Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Art with a "Green" Twist

I just finished this piece yesterday and it is up for sale down in Fredericksburg, I am excited about this piece as I have FINALLY taken the leap to include art pieces based on my own photography! You probably rmember this photo from my stationary pack that i posted aobut a while ago. pansies and Lily of the Valley are two of my favorite flowers along with roses and ........ (everything else). These are my favorites because they are flowers of my earliest memories in my families gardens and because their fragrance is so evocative.

The base of this piece is a vintage book cover from an old gardening book. the bits of copper and blue green filmy fabric are painted used drier sheets and the scalloped embroidered piece is a bit of damaged linen bureau scarf. I did the hand beading and seed stitch embroidery with embroidery floss. I will definately be creating more of these pieces!!
Have a happy Sunday, all !!!
As I am approaching the 300 post milestone and I am clelbrating my 50th birthday today, I am feeling generous! SO I am planning a giveaway!! There will be three winers and each different item will be han made by me. Come back soon to see the announcement and the goodies that I will be gifting!!
Hugs and thanks to all of you for all of your wonderfully enthusiastic and supportive comments!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spring Orchestral Fiddlers!!

My two most exquisite creations had their Spring Concert last Thursday evening. Becca is 12 and in the 6Th grade. This is her first year of playing a cello and she has really taken to it. She runs off to her room every evening to practice after picking out her assignment on the piano. She is First Cello in her Middle School Orchestra, and that means that we get a great view of her while she plays!! She has a wonderful natural ear for music.

Matthew is 17 and will be a Senior next year. He said that perhaps he would not take Orchestra next year but his parents quickly changed that notion.!! Both kids have benefited tremendously by playing an instrument and if I had my way every child would have the opportunity to have lessons, it is amazing how it feeds the brain!!!Matthew started playing the violin when he was in the fourth grade and it has been wonderful for him! He is one of several first violins in the Chamber Sinfonia and is given very challenging pieces to play. Their big piece for the other night was Mozart's 25Th Symphony and they did a marvelous job! It is also the only time that I get to see my kid in a tux!!!Blogger is behaving very badly for me lately!!!! I am not able to close taht big space within my post as I normally would. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is NOT fun!!!! Is anyone else having problems dragging photos around while you are composing your posts???? My husband has just updated our browser to Internet Explorer 7 and we are thinking that this might be the problem. We have posted to blogger help - no response. Do any of you have any thoughts or similar experiences that might shed some light on this issue??????

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Raindrops on Roses......

whiskers on kittens: no kittens here unfortunately, too many allergy suffereers!! Raindrops on roses are some of my favorite things however! Today we have a drizzly rain, so I thought I would share some more spring flowers with you to brighten our day! The Iris are almost done now, but they were quite long lived once the weather cooled down a bit. I do LOVE my iris!
When we moved to this house 4 years ago we removed many ancient azalea bushes that were planted right next to the foundation on the west side of the house. Boring, boring, boring!!!!
We had to hire a crew with chains and a small dozer to come in and yank the bushes out. In their place we put up trellises and planted two climbing single petal roses to climb along the bare side of the house. They are doing beautifully and will rebloom profusely if I remove the spent blossoms. They remind of the wild beach roses that grow in the sand dunes on Cape Cod. I can almost smell the salt air!!
At the same time I planted this New Dawn rose and it is doing really really well climbing on one of the fences that borders the dogs yard. It thrives on banana peels and coffee ground infusions. (I don't use any sprays or chemicals on my roses or anywhere else in my garden and these are my results. Gardening simply and organicaly is not difficult and just look at the results!!)
We all have a huge responsibility to take care of our planet and to respect the ecosystems that we depend on for life. Whenever I see ads for killing pests or lawn grubs, I just cringe!! those same insecticides completely descimate the entire bug population and destroy all life within the soil. People do not realize that without earthworms and other decomposers our planet would cease to sustain life. These creatures are not immune to the chemicals used to kill lawn eating bugs!! Wake up PEOPLE!!!!
We live in the watershed for the Chesapeake Bay and so many are so determined to have lush green lawns- but the price is far too high and as far as I am concerned the use of lawn chemicals and insecticides should be banned. Every year people dump tons of bags of fertilizers and insecticides onto their lawns to achieve what they think are wonderful outdoor spaces. WHere do these chemicals end up?? In the creeks and streams and rivers that feedintot he marshes that empty intot he Bay. Does the environment survive- no way it becomes sterile and devoid of the necessary palnt and microscopic life that are vital to support eh minnows and brid life that cll these marshes home. All for green laws!!! It is really sickening what we are doing to our beautiful natural spaces. PLEASE!PLEASE !DO NOT use such chemicals - restore the balance of life within your soil by composting and building healthy palnts that are capable of warding off occasional munchings by so called Pest insects.! Just look at my plants to know that there is no need for such chemical warfare!!!!

