Thursday, May 3, 2018

When Fashion Week Came to Town...

A runway show at an art museum- what could be more fun? Our local Appleton Museum of Art offered several fashion designers the opportunity to create a statement piece and a small collection of garments inspired by one of the art objects in the museum collection. Then, on a warm and pleasant evening, models walked the runway, showing off the work of the designers. This gown, from designer Leeann Kroetsch, is worthy of a one-of-a-kind wedding and was rich with stuffed work and embellishment. 

This headpiece stayed firmly in place, despite a slight breeze blowing, so my hat is off to the model (no pun intended). The Stefania Costanzo gown had an over-skirt of gold strapping and a wide hand-painted flounce. You can see lots more photos by professional photographer Demilio at here at his site.

Julia Chew, the designer, wore her own inspiration garment beautifully. A carved Chinese jade pagoda was the inspiration piece.

All of the fashions were seen in the museum courtyard, and the runway itself went around the circular fountain. It all made for a splendid event.

Fiesta! The vibrant color against black made Hermione Elma's dress an eye-catcher. And it was covered with embellishments, bling, and trinkets which I found appealing. A quote I recently found says "the thing with bling is that the more you have, the more you want." Ain't it the truth?!

Perky, flirty, and colorful, this dress had floral overlays on the bodice and a full skirt of layered circles.

The back interest on this piece was stunning- gold, intricate lacing, and yards upon yards of tulle. I should write runway commentary, right? Seasons of Project Runway have caused me to see details I'd likely miss otherwise.

The fashion show was held in conjunction with this exhibit, which was very well done. No photos allowed as these are items not owned by the museum. As we wandered through the exhibit, the models and designers were standing next to each inspiration piece so show-goers could chat with them. And speaking of Project Runway, Fabio Costa of the recent Runway All-Stars season was scheduled to speak on Sunday about fashion inspiration. However, his flight arrangements from Brazil could not be completed at the last minute, so we missed hearing from him.

But wait, there's more! Jan at Laughing Dog Arts blog surprised me by sending this lacy and layered minibobber just for being a loyal follower of her blog. She posted about these recently, and you can see more here. At first I thought to put it on a journal cover, but now think it will get a pin back and become a wearable. It can go right on my own "accessory wall" (a Project Runway term). The piece began on a base of denim and then went in lots of directions, including some hand embroidered details, buttons, and fabulous frays. Many thanks to Jan. Notice the photo background also- that's the hand-print envelope the gift traveled here in. Lovely, lovely- all of it!

Joining in my recent festivities was none other than Elvis in a 1963 Bonneville! Yes, there has been an Elvis sighting at a local car show and I was able to snap a pic.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

It's a Jungle Out There...

That's what Iggy thinks, anyway. And after the start he had to his week, it's a reasonable opinion. On Monday, he ran into the street during the busy morning traffic. Our daughter was able to safely avoid him and pull over to effect a rescue. That was after she got elbow deep into the wheel well of her car where he ran to safety. She drove him the few blocks back to her home and secured him in an area with food and necessities; and away from her 3 cats who were not happy to see him. So she ran late for work that day, but Iggy lived to tell the story. Talk about drama!

She kept him overnight and loved him, but knew 4 cats are too many for her to care for and work, too! She asked if we would take him to the Humane Society for surrender while she was at work, and we agreed. But when we saw him, we just could not. So he came home to see how things might work with our other animals.

We named him Mimi at first, but a vet visit confirmed that we were wrong. So Iggy it is. He has all the other pets pretty well intimidated. Just one tiny hiss, and they give him quite a wide berth. Here is a meet up with Abby, who actually moved her pet bed closer to my husband just to get away from him- yet he followed her. If you look closely, you can see that frightening hiss is being delivered and Abby is frozen in place.

Of course Iggy provides constant laughs and many photo ops. Just so cute! It will be the peaceable kingdom here in time, I'm sure.

Our front garden area must feel like a jungle to Iggy- the vet estimated his age at 7 weeks and he weighed in at all of 1 1/2 pounds. By the way, when he was rescued, there was nobody around the area, and our daughter drove the neighborhood that evening to see is there was a mom-cat or any signs up for a lost kitten. He does eat food, so is likely newly weaned.

He's a tidy boy, and after a little romp out in the jungle- er, garden- he came in to get cleaned up.

Iggy seems pretty happy here. He even has his own porch fountain which is endlessly fascinating. Wait until the water is in it!

Currently our farm population is three horses, two cats, two dogs. Only one horse was born on the farm, a Quarter Horse my husband used to show and now rides each day (when both are sound). The other two, I call Patch and Brownie, are also rescues. My husband is boarding them to provide them with more favorable conditions than they were in. Both dogs and both cats are strays or rescues. We didn't plan to run a rescue ranch when we moved here, but we have a heart for animals and sometimes things just work out that way!

After a guy has spent the day exploring and tearing around the place, he just needs a nap and can hardly keep his eyes open. He did a little face-plant into the sofa, and it was lights out. Zzzzz......  Iggy is a ton of fun and a great little guy. He gets to stay.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

You Can Always Go... Downtown..

