For lots of reasons I have not done much stitching at all for 2 weeks... One of the reasons was I was at a standstill with the CQJP until I could get images printed...  I was waiting for our pension checks to get new ink for the printer and I really needed a block of time to choose photos and edit them...  This morning those tasks were at the top of my list.

"Morris and his farm friends"  This block was almost complete except for the image.. Now that is done I can finish it  and cross it off my list...

"Morris loves Molly" This was a really hard one for images because I had soooooooo many loving photos of them together and had finally narrowed it down to 5 but made the final cut today..

"Morris the mover!" Finally the photo for this block   required extensive, time consuming editing... Morris continually patrols the house and gathers anything unattached and moves it to the living room and guards it..Then after a while he makes another patrol and adds to his stash.  He's a herding dog after all.  I had several photos of these stashes and used photoshop to combine them into one...  I plan to repeat the elements in his stash around the block for a "find it" activity..

I need to take care of my mother today but when I get home it is stitch, stitch, and more stitch... It will be so great to get back on track...

I put DH on a train to ND Monday morning so I have a few days alone and as usual my routine starts with card tables everywhere so I can have projects going simultaneously  without tidying up between..  One card table is always used for the cutting mat   or the paper cutter.  Here I am making more shipping envelopes from my endless supply of frost blankets from nursery days.. A little time consuming but free and a new use for something that would eventually end up in the land fill. When he is gone two or more weeks you can hardly get through the house for all the card tables (which are also a by product of nursery days)....


It's a small world

   In May I did a post on tips and techniques for selling from a booth...This summer I have done 4...three were profitable and one was a bust... Having done lots of shows large and small when we had the nursery, I'm not sure I want to do them again... They can be expensive and tiring. The art festival I did  last weekend was outdoors and out of town... It rained right up to the very day and then was fiercely hot and humid.

As I had suggested I set my display up at home ahead of time and paid careful attention to weight, space, and ease of toting it all there.  Along with a big smile I made sure I wore something bright and cheerful so people felt comfortable stopping to chat and shop.  I had a fold-up stool from the old days which is like a canvas director's chair.  I'd made a painting work area for it.  It swings open and shut, has a place for water, palette, and paints so they don't fall off. People were curious and stopped to watch me paint which I know  increased the sales...  The nice thing about buttons is  they don't take up a lot of space...  I did have to supplement with some garden pins, pincushions, etc.  Not a lot of inventory.

Now for the "it's a small world" coincidence.  A lady stopped by and was buying a lot of buttons and then introduced herself...  She was the president of the National Button Society and insisted I should get a booth at one of their conventions...either national or state.  It was her opinion I would do very well as my buttons are unique.. This is a venue I hadn't considered.. It so happens the national convention this year is in Portland, Oregon next week... Too late for this year but certainly something to consider before I give up button painting and I would have to paint a lot in advance to have enough inventory. But her encouragement and interest (and sales) certainly brightened my day.

I had a friend to stay with and I was lucky enough to get a spot under a tree in the shade as it was 90 degrees.  I don't know if I would have survived otherwise... I don't have a canopy anymore and have since decided I don't want to invest in another...  That will limit me to indoor venues..  But the hours are long (9 hours) and booth space is expensive and I am older and tire more easily... I won't say never but I'll be very selective...  

One last suggestion...if you do a booth make sure you have someone take a picture, not only of the booth, but with you in... So later you can be objective about how customer friendly your booth is...


"Button Lady" would you paint?????

Last weekend I had a booth at an art festival in Idaho.  Every time I bring my buttons out in public I get various requests to paint new subjects... Some I can quickly say "never".... such as a motorcycle or a spinning wheel.  But this time I did get two I'm going to try.... a frog and an iris...  I had actually thought of doing a frog ever since I did this one on Cathy L's gold work block.

I had stitched this iris on a block for Cathy Kizerian some time back and think I will try  an iris on a button... The problem with iris are the leaves which are strong and linear which is not especially compatible with a round button shape...

I think I will experiment with some Art Nouveau elements such as in this block...  I hadn't remembered using so much gold in this Art Nouveau block.... I guess my love affair with gold goes a way back... I had also forgotten the black fan seam which I really like and must use again... Sometimes it is fun to go back through some old work.. I would certainly do the button cluster differently now..


And the winner is...........

The winner of the hummingbird button is Pam in the UK.... send me your address and it will be on its way!!!


