Thursday, October 28, 2010

Allow me to Introduce a Wonderful Artist.....

my darling daughter Becca!!! This pastel (0nly her second work in this medium) was awarded a Blue Ribbon at a Young People's Art Show on Tuesday night In Spotsylvania County. The judge was a local Art Teacher and Becca won the Blue Ribbon in her age group!! Her first pastel, Arctic Fox took a Third Place Ribbon!!

This photo is not the best, as the glare from the glass cabinet that it was displayed in takes away from the work. When we get the piece back home and put back in it's frame it will look much better. Becca did a fabulous job capturing the life int he eyes of this little Saw-whet Owl. We are all very proud of her and know that she has many more wonderful art works to share with all of us!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Colors of Fall in My Garden

Yes these are pictures of my Fall garden ! I took these pictures just last week. Last night we had a very still and chilly night, so I know that our first killing frost will soon be here. We also were able to enjoy a glorious Full Harvest Moon.
My Belinda's Dream rose is still covered with buds and the Endless Summer Hydrangea is putting out new buds, especailly after I did a big trim back of any spent blossoms.

My hardy Pink Daisy mums are blooming their fool heads off and next year I must rmember to tie them up so they don't flop all about. It does look pretty and wild with the pink blooms showing in amoung all of the other plants however. perhaps I will continue to ignore that chore! :)

As the fresh periwinkle purple hydanges blossoms fade they trun a wonderful akliedescope of colors and when paired with the pink Mums one can see all of the red and pink tones in the bracts of the flower head. Sooo beautiful!!

Despite my best efforts and repeated attempts, including presoaking of the seeds, I failed to get any of the old fashioned morning glory seed sot sprout!! My Moon Flowers went crazy however!!!

The wire fencing that seperates the dog run from the rest of the back yard looks so much nicer with vines growing all over it and the Moon Flower buds are still coming! It is such fun to go out after dusk and watch all of teh insect activity around the glowing blossoms adas the hawk moths and Luna Moths swoop in to feed. i saw two Luna Moths this year but the phtos did not turn out well so I will just have to count on my garden journal to remind me of her visit.

Both the roses and the Zinnia's really love the cooler chilly nights and warm days and repay me with glorious blooms .(as if I am responsibel for the change of seasons- HAH!!)
As long as I am willing to dead head, the zinniza and perrenial Verbena will continue to bloom. this all makes the little moths and butterflies very happy and I have seen lurking Praying Mantis feasting on the beetles and other little critters that are drawn to the floral feasting.

I jsut love the color variation on this zinnia blossom but I am not sure whether the red and orange streaking is due to the chilly evenings or to a mutaion in the actually plant. Some one came along and decided to snack! i am goignt o save the seeds form this particular blossom and plant them out next year to see if it is a real mutation ar a response to the cold. You can take the girl away from the science lab but you can't take the science lab out of the girl!!!

Now I must go out and pick another fresh bunch of Zinnia's as it may be the last of the season.
Have a beautiful weekend everyone!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Owls Now Roosting in My Etsy Shop!!

I have been stitching away and creating more of my little Owlettes for sale. After several requests and a few adventures in photography, I have listed several of the little guys in my Etsy Shop. This cute little orange and yellow fellow was made with a scrap of fabric that I created using a flour paste resist dye method. In fact you will find that many of my small creations are made with fabrics that are unique and designed by me.

No two owls are alike as I truely use bits and pieces to bring them to life. They will make perfect Tree Ornaments for the upcoming holidays and I plan to use several for fun package decorations. to see the small parliment that has gathered at my shop, you can stop by here!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wooly, Wet And Wild!!!! (or Wet felting workshop with 85 4th and 5th graders.)

Well, October 15 finally arrived and after several days of planning and kit making and more planing for every eventuality. I arrived at Fredericksburg Academy at 7:45am to set up the room. At 8:45 the fourth graders arrived all ready to go and get their hands into the roving and create felted collages!!! They were ready, I was pretty nervous! In the picture above you can see the lucky kids with their fabulous Art Teacher Ms Mirinda Reynolds. This was my third year working with Mirinda in the Visiting Artists Program and I will gladly return whenever I am asked!!

This is a small sampling of the glorious wool roving that we purchased in Scrap Bag pound portions from Blue Goose Glen Farm in Western Pennsylvania. They have a fabulous farm and thriving wool business and offer outstanding customer service and an awesome supply of wool products ( as well as bamboo, tencel, mohair and alpaca fibers) for spinniers, felters and fiber artists! You can check them out here!
Here we have two young men laying down their first layers of their fiber collage.

