Sunday, November 24, 2013

'Til the cows come home...

 I promised photos of my new baby once I had a working camera, so here she is...

Just try to ignore the mess in the background.  Right now, I'm confined to using her on a table.  I can't install her in my sewing cabinet until I get a new insert to fit the machine and the cabinet.  In photo #2, notice the 3rd button from the top--that's the one that cuts the thread, top and bottom.  I love that button and I'm wearing it out as fast as I can.  In photo #3, you can see what a bright work area I have.  There's a row of led lights that give me great illumination.  I think I'll be able to do without the long-arm light I have that reaches all the way across my current sewing cabinet.  That will be a bonus.

 Can you tell I'm in love?  I was in the middle of paper piecing the New York Beauty blocks for Mitch's quilt when I got the machine and I thought I'd just finish them on the older machine, but once I tried one out on this baby, there was no going back.  The dual feed capability with the 1/4" foot is a dream.  Oh, and I'm almost finished with Mitch's quilt top--just ran out of the hand-dyed fabric I was using for the final border, so as soon as my order for PFD fabric arrives from Dharma, I'll be dying to finish that top.

Now, for the story about the cows...On Thursday night, about 11:30 p.m., I had just gotten settled into bed, all cozy and warm, when my husband called to me to get up and come there.  He doesn't usually bother me once I've gone to bed because he's learned over the years that I'm not a very nice person when you disturb my sleep.  I knew something unusual must be going on, so I got up and went to the kitchen.  He just pointed at the back door and said, "Look out there."

Have you ever seen something that you just couldn't believe was real, even though all your reasoning powers told you it was?  I looked out the window and there, on my carport, maybe 2 feet from the back door, were 6 cows.  Yes, that's right, and they weren't alone.  There were another 5 or 6 milling about on the driveway and in the front and back yard.  For a moment, I thought maybe we were in the middle of a Chick-Fil-A commercial, but these were black angus, not holstein cows.

We have an open carport that's 20' x 30' and there are 3 vehicles parked there--a pickup truck, an suv, and a golf cart.  So, you see, there's not a lot of room for a herd of cows.  We were very hesitant to open the door and scare them for fear of the damage they might do trying to all run at the same time.

We knew they belonged to our neighbors across the road, so I went to the phone to let them know.  Needless to say, they were pretty surprised, but they drove up on their ATV in pajamas, boots, and coats, within a few minutes of my call.

Now, a few years ago, my husband and I would have put on our boots and coats and gone out to help, but we're not as young and spry as we used to be and we knew the neighbors had a farm manager and other helpers who would join them in their roundup as soon as they could. 

Everything started out okay and it looked as though the cows would just follow the ATV back home, but then they decided to take another path and ended up on the property next door to us, where there is a pasture with some other cows.  Lots of mooing and shouting later, I decided to go back to bed, but my husband stayed up until about 12:30.  He said they were still trying to herd those cows from next door and back across the road when he came to bed. 

The next morning, we were able to survey the damage--not too bad, but it did require a cleanup of cow manure off the carport and driveway and returning the bird bath in the back yard to its upright position. 

We've had some pretty interesting things in our yard over the years--wild turkey, deer, fox, coyotes, and we've even had a snake and a bobcat on the carport at different times, of course.  Those are things you expect when you have woods all around, but we are still bewildered by why those cows came right up to the door as if they expected to be invited in.  All in all, it was just another exciting night in the country.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.      

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bad girl

I've been a very bad girl lately.  I haven't posted anything here in at least a month.  I will try to do better, but remember, if you don't have anything to say--it's best to just shut up.

We had beautiful fall colors this year, but they only lasted a few days.  The trees are either totally bare or the color is definitely past its prime.  I did catch the sassafras tree in the back yard while it was spectacular.
I wish we had lots more of these, but this is the only one anywhere near the house. 

I haven't taken many photos lately because my camera died.  It was giving me trouble for some time, but I kept babying it and trying to be calm and nice and not say ugly words.  That sort of worked until last week, when, on the advice of this very nice "geek" at Best Buy, I tried a new battery.  That helped for about 6 shots, then, the next time I tried, no dice.  I would push the impossibly tiny "on" button maybe 10 times and when it finally came on and I aimed it at what was to be the subject of my photo, it would shut off.  That happened 4 or 5 times, and I finally said, enough (well, I actually said some other stuff, too, but best not to get into that).  I'm going back to Best Buy tomorrow to purchase a new camera.  I've felt so lost without a camera these last few days--kind of like being without a car.

