Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday's "Musement - Ring Around the Rosie

Well, it didn't finish quite as planned but I am pleased none the less...


this is the Dresden Plate mini tree skirt from a few posts ago...

Thank heavens it's a perfect fit.

Which is awfully stunning as I hadn't taken any measurements; this didn't start out intended for a tree skirt but I got the idea shortly into the project. I had thought if it didn't fit the tree we had, I would just have to get another.... I wasn't going to go back and re-cut and rework everything

It perfectly covers the tree supports, by about an inch - whew!

The little ring of roses around the centre wasn't intended either but came about because I wasn't happy with the binding.
I tried two different techniques, both of which were not great so finally I decided I would make little fabric roses out of various muslins, linens and silk ribbons and sew them all around the centre. 
I love how it looks!

I didn't like the way all the seams looked, so I hand-embroidered a feather stitch along every second one - none was too bare while every seam seemed too much - every other one might be just right (it was a Goldilocks moment).
If you think I should do them all, let me know as I am still undecided...

Before I did that I appliqued the Dresden onto a piece of wool, did the embroidery and then, because the background was wool fabric and not wool felt, I added a backing using a quick-turn method.

It's finished off with a blanket stitch all around the outer edge, done with a slightly darker embroidery thread than that which I used on the seams.

I tried taking some better close ups but nothing turned out - if you click on the pictures you'll see the details better.

So this year, we'll only have to "shop" my fabric cupboard for one tree skirt instead of two!

Friday, April 22, 2011

How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?

Hearts get broken.
 And more often than not, more than once.

The first time, it splits in two, and though eventually you patch it, it is forever different.

You can bridge the wound 
covering it completely
 or just enough...
less stark 
less apparent

someone once told me the longer you live
the more heartbreak
you feel
you see
you know
but that the heart can mend

this little heart is made of torn bits of fabrics
a torn and twisted, raggedy strip of canvas
buttons torn from worn-out garments

and little gems from earrings taken apart;
earrings that were "orphaned" when a thief snatched handfuls from my jewellery box, leaving many without their partner.

a heart made of torn, tattered and orphaned pieces, patched together to become a thing of beauty...
and now on it's way to a wonderful, kooky nutcase whose own heart is breaking again.

I feel for you Shell...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Artspirations - Art Journey #2


What a great word, so full of meaning; things you want to do that are artful.

Ever since the movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, you hear more and more about people's Bucket Lists.
I don't have a long list of places to go and don't really have much of a list of things to do - I've never been a tick-box kind of traveller or doer.

But today I was thinking of what I wanted to pack in my sewing kit for our trip and I hummed and hawed for ages over what I might want to work on while we were traipsing around France...

and I realized one thing I really want to do there is paint, en plein air...

So cliche!

But I don't care. I don't care at all.

And then I started thinking about what other art journeys I would like to do... where would be an amazing place to write in my journal?

And under what circumstances?

Think early morning in the shadow of the Berlin Wall... but then maybe that's a place better suited to the dark of night, with only a flashlight... what thoughts would come to mind and pen in the haunting shadows?

Would poetry come more readily in Baudelaire's Paris?

What might one sketch if one could sit on the Staircase of Mirrors at the Chanel Boutique on Rue Cambon?

What might one stitch?

I'm not sure of a lot of things but I do know this: places have energy. There is a vibe and a feeling, and whether or not you believe it comes from events that occurred there or how you yourself feel about them, in your own knowledge of them, the energy is there.

Can it be harnessed?
If I am in doubt of my painting ability, might I feel more confident if I was perched on a rock in the presence of Provence sunflowers?
And in that confidence would my brush stroke be a little more definitive? Or perhaps even defiant?
Would I see the light?

So I am going to think on this idea for a bit and make myself a list, a list of creative pursuits that would thrill me to the core.
Things to make, things to see, things to do, things for me.

What would be on the top of your Artspirations List?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday's 'Musement - Messy Fingers

We're on Winter #2 here...
Woke up to 5" of snow, and flakes were still gently falling!

 Below is one of our cherry trees; the buds were getting ready to open so I don't know what this might mean for summer's pies...

And Boz was not even remotely impressed when he went out for his morning walk-about!

