Of Flowers And Trees


Stained Glass Flower Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

Lately it has been wet around here and my plans for planting our now fairly bare garden have been stagnant.  In the meantime, I moved on to working on a little indoor flower project.  This is another one of those long-forgotten quilts.  I designed my favourite flower quilt patterns in the style of stained glass window panels.  As I was drawing the flowers, they took on shapes of mineral crystals.  Since I love geology, the blocks are all named after my favourite minerals – Garnet Primrose, Kyanite Iris, Olivine Tulip and Selenite Clematis.  I made the initial blocks with the Downton Abbey fabrics.

 

 

Stained Glass Flower Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

I didn’t want an usual 4 x 5 block arrangement for this quilt.  I wanted something completely different, a special layout for this one.  Until I had the layout designed, I didn’t know how many blocks I needed to make and progress stalled.  The four blocks went into the cabinet not to see the light of day again for a long time. Now it is finally time to dust off the pieces and start working on the rest of the quilt.

This is the layout I came up with.  I imagined walking through a very big garden made up of smaller, sectional gardens.  Enchanted Garden is what came to mind as the name.  Now that the layout is done, I can start making the rest of the flowers.

   

Since I always get asked about the pattern links, here they are –

Garnet Primrose on Etsy & CraftsyKyanite Iris on Etsy and Craftsy

Olivine Tulip on Etsy and CraftsySelenite Clematis  on Etsy and Craftsy

They are quite easy to make 12″ blocks.  Many thanks to those of you who purchased the patterns already.

 

Derwent Pastel Pencils Evening Sky Drawing | Whims And Fancies

 

I do love nature and my most favourite are the trees.  One evening, I sat down to relax with my sketchbook while running one of my favourite movies in the background.  It was early March, the trees were still very bare and the sky took on beautiful colours at sunset.  Using pastel pencils I was trying to capture those colours peeking through the silhouette of a tree.

 

Sennelier Oil Pastel And Derwent Pastel Pencils | Whims And Fancies

 

A few notes about oil pastel and pastel

  

Although they share the name pastel, oil pastel and pastel are really quite different from each other and cannot be used together.  I used paper stumps to blend the pastel pencils.  I tried to use the stumps to blend the oil pastel, but using my fingers proved more effective.  The heat from my finger warmed up the oil in the oil pastels, which in turn blended the colours a lot better.

 

I didn’t buy any special paper for the pastel pencils.  They worked great on Strathmore 400 Series 80lb drawing paper.  For the oil pastels, however, I used a thicker paper so the oil from the pastel would not seep through.  I used Canson 150lb smooth surface paper for the oil pastels.  I would like the try the oil pastels on canvas one day.

 

Pastel sticks create quite a lot of chalk-dust, pencils create a lot less.  That’s why I like the pastel pencils better.  They blend very easily, they smudge easily too.  Oil pastels have mineral oil which never really dries completely, so they would smudge as well.  Therefore, both of them need sealing. I used Grumbacher Matte Finish Final Fixative to seal both of them.  One thin coat was enough for the pastel pencils, but the oil pastels needed three thin coats.  I did take the time to let each coat completely dry before applying the next one.  I suggest you try out the sealant on a small test sample before you apply it to your finished painting.

 

I couldn’t find much information on this and had to figure a lot of this out by playing.  So, in case you paint, I thought you might find this information helpful.

 

Van Gogh style Field Of Wildflower Oil Pastel Painting with Sennelier Oil Pastel | Whims And Fancies

 

I painted this Field Of Wild Flowers with oil pastels in the style of Van Gogh.  As you can see, they behave quite differently than pastel pencils.  I wrote about his painting a couple of weeks ago in The Master And The Apprentice.

 

 

Copic Marker Landscape Painting | Whims And Fancies

 

One Friday, it was raining outside and I was feeling like doodling after work, but without taking out a whole pile of painting paraphernalia.  So I pulled out my box full of markers.  I have never used markers for landscape painting before, so this was a first for me.  Markers can get quite expensive and they can’t be mixed together to create new colours. Since I don’t have an unlimited supply, I lined up the shades I had at home and doodled away at this picture of trees in the morning at the local park while listening to the patter of rain.

 

Spring Vetch Flower | Whims And Fancies

I leave you with a photo of a tiny little Spring Vetch adding its splash of colour to the countryside around here.

Hope you find some inspiration in flowers and trees this week as well!
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

A Little More Greekness

Greek Letters Quil Pattern | Whims And Fancies 

Last week I mentioned making a couple of pillows out of these extra alpha and beta blocks, I got to work on them shortly thereafter.  I wanted to make 16″ pillows and my Greek letter blocks are 5″ x 10″.   I was looking for a very simple look for these pillows without any additional colour.  So I added more of the same background fabric and turned them into 17.5″ squares.

 

Greek Alphabet Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Then came the harder part, deciding how to quilt it.  Since the quilt itself has horizontal line quilting, I wanted to continue that theme of straight line quilting but with a little twist.  After a bit of playing around I settled on this L-shaped quilting.

 

Greek Letters Quilt Pattern Quilted Pillow | Whims And Fancies

 

I didn’t want to quilt the beta pillow exactly the same as the alpha pillow.  So I kept the L-shaped quilting from the alpha pillow and inverted the design.

After trimming the quilted pillow-tops to 17″ squares and sewing the backs, I had my pillow cases. That’s my April’s one monthly goal already finished. 

I will be linking up with One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts at the end of the month.
 

Spring Time Fabric Stash | Whims And Fancies

 

I only had one 16″ pillow-form at home, so a run to the store was in order.  I have been sewing from my fabric stash lately.  Last time I purchased fabric was in July of last year.  I had fun choosing some new fabrics for paper piecing.