Color Boosting

Last summer I did a tutorial on printing images on fabric with advice on what to do BEFORE you print your image.... Today as I was working on images for the CQJP blocks I noticed that there has been a change in terminology on Picasa since I did the tutorial....  Before in their tool box the option to manipulate the color was with a tool called "saturation" with a adjustable bar to control it...  That tool is still there but now is called "Boost"

 These images to the right are a good examples of "boosting" the color which guarantees a better end product when you print.

On the left is the photo as it came from my camera and you can see how I enhanced the color with the "boost" tool in Picasa.  Almost all photo editing programs have this feature but under different names so look for it and I guarantee you will be happier with your printed images... In Google's Picasa there is a adjustment bar to use while you experiment... I suggest you push the bar until the color is almost garish... remembering that you lose color when you print...

Below is a part of the tutorial published last summer:

The most important things you can do are BEFORE you send the picture to the printer. 

Almost all software that comes with digital cameras have good editing options.  And there are some likely already on your computer...  Microsoft Office software has an excellent one called Microsoft Office Picture Manager and I know I sound like a broken record but unless you have photoshop or something equivalent you should absolutely download Google's Picasa...  It is FREE and has superb photo editing features which are so very easy to use by even the most inexperienced users.

Whatever you are using look for the terms like Color Editing, Color Adjustment or Color Enhancement.  It will vary with programs.  At the left is the Color box from Microsoft Office Photo Manager.  When you find that catagory the key thing you want to look for is the term "saturation"  There is usually a little bar and an arrow you can slide either way.. see bottom of photo on left.

When you increase the saturation  it intensifies the color already in the picture. Usually when you print you lose some of the color in the original and your printed version looks washed out...  By increasing the saturation before you print you get a much stronger image with very good color even though the saturated view on your screen looks rather powerful..  On the left is the original photo in my file... I kept moving the arrow on the saturation scale until it is as high as it will go and that is on the far right..  Allowing for inevitable color drop in printing process the final print from saturated photo will equal or be better than original..

As an aside if you move the satuation arrow to the left you can change a color photo to black and white.  This is often preferred if you are looking for a vintage look..

The second most important thing you can do for a better print is look for the option that allows you to sharpen your image... It will usually just says "Sharpen."  Not all programs have this option but Google's Picasa does and I use it on ALL my images for print.. This does indeed sharpen all edges in the photo and gives a much clearer print. Like losing color when you print you also lose detail... This takes care of that aspect.  Below it is not quickly apparent the difference sharpening makes  but look at the detail on the flowers and in the nest and on the wing and you can see it.  This is a subtle difference but  is the finishing touch for a superb print..  Try it.


My singing heart and other bits..

Like other CQers I am a packrat extraordinaire but having a barn I can do it on a grand scale... especially with lumber. I have piles of lumber most of which I purchased years ago at farm auctions from behind someone's barn.  It was used lumber then and over the years I have re-purposed it over and over..

Since I recently dismantled the sheep sheds and lambing pens a lot more lumber is available. Earlier this summer my son helped me put a railing on the front porch and we dug through my lumber stash finding lovely old 2x8s to use.  They even had moss already growing on them...  Not only did I get to use my lumber stash, I used two pieces of old rusted iron circles which I'd used as trellises at one time...

But even though I had caps for the lower posts I needed some sort of finial for them...  This morning I remembered a box of old ornate doorknobs in the barn....perfect! My heart just sings when I get to find a new use for something I've hoarded for years and to use three things on one project was a real aria. DH hates it and thinks it's really junky but, hey,  it matches the peeling paint on the house.. (quoting an unsolicited   complement of sorts from a friend).

Yesterday we went to a lovely birthday dinner for an even lovelier friend... (the gnocchi lady)  She was born at Lake Como, Italy.. So as a gift I painted a special button for her of Lake Como.  Here is a picture of the scene and the button beside it..  The birthday "girl" was wearing orange and just glowed...

Finally remember  recently I posted progress on my book about Morris and pointed out the "rainbow" garden was lacking ... Well I added the orange and you can see that really did make the garden into a rainbow.... Orange is never my first choice when I'm picking colors, but it does bring a composition alive.


Converting button to brooch or pendant.

With a touch of glue or maybe a bead or two it is now simple to convert one of my hand painted buttons into either a lovely brooch or pendant... So often when I am somewhere selling my buttons people want to know how to convert them to jewelry. When I explain how to bead around them it's not what they wanted to hear... Now I have an alternative.

