Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Welcome to the Florabunda Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Florabunda Blog Hop for Melanie Testa new line with RJR Fabrics.
RJR will be highlighting some of the blog hop participants and will host a 5-day-long giveaway through Instagram. (Follow them on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/rjrfabrics/). 

Quilty Box , a company that sells and ships specially selected fabrics, tools and other exciting products for quilters by subscription, will also have special offers for those who follow Florabunda! Blog Hoppers on Instagram (don’t forget @RJRFabrics, @QuiltyBox and @MellyTesta) to increase your chances for winning the give-aways).

There are 12 quilt makers and artists participating, and all of us have made quilts and usable items showcasing Florabunda! Join us each day through June 16. 

June 7: Tiffany Hayes 

June 8: Deborah Boschert

June 9: Sara Mika

June 10: Lyric Kinard

June 11: Kathy York

June 11: Teri Lucas

June 12: Susan Brubaker Knapp

June 12: Leslie Tucker Jenison

June 13: Tiffany Hayes 

June 13: Jamie Fingal - ME!

June 14: Heidi Kelly

June 15: David Gillieland

June 15: Melanie Testa

June 16: Melanie Testa

I pre-fused all of the fabrics with Mistyfuse. If you follow me, you know how much I love hexagons and Sizzix. It is much easier to have this machine do the precision cutting than me. I have arthritis in my hands. When using this machine, I can stack up 7 layers of fused fabrics on the die to cut. For this project I used the tendrils, be gel and the zig zaggle.

Here are some of my cuts

Putting it together and trying to make it work with color and contrast. Turning some fabrics so they don’t go in all of the same direction. I want a flow

These fabrics have been fused to wool blended felt, not batting. Backed with more of Melly’s fabrics. Just starting to free motion quilt in an organic flowing plan with leaves and stems

I am really happy how it looks. This is to show you the quilting up close

Some artsy shots. This one is on the fence near the train tracks in bright sunshine. I love how the vines really pop on this 18x18 wall quilt

On the scissor door leading into my studio and a change in the colors a bit

Last one in the garden outside the door of my studio. Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Join Me at Craft Napa in 2019

Craft Napa for 2019 is a tremendous way to jump start your creative year! Registration begins on June 1, 2018. The retreat takes place at Embassy Suites in Napa, CA. I will be teaching, along with this amazing group of teachers. January 10-13, 2019. 

I am teaching two full day classes and a night class. I absolutely love teaching at this venue. The full day class start at nine in the morning and goes till five, and you get a two hour lunch. There is also a vendor night on Friday, where I will be selling my artwork and bundles of fabric. My first class is on Thursday ‘write your own story’ and making a typewriter quilt. 

Thursday night from 6:30-9:30 I will be teaching ‘stencil scrumble’ using my vast collection of StencilGirl stencils

Friday bring back my faces class that was a huge success last year ‘picture this: faces in fabric.’ All of the details are on the Crafting a 
Life website. This is a remarkable retreat and my favorite place to teach. Embassy Suites offers a complimentary hot breakfast and wine and snacks in the late afternoon. There are unique restaurants nearby that you can drive to or take a Lyft. Plenty of fun things to do in and around Napa. I hope to see you there!

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Garden, My Other Studio

Memorial weekend is my time to do some major gardening in preparation for Summer

A new succulent garden. Since I’ve been working with a personal trainer since January, I can now carry a 40 pound bag of rocks

The bird cage used to be a bird feeder, but it now filled with trailing flowers

This area is beautiful, but the nasturtiums are getting a little weary in places, so this is my concentration for the weekend redo

Love this hedge of bougainvillea. We have about a dozen of these gorgeous plants in our yard

This garden has a combination of succulents and flowers

The middle of this garden. Love the succulents with the hot pink flowers and I wish I could remember the name of this plant

Growing green beans in these pots. Going to plant watermelons and cucumbers too

My tiny sweet pea garden. One of my most favorite flowers and next year I want a larger garden of these flowers

Two friends enjoying the garden 

Sadly, our two huge Schefflera trees are dead, but the bougainvillea makes a nice place for the vines and blooms

This area is partially cleaned out and new flowers have been planted and a larger bird cage on the left hold more trailing flowers

I love really unusual plants and this one is pretty cool. The name is a Lions Head and they like full sun. It is in the hottest part of our yard.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Painting with Watercolors

I am in love with this pad of watercolor paper by eeboo. The pages are 6-1/2 by 9-1/2” of Italian cold press paper and features the whimsical artwork of Monika Forsberg. 

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I made a memory page of my experiences.

I’ve been trying to draw and paint at least once a week. My collection of houses.

These are the kinds of watercolor paints that I prefer to paint with when I am in town on plastic palettes

I love drawing imaginary flowers

And houses

And tools of my trade

And this one for Mother’s Day. A self portrait with my favorite dog Bandit sitting in my garden. Drawing and painting is so relaxing and it feeds my soul. 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Studio Spring Clean Blog Hop

Cheryl Sleboda gave a shout out on Facebook for anyone who wanted to participate in her annual Spring Clean blog hop! I looked around my very messy studio and decided to rise to the challenge and join in on the fun! 

