Sunday, March 30, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
"Do you ever notice the little things, the small moments, the details in life? This months challenge is to do just that, pay attention to the tiny details. Sometimes the small things become emblematic for something larger."
Even though I have already completed a piece for March, I could not stop thinking about this idea. The whole concept became wrapped up with eyes in my mind and would not go away. I thought about doing a realistic eye, but doing just one felt a bit weird. I did not want to do a multiple object piece, though, because that would be too complex. This should be a simple presentation. Eventually I came across some Egyptian hierglyphics in a magazine and I knew what I wanted to do!
This symbol is called both the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus. Many references use the names interchangeably and it is generally a symbol of protection and of royal power from the gods. However, if you do more research you find that the two names do not really refer to the same thing and the "details" of the legends and symbolism are different. One is even sometimes less benevolent than the other. But I will go with this: A small thing - eye - that is emblematic of something larger - power and protection.
The Eye of Horus was fused onto black cloth and then stitched using a machine blanket stitch. I downloaded a picture of multiple eyes from Craftzine and printed them onto a strip of fabric for the bottom border which was also stitched with the machine blanket stitch. A border was added to bring the piece to about 10" square.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Goal #1: Participate in the Take It Further challenge
How am I doing: Good! I have done at least one piece each month. A second piece for March is almost ready for posting.
Lessons Learned: I think I am developing a reliable process. I’ve started using a sketch book/journal to work through my initial thoughts and that is really helpful.
Next Step: New challenge April 1.
Goal #2: Participate in the Stargaze Tome group’s Tome Page-A-Month project
How am I doing: Keeping up so far. Three months and three pages posted (look for keyword Tome).
Lessons Learned: Still having trouble turning the page after stitching front and back together. I suppose it needs more patience – not my strong point!
Next Step: April page is about painting fabrics.
Goal #3: Complete the Hatmaking class I took four (!) years ago
How am I doing: March’s hat is started – there’s probably three good working days left this month. I should still be on track.
Lessons Learned: Still being kind of conservative. I’m hoping next couple of months will be more daring.
Next Step: I think I will start April’s hat right away while I have some momentum up.
Goal #4: Use a book or tool to explore new techniques or refine un-mastered skills – preferably incorporated with the other goals – at least once a month
How am I doing: I’ve had several books out trying to pick what to do next. I’ve used fabric folding and explored stitches on my sewing machine. I completed an on-line class on new embroidery techniques and have signed up for a Journal making class next month. Learned to make postcards and padfolios. I think it probably comes out to more than once a month.
Lessons Learned: Picked up some new design skills and how to plan a piece a little better. Still need to work on that – some pieces really need to go down first!
Next Step: I have some quilt rulers and templates to try. Still lots of books, too!
Goal #5: Keep doll making as a focus for my creativity
How am I doing: Doing better here. I have two dolls in the works and have posted about one of them already.
Lessons Learned: I believe my stuffing has improved. I blogged about that here.
Next Step: I will be teaching about puppets at the next doll club meeting. Iris is also a doll for club so she has a deadline next month. Pictures should be available soon.
Goal #6: Enter the Hoffman Challenge – and any other appropriate challenge as they come up
How am I doing: Well, I have my Hoffman fabric now and a pretty firm picture in my head. Still have not started to actually work in fabric. Haven’t seen any other challenges since February.
Lessons Learned: Sometimes I drag my feet. Oh wait! That shouldn’t count as something I’ve learned – I’ve been that way for my whole life! How about this: sometimes I need to contemplate a design longer before getting started.
Next Step: I will get going on this soon. Need to clear the decks a little bit first.
Goal #7: Review the above 6 goals every 6-weeks and blog about my progress
How am I doing: So far, so good.
Lessons Learned: I like keeping busy, but with six goals I need to be pretty organized, too.
Next Step: Next review will be May 6.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sue B hosted a give-away on her blog and I was one of four lucky - very lucky - winners. Just look at what I got in the mail today! The blue background is hand-dyed velvet - and this picture does not come close to the vibrant colors of the velvet and these laces. Wow!
I need to think of a really scrumptuous project to use these on. But first I have to just look at them and handle them! Oh my! Eye candy overload!!!
Thank you, Sue. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Today I finished the third page in the Stargazer Tome series by Patti Culea. This page was all about fabric collage. The front of the page was a garden design. I changed the girl in the original pattern to a fairy that I got from "The Crafter's Design Library: Fantasy" by Chris Down. I traced the fairy onto white fabric and colored with pencils and pens before fusing her to the background. I chose a very flowered background so that only a few items needed to be added to the foreground.
I have had scraps of these "tiger lily" and "snap-dragon" fabrics for many, many years and I think that a fantasy garden theme is the perfect place for them! A few butterflies and ladybugs from another fabric provide more "stuff."
For the back of the page I followed Patti's instructions and cut leaf-ish shapes from Tyvek and organza and then added heat - iron for the
The fun part about the Tome patterns is that each page explores a different technique, some of which are new to me. Next month is painting and dyeing fabric I think. One more week in March and I still have lots to do! Oh dear.
Monday, March 17, 2008
As I was working on this doll today, I realized that I don't really think of these projects as "dolls" until they get a face! Once the face is done, her personality starts to emerge. It doesn't matter if it's only the head - or the whole body is done. It ain't a doll without a face!
