Maybe this photo doesn't mean much to you. To me, this is bee-u-T-full! It's filled with possibilities. It says a project is underway and I have had success in the journey thus far (I really dislike wasting fabric so I'm cautious about what and when I cut). And, best of all, it's my new full sheet cutting mat. No more skips due to multiple mat sheets. New blade on the rotary and whee! Careful. Mind the finger tips. I'm happy. Really glad I found the Sewing Emporium via Threads article and Google search. The people there were very helpful! Hmm... Now what else other projects need cutting out? Bye for now!
It's alter time again!!
This month's full moon is known as the seed moon or pink moon. For some reason, I've been struck by the glory of a moon dressed all in pink. See it gets the name pink from the ground phlox that blooms this time of year. And this is one of my absolute favorite times of year to photograph. I love gardens in spring. I grew up playing among the azaleas, Andromeda, bluebells and daffodils.
I love the way the earth smells when she's laughing in flowers. Persephone does leave a glorious and fragrant wake as she returns from Hades. There is nothing like the delicious smell of blooming azaleas, Andromeda and clematis all mingling with rhododendron an the warmth of a sunny spring day or lingering upon every dew drop following a gentle spring rain.
The images you see before you are a several photographs I took in one of my favorite gardens. If you play in the garden, you'll find magic & faeries among the bright blossoms & rich evergreens or deep underneath the cascading blossoms of the Andromeda bush.
What I find fascinating is how different the scents are from each of these flowers. The clematis really smell like chocolate. The andromeda like a heavy, syrupy honey, and the azaleas are sweet and bright, like a sibling to the summer trumpet vine or the springtime honeysuckle found enveloping every early spring night in Kansas City, Missouri as the days heat wanes and the earth sleeps. I would love to travel the world as spring comes alive in every place just to experience the scents. What would it be like to be right smack in the desert when all those cactai burst open? Or how about standing in a Moroccan garden among the roses? Or sipping your morning espresso beneath an arbor crafted of gardenia? It'd be quite a glorious hedge. What other amazing scents could you discover? If only to bottle these and wear them. I would definitely wear scents of Azalea, Andromeda, or Honeysuckle.
Wow, glancing over this post, I love how colorful it is. And, I realized how truely me it is! I love it! Color is a wonderful thing. I lived in a land of grey once and now choose to live in technicolor how ever I possibly can.
Back to the moon. When I began sculpting, I didn't intend her for the Alter project. After last month, I decided I'd just play a little and if it worked out, great. If not, then I'd have a fun art piece and I would have taught myself to sculpt a face in paper clay. I've done quite a bit of sculpting with pottery clay, sculpey and fimo, but paper clay seemed too soft. With inspiration and courage found from classes with Michael DeMeng, Clarissa Callisen, Patricia Hedegaard and the Halloween book by Mr. Glitterville, I embarked upon the journey.
Well, it was a bit soft. But, I just kept playing and out came this magical moon face. Then, instead of keeping her just a full moon, I decided that I wanted her to represent both the full and the crescent moon. She could be waxing or waning, depending on which side you observe her. I gave her a long pointy nose and a very pointy up-tipped chin. I tried the pressed in eyes like shown in Glitterville, except with mine, I added them with flattened circles of of clay and created eye sockets, just in case I wanted to add a glass eye.
Then, after bone dry, I began painting. Thank God I'd been through Michael DeMeng's classes where I learned his layering techniques to achieve the most amazing painted surfaces. It was not easy to grasp how many layers go into a surface to achieve depth. And, might I add the patience one really needs to have. I do like the look, but often avoid it because I run out of patience. Well, fortunately, I happened to find an extra dosage bottle of art patience in my medicine cabinet. For this moon alone, I believe there are ~ 7 layers just for the main color. Then, there are many more layers in the eyes, lips, etc. The nice part about layers is if you don't like the look, paint over and start again. There are actually green, blue, purple, pink, and many other colors in there. The more I painted her, the more she felt like an Italian clown, part of the Pagliacci or even a marionette. I think my style is beginning to emerge. How lovely!
I couldn't let the moon go up without a rich and colorful night sky behind her. While resting from a minor injury, I picked up my colored pencils. Had such great fun with them on the shrinky-dinks, but haven't found the look I want on paper. I really like a layered, depth, but didn't know how to create it. So, off I went in search of tutorials from the great world of bloggers. Not many, but I found one that showed putting red behind blue and blue behind red. Huh. It looked weird on it's own, but I figured it would be interesting to try in my favorite colors - pink and aqua.