Here is an example of stuff. I tend to load up counter areas which become a total mess and not very usable. There is a light box under there.

I decided to move my Sizzix Big Shot Pro and does to this area. I went through all of my books too. Now the cutter has a better place to be and all of my dies are easily accessible.  

This is supposed to be my drawing desk, but as you can see there is no room to sit down and just draw. Fabric everywhere. Did I tell you I’m a fabric designer? I design for RJR Fabrics! 

I moved my sewing machine table to where my desk was and this is working out much better. My studio is in an industrial building and sort of like a concrete shoe box. I have a truck door at the back and double doors in the front. There is a huge compression fan mounted on the ceiling that always adds a lot of black dust to my sewing machine, so there is the reason for the swap.

I only make wall quilts and I am a major Mistyfuser. These Iris Chests are filled with fused fabrics by collection of RJR Fabrics. The bins to the left are also fused fabrics by color from other fabric companies.

This is a bakers cart. All of my projects are on trays and inserted in this cart. I can take out a tray and put it on my table to work on. I can see it, therefore I won’t forget about it.

I wish I could say that this got cleaned up, but no. I think it will be forever messy. My painting and stenciling area. I design stencils for StencilGirl Products. I love the IKEA carts for my paint supplies!

Left wire rack is thread, Rick rack, embroidery thread, sewing supplies which all needed to be reorganized. The fabric on the right are from my lines with RJR Fabrics -Hopscotch is a blender line with 84 colors and 11 hand drawn designs, and Sewing 101 is all about my favorite things in my sewing room. These fabrics are waiting to be cut into fat quarters. Waiting for my fairy god mother to arrive

Totally cleaned out and reorganized. I can easily find everything

This is my stash of the fabrics that I have designed in an Ikea shelf unit. You may be asking about the sign? I do have positive affirmations all around my studio because they make me happy

This is the main part of my stash wall with my polka dot collection. These are stored in CD shelves

My row of ikea shelves and cabinets. There is no electrical on this side of the room, so this was the perfect place for all of the white shelves. My goal is to keep stuff off of the floor, you know like boxes, bags and things that I am lazy about putting away. Just do it!

I was hoping to clear this stuff out, but alas it sits waiting for me to clean it up. The bins on the right store all of my quilts by subject or series

My studio is my happy place. I work full time as an artist Monday through Friday. It may never be totally clean, but I am happy with that. It’s all mine and I can make huge messes and I don’t have to clean them up!

Here is the lineup of bloggers
April 23 - Lori Crawley Kennedy - http://theinboxjaunt.com/ 
April 24 - Jennifer Thomas - http://curlicuecreations.blogspot.com
April 25 - Robin Koehler - http://nestlingsbyrobin.blogspot.com 
April 26 - Andi Barney- https://www.andibarney.com/
April 27 - Misty Cole - http://www.mistycole.com/blog
April 28 - Carolina Moore- http://alwaysexpectmoore.com/
April 29 - Heather Pregger - https://heatherquilts.blogspot.com/
April 30 - Linda Bratten - https://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/
May 1 - Lisa Reber - https://www.dippydye.blogspot.com/
May 2 - Teresa Coates - http://www.crinkledreams.com
May 3 - Lisa Chin - http://www.lisachinartist.com/
May 4 - Jamie Fingal - http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/
May 5 - Sam Hunter - www.huntersdesignstudio.com 
May 6 - Jessee Maloney - www.artschooldropout.net/blog
May 7 - Rhanda Parrish - http://www.sewartsyfartsy.com/
May 8 - Sarah Vedeler- https://meaningoflifedesigns.com/
May 9 - Jessica Darling - https://jessicakdarling.com/
May 10 - Melody Crust - http://www.melodycrust.com/
May 11 - Debby Brown - http://higheredhands.blogspot.com
May 12 - Cheryl Sleboda - http://blog.muppin.com

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Power of Women

I am making a life size self portrait for The Power of Women special exhibit in Houston. There are 3 layers of quilting opportunities for this exhibit. The deadline is July 13. This portrait is for the lowest layer. I start most of my portrait work with an actual size drawing. This is on giant graph paper that is scotch taped together. 2 feet wide by 6 feet high

I am going to lay the drawing under a Goddess Sheet. You can see the lines underneath. This is my guide. I am fussy cutting the head with my Havel’s scissors 7” with fine teeth and a serrated blade. They hug the fabric to prevent slippage 

Now for my signature motifs on my head. A cup and saucer with a house in the cup. And she has a body too. This entire quilt will be made using fabrics from my two lines with RJR Fabrics: Hopscotch and Sewing 101. All of my designs are hand drawn.

My first Bernina, the one that I can easily carry. 153QE. I have jeans on with rips in the knees.

Progressing slowly and now I have Birkenstocks and striped socks on my feet. She just needs a little tweaking before I make the background. Onward and upward.

Here is the other quilt that I made for the top layer of this exhibit 36x36 The Artful Garden. It is block printed with my own designs and made into blocks with fabrics from RJR. My shoes match! It made for a fun picture.