Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Stenciled T Shirts Tanzania Bound!!

Well, I bit off a whole lot more than I had thought but I got to the result that I wanted!! Let me just say that the frist stencil that one attempts to cut SHOULD NOT BE a phrase or type of any kind!!! But I had a goal in mind so I did not heed this warning!! Do as I SAY NOT as I DO!!

So the goal was to create T shirts for my awesome Master gardening Soil God Guru who is living in Tanzania and working to help AIDS victims and caretakers grow nutritious and bountiful home gardens. He is single handedly leading folks to a much better life through good nutrition that can be provided right outside their own doors, as opposed to traveling sometimes miles to fields that are almost impossible to tend when folks are ill. By gardening in this manner, crops such as tomatoes, corn, sweet potatoes and mangoes, oranges and many others can be nurtured and watered to provide enough to feed the gardener with an abundance to sell!!!! Amazing what a few changes in thought and behavior as well as double digging of soil and composting can do!!!!

Here is a picture of baby brother with his youngest daughter Kate (in orange) with me and my two kids, last year , at Mt. Vernon. As you can see Peter is very fair and you can imagine what a figure he strikes amoung the native Africans- needless to say , he gets noticed!!!

So the Dude wanted some shirts with a phrase that he had come up with. The phrase is "Feeding the world one garden at a time".

I bought three t shirts , the stencil cutting tool and some fabric paints and this is the result of my stencil cutting efforts.

This is not a good picture but I had to prove that I had actually cut the stencil!! As you can see the capital O gave me fits as I made my stencil brige too narrow but I managed to fudge it anyway!! I also cut some veggie stencils as aphrase alone on a shirt was too boring and not to be tolerated.!! These were a piece of cake to cut and I designed them myself!!

I simply had to include a sweet potato, as the simple sweet potato could be the tuber to save the eyesight of Africa!!! It is amazing the nutritional value , in vitamins and minerals ,contained in one sweet potato!! ( Didn't bargain for a nutrition lesson, did you??? TOUGH!!) The reward for your patience is the picture of the shirt!! TA DA !!!!!

I am so pleased with this and I have made two more to send off to Tanzania, hopefully to arrive for baby bro's birthday on the 21st of May. He will probably want me to make up more to give to his Peace Corps Volunteer Folks that he works with. Now that would be cool!!! I am also going to harass him to send me some pictures of his crops and the families and kids that he works with. I want to share them with you!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Birthday Gift

My dear friend Rebecca has a birthday right around the corner. Rebecca is my daughter Becca's Godmother and her namesake. She is an amazingly gifted jeweler,artist and gardener as well as one of my most treasured friends. I have just finished her birthday gift and I wanted to share it with you.

The basis of this piece is the back cover of a vintage gardening book. The end pages of the book have images of the Zone Planting Map Of the US. I mounted an old work glove (one of a pair of gloves that I rescued from the side of the street after they had weathered thru the winter weather) to the cover. I filled the glove with strips of various textured fabrics and then added two flowers and a leaf .

The flowers are created from fabric/paper that I overpainted with pink and yellow paints. I stitched around each petal and then handstitched the petals to a center of felted beads. Once all of the petals were secure I added beaded stamens. the stems are created by wrapping chenille pipe cleaners with several different green yarns and then sewing the stems to the flower.

The leaf was created using a similar stem and then sewing strips of ruched ribbon together with seed beads.

Here is a detail shot of the pink flower.

Once I had secured the flowers and the leaf inside the glove I felt that it was not quite done yet.
I decided to ad the quote at the bottom of the piece and then felt that the piece was complete. The quote reads" Art is when you hear a knocking on your soul and you answer."

For hanging, I added two gromets to the top corners and twisted on a piece of 16 g copper wire with some special beads for embellishment.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rubber Stamps At My Etsy Shop

Several of my wonderful blogging buddies have expressed an interest in purchasing some of my hand carved rubber stamps. I have just posted these three different bird image stamps to my Etsy shop and you can see them all here.
The Bird On the Branch image is 6 inches long by 3 inches wide.

Sitting Bird is 3 inches long by 2 inches wide.

Sitting Bird With Open Beak is 3 inches long by 2 inches wide.

I promised that I would keep y'all up to date about selling these stamps. You can get further deatails at Elizajean.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yard Sale Treasures and Stencils!

Several posts back I showed you pictures of some fabric that I had dyed with Sun Paints by Peboe. to get the ffect i used an old plastic doiley for my "stencil". Michelle asked me to repost to remind you about what can be used as stencils. I was thrilled with the effect that I got and the process could not be simpler. After painting my white fabric with the sun reactive dye, I placed the doiley on top of the wet fabric and put the whole thing out in the sun to dry. Then to heat set the dye , I ironed the fabric!!! I just love the look!!

