September 29, 2015

Hot Coke with Ginger
It's that time of year again! The weather is getting cooler and hot drinks are on everyone's minds and in their hands. This one is one I discovered in a Chinese restaurant and couldn't resist trying. And, then, of course, I figured out how to make it at home.

Hot Coke with Ginger

1 can of Coke
2" piece of ginger cut into chunks

In a small pot, heat the Coke with the ginger chunks over medium heat. Once it's good and hot, remove it from the burner and pour it into a mug.

That's all there is to it. At your next fall gathering, try serving a Chinese specialty that's sure to warm everyone up!

September 28, 2015

Watercolor Flowers
I made this for my grandmother's birthday a couple of years ago. Her favorite colors are red and purple. I sketched them from real flowers and started the Chinese character for love (Ài) on the pitcher.

I used Winsor & Newton tube watercolors which are available here and at a much better price than in the States, too. Plus, the tube watercolors last forever and they are so very nice and bright. Although, I've found a few of the half pan watercolors here, too, and they are pretty bright as well.

September 22, 2015

Painted Clematis Skirt  by Carolyn Johnson
 I was inspired by Alabama Chanin's reverse applique and painted and stitched designs for this skirt.
 I just used plain acrylic paint since I had neither fabric paint nor fabric medium. I also drew and cut the stencil myself. The flower shape reminded me of my grandmother's clematis plant.
 I used gel medium over the acrylic paint and you want to make sure this stuff only goes where you want it to. It was quite difficult to stitch through.
 I used #3 perle cotton to crochet the vine and then stitched it on. The leaves are done with reverse applique and a buttonhole edge stitch.
I used French knots and pistil stitches for the flower centers.

September 21, 2015

Knitting Socks
 I started knitting specifically because I wanted to learn to knit socks. However, it took me a number of years to actually knit a pair of socks. I taught myself to knit from a book and didn't have anyone to show me the ropes until I'd already been knitting for about ten years.

And then, when I first tried socks, I tried to learn knitting in the round with dpns (double pointed needles), knitting socks, and knitting cables all into one project. It did not go well. I got the first sock done, but there was no need to try a second.
About five years later, I decided I was brave enough to try the whole sock knitting thing again. I chose a simpler pattern this time and it actually didn't have toes, but I added some anyway. My first sock was knit inside out. But, with some help from my friends on the Peace Fleece Knitters Group on Ravelry, I figured out what I was doing wrong and knit the second sock right side out.
Everything went well and I finally finished my first pair of socks! And they fit! And, now I think I want to knit another pair. I'm also sure that I want to learn to knit socks two-at-a-time on a single long circular needle.

Check out my Ravelry page here.

September 20, 2015

My Colorful Purse
This purse used items and fabrics I had on hand for a very colorful design. The small sunflowers were from a shop in Dali. The striped fabric is minority fabric that wears very well. The turquoise is a 14-count Aida. And the pink floral stitching is from a zippered bag that had a broken zipper. I also had the red handles on hand.

The blackwork design is a common geometric design that was more difficult to stitch than I thought it would be. I finally resorted to using an air-soluble marker to drawing each section of the design which was much easier and didn't result in quite so much frogging!

Apple Applique Wall Quilt
This is a wall quilt I created several years ago and it was my first attempt at applique. I zigzagged around each piece on the machine, but the other stitching is done by hand. I also used wooden apple buttons on the tree.

I drew the pieces free-hand, but reused the same designs to keep things uniform. Then, I used a pencil to sketch out the lettering before stitching over it in back stitch. The batting is just a thin, cotton batting and both the front piece and the back piece are single pieces of fabric. I folded the backing fabric over the edges to create the binding.

One of the interesting things about this piece is that I had had the design sketched out in a notebook for several years before attempting to actually do it.

