Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The cookies have been baked, the presents are wrapped, and I'm anticipating one of the happiest Christmases we've had in years. We have a six-year-old who still believes in Santa Claus, a toddler who is in a constant state of wonder at all that's going on, and a baby who loves nothing more than to be snuggled. It's so much fun having grandchildren. Blessings abound!

Thank you for being a part of my journey through 2012 here on the Everyday Artist blog. I've appreciated all of your encouraging comments, and value the friendships that have grown through our communications with each other. I'm excited to see what 2013 has in store for us!
Wishing you and your family a joyful holiday!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 in Our Little Corner of the World

It was just a day like any other, I guess, but I got a real kick out of the whole 12-12-12 thing. I just think it's really cool! Like glancing at the clock and seeing that it's 11:11 or 10:01, or looking at my odometer and seeing 12,345. It's fun! Significant numbers give me a little burst of happiness.

So, I wanted to remember this very memorable day in my sketchbook. Since I was working at Artbeat gallery this afternoon, I sketched the view from the side window, looking out at High Street, the main drag through Waynesburg, PA.

I liked the banners hanging from the lamp posts, especially the one with the beauty queen on it. (One of our local girls won the Miss Ohio pageant this year.) The other banner salutes a native Greene Countian who won a bronze medal for wrestling at the 2012 Olympics.

The drawing's a bit wobbly since I had to stand at the window to draw, but I like the resulting casual look. In between talking to visitors and waiting on customers, I added the watercolor. As the afternoon shadows lengthened, the foreground was bathed in shadows, while the old bank building across the street, with its stately columns, caught the last of the sunshine on this cold December 12, 2012.

Did you do anything special to commemorate 12-12-12?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tucks + Quilting + Applique = An Elegant Master Bedroom

For the past several weeks, I've been working on a pretty bedroom ensemble for one of my favorite customers. A lush cream-colored cotton sateen with a silky sheen was her fabric of choice for the bedspread and pillows, with accents of antique gold sateen. The gold fabric echoes the color of hundreds of brass nail heads which march along the wall just above the chair rail and below the crown molding. The deep purple walls gleam with flecks of gold.

To add interest to the wide expanse of the bedspread, I stitched criss-crossing rows of 1/2" tucks.

In keeping with the overall simplicity of the bedding design, only three pillows were used, two king-size shams and one bolster.

The shams feature oversized hand-appliqued monograms and rows of vertical tucks. It took a little extra time to do the monograms, but I enjoyed relaxing with some hand-sewing for a few hours, and I love how the monograms turned out.

The bolster pillow has a center section that I quilted by machine. The diamond pattern adds much-needed texture to the bedding but is understated, giving it a look that is elegant but not over the top. Shirred side sections and multiple cream-colored trims complete the design.

I like adding unexpected touches to the embellished items I make, like the radiating lines on the ends of the bolster, below. I could have left the fabric unquilted, but isn't this so much nicer?

The wooden bench that sits at the end of the bed got a makeover, too. Bold stripes on the slipcover and pillow add a splash of the purple wall color to the center of the room. The slipcover is fully lined and attaches to the bench with hidden Velcro closures.

The bench's bolster pillow has an elaborate quilted center section that really makes it something special.

A cable design takes center stage. It's surrounded by tight stippling (vermicelli-type quilting) which compresses the batting and gives the cable more dimension. A scalloped border and more stippling, in a larger scale, complete the design.

Gathered ends are finished off with covered buttons and accented with twisted cord. (Can you tell where the ends of the cord are joined? That's a good gauge of someone's sewing skills. It's really tough to make the join look good on a 6" circle like this one!)

Yesterday, after I installed the dust ruffle, smoothed every wrinkle out of the bedspread, plumped the pillows, and made sure everything looked perfect, I called my customer into the room. When she saw her beautiful new bedroom, the look on her face was priceless. Surprise and happiness came first, then amazement, as she studied all the little details. Her excitement and appreciation made all those hours of careful work worthwhile - I love making people happy!
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