Friday, September 30, 2011

Fungus Amoungus!!!!!

Fantastical and amazing structures have been erupting all over our yard during the last 10 days of rain and damp. This particular fungus appeared in our back yard and is approximately the size of a dinner plate!!!! Fascinating!!
In the Central East Coast States we have been treated with about 10-12 days of rain damp, humidity and more rain- MUSHROOM weather to say the least!!!
It is finally looking like we are going to be freed from this weather pattern and move right on into Fall. I cannot say that I am upset by this . I love the Fall. I will be so very excited to have some crisp and SUNNY days with deep violet blue skies to enjoy!!! hopefully these days are fast approaching!!!!
These sweet little shrooms were around last week . I love all of the details of the structures in this particular variety!
Here is another of the dinner plate sized orange ones. this one was collecting water in the cup, perhaps a fairies bathtub???? .I would not have noticed it at the back of the yard unless I had seen a bird fly down and land on it's edge, for a drink!!!

This shot is a bit fuzzy , i know but I love this little mushroom standing off by itself!!

How many mushrooms have you got growing in your yard, these days.??????

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Etched And Layered

On Saturday I managed to squeeze in a class at Art Bliss, a small local to me, Art Retreat held in Sterling VA. This is a new and still small retreat with some great teachers and an intimate group of students. Sometimes small is really very nice and this was one of those times. I went to this retreat as a "Day Tripper" just to take a class in Etching Metal taught by artist Diane Cook. Diane just happens to have also been in the bead Soup Party with me and I found many others there that I recognized from that recent experience. Diane's class was titled Etched and Layered : a guide to guerrilla etching. The piece that you see above is one of the pieces that I created in the class. I etched two additional brass cuffs but they are in need of more work. I am considering adding a dangling bit to this piece as well, just not sure yet ! You all know how I feel about dangling bits- MORE is BETTER!!!
I am really thrilled with how this piece turned out!!
If you are curious about metal Etching and want to know a very simple and complete method, I would highly recommend a class with Diane Cook! She is a truly delightful Texan with a wonderful sense of humor and a true desire to share everything that she knows about this process with her students. She is the type of teacher that I like to model myself after. All but the Texas part- no offense to Texans- I just can' t take the heat!!! LOL!!!
I found the wonderful center piece in a jar of filthy dirty buttons in an antique mall in Oklahoma. It is a Victorian Crystal button with metal bezels encasing the crystals. A true find!! I have been saving it for a long time, for just the right project. I wanted this button to be used in something for myself and this was the perfect spot!!!
On another topic, last week I painted up some sheets of Tyvek and made some beads. I was going for a silk look with these beads and I think that this will work. This is a great way to get the look and super sturdy beads without using silk fabric and dealing with lots of fraying threads and delicate fabric!! More on this project to come soon!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Soups On!!! My Bead Soup Creation- The Big Reveal!

You may remember that I recently joined a group called Bead Soup. I exchanged a group, or "Soup" of Beads with a partner who had been matched with me by the amazing Lori Anderson, the moderator extraordinaire of this group. The next three pictures are reminders of the amazing hand made lamp work glass beads that my partner Christine Brandel, sent to me. The whole object of this exchange was to give our partners something that they might not normally pick for themselves, a combination of beads that would cause their partners to stretch outside their comfort zones.

I have to tell you that when I opened the wonderfully wrapped package from Christine, I was thrilled!!!! I was so in love with the colors and the shapes and so very flattered that these beads had been created just for this exchange and just for me!!!! Some times synchronicity just happens and this was one of those times. How was Christine to know that lately whenever I work with Red I always add a touch of turquoise or bright sky blue?? This is a new combo for me, so new in fact I was not sure that I had even blogged about it!!!
Now look at the clasp!!! Spectacular , don't you agree??!!

And here are her faux Milk Glass beads, also wonderful!! I adore the rounds with bumps!!
So after opening and thinking and running the beads thru my fingers and closely studying the beauty of each bead, blogging about the soup and thinking some more, it was time to come up with a plan! What was I going to do???
I was in love with the soup, but I am not a beader who strings beads. I love to do bead embroidery and bead free form weaving and what I call bead collage. Where was I going with this particular mix. This was the part that was challenging for me.!!

So my first step was to go through my stash and pull out anything that I thought might work with my soup. I went through the reds and got several different types, found some vintage white glass beads that I had forgotten that I had and found some blue lucite flowers and the perfect color of #8 sky blue seed beads.

On the left above is the soup from Christine and on the right is what I pulled from my stash.
By this time I had decided that I wanted the wonderful clasp to be in the front of the piece as it should have a major role in the design. One of my favorites from the soup are the ruffled disks that there were three of. So I used one of those to embellish the clasp. the clasp would close the necklace on the right hand front side to the piece. Then I set about stringing and fretting!!!

And here it is! First As I wear it and then for a full display of the entire piece.

I took these pictures in the late afternoon sunlight as it was the Only sunlight we had all day. it does throw some serious shadows but it really makes the beads sparkle and come to their full beauty so I had to include them!! You just had to get a small idea of how wonderful Christine's hand made beads are. She has an ETSY shop called A Hot Piece of Glass and I would be thrilled if you would pop in and take a look at her wonderful creations!!