I made a major purchase a couple of weeks ago and I was going to post a photo, but since that didn't work out, I'll just tell you about it.  First, a little background--when I was at the GA Quilt Show back in September, I wandered by the Bernina booth and talked to a nice lady about the new 700 series machines.  I had no intention of buying a new sewing machine, I was just killing time.  Then, over the next few weeks the universe began turning in such a way that my purchase of a new machine became a given.  Money began to fall out of the sky.  First, there was the prize money from the GA Quilt Show, then more prize money from the GA Nat'l Fair, and, to top it off, I sold my "Lotus Pond" piece at the fair.  All in all, I thought these were omens.  So, not wanting to upset the natural order of things, I visited my nearest Bernina dealer and put that baby through its paces. 

Needless to say, it was love at first stitch.  This machine (the Bernina 710) is a dream.  It has  10" of  throat space, a dual feed system that's very easy to engage and works with several different feet.  It also uses a much larger bobbin and gives me up to 9mm of stitch width capability.  And--drum roll--it has a button that you push to cut the top and bottom thread!  Do you know how many times I've had to practically crawl under a quilt to cut that bottom thread with the scissors and hope I didn't cut a hole in the quilt at the same time? 

I had briefly looked at the 800 series Berninas when they first came out, but I can't see myself paying $10K for a sewing machine--not until I win the lottery, anyway.  I opted for the lowest price of the 700 models because I wasn't about to spend an extra $1000 for a BSR foot (stitch regulator) and a quarter-inch foot, which was the only difference between the 710 model and the 750 QE.  Then, there's a 780 that includes all the embroidery stuff, but I'm not into embroidery.  All in all, the 710 was just a little more than I paid for my 440 QE about 6-7 years ago.  And, now I will sell that machine, since I don't have room for it.

 By the way, if you're interested in a well-used and well-maintained Bernina 440 QE, I'm offering mine for $1500, which is about half what I paid for it.  Send me an e-mail if you want to know more.  I also counted and I have about 75 bobbins for the 440 that I can't use on the new machine, so I'd be willing to throw those into the deal.

I'm in the process of making a bed quilt for my youngest grandson.  Mitch will be 16 next week, and, while this won't be finished in time for his birthday, maybe it can be done by Christmas.  I've got all the piecing done and I'm working on borders.   It has 72 New York Beauty blocks that I paper pieced.  Mitch picked out some of my ice-dyed fabric (which just happened to be my favorite color combination) and that has determined my palette.  I love the way that fabric looks in the quilt and I'm using it for the borders, too.  If all goes well tomorrow, maybe I can post some photos.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

GA National Fair and Expressions of Meriwether

The Georgia National Fair closes today and my 3 entries this year won a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  That's awesome, but what puzzles me always is that I apparently have no concept of how to judge my own work.  The piece that won a blue ribbon was my 3rd choice and I really didn't expect to win anything with it. 
"Sanctuary" is  made from a 1/2 yard piece of my ice-dyed fabric.  I hung it on my design wall, occasionally turning it, until it began to look like something to me.  Then, I did a little cropping, added thread painting for the tree trunks and limbs, the grass and water, and used a piece of fabric I had previously painted for the sky.  I liked it, but I would have never guessed it would beat out the other two entries.
"Lotus Pond" was awarded 2nd place.  It certainly involved a lot more work and different techniques and materials.  I thought it was the best thing I've done, so far.  The big news is that it is now sold, thanks to its exposure at the fair. 
"Best Friends Forever" got the 3rd place.  It, too, took a lot of time to complete.  I posted previously about how it was made, showing photos of it in progress.  It's definitely a favorite of mine, considering the subject matter.

Next Saturday, October 19th, I will participate in a county-wide event featuring lots of different interests and activities.  It's called "Expressions of Meriwether" and will include tours of historic buildings and demos by a potter, photographer, and interior designer in Greenville, pony rides and building birdhouses in Luthersville, beekeeping, homing pigeons and cooking classes in Lone Oak, as well as ballroom dance classes and wine tasting in Warm Springs.  Railroad Days and a car show will take place in Manchester and bluegrass music and lots of antiques will be on display in Woodbury. 

I will be exhibiting my work at the Community Building in Gay, GA from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, along with a local photographer.  The Community Building is 1/2 mile north of the traffic light on GA Hwy 85, beside and a bit behind the fire station.  Sounds like a great time for the whole family, with something for everyone.  Ya'll come.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

GA Quilt Show

Yesterday, I attended the GA Quilt Show in Marietta.  I had entered one art quilt in the competition and I also have a piece in the GA/SC Regional SAQA Exhibit, which will be traveling with the Sewing and Quilt Expo around the country for the next year.  This was the opening of that exhibit and I was anxious to see what our group had produced.

