Saturday, December 31, 2011

Orca Bay Part 4 + 5

After finishing the top for the Baby Quilt, I finished string piecing the next part for the Orca Bay mystery quilt. I had put the papersquares aside while piecing the Baby Quilt, only using them as leader / ender project. Now I had a number of started blocks and a LOT of empty paper.... Ending up with a lot of short fabric strips I even had to cut new strips. (daylight photography results in so much better colors..)I put them aside after cutting them to size and continued on with adding wings to the half square triangles. Again I needed to cut more strips as my "bottomless pit" did not contain enough different blacks. The fun part with the blacks and neutrals is that I finally cut into my collection of baseball swap squares, which I have been hoarding for years now!

Again I put them aside after finishing and cut out the black / neutral / red squares needed for the next step. I layed out one of each blocks needed and decided that I would need more brain than I had left this evening and retired on the couch to remove paper and dog ears while watching stuff I had recorded over the last weeks (though I ended up deleting a lot - is it just me, or is TV getting worse every year?)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Baby Quilt

Yeah! After all the holliday feasting and visiting was over I spent two days reading and doing absolutely nothing. Then I spent some time shoping, doing household chores, attending a Pre-New-Years dance at my mum's place and yesterday we went to the museum of art history to see an exhibition of winter themed paintings that will just run one week more.

Today belongs to me and my sewing machine! It took me just a couple of minutes to finish the top for the baby quilt I am working on and now I will try to catch up on the Orca Bay mistery quilt. As I will have guests on Jan. 2nd, I will have to clear out all my sewing and knitting and drawing stuff from the living room and clean it. That will have to start right after the New Years Concert on Sunday, so I'd better get sewing...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

These last few days and weeks before Christmas have been rather full, hectic, stressfull and not at all "a peacefull quiet time" as it should be. All I could do was keep breathing and put one foot in front of the other, just walking on.
In the middle of all that I took time out (and if it was instead of sleep) to make my own christmas cards. I am certain I saw something like my tree somewhere on the internet, but my brain being what it is, I have no idea where - so wherever I got that from - thank you! Some hours of enjoying myself with fabric was sorely needed.
Then a message reached me that a very dear ex colleague of mine has become a daddy for the first time. That calls for a baby quilt no matter how hectic life is. This time I know where I got the idea from - where else but Bonnie! I am nearly finished now but had to stop working on it on Tuesday evening, as there just was too much else going on.
Still - on Friday evening, the day before Christmas (we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve in the evening) , finally home from the office, the tree at least bought, the flat looking as if a bomb had gone off, everything I had brought with me just droped in the hall, the living room full of sewing and knitting I just had to make one more present, a notebook for my sister. Smiling and singing, covered in glue, who needs sleep, I worked along until after midnight. It is Christmas and everything else can wait!
Yesterday was a "relaxed" day of a last bit of shopping, sort of cleaning up the living room, decorating the tree, wrapping gifts (putting them into fabric bags I have sown years ago and reuse every year) and getting myself organised for going to my sister's.
While we spent a lovely and funny evening there, for others it obviously was not as peaceful as wittnessed by the smashed bottle of wine and roasted chicken or duck lying in the street just a few houses before I reached my sister's.....
Today the whole family will meet at my brother's place for lunch and then I will have two whole weeks of to relax, take more photos, blog, finish a baby quilt, continue working on my Orca quilt, repair my cabinet which yesterday decided that my wc paintings had gotten to heavy an spilt them out on the floor, find a place for my new mini oven which is not so mini anymore and does not fit where the old one was,....... I will definitely not be bored.
Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Orca Bay Part 4

Last weekend Christmas finally caught up with me - shoping for presents, baking cookies, visiting Christmas Markets and all the usual household stuff prevented me from starting to sew. Monday evening I went to a concert but Tuesday I finally started to sew my red strips! My camera changes the colors quite a bit, I'll have to figure out how to get true colors when posting photos.After I gave up Tuesday evening because I had to go to bed I continued Wednesday morning before leaving for the office and promptly ran out of thread....