All the students were able to pick thier own kits. Each kit had a neutral wool hunk for base felt and several colors of bright roving for the top layers. I also included several colors of wool yarn, some colorful synthetic ribbon yarns and some plastic mesh vegetable bag bits and gold mesh. I added these last bits so we could see how the wool fibers could trap non wool materials. those bits also served to add texture sparkle and added textural interest.

Yes that would me, holding up one students layering of wool to show how even the layout of the fibers needed to be to support the felted sheet.

After the wetting and rolling process , we sent the kids outside to the breezeway with their felted collages in their labeled zip lock bags. We had the kids throw their pieces against the wall as hard as they could to help shock the fibers into place. Needless to say, this was a highlight of the process for some and great fun for all!!

The kids then left the collages with us in their name labeled bags and we spread them out on open shelving to dry over the weekend.
We all had a great time and I am really looking forward to returning to the school to work with one of the 5th grade classes to use up the remaining roving. We plan to make wall hangings that the kids will donate to the annual fundraising auction to raise money fro specail school projects- the Visiting Artistis Program for example!!!
now I will give you a chance to look at some of fabulous creations that these wonderful kids created in their whirlwind one hour adventure in Wet Wool Felting!!!
(Mind you, this is only a very small sampling of the fabulous work)

Some pieces were very balanced and precisely laid out.

Others were fabulous abstract creations showing a wonderful eye for color and design.

This artist obviously had a plan and executed it beautifully!

Doesn't this post inspire you to go and have a good messy play with some color? It certainly inspired me, I have been fiddling with wool ever since I got home last Friday!! More about that in another post!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coming Back to Knitting!!

I have been knitting as long as I can remember, it seems. Along with simple cross stich and hand work, my Swedish grandmother taught me the in's and out of knitting when I was very young. We never ever sat without our hands working on something. I was raised by supremely skilled and talented muti-tasking women ! These owls have brought my love of stitch and hand work back to me and working on a small knitting project has brought me back yet again to my love of yarns and knitting. It all goes around in an endless circle of the love of creating and the joy of giving hand crafted items to loved ones!!

Before I share my knitting project, several of you asked to see pictures of my owls on display. I have hung them from a curly willow branch (actually I believe that this is a branch of Harry Lauders Walking Stick). They are flying along at Liberty Town, as the display is up on a shelf where it catches the breeze created by the ceiling fan. The pictures could be clearer but they are what they are! They seem to have caught the attention of many who pass as I have recieved a few compliments, hopefully some people will like them enough to give them new homes!!

Now , on to knitting!!! I was inspired to create a scarf in a hot color for my neice who has just started her college career in beautiful upstate New York at Colgate. She is already having some issues with temperature shock to her thin tropical blood!! She ahs become very used to an Endless Summer climate, as she has been living in equatorial Africa, Malawi and Dar Es Saalam, Tanzania, for the past 10 years or so. Needless to say we have been all been thinking of her need for warmth. her birthday was in mid September but she has learned to expect gifts on the late side from her Aunt Elizabeth!!! Here you see a photo of the finished scarf being modeled by her cousin Becca.

This is a very simple pattern that creates this awesome and fun spiral effect. Thru a series of increases, starting with 150 stitches and growing to 1800, the ruffled spiral is achieved. ( Yes ,I dos till need to weave in those yarn tails!!) I used #9 circular needles (64inch long needles) to have enough room to get all fo the 1800 stitches on!!! It is a worsted weight wool and it took 1and 1/2 skeins. It was a real eye opener to see how long it took to knit a row of 1800stitches!!! Perhaps next time I will do as the pattern suggests and start out with only 100 stitches!!!!

This picture is a bit washed out as I needed to use the flash but I wanted you to get an idea of how many ruffles and curls are created from 1800 stitches!! I think that our college girl will have lots of fun wearing this in the chilly New England winters that are coming her way!!

At the recent Montpelier Sheep Show I picked up this absolutely lucious skein of raspberry colored cashmere,silk and alpaca yarn that I am going to use to make a scarf for myself- with the 100 stitch version, for sure!!!!

Now, as the tea kettle is singing and the rain is falling, I am off to enjoy my day creating in my studio!! I love this sort of weather for settling in and creating something or even just messing around with new ideas!!

I hope that you all can find some time to create today as well!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In Love With Handwork!!