So today was the perfect day to start mucking around in the She Art Workshop I blogged about the other day.
I don't have all the materials Christy suggests and am in no rush to go out and buy them so I am playing with what I have - I did have to buy canvases and gel medium but that's about it. 
I started with making two backgrounds; she throws so many ideas out there that one just wasn't going to cut it. Below is the paper palette for the first one-

and here's the paper for the second-

#1 stuck in place

and #2
(they look a little faded as the gel medium hadn't fully dried when photographed)

and here's #1 with the first of the painting and stamping

I'm loving this piece as it is!

click to see larger

I don't have any of the rub-ons or stencils like Christy uses but I think I can make do with a few ideas of my own - besides, it's kind of fun to start spreading my wings a little and finding my own way with some of this.

I have no clue where I am going next with this one so it will get parked for a few days while I watch more of the videos and decide where to venture next.

I must say this is the most fun I've had getting messy in a very long time!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bloggers Are Tricksy people

I have met some amazing people through blogging.
During my first year of reading blogs, and having my own, I came across a common blogging theme - bloggers waxing poetic about the friendships they were making with other bloggers.

I read about them, witnessed them through the back and forth kibitzing evident on many blog posts but I felt a league apart - the kid standing in the corner of the playground, the new kid, that played in a seemingly nonchalant way, all the while watching out of the corner of her eye, wistfully.

I wasn't forming those kind of friendships but I wanted to. I wanted to know the people who were inspiring me, who elevated my thinking, who introduced me to new kinds of artistic expression. The more they showed, the more they shared, the more I wanted... well, more.

One day I had a revelation - and you'll laugh out loud - but I realized that in order to meet people, I would need to take the plunge - leave a comment and through that comment, introduce myself. You would not believe how absolutely gut-wrenching it was to me to leave that first comment. Was the spelling right, did it make sense, was it heartfelt, was it relevant?
Comment angst. Ick.

I left a few comments here and there and then one day I left a comment on Diane's blog - (Diane Knott's Musings) she seemed nice, and she asked a question - "Are you a quilter or a sewer?" I couldn't leave that one alone...

Diane's creation that I received from our swap
Diane introduced her bloggers to me and from that post I have met some pretty stunning people. And that gave me the gumption to reach out a little more and then more and more, and even more and now I have met many others all on my own.

One of those is Dorthe of Den Lille Lade.

a beautiful heart she made me as a thank you for a swap I hosted
A few months back, in the midst of a great purge, I mentioned in an email to her that I was getting rid of some old Victoria magazine issues. She had a hard time getting them in Denmark so after a bit of back and forthness, we figured out which issues I didn't want that she needed. So I bundled up a parcel and sent them off. She tried to pay me for them, for the shipping at least, but I was just happy to send them to someone who really wanted them. And after  living most of my life in the Yukon, I know very well what it's like to want something and not be able to even have a hope of getting it.

So I suggested she use her money to enjoy some ice cream on the beach with her grand-daughter. (She posted about that once and it was one of my favourite posts of hers). She protested but I wouldn't tell her my Pay Pal email.

She tricked me back.

Look at all these beauties!

bits of driftwood with lace and cloth and wood butterflies, stamped with script

a lovely present, tied up with ribbon and a "button nest"

a charming tag
 and inside that beautifully wrapped present was this charming driftwood angel

one of her charming driftwood angels
Dorthe and I share an addiction to driftwood (I even carted back a few choice pieces from a holiday in Switzerland 4 years ago!) and this little parcel is all the sweeter for it.

Dorthe is a faithful visitor to many blogs, including mine. She never fails to leave a comment and they are always wonderful. She is supportive, complimentary, encouraging, and just downright wonderful, as are all the others I have met.

I have received many wonderful things from many wonderful people over the past year but truly the best is relating to so many truly kindred spirits over the past year. As Suzan from Old Grey Mare said, "parallel lives"

Leaving a comment can be a gut-wrenching thing, but only at first - you would be surprised at what might come your way if you are brave enough to hit that "post" button.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Life of Art - Art Journey #1

Whether we realize it or not, many of us have a childhood that is strongly centred around art.

Finger paints, Plasticine, Play Dough, who didn't love breaking open a brand new box of Crayola crayons (I really want to buy some...), and then Spirograph, candle-making kits, rock polishing, wood burning, paint-by-numbers and on and on and on.

Made by my daughter in 1996

Those are just a few of the things my mother bought for us four kids; sometimes I wonder if it was more about fuelling our creativity, or keeping us occupied!!??!!

Regardless, she started something....

To this day I am intrigued by all sorts of creative pursuits; I don't want basket making for a hobby but I do want to know how to weave one, as with the making of soap, paper, candles and so much more... I want to know how to do so many things...

