Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Day of 2014

I have been busy cleaning and organizing since my classes ended on the 14th of December. When I am in classes I do minimum cleaning it never seems to fail that I just get so wrapped up in the classes. This next term due to begin January 12, 2015 all my classes are online. Which brings me back to the cleaning and organizing I am hoping that by getting everything cleaned and put together that I may be able to do more sewing and complete more projects while in school.

Looking at this year there are many things that are about to change one of those maybe that 2014 will be the last full year that I have had a child in my home. My daughter turns 21 in January and in March she is looking to move out, I am hoping it goes as she wishes it to go. I wished to move my sewing and crafting into a separate room so we are looking at putting my sewing into the office and turning her room into the office, this way if said daughter needs to move back in we only need to move our desks and computers out rather than all the sewing equipment.

When looking behind I always seem to look ahead at the possibilities, I find that when I do this I don't regret as much what I haven't done because when looking ahead I can still achieve so much more. So much is coming together, I am absolutely thrilled with what my husband is doing in the kitchen and now that I have tile and my oven and my cooktop it is so much easier being patient as he puts the rest of it together. I just know it will look fabulous when it is finished. And you know most women would not be as ecstatic about a closet as I am but I simply have to show you all what he has done for me. In the hallway to our bedroom there was a small closet I think at one time it may have held a heater I am not sure as it sits above the return vents to the house and the heater is now in the mm I guess you would call it an attic but to me it is a crawl space. So when we first moved in we store the vacuum and odds and ends in there but what I wanted to do was to be able to store my craft supplies you know to keep them all together. Well my husband could have simply thrown some shelves up and you know I probably would have been just fine with that but nope he did so much more he measured my largest tub and built the shelf space accordingly  and then he stained and finished them so that I wouldn't snag or damage anything that I stored in there.And it is right across from the office which we will be putting my sewing and crafting into so it is a win win. So now I can get to really rearranging and organizing I may even be able to label some things and use what I have.


I also took back a bookshelf that I was letting my daughter use to store my fabric in rather then the wardrobe I was using because I couldn't see all my fabric. So now I have my fabric all rolled up onto comic boards or actual bolt boards as I have begun asking for the bolt boards when I go to the fabric store and it is so much easier to store it that way. So I went from this wardrobe to this shelving.

I have made some progress on cover of my soon to be nieces umbrella for her wedding I am at about 10 1/2 inches in diameter now so only about 26 more inches to go. I am making faster progress than I thought I would and I like the pattern that is emerging.

 And finally the last of my clean up not organizing mind you but clean-up is on my sewing table now. So now I just need to wrap this up and label it for the project I have in mind and then finish up a few other projects and maybe I can get back to Smaug.

In 2015 there will be many changes for me some ok, some spectacular, some scary, but no matter what it will all be changed for me. And if it is anywhere close to what I felt in 2014 I will enjoy it all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Never Enough Time To Do All You Want

Here it is already December 23, 2014! I remember growing up and thinking I will never see the year 2000 I was never very good at math you know. And yet not only did I live to see it I have lived beyond it and am still going. As I look around myself these days so much has changed and so much is still the same, the parts that have changed in many ways I am ever so glad they did and the parts that have remained I am also ever so glad they did. My creativity is still so very strong in me and as I continue to explore this avenue I am slowly but surely building the confidence that I seek. My children are all grown and the final one will leave the nest to try her wings in a few months, I am not sure that this will be a final leave taking for her, however, I hope that she finds what she needs in life to feel the confidence and security that I have today.

I found that trying to work among chaos today doesn't work as well for me as it once did, sooooooo I have set myself a goal of finishing up small projects, gathering other projects together and doing a through cleaning and organizing for the New Year. With my last fledgling leaving the nest this opens up the avenue for a studio area for me and I am finding I like this idea as it means putting my creative chaos into one area and not spread all over. Of course this also means that I must adjust and arrange my creative material to fit into one room hmmm this shall be interesting as currently I have the hall closets and yes that is plural as there are three of them, the living room and the dining room as my playground right now how will I ever pair it all down to just room. Yes you got it I must clean and organize hence the remainder of 2014 will be spent going through everything I have. I have found that it is much easier for me to let go of things that I know I will never use today, where once I could not let loose anything as it may very well be useful one day.

OMG, how is it that I can be sitting here talking about cleaning up and organizing and bam another project just jumped into my mind. A quick flash thought of my daughters grandmother and the thought of an embroidery project that I started OH SO MANY YEARS AGO but never finished because of one reason or another and then it got stained and I have held onto to it for what ever reason and now I know what to do with it and it will be a perfect memorial for my daughter. I will of course have to pull it out and see how to incorporate this project as well. You see I am so obviously easily distracted by my own thought processes so it will definitely be a challenge to complete my organization that is needed. However, I am truly determined to do so. Of course I can't just clean and organize I also have to have something that I can work on to ease that need that I have. So I have also been working on a design for an umbrella for my nephew's fiancee as they are to be married in 2016. So I have begun to work on the pattern to create the umbrella here is a photo of my progress so far it is about 9 1/2 inches in diameter at this point and I believe I need it to be approximately 36 inches in diameter.

