Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Say Hello to Q...

 And say good-bye, too. Q (yes, that's his whole name!) is retiring after 14 years of service as a therapeutic riding "instructor".  Q is a Paint horse that husband Jack purchased long ago. He planned to work with him and show him at horse shows. However, as they worked together, Jack could see that Q was a good, patient, and cooperative boy but he didn't have the moves he'd need to be competitive at shows. He was just four at the time, and Jack considered whether to keep him on our farm as a trail horse. But what he decided was to offer Q to the Marion Therapeutic Riding Association, a non-profit that uses horses to assist riders of all ages who have limitations. Although they don't often accept horses that young, the staff could see the Q had the kindness and qualities that would make him of benefit to the program. So for the last 14 years, he has been a faithful steed to dozens of riders. And now it's time for him to enjoy a retirement. That called for a party!

A large turnout came to enjoy the celebration, and Q was offered the first piece of cake. Sugary treats are not usual for the horses, but this was his day so an exception was made. He was not impressed and preferred the carrots and horse treats instead.

Here's the cake a baker at Publix designed for Q, using a photo of him. She got the color and his distinctive white face just right. And this is actually individual cupcakes assembled into a portrait, so the it was easy to serve. Nicely done!

You can see that he was a little tentative about his cupcake, but did get frosting on his nose.

This happy staff member got to take Q to her farm where he will reside for his retirement. She'll trail ride with him, and he has a pasture mate to enjoy hanging out with. We also offered that if she's unable to care for him for any reason, he is welcome to return to our farm. Have a nice life, Q! Your retirement is well-earned.

I've not written a post for this blog for some time as I was visited by whatever bug was making the rounds this month. Just getting my spark back now. But there was certainly a bright spot while I was feeling badly- this wonderful fiber valentine arrived from friend Robbie of Robbie's Paw Prints blog. She makes a number of these every year and surprises friends with her happy mail! You can read about how she made these delightful pieces here.

Even though I was a bit lackluster, and didn't go near the sewing machine for a couple of weeks, I did manage to make this little art journal. It's the first of 16 lessons in Tiare Smith's One BADASS Art Journal 2017 online workshop. Book artist Kiala Givehand was the instructor, and she's an excellent teacher with lots of ideas. I used a Gelli printed piece of canvas for the cover on this journal, but have another cover underway as well. You know I'm a big fan of online classes, and this one is no exception. More to come!

 And once I was feeling up to par, we took a day trip to St. Augustine. It was a lovely day to stroll around the historic downtown, and there are pretty courtyards and restaurants tucked in and among the historic buildings. This restaurant just looked so appealing with its painted chairs and greenery. Couldn't you just walk right in?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Isn't She Lovely?

Sort of? She started life as one of four designs on a fabric panel by Alexander Henry Fabrics called "The Ghastlies." You can see her friends below. They just made me chuckle and reminded me a bit of the Addams Family. Do you remember them? "They're creepy and they're kooky; mysterious and spooky; They're all together ooky, The Addams Family." That was their theme song. I dressed her up a bit by using fabric markers, colored pencils, glitter glue, silk flowers, glitzy trims and beads. Then she was stitched and stuffed with fiber-fill up top and white rice on the bottom to allow her to stand upright without toppling over. She's a tall, willowy beauty. She was such a fun project, that our Fiber Art Bee is going to do a challenge based on the Ghastlies. Members will each get one of the characters and then use it in an embellished project- a doll, pillow, wallhanging- whatever they want. It should be fun to see what creative ideas flow and to see them all together! But I think this girl needs a name now that she is done. Any suggestions?

Here's what the panel looks like. And now that she's had her makeover, you can get a glimpse of the "before" photo.

Here are the other two figures included in one panel- a pouty, angry woman, and a family with questionable parenting skills. They just make me laugh. This is not a new fabric line, but one released in about 2011 or so. There are some other coordinating prints that go with.

I thought I'd also show you this. I have a number of mixed media projects that hang. So many that I was running out of door knobs to hang them on. So I spotted some small, clear Command hooks in the office supply aisle. It occurred to me that they would work way better than cup hooks or anything more permanent to suspend the pieces from  the ceiling. These now occupy one happy corner of the sewing room- a small forest of birds, hearts, and snippet rolls. I'm sure I'll add more.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pockets Full of Memories...

