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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Facing the Year...

Our Fiber Art Bee had a painting party for our January meeting. The goal was to paint a face on canvas or other fabric and then use it in a project. We were all pretty intimidated since few of us felt confident about painting a face. But we persevered. Here's my whimsy face all painted and embellished with free-motion stitching. It was great fun and we all enjoyed stretching ourselves creatively in a new year.

I brought a stretched canvas to work on because I thought the taut surface might be easier to paint on that fabric that wants to wiggle around. Also, it had gesso on it already which made it helpful when painting. And canvases were on half-price sale to boot. Simple shapes- that was how we were instructed to begin. And we lightly sketched our faces with pencil first and then came in with paint.

She's progressing with her vintage-style rolled hairdo. My plan was to complete painting on the canvas, then cut it from the frame for the next step. 

Her next step is to become a notebook cover. Quite a few of my small projects become tote bags, notebooks and journals. I might as well make something useful with these experiments!

Painting faces is a messy business as you can see from our instructor's table. All of our work areas looked like this. She had several samples to share with us for inspiration and we will have our big "reveal" at next months meeting. I'm sure I can't make just one- more faces coming soon!

This is one of our instructor's samples. She incorporates her expressive faces into tote bags.


Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year, New Project...


"Use it up" is my motto for this year. I really need to dig into my fabrics and put them to work. That's what I decided to do over the New Year's weekend by making this quilt-as-you-go tote. While I have an abundance of totes, I'm still drawn to them and they are always useful. They seem to be good repositories for scraps, strips, and other smaller bits of fabrics, too. This is side one of The Alexandra Tote, and as you can see, it's not easy to get a good photo of a tote bag.

Here's side two of what is a pretty roomy bag. It was easy to stitch as well because it's a "sew by number" project. I purchased a pattern with a kit that included batting printed with placement lines and webbing for the strap handles. The strip sizes are the same as pre-cut rolls, so that could make the project even quicker. But my goal was to use what I had on hand, so I first cut strips from assorted fabrics.

Here's the pattern view which shows a few different versions. It's always nice to start the year with a quick, quilty finish, and I know I'll get plenty of use from this bag. Now to make more progress in reducing the fabrics and other supplies on hand! 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Santa Claus is Coming to Town...


This Old World Santa is waiting by the tree. He's new this year. Our Fiber Bee had a make-it workshop in July to make these dolls. I made this version in Buffalo Plaid.

And this one in Caribbean red and white print.

A few of the Santas gathered at our Christmas luncheon. One of the Santas is hiding a bottle inside- a clever and creative design change made by one of the members.

The new Santas join this one I made some years ago, all to add some holiday festivity to our home.

And here's a long, tall Santa. He stands about 20" high and is made from tin.

Do you believe?

This tiny acrylic Santa has a switch that allows him to light up and sparkle. Ho, ho, ho.

Our local museum had a wonderful display of a collection of Santas. So detailed.

This one gave me pause. Do you think it's Mrs. Santa, or a European costumed Santa Claus? I'm sure you've been very good this year. I appreciate your following and commenting on my blog throughout the year, and I plan to put in a good work with him on your behalf! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2022

'Tis the Season...


'Tis the season to bless the horses! And we just did so on a beautiful weekend at the Horse Protection Association of Florida. They have more than 40 rescue horses, mini horses, and donkeys at their facility and they do wonderful work to improve the lives of horses. This is Courage who was abandoned and later brought to the farm. He's been through a lot in his 15 years, but is now living with people who love and care for him.

In addition to seeing to their proper feeding and health care, the staff and volunteers work with the animals to provide training and help them to become more adoptable. Most of the minis have transformed from shy and timid to confident and friendly thanks to the good care and attention of the staff.

The six mini horses at the farm are called "Miracle Minis". There is a one-mile long path around the farm where visitors can take a Spirit Walk with one of the minis. Benches along the path provide a place to sit and reflect or meditate on the qualities represented by each mini's name- Faith, Hope, Love, Courage, Fortitude, and Peace. For the blessing, the minis had a ribbon tied in their tails that dedicated them "Holy to the Lord". All of the other horses and donkeys also received a blessing as they stood in their pastures. This is Love getting ready to walk with her new two-legged friends.

This mare needed to pause for a drink before her blessing.

And this is Ana- she and two of her offspring were brought to the farm after their rescue. There are several mustangs on the property as well.