My catmint is just begining to bloom. I love the periwinkle blue color of the florets and so do the butterflies!

This rose is called Gertrude Jekyl after the famous English Gardener. It is wonderfuly fragrant, reblooms and has some really nasty thorns!!! The number of petals in each blossom is truely amazing!

Here again is Belinda's Dream in all of her cabbage rose luciousness!

Who ever said taht purple and orange can't work together??? Just look in the garden for answers to color questions.

The sun will return and the roses will continue to bloom and the next time that I share garden shots with you we will ahve a whole new crop of blooms to show off!!

I hope that everyone has a hppy, creative and internally sunny day- especially if the sun is not shining where you are living!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An Amazing Debut!

On Saturday evening I ahd the wonderful opportunity to attend the Retirement Party and Artistic Debut of an amazing artist! The artist's name is Kathlyn James Avila and she has recently become a wonderful friend. remember this name as I am convinced that you will be seeing it often as the Fiber Arts world becomes aware of her amazing work!!
Kat has been an Art Teacher with Fairfax County Schools for the past 27 years. As of this June she will be working solely with her art!!! Prior to Saturday night Kat had not exhibited her entire body of work and it was an amazing sight!!
I had planned on getting a good picture of Kat that evening however there was simply far too many people and hub bub to allow for picture taking on my part! Here is an OK picture of Kat as she was working on her Beaded Cuff in one of my recent classes. She is the beautiful woman seated , dressed in white.

As you will see in the following pictures, Kat is an amazingly talented fiber artist and beader. So when she signed up for my Beaded Cuff Class, I was not quite sure what I could teach her about beading. We had a wonderful time and as is usually the case, we ended up teaching each other! The following group of pictures represents just a small sampling of Kat's amazing work. (All pictures should enlarge when clicked on .)

KAt has been collecting fibers and beads for years but she gets all of her hand dyed vintage fabric and trims from Artistic Artifacts.

As you can see, Kat really goes all out with her bead work. She begins some of her wall hangings by painting designs on fabric and then gives each piece it's own breath with bead work and dimensional elements.

This doll was created to honor Breast Cancer survivors. Till I took this picture, I had not noticed that Kat had made this doll's arms out of sticks that she had painted pink!! There is so much detail in all of her works that it is impossible to see everything in just one look!!

This little doll is now looking for her home in my house! She spoke to me and literally jumped into my arms , so I decided to adopt her as an early birthday present to myself!! She is currently deciding where she wants to be hung here at home. It must be a place where I can see her often!!!!
I adore the reagal beauty of this wonderful doll. The picture does not do justice to her beautiful face, hand carved by Kat. Her outfit and presence is simply stunning.

THis dancer is also a very special piece and demonstrates Kat's amazing abilities with clay, fiber and threads!!

This doll has to be one of my all time favorite Kathlyn Avila pieces. The face is a fabric photo transfer of Kat's grandmother. What an exquisitely beautiful woman she was!! This doll was made in response to a challenge that I (yes, littl ol' me) put forward at the very first meeting of the Arts Group at Artistic Artifacts! When we saw what Kat had created we all decided that this piece would be the only product of the challenge!!!! ( I had brought in plastic Coffee Creamer bottles for all to use as a starting point for creating a doll- the body of Kat's doll is indeed a large coffee creamer bottle!!!! AMAZING!!!!! )

Below you will see one of the many stunning art quilt wall hangings that Kat creates. This happens to be one of my favorites. The encrusted bead work is absolutely amazing!! She has incorporated a vintage hand crocheted doilly into the skirt of this piece. See the hand crocheted roses along the bottom?

The stars at the top, are 3 dimensional add on pieces that are heavily beaded.
As soon as Kat recovers from the emotional journey of leaving her teaching post, we plan to convince her to teach doll making classes and fiber arts technique classes at Artistic Artifacts!
Go to the Artistic Artifacts website to sgn up for Judy's free newsletter so you can be the first to know when Kat will be sharing her technical talents with all of us!! I simply cannot wait!!!!!!
Remember this name, Kathlyn James Avila. this will be only the first time that you will hear of her and her amazing artwork!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

More Beadwork

I have finished the turquoise and green beaded cuff that I started along with the class that I have been teaching. I have not mounted it on the cuff yet as Judy ( my friend the owner of Artistic Artifacts ) is keeping it to use a s a class sample. There seems to be lots of interest in this class and we are both very excited about it!!

