Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Art is Her Bag!

I had a bit of fun creating a gift for my daughter's best friend. Now this young lady is a blooming artist who loves to draw and is dabbling in other media including crochet. She also has a birthday that falls on Dec 26!! Now that is the pits!!! She and Becca gather and paly as children but then there are times when they draw or paly computer games or just talk. Typical young teenagers finding their way into womanhood- bless their hearts.
We had a gift from Becca all wrapped and ready . I wanted to give her something that I had created that she could use as a place to stash or carry her art STUFF! Some time ago, I had picked up some canvas bag blanks at a clearance table, at Micheal's, I think. So I used this as my starting point.
I started playing with paint on the morning of Christmas Eve and every time I passed the piece , all laid out in my studio, I would add something more. After playing with paint (cheap acrylics), I stitched on patches of some of my other painted fabrics and added a few buttons. I was not sure that I was done so I let the whole project rest for a bit. In the end I added initials to a patch on the back of the bag and an enthusiastic ART ON to a patch on the front. One thing is for certain, she will never run into another teenager with the same bag!! What a fun project!! There may be more such bags, started from scratch, in my future plans!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fabulous Ornament Swap!

Now I finally have a chance to share the results from a fabulous ornament swap that I participated in this year. The Crazy Quilted Hearts above were my contribution. I used lots of bits of recycled mens ties to creat the heart shaped fabric and then went at each one with embroidery thread silk ribbon and beads and charms. It was hard to decide when enough was enough. I was on a deadline so that basically helped to curtail my embellishing!!
I stitched each finished top to some stiff heavy interfacing and then backed the heart with a piece of silk brocade salvaged from a vintage dress. Each one was unique and that made it much easier for me to make multiples. I do not do exact copies well at all!!

This wonderful snow man was created by Laura . She stitched muslin to make the basic shape, stuffed him and painted him and sprinkled on glitter.Laura used a sewing machine bobbin for his jaunty hat, clever girl!!! He is a wonderful addition to my growing snow man collection!!!

Lyn created this wonderful decoupaged and stamped diamond ornament. She used lots of Stickles glitter glue to make it extra sparkly!!

Here is a close up of the Heart that I made for myself.

This wonderful piece was created by Heather. She used some wonderful metal pieces as the basis for this whimsical and unusual creation. I love this piece. It is very unusual!!!

This wonderful ornament is made entirely of paper save for a bit of glitter glue and a piece of a transparency. Heather created this wonderful ornament using her Cricut machine. It is so very delicate looking but is actually quite sturdy. The back is almost as wonderful as the front!

Here is the back. See what I mean!! I love this sort of attention to detail!!

This wonderful stitched a stamped ornament was made by Tina. She packaged it in the wonderful pink green and white apinted waxed paper that you see here stamped with the word Joy. It was so simple and so elegant!! I plan to keep the wrapping as well!!

This fun piece was created by Marilyn. She used a vintage optometrist's lens to frame her piece with the handle piece serving as the hanging loop. So very clever and sweet!!!

Where ever possible I have provided links to these wonderful artists blogs or web pages, if they have them. It would definately be worth your while to run on by their sites for a little visit!!

All of these delightful ornaments will claim a very special spot on my Art Tree. I think that I might have to look for an additional tree to be able to display my ever growing collection of beatiful treasures!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Snow Dyeing Experiment

I am sure that you have all heard the phrase, "Got Lemons? Then make Lemonade!!" to me this has always meant , make the best out of a not so great situation. Well, WE GOT SNOW-so Try Snow Dyeing!!! I loved the storm and the snow but then we had no disappointments or inconveniences because of it. It was hardly a bad situation. However, one requirement for Snow Dyeing is SNOW!! I had heard tell of this technique last year when other parts of the country got lots of the white stuff and we went without. Then this year I was reminded of it by Dye Queen Extrordinaire, Vickie Welsh.
Vickie has been involved in all aspects of fabric dyeing for quite a while and has all of the necessary supplies and dyes.Vickie is very disciplined and creates beautiful hand dyed fabrics in color groups and then creates beautiful quilts with her own fabrics. Someday we are going to get together as she lives not very far from me! You MUST visit her wonderful blog (link above) to see how this technique and oodles of others, are meant to be done. So Vickie's undertaking , having benefited from the same snowfall as we did, sewed the seeds of inspiration. I , however , have none of the Right supplies, just lots of supplies that might servea as good stand ins. I saw this as no reason to squwelch my enthusiasm , and forged ahead. After all , we had PLENTY of snow!!
This technique si meant to be undertaken with fabric dyes. Well I ahd Setacolor fabric Paints. Ok , so try those instead. I did not have any soda ash for pretreating the fabric. But Setacolor paints don't require pretreating other than washing , so this might actually work.
So here we go !! A totally unscientific stab at Snow Dyeing probably best described as messing around!!!!!
The whole idea behid Snow Dyeing is that the snow will melt on thefabric carrying the dye down into the fabric at varying rates and thereby the resulting fabric will show variations in intensities of color. It is kind of a resist technique, I suppose.
So we begin.
We have snow.