It hasn't escaped my notice that many blogs and websites are full of storage tips and ideas at this time of year. I'm especially sensitive to the topic when I look around my sewing and craft room and notice the myriad little things I can't bear to part with. They do pile up, but there is no doubt in my mind that they are staying right here. So here's my solution to round them up and give them a safe place to be- residing together in Pocket Memory Journals! I've made two so far, and I'm pretty sure I'll need at least one more. The journals are fun to make and they, too, use up small bits of pieces of fabric, trim, charms, and more. The journal cover at the left, above, has an artist trading card sent to me from Robbie at Robbie's Paw Prints blog. The journal is made from decorator fabric. The one on the right is denim and lace.

These are the pretty bits I'm talking about. There are small pieces of art, pretty hang-tags, artist trading cards, colorful promotional materials. Just looking at them is inspiring to me.

There are projects made in online classes while trying new-to-me methods and materials. All of the flowers above were made as part of Joanne Sharpe's Bloomin' Doodles class in 2016.

My journals are four-fold fabric ones made with wide spines to accommodate all of the loose pages and photos that get stored in the pockets. I inserted narrow strips of watercolor paper in the spines to give some body to the journal.

Anything goes while sewing the journals, and they nearly invented themselves once I got creating. They'll hold a lot of items since they have seven roomy pockets- four inside, and three outside. Only the cover is without one.

It's challenging to get a photo of the entire journal unfolded, so this will have to do to give you the idea of how it opens out from the center. I'm toying with the idea of adding some bound in pages to the spine as perhaps an index of the pocket contents. I'm so happy with these journals and especially with having a safe place to store these small items together. Looking through one of the journals is like looking through a family photo album. It's satisfying and prompts such happy memories.

Wishing a happy and healthy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

A festive time to attend a tea with others who made Art Warrior Dolls. Making them has become quite a phenomena! I think you have not yet met Noelle, far right, posing with her pals Prima Donna and Charlene who have already appeared on this blog. All three were invited to an event dubbed an Un-Tea held at the lovely home of our instructor Celeste Beck of Goatfeathers Studio.

Every inch of her home was decorated for the holidays and for this event. We were treated to snacks, beverages, and a luncheon of soup, salad and decadent desserts.

Celeste made this nostalgic Santa using her father's flannel shirts. Santa's pack contains things found in her Dad's pockets like a hardware store receipt and pocket knife.

This nearly full-size angel greeted us in the entry. She's made from Celeste's wedding dress.

The angel stands next to the pink "bird" tree.

 Every place setting had a favor, made by Celeste and her equally creative sister Merri. The fiber creations are called "winged guardians."

And each chair had a vintage hat which we were encouraged to don. Mine had a dark rose that matched the one on Noelle's headband. Wearing her lace hose, she's a bit more dressed up than I am.

My setting is shown above, and Miss Sparkles is below, awaiting her soup.

Celeste has many interests and also raises chickens, so that's another theme that decorates her home.

Our gracious hostess starts the party wearing her art apron from a recent Fiber Art Bee challenge.

We were a good-size group- the classes have been wildly popular.

It was a challenge to get a group photo, but someone managed. You can get a good idea of the variety of hats provided. The food was delicious, and the holiday party was a one-of-a-kind fun time!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Making Merry....

It's an apron. Thought I better say it right off, because you might wonder what you're looking at. Our Christmas party at the Fiber Art Bee featured the usual fun along with a challenge and a swap. The challenge was to make an art apron for a runway show at the December meeting. This is my entry. I took a number of pieces of fabric that I'd painted, stamped, dyed, gelli printed, and otherwise embellished and combined them in one project. I used a Vanilla House pattern and included a side pocket. Fun and useful, too!

Nearly 20 members made their versions of aprons for the challenge employing painting, Angelina fiber, stenciling, and many more techniques.

Our Art Warrior Doll instructors, sisters Merri and Celeste, both added an Art Warrior doll to their aprons and embellished them to a fare-thee-well. Isn't that a great term?

A big piece of tie-dyed fabric and a hand-painted apple make this a colorful entry.

Kandace added a little of everything to her apron, from rust dyeing to doodling and stenciling. She stamped the words "I love this..." and "I love this, too..." all over the apron.