Here is what the doiley itself looks like!

It really is amazing what everyday items can be used as tools for our artwork!!!

AS far as cutting my own stencils go, I have gotten the tool for cutting my own stencils (with the 50% off coupon from Micheal's!!! LOVE THAT!!), but I have not had a chance yet to cut any of my own. i am designing some stencils to make shirts for my brohter for his upcoming birthday. He lives in Tanzania and is teaching those people who are caregivers- usually family members - for those suffering from AIDS how to garden intensively right outside their front doors. He is working very hard to help them see that they can grow amazing crops full of important vitamins and immune building minerals right outside their homes. He wants me to make him some shirts that say "Feeding the Worl One Garden At A Time." So that is my important task- the least that I can do I think!!! I am very proud of my kid brother and of the work that he and his family is doing!!! It is amazing how even just the simplest changes in attitudes and strategies can impact so wonderfully, a whole village!!!

Now for the Yard Sale Treasures portion of our program!!
This morning I was able to stop at a sale as I had no one else in the car with me!!! Pure Bliss!! I didn't have to be anywhere and no one was there to forbid me from stopping!!! It seems that the gal who was selling is in this same spot- her yard, every other weekend. She and her husband clean out old homes to be sold or demolished and take all of the stuff to the dump. She has decided that she just can't bear to pitch all of the stuff so she is selling what she can for some extra money. She is selling stuff for $1 , 50 cents, 25 cents- peanuts!! i got a old sewing box full of wooden stools and an antique needle case and other sewing notions for $2, some wonderful embroidered lines and old bark cloth table clothes for .50 a piece and a whole bag full of PLASTIC DOILEY's in different patterns for $1!!! I was practically hyperventilating!! She is going to hold onto wooden hangars and buttons and sewing stuff for me , when she comes across it.

Here is a picture of three of the different doileys that I got !! I counted, there are 15 of them!!! I am going to a new Art Group meeting tomorrow, a group that several girlfriends and I are starting and I may just have to give away some door prizes!!! Spread the Plastic Doiley LOVE!!!!!

So keepp your eyes open for these little treasures!! I sure would not serve food on them but they do make FABULOUS STENCILS!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Affirmations Collage

I have recently joined a swap on a friend's art blog. The project was to make an 8x10 collage on canvas board that included at least two affirmations.. Marilyn had become interested in several recent articles in Cloth,Paper ,Scissors by artist Kelly Rae Roberts. The collages created in the articles had a very interesting background technique that combined printed papers with paint. Kelly Rae also uses women's figures in most of her work but I wanted to branch off on my own at that point. Here is what I created for the collage. We were to use any media we desired just stay within the size parameters and include at least two positive affirmations.
This is the background for my collage, my take on the Kelly Rae Roberts method.
Below is the finished collage.

I used a reed placemat that I painted for the sunflower center, fabric/paper that I outline stitched for the petals, paint scraped collage for the stem and leaves , tree branch and bird. The Affirmations that I included were, "Sing your own Song", Nurture Your Inner Child" and "Turn Your Face to The Sunshine And You Will Not See The Shadows."

This shot shows some of the detail in the scraped paper and the fabric/paper as well as the placement of two of the Affirmations.

I enjoyed creating this piece and I have had several offers to buy similar pieces!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Peace Begins With A Smile"

I just got off the phone with my mum and she has told me that my very late Christams gift to her has arrived. So now I may show it to you. I have been pondering this piece for a long time. Everytime I auditioned fabric for it nothing seemed right. So I put it aside. I hate forcing things that are important! My muse would rescue me eventually. than after a trip to the new Artistic Artifacts Annex in Alexandria, VA and a heady dose of inspiration from the work of Judy and friends, I knew what I was going to do!!
the basis for this art quilt is a wonderful picture of my neice Kate and a young african girl who appears to be a close friend. In actuallity, the little African girl had no idea who my brother or neice were she just wanted to have her picture taken. My brother and family live in Tanzania and the family was on a beach outing one day when this picture was taken. It is an amazing picture and it tells an amazing story in it's very simplicity.

The photo was taken aout three years ago and has been a favorite of everyone who sees it even if they don't know that it is a family member. Yes, her hair really is that blond and her eyes really are that blue and she is an amazing child who along with her older sister Mali, is getting an amazing world wide education about all that is right with the world and all that is wrong. I only get to see her once a year when they come to the states on home leave. I will not get to see big sis Mali this summer as she is spending her leave time with a good friend in Prague!!!! Poor dear!

