28 Dec

Christmas Crafts

I kept Christmas simple this year. The kids got some clothes and games and I made charitable donations in the names of most of the family. But, I couldn’t stop myself from making some fun stuff for my 2 and 4 year old nephew and niece.

They have a play kitchen they like and so I went a little crazy making felt food for it!

gyoza & strawberries

Gyoza and strawberries

toast, eggs & strawberries

Toast and egg (I love the plaid flanel crust!)

blt

A BLT — more flanel for the bacon.

spam musubi

Spam musubi. Green/black shot silk makes great nori!

Jammy pants

For my nephew I made jammy style pants to go with a cute shark tee from Target and my favorite Go Fish cards. The kids can’t read yet, but I think they’ll still have fun describing the fish and their parents can give the Hawaiian names a try!

Twirly skirt

For his big sister, an opihi tee (opihi are hawaiian limpets, or a term of endearment for clingy kids) with coordinating tiered skirt and hawaiian girl necklace.

T-shirt necklace

Finally, for my sister, a necklace made of sari yarn and t-shirt fabric. She sounded a bit dubious when she called on Christmas, but I know she can totally rock this with a T-shirt and jeans.

25 Apr

Finally (I Think)

It started about four years ago with a drawing by my daughter of her daddy. I thought he looked military (which may or may not have been intentional on her part) and needed to become a patch on a messenger bag.

About a year ago, I found the perfect pattern and went so far as to make custom fabric using my kids’ drawings.

Last November I finally got around to making the bag, but I wasn’t happy with some of the choices I had made — namely stiff Peltex/Timtex instead of fusible batting as called for in the pattern (that will teach me).

So, I took it apart. And so it sat for the last four months, taunting me with it’s un-finishedness, taking up space on the futon in my guest room/sewing studio. It really bugged me to have to keep moving it’s pile around whenever guests came to visit. But I was mad at it for not being perfectly crafted. To the bag’s credit, it came apart easily and was mostly salvageable. But I was still mad at it.

Finally, I jumped in and finished it a few days ago. I used black binding which worked better than the green, and the softer batting in the body of the bag made all the difference in terms of  maneuverability for sewing.

But, once again, I did not heed the warning on the pattern, and I accidentally ironed the strap — making black smudges on the green facing in my lining. And though the black topstitching looks good on the outside of the bag, I don’t like it on the interior, especially as there is under-stitching as well and a couple of hiccups where the thread broke.

It would not be a huge project to take out the interior, replace the green strip and re-sew it all. But, I’m kind of over this project for a while.

05 Feb

Ripple

Today is my mom’s birthday! Which means, I can now show the Ripple Afghan I made for her. Like the one I made for me, it is attic24‘s “Neat Ripple” pattern.

I started with a chain of 157. After some trials, that was the right length to get two stripes from each skein of yarn. I don’t have the right kind of stitch markers for crochet, but the rolling hook thingies for track-mounted drapes worked just fine, and I have lots of those.

I used Mission Falls 1824 (3 Thyme, 3 Sprout, 6 Earth, 2 Denim, 3 Oatmeal, 2 Russet, 3 Amethyst), superwash merino wool and 2 balls of Dream in Color Classy (Blue Lagoon and Strange Harvest). I’ve completely forgotten the final size, though it’s perfect for snuggling on the couch.

And this is all that’s left of those 26 skeins of wool.

10 Dec

Un-sewing

Remember the messenger bag I made a few weeks ago? Here it is deconstructed.

Yup, I wasn’t happy with it, so I took it apart. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. Undoing my work.

Yesterday I rearranged some artwork  on the wall and hung up a new piece. After a few hours I decided I didn’t like it. A frame would help, but, if it were really good, it should be able to stand on it’s own. So I took it down and will most likely take it apart someday. Not to fix it, but to use the parts elsewhere.

I undid a piece a month ago too. It had small puckers on the back because I used an inappropriate backing fabric. I took out the quilting and redid the work with a new backing. Much better.

I’m OK with this. Maybe it’s a sign of maturity, but more and more, I don’t expect, or even hope, all my work will be fabulous. Nothing is so precious that I can’t just chuck it (and leave no incriminating evidence). I want to improve, and sometimes moving forward means moving backward.

26 Oct

Some Crafty Stuff

Sometimes the crafty community just blows me away. First it’s just that there’s so much totally cool stuff out there, but then there’s the connections and generosity too. I’m not very demonstrative, so you won’t see me jumping into lots of swaps or give-aways, so that makes random generosity even more amazing.

All I did was comment on Art Spirit’s Flickr photo that I loved her little mushroom pins and look what she sent me! How cool is that?!

In other crafty news, I wanted to try making my own machine embroidery for a patch, so I used a scrap of the fabric I made with my kids’ drawings as a base, and gave it a whirl.

I thought it turned out so well I had to make something out of it. Now it’s a little voodoo daddy pin cushion.

23 Jul

Shout Out

I got a card in the mail from my hubby today. He emails pretty regularly, but occasionally he sends a card just for fun. I had to stop everything and blog this one though.

Hero Card

 

Obviously the person who made it spent a lot of time, energy and love on it. It shows. Even if it’s not necessarily my style, I know that it was made with care. My man got it from Cards For Heroes. It was a quick “I love you” from him, but it also said so much more to me about support on the home front. It said that someone was thinking about him and all the other deployed service members too. Thank you Cards for Heroes! My soldier appreciates your work and so do I.

03 Jun

My Process

I may not have found my artistic voice, or style yet, but I’m definitely settling in to a process.

Momentum seems to have a lot to do with it. I get an idea and then I have to jump right into it. Or, if I can’t do that, I write it in my sketchbook, make dinner, collect bits, mull it over, procrastinate a lot, get side tracked, and do myriad other things that lack discernible forward movement. It’s all good though, because this slow percolating time helps me refine what it is I’m going to create.

Then, when the mood hits and the planets align, I get down to work. The hardest part is that this is when the momentum really kicks in and once I’m elbow-deep in paints or dye, or firmly planted in front of the sewing machine, I don’t want to stop. More frozen pizza nights than I want to admit to are the direct result of sewing “just one more row,” “I’m almost to a stopping point,” or my favorite, “I’ll be right there,” which really means I’m standing in front of my design wall contemplating the next move.

Knowing that I work in these fits and spurts helps me to get the most out of them, such as grouping like tasks together, or making sure there’s plenty of pizza in the freezer. Another aspect of my process is to gather bits so that when I do get inspired, I can access the bits akin to a painter choosing paint from blobs on her palette (a great analogy I adopted from artist Gerry Chase in her workshop).

One day I’ll be immersed in sun printing, and try out multiple colors and sizes of motifs. Painting and stamping are the same. If I dye fabric, I’ll throw in some extra pieces, or maybe some yarn or lace. Another day I’ll be piecing, and I’ll sort scraps by color, or set aside cut-off strips, squares or triangles that could come in handy in another project. Now, I take crochet yarn to the kids’ TaeKwonDo and hook roots while I wait. I need to have several things going at once so that I can choose one aspect and roll with it for a while, not breaking my momentum to create a single project start to finish, but rather to focus on a day to paint, or to sit at the machine, to crochet or embroider, until I have enough pieces to sort through them to create the composition I’m looking for.

The last two photos are details of quilted, embroidered, fabric and thread collages mounted on or sewn to stretched canvases — similar to Cloud House. There will definitely be more.