And Gretchen had a similar idea, incorporating bits from her many art quilt projects in her entry. The words say "Fiber art is my passion."

Then came the swap. All who participated made 5 pieces of fabrics that measure about 1/4 yard using a technique of their choice. Mine was ice-dyed and you can see it in the background of this photo and the first one above, behind the apron. In return I received, from the top, a bold cotton print with a glitzy sheer fused on top with Misty Fuse, a sponge-painted cotton using textile paints, and a stamped and foiled botanical print.

Of course we all wanted one of every fabric, but it was a random draw. I was especially pleased to get this discharge-dyed one. Sherry explained that she used a large stencil (like the ones used for walls), taped it to black cotton with painter's tape, and brushed on Soft Scrub white cleaning cream with a toothbrush. She allowed it to remove the black dye and then washed it in a de-chlorinator solution (she used a product from the pet store for fish tanks). The interesting part is that she used three different black fabrics, and this one discharged to orange while the others were more of a khaki/rust color.

And this lovely piece is Laura's discharge printed one. She was not happy with the clarity of the image she used, so she hand painted it to accent the design further with acrylic paints. It was fascinating to learn a bit about how each member made her pieces. This was a great start to the holidays! And we had a terrific pot-luck lunch, too.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Meanwhile, Back in the Sewing Room....

I've been out and about lately, but have still had some projects brewing in the sewing room. This little Zoo Pals quilt is one on them. I've had the center panel with the critters on it for some time. Then my nephew and his wife had their first child- a little girl named Hailey. So this little quilt got built around the panel, using Drunkard Path blocks. I hand quilted the center with Big Stitch in red perle cotton, and machine quilted the borders. Plus I found a panel for a soft book to sew together. They're colorful and indestructible. Both are headed for Canada just after the holidays. 

Next is our Fiber Art Bee project for Christmas. We will have a fabric exchange of cotton fabrics we have dyed or altered in various ways. I decided to try ice dyeing when I found a Tie Dye kit on sale for a couple of dollars. All the dye powder was there, so I just needed fabric and a bag of ice. I used an old plastic dishpan and garbage bag. The fabric is at the bottom, ice on top, dye powder sprinkled on top. There's a drip pan with holes in there, too, to allow the melting ice water to pass through and create interesting pattern- I hope. I covered it over with the bag and allowed it to sit in the sun till the ice melted. I'll show how these came out in a later post. Fingers crossed! 

My daughter and I took an overnight trip to Disney World for the annual Epcot Food and Wine Festival. We had a wonderful time, and also visited Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney)

There are a lot of new stores, including this one- Uniqlo. The window was very inviting with the beautiful kimono on display.

This photo has some glare, but you can see how beautiful the kimono is. They sell all manner of Japanese fans, umbrellas, kimono, and gift items. Plus I found several tee-shirts at very reasonable prices. It's two floors of clothing for men, women, and children. Worth a visit.

I've got some art projects to show in an upcoming post as well. So lots happening here. Creative play makes me so happy!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Let's Face It...

 Making these dolls has become one happy pastime! This is my latest creation. Meet Prima Donna. She's made in the same way as Charlene, shown in a previous post, but this time the dolls have painted faces. Our same instructor, Celeste Beck, taught a class on using acrylic paints rather than fabrics to make features on the Art Warrior Dolls.

This is Celeste's sample doll she named Precious. She helped us with drawing and shading whimsical features on the duck cloth face before sewing it onto the doll's body.

Lots of imagination was in play as class members came up with their own versions of fancy painted faces.

This one was going to be a "witchy" face.

Just another pretty face!

This one was planned to be a "moon" face doll.

The doll that began the Art Warrior dolls is the primitive version on the right which was given to Celeste as a gift. She refined the design and began using her vast treasure trove of fabrics and embellishments to sew several of these dolls. And she visits the Dollar Store to find seasonal items she can use for the dolls like the Halloween hat for the doll on the left.

 Slenderella and Miss Frankenstein are two other examples of how creativity runs rampant when making the dolls. It's really great sewing fun!

Prima Donna now resides on a quilt ladder with her friends. I'm sure more dolls will join her in the future. I'm gathering materials for a Christmas one. But for now, she's at the center of things- and being a Prima Donna, that's just how she likes it!