I remember in the summer after Grade 8, my best friend and I took all the money out of our bank accounts and we went to a hallowed place, Whitehorse Star Stationery, and we each bought all we needed to paint; her choice was acrylics and I was smitten with oils. 

I found a shirt my Great-Uncle had sent to my Dad as it was too big for him - brand new, miles too big for anyone really, it came down past my knees and was the perfect painting smock (I loved that shirt and really must find one of those too...)

I thought I was Van Gogh and she was Rembrandt and we painted. For me it was every bit as much about being a painter as it was about painting and we talked of colour, style, ideas lost in translation and at the end of the summer we put away our brushes and that was that...

In Grade 12 I took a course in Western Civilization; the study of art and architecture in Europe based on an understanding of the social, political and economic climate of the time. It was a mini series by the BBC and I must confess, the narrator put half the class to sleep - I doodled to stay awake...

In my adult life I have sunk myself into the needle arts, with a few little sidesteps - into water-colour painting and bookbinding...

A little envelope book for keeping all those pesky threads and buttons that come with new clothes!

Last night while checking out some of my favourite blogs I visited Becca's. We are somewhat alike, Becca and I, in our varied interests and her latest post showed images from a new on line art course she is taking. Her work is always fabulous and this painted piece is simply stunning. 
That word tugged at my heart. 
No, it yanked it. 
Nothing intrigues me as much as painting. 

But I have dodged it, avoided it, backed away and done my best to resist the lure - today I caved.

I need to try painting again and so at lunch I visited Salmon Arm's very own hallowed art store and bought a canvas. Then I came home and signed up too....

The artist is in!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday's 'Musement - Still Winter?

Yesterday was a Winnie the Pooh kind of day - I was at a loose end...

With nothing pressing that had to be done and a serious aversion to starting something new, a restless energy took hold and I spent the better part of the day thinking more about what to do than actually doing anything.

Days like that I pick up knitting needles...

and make scarves for snowmen!

We got a new yarn in at the quilt shop and it is the funkiest coloured ball of yarn I've seen in a long time and I thought it might make fun scarves for snowmen.

I'm loving the colour blocking that is happening; it's entirely random and you get what you get, but I think that will add to the whimsical look I am trying to achieve...

I am thinking I might make hats too, once I get a few of these finished in different widths and lengths.

Becky Shander has a great post on her blog about felted bags made from your old sweaters. I loved the idea but as I'm allergic to wool I haven't any, and was thinking my best bet would be the thrift store, when I started thinking that while I can't wear wool without itching and scratching all day long, I can knit with certain wool yarns in small doses. I could knit fabric and then felt it - more work but as I say I am always about the process I can hardly balk now...

And then I remembered a scarf I started a few years ago for my daughter's partner Steve that went awry. Truly went awry - the edges wow out here and there and I messed up the pattern - a good learning piece but not giftable! I have always intended to take it apart and start over but now I am going to felt it and make something else.

I've never felted anything so that should be an adventure of it's own!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday's 'Musement - Got It Right

Today I tried again.

I decided to really pay attention to what I wanted, keep an image in my mind that I could work toward and now I have what I wanted...

this is much more what I had in mind weeks ago when I started making a journal cover for my trip...

the same canvas, the same fabric with French writing and this time some printed cottons from French General, in that lovely French blue they call woad

vintage lace from Corey Amaro of Tongue In Cheek (who has offered to take me to the Brocante when we are in Provence - eek!)

my favourite heart charm that I have held on to for about ten years, waiting for the right project to come along

detail of the lace and stitching from my new machine - such fun, such frustration!

this is the inside; I chose a cheery red for the centre lining and did a pretty flower stitch down the "spine" - love it!

the outside cover folded open - a few little patchwork squares for the back cover and here you can see the blue flower stitching on the spine - click for a closeup

When I say frustrated, let me tell ya - I had picked out a lovely stitch but every time I tried sewing it on my test piece, the thread broke. Over and over again - I re threaded the top, the bobbin, the top, the bobbin, changed the needle, changed the tension, re threaded again and finally gave up and found a stitch that would work. I don't know if it's the canvas, or that the stitch I wanted to use was a complex one but regardless, it was a no go.

Yesterday I started making a stitch record - there are dozens and dozens of decorative stitches on this machine and Lucille suggested I make myself a stitch record - stitches look much different sewn than diagrammed. 
She's right too, but oh my, it's a hang of a lot of work! 
I will do a little every day - it's helping me learn all about the machine as well, and right now all I can say is I am getting awfully good at troubleshooting!