Yesterday evening I spent some brain-free time sitting in front of my computer watching a streaming Clint Eastwood film (one of his newer ones) on Netflix and messing about with a rock. Well, small 'river stone,' really - that's what we called them in my childhood. A stone rounded by water.
I have long admired the lace-covered stones that Marge makes on Resurrection Fern -- between those and her photos, it's a blog worth reading. :) Anyway, I finally found a nice rounded stone and went to covering it with crochet last night. Now, I learned to crochet as a teen and was once rather busy with it ... haven't done much of it in years because I really enjoy knitting more -- the crochet items that really attract me are the lace doilies and such. I don't even remember the names of the stitches correctly - but I can still make them. :) This stone was fun to cover as I just had to feel my way and do it 'organically,' stitch by stitch, until it covered the rock.
I like how it looks - now I have to keep my eyes open for water-round stones. My yard has plenty of rocks dumped into places for drainage (mostly) and to keep the grass down on the small hill side ... but those are sharp-edges stones, mostly granite and gneiss. :)
The month of August has three of my staff members celebrating birthdays so I'm trying to finish three small quilted gifts to give. I finally managed to complete the first one and am half-way finished with the second (top is pieced, needs to be quilted).
Some years ago, when Moda first began to experiment with pre-cuts, they issued these lovely tins filled with a set of charm squares (5") for several of their collections. This little quilt (maybe 18"x24"?) is made from Cinnamon Stars by Fig Tree Quilts.
I have an exaggerated sense of satisfaction from making up this little quilt - all out of proportion to the finished piece. :) I found my little set of four? five? different tins-with-fabrics as I was cleaning out my office last month. Makes me very happy to finally sew them up - and to have a good use for them. :)
The other thing I've been doing yesterday and today is more of a 'tell' than a 'show' - there is a really nice video class online for a new-to-me book binding method that I want to try out (I tweeted about the site last week - would have to go look through my tweets to find the link, if anyone is interested).
Part of the process suggested is to collect the fold-out paper pamphlets that paint companies make to show rooms in coordinating colors. These are then gesso'd and used as the pages in a book making project. I've owned a can (pint? quart?) of gesso from Pearle art center for years (ten?) without using it. So, rather than using the pages to glue paper backgrounds of various kinds onto (as I normally would do since I enjoy collage making), I got out my gesso and went to it, beginning on Sunday afternoon.
Somewhere online I read a good discussion about putting gesso on paper the right way a while back - oh! You might not know what gesso IS, eh? Sorry. :) Gesso is finely ground plaster of paris, dissolved in a watery suspension - you spread it onto the substrate you want to use for painting (oil artists commonly use canvas fabric nowadays) and let it dry. The gesso base gives the surface to be painted some 'tooth' as artists say - it provides a texture for paint to stick to and prevents the paint from sinking into the fabric, wood, whatever you are painting on. I was putting the gesso onto the shiny, printed pages of the paint sample folios.
It has taken me several hours to do two layers of gesso on each side of my papers (with drying time between layers) ... and I'm not sure it will really work, ultimately. This is an experiment for me, for sure! In some small spots the gesso is flaking off and it hasn't covered the printing on the papers as well as I would like. The article I read a while back said this was likely due to cheap gesso - what do I know? :)
My plan is to take the gesso'd and dried pages home and paint, stencil, tart them up and then sew them together into a bound journal. We'll see how it goes -- I'll be sure to report on the project as I go onward. :)