We have prewashed fabrics of various weights and sizes, Setacolor paint concentrates in yellow, cobalt and fushia. A glass vessel for easy viewing of melting and dyeing .

The fabric was wadded up and stuffed into the bottom of the jar. 4-5 inches of snow was packed in on top. I drizzled the diluted paints onto the snow layer and put it aside in the kitchen to melt.
I love the way it looks with the snow colored by the paints.

This is what it looked like after about an hour sitting inside.

After 3.5 hours it was time to end the process. The snow was pretty well melted and the paint had been carried down into the fabric. I was a bit concerned about the muddy pool at the bottom of the container. Soda Ash soaked fabric would have mitigated that problem somewhat. ah well.

After rinsing and drying , this was the result.

Too pale and not very colorful and prety gray- yuck!!

Oh Well. I used what I had. I played with the snow. I watched the pretty colors run down into the fabric and I got a far from stellar result!! I have decided that I am not a fan of Setacolor paints except for sunprinting. Can anyone tell me why I often get blackened edges on my fabric pieces with these paints???
I will probably try this technique again but ony when I ahve access to all of the correct ingredients, using actual fabric dyes. I would like to do it once , successfully and that will be enough!!
To se some great results, go and visit Vickies Blog or Gayles blog. These gals can show you all the right steps for fabulous results.
These fabrics will go back in the "To be DYED Bag" and will get overdyed on the next dye day at Artistic Artifacts. It was great fun to try a "What IF" moment and play about a bit. I need to let myself do more of this sort of thing in 2010!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tough Day to be a Bird, or a Small Dog For That Matter!!!

Yesterday we awoke to about 12 inches of snow, with still more to come. The snow fell throughout the day and provided lots of opportunities for some fun for all. Tom took the Jeep 4 wheel drive out for a drive and found not a plow in site but lots of people trying to navigate through the snow ,who had no business being out!!!
The rest of us stayed at home and hunkered down for the duration!!! Here are some of my photos from the day. I will have more later of the aftermath and the sunshining on the final snowfall!!

Pepper thoroughly enjoyed a good rousing romp with Becca, at this point it was snowing heavily and the temp was 26 degrees!!!

Now poor Buddy on the other hand, was NOT amused!! Especailly when a certain 17 year old tossed him ont an unshoveled portion of the deck and he was almost submerged in the snow!!!! What is a little guy to do!!! Needless to say Matthew is on the top of the Least Favored list at the moment!!!!
I hope that everyone is safe and warm!!!
Holiday Hugs!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Glue, fabric and sequins!!!

Well, the weather outside is TRUELY FRIGHTFUL and since we have no place to go, I will stay inside and make this years Christmas cards. It is still snowing and we already have 18 inches on the ground- unheard of in these parts!! We have not seen a plow and probably won't for awhile, but we are all safe, we have power and plenty of provisions, so all is well here. We did break out the new Star Trek movie- it was to be in a stocking,- so we had some fun entertainment.
So back to my cards!! I decided several years ago that I would call them Winter cards as I always stack my work deck far too high to ever get the cards in the mail prior to Christmas. This has really helped to take the pressure off and has allowed me to play around and have some fun with my cards!
This year I am using scraps of my monoprinted fabrics, some torn papers and sequins and glue to create the cards.

I don't want to give too much away, but each card has three tree's on the front and each one is unique. Some have drifts of green paper sponged with white paint and some have drifts made from sheet music. I added highlights of glitter bits along the drifts , the camera does not pick up these details. I still have to addthe interior message and then get the family to sign them all. Hopefully I will be able to get them in the mail by the end of this week. This year the limiting factor is definately the SNOW!!!
I hope everyone is happy ,warm and safe!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Hands for Organization!

Despite having an injured paw of my own, I have been creating additional hands to enhance oragnization!!! My good friend Leslie has a source for these amazing porcelain hands from a disassembled factory in upstate New York. The hands were used as forms for the production of Latex gloves. The hands were mounted on wooden braces and then were dipped into pools of the liquid latex.
I purchased several of these wonderful forms from Leslie and I ahve been working on them to create gifts for several Jewelry Mavens on my Christmas list.(THe blue ocean hand is for my 17 year old neice who loves all things sparkly). They are almost complete. I am on the hunt for a blue and green edged porcelain plate to mount to the bottom of the Ocean themed hand. I have already found a wonderful plated bordered by roses for the Garden hand. The plate will serve to stabilize the hand and will provide a spot for jewels that cannot be hung from the fingers.