(Left click on photos to see larger version!)

I am very pleased that I added some bits of orange and purple to my color scheme- the complementary colors really make all of the colors pop!!

Here are some shots of the finished Ocan Cuff that I showed you quite awhile ago. I am just getting around to mounting it on the cuff and doing the last bits of finishing work. This will be a personal art piece and will serve as an advertisement for my bead work. I have found that wearing ones art is the very best advertisement and this cuff bracelet really can stop traffic!!I am very pleased with the way that this piece evolved. When I start these pieces, I know what colors that I want to use and I try to locate all special items that I want to include but as far as what beads will go where and how they will be stitched down- that all happens in the process.
The small piece of purple shell at the top of this shot was found on Nauset Beach. It came with predrilled creature holes in it and therefore it made the perfect bead!! The small yellow snail
was part of a collection that we gathered on an Island in Maine when I was 4 or 5 years old! Can you say PACKRAT????????

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Etsy Shop Reopened!

You may have noticed that I have had an empty Etsy Shop . I have been working on new items for restocking the shop and then had issues with finding time to take pictures and upload images etc. It should be quick and easy and a snap to do but the kicker is that it takes T-I-M-E. IT really takes alot of TIME to do all of this and quite a bit of it at that!!! I have also discoverd that I cannot change my user name which is also the name of my old shop. So Elizajean it remains. I am only selling items created by my own hands now. My mother has decided to pursue other artistic outlets for her fiber work.

I have just added a brand new set of Floral Stationary to the shop. It is a package of 5 note cards each with an original photograph taken by moi. This set is made up of images of Viola's (pansies) Violets and Lilly Of The Valley. I wish that you could smell the flowers, but PC tech shaven't figured out smell-a-vision yet, and perhaps that is a good thing!!!!! You can see details and more pictures of this stationary set here! I will be uploading many more items to my shop over the coming weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I have lots of little up dates to share with you today!! I saw some of my Beading students at our Art group meeting yesterday. They brought along their Beaded Cuff projects for the Show and Tell portion of our meeting(I had hoped that they would!!) Here is Judy's first piece (which she was worried aobut having time to finish for a specific event!!!!!)

I just love it- It will be soooo stunning when it is wrapped around the cuff and the excess ultra suede is trimmed.
Here is her secong piece!! YES she created two!!!!

Kat also brough her cuff which is going to be glorious when finished. I love all of the pearl and shell elements that she is working with.!!

as I told you in my last Post, i ws prepping for an Artist's Yard Sale. IT was such fun!! Many of the buyers were there to buy artists seconds and some were htere looking for supplies and then some where just die hard yard salers. I did quite well and donated all that was left to a friend who will take it to the local Animal Rescue SHelter for their annual Yard Sale. Bottom line- it did not come back home with me!!!!!!!
I did manage to pick up some gems form some of my favorite Liberty Town Artists- now you don't think that I could possibly resist ,do you???????
The manager of Liberty Town, the wondrous Ailine, had glorious plants for sale at bargain prices. She is an avid gardener and loves to grow veggies from seed. Her is a picture of her wonderful offerings! She sold the vast majority of her beautiful starts!!

Off to the far right in this picture you can see half of potter Neal Reed. I adore Neal's work and I ahve been covetting it for quite awhile. Neal does sgraffito-a process of scratching designs through layers of colored glazes to achieve his wonderful designs. Here is a shot of his gallery space at Liberty Town. DROOL!!!!!
Following are two pieces that I bought from Neal at The Yard Sale.
I just love his fish platters- this one is medium sized and when not in use it will hang in my Ocean themed art area!!!
This next piece literally lept into my hands.!! It spoke to me of my two crazy dogs, Buddy and Pepper. It even looks like them!!!!

I had never seen this pattern in Neal's work and it will be such fun to use for a sandwich or salad!! Clean your plate and look at what you will get to find!!!! LOL!!!!

Last but not least, you may remember form a post awhile back, that I made two fiber leaves for the International Fiber Collaborative Tree Project. The title of the Tree Project is Interdependence. The tree has been constructed and all of the leaves added and is now on display at a park in Huntsville Alabama. Here is the link to read more about this project. I am so thrilled to see the finished product!! What a glorious construction!!! My two little leaves are in wonderful company with all of these colorful contributions from other artists!!