This doll is for my doll club's Rainbow challenge. We are using a pattern from one of Patti Culea's books and we have six pieces of fabric in the colors of the rainbow. I have a couple of ideas, but nothing specific planned out yet. But at least she's a doll now! I am calling her Iris, at least for now.
I stuffed the pieces while at doll club this weekend. This gave me another thought. It has been a while since I did very much stuffing and I was concerned that I would have trouble. Sometimes the stuffing just does not cooperate and I get lots of lumps. This time everything went just fine. I think it's because I wasn't THINKING about stuffing. We were talking and laughing and watching what everyone else was doing and I just let my hands do the job - unsupervised you could say. This is true about so many things in life. The stress of paying too much attention can cause the task to be more difficult than it needs to be. Of course, there are lots of situations where you really do need to pay attention. Now, the hard part is to recognize the difference! My goodness, who knew doll making would be a metaphor for life itself?
Saturday, March 15, 2008
This is a 10 1/2" block called Missouri Puzzle. As usual, I have a little story to go with this. Back in the early 1990's I was doing a lot of yardsale-ing to find some dressers or cabinets for storage. I went to an estate sale where I found what I was looking for, but I also found a box of crafting supplies. In fact, there was one whole room with patterns, fabric, and so on. The box I wanted had some swedish embroidery cloth in it - also known as huck toweling - along with some other items. At the very bottom of the box was this little booklet.
It is made of plain paper and held together with brads. Inside are a great many clippings of quilt patterns cut from magazines and newspapers. Now, one thing I found particularly interesting is that I found this estate sale in Yakima, Washington. All of the newspaper patterns, however, are from the Kansas City Star. The ones that have a date are from 1930, '31, and '32. This little book traveled from the midwest to the pacific northwest - and now has traveled back to the midwest over a span of 75 years!
Well, I decided to make the Missouri Puzzle - there are several I would like to try - mainly because I am familiar with the 9-patch and half-square triangle so I knew I could figure out how to construct at least one block (and it did take some figuring)! And someone, sometime, had marked it with a 3-cent stamp. By making this block, I feel there is a connection to the past somehow. A bit tenuous, perhaps, but there nontheless.
And now that I think about it - that fits "Sometimes the small things become emblematic for something larger. " The stamp, by it's denomination and location, represents a sense of the past. U.S. postage was three cents for quite a long time, and went up very slowly at first but has increased more rapidly of late. How about that for fitting into this month's concept? This piece is a twofer!
I still may do another piece for the concept. I've had lots of ideas buzzing around as previous posts show. But for the immediate future, I have several other projects in the pipeline. So if I run out of time, I have met this month's TIF challenge at least.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
In reviewing my posts, I see that I have showed the "inspiration" for my color piece (it's the last photo on that post), but not the piece itself. We can take care of that right now. This is what it looks like as of last night. There are still two discreet areas to stitch - and they will both be full of beads and dimensional stitching. They are both below the light turquoise area I am working on now. One will be a darker turquoise and the other that rust red you can see a few stitches in. It will be pretty bottom heavy, so I expect to add some more to balance it out. Or maybe not. We will see when I get to that point.
I think I'm settling into a routine of doing a little embroidery in the evenings. I can stitch while listening to the television. I have a special pair of glasses for doing close work like this. With them and a craft light I can see quite well for stitching. BUT, all I can see on the television is large color shapes! Well, if the dialog is amusing that's enough. I am having fun in my own little fuzzy world!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Do you ever notice the little things, the small moments, the details in life? This months challenge is to do just that, pay attention to the tiny details. Sometimes the small things become emblematic for something larger.
And the colors look like this:
I really like the colors and have been thinking about how to use them, but the concept has really led me to do some Deep Thinking. (Yes, the caps are on purpose!) Like many of the other participants, I started out by taking my camera around the house and doing a lot of close-up shots. This can be a fun exercise and I may decide to do it more often. Lots of interesting details show up.
For instance, this shot of pins on a magnet holder. In fiber arts I use pins an awfully lot - and they certainly lead to larger things. They could be symbolic of all that working with fabric and thread means to me.
Or, how about the daily pills? There's a wealth of Deep Thoughts that go with that one. I take the pills to stay healthy and that is certainly a bigger idea. The number of pills in each day's cubicle is also emblematic of the aging process. Remember when all you did was pop a multi-vitamin? Not sure I can remember that far back!
Ah. Then there is this one. A basket, you say? Notice one little detail? There's a loose thread hanging. Let me tell you about that. I am terribly nearsighted. No, really, really, nearsighted! I got my first pair of glasses when I was about 10 or 11. I'm sure I got that old without them because my last name began with 'A' and each year the teachers would arrange students alphabetically. So I always sat in the front row. One year, the teacher reversed the order and I believe my grades started sliding. Whatever the real reason, a trip to the family eye doctor revealed my myopia and glasses were required. That first day with glasses, I realized that curtains had threads hanging, trees had individual leaves, and so on. I had never known that one was supposed to be able to SEE those things!!! I did not know that the children at the back of the class were supposed to be able to read the blackboard. When I think of the days before vision correction, I'm happy I live in this century so that I can see the details. What would my life be like without it?
So how's that for some Deep Thoughts? There are more: blood vessels lead to all that is living; a stack of CDs symbolizes the "Information Age" and all the changes that have come about recently; a stack of paint bottles lead to creativity. I have no idea where this will all lead me, but it should be an interesting trip!