The last image is of another woman's work just to give an idea of what a finished product looks like I simply Googled what I wanted and saw her work and found that she has an Etsy shop and that she sells her umbrellas here: 
From the reviews she does beautiful work so if there is a want for one right away she does have them available or can make them.

However, as I enjoy the work I am working on my soon to be nieces myself. I did finish my kitchen valance which makes me so happy   and my kitchen remodel is coming along really nice as well. It is so very different from the home we moved into about 3 years ago. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's Already November Where Did The Time Go!

Once again another year is coming to an end here it is already November 24th and sometimes when I think back across the year I think I haven't done anything. And yet I can see that I have been extremely busy and this year has been a year of starts and finishes. All to often in the past I have had ideas for projects and gotten all the materials needed but one thing or another got in the way and many of those projects never got finished. Well this year has been very different for me, I have started many projects and have actually finished a majority of them. I decided this year that I wanted to get organized and that I wanted to pursue my dreams and I have been working on both of these things.

I started by getting all of my sewing and craft items gathered together and when sewing I have attempted to not only use the fabric on hand but I have also attempted to clean up my scraps. When I started classes again this all got kind of side tracked but I have been slowly pulling projects out and finishing them up. There are many projects that I thought I would never really do and yet I find I am not only doing them but I am completing them and they are turning out much better than I thought they ever would.

Here are a few of the clean up projects that I have been working on:

These are potholders I have been making that have all been from fabric that I have had on hand for awhile.

These are tablerunners made from blocks that I have made throughout the year. The red and white and blue one is quilted and binding placed on it. The black and white one I still need to quilt and bind it that is the project for today.

The following pictures are some experiments on some coasters that I embroidered over two years ago. At the time I wasn't sure how I was going to finish them. So this past weekend I tried three different methods. The round circle I at first attempted to use cork and then I used felt. Both ways left the coaster wonky. Then I attempted two squares both turned out much better the biggest problem I found was that the bigger square seems to big to me. However, I like the way it lays much flatter and after a good pressing I think they will lay really well. So I have decided to go with the smaller square and do that with the rest of the coasters I made. these were mostly just test ones.

And then the project that I never really felt I had the ability to do is my kitchen window valance. This is crocheted with size 10 thread and a size 7 crochet hook. The pattern began from a found pattern and yet I eventually turned it into my own pattern. I am very close to being finished with these as well.

I also thanks to my very best friend and partner my kitchen island is very close to being finished. We finished laying the tile in the kitchen this year as well and it is slowly but most definitely surely coming together. I do truly love it the color and the space I will have when it is completed is truly a very cool thing.

Now for the final update it is on pursuing my dream. I finally started Smaug like I posted the last time. And I have almost completed the outline of him the outline will be finished either today or tomorrow depends on the progress I make on sewing today lol. However, I thought I should post a picture of Smaug as well, The area in the hoop is the last of my outline and from there it is on to another new technique of course if the technique doesn't work I will have to start over so we shall see how it all goes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I finally started Smaug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok so yesterday I took the plunge. I have spent the time to acquire elements for my project, I have drawn and redrawn my design. I have thought about and rethought how I was going to do this until almost an entire year has gone by again before I even began to finally work on my project. But yesterday I finally started. I sewed some fabric pieces together and I spent 3 whole hours actually embroidering on my Smaug. I don't know why I love the name Smaug so much besides the fact that he is a strong character in my all time favorite book "The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien. Everyone has heard of this book and most have probably seen the wonderful movies that Peter Jackson has directed. The amount of time and effort that everyone put into remaking these films really came out fantastic.

I first read the Hobbit at least 40 years ago and I loved the story then I was able to transport myself into the story and see this running imagery inside my mind as I read the story. I believe it is a must read for everyone. However, I digress yesterday I finished up a jacket and skirt that I have been working on I also finished a garter belt that I have been working on for my soon to be niece.
The design was of my own making I created the pattern and crocheted it myself from white cotton thread. The blue and yellow ribbon are hopefully the right shade to match her wedding colors. And the flowers and feathers are for my own pleasure of design lol. The little pearl beads are hand crocheted in as well. I also sewed a piece of elastic to help keep it in place and left the ribbon long enough to be fit to size.

This is the bottom fabric for Smaug what I have done is to use a fairly sturdy piece of stabilizer under a nice off white muslin. I serged the edges of the muslin so that it would not shred. I then sewed a piece of gold spandex is the best description to be used to help define the gold pile. For the dragon itself I have used two separate pieces a blue marble with glitter flecks in it and a creamy white opaque organza this will add the coloring that I want to achieve on my dragon. 

 And then to protect the fabric and because I didn't want to draw on my fabric I then traced out my design onto tissue paper and I am in the process of doing all the outline stitching first this way I won't have to have to use a pencil mark on my final piece that I most like would cover up, however I didn't want to really take a chance that it would possible show. Now I did draw out my design on the stabilizer as well but that isn't really usuable but it does still give me a guideline to freehand what I want to do.