I started playing with the colors at hand. I was tickled to see the rich sky colors I could create. Just like so many nights I've tried to photograph, but my camera just won't pick-up. Oh glory me, this is really exciting. Now, I have a way to create night skies. I've been dreaming of this. And, all because I sculpted this moon, and just played really, do I know a new way to make a magical scene. LUCKY ME!
When deciding on which classes to take at Sew Expo this year, for those instructors with whom I had no knowledge or previous experience, I researched each instructor of interest online via websites, youtube, or blog posts others had written. I love knit clothing and have run into some snags, rippled seams, etc as I've sewn my own and the Craftsy class I took on "Sewing With Knits" taught me a couple things, but I needed better info from an experienced pattern designer or instructor who had worked with and fit knits for adult bodies.
Voila! My desire was answered when I discovered Pamela Leggett, the talented woman behind Pamela's Patterns had seminars on Cool Cardigans and also Knits That Fit. She has a super helpful & well designed website. I was amazed, thrilled, and learned a great deal from two of her 1-hr seminars at Sew Expo followed by asking a couple specific questions at her booth. Ultimately, I walked away much more knowledgeable, clear on how to adjust problem areas I'd never known how to handle or identify (arm hole shortening for too low garment neckline), and several patterns I'd purchased that will give me beautifully fitting everyday basics that my wardrobe desperately needs. Yay! No more time wasted searching for or wearing ill fitting Ready To Wear (RTW).
Pamela is the nicest person you could meet. Super helpful & elegantly dressed showing the many ways her patterns can be used. Her voice & persona are so cute, genuine, sweet and totally characteristic that I may be inspired to develop a puppet or character for an audio book after her (a compliment to be sure!).
I love meeting unique and knowledgable people like her. After her "Knits That Fit" class, I asked Pamela about the sway back adjustment I recently made on a knitted shirt without a back seam. my concern was that folding it out, then re-truing the line for a fold only added the fabric back in at the Center Back waist where I had just pinched it out. She told me that when knits first came out in the 70's & 80's, they had back seams to allow for better fit. But the fashion industry has eliminated them to save time and money. Her patterns already have the sway back adjustment and instructions. That eased my mind. She has many great tips and videos posted FREE on her website: http://www.pamelaspatterns.com/you-tube-videos
Then she showed me a couple finished versions of her T-shirt pattern, from her own closet, that she put a back seam into for better fit. After talking with her, buying her T-shirt and Tank patterns, I'm definitely going to put the back seam into my knits. Because, I'm a curvy girl with a sway back adjustment and I like a nice fit. There are too many people running around in RTW with ill fitting clothing. I want to be the one people look at and think, "Damn she looks good. I wonder where she bought that shirt. Probably paid a fortune!" But it'll be our little secret. ;)
I'm currently working out the fit on my copy of Pamela's Pattern #104, The Perfect T-shirt. In a future post, I'll include the multitude of mods based on my conversations with Pamela and comparisons with my own RTW and other shirt's I've made. This is the 2nd step in the process (after taking photos of my RTW fits) toward getting a great fitting T-shirt. Yay! I'm on my way!
It's alter art time again! Yep, moon is full. Tomorrow to be exact. And, as the Native American's called it, the Worm Moon.
Full Worm Moon
Well, let's just say this month I tried to PLAN. That's right, I had really cool ideas. I was SO inspired. I've taken up rollerskating again and am fascinated by what people are doing on skates. I thought it was a lost art. But, people are dancing as fluidly on roller skates or more so, than with their feet on the ground. Blows my mind. And there's this amazing phenomenon where a whole group of people skate in a single file line really fast practically dancing. It's fascinating to watch and scary if you're skating too slow and they come racing through the crowd. So, you learn to stay toward the center and just watch.
How does that fit with my alter project this month? Well, I thought I'd be sketching skaters, doing some cool 3-D art. Spent hours looking at skaters, watching videos and out skating. But, I don't have enough time under my belt drawing bodies, observing the skating movements I want to convey, nor enough experience skating to intuitively know how those movements should feel or look. And queue melt down. The harder I tried, the more frustrated I got. I even went outside and had myself a good cry. You've got to let go of the emotions so you can get on with making the art! Ok, ok. I surrender. This is not what I should be making right now. Too early.