Painted Canvas Bag  by Carolyn Johnson
 The first thing to do is get an inexpensive canvas and paint it, then remove it from the frame.  by Carolyn Johnson
 After that you just add a zipper and sew up the sides as you would any zippered bag.  by Carolyn Johnson
 The canvas is fairly stiff to sew. Also, the canvas tends to crack, so maybe next time I'll coat it with something.
I left the inside plain, but it could be lined. It makes a great little pouch for carrying a few art supplies.

The Big Canvas  by Carolyn Johnson
 I usually work fairly small, but I really wanted to try a large canvas. This one is about 3'x4' or so. I started out just playing around with the feel of the paint and using up paint colors I wasn't as fond of. A big canvas, incidentally, uses quite a bit of paint.  by Carolyn Johnson
 Here I'm experimenting with painting by hand. I enjoy the feeling of paint on my fingers.  by Carolyn Johnson
 Here I was experimenting with some design ideas.  by Carolyn Johnson
 But, ultimately, I decided I wanted a lot of color.  by Carolyn Johnson
Not quite finished yet, but getting closer.

Yunnan Pottery
 Of course, many people associate Chinese art with either silk embroidery or pottery. It is really so much more. Our local museum had this Yunnan pottery on display, though, and it was too beautiful not to share.
 Hmmm...this particular piece makes me want to try doodling in blue instead of black.
 I love the shape of this piece. So elegant and graceful. It's just begging for a huge peony blossom to reside within.
 Chinese teacups are so much fun to sketch.
Another lovely vase shape, but I'm not sure I could lift one this size!

Cathy's Flower
My friend Cathy gave me this block that she had done and decided not to use. So, I added the backing and binding and hanging cords, slid it onto a knitting needle and hung it on the wall. Cathy does amazing quilts and this is only one example of the kinds of blocks she does.

I really love the three dimensional quality of the flowers in the center and the colorful vase, too.

September 19, 2015

More Antique Chinese Fans
 I thought this fruit fan was interesting.
 And, of course, I couldn't resist a picture of this peacock fan!
A pretty scenery fan.

Antique Chinese Fans 2
 I love this colored mountain scene.
 A floral water color and ink fan in a very traditional style.
 I love this chrysanthemum fan.
 This peony fan is also pretty.
Another lovely mum fan.

Antique Chinese Fans
 These fans were at a local museum. They are beautiful artwork examples.
 Some fans were round and others were what we would consider fan-shaped. Some were done on silk and some on paper.
 The water colored ones were my favorites.
 But, the black and white examples were lovely, too.
I especially liked this mountain scene.

September 18, 2015

Chinese Needlework Pictures from the 1900's

 These photos were displayed in a local museum. The first picture is a loom.
 I think they are spinning here, but I'm not sure.
 This is a type of drop spindle.
 The girl here is doing embroidery and has bound feet. You can see how tiny her feet were. I'm glad I did not live in a time of bound feet or corsets.

Payne's Gray & Gesso
 Payne's Gray is one of my favorite colors and I use it quite frequently. Here I mixed it with gesso and put it in an empty acrylic paint tube that I washed out. I painted the page background with the Payne's gray/gesso blend and then used Payne's gray by itself to make the floral design using Tim Holtz lace stencil. This is definitely my most used stencil. The texture in it is outstanding.

A Few Favorite Art Journal Pages  by Carolyn Johnson   
I love the mix of colors on this page and I really like the 3 drops of water from a homemade stencil.  by Carolyn Johnson
Again, I love the colors on this one. The page is so warm that I feel like I'm at the beach just by looking at it.  by Carolyn Johnson
I used a butterfly mask to paint around the butterfly shapes and then added the stamped butterflies to the spaces left by the mask.  by Carolyn Johnson
This one has Chinese newspaper added for texture, but I really like the 2 groupings of three circles in opposite corners.  by Carolyn Johnson
This one was made using egg masks that I cut out. So, I painted the blue background and splattered it with brown and then painted around egg masks.