Looking vs. Seeing–an Exercise

It's Not What You Look at But What You See, Thoreau

Look-  verb- to turn one’s eyes toward something

It's Not What You Look at But What You See, Thoreau

Seeverb–to perceive with the eyes

It's Not What You Look at But What You See, Thoreau

Perceive-verbto become aware of, discern or understand

It's Not What You Look at But What You See, Thoreau

If you have a few minutes today, take time to really “see” something…examine it closely.  Look at the details: shape, color, line, contour…

Here’s a little tip:  if you really want to see something–try drawing it.  Don’t worry about your drawing skills—that is not the goal of this exercise. The goal is to really “see” something.  Once you have drawn it, you will not have just looked at the object…you will have “seen” it!

Art Heists: Captivating Reading

GardnerHeist, Books, Art

This week marks the 23rd anniversary of one of the worlds largest and most famous unsolved art heists.  In the early hours of March 18, 1990, two men, dressed as policemen, bluffed their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  The thieves tied up two security guards with duct tape and made off with 13 of the museum’s masterpieces.  The stolen pieces included two Rembrandts, five Degas drawings, as well as a Vermeer and a Manet.  The value on today’s market is $500 million and there is a $5 million reward offered for return of the art.

The FBI announced this week they have identified the thieves and are requesting the public’s assistance in finding the masterpieces.  Interestingly, the statute of limitations has expired and the thieves will not be prosecuted for this crime–though they still can be prosecuted if they possess the art (which is considered doubtful.)  The two men are not named, but the FBI did identify them as members of an organized crime group on the East coast.  The movie-like mystery thickens…

Coincidentally, I had been reading The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser and another book, Stealing Rembrandts by Anthony Amore this week.  Both provide captivating reading.  Stealing Rembrandts highlights many art heists and delves into the motives and methods of many famous art heists (solved and unsolved.)  So if you’re looking for a new book with a current events twist, I highly recommend both books…

The Gardner Heist, Art Theft, Books, Reading,

Tuesday Tutorial–The Small Open Leaf

Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial, Doodle Quilt

Today, we are going to wish away the snow by stitching our own garden.  We will be building on the Open Leaf tutorial we began a couple of weeks ago.  Today’s variation –The Small Open Leaf, is one of my favorite stitches.  It makes a beautiful border, and it can be readily adapted as a fill stitch.  (We will review fill stitches in an upcoming post.)

Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial, Doodle Quilt

Begin with three drawn lines (rails).  I like the rails about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch apart for The Small Open Leaf.

Begin stitching on the middle rail.  Stitch a few stitches on the rail, then curve up to right rail and continue with a few stitches along the right rail.  This is a good place to stop with your needle down if necessary.

Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial, Doodle Quilt

Next, stitch a slightly curved line back down and toward the center rail…

Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial, Doodle Quilt

From here, stitch  the vein into the center of the leaf and then straight back down on that line to the center rail.

Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial, Doodle Quilt

From the center rail- sweep up and toward the left rail…stitching a few stitches along the left rail.  Stop here.

As you can see, I don't always add the center vein on the leaves.  I think it looks more interesting when there is a variation--your brain can't "read" the pattern as quickly, and consequently, it requires a little more viewing time. I don't have any scientific information here-- just something I have noticed.  Also, it is infinitely more interesting when you are quilting for hours at a time to change it up a bit!

Now curve down to the middle rail again and stitch the center vein.  You are ready to repeat the pattern!

Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial, Doodle Quilt

As you can see, I don’t always add the center vein on the leaves.  I think it looks more interesting when there is a variation–your brain can’t “read” the pattern as quickly, and consequently, it requires a little more viewing time. I don’t have any scientific information here– just something I have noticed.

Tip: As you begin each new leaf, try to stitch parallel to the leaf below it–in other words, try to leave an even space between two stacked leaves.  This creates a nice symmetry.

Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial, Doodle Quilt

Of course, the Small Open Leaf can be stitched very large, but it is a simple pattern and unlike other, more complicated motifs, it can be stitched quite small–hence the name:  The Small Open Leaf.

You might also like:  The Greek Key Tutorial   and    The Easiest Flower Ever Tutorial

Next Tuesday, we will be stitching another gorgeous variation of The Open Leaf…so keep stitching, keep doodling, and keep Pinning (on Pinterest), but most importantly…Think WARM thoughts and send them our way!