01 02 03 Fabric of My Life: Garden time...colors to inspire and how to use them 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Garden time...colors to inspire and how to use them

For us living with all four seasons, after the cold, snowy winter comes spring that we all wait for, love and now - really, really enjoy. Spring brings awakening, bird song, early sunrise, fragrance of new growth everywhere in the air....and it also brings a lot of work in the garden! :)
Oh no, I am not complaining, both my husband and I love to work in the garden and to enjoy all the beauty that comes after, but that does  mean way less time for my other love - stitching.
So, as I felt guilty for not posting much here and kinda "itchy" to do a tutorial or something like that...time just wasn't there in these past several weeks...And then I realized - why not inspire you all with some garden photos?
Colors, shapes and textures are after all what we love as quilters, and they are everywhere around us - my garden is full of them, if I only take time to observe, take pictures and dream-on from there! :)

Look at the colors in this one - a great quilt right there,don't you think? Shades of spring greens and even a bluish one, coupled with some lavender and a touch of sunny yellow...al on a background of either white/light gray (top right in photo) or even dark (color of the mulch!) - it sounds like a great combination to me! What do you think?

As everything was a bit early this year - we have blueberries almost ready to pick - if birds don't take them first! - but either way, this photo is full of just amazing shades of purple and greens...

Speaking of shades of purple....This clematis takes the center stage!

Strong purples are not your "cup of tea"? How about some gentle, gentle rosy shades? My favorite rose bush in the garden, rose called Bonica, will give you plenty of these colors for inspiration:

Or how about a close-up:                      
I promise to stop soon, but not before I show you two more of my favorite photography objects from my garden - I must have dozens and dozes of photos of these two, every season they bloom...I just can't help it! :)
Another favorite rose (can you tell I love roses? ha, ha), called 4th of July - just such a  showy lady! My favorite time to take pictures of this one is early morning, as it is in the front garden and early sunrise gives it such a glow...

Another favorite, this time in the back yard - white Clematis:

 And when the finish blooming, they leave this amazing looking...seed pod? Not sure if it does actually have seeds, but will check later! :) It just looks beautiful!
Don't all the colors, sounds and aromas of spring just make you smile every morning? Feeling so lucky and grateful that I can enjoy all this - life is good! :)
But back to that quilt inspiration! I take all these photos, I dream of quilts I will make inspired from them...but how REALLY do we do that? What are the specific steps one can take to come from an inspirational photograph to a finished quilt? 
Most quilters will tell me something like - "oh, I can't do that, I am not artistic"...or..."oh but I don't want to make an art (pictorial) quilt, just a classic Nine-patch (or any other pattern) quilt".  Are you thinking like that too?
The thing is - I know you can do it, and here I can offer you two good tools I found:
1.First is a book by Joen Wolfrom that I already talked about HERE on my blog, called Visual Coloring. No, I am not affiliated with Joen in any way, just love, love LOVE her books and teaching. This book was like a revelation to me! Really. It isn't that I couldn't do it before...I could, but sometimes it was random, sometimes full of self-doubt, and most importantly - difficult to put in words when I was trying to help my students. And then came Joen Wolfrom who beautifully put it into words and pictures! In essence - Joen asks you to look into NATURE as the best color-master, take photos or look at photos others took and pick colors from them - it really never fails!

2. Second tool is my recent find that actually does the above job (picking colors from a photo) for you! OK, how cool is that? Web site called Color Explorer does just that with any photo you can upload and of course for free. You can save your color palettes, you can export them as images, print them out and go to the quilt shop! :) Try it out, it is really fun!
 Here is one of my trials a while ago - isn't this a great set of colors for a quilt?
Here is one of the pictures from above - shades of rosy colors, greens and a touch of black - can you see a quilt like this?

Here is another photo form one of my planters that intrigued me with colors:

 I don't think I would pick some of the pinks to go with the darkest raspberry red...but it really works here! Isn't that the best part - we can expand our color horizons, step out of our comfort zone! 

I would LOVE to hear what you think about all this - leave me lots of comments! :)

I think I am going to have to play wit some of these color combinations in my EQ and of course report back here how it went. But that will have to wait until I am all done with the long-overdue tutorial that I am finishing to post here. Remember this quilt from the beginning of the year? Tutorial on how to make it is coming very shortly! 
It is made using paper piecing and I was wondering how many of you out there use and know paper-piecing? (or foundation piecing, some call it - but NOT English paper-piecing) I know from my teaching experience that paper piecing, as easy as it is once someone SHOWS you in person, can be really difficult to learn from a book. So...where do you stand? Know it and use it all the time? Tried it and gave-up frustrated? Looking for a tutorial? Let me know! :)

Wishing you joys,

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