Because of the glare form the flash, you can't see that I placed a stamping on the palm of the hand of the Ocean hand.The quote is "Dreams are the touchstones of our characters". I thought that it would be a nice quote for my niece to see everytime she plucked a necklace from her helping hand!!!
These hands have been such fun to work on! I think that I am going to have to create one for myself!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Fabulous Gift for those who are hard to buy for!!

In the margin on the right hand side of my blog I have a button titled End World Hunger. If you click on this button you will be taken to a web site where you are invited to click again and help to feed the hungry. It is all free and every time I go to my blog, I click on the button to send out more food. I hope that you do this every time that you visit, as well.
This site has a wonderfull on-line store. It is a wonderful place to shop. There are gifts and clothing from all over the world, all fair trade and handcrafted.

There are also some fabulous gifts that are called Gifts That Give More. So this is where "the difficult person to buy gifts for" comes in.
This year I have purchased a stove that will be made by people in Sudan and given to a family in Darfur. This stove is called a Berkley Stove and it was designed at the University of California in conjunction with Engineers without Borders. This is an organization that is completely volunteer run. THe stoves have been specailly designed to be very durable but lightweight, collapsible, use less fuel (very important as so many women have to risk their lives to go out far from the camps to collect fuel), emits less smoke and is specailly designed for high heat and high wind cooking conditions. As the stove is built by workers in Sudan, it supports families there as well. The cost of this stove is 20.00. What an incredible gift to give!!!
The person in whose name I bought this stove will recieve the above certificate along with details about the stove and a thank you from the organization that supports the distribution of the stoves. What could be a better gift??????

So here is the link to take you directly to the store.
And here is the link that will take you right to the wonderful stove.

This is an amazing opportunity to give the gift of food, life and freedom from poverty, to those suffering so terribly in Darfur.
Giving ,with the expectation of nothing in return and anonymously is what the season is all a bout after all.
Happy Holidays to all!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fabulous Finds

Several days ago I joined some friends on a day of tresure hunting in Central VA. Janet and leslie have all kinds of experience in this region and a long list of favorite haunts. I was thrilled to be invited along for the outing and search. It wa beatiful and warm day that felt more like April than December!! We walked into one dimly lit place that was jammed with stuff and began poking around. I spoted this rsuty crusty tin and took a closer look. My heartrate went up I couldn't put things in my hands dwon fast enough. This is what I saw.

It took me about 3 minutes to get the tin open and this increased my anticipation for the contents as it told me that no one had attempted this chore in a long time!!!!!

Hidden treasure, for me anyway!!!!!

I love finding buttons on cards as some of the advertizing on the cards is wonderful. These cards are pretty plain but the buttons are wonderful!! The red ones are glass with old Rhinestones in them and theyw ere made in Western Germany, Too Cool!!!

Two days ago I was wandering in my favorite Antiques Mall in Fredericksburg, when I discovered a box full of 22 small old bottles. The price was .50 cents each. I bought the box full!! These will become wonderful snow people sculptures!!!
The very small old jars are Vaseline jars. The others held various medications and many have markings on the sides for fluid ounces. What a wonderful haul!!!

I ahve had to create more of my snow People Sculptures as the ones that I delivered to the Gallery At Liberty Town have sold out!! Here is a shot of my latest snow firends!!!

I love making these sculptures and my favorite part is figuring out what to create hats from. I usually use some combination of old buttons and vintage costume jewelry. Sometimes I am lucky to find a set of Vintage frosting tips used in cake decorating and the hats are pretty straight forward!!
I had a great mail day this week as well. I won my first Blog Giveaway! I entered a giveaway on the blog of the amazing Holly Stinnett. I was soooo excited> Holly is a wonderful artist and a very kind and generous person. Take a minute and stop by her blog and see what treasures she is creating today!
I thought that the giveaway was for one lovely Christmas brooch! Wrong! She sent me two delightful pieces in the mail and I HAve gotten complements from so many folks every time I wear them!!!