It is an awesome showing  and I am honored to be a part of it.  There is a wonderfully diverse group of artists and styles represented.  The theme is "Under Georgia Lina Skies", which left a lot of room for interpretation and I think that helps make it such a great mix. 

My competition piece, "Where the Pavement Ends" took a third place in the Small Wallhanging category. 
Since the category doesn't separate art quilts and is based strictly on size, it means there's a big range of work.  I don't see how my piece got any recognition, after seeing the first and second place winners.  They were both densely quilted with incredible skill--the kind of quilts you're used to seeing in the big shows that make your mouth drop in awe.  How my little landscape squeezed out a ribbon, I don't know because there were other entries more like #1 and 2. 

I really wish the show would have a category that is just for art quilts, as it seems to be a comparison of apples and oranges.  Do we look at it for its artistic merit or for its technical wizardry.  Of course, the technically awesome ones are also artistic, but it's a different animal.

I will be doing a Trunk Show for the East Cobb Quilt Guild next Friday morning.  I'm a bit nervous about that since they have some very gifted art quilters in their group.  Hope they won't be bored with my work. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Folk School

I spent last week at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.  It was a great experience on many levels.  First, I must say that I am an introvert and my biggest concern prior to making the trip was that I would be "trapped" in an environment with multiple strangers and I would be required to "make nice" with these people 24/7.  I know that sounds awful, but, like I said, I am an introvert and it takes a lot for me to be comfortable in groups, especially for extended periods of time.

I had arranged for a single room with a private bathroom, so I would have some place to hibernate.  That was a good idea, as I was able to return to my room (no tv, no radio, sketchy cell phone service) after the evening program and be totally quiet and alone.  I had the option of returning to the classroom in the evening, but I decided I needed time to decompress after a full day.  I wrote a 2 page letter to my husband each evening.  I haven't written an actual letter in years and it was special for both of us.

 My room and the house I stayed in.

Everyone was extremely nice and friendly and I met many interesting people.  Dining was family style, which meant you had to interact with your table-mates and that led to conversations beyond "pass the potatoes, please".  There were people there from all over the country and from such diverse backgrounds, I found myself enjoying the meals as much for the conversation as for the food--and the food was awesome.

There was entertainment each evening, demonstrations in some of the other classes, and the scenery was beautiful.

I took a beginning drawing class with 8 other students.  It was kind of like closing your eyes and jumping off the high dive when you're not sure there's any water in the pool, and you can't swim anyway.  (Remember the scene in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", when they have to jump off a cliff into a river below and one of the guys hesitates and says he can't swim and the other one says, "hell, the fall will kill you"?)

I do not remember ever drawing anything that wasn't traced.  I make the patterns for my art quilts by enlarging a photo and tracing the main elements.  That way, I know that things are the correct size in relation to each other.  So, on the first day, when the instructor, Annie Cicale, told us to pick some leaves or a plant and draw them, I swallowed hard and dove right in.  My thought process was that nobody in this class knew me, nor was I ever likely to meet any of them again, so what did I have to lose?  Besides, the folk school is not a cheap vacation, so I was determined to get my money's worth.

I survived Monday morning--I even showed my work to the other people in the class and Annie.  Believe me, that was not easy, but everyone was extremely supportive and positive--nobody laughed out loud, so I decided it was okay to come back after lunch.

I think I may have been the only true beginner in the class, as there were some pretty awesome drawings being done.  On Monday afternoon, we chose 4-5 small objects and composed a still life.  We got some instruction, which I'm not sure I fully grasped, and began to draw.  I was doing okay until I got to the last object and realized that it didn't fit where it was supposed to go and I only had 3 erasers, so I knew I was in trouble.  By that time, it was the end of the day and I went back to my room after dinner with a headache and a lot of doubt about my future as an artist.

Tuesday morning, I came back to the class, having determined that I would start over, so I selected another group of objects and began again.  This time, things went a lot better and everything fit pretty much where it was supposed to go.  Then we began to work on shading, which was easier for me since I discovered that concept when I made my second art quilt.

I won't bore you with lots more details--heck, you probably haven't gotten this far anyway.  Suffice it to say, things got easier as the week progressed, and I have no doubt that given enough time with Annie (who is a great instructor and artist), I could eventually be one of those people you see in public places with a sketchbook and a beautifully peaceful look on their faces, lost in their own world.  I have always envied those people and wanted to be one of them.