I went back inside and just started working on making the background or inner box with samples of water color paper I had messed around spritzing and daubing alcohol inks and dylusions sprays. I knew I needed a background. Didn't know where I was going, what it would be. That was cathartic. I made something I knew would be needed and work. I even got to try my new perforator tool. Cool tool, that. Voila. A beginning. I made another, and tried to put the roller skaters back in and hit another wall. OK. yeah, got it. No skaters this time. I'm moving on universe. Message received.
Mom took me out to her studio (a place of wonder) and started pulling out all the bits and bobs, doo dads and whirly gigs she's collected and stored from the you-never-know-when-you-might-need-this pile. And my Parisian Dream began to take form. We found wheels, skulls, mini light bulbs, and so much more. There were a few stencils - an Eiffel tower, a hot air balloon, an old Model T, and a guy riding a 1910 big wheel tricycle. First, I tried to reduce them on the copy machine to check fit. Then drew a few Eiffel towers on shrinky-dink with colored pencils. FUN! The first was so fun I did another. Then, remembered how cool things look en masse and made 2 more. Each is a little different. Added a hot air balloon and shrank them all in the oven. Oh they became so wee! When they finally landed on the background, they ended up circling one another like going down the rabbit hole or the view from a kaleidoscope.
While each piece (background, shrinky-dinks, etc) was made independantely and I had no intention of creating "Oz", I discovered that the balloon & a spot on the background paper worked out to be just that. So, I let myself be inspired by Disney's Oz and I let the balloon act as though it were The Great & Powerful Oz floating his way way to Paris by night. All while a French bulldog barks at the crazy multiplying Eiffel towers.
I'm SO happy. But if you'd asked me when I started if this is what I'd have ended up with - I'd have told you entirely different. Not at all what I planned or imagined, but better. Reminds me of phrases in many of Summer McStravick's flowdreams.
I've been looking for new frames. I was trying some on at Costco the other day and took photos of front and side views while wearing each. I was floored by how different the franes looked on me as I assessed them. The photos were totally worth taking! Some I thought were super cute, actually looked dull and lifeless.
Also, after seeing many a photo of me from years past, I've gotten to the point where I'm tired of beating myself up and being hypercritical of how I look. Every time I look back I think, "wow... I was so cute! Why didn't I appreciate what I had?" And after asking myself that for years, I've finally decided that the time to appreciate must be now.
Fitting my current body for patrerns I want to sew goes hand in hand with my new mindset and photographing myself to properly assess fit. For I've stopped many a project because I wouldn't look good enough nor looked like the model. For heavens sake! How silly I've been. The joys I've cut myself off of. The time is now.
I very much need some good quality wardrobe basics. I've gained weight as I was forced to stop all activity following a rock climbing injury. Hips and all the muscles/ligaments are extremely important to core functions like walking, driving, and sitting. Now that I'm finally on the mend 3 years and multiple re-injuries later, I'm carefully returning my body back to its optimal state of fitness. It feels great and I want to look great every step of the way.
I am starting my new wardrobe with The Perfect T-Shirt by Pamela's patterns. Because our closets are filled with many examples of fit from the Ready To Wear shirts we buy, I decided to go through my own closet and photograph how my favorites, or what I thought were my best looks/fit. Boy was this eye opening!
The first 4 tops are shown in order of the amount I love them. Most on the left, least on the right. Then I decided to throw in the navy tank, purple tie-dye, and one I made of Katherine Tilton V8793 pattern with 1 swayback adjustment on the far right in brown & aqua. Most of the fabrics shown are nearly similar. The tie-dyed T-shirt, 2nd from left is a rayon knit, so of course it hangs straight when left to its own devices.
Slap me silly and shut my mouth. I had no idea some of these tops were so ill fitting. And here's me running around thinking I look great. Well, even if in a bad fit, I'm going to continue to find ways to feel good about myself because I start with my thoughts to work toward and tell the universe I want to look & feel good. But I will start to modify my wardrobe & tweak my sewing patterns so I can make great fitting & flattering clothes to show off my body.