 

Tim Holz Fabric Stash | Whims And Fancies

 

I found these two novelty prints by Tim Holtz, I have special plans for them.  I also picked up zippers for bags and replenished my thread supply.  All in all, not a bad haul.  Oh yes, I picked up a 16″ pillow-form as well.

 

Greek Letters Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

The pattern set on Craftsy and Etsy

Individual patterns on Craftsy

 

Here it is!  My To Hellenikon or Greekness quilt and the two pillows.  After finishing the first two letters of the quilt, I changed the quilt layout which required me to order more fabric.  In the meantime however, the dye lot of the fabric had changed.  The khaki background fabric mismatch resulted in the extra alpha and beta blocks, but I am calling it serendipity.  I would not have the pillows otherwise.

-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

 

A Master And An Apprentice

Wildflowers Oil Pastel Painting | Whims And Fancies

 

Spring is definitely in the air.  Although I love finding little colourful wild flowers and photographing them, it is also the worst time of the year for me due to severe pollen allergies.  I still try to find a little time to be outside to enjoy the bright flowers swaying happily during the windy March days.   Last year, in my attempt to learn wild flower photography, I went to a few local parks in search of new flowers.

 

Napa Northern Califiornia Wildflowers | Whims And Fancies

 

I took this photo of the wild flowers at our local park.  When I posted it here as part of my Wandering Camera monthly photo collage, Janine mentioned it looked like a painting.

 

Van Gogh - Green Wheat Field with Cypress

  

Ever since I was a child, I have been drawn to the Impressionist/Post-impressionist paintings.  I didn’t know them by that name at the time.  I remember loving the small brush-strokes.  I specially fell in love with the paintings of Van Gogh.  Initially all I knew of him was the very crude introduction as an eccentric artist who cut his ear off.  As I got older I learned a lot more about him and how much he was tormented by his own demons.  If I don’t keep my emotions in check, his life-story makes me extremely sad.

  

The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.”  – Vincent Van Gogh

  

This is “Green Wheat Field With Cypress” which he painted while he was at the asylum of St. Paul.

 

Wildflowers Sennelier oil astel painting inspired by Van Gogh | Whims And Fancies

 

One rainy Friday, as I was looking at the photos of his paintings, I thought of what Janine said about my photo.  I often wanted to paint something of his style without directly copying his work.  I recently acquired a set of Sennelier landscape oil pastels.  Soon afterwards, I found myself working on this painting using those oil pastels.  It has become one of my favourites because of the emotional tie I feel.

 

Sometimes the state of the world makes me very sad, but if I have learned anything from Van Gogh, it is that even in the midst of torment and sadness, a speck of peace and beauty can be found.

Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would go for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul.” – Vincent Van Gogh

 

Happy Spring,
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Life Thru The Lens, Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

 

Cast In Stone

Red Telephone Box Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I hope you are having a wonderful Spring.  My husband and I managed to sneak in a break together before he starts his new job today.

I have been going through some of the photos from last year’s England travel. Considering I made it to England twice within the last six months and am already planning my third visit to Scotland probably indicates how much I love the British Isles.  I try to not mention the turmoil of the world here because this is my happy place, but I could not stay away from that this time after reading the news yesterday.  My heart goes out to my British friends.

 

It is a beautiful country full of old history and lovely people.  A visit to Oxford was a must because of its beautiful architecture.  I fell in love with the vine- and plant-decked Oxford windows.  I had the idea of this Red Telephone Box quilt pattern for a long while now.  Browsing the photos rekindled the urge of designing this block.  So I added a Victorian street lamp along with a lit-up window – an Oxford window, if you will.

 

A few photos I took of the Oxford windows –

 

Christ Church College, Oxford England | Whims And Fancies

 Christ Church College

 

Christ Church College, Oxford England | Whims And Fancies

  Christ Church College

 

Exeter College, Oxford, England | Whims And Fancies

 Exeter College

 

Magdalen College, Oxford England | Whims And Fancies

Magdalen College

 

All these stone structures inspired me to work on this watercolour sketch of a crumbling stone castle in Scotland.  I was practising painting the texture of crumbling stones as well as loose-hand painting.

 

Crumbling Stone Castle Watercolour Painting | Whims And Fancies

 

Van Gogh Watercolour Paint

 

I enjoy playing with different brands of watercolour paints.  Van Gogh watercolour is a student-grade paint made by a Dutch company called Royal Talens.  It is not very expensive, so I was really surprised by the quality of the paint.  They come alive even with the smallest touch of water and the colours are intense.  The paints blend with each other wonderfully, enabling me to create new colours very easily.  They are also quite permanent.  Unlike most watercolour paints, I couldn’t easily lift off the colours once they were applied.  Something to keep in mind before I put paint to paper next time.  I found the included brush to be a bit too stiff and harsh on the paper.  I wouldn’t recommend using it at all.  However, I highly recommend the paintbox.  The colours are also available individually, in tubes.

 

 

Red Telephone Box Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

  Red Telephone Box pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

 

I was working on this block around the same time I was dabbling with the Van Gogh paint.  Since I love stone buildings so much, I used Stonehenge fabrics for the background.  I lit the lamp and the window for a warmer feel.

I pieced the red grid on my telephone box.  However, for easier piecing, I also included pattern sections without the grid.  The grid can be added afterwards via a thick-width machine stitch.  The finished block is 12″.  The Red Telephone Box quilt pattern is available on my Etsy and Craftsy shops, if you wish to make one.

It was nice to take break from the Harry Potter quilt blocks and work on something different.  I need a new day/travel bag, this block will be prefect for that.

Stay well,
-Soma

Luckily this was also my one monthly goal, which I am happy to say I have accomplished.  I am linking up with –

Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal Finish March Linkup 

 

I am also linking up on Life Thru The Lens, Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.