This bezel is metal with an antique bronze finish. It has a definite Victorian flair and would be equally spectacular as a brooch or pendnat. It also has spaces to add seed beads or jewels. This bezel (size A) accepts the 1 1/16" button and the 1 1/8" button. The overall size is approx. 2".

I offer 4 different styles of bezels (settings).   The buttons I paint are 1" to 1 1/8". (25mm to 30mm) I only offer one bezel that fits the 1" or 25mm buttons but the others accept all the rest of the buttons.. Each bezel has a ring to use as a pendant and also comes with a pin back included to convert to a brooch.

Now I have to get the precise size entered of all the buttons previously posted. 

But I think ALL the bezels look great with my hand painted buttons.  All these bezels are available on my Esty shop for only $1.60 each.


Hummingbird button giveaway

Last week there was a giveaway on Button Floozies of one of my hand painted robin buttons.  The winner was Tee.  I admit I had great fun reading all the comments and wished everyone could have one.....so here's another chance.

Just leave a comment on this post and I will pick a winner July 18!  I've added a lot of buttons to my Etsy site and am busy painting bluebirds and goldfinches...


Morris and his friends in a rainbow garden!

 I am playing catch up as this is my MAY cqjp piece but I should have it done by the end of the week and June's done by the end of July...

As you can see this is a work-in-progress as Morris is not even on the block... I'm trying to decide on Morris photos for the next two blocks so I can make the best use of my photo transfer paper.

I have been gradually been filling in the "rainbow" flowers but as you can see it does not look very "rainbowy" because I've not added any orange yet ...So I still have about 294 french knots to do and lots and lots of leaves... I do have a few quills from   Morris's last play date with a porcupine which I will include.


Button Bonanza Indeed

I invited a dear friend over and we spent about two hours sorting through loose buttons and opening all the packages of carded ones...  We sorted until we were about cross eyed.... every so often we would switch the tray around...

Sharon Boggon's name came up often..  There were many very large button that were not suitable for painting and I might not have kept them except I admired how Sharon incorporated huge buttons on her famous button quilt..  It was "Oh Sharon would love this one..."

My main purpose in buying this batch was to find large paintable buttons ...hopefully a couple dozen but I found a whole basket full... I was ecstatic.
Plus I found many neat metal buttons and lots of very old carved mop buttons along with lots of very interesting and unique colored buttons

The prices on the carded buttons ranged from 10 - 29 cents so that gives you a good idea how old they were.....

I'm not sure where I'll use the little cupped turquoise ones but they're adorable.  I have a choice now between all colors of  large (approx 1 1/2") beauties...  It was a fun afternoon made even more pleasurable sharing it with a friend.  There was a lot of "oohing" and "aahing" and "Oh look at this one."


Button Bonanza

My box of buttons I purchased on e-bay arrived yesterday...  Imagine my surprise when I opened it and bundles of carded buttons are wrapped in   tissue  and tied with lace bows. At the bottom of the box is a large 5# bag of loose buttons and immediately I can see many are unique and vintage... Right on top is a large MOP like the ones I'm always looking for.

It is much too exciting to go through alone so I have left everything unopened and invited a friend over this afternoon to help me sort through the loose ones and open all the packages...  What fun..


Button Giveaway and surprise in the mail...

If you're not a member of my favorite blog Button Floozies, you need to hop over and join because to celebrate their 1000th member they are having a button giveaway ............and it is one of my buttons... Not only am I a long-time follower of Button Floozies, I am an official floozy and love to post now and then....

The site had been rather slow for a long while and then about a year ago Laurie Jackson became the new owner and added new life to it... It's fun to hear of other button lover's finds and their treasures...  Check it out..

And speaking of treasures... in Saturday's mail I received a gift of eight  large MOPs I'm always searching for... They were from my friend and everyone's favorite blogger Susan Elliott (Plays With Needles) .   It has been about a year since I have painted any cottages and now that I have a few large ones I will treat myself to a cottage painting spree soon.  She included some smaller mops and a most interesting square one which I had never seen anything like it.  I have them in a bowl on my desk so I can occasionally fondle them...  Thank you dear Susan...

I paint other things on any large plastic buttons when I find them but I save the MOPs for the cottages....it's the luminosity...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts