Sunday, August 31, 2014

Swapping by Mail…


I just took part in a fun prayer flag swap that began right here in Blog-land. Jan of Laughing Dog Arts commented on this blog that it seemed as if we both liked many of the same things- a variety of sewing and craft projects, bits and pieces of assorted materials, animals… just lots of things in common. She noted it might be fun to do a swap sometime. We decided to go ahead and trade a prayer flag shipped in a mail art envelope. My prayer flag for Jan started with some hand-dyed and stamped fabric given to me, to which I added lettering, paint, embroidery, vintage trims, and a rolled fabric flower. The white header and casing is a vintage dress front. So much of this flag is created from “found” items. Funny thing about prayer flags… I notice that while I’m assembling the bits and pieces for the project at hand, there are two or three small piles of other bits that just seem to go together. So the next prayer flags are inventing themselves as I work. This tells me that this is an endless project and that I’ll return to it again and again.


You can tell from her blog title that Jan is a dog lover. When I saw this appealing image of a dog in a magazine, I clipped it out and decided to alter it for her envelope with overlays of paint, painted papers, and stitching. There always seem to be some images in advertisements or brochures that need to be saved and used somehow. This was one of those.


The address side of the envelope is just some Washi tape, and recycled paper bits. I figuratively hold my breath a little when sending these, but the mail does go through! And as it turned out, Jan’s birthday was right around the time she received her prayer flag, so it was like a birthday gift. Further coincidence is that my birthday is also in August, so her flag for me was like a gift as well.


So here is the prayer flag Jan sent. We had a chuckle when we noticed that both of us topped our flags with vintage linen and lace. I love the painted and stamped piece she used as the top layer. It has lots of metallic paint lines and squiggles. The photo below is the back of the flag base with stamped images of coyotes and crows.


Jan even pinned some hand-made fabric beads on the header. So pretty!


Speaking of pretty, here’s the file folder she altered with paint, stamps, and stencils, and then stitched closed. I opened it on one side very carefully so as not to rip any of the mailer. I plan to use it, possibly for a journal cover. There’s so much to look at, and it’s so creative. I love the items Jan sent, and I think we both are very happy we decided to swap our work!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Humble Cereal Box Transformed …


One thing that appeals about mixed-media paper projects is the use of odd bits and pieces. After all, I’ve been saving those for years! The supplies are trying to overflow the storage space, so it’s time to put them to work. Things like little silk flowers, buttons, ribbons- you name it. I thought it was going to be used in quilts somehow, but nope. It's for journals, cards, and projects like this. These heart ornaments started with an empty cereal box for the base and just grew from there, layer upon layer. I saw the idea in “Altered! Art Projects” by Tweety Jill Publications. And how about that funky flower adornment? That came from viewing a tutorial by Jenniebellie. She’s a delightful, arty instructor and has an entire YouTube channel of fun things to make. And if there’s one thing I love, it’s making stuff!


This heart combines text paper, painted paper flowers, yarn, ribbon, beads and more. It may not be done yet- there’s still room on that surface. Knowing when to stop is not my strong suit, so this may still get a few touches.


This heart still needs some “messaging” in the form of cut out words of encouragement added to the surface. The flower in this one is made from two pieces of vintage lace trim that I spritzed with color. I’m asking myself where the creative urge to make all this has been hiding for so long. I decided it’s actually been there all along. However  years back, when managing a household with children growing up and teaching full time, I decided I needed to choose one hobby and focus on that in order to keep things a little bit more orderly. So I gave up cross-stitching, macrame, garment sewing, knitting, etc. and focused on quilting, my very favorite. Now that I have a dedicated creative space, the genie is back out of the bottle and I’m off pursuing every project that catches my eye. And a lot catches my eye! What fun.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back in the Sewing Room…


Before we left for Maine, I’d made some mail art for a quilting friend in Pennsylvania. This is the back of the catalog-size envelope covered with paint, stamps, lettering, paper cut outs, and even a selvage. Working with paper this way is really satisfying. Guess I didn’t get enough of finger painting as a kid- my favorite art activity. Just got it filled and mailed out this week.


This is the envelope front, and I’ve covered my friend’s address with another post card. But I had to crop the photo a bit as, oops, I forgot to cover my own address. She was happy to receive the mail, partly for the envelope and partly because it included some pretty pieces of washi tape for her to use in her art journals.


While we had a wonderful week with family in Maine, it’s always good to get back to my sewing room. I could hardly drag myself out of it this week to get the laundry caught up. One project I made was this cute apron made from a tea towel. A guild member showed hers at a recent meeting, and I didn’t catch the pattern source. But when I searched for a tutorial, up popped The Missouri Star Quilt Company and their instructional video (link for Part 1 of 2) and pattern print-out. It’s so quick and easy. The company sells a nice variety of the tea towels very reasonably, so I’ve ordered several more to make aprons for our quilt show boutique. I’ve also been sorting and reorganizing my supplies. I felt re-energized from our trip to dive into that project (an ongoing one!).

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Here are a few photos from our trip to Maine- this is a stained glass window at the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunkport. I love the contemporary style. The grounds there are very beautiful, and below is statuary of St. Francis amidst some animals, flowers and a fountain.

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This art work is also on the grounds, and the sign notes that it was an exhibit from the 1965 World’s Fair in New York, now permanently housed here.

iPhone 166 We ate well in Maine- the freshest, sweetest lobster dinners.
iPhone 186 The wood-fired pizza.

iPhone 205 The delicious chicken salad atop a salad at David's KPT. All so yummy.

iPhone 192   Plus we found a new favorite lobster pound in Cape Porpoise. They catch ‘em and cook ‘em. We eat ‘em. A perfect arrangement in my book.

iPhone 194 Loved this sign at a gallery shop in Kennebunkport. Earth without art? Eh!

iPhone 200  And this sign on the Marginal Way, a beautiful ocean-side walking path in Ogunquit. I had shown some photos of the cairn rock piles someone had been making there on a blog post a year or so ago. But the township evidently now has a policy of no cairn building. “Leave no trace”- I see their point. I liked the rock piles, but they were man-made in an otherwise wild and scenic area.

iPhone 201  This is Perkins Cove- a little fishing and boating inlet at the end of the Marginal Way walk. Lots of nice little shops and restaurants. Overall the weather was lovely. We had a couple of rain showers, but they never got in the way of our plans.

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Our daughter Joanna took this panoramic view of Nubble Lighthouse in York Beach. It gives a good sense of the sweep of rock and ocean surrounding the island.

Hope you enjoyed this little travelogue!