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!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Way Down Upon the Suwanee River...

This is one of the beautiful and traditionally Southern buildings at The Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, Florida. It's located along the banks of the Suwanee River and is a perfect setting for a quilt show. That's where we went for one on a beautiful Saturday in October. Stephen Foster is known as "the father of American music", having written more than 200 songs. Some well-known ones include Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair, Camptown Races, My Old Kentucky Home, and Oh! Susannah. He also wrote Old Folks at Home which is alternatively known as Way Down Upon the Swanee River. He took some poetic license with the spelling, perhaps to make it fit better in the lyrics. And, surprisingly, Stephen Foster, a Pennsylvania native, never saw the Suwanee River. It just fit nicely in the song!

Some vintage utility quilts on a fence marked the building where the vendors were located.

And two smaller buildings flanking the main house also housed displays.

In addition to lovely quilts, the park museum has some miniature, moving dioramas depicting various Foster songs, like Camptown Races. Camptown is a community in Pennsylvania. I made this photo large, hoping the line of race horses on the track can be seen.

Oh, look! The Art Warrior Dolls showed up and were on display. These were made by members of a class taught by Celeste Beck. I showed my doll in the previous post.

We usually take our bikes and ride around the grounds of the park after attending the show. This 97-bell Carillon Tower is a beautiful structure that tolls out Stephen Foster songs hourly.

I was probably thinking of the Carillon Tower when I made this cityscape for my art journal. It's one of the lessons in Robin Mead's online class Crazy Colorful Cityscapes. I enjoy learning with online classes, and am discovering lots of new interests. All of which require their own set of supplies. That makes for storage and space issues in the sewing room! But it's all worthwhile. I spend so much happy time in the sewing room.

And here is a "coming attraction." After completing the sewn Art Warrior doll class, instructor Celeste also offered a class in how to make painted faces for the dolls. This is the start of my next doll creation. More to come! Please come back to see.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Let's Hear if for the Art Dolls...

Meet Charlene. Isn't she lovely? Sort of? This was my project in a class taught by Celeste Beck and her sister Merri McKenzie of Goatfeathers Studio on Art Warrior Dolls. It was fun and funky sewing, made even more enjoyable by the fact that students did not need to bring anything to class.

Celeste and Merri had stations and sewing machines set up all around the shop where we could help ourselves to fabrics, ribbons, trims, and embellishments. They made it so easy.

You can see some the assortment of colorful treasures in these photos. I was taken with the shiny cat, among other things. It's on Charlene's backside.

The doll features were cut freeform and fused, then stitched in place on natural canvas fabric. Yarn was sewing to the ribbon headband before sewing the entire piece to the doll to close up the top.

Here are some doll parts for a classmate's Miss Cutie Patootie doll.

We stitched and stuffed legs and arms, leaving the seams on the outside, so there was no picky turning of long narrow tubes of fabric.

Another doll taking shape. Just love those glitzy arms and legs!

I'm often the "slow girl" in class, so rarely finish my projects and have to complete them at home. But I was impressed that this classmate completed her Princess Smarty Pants by the end of our session. These colorfully creative art dolls are definitely in the category of "bet you can't make just one." I've got a stack of fabric for arms and legs cut and ready to sew already. Be watching for Charlene's relatives coming soon!

And I just wanted to share this lovely sunrise photo I took near our farm a few days ago. The morning mist on  the paddocks and the beautiful glow was breathtaking. Things are cooling down just a touch in our part of Florida now.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Let's Hear it for the Girls...

When I'm not sewing, I'm exploring new-to-me techniques in mixed media and art journaling. One subject that shows up repeatedly is "girl art". Sketching, drawing, painting whimsical girls seems to have appeal for many- myself included. I didn't know I wanted to draw girls, or even that I might be able to do so. However, online classes taught by established artists really help to nail down some basics and explore different styles. The young girl above is an "inner child" project taught by Tamara LaPorte in her Lifebook series. So that's me- the little Catholic girl wearing a cat hat and reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Such a light-hearted approach to drawing made it less intimidating, and of course the mixed media background was fun to make as well. Enrolling in Lifebook launched me on a path to find other mixed media classes and led to a "sampler" of girl art I'll share here!

This fashionista was made with sketching and paper collage in a Creative Workshops class taught by Cathy Bluteau. The class is titled "Draw, Collage, Paint." Of course I have much to learn about all three topoics, but really enjoy giving all this a try. 

