Monday, April 02, 2012

INCREDIBLE INDIA December Journal Block

Still concentrating on my year of India, what a wonderful movie to see!
Be sure to catch this gem.  It is about a group of elderly who decide to retire to what they envision is this beautiful luxury hotel in India. What greets them is not exactly what they envisioned and it is interesting to see how each of them reacts and copes to the situation.  It is delightful and definitely worth seeing!

I have finished all my India blocks but it is time to catch you up to date.

Within the city of Ahmedabad, is a residential area in which Kalamkari textiles are produced.  This is an age old traditional textile which is very time consuming to produce. As we entered the village this young woman was working on a large piece, coloring in the larger areas with a crude type of brush.
The black lines are drawn with a thick black paste which is made from old, rusty metal and jaggery ( a form of raw sugar) which is boiled together for a long period.  Here they are soaking the metal so that it becomes rusty.
To draw the lines they use a type of narrow wooden stick...kind of like a pointed bamboo BBQ skewer is probably the best way to describe it.
Once the line work is done some of the areas are painted with various colors, such as the piece below.
Of course we all had a chance to try making our own small piece of Kalamkari. It is much more difficult than it looks, to draw the lines.
This is one of the women who was working on the Kalamkari and her baby.  It was very much a family business with everyone being involved in the process, from the adults to the children.  The older children were very precise in their painting skills.
This wonderful piece of Kalamkari was about the size of a lap quilt or maybe larger.  It took four months to produce and was selling for Rps. 8,000 which is approximately US$ 136.00.  We found it rather shocking that such wonderful hand made textiles were selling for so little. This is slowly changing in India.  The prices are slowly rising but handmade textiles still have a long way to go to be valued for their true worth.
For my second button block, I decided to try my hand at making my own Kalamkari piece. 
I started with a plain piece of muslin fabric, drawing my lines with not with the metal/jaggery mixture and a wooden stick, but with a Micron permanent black ink pen.
Various portions of the block were painted with Pebeo Setacolor Fabric Paints. 
Small black buttons were used for the spots on the horse. The block was densely hand quilted and bound in a metallic red fabric to pick up the color of the flying geese in the framing of the block.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fun Shoes

Stanley and I went bike riding a couple days ago.  The weather was beautiful! He enjoys riding as much as I do.
All that fresh air and excitement...and a rest felt good in the sun.
As I was sitting there, I got to thinking about "fun shoes".  Did you ever notice how when you wear your "fun shoes" you just automatically have a good day? Maybe it's because we wear those shoes when we go out to play.  Maybe it's because when we wear those shoes we smile more. Or maybe it's because when we look down at them, they bring out the inner child in us.  We forget all our problems and worries and just have fun. They give us a little added bounce to our step. They are the signal to stop working and play.
In our local souk, this display of fun shoes caught my eye.  The local girls seem to love these bright, funky high heels and you see them frequently peeking out from under their very serious looking, black abayas.

Maybe if we all wore our fun shoes everyday, even with our serious clothes, we would look at the world through more playful eyes and the world would be a better place because of it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Martingale's New Website and Blog

This beautiful photo comes from Martingale and Company's new website and blog,  You must stop by and visit.  They are offering books, eBooks, ePatterns, free books, free patterns, a weekly sale every Monday on great products, plus wonderful information and directions on how to quilt.  When you sign up to receive their free eNewsletter, you will also receive six free patterns that you can download.  What fun!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Sometimes Life gets in the Way

I have been silent on my blog for almost three months!  In some ways that has been good, in some ways not so good. I've missed my normal routine, the creative time I try to find in each day, my studio, my quiet time after breakfast each morning when I read and daydream, my exercise routine, riding my bike, eating healthy, play time with my Yorkie, Stanley, my blogging sessions, my day to day routine, and who I normally am.

But I have had a wonderful three months reconnecting with the dearest people in my life, exploring, and savoring many special moments.
 My son and his girlfriend came to visit from Hawaii so I got to play my Mom role once again and I treasure those days.  In everyone's busy life we don't get to spend  nearly enough time with the people we love.
 And then my best friend of 29 years came to visit the UAE after 26 years. Normally we meet each year in the U.S. when I fly back but this time she came to the UAE. All friends are treasures but old friends are the best! We fit together like an old pair of slippers that feel so good, when we put them on at the end of a long day. We have aged together, watched our children grow up and leave home, watched each other find our creative havens, and we've shared all our ups and downs throughout  the years. We always pick up right where we left off. She came with her son of 30, who had been born in the UAE, so of course we explored every nook and cranny in the country, as well as some of Oman.  My husband and I always enjoy seeing the country a fresh through others eyes. And of course then, we always realize why the UAE is the home of our hearts.
And then Wow! my husband turned the big 60! To celebrate we traveled to Malaysia, to the islands of Langkawi and Penang. Normally, we have very action packed holidays touring, or hiking miles and miles, or sailing. This time we decided to just rest, relax, swim, have long, lazy breakfasts, full days on the beach, 'happy hours' with good, cold, local beer, and long romantic dinners to reconnect with each other.  We took time to smell the flowers!  It was a wonderful time together which we both enjoyed.
It's amazing how quickly we settle back into our routines, once the dust settles. The house is quiet again and I'm back to being who I normally am and that's good.  It feels kinda like that old pair of slippers, that feel so good, when we put them on at the end of a long day. Ah....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winner of the Free Book: "Sew the Perfect Gift"

  I am excited to tell you that we had choose the winning number for comments that were left on my blog to win the book "Sew the Perfect Gift".  I am happy to announce that "Notjustnat" is the winner. Thank you all for stopping by to visit and leaving your comments. Enjoy Natima!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

INCREDIBLE INDIA November Journal Block

 Whether you are the driver or the passenger in India, road travel is always exciting. And if you need a taxi, they come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and styles.
One advantage of this vehicle is you get to know a lot of neighbors in your local area.

The most popular of all though is the tuk tuk. It's small but efficient, economical, can carry several passengers and all their shopping, and best of all it is covered so it makes for the best choice in bad weather conditions. 

                                                You're close to the driver so you can easily give him directions for your destination.

While waiting at the traffic light you can always engage in some friendly conversation with the people next to you.  

I thought it was a great way to travel around the city.

In my travels around India, the Tree of Life motif was one of the most beautiful and used in many different locations. This particular motif decorated the wall of a mosque.

Another particularly beautiful motif of the Tree of Life was in a temple in the city of Ammedabad.  It is wonderful with the grill work in front of a large tree.  The green leaves make a wonderful background for the motif. I wanted to use this Tree of Life motif for the first of my four blocks with one or more buttons.

The fabric used for the tree is a brown batik fabric. I used the fusible applique technique for the tree and stitched the edges of the applique with a hand Feather Stitch. The back ground fabric is a hand dyed gold fabric. The leaves of the tree are cut freehand and glued to the tree using fabric glue. An iron-on crystal complements each leave. Hand dyed buttons, of various sizes, where sewn to the trunk of the tree. 

The block was hand quilted and bound in a green striped fabric.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Win a Free Book "Sew the Perfect Gift"

Martingale and Company just released a new book entitled "Sew the Perfect Gift".
I was pleased to be asked, as one of their top 25 designers, to participate and design a project for the book. Lots of cute, quick projects for you to make for family and friends. 
If you would like to win a free copy of this book, just leave a comment on my blog. 
On Saturday 17th December, a lucky winner will be chosen.
I hope you win!