Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Colors, 2

Back in prehistoric times, when I was a kid, Santa put oranges in my family's stockings. A friend mentioned that Santa did the same for her, too. Santa must have some kind of tradition. We kids were puzzled--what good were oranges when candy would have been so much better? You certainly couldn't play with an orange. It just made a big round lump in the toe of the stocking...every Christmas.

Fast forward to centuries later: now I can understand the miracle of oranges because I have been picking them for the last month or so in my orchard.

Lush, sweet, juicy fruit that starts green and slowly turns to a deep red-orange as the
temperatures go down. A cheerful color against green leaves in the middle of the gray of winter. A feast for the eyes, not to mention the healthy aspect of all that natural vitamin C.

Right in season, a bowl of oranges served as a subject for the Sketch Club last week. A blind sketch first.

Then a "half" blind sketch (one eye peeking) with colored pencils added.

The lovely colors tempted me to turn to my textile sketchbook. I took out my handy glue stick and attached 
a floral cotton print from a flea market blouse to a notebook page, then sewed it down. 

I cut directly into the fabrics (very liberating, I felt like a kindergartner) and laid down the shapes, which I glued and stitched by machine. 

I added the text, "Holiday Colors in my Garden,"
and some machine embroidery, scribbling with the machine.
Santa is right; every stocking should have a beautiful orange in the toe.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" and Leah's "Free Motion Quilting Project."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Colors, 1

My garden has the holiday spirit with its show of those wonderful complements, red and green. As temperatures drop certain succulents become tinged in red, such as my "green roses,"

this rather wide, flat succulent,

and the jade plants.

The prize-winner for holiday decor, however, is this beauty that tries to imitate leafy plants.
What color!
And wishing you a Bear-y Colorful and Happy Holiday Season 
with your loved ones!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

When Sketch Club Meets Textile Sketchbook

Proof that I'm behind on everything: I finally finished my September sketchbook/journal page about the fruits from my garden. 

It started with fabric stitched to a page of drawing paper in the looseleaf notebook that serves as my textile sketchbook.

The idea for this page came from the Sketch Club. A friend and I (and any grandchildren who might be around) get together to draw and paint about 
once a week. I recycled an 11" x 7 1/2" planner for a sketchbook, gluing in plain paper on some of the pages. 

Fruit always makes a good subject--easy shapes, interesting colors. We began with a couple of blind sketches--notice my first one is done on top of math problems done with my granddaughter on skype....math at midnight (ha! an alliteration--literary terms are invading my brain; residual effects of teaching literature).

Next, a sketch with watercolors.
Putting aside my planner/sketchbook, I sketched on the backside of my fabric page

and outlined it with machine stitching when I got home.

I pinned fabrics to the right side of the fabric page, using the watercolor as a color reference and sewed everything down by machine. 

First time around, sewing on the backside sketch with navy blue thread, instead of black. 

On the fabric side, I added machine embroidery, thread painting. Thinking about a light source I tiled in the background.
Text added and finally finished. 
Cross-hatching with a permanent felt pen helped create the shadowed area.
The presence of a full spectrum of color pleases me and suggests the warmth of early Fall in Tunisia. Green in the stems, yellow to orange in the background, pink to maroon in the grapes, purple figs, and a touch of blue in the shadows. 

That is what life should be: a full spectrum of color with delicious, ripe fruit to eat...

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fall Garden 2013

My wool coat came out only three days ago. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons in Tunisia because the weather remains pleasant and the garden has a last burst of growth before the cold sets in.

 Like me, the entrance alley has aged. I remember when it was smooth and flat. These days, I find wrinkles appealing.

The smallish pomegranate trees' leaves are turning yellow as the temperatures drop into the fifties and high forties. Storms are on the horizon.

My kitchen door and patio viewed from the outside. A friend gave me a tall stack of plastic pots, which I put to good use, given the explosive reproduction rate of plant life this Fall.
I bought a couple of cement artichokes and painted them a soft green. They make up for the lion statues that I really want. New plants, including a small cypress tree (quite a number of those have appeared out of nowhere as well), and some rock stacks now keep the big green pot the place of the lion statue that I really want (!).

More new additions: Spiky succulents fill in the spaces between the white planters.

A piece of leftover wrought iron fence forms the base of a plant shelf, supported by rocks. An oven rack, painted black, sits on top to hold plants.

The plants make good subject matter for drawing...Lots of possibilities.

New additions grace the Roman Rock Table, including a shelf on the lower left..

Rocks support this particular shelf, which is another oven rack. I drilled a hole in the bottom of an old blue enamel pot in order to plant interesting thematic grouping.

Because of my new teaching job, I have been unable to work on mosaic pots (heartbreak), however, recycling remains high on my list. An old hibachi, painted black, contains plants and rocks,
while the hibachi racks make mini-shelves to hold cacti planted in plastic soda bottles.

And my favorite new additions are these little tin men (about 2" high), which are souvenirs from South Africa. One plays a drum while the other reads a book. Their little black "table" is made of stacked (gas) stove burners. 

 Recycling at its best.