Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Postcards from Summer...

After making the fabric postcards shown in a previous post, I next tried my hand at making altered photograph postcards. These three resulted from the effort. Some will be part of Lenna's Creative Swaps in which each participant is making three mixed-media postcards to trade. The theme is "A Summer's Day", and we'll complete the sentence "Summer is..." on each card. "Sunlit" is the title of the card shown above. It's of boats anchored in Perkins Cove.

Our trip to Maine in early August was a beautiful time, and in such a beautiful place. So I chose the photos of the Perkins Cove and Kennebunkport areas to feature in the postcards. For each one, I placed an oval mask on part of the photo and then coated the rest of the picture with gesso. These were glossy photos, so the gesso made the surface able to receive paint and inks. On top of that, I colored with watercolor crayons, followed by water to activate and blend the colors. Some stamping, stitching, and added text followed.

Then I layered the photo side with cardstock or scrapbook paper backing, and a middle of lightweight cardboard. Lastly, I stitched the edges by machine, couching yarn on the edge of "Rainbow Beach".

This was a stretch for me, using materials that are somewhat new. But it was fun to do, and I like how each photo is enhanced by the added design elements. All they need is the tried-and-true postacard sentiment... Wish You Were Here!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer is Golden...

There is something about the light in the summertime. It is golden. So that's my theme for a mixed-media postcard swap I'm taking part in at Lenna's Creative Swaps. Participants will each make three postcards representing a summer day. I think "beach" when I think of summer, and I love the vintage images in "The Boardwalk Collection" of Graphic 45 papers. That pensive pair in the card above... what are they thinking about? And the beach beauty below... she's certainly on everyone's radar in her flirty bathing costume. It took awhile to let the ideas percolate, but our postcards are not due until mid-September, so I have time.

To make these 4" x 6" postcards, I chose a fabric with a summery feel from my collection and backed it with fusible batting. Next I stenciled the diver and the starfish using a freezer paper pattern ironed onto the fabric and filled in with gold Lumiere paint. The outlines of each stenciled image are contrasted with black stitching, one by machine, and one by hand using embroidery floss. Ink stamping was added to each, and more embroidery stitches accent some of the elements. The vintage images were added using a double-stick adhesive.

The backs of the cards are printed on cardstock. And there's a layer of Peltex, a stiff interfacing, between front and back. Finally, I stitched the edges to secure the layers, using couched yarn on the design side.

All in all, a fun project. But I still need to think up one more design for the swap. hmmm.... what to make?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Handmade gifts...

Back online! I didn't realize how much I use the computer until I didn't have it for a few days. But things are fixed up now. There was a sign on the computer store wall that said, "To err is human... to really foul things up requires a computer." That says it all in my book.

Wish I could say I made this handmade Mama Kitty and her kitten, but I actually found it in a craft shop while we were in Maine. Thought she was just adorable and loved her style. We decided to give her to our daughter Joanna. Joanna's old yellow cat died last spring, and her co-workers found a sweet stray which they encouraged her to adopt. She did so, naming her new pet Jasper. A few short weeks later, Jasper gave birth to five kittens! As my husband Jack sometimes points out, "No good deed goes unpunished." Happily she's found homes for four of the kittens, she'll keep one, Jasper is getting a new name, and both cats will be neutered soon.

Here's a beautiful handmade bag that just arrived from my quilting friend Joanne. It's perfect... size, color, roominess, fabric, everything. The strap is just the right width and length. It may be the most comfortable one I've had, and it will be a go-to bag.

And after donating a pile of fabric at the quilt guild recently, quilting friend Penny made this thank-you gift. This little sofa is a tissue box cover. Cute! I didn't even remember having this fabric. But it's back home now in a dandy new form!

Quilters are such generous people! I'm feeling very grateful.

And while I was taking these photos, I decided to allow this stuffed bunny to recline on the sofa. I've had it for years, and just never seem ready to part with it. I showed the bunny to my employer some years back. She commented, "No wonder you were drawn to this bunny. If you were a rabbit, this would be you." I wasn't sure how to take that thought, but since I like the bunny and her personality (her good looks aside), I took it that this would be me in the best possible way! What say you? It's good to be back.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blogging at the Speed of... Molasses.

We had a power outage the other day and when I turned the computer back on, it could harldy get out of its own way! Just terribly, awfully s--l--o--w. It's going to sick bay tomorrow. I have some things to share with you, but will have to wait until...?? I time out and lose things before getting things uploaded. Hopefully there will be a remedy very soon, and my fingers are crossed that this post will be uploaded successfully.

Meanwhile, thanks so very much to those who follow this blog and keep up with the various projects. I really appreciate it, and treasure your comments when you have time to make them. And thanks for you patience while problems get resolved. Enjoy the final weeks of summer, and I'll be back soon. Best from Nancy

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beauty as Well as Bread...

We spent most of last week visiting the Coast of Maine, staying at Goose Rocks Beach near Kennebunkport. What a refreshing time! The weather was perfect, the air so fresh, and the views spectacular. Two mornings we drove to Ogunquit to walk the mile-long Marginal Way. The view above is of Ogunquit River and the Atlantic taken from the foot path.

There are overlook benches and markers along the Marginal Way, and I was taken by the above placque with this quote from naturalist and preservationist John Muir. "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike." How true! And this is certainly one place that checks all the boxes on that list.

At the end of the Marginal Way is the small fishing and shopping area known as Perkins Cove. Here's the view from the footbridge that crosses the waterway. Passersby sometimes have to raise and lower the bridge for a boat to travel through. Jack was called on to render this service on our visit. He's done it in the past, too, and we like to entertain ourselves with fake newspaper headlines like "Tourist Causes Traffic Jam for Perkins Cove Boaters" or "Florida Man Falls from Footbridge While Operating Lift". We are easily amused.

Our rental cottage had a picnic table in the backyard which overlooked this marsh, part of the Wildlife Refuge. We saw lots of bird activity, and welcomed the peacefulness, while we also enjoyed our lobster dinners.

One of our favorite places to eat is the Cape Neddick Lobster Pound which serves the best lobster rolls on the open-air deck.

And every night we drove into Kennebunkport to stroll around, shop, have some ice cream, and admire the beautiful flowers and inviting courtyard gardens.

One evening some rain fell, but we were rewarded with a rainbow at the end of the brief shower. Of course we visited the local quilt shop, Knight's Quilt Shop in the Cape Neddick area. That's the day we also visited the iconic Nubble Lighthouse near York Beach. We returned to Florida a day earlier than originally planned, but we packed a lot in the time we had. Lovely, lovely! And good to be home.

Just before our trip I listened to the recorded book titled "Maine", currently on some bestseller lists. I enjoyed the narrator's New England accent, the storyline of family dynamics, plus the mentions of the many landmarks we've become familiar with over the years of vacationing in the area.