What these photographs tell me:
You never really know quite how you look until you see a photograph. The same with how you sound until you listen to your own voicemail or watch a video. This used to scare me, but after spending lots of time behind the mic & recording Storytimes with Gwennie, I have come to find it fascinating. I now think of it as a gift, an opportunity to change and improve on things I'd prefer look or sound differently. For, how can we improve upon or even refine that which we don't know needs attention. For many, it can be rather unnerving to receive feedback on our performance or even an outfit. But, if you do find the desire in yourself to be better and simultaneously accept who you are, then let a camera or mic show you and make the judgement for yourself. I caution you to be fair, gentle, and accepting. We are often the very hardest on ourselves. And keeping that in mind, think like the ocean to a stone, a sculpter to his carefully shaped David, and do not cast a stone, nor smash with hammer, nor gouge off the nose as you try to make it into a shape it's not. Rather, gently smooth, lightly and ever so slightly chisel to soften the curve of the nostril and let it be what it is with an enhancement or spotlight upon its very best features. This takes great courage. And, often time away from the project. It also demands that your thoughts focus on the positive aspects and that your mind too lets go of the entire subject whilst you go play and think on other things that make you happy. Go on. You're worth it.
Valentines! Oh how I love the cheerful red, pink, and white colors brought out for making Valentines. So sweet. So uplifting after the dull, grey days of January. I'm not a snow bunny; you won't find me skiing or playing in the powder. So I find January to be a bit of a bore after the throws of Yule and Christmas.
But speaking of Snow and Bunnies... I made one for the alter project this moon, the Snow Moon. We are marking our transitions through the project not in months, but rather in moons. It's a refreshing change to the calendar and I feel like I'm getting more into the rhythms of the earth and planets. Why, if the tides can change with the pull of the moon, then why not try and see how the waxing and waning of the moon affects the creation of art (or lack there of depending on the phase).
Back to the bunny... I made this sweet little guy a little while back and just didn't know what to do with him. I even made his back flat so he could rest in a shadow box. That much forethought I had. But the assemblage? no. He actually sat in a box with some other really fun sculptures for, oh say, 5 months. And then, when I saw I was creating for Beth's box, a vision of him popped into my head. I tried fitting him in the box and voila! Magically he fit!! So, I went off to my local indie craft store in search of papers. I was thrilled to find a lovely valentine paper that went so well with the glimmer of the sparkle polymer I used to make bunny.
Then, my next bit of inspiration came from the "Love Me". My parents are kind and thoughtful people. One day when we were out on an antique treasure hunting adventure, they gave me a box with 3 chocolate frogs. Well, the frogs were delicious. Then as I was getting ready to toss the box, I saw the words "Love Me" and wondered if they'd fit. How cute and appropriate would it be for a bunny to profess or even accidentally pose in front of a sign that said "Love Me"? It's like all bunnies say, "I'm cute and cuddly. Love me!" So, in the sign went. I used temporary tape and gazed on it for a week or so before I secured it permenantely.
Lastly, the itsy, bitsy washi tape flags. I love miniature things. Always have. I had and made doll houses in every corner of the house, much to my mother's chagrin some days. :) To make these 1/8" - 1/4" wide flags I used the width of the washi tape itself as half the height of the flag. Then to ensure I had a tiny enough width to allow for lots of flags over a mere 3", I cut strips that were ~ 1/8" or so by 1/2" (width of washi tape). The result? A magical, miniature, banner of flags fit for even a Lego guy
to hold! Yay! I love the whole thing, just like the words say, "Love Me".
Please visit Peg Gyldenege's blog to see the other artists amazing creations:
I love all the seasons. I love the transitions. While I do find winter difficult sometimes and mourn the loss of the sun and lush growth, I think having them gone reminds me to appreciate them that much more when they return. So today, I inspire you with a Tulip Tree also known as a Magnolia. This is one of my favorites to watch bloom, along with the cherry blossoms. The colors are cheerful, innocent, and sweet. I took this photo last spring with my iPhone and used some fun app to enhance the blue colors. I wish you dogwood blossoms and wagging puppy tails. Happy Spring!
I was invited to participate in the Little Alters project with a group of amazing artists. It's a project where you create a little piece of art for each person based on what inspires you. We each have a typeset style drawer with funny little compartments where each mini alter will be created. The intent behind alters is that often in our lives we collect objects and gather them together on table tops, nooks, and crannies. Why not create more art and alters at the same time? "Cool!" I thought. I can do that. "And what fun to be part of such an eclectic group!"
Whee! Free reign. Oh, wait - that can be unnerving to people like me who have learned to work within a structure. Structure creates freedom to be creative. Ok... so I'm starting with no theme and very little structure. So, I gotta consider the box shape my "structure" rather than rules. This leads me to my inspiration for my box, Box A.
This year, upon opening a ripe pomelo, I discovered it's delicious floral scent, much like that of walking through an orange grove. Pleasantly surprised and captivated, I had to have more. I wanted to bottle it up and wear it every day. The pith is what holds the richest scent. The pomelo flesh, is also very tasty - like a cross between an orange and a grapefruit and delightfully pink.