YouTube is also a good source of tutorials on mixed media. Australian mixed media artist Toni Burt has a style with a vintage feel that I just love, and she offers a number of instructional videos on her channel.

In Art Journal Summer School 2016, a series of classes presented by several instructors, Lesley Wood taught how to make this whimsical big-eyed girl and introduced the messy fun of using charcoal. This girl looks like she's up to something- I bet that flower squirts water in your face when you smell it!

 Also in Creative Workshops, I signed up for artist Martha Lever's class "Drawing the Girls." She breaks it down to help students master various features before combining them in drawings. The graph paper helps to maintain proportion.

Meanwhile, I've also been working on a project that's been floating around in my mind for a time. The plan is to make a vintage-style fabric book that includes old photos of women and girls. Some hand work, some by machine- it's a relaxing project that is inching along. It has one page so far.

Violette Clark was also an instructor for Lifebook 2015. This is her imaginative project.

And beyond the girls, we also did projects like this one combining background techniques like watercolor, stamping, and collage. My high school art teacher of years gone by would be very surprised at the interest I've shown in the subject. He was not impressed with my efforts back in the day! But I'm learning.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Well, Hello Again!

This gracious mermaid welcomed us to a jewelry and gift shop on our recent trip to Kennebunkport, Maine. She's quite detailed and she sails above the counters of merchandise at The Best of Everything. She's larger-than-life size and really caught my eye while shopping there. I thought she'd make the perfect hostess to welcome you to this post!

However, before I share some photos from our trip, I've got a few from a class I took before we left in early August. Being quite taken with fabric flower embellishments of all kinds, I enrolled in a class on making several varieties of them to add to my repertoire. The class was taught by Celeste Beck of Goatfeathers Studio. This shabby chic rolled denim rose is added to a gathered muslin and lace base. This one might be my favorite.

Here's another rolled fabric rose, top left, shown with several smaller roses made using a different technique. The dark print didn't allow the rose petal shapes to be as distinct as I'd like, so I'd choose another fabric strip to make it from another time. I'll share a few more flowers from the class in another post.

 Here's a double-layer flower. This one was offered in a tutorial by Judy Hansen from Quilt Shop of DeLand. While it's not sewn on, the center paper button is one I made using a tutorial from Jenniebellie on her YouTube channel.

A yo-yo topped with a button made a great center for this ribbon rose. I didn't make it, but found it for less than $1 at The Container Store in Tampa. It was my first visit to the store and I was happy to get there as I'd been reading about how much people like the chain. It really has so many wonderful storage items we could have spent much longer there. However, since we were traveling to Maine the next day, I limited my purchases to this flower and an egg timer! I'm pretty sure I can figure out how to make one like this though.

On to Maine! I never get tired of Maine. For one thing, arriving here from Florida, I noticed right away how refreshing it was to have the windows wide open to enjoy the ocean breezes. The air is so fresh with a cool tinge to it. Lovely.

And here's where old boats retire. Even they get a spot with a beautiful bay view and fresh air.

The entrance to a campground near where we stayed is marked by this "canned ham" vintage camper and surfer's wagon. We drove by it each day, and I had to take some pictures of it. I was asked about the make of the vehicle, and I'm not sure but think it might be an early '60s or late '50s Studebaker. Anyone have another guess?

Our daughter says this photo makes her feel immediately calm, peaceful and de-stressed. That's good because she began a new job and was not able to travel with us, so the picture will have to do. It's a view of lobster boats in Cape Porpoise.

 And here are more boats moored at Perkins Cove near Ogunquit. There is a mile-long path along the ocean to walk out here called The Marginal Way. We walk it a couple of times when we visit the area.

Of course we enjoyed the catch those lobster boats brought in. We purchase fresh, cooked lobster right at the dock and bring them back to our rental to eat. Somehow, lobster tastes the sweetest in Maine.

 We had a lovely rental at Goose Rocks Beach. Quiet and peaceful with a short walk to this beach. I can tell you this water is icy!! I never did get all the way in this year, though I have other times. It's not easy. Except of course for kids- they run right in full of joy and exuberance and hardly notice the water temperature. We enjoy watching the families on the beach. It's such a safe place for children to explore and run free. We took our children there many summers while they were growing up, and they enjoyed the beach time, too. This year our son Lee was able to join us for a couple of nights, so it was fun to walk The Marginal Way with him and share some good meals and memories together. We sure hope we can get back there next year!