Simply Fabulous!!

I hope that you all have a simply maaaarvelous day!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blooming Inspirations !!!!!

My garden is one of my greatest sources of artistic inspiration. We have had lots of wonderful and much needed rain and the plants are so very happy and blooming like crazy!! i am going to share a whole raft of photos with you for this post. I am busily working on decluttering my studio, (Yes it is STILL going on!!) as I will be participating in an Artist's Yard Sale, tomorrow morning at Liberty Town. This will be a fabulous opportunity to get rid of all sorts of stuff , from fabric to scrapbooking supplies and books that I no longer refer to!! I will be very busy tagging items and loading the car in readiness for a 6:30 am departure tomorrow morning. Keep your fingers crossed that the rain holds off for us till the afternoon.!!!
And now for some inspiration and entertainment, I present my flowers!!

My Hosta's are spectacular this year- 4th year in the ground and the columbine remind me of fairies dancing above the enormous leaves! the columbine were started from seed given to me by my dear friend Rebecca in CT, and I let them come up where ever they choose!

I have never seen this variety of Columbine before and perhaps it came along with some daylillies that my Mother in Law shared with me. I love the crown shape and the delicate blue color.

This variety of Columbine turns it's beautiful heads upwards to see the sun. There seems to be some Bee assisted gene reassortment occurring in my garden!!! LOVE IT!!!

The iris are glorious this year! Many of these plants I carried with us when we moved from Oklahoma. To my surprise and delight, bearded iris flourish in the climate of Oklahoma but the hot winds and dry soil create a very shortend bloom time there. Here where we have more rain and a lack of hot dry wind, the blossoms last much longer!

I wish that you could smell the fragrance of these white ones. They simply sparkle in the sun!

the pink iris are a later blooming variety. I have several plants with many stalks with 5-6 buds per stalk. They are just starting to come on now.

This is one of my garden stepping stones. you can see how much I love Iris, as this was the image that I choose to use for creating my first stained glass stepping stone. I must cut back some of the Creeping Jenny as it is threatening to consume the stone! I do love th look of the hot green ground cover creeping in around the other plants!!

This African Cape Daisy is a new addition to my garden this year. I love the hot orange color with the intense purple eye zone. We will have to wait and see how she does in this climate thru the summer.

Now for my roses. Four years ago when we first moved here, I noticed this poor rose struggling to survive on the East side of our house. It was planted right next to the foundation and got no sun due to the large trees that were shading the entire area. It still managed to put out some beautiful foliage, but I could tell that even that was a struggle. I decided to try to move it and to give it a fighting chance. Either I would kill it, or it would be much happier and might even bloom. I prepared a spot for it on the west side of the house where there were no trees and lots of afternoon sun. I lived thru the transition and bloomed the following summer. i believe that it is a Chrysler Imperial Rose . It is absolutely stunning in form and there are no disease issues- I don't use any spray or insecticide in my garden everything is organic. The fragrance from one blossom will scent an entire room!! This is one of my best rescue victories to date!!!

This rose is named Belinda's Dream and it loves hot and humid climates, is a strong repeat bloomer and has a wonderful fragarance. If you love roses and live in this sort of climate this rose is a must have!!! you can get it from Antique Rose Emporium In Texas- that is where I get all of my roses- yes mail order!!! The roses are OWN ROOT and arrivein beautiful conditon - If they can thrive in Texas, they can grow ANYWHERE!!!

Belinda is simply loaded with buds and she loves chopped up banana peels added to her soil at the roots!

This is a more wild rose that blooms it's fool head off on the west side of the house. She is just getting started!!

Now I must share a beautiful piece of hand dyed vintage fabric that lept into my arms at Artistic Artifacts during my last visit. Judy collects and dyes all of these vintage pieces herself. I am planning on using this wonderful table cloth on many different projects. The first will bea denim shirt that I am going to cover with fabric collage and bead work, with this piece as the focal or inspiration piece. Even though the fabric is torn and some parts are falling off, I will use every bit of it in various projects. this piece will give me so many options for projects!!!! This is just one of hundreds of examles of lovely pieces available from Judy through her Artistic Artifacts web site. Don't leave them all for me to purchase!!!!!

I must be off to price yard sale items!!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

Happy Birthday,Mom!!!


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