Things'll be great when you're downtown... everything's waiting for you. Remember that Petula Clark song? Well, we took her advice this week and things were great downtown in Ocala, Florida. The purpose of the visit was to see the wonderful exhibit of hand-dyed tapestries and quilts created by Kay Koeper Sorensen of Quilts + Color. Kay's exhibit, Florida Ice, is on display until April 26, at the City Hall. Should you happen to be able to visit, you can get further details at Kay's blog

Every piece just glows from within! Quite mesmerizing.

And Kay points out that each one is a treat for her to discover as her process goes along.

You can't pick a favorite because every one is so beautiful. And this is just a sampling.

Kay has included a bio, an artist statement, and a very interesting explanation of her process. I thought it would be particularly helpful to those visitors who may be unfamiliar with ice dyeing and wondering how she makes these beautiful pieces.

"Maybe you know some little places to go... downtown." We do! One of them is Harry's on the Square. New Orleans style with excellent food make it a popular restaurant. Mardi Gras all the time.

It's complete with interesting wall art.

Delicious food- I had the crab cakes. Yummy.

And more art on the historic brick walls. The building itself is old and nicely preserved, so the ambience is very appealing.

Ocala has a quaint downtown with attractive shops fronting on the historic square. Isn't this inviting?

The center of the square has this bandstand where music events, art walks, and  other gatherings are held.

And there are a couple of Horse Fever horses painted or finished creatively by local artists on display. Ocala is in the heart of Horse Country, rivaling Kentucky for the number of thoroughbred horses along with many other breeds such as Gypsy Vanners, Paso Finos, Quarter Horses, mini horses, and more. There's more to Florida than theme parks, and Ocala is in the center of a beautiful rural area.

The Olive Oil Market on the square not only offers tastings of oils and balsamic vinegar, but also has this striking display of salt lamps. They have such a warm glow and offer some health benefits, too. We brought one home.

So, maybe I'll see you there... we can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares, and go downtown!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Can You Judge a Book By Its Cover?

What's more fun than making your own good book? And every bit of it is recycled or upcycled! This handmade journal began with a bit of denim, an image from decorator fabric sample, and vintage linens. And I added a few experimental things like the fiber bead at the bottom of the roses and the wrapped and beaded cord couched along the spine.

There's so much texture happening on the cover, that it needed to continue on the pages inside. That's where a video by Kristen Robinson came in. You can see a preview clip of it here. Kristen showed how to use the vellum liners from cereal and cracker packages to make wonderfully crinkly and transparent pages for a journal! What fun this was to make.

Things are embedded in the pages by pressing them between two layers, using a non-stick pressing sheet to protect the iron. Then some stitching and paint are added before binding the pages into the book.

Even interesting little thread nests can be included. You can see the brown and white twine I chose to bind the book in this center spread.

The doily just begged to be included and I like how it looks when seeing through various layers.

Ledger paper and sheet music along with the hearts give this book a vintage feel. And the painted areas can be used for journaling. I haven't tried writing on the pages yet (for some reason I tend not to write in my journals), but Kristen says that permanent markers like a Sharpie or paint pens will work well. I wish you could hear the sound when picking up the book or turning the pages- it's so crackly and inviting!

The back of the book needs texture, too, so here is another decorator fabric sample with some embroidery on it. The lace wrap is a vintage piece of crochet that will be used as a closure. It's not stitched in place yet, and will need a button attached at the front for easy opening and closing.

Well as you can see, cracker packaging now occupies some space in my sewing room. No wonder it gets so full of a strange assortment of supplies!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Meditative Mandalas...

My, but these geometric circle diagrams are so soothing to work on. And I can't seem to stop. I'm enrolled in an online course titled Mandala Madness taught by Barb Owen at How to Get Creative. There are more than ten video projects that Barb walks us through. I'm enjoying them all, but the Zendala shown here may be my favorite. It's a combination of Zentangle-inspired art and the Mandala. I gave several of my black pens, a pencil and blending stump a workout completing it.

Barb does everything mixed media, fiber art, sewing and more. So of course I want to make everything she does. One of our lessons was making Mandalas on fabric using Sharpie markers and metallic paint. I used one of the pieces in a journal cover.  The results are completely unpredictable which adds to the fun. As you can see in the fabric underneath the journal, some of the markers did not bleed, but retained the freely drawn shape.

I added free-motion quilting to the piece used in the journal.

This began with plain white muslin and is ready to become something else now.

We also learned to draw Mandalas on paper, then color them in with inexpensive markers. Each one follows a pattern. This is the basic 8-section Mandala.

A 6-section one. I'm a big fan of adult coloring books, so to have my own drawings to color adds yet another element to the enjoyment. And it is meditative. Mindless or mindful, whichever you prefer to call it.

 And a 12-section one. I will probably go back to each one to add more penwork and embellishments. Plus there are several lessons I have yet to complete.

Some time ago, I also took a Mandala Magic class with Alisa Burke. This pink one was one of my first efforts. And the card is a representation of her artwork that was sent along with an order. I've placed the paper Mandalas in a Dylusions square journal with black cardstock pages. They stand out so nicely against the black background.

There are lots of pages in the journal, so I'm also using it to display artwork from others I've received in the mail or in swaps. This Betty Boop card is one that Robbie Payne of Robbie's Paw Prints blog made from a quilt image and sent for Valentine's Day. Isn't Betty just full of personality?

And these are some ATC's from a swap I joined several years ago. The journal keeps them all corralled and it's fun to leaf through. All the wonderful color keeps me inspired.