So inspired to bottle up this scent, I went out and bought mason jars and all different kinds of citrus to make lemoncello, floral waters (via vodka) and vinegar for cleaning (thank you pinterest! click the pic above to get a recipe to make your own). So, now that my counters are stacked with mason jars and the multitude of citrus offerings, the inspiration to draw these wonderful fruits happened.
Well, it took a while before I was hit with inspiration. This box, being less than evenly balanced on all sides jarred me so much that I couldn't create. I made that worse by berating myself for not doing anything, then was concerned that my artists block would continue long beyond just this one box into every other box I attempted. Damn that cut out square! But, I put the whole project into a drawer while frustrated and took the day off. I let myself relax, enjoy, and napped. Then, the day after the full moon, I just sat down and started drawing all the citrus that I had brought into my life. I let it all hang out and anchor near the lower right corner. Let the fruit fall where it may! Lo and behold, it behaved! I was able to cut a square out and still maintain the integrity of the art I created. Whew!
My favorite part about this was discovering the cross sections of each fruit. When I look at it, my heart skips a beat over both the pretty pink & green pomelo flower cross section and how I really captured the pink ripening spot on a grapefruit. I think, "Wow, I did that.... I did!"
I dream of a village in candy colors, Inspired by Dr. Seuss & Cindy Lou Who.
Wanting something that could hang high in a room like a model train might encircle a child's bedroom. At my local craft store I found some cool wood shelves that I flipped upside down and painted with Martha Stewart's Chalkboard paint. Then I used the 3 Melissa Francis Ornament House designs and painted them with the same blue, as well as bubblegum & party streamer two bright cheery pinks in slightly different tones (love these colors!). Per suggestion from the awesome ladies at Impress, I used a hot glue gun to construct the houses (hot gluing is a skill unto itself). I'm tickled pink with the way these turned out using only paint and hot glue!
I'm probably going to glitter them up, but that might not be this year. See, I've finally realized that its not worth trying to complete an entire village, set, etc by Christmas because of the insanity, stress and anger (when you keep working & make a mistake when you should have previously stopped) such a project timeline yields. Often ideas take time to percolate. I'm often inspired when I have tons if other commitments or *just* before the holiday. I like to allow time with my art before I add more. I'm a bit of a minimalist and don't want to waste anything by making a mistake. So I'd rather live with a simpler result than screw it up. So I decided to only paint the shelves & houses this year and enjoy them. Then I can make it a tradition to create something for my village each year. The fun goes on and on! Besides, this is a way I can continue the tradition my mom started of gifting us a symbolic ornament each year to mark our annual accomplishments and create our own set of ornaments to decorate our tree when we had our own home. I always loved seeing what she would come up with.
Mom also had this amazing Christmas village that we got out each year. My bro & I loved to set it up - ceramic houses Grandpa painted while in the hospital, wooden houses our other Grandpa made & painted (Mom said he'd even make his own stain by digging a little tar out of the street - crafty guy!) and many other wonderful pieces like the mirror pond complete with skaters. It wa a wonderful place to get lost in. My bro & I dreamed of all the activities in which the townspeople partook. We each had our own set of stories. Sometimes they intertwined, sometimes they clashed and we fought over where the train or snowman (who always fell over, mind) was "supposed" to be. Heh. Pretty cool that mom let our sticky, clumsy fingers play with her delicate village. Many wonderful memories with Mannheim Steamroller as the soundtrack.
So here's to allowing yourself a new tradition and continuing the Christmas fun beyond Christmas Day. Use the quiet time between that and New Years to work on that fun holiday decorating project you so wanted to have and enjoy it if only for a week or so. It's worth it. I feel so happy & at peace working now that I've given gifts and everyone is happy. Maybe you will too!
I had the good fortune to be invited to a quaint gathering at a local city staple, Mad Hat Tea. It was fun, filled with interesting conversations (oh what fun to participate & be a fly on the wall), and at least 5 different kinds of Mad Hat custom Tea blends. Try the creamsicle, you'll be surprised by how tasty it is! I'm a traditionalist, not one for flavored tea or coffee, but this is serious yum! Lightly sweet, smooth, and oh so nom.
So to thank the owners, Maureen & Tobin, I sketched a wild tea party inspired by their Holiday Affair & the delightful Ed Wynn as Disney's animated Mad Hatter. You like? It's Made with Paper