Well tonight gives me a chance to catch up, before the next part will be posted tomorrow (though - to be honest - I was so mixed up with dates today that I checked Bonnies page again and again in between work hoping for the next part to pop up only to realise when reading her post today that I have to wait ANOTHER day because it is thursday today. Ouch! Anyway, more time to catch up.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Orca Bay - next Part

I hardly could wait until the third part of the mistery was published and spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning cutting out and piecing the 175 half square triangles I need to finish half of the blocks (as I only want to make a twin size quilt)
Now I will spend Sunday afternoon cleaning up the corners and watching my season 8 DVDs of NCIS I just received last week. How long till next friday?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Orca Bay

Up till now this blog has mostly dealt with my drawing and painting experience with a little gardening and knitting thrown in. It is time to take care of the quilting part. Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville's Quips & Snips offeres a new Mystery Quilt to follow along and I have decided to join in.
As Bonnies quilts tend to be on the larger side :-) I have decided to start out with half the units in every step and decide after the reveiling, how many more I have to make (or how many to put back into my scrap box(es). I want to end up with a nice twin size quilt.112 black and white hour glass blocks for part 1,
and 72 blue string blocks later, I am ready for part 3, which will hit newsstands - no Bonnie's blog on Friday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Waldviertel 2011

Two years ago the Weekend in Waldviertel was my first painting trip with Albert Hoffmann. Though finances did not really allow participating in this years trip and I could not get the necessary vacation days at work, I just had join for Saturday and Sunday. We had just returned from Grado, I felt that I had made a major step forward with watercolor and just needed to press on.
The above painting is of a little chapel "Chapel 19" in Merkenbrechts, which today is part of a huge army training area. As it lies in the outskirts, people are still allowed there as long as no trainings take place but "photography and drawing is forbidden". So instructions were: if someone official comes by asking what we are doing: we are PAINTING and that is not forbidden!

Merkenbrechts itself is a typical little village in Waldviertel with the farmbuildings arranged around the village green and the water reservoir for the firefighters. While the little lake would offer a lovely motive we decided to paint the old farm buildings and the little gardens with their picket fences (not white!) in front. Chapel 19 and this village square are two of my most successfull paintings till now. I like them even better than my work in Grado.
The last painting of the day was a motive we did two years ago as well an no, I will not post the first one. While it is OK, I do not like it as much as the first two paintings of the day.

On Sunday we drove to another villag offering a 'castle' at a lake, but the watercolor painting I did, I consider a spectacular failiure.

We then drove into the village to draw the other side of the 'castle' and as I tend to do, when frustrated with watercolor I returned to drawing, trying to remember everything Albert taught me about creating interest with crosshatching. While not the most successfull drawing, I still like it and learned a lot from doing it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Studio Work

As the weather is no longer tempting to stay outside for longer times, it is time to bring all the inspiration collected during summer and work inside. A studio class with Albert Hoffmann working with ink and watercolor was fun and I love the results.

The view from the upper Belvedere to the lower Belvedere and St. Stephens Cathedral in the back, Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg off in the distance,... a view I have enjoyed many times. Having spent so much time in Venice this year I brought some photos to class and using them and our memories Maria Della Salute took form on paper:
And to finish of a productive day I spent some time with the sketch of a Venice canal.

I wish it was spring again, but until then - memories and drawing them - have to be enough.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The end of Grado

The last day we went to the harbour again, which also offers endless motives.

After a week of working in watercolour I needed a brake and went back to drawing. I love how this turned out.
That's it for this year. I'm looking forward to next September already!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Grado

There were some new motives too this year. For instant the hamlet of Strassoldo, which would have offered many more motives but we only had half a day there.
Duino of course is a must - though I am not very happy with the result:
One day was spent driving towards Slovenia. We stopped in the hills - but as readers of this blog probably know by now: hills are not my thing.
After lunch we ended up in Goriza where I finally managed to paint somthing I am really proud of!

Maybe I am finally learning something?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The first week of September I spent in Grado, painting familiar motives and also new ones.

As the weather was a lot better this year than last, we could paint at the outside of the harbor with a view into the lagune, where the skeletons of old boats offered a great motive.

After lunch we drove to a place at the laguna where we painted last year. It was fun as it was Sunday afternoon and the all three families who fish from that cove had lunch in their gardens with the whole family. We were warmly welcomed and everybody went on with their business, which for us was painting and for the Italians was eating, drinking, talking and singing! We were serenaded the whole afternoon :-) .