Aren't they simply wonderful??? I certainly plan to wear them often!!!!! Thank you again Holly!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow of 09

As I listen to the news this morning I am hearing about snow plows driving down highways 4 abreast to clear highways in New hampshire (I hope that you have the fire wood stacked and the heat working in the studio, in patti b), school closings for New Youk to Maine and snow drifts 6-8 foot high in Iowa. I am thinking of all of my friends who live in these parts of the country and hoping that they are snug and safe.
Well, here in Northern Virginia we had our first snow on Saturday the fourth. This is an early first snow for this region and my snow bunny Becca (soon to be 13, so I can't get away with calling her that for very long-sob) was absolutely thrilled!! Out she went, despite having outgrown her snow pants, but wearing new snow boots. She will make Snow People and snow balls out of the smallest pile of flurries ,with such joy!!
Soon to be 18 year old brother challenged her to create a snow man that could wear his old World War ll helmet and she definately rose to the challenge. Pepper , the larger Blue Healer, was out frolicing with Becca and distracting her from the task at every turn. Pepper loves to chase and catch snopw balls and was almost as joyful as Becca to be out playing in the snow.

I must give Becca a huge amount of credit for her construction of this little snow man! I was very impressed to see that she began by filling the helmet with snow and created the head first! I would have just gone merrily along creating the snow man from the ground up with the head coming last. She took the second to think about what she was doing. She started in a much more logical fashion and avoided the problem of having the entire snow man collapse when she tried to put the helmet on to the finished head. You must excuse me while I expound on the brilliance and creativity of my girl!! She does not find joy in creating in the same manner that I do. No , she creates amazing music with her cello and with her wit and humor and with her sculpture. She blows my mind!! Both she and her brother remind me daily that creativity comes in so very many wonderful forms!!!
Back to the winter storms- i hope that all of you are able to enjoy the first storm of the season and are not adversely affected by it!! Stay warm and snug and safe. I am thinking of you all!! So is Becca! She is wishing that we had more of the white stuff and trying to figure out a way for us to move to a more northern clime!! (Watch out for tall blond teenagers who love animals, patti b!!)

Wintery goodbyes from Virginia for now and say a prayer for all of our troops wherever they may be!!!

Brave Enough to Cut ????

Have you ever created a piece that is supposed to be a component piece, or painted or dyed a piece of fabric and then not been able to cut into that piece to use it for it's intended purpose????? Sound Familiar??? I'll bet that it does for many of you! Well, this is exactly where I found myself after creating my first piece of wet felted fabric this early summer. You may remember that I blogged about the process ,with my friend April, here.

In the photo above, you can see the results of that wet and wonderful learning experience. The piece of colorful lovliness has been floating around my art space for the last several months waiting for something to become. I was so enjoying it as a whole, not that it could not remain whole, but knowing that it had another purpose. It was waiting patiently to be given a purpose. I have often picked it up and looked at it carefully and petted it, waiting to hear the voice in my head that would tell me what form the transformation would take. Nothing, not for a long time. Well, push came to shove, and I finally found myself ready and excited to cut into this composition of wool and silk lusciousness.
The moment arrived when I had to come up with a gift for the Gift Exchange at our Annual Christmas Gathering and gift exchange at my Fiber Arts Guild meeting on Dec. 4. I had looked at several shops trying to find something fun and unique and affordable. The goal was to find a gift priced at around 15.00, for either a Spinner, a Weaver, or Anyone (anyone being any fiber artist) Right now I fall into the 'another'category. Well I could not come up with anything that I was happy with. Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself , but I will not settle for any old ball of yarn or needle duhicky that presents itself.!!!
So I cut a circle from the Pink Felted sheet and created a pincushion. What fiber artist does not need a pincushion?????? The only slight issue was that I had made a similar design of pincushion for last years exchnage, so I would have to try to avoid the same person picking my package again this year. A minor issue , as this decision presented itself on Friday afternoon with the exchange being the following morning!!! I also created a scissors fob from hand felted beads, to accompany the pincushion. Yet another 'To DO' to TAA DAAA!!!!!! (Love it when this happens!!)
I love the idea of the scissors fob, as I have often found myself working in a group with others who have the same type and color of scissors. With the scissors fob you will never loose track of Your scissors again!!! I am quite pleased with how the items evolved and I am quite sure that Anne (the gift recipient) was quite pleased as well!! Love it when this happens!!!!!

This time I backed the felted pink with a piece of felted purple cashmere, (cut from a thrift store cashmere sweater that I had felted in the washing machine!) In a real pinch (and without pins) this would make a wonderful little pillow!!! In the center of both front and back, I stitched one of my very own scrappy beaded beads!!

So I WAS BRAVE ENOUGH TO CUT!!!!! AND the best part is, I still have a nice large piece of the original fabric left for further evolutions of colorful creations!!! Can't argue with that!!!


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