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!

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.