My favorite part of the week was the day we went out and found a spot by ourselves and drew what was in front of us.  That was totally serene and made my little introverted self very happy.  I want to do that again.

The bottom line here is, the folk school is an awesome place, where you can learn a lot, produce something you're proud to take home, and meet an incredibly diverse and interesting group of people.  And, the setting is spectacular--quiet and serene, surrounded by mountains.  They offer such a variety of classes, the biggest problem you have is deciding which one you want to take.  So, if you're looking for a different kind of vacation, check it out.

This week is the GA Quilt Show at the Galleria on the north side of Atlanta.  I have one piece in the competition and another piece in a SAQA exhibit, which includes art quilts from members in the GA/SC region of SAQA.  I'm looking forward to seeing that and attending a regional SAQA meeting Friday night.

The GA National Fair is Oct 3rd - 13th and I have 3 pieces entered in the Fine Arts Show.  I didn't have anything to enter in the quilt competition this year.  I plan to make a full/queen size quilt for my youngest grandson, Mitch, very soon.  His 16th birthday is coming up in November and I'd like to have something ready, if not by then, perhaps for Christmas.  He's picked out colors, but we haven't settled on a design yet.  I need to get busy. 


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Exhibit Ends

Today is the last day of my solo exhibit at the Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum.  It has been a wonderful experience for me.  I've met some great people, made some new friends, and especially enjoyed working with Beverly Hammack, Norma West, April Carlson, and Jennifer.  I so appreciate the opportunity to hang all my work in one space and have people actually come to see it.

It's going to be a bit of a bummer to have to take it all down, roll it up, and bring it home.  But, let's face it, each piece is like one of my children, so I guess it's time they all came home.

September will be hectic.  I'll have one piece in the competition at the GA Quilt Show and another will be part of the SAQA Regional Exhibit there Sept 19-21.  Then, I have to deliver several pieces to the GA Nat'l Fair in Perry, which opens in October.  I'm doing a Trunk Show for the East Cobb Guild on the 27th.  And squeezed into September is also a 5-day class at the John C. Campbell Folk School in NC.

 I'm taking a drawing class and I hope to break down that wall that keeps telling me I can't draw.  There must be some secret or trick I can learn that will give me the courage to put pencil to paper and produce marks that resemble something.  Surely there's hope--it can't really be something that you're either born with or not, like blue eyes or being double-jointed.  I'm like a kid with all my supplies ready and waiting for the first day of school.  Wish me luck!

I finished a new piece recently and thought I'd share it here.  I call it "End of Day" and it's based on several photos I took of a beautiful sunset here in the country many years ago.  The sky changed color almost minute by minute as we hurried from place to place, trying to get the best shot.  It was all over in such a short time and I don't think I've ever seen another one nearly as spectacular. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Pasaquan

My previous blog wouldn't hold all the photos I wanted to share, so read it first, then look at the pics.
This was one of my favorite paintings.

 Notice the blue eyes--they're roofing nails.  This was a life size figure.
 This looks Native American to me--a shield?
The corner of a building.  This place is awesome!  Hope you can see it for yourself someday.


Today, my husband and I visited Pasaquan.  If you've never heard of it, you should check out the website  It's near Buena Vista, GA--a little over an hour from our house.  We've been talking about visiting for several years and finally, today was the day. 

I'm not a big folk art fanatic, but this place is unbelievable.  Eddie Owen Martin was born and grew up in this very rural area, but left in his teens for New York City.  He returned when he was in his mid forties, having had a vision that instructed him to return to Georgia.  I don't want to say any more about him--don't want to screw up the facts--but he was definitely a unique individual with a drive to create that led him to lay hands on every available surface and enhance it in some way.  I should also add that he was a self-taught artist.

His sense of color was phenomenal.  A lot of his work is outdoors and hasn't been treated kindly by the elements.  It's when you see the work on the walls inside that you can get a better sense of what those outside surfaces must have been at one time. 

He seems to have been influenced by many cultures--African, Native American, Mexican--and many religions.  I saw things that seemed Budhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Native American.  There are numerous images that recur again and again.  Circles are everywhere and many things made me think of space and the planets.  There are many wonderful quilting motifs and paintings that look like quilts hanging on the walls.