Painting in the old part of the town.A morning in Aquilea and the afternoon:
laguna again, this time at Katharina's place. We used artistic freedom, as the house can no longer be seen, it is completely overgrown in the meantime.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

33. World Sketchcrawl

Our meeting place for the 33. world sketchcrawl was Karlsplatz, in front of the main building of the technical University. From there it is just a few steps over to Karlskirche, one of the most important churches in Vienna.Having managed to get the whole building onto a page for once, I decided to pay more attention to some of the details and did some quick sketches of parts of the church.

I like the angels to the left and right of the main entrance. While they are huge, when you draw them just with their surroundings, suddenly everything else is so much larger than they are.

Part of the cupola - trying to be exact, I managed to add en extra level between the window and the actual cupola.....
The view from Karlsplatz across the artificial lake towards Karlsgasse.

I then turned to the right and did a quick sketch of part of the university building:
While we were drawing (we started at 10.00 and I left around 14:30) a musician was playing a medely of about 5 or 6 songs, repeating them over and over. First I thought that it would be anoying, but I kind of got lost in drawing and the music, it really got me into a sort of meditative state.

While the sun was shining all the time it still was very cold and after more than 4 hours sitting still even the hot tea I had brought along did not help any more. So I left the others drawing an went home to warm up. How I wish it were spring again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Torcello and Verona

Murano, Burano,... everybody knows (of) those islands but have you been to Torcello yet? It is one of the smaller islands in the laguna and you have to switch vaporettos on Burano. The little old church greets you when you walk along the canal and pass devils bridge.
And then there is the basilica with its wonderfull mosaiks. I did not even try to capture the big one above where I chose to sit and draw towards the front of the church.
Another trip took me a bit further away from Venice. An hour on the train brought me to Verona. Forget about Romeo and Julia - give me the arena anytime. To be able to attend an opera there must be a dream.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Venice canals

Trying to keep out of the busiest parts of Venice I found so many places where I could capture the quiet, the romantic side of Venice. Bridges and canals wherever one looks.
August in Venice is hot, hot, hot. The main problem with sketching was finding shadow and a place to sit. When the tide was low I would find steps down into the canal where I could sit and draw along the canal.
Or I would find a little bar with an open window out to the world, where I could sit, sip a Spritz and draw the vegetable vendor on his boat.

Monday, August 29, 2011

3 Weeks in Venice

Usually I try to avoid school holidays when taking vaccation and try to use my vaccation for painting trips. This year my boss wanted me to take the major part of my vaccation during his 5 week trip around the world with his family, so I decided to go on vaccation for 4 weeks and spent three of them in Venice, attending a language class and sketching.

I stayed on Guidecca, an island opposite the main part of Venice, which was very nice and quiet, out of the way of most of the tourists. It also afforded me a lovely view of Zattere, a church at the bank of the Guidecca canal (which all the huge cruise ships visiting Venice use). On the day I arrived I had some time to spend before I could check into the monestery I was staying at and treated myself to lunch in a restaurant - something I only did a few times, as restaurants in Venice are "molto caro". It also gave me the chance to get used to the slower pace of Venice and an opportunity for the above sketch (copic multiliner 0,3 and my pocket Daler Rowney WC set in a journal with rather slick paper).Some days later I gave it another try, this time with a pentel pocket brush , which I felt very uncomfortable using in my usual sketchbook. I think the paper is too rough and I not calm enough to get a reasonable line. I did not use it again during my vaccation.
This last sketch I did with the rotring Artpen and ink in a Venezia Sketchbook, using a waterbrush for the shadows.

Looking at them side by side I like the first one most. For me it shows all the enthusiasm and joy of this adventure. The last one shows three weeks practice and 'knowledge' of the building.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crazy Christmas Tree Skirt

For many years I dreamed of making a christmas tree skirt, whenever I put a white sheet underneath my christmastree after decorating it. Two or three years ago I finally started to piece a crazy christmas tree skirt, which I finally fished last year.
This June I had to stay at home for two weeks after having my gall bladder removed and as I was not able to do too mich I decided to finally start the embroidery part on my christmas tree skirt.
As I only used white / cream / light brown / gold fabrics, I decided to stay in this color range for the embroidery (of course only AFTER finishing a seam treatment with purple.... - it will stay in!).
I get all my inspiration from Sharon of Pin Tangle , she offers such rich inspiration and detailed explanations, a truely wonderfull resource. I have just started my second online class with her (sumptious surface embroidery) and love every minute of it.