The strip of patchwork to the left of the girls is sashing from an ancient Crazy Quilt that my mom unearthed from a friends attic years ago. The fabric is quite fragile as the pieces were stored in a box and subjected to very hot attic temperatures in the Northeast. The basting stitches are original and the fabrics are all scraps of silks and taffetas and embossed velvets. The best part is that I have lots of the sashing to use in lots of quilts!! I must also credit Lesley Riley and her fabulous fabric collage pieces for inspiring me to leave things like original basting stitches in the piece. The stitches tell a very important part of the story. There was a time not long ago when I would have taken those out !!! ( Oh, the horror!!!) To hang the piece, I put a rod pocket on the back and took two very old metal knitting needles that had been my mom's and were the same blue color as Kate's eyes and attached them to each other with DUCK tape- gotta love Duck Tape!! The needles could then be used for the hanging rod.

One of the first decisions that I made about this piece was that I would use Mother Teresa's words to define whta the picture says to me. "Peace Begins With A Smile." That pretty much says it all, as far as I am concerned!

After finding the perfect bits and beads in my stash I signed and dated the piece and packed it up and mailed it off. I am going to be doing alot more work like this as long as my muse keeps me company!!! i have several wonderful pictures that my family have shared with me from overseas and then I have a stash of my own to use as well.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Many Irons in the Fire.

Life has been moving with increasing intensity lately! I am not sure if it is because of Spring Fever and the approaching end of another school year, or because the garden is calling me as the days grow longer and more of my wonderful plants are bursting into the spring time air, or if it is due to seasonal allergies and my head is congested and my motion sensors are impeded?!?! Probably all of the above!!
Matthew, my 16 year old is practicing his driving, with his Dad, not MY gig, and next year we will begin looking at colleges!!!! When did this happen????? Becca will be entering the wonderful Middle School years and all of the changes that come along with that transistion. I am able to stay on an even keel by working on my art and my garden!! AHHHHH! Therapy!!!!

Here are a couple of things that I have been working on lately.

I am participating in an enelope swap. Each person sends 10 decorated mailing envelopes to a hostess and she shuffles them and sends ten back to each of us. Now we will each have a wonderful stash of uniquely decorated art mail to send off goodies in. I think that the mail handlers get a big kick out of mail art. I know that the post workers at my P.O. always comment about the decor!! I had fun with paint and I used only my hand carved stamps to embellish the envelopes. One will certainly be able to see these pieces of mail coming!!!!

Earlier this week, Igot together with my art buddies Karen and Jean. Jean is an incredible seamstress and beader. I met Jean a year ago at a class taught by Lesley Riley and we have been pals ever since. She has just invested in an Embellisher (needle felting machine) and she let me take it out for a spin! i have heard lots of talk about the glories of these machines. They are a sewing machine with out thread. They have 5-7 barbed needles that puch one fabric, yarn or trim thru the fibers of another fabric. The artwork that I have seen created with these machines in breathtaking ( one of my favorite artists is Sara Lechner - be sure to go to her photos section on the right hand side of her blog to see her wonderful work!) and all who have tried one have been immediately smitten. I was walking into dangerous territory here!!

I can officially say taht I have been bitten by the Embellisher Bug!! Gotta have one!!! Gotta save my pennies (as my grandmother used to say)!!! I played with Jean's machine for about 20 minutes. The base of this piece is a piece of synthetic felt to which I added dyed chesecloth , sheer fabrics, wool yarn ,felt circles and synthetic yarn . It is like painting with fibers without all of the hassle of tension and threads and bobbin winding (my personal fav!!) What fun!!!!

Artful Display:

Over the past year I have collected a wonderful group of art pieces via swaps . So far I have been stashing all in a box and I have been meaning to figure out a way to display them so I could see them all the time. Eureka!! I got it!!!!

I simply took two long pieces of twill tape and some small nails and put up an Art Clothesline! I had bought these neat hooked alligator clips awhile back and they are the perfect thing for hanging small pieces of fiber art. Now I can see my collectiuon of Fiber Postcards and Journal Pages from anywhere in the room!!! They are such a wonderful source of inspiration and momentoes from wonderful art friends!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring Primroses !

I am always sure that Spring is here when one of my favorite little flowers starts to bloom. I have carried these little gems with us wherever we have lived . The family has gotten very used to mom moving pots of plants along with the other necessities of the home!!! Everytime I visit my mom's home I return with a new clump of plants. These Primroses are called Hose-On-Hose, originally from England. They grow in the hedgrows in the UK and they do very well in the sandy soil on Cape Cod. When we lived in Oklahoma several plant experts laughed when I told them about these plants and where they were from- no Way would they grow in the sizzling heat of OK. Wrong!! I found the perfect spot in the shade with lots of compost and they bloomed their fool heads off!!