I also created a pair of earrings to go along with the necklace. I usually don't wear sets of things but I felt that this necklace really called for a sassy pair of earrings to accompany it!! I wanted to highlight the wonderful white hobnail beads that resemble the vintage milk glass pieces. I added a blue Lucite blossom with a red drop center and a deep ruby sparkling crystal bead to top it all off. So all of the beads in the earrings are somewhere in the necklace.

I wore the necklace for the first time today and I had three people comment on it!!! I think that this is a piece that I will be wearing often! It is bold colorful and unusual enough to go with many of my outfits and such a fun piece to wear.
There were a total of approximately 362 participants in this exchange from all over the world (5 continents and 21 countries)!!!!. The entire process was beautifully orchestrated by the amazing artist Lori Anderson. For the full list of participants with all of their blogs showing all of the wonderful pieces created just for this reveal click here.
This was a huge labor of love done with great style and a huge commitment of time and vast quantities of energy and patience and I would like to personally thank and bless Lori for doing it ALL!!!

I am planning on visiting every blog on the list but I will probably do it in groups of 6-8 at a time. I know that it will take time as I love blogging and I adore beads and I love to be inspired! I know that I will be filled with ideas and notions to bead and there is only so much that one can absorb at one time , and I MUST absorb it ALL!!!! So SLOW and STEADY will get me through all of this beady luciousness!!!
My very first stop however, will be Christine's Blog to see what magic she ahs wrought with the soup that I sent to her. Just to jog your memory and to entice you to make that Blog Hop along with me, here is the soup that I sent to her!

Remember the full list of Participants and Partner Pairs HERE. So hop on in and enjoy the Soup!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Revealing a Sun Print- Sharing the Squeal of Delight!!!!!

I am living in full blown surface design addiction at the moment!! the technique of choice is sun printing.
I simply cannot get enough!
I am constantly on the lookout for items, plants, leaves, stencils, whatever that will make good masks and therefore create interesting sun prints.
Yesterday, I had 5 foam boards loaded with different bits of cotton all painted and masked and sitting out on the lawn in the western sun. I know the neighbors must wonder what the heck I am doing now.! In fact I wish that they would ask, so I could share the Squeal of the Reveal with them.
It is that much fun!!!
I do guarantee that if you do this YOU WILL SQUEAL with delight when your peel off the masks to reveal the print, after the fabric has dried. It is an involuntary reaction not to be denied!!!
Above, you can see a painted piece of cotton covered by a very lacy plastic place mat that I found at some thrift store recently. Keep your eyes peeled for such jewels, they are out there!!!

I enlisted Becca's help for these pictures as one needs two hands to do this and I needed to capture the moment of the SQUEAL!!! I can hear you!!!
Look at the beauty that the peel of the place mat has revealed!!! I am really amazed at the detail that this fabric can pick up with this place mat as a mask. Even the tiniest hole is shown in the dried print!!!! LOVE ,LOVE, LOVE!!!!! Who would have imagined such wonders waited beneath that dark green plastic!!!??????????

These are several of the other prints that I did yesterday. When the prints done using the leaves and flowers are dry, the petals and leaves have shrunken and sometimes stuck to the fabric. The reveal is somewhat less dramatic with the smaller organic bits but the SQUEAL is no less delighted!!!!
My favorite of the day besides the plastic place mat has got to be the grape leaves at the top of the picture below!!
I have no idea how I managed to achieve the mottled look under the leaves- the leaves are stuck tightly down onto the wet fabric, but I certainly do like it!!!!! One of the only problems with this technique is repeat-ability- one can never count on it!! So each bit of printed fabric is a one of a kind unique individual. That result happens to be fine with me!!!

If you are interested in giving sun printing a go you will need Seta Color Fabric paints from Pebo. The best place to get them is here!!! If you do go for it, be sure to work with some friends , you will have a SQUEALLY GOOD TIME!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Feathers Have Flown!!

These feathers should now be in the hands of Jude Hill for the Magic Feather Project. I think that I am going to stitch a few more to send along. Jude has posted many wonderful tutorials on her Magic Feathers Blog about how to stitch feathers. If you have not heard of the magic Feather Project, give yourself a treat and click on the above link to find out what it is all about!!! I stitched these feathers before I ahd watched any of her instruction and now after watching them , I feel that I could have done a much better job with these!! I wanted her to have a sun printed feather for her collection as well. The sun prints capture such amazing detail with the found feathers that I have used, and I did not think that she would get another one quite like this . I just love them!!

From Feathers I will move to birds and my Rust Printed Bird Fabric Fragment packs that I am now selling in my ETSY shop. If you want to take a peek and see all of the various prints available you can go here. I think that I will be listing three packs of feather sun prints soon!

I also have birds with a feather packs!!
You can find my Vintage Button Stack Earrings at my Etsy Site as well!!

