A spare bedroom which serves as my sewing room and computer room is where I spend much of my time when indoors. Four years ago when we moved here, I painted it pink, but I have since gotten the need for that color out of my system. Hoping for a more sophisticated and organized look, I repainted this room a medium toned gold, and changed up the wall décor. Prior to Jocelyn moving to Scotland, she gave me a box of frames, and I chose several to highlight some collage art.
When you look from Fern Street up towards my house, on the right side, there once stood an untamed wilderness. The prior owner had tried to cover the ground with centipede grass, but little of it survived in the deep shade. Last year I had thrown some grass seed down which said it was guaranteed to grow in the shade. But I had failed to read the small print which said, “except in Mississippi”. I managed to get my money back anyway, arguing that “they” had no business stocking the shelves in Mississippi with something that was doomed to failure. After all, it is not as if we routinely carry a magnifying glass in our pocket every time we go to Walmart. This grass failure set me back an entire year!
Anyway, about a year and a half ago, I had plunged my shovel into the dirt, to break the ground of my Wilderness garden. Upon turning the dirt, I realized that I had just spliced the internet cable in half. Slowly trudging up the hill, I knew that the wilderness had trumped me. It took a week before anyone came out to reconnect the internet and another month for anyone to trench the cable. In the meantime I was buying as many privet, ligustrum and gardenia bushes on clearance from Lowes and Walmart in order to edge the property line.
I laid a curving path of hand painted square stones to look like a flowing stream through the woods, got my shrubs in, and found some azaleas and begonias. I bought a metal bench with an antler design and set it at the top of the slope, dug up an old rusty outdoor thermometer which was in the shape of an antlered deer, and got another rickety bench for free from the neighbors. But what to do about that area where no grass will grow?
That is when I saw a pathway for a shade garden done by Bob Vila. He had taken square stones in a solid color, and stenciled a design on top with a can of white spray paint. In the meantime I got some more free shrubs from the neighborhood, found 2 very large ferns in the woods down by the creek bed, lots of moss, more clearance flowers, some black mulch…the Wilderness theme was beginning to look less untamed and more like a park fit for the Queen of the Antler Bench. This is now one of my favorite sitting areas in my entire yard.
THE PUFF QUILT REVISTED
I have too many scraps of fabric lying around without a purpose, so I thought I would experiment with the Puff Quilt technique which I first saw back in the seventies. The Puff Quilt traditionally is built up of 4 inch squares upon which has been overlaid a 6 inch piece of fabric. These two pieces are sewn right sides together, and when turned right side out, they form a puffed shape and a clean outer edge. Puff squares are filled with batting and then sewn together with a 1/4 ” edge on the backside.
What I first did in this experiment piece, was to sew 9 square blocks together to form a 15 inch large square. This I overlaid on a 12 inch square, wrong sides together, after I had inserted in the middle batting scraps. I pinned the edges, and machine quilted each individual square. The result is that the top fabric is distorted into nine wavy looking blocks. I sewed the raw edges of the large blocks together so that there was a clean edge on the bottom side of the quilt. Once this was completed, I overlaid the top raw edges with a decorative strip of bias fabric, giving it a wavy effect, and then bound the entire quilt in a similar fabric.
FABRIC WALL ART-Birds In Flight
I was looking at bird images on the internet, and found a set of time lapse photos of a bird in flight. Using some scraps of old scarfs, I created this wall hanging which shows four positions of one bird in flight. I embellished the flower garden beneath the birds with some shiny sew-on squares and beads. Unfortunately my young cat attacks the shiny elements, and tries to rip them off with his teeth. He has yet to figure out that there are birds in this artwork also, and I am truly hoping he loses interest in this wall hanging soon.
FABRIC WALL ART- Tall Flowers in a Summer Garden
This piece was created using scraps and beads, and fraying the edges of raw fabric for a three dimensional effect. My main motivation for this piece was to have something to do when my husband’s cousin came to visit for a week. I put the main components together before our company arrived, and did the hand quilting while sitting around the living room in group conversation.
FIREPLACE MAKE-OVER-Faux Granite
We live in a middle class neighborhood; and the houses, while nice, were seemingly built using discounted materials. The fireplace, which is the main feature in our “great room” had a mantle which is too high, and painted all white. One day when my husband was away at a trade show, I decided to surprise him by painting the front to look like granite, using the basic colors in this room. It turned better than I had hoped, and thankfully Gary really likes this look, so I did not have to come up with another scheme.
STARLIT GARDENS WALLHANGING
A couple of years ago Jocelyn gave me two wool wall hangings which they had acquired years before from south of the border. They had accumulated a lot of dirt, so I hand washed them carefully and laid them out flat to dry. For some reason they did not dry correctly, and became grossly distorted versions of their old selves. However, I loved the large flowers, and cut them up and put them with some other upholstery fabric flowers on a starlit background. This piece presently hangs over the twin bed in my sewing room. This design turned out rather intriguing in that I have noticed several persons, who were not the original owners of the flowers, mesmerized by this art piece.
My youngest daughter Sarah lives in Austin, Texas, and since she is the only native born Texan in the family, her roots run deep in this unique state. Austin is a high energy city, sophisticated, yet bohemian. I can only afford to visit Austin if someone else picks up the tab, but this place is great fun if you enjoy the live jazz scene at the Elephant Room, original one-of-a-kind restaurants, and lively, off the beaten path discussions.
Apart from working long hours, Sarah has recently discovered a niche where she can exhibit and sell some of her art work through the RAW Artists commercial venue, which periodically sets up their show in Austin. In addition, Sarah has begun working with a large resort hotel where she teaches their clients how to paint a particular scene which she has designed, as an art oriented form of entertainment.
A video was done of Sarah’s first show and she is shown at the start here.http://youtu.be/hFs34pFHJRA
We had quiet rains throughout the night, and the leaves from the crepe myrtles, fruit, hickory, maple, and popcorn trees are on the ground. I did not get the right front yard finished as desired, as some of the shrubs and grass which I had planted in the spring were over stressed by a hot dry summer. But nonetheless, there are many changes which were made since some of you last visited.