Aren't these just the sweetest little blooms you have ever seen????? The blossoms are actually double. One flower emerges from the center of the previous flower. Each year each plant doubles so one can get a very large clump of plants.

I always scatter little piles or shrines of beach stones throughout the yard to remind me of the ocean. These stones were collected on Cape Cod over several years of long beach walks.

My favorite Spring color pallette! (Maybe it has something to do with my Swedish heritage- I just love blue and yellow!!)

Spring Planting!

During a break in our rainy weather I was able to recruit my favorite garden helper to plant peas in our new raised bed garden. We borrowed a neighbors cute little tiller and chopped up all of the grass clippings and shredded leaves and kitchen waste that has been composting all winter long. We could not believe the number of worms that we saw!! the soil is black and rich and wonderful- a far cry from the typical VA clay soil. We put in sugar snap peas, three kinds of lettuce, arugula and spinach. We can't wait to be eating salad greens from our own garden!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Pink Artist Doll Is Complete !!!!

This si so incredibly exciting!! The wonderful and gifted Monica proposed the concept for creating a doll with two inch square pieces of art from any artist who wished to participate. We would make the fiber art squares and she would create the doll who would wear garments created from the squares. You have seen the Pink Artist button on my sidebar to the left. I created two little squares as did so many other wonderful artists. Some made one square many made more and here is "LOVE SQUARED" the doll that Monica created. i am just showing three photos taken by Monica's wonderful husband Jeff. You must go to Monica's Blog to see more!!!!!

Love Squared's Beautiful Face:

Don't you just love her Pink hand felted hair??/ As one artist said, "Marge Simpson, eat your heart out!!"

The crown was crafted by an amazing bead artist and is actually a wearable bracelet. The necklace is also a bracelet.

She is holding this gorgeous box that is full of handmade butterfly wings representing each artist who participated in this project. Amazing!!!!!

This is a close up of the frontleft side of her skirt. One of my squares is the felted and beaded pink/purple heart that is right in the center!! So exciting!!

Here you can see so many of the wonderful squares that make up one side of her glorious skirt.

Here is a full shot of Love Squared in all of her Gloriousness!!! She stands 40 inches tall and weighs 6lbs and 2 oz's. Isn't she incredible!!!!!! Now you must all go to Monica's Blog 'and see many more pictures and read about the complete evolution of Love Squared.

Monica is shipping her to Art DOll Quarterly tomorrow where she will be photographed for publication. then she will be auctioned to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Fund. Her story is just beginning but what a beginning it has been!!!

Thank you so very much Monica for making this happen!!

I would like to dedicate my participation in this project to my dear friend Mo in Oklahoma. Mo is successfully waging war against breast cancer now and she has been the wind beneath my art wings many times. Also I dedicate this doll to my father in law who we lost 6 years ago to bladder cnacer. He was too scared to reveal symptoms and died far to early. My hope is that we can get to a point in this world where we are not ruled by fears of a disease because of the disease itself or by fears that we do not have the financial means to get treatment for the disease. We are put on this planet to care for each other, not to compete with each other or to be the best at other's expense. Love, care, compassion and acceptance is what this collaboration has been about. I am so very blessed to have played a very small part in this project.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Another Birthday Celebration

Another birthday? To me, that means make a special gift! My good friend Jean just had her 65th and we all endeavored to create a memorable birthday for her as she was dreading the day. I did not see her on the actual day but she said that she went a bit wild and had a great time!! that is what birthdays should be!!
I made her a gift cone as she had been longing for one of her own since I had made one for friends Karen and Trina.

For this cone I used a piece of a glorious silk scarf that was colored in shades of pinks thru a dark peach. I had found it at Goodwill for $1!! love it when that happens!!!! it is such fun to first find such a treasure and then all over again when you use it in an art piece!!!!

For the dangle at the tip I used a vintage clip earring and I had totally forgotten that Jean only wore clips and that her Grandchildren think that the earrings are so cool!! She was thrilled with that touch- I got lucky!!! I also did lots of beadwork and added many little pearl buttons, some floating around under a layer of tuille. Each time I make a cone they go together more quickly. I must make some for my Etsy shop. I think that they would make terrific Mother's Day gifts or as a Graduation gift with something special tucked inside.

More Beads:

You may remember that I had made a specail patchy fabric for wings for some of my stuffed Bird Tota's. When I got to the end of the fabric I could not bear to throw away even the smallest bits!1 So I made some more beads. Scrappy Beads out of scaps fo fabric made from scraps for wings for birds!! then I embellished the beads with beads!!

I think that they look like little caterpillars or like cellular structures- that takes me back to my biochem days, YIKES!!!!


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