Last week I learned a new chain maille pattern from the Chain Maille Wench at Beads on Parade in Fredricksburg. Carol calls herself the Chain maille wench so don't be offended!! Carol is an amazing artist. Many of the chain maille designs that she teaches are ones that she has created herself. She also designs incredible seed bead jewelry. Several of us are trying to encourage her to write a book but she says that as soon as she does that, it all becomes work and not fun!!! Hard to argue with that logic!! This bracelet is called Vertebrae and just to jazz it up a bit and make it chunkier, i added the small rigs with the magnatama beads on the edges. By adding two different colored beads in the same manner to each of the rings, I have created a piece that from one side looks mostly silver and when you flip it over it is mostly black ! I am planning to make a similar bracelet for my niece Mali's birthday (Ahhem her birthday is today- yes I am LATE, Again!!!) For Mali's bracelet I will use bright red rings for the large central rings and turquoise for the smaller rings and add silver beads for some extra BLING!!

Recently I was so inspired by my wonderfully talented and creative friend Ro Bruhn. If you have not visited Ro's wonderful blog and seen all of her luscious colorful work- You simply MUST DO IT NOW!!! JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She had posted some foam tray stamps that she had made and was talking of holding a class to teach the technique. I would soo sooo love to visit Ro and to play with her but she lives in Australia!! One of my dreams once college tuition's are paid for and other bills are all gone, is to pop over the ocean for a nice long visit with all of my Aussie blogging buddies!! Yes A girl must dream!! Any way her post inspired me to have a go at foam carving for stamps and I wanted to attempt one as detailed as she had. mine are not nearly as well designed as hers but it was quick and they work beautifully and it was great fun and very relaxing!! Try it! All you need is some clean foam meat trays and a very dull pencil or a ball point pen that has run out of ink!! If you do try it, the best way to apply paint to these is with a brayer!

Well this post has been a bit of a hodge podge but I would not want anyone to think that I was stumbling about with nothing to do and nothing to show for my time!!!

happy Creating everyone!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Colors in the Rain

Last evening and most of the day today it has just rained buckets!! I love rainy days especially when I don't have to be out in it!! So after I got Becca up and off to her first day of High School, I decided to play for a bit. I put aside the Should Do's and the Must do's and just had some color play time!!
Lately I have been very drawn to the wonderful work of Roben Marie Smith. She has had several articles in some of my favorite magazines and she has wonderful tutorial videos on her blog. She plays and paints with abandon and I would love to be able to achieve the carefree sort of art attitude that she exudes. Her videos are delightful! I love her little finger tap routine- Now you HAVE to click on the link above to go to see what I mean!!!

So i dug out the paper and the acrylic paints and the acrylic inks, spray bottles and Gesso, brushes, glue sticks and paper bits, and went to town . The page above was my first attempt. The shot below shows the first of several mailing envelopes that I have begun to use to send off things to friends.
All that I can say is once you start working with Roben's techniques make sure that you have a big space cleared as you will not want to stop and you need lots of room to lay things out to dry!! such wonderful fun!!!

After a bit of lunch I decided I needed to get back to a few deadlines that will be coming up quickly . These pieces are all about color, so I was able to keep the color theme of the day going strong! Below you can see three small art quilts that I am working on all created from my sun printed and hand dyed fabrics. I have not decided yet whether these pieces will form a triptych or will hang alone. I suppose I don't have to figure that out till they are stitched and finished. For now I have plenty of stitching to do!

These two are still in the not sure still planning stages. It looks like we are in for a bit of soggy weather so I should be able to get these all done by the end of the week. Fingers crossed and the creek don't rise too too high!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Newly Published in Crazy Quilt Gatherings

Pat Winter's wonderful Crazy Quilt magazine has just come out with the Fall issue. I am so excited to have an article published in this creative stitching journal. Pat does a fabulous job gathering articles about techniques, various artist's work and wonderful places to shop and build every Crazy Quilters Stash. The magazine, Crazy Quilt Gatherings, is available for order here. Several years ago I participated in a Crazy Quilters (CQ) Puzzle Piece Swap. I created my puzzle pieces using my version of fabric/paper. Pat was very complimentary of my technique and the results and inquired about specifics. When she began publishing her magazine and was looking for articles on interesting techniques, my tutorial came to mind.
I certainly don't expect anyone to read the article here!! If you are interested you cna order your own copy form Mag Cloud. Once ordered, the magazine will be printed and sent right to your door., It is a wonderful system and Pat is getting lots of orders and tons of wonderful feedback!! this is a lot of work!!!
My article was a two page spread. The end result was showing how one could use their own crafted fabric/paper in their Crazy quilting designs. Here you can see a piece that I have incorporated as the central piece of this bag flap. If you click on the picture and enlarge you can see the layers of text and illustration beneath the flowers and butterfly colored images. I stitched this piece into the bag front piece using my sewing machine and I have begun to embellish with trims ,beads and silk ribbon embroidery.

I hope to have the purse finished soon so I can carry some of my own work on my shoulder. If you have any interest in Crazy Quilting I urge you to run on over to Pat Winter's wonderful blog! You are in for a real treat!!!


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