To say that I was impressed would be a major understatement.  I took about 150 photographs and could have taken lots more.  We were struck by how the same section of wall or building looked totally different when you viewed it from another angle.  Sooo--I'm posting a few of my photos--enjoy.
 These circles with different designs lined the walkway to the front door of the main house.
 This huge painting covered an entire wall inside--it's a quilt, right?
 Notice the metal work and carved wood around the inside of the window frame and the view outside.
 Don't know what this building was used for, but it had a Japanese temple feel to me.
 Lots and lots of faces--this one carved into the concrete. 
 One wall in the kitchen area. 
 This area had a Budha-looking statue inside on a bench.  Notice the metal work at top.
 Circles, circles, circles--not sure what this building was about.
 Believe it or not, this structure hides a large propane tank.
 Another angle of the propane shed.
 A view from the side and back of the main house.
 Note the feather earring on the statue at left--American Indian influence?
 Loved the design on this upright section.
 Is this a Seminole patchwork quilt?  Check out the metal work on top of the wall.
 A metal clad door.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Girls and their portraits

My two oldest granddaughters came to visit last week and on Saturday, their Mom and younger sister met me in Carrollton at the museum to make the transfer and see my exhibit.  Of course, I couldn't resist taking photos of each of them with their portraits.
Olivia, who's now 10, was feeling quite the celebrity.  She had seen the poster advertising the exhibit that featured her portrait.  She asked if she would be able to sign autographs.  Sadly, no one asked her to do that--ahh, fame is so fleeting.
Josie, age 9, told me she had chosen a special outfit to wear to the museum.  Check out the footwear--now that's "stylin'".
Sarah, age 5, is so excited to be starting kindergarten next week.  We had to stand her in a chair so she'd be tall enough for the picture.

I was surprised to learn that they had sold all my ice-dyed fabric at the museum, so I've got some more "percolating" tonight and I'll be delivering it on Thursday.  It's another one of my addictive activities, so I'm thrilled to have an excuse to make some more.

There was a couple at the museum on Saturday and since it's not a big space, I couldn't help overhearing a lot of their conversation.  The lady took plenty of time to look at each piece and pointed out to her companion all the details she observed about how it was made, the subject, etc.  It was so cool to listen and know that someone else noticed and appreciated all the choices and decisions that go into the work.  That's one of the things that always intrigues me when I look at other people's quilts, especially the older ones.  I really do feel that a quilt has so much to tell you about the maker, if you're just willing to listen.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to talk to this lady, but, whoever and wherever you are--thank you!  You really made my day. 

I've finished a new art piece for the GA/SC Regional SAQA Exhibit that will debut at the GA Quilt Show and then travel around the country for the next year.  It's based on a photo I took many years ago of two orange butterflies.  I painted the background and used a piece of the ice-dyed fabric for the binding--the colors were just right.

 Now, I'm onto the next one.  It's also based on several old photos I took of an incredible sunset--undoubtedly the most beautiful one I can remember.  Luckily, I had my camera handy that day.  I'll post photos of both pieces later.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Exhibit News & New Addiction

My solo exhibit at the Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA continues until the end of August, so if you haven't been to see it, you still have time.  I was there on Tuesday of this week to speak to the Carrollton Writers' Group--a great bunch of people.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them and talking about my work.

I'd guess there were 25-30 people in attendance.  It was nice to see a good showing of men among them.  They are not quilters, for the most part, so it was very interesting to me to have an audience with a different perspective than the usual quilter groups who attend my trunk shows.  They asked lots of great questions and the time passed quickly.  I think the main thing I came away with was that we have a great deal in common when it comes to our different creative paths.  They just express themselves with words and I use images.

I recently did some pieces that are a new concept for me.  My good friend,  Maryanne Aubin, who's a wonderful artist and has her own frame shop, gave me the idea.  She loved the ice-dyed fabrics and we enjoyed sitting together and picking out different things that we saw in various areas of the fabrics.  She suggested that I isolate some of those things and make little art quilts, which could then be mounted on foamcore and matted, ready for framing.  Well, long story short, I now have a new addiction.  I have placed some of the finished pieces at the museum for sale and some at The Front Porch Gallery in Columbus.

These are small.  The size of the actual quilted piece in the top one (called "Cosmos") is 3"x 6".  The middle one (called "Fire Dance") is 3" x 9" and the bottom one (called "Sea Glass", which I added beads) is 4" x 6".  At least, I think that's right--it's close.  The mats are 2-2 1/2".  I'm anxious to see if they will sell because I want to make some more.  I've priced them, starting at $60 for the smallest ones, up to one I did that's 8"x10" + mat for $120.  What do you think?  Is this a worthwhile pursuit?