We didn't limit the blessing to horses- there were several dogs and even a chicken on the property. Some visitors brought their dogs on leash. This little Corgi is Abby, and she enjoyed her day out. The  blessing of the animals events stem from the age-old teachings of St. Francis- patron saint of animals and the environment. A lovely day and a lovely tradition!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

New Life for Denim Scraps...


Well I've gone and followed a rabbit trail now! It seems I'm unable to stop making these denim bead necklaces. They are so simple, colorful, and easy to make that a new necklace invents itself in my mind while I'm working on the current one. And then it has to happen of course. Plus these necklaces are just so pretty. Making them long enough to go over the head means no need for clasps or findings, which really does simplify things. I just tie off the ends of the cord. And those broken pieces of jewelry and beads I've collected over the years? They wind up in these necklaces. It's quite satisfying to use up bits and pieces and upcycle materials.

This necklace is titled "Pure Water" and was made for our granddaughter. She works for a water resources company and when I found this old earring in the "parts department", it looked like a raindrop of fresh clean water.

A visit to the bead box supplied the spacer beads for all of these necklaces.  All that's needed to assemble the necklace is some cording to string the beads, chunky beads for spacers, a focal piece for the pendant, and a jewelry bail with glue to hang the pendant. Fun, fun! Would you wear a necklace like these? Do you have a favorite among these three?

The core bead begins with a strip of denim wrapped and glued around a recycled drinking straw and trimmed at the ends so the straw remains inside for stability. Then a wrapping of various colors of embroidery floss is added. And finally there's an outer wrap of metallic sewing thread or bead wire with seed beads added. Make a bunch and soon you'll have a necklace worth. 

You can see that I'm not going to be able to stop because I found so many candidates for pendants. Of course each one will require a necklace to showcase it. The bottom piece was given to me by a crafting friend. It's made from seashells and pearls. It's so delicate and lovely. I like doing fiddly things, but shell craft may be too fiddly for even me! But the results are wonderful and I'm happy to have this piece.  I'm not stopping at denim, either. Upcoming posts will show some other fabric bead styles that are just as easy to make. So, other craft projects are set aside for now while I use up these bits and pieces. That could take awhile! 

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Tall Timbers Calling...


The title for this quilt came from a camp song we sang at Girl Scout Camp many years ago. I kept humming it as I pieced the blocks for "Tall Timbers Calling".  The pattern is Tree Time from Blue Nickel Studios. My version is a pretty wild thing, partly because of the improv piecing and partly because I was determined to use only fabrics from my stash. It was fun pairing them up for each block. The result is a pretty busy quilt. It's hard to get a good photo of a larger quilt, so when it was hanging in the recent Quilts by the River show, a quilting friend took this shot and shared it. I like the look of the quilt against that old brick wall.

While the quilt was in process, I took the blocks to a local sewing group and we had some fun trying to arrange them into an assembly order. It's helpful to have more sets of eyes on a layout to keep a balance of color and avoid having matching fabrics right next to each other. After arranging and rearranging tree blocks several times, we finalized a plan. Then I took a phone photo so I'd remember the stitching order. However, once I started sewing the rows, I realized the quilt would be wind up being nearly square. That's not my preferred look, so it required piecing blocks for a fourth row. I'm happy with the  way it turned out.

Coincidentally, one of the group members had this cute market bag with her that day. It had the same bright and whimsical tree feel as the quilt, so I wanted to show it in this post.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

All Dressed Up...


Here's my latest fashion statement made with some paper, paint, machine and hand stitching, and embellishments. There is actually a series of these little dresses all displayed in an accordion book.

The project is one of the monthly mixed media offerings in a year-long online class called Fodder School. Artist Roxanne Padgett was the instructor who led students through making the book during July. 

Each month a different teacher demonstrates a number of methods for making "collage fodder"- handmade papers and fabrics that can be used in a variety of mixed media art.

The first half of the month includes several videos showing how to create components for the art project, and the second half of the month includes instruction for using the components to complete the project. It's a great way to learn a lot of art methods at your own pace and in your own workspace. And there is a good deal of bonus content on each month's topic supplied by other instructors, so we got a lot of instruction for the money.

We made assorted backgrounds as well as the papers for the dresses and then put them together with stitching and trims. It took a bit of time but was certainly a fun project.

One idea we also learned was to use scenic magazine images for the dresses. 

I like that look, too, and found a few landscapes to use.

We kept making and making, so I have a few extra backgrounds and dresses. I may use them in notecards.

Here's how the accordion book looks- it's not easy to get a clear photo of it, but hopefully you get the idea! Fodder School 2 is now underway, and I've signed up for that as well so will hope to have more mixed media projects to share in the coming months.