The seasons changing has so much to do with my mood and my creative flow and lately I am craving working on any projects that involve hand work. Several of my friends have a real loave ahate relationship with hand work but I find it to be very soothing and peaceful and quietly inspiring. I find after completing a potions of a handwork project I ahve ahuge feeling of accomplishment- much more so than when I work on a sewing machine or with paints and glues. Perhaps it is the feel of all of the different textural elements that pass thru my hands....
So Fall is finally here in Virginia and that menas also gearing up for Holiday Sales. WHat will sell ? What will I come up with that people will like? I always try to create pieces that capture the attention and at the same time a re affordable. I would much rather produce and sell many items at a reasonable price than count on selling one or two big items at a huge price.
I was recently inspired by a design that I saw in a magazine, to create these textile wrapped and embellished wreaths. My art pal Leslie just shared some vintage upholestry fabric in a muted sage green with damask leaves woven into it. I created wreath forms out of scrap foam core and wrapped them in batting strips, then wrapped that in strips of the green leaf fabric. That was in turn wrapped with some vintage lace and all stitched down by hand. I embellished the wreath with some wonderful vintage sequins from Artistic Artifacts and lots of vintage pearls and sparkly crystal beads. The bow was the most fun! I crafted it from original vintage sheet music that was coated with matte medium to increase durability (the paper soaked up the medium like a sponge and made it very strong), more lace and tuille bits and more beads and pearls. The wreaths measure about 8-9 inches when finished.

This wreath has been made using strips of vintage damask linen tablecloth and more vintage lace that I tea dyed.
The final touch for this wreath was a swath of bridal tuille to add a delicate misty touch.
I have several more wreaths in the works that have been wrapped with hand dyed vintage linen. These will be available in my Etsy shop soon!! This wreath is available for purchase, in my Etsy shop, here.
I am always thinking of ideas for fun ornaments ,as I find that many look for unique pieces to give as little gifts during the holidays. Lately at our house we have all been invoved in OWLS. Becca has been reading and re-reading the wonderful Guardians fo Ga'Houle series, and she and I and a bunch of her friends just saw the newly released movie. It was wonderful by the way.
Earlier this year I was drawing sketches of owls and designed this little owl pattern that makes use of tons of my scrap bits of fabric and felt. These are stitched completly by hand except for the closing of the main body. All of the embellishing, is done by hand with embroidery floss or pearl cotton.
I ahve also made owls for Becca and her group of friends. each one is totally different and I suppose that is one of the reasons that I have not gotten sick of creating these little guys!!!
This week Iset up a curly willow branch tree full of owls at Liberty Town, and from what I hear, they are garnering a bit of attention!!

I have recently designed a cup cozie using my collaged fabric paper.

I have varnished the fabric paper to seal it and have stitched it to some cozy felt. The cozy is closed using grommets and some sturdy glue. These will also make wonderful little gifts or stocking stuffers to keep fingers protected from hot beverages. They also fit on reusable cups and are made from discarded text and map papers and embllished with stamping and decorative napkin tops and painted paper towels.

I am also working on some little tree ornaments using tiny painting canvases as their base.

I found some small ones 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 ata local craft store and then I went to Dick Blik on line and found even smaller ones at 2x2! I have collaged them with more fabic/paper and sheet music and embellished with fabric trees and packages and tiny sequins.

These will be finished with screw eyes for hanging and a bit of a decorative dangle to embellish the bottom. Decorative dangles are really a must , don't you think.!!

So hand work has been the method of choice these days but as I am running low on my fabric/paper, the needle and thread will ahve to be replaced by papers and glue for a bit. I am also almost done with a knit scarf for my neice- late birthday gift, so I am not quite ready for sticky hands yet!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Creations in My Etsy Shop!!

Unique collaged Cup Cozies to protect your fingers from your favorite hot beverage are the latest products in my Etsy Shop. I have used some of my fabric/paper to stitch up these fun holders that would make great little gifts for your holiday giving.

I have several more styles to add soon and you can see them all here.

This Cozy is made from painted canvas and the phrase reads: 'A woman is like a teabag, you don't know how strong she is till you put her in hot water"! This si one of my favortie sayings and I can think of many women who this might apply to!!

The Cozies fit standard disposable coffee cups and will slide onto many "Green" reusable cups, as well.
You will find several styles of my Shabby Chic Painted Linen Rose Brooches. You can see them all here.
This particular brooch is called Raindrops on Roses. Ther are several others that are not sprinkled with rain drop crystals. As the fabric to create these posies is hand painted ,no two are alike.

I have also listed my Sea Treasures Collage Necklace and will be adding more jewelry in different styles on=ver the next several days. You can see all the details regarding this piece here.
I have finally gotten my act together and taken pictures, done write ups and found time to reload my Etsy Shop!!! I have many new offerings and I hope that you might pop on by to check things out!!


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