Saturday, June 15, 2013

How It's Made

June is jumpin', but I'm working hard to keep up.  Of course the exhibit at the museum continues through the summer.  I went up yesterday to meet my cousin and her friend who came down from Calhoun to see the show.  We had a nice lunch and visit.

The Columbus Artists' Guild show is in full swing.  It opened June 8th and continues through the 22nd at the Illges Gallery at Columbus State University.  My piece didn't get any awards this year, but it's nice to have work in an art show. 

The East Cobb Quilt Guild show is going on through Sunday.  I entered two pieces and received an Honorable Mention for one of them ("Black Hills September").  My friend, Linda and I, along with our husbands (can you believe that?) will go up tomorrow afternoon, see the show, and bring our quilts home. 

I made two new pieces for the museum exhibit.  I put the photos that I worked from in my May 5th post.  Here is one of the finished pieces.

It's called "Best Friends Forever" and is based on a photo by Robin Camp.  This is me and my youngest granddaughter, Sarah.  Does this quilt make my butt look big?

I used the technique I've used before with the trees and background where I cut up zillions of tiny pieces of fabric and place them, piece by piece.  I took pictures as I was working on this one, so I thought I'd give you a glimpse into the mind of a very disturbed individual. 
This is the original photo that I was working with.  I cropped it, enlarged it and printed it on my printer, then taped the pages together.  It's about 30 x 32 inches.
Next, I did a line drawing of the main elements.  Sorry, it doesn't show up very well in the photo.

The next step is to draw a rough outline on a piece of muslin of where the colors change.  This will be the base of the quilt.  I write the value (light, medium, dark) and color of each area on the muslin.  Then, the fun part begins.  I choose fabrics from among my mountain of scraps.  Prints work fine, but stripes or plaids are not so good.  I iron a fusible (I use Lite Steam-a-Seam II) to the back of the fabrics.  I then peel the backing paper off the back side (this is VERY important--peel before you cut) and begin cutting the fabrics into small, odd-shaped and varying pieces.  The pieces are usually no larger than a dime--some are smaller. 

I use 4 or 5 different fabrics for each value.  The values might be light light green, light green, light medium green, medium green, dark medium green, dark green, and dark dark green.  So, you'll have 4 or 5 fabrics of all those values.  You get the idea. I find paper plates to be useful in keeping the different values separate.

Now the really crazy part.  I place the pieces on the muslin one at a time with a pair of tweezers.  I try not to put pieces of the same fabrics next to each other--that's why it's good to have 4 or 5 different fabrics for each value.  Even though it's very tedious, it gives you a great depth of color.

 You can see the effect here of all the bits.  I usually iron the pieces down a little as I go because they can't be trusted to stay in place on their own.  In a pinch, you can still pull them off if you need to, or you can cover them with more bits if an area just doesn't look like you want it to.  You don't want to have too many layers, but this is a pretty forgiving technique, so you can usually fix most mistakes. 

After the bits are in place, but before the tree trunks are put down, I put a layer or two of tulle over the bits and stitch with some invisible thread just to hold everything down.  In this case, I used two layers of gray tulle over the area above the road because I wanted the colors to be more muted to help add to the illusion of depth.  You can still put some bits on top of the tulle if you need to, but you need to always use a press cloth if you're ironing over the tulle--otherwise, it melts.
A little closer view.

I used some larger pieces in the road, then put small bits down for fallen leaves. 
I "built" the figures on a teflon sheet and fused them together.  They are put together in a more conventional way. 

The figures are placed on the background and I'm ready for thread work.  At this time, I iron a piece of stabilizer to the back of the piece to help keep it from distorting when I do the thread work and quilting.  I want to make sure I stitch through any of the bits that are not covered by tulle.

   I use a small zigzag stitch and a matching lightweight thread (Superior Bottom Line) to go over all the raw edges (not the bits, but all the larger pieces in the road and the figures).  I do some thread painting to highlight (example-hair and tree trunks).

A detail shot of the tree trunks and leaves.

Now it's ready to be layered with batting and backing and quilted.  Then, I'll square it up and either face it or bind it.  I like to face the edges because it looks more like a piece of art that way, so I'm doing that more and more.  I'm also leaving off borders for the same reason.

I didn't take as many photos as I should have to illustrate this technique, but I hope you can follow along.  It's not a method that a lot of people would want to do, but I like it and it's actually kind of relaxing to play with all the tiny bits.