting Day of the Year – reposted from 2012 with Photos

 

A Windsor Parade Staple

A Windsor Parade Staple  1965                     Photo courtesy of Anne Walsh

I’d have a tough time getting to sleep the night before but when morning came I was wide awake and giddy with anticipation. Labour Day !!! It was always a big day in Windsor, Ontario where I grew up – what with Windsor being the automotive capitol of Canada. The unions were strong and what they did always had rippling repercussions throughout the city.

On this day there was always a huge parade down Ouellette Avenue to start things off in the morning. Brass bands, one after the other, and marchers – Labour’s finest – proclaiming proudly their local’s credentials. Even my Dad took part on occasion – being an active member of the American Federation of Musicians local 566 – established in 1911.

So we’d all get up, get dressed – forget about breakfast for me – I had far too many butterflies to swallow a thing! Then we’d walk a few blocks to the big intersection of Giles and Ouellette – where the Cenotaph proudly stood, find a prime viewing spot and eagerly wait for flag bearers to appear. If we kids needed a better view we took turns on our Dad’s shoulders. At 6 foot 5 he had a perfect vantage point.

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Marching Bands Galore    1965                                       Photo Courtesy of Anne Walsh

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1965 Labor Day Parade, Windsor                                      Photo Courtesy of Anne Walsh

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Vintage Cars  1965                                                                          Photo Courtesy of Anne Walsh

1965 Labor Day Parade, Windsor

1965 Labor Day Parade, Windsor                          Photo Courtesy of Anne Walsh

The parade was fun but that was not the main attraction for me on Labour day…the best was yet to come. Fireman’s Field Day and Carnival!

Immediately after the sounds of the last band faded we quickly headed home, got in our Oldsmobile and drove to Jackson Park. The Carnival – oh I must have sawdust in my veins – how I loved that Carnival. From Labour Day and for the week after – the carnival held me in its thrall. The crowds milling about – who would be there? Chances were we’d run into a bunch of people that we knew. The sounds of the rides, the shrill calls of the guys who wanted to sell you 3 tosses at the bowling pins, the sing song of the vendor with his awesome display of pink cotton candy – all beckoned.

The rides. It was a love/hate relationship – especially with the Ferris Wheel. It held a fascination for me and I loved being at the top and seeing all the way across town. But, you see, in those days I also had a bit of a fear of heights so there was always an edge of danger lurking.

The Carnival always came through and delivered on its promise of fun and excitement. Later I found out that the reason we called it Firemen’s Field Day is that it was sponsored by Windsor Firefighters.

Okay, so far we have a parade, a carnival, wonderful family day – but that’s not all that made this day so special my friends. This was the official last day of summer – next day – school! Now, bear with me. I know that for a lot of you that wasn’t exactly what you wanted to be looking forward to the next day but I was one of the kids who loved school. New pencils sharpened and ready – just could hardly wait to start the new school year.

So Happy Labour Day (or Labor Day) my dear friends and readers. I hope you have even a fraction of the fun that I remember on Labour Day and make some of your own memories. And whether you start school tomorrow or return to work and embark on some entirely new adventure I hope it will energize and delight you.

Photos provided courtesy of Anne Walsh of Windsor Ontario.  They were taken in 1965 by Anne’s husband and his father.  Thank you Anne!

Beach Buddies – featured on the Superior Threads Blog

I was so excited to see that Superior Threads has featured my art quilt “Beach Buddies” on their blog.

http://www.superiorthreads.com/blog/2014/8/superior-spotlight-guila-g/

Years ago I took a photo of my husband and oldest granddaughter walking on the beach. I always loved that photo and knew that someday I would do something special with it.  After learning more about making pictorial quilts, including a workshop with Wendy Butler Berns, I made this quilt.

I enjoyed the process of making it immensely – and loved quilting it with silk thread.  I used Superior’s Kimono #100, a very fine thread.

detail 1 I did the quilting with #100 Kimono Silk

Detail 1

 

Beach_Buddies_detail

Detail 2

 

detail 3

detail 3

detail 2 The little girl is my oldest granddaughte

Detail 4

 

And this is the photo that I took when my granddaughter was only 2 years old.  She is now a senior in high school !

This is the photo of John and Marley that I based

Original Photo