 And there they are the first stitches of a project that has been in my head for a long time. I am really glad that I have finally started this project and will share progress as it comes along.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Paper Paper Paper

Who doesn't love paper, I know I absolutely, positively, love paper. Paper has so many versatile uses, you can write on it, draw on it, paint on it, fold it, rip it, wrap with it. You can make artwork with it, you can create a sale plan. There is just so much you can do with paper, Paper snowflakes, paper lanterns, paper wreaths, paper decorations, paper napkins. The paper that I am currently interested in is paper crafting, I have been taking a graphics art class and the woman who teaches the class her name is Angela and I must admit she inspires you to truly do your best when carving out her assignments with paper. Normally you would think ah one exacto blade per assignment should be just fine but I guarantee you that if you really want a project to come out super crisp you want to use more than one blade. My first project was to create 5 sheets of 8.5 X 11 cardstock and to make two scenes on each sheet showing a sequence of events. The second project was to choose a word and by using the font show the definition of the word. I chose the word burst and I think it went pretty good. I have many other projects that I think I will be trying here soon and all to do with paper. Paper is so much fun it is much like thread you just can't help but have fun with it.

The cool part with working with such detail work on paper it does help to increase my awareness of how to slow down and take my time with thread and fabric as well. Something that I truly need to do a lot of.

I have so many ideas that go on in my head that I become so intent on finishing it so I can go to the next one that I soon rush the project and inevitably it causes me frustration.

Next I will introduce you to George, he was quite fun to make.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What Influences Your Dreams

      What exactly makes your heart rate go up and your body tingle and no I am not talking about your partner either. Though my partner does this to me, I am talking about you personally. When I was a child a really good book could hold me enthralled until I finished the book, it did not matter what chores or friends were around. I had to finish that book, this often lead to me getting into trouble of course, but I didn't care because the book was that good. I still enjoy a good book today, however, it does not make my heart rate go up anymore and unless I am at the end of the book I can put it down today. What makes my heart rate go up is the process of a new project!

     Yep, I actually dream about my projects in great depth. Sometimes my dreams are so detailed that I can literally see how something came about. A television show or a movie could prompt a thought on a project especially if it is about something that was a book when I was a child. Many things have changed since I was a child and the things I remember most vividly are those things that I loved to do. Although I may not do those same things today, being reminded of those activities can still bring a smile to me, as well as, a warmth something akin to a hug from within.

     I remember watching birds fluttering about and wanting to be able to have wings to fly and the grace and agility that they had. I did not want to be a bird I just wanted to have wings. Even today, birds are still something that catch my eye and make me smile. Birds inspire me and influence my work. Butterflies will also inspire me, I remember thinking once that butterflies were lil fairies, they were the remnants of the fey folk that I read about. It was a very sad day for me when I was taught that butterflies were truly caterpillars. Aw well, there are some dreams that even against facts or opinions you must cling to and butterflies being part fairy is one I still hold onto.

     So for me I have a bird feeder and a bird bath and lots of bushes for the birds to hide in so that I can have a daily influence around me. So where I live I have Swallows, and Red Headed Finches and a Mountain Blue Jay, Morning Doves, Crows that seem rather big, so they may be considered Ravens I am not sure. And there are Rose bushes and an Orange tree and Grapefruit tree in our yard that attracts butterflies. Now I didn't plan our yard it was already created when we bought the house and yet when looking for our home it was the birds and flowers that attracted me it as well. What else influences me well, holidays will influence me.

     And my most favorite holiday is coming up and I have been very busy with a project that I am immensely happy with. Yep, Halloween is next month and the past few years I have been adding to my Halloween decorations and this year is no different. My husband and I have been wanting to find a life size body to put out in our yard for a few years. We never really found one we liked though and now I know exactly how to make one. I enrolled in a mixed media class this semester, and the very first project was to create a form using gesture as our thesis. We needed to create the forms skeleton out of chicken wire and then we would use paper mache and paper clay to create the body of the form. I knew immediately what I wanted to make as soon as the professor told us about the project. I still need to finish adding my glow in the dark paint to my brain, and add the blood, build the tombstone and lay it all out in the yard but yep I have the first body for my yard. Below are some of the pictures of my chicken man in various stages of construction, the wire frame, the paper mache, the paper clay and the near completion.

So what influences your dreams and what do you do to bring your dreams to life.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Whatever, Have I Been Up To

I love the last few months of the year, I always have the amount of holidays that come in at this time use to fill my mind with thoughts of family, warmth, and cheer. As it was those were often illusions, however, in the last 15 years I have been able to have just that. This year, I have begun to add to my Halloween collection. I must say that I absolutely love Halloween I am not so fond of the cutesy but hey you can't have everything.

Halloween is known in every culture, in every nation only it isn't always meant to go door to door asking for candy. It is a holiday meant to honor ancestors and those that passed. To celebrate the harvest and the end of one season and the start of another. It is a a celebration to honor what has passed and what is to come. This is why I love Halloween, though I do love the stories and the Horror that America has added to the holiday as well, lol. So for my collection of Holiday decoration that I began awhile back I am going to add my yard man and here he is in his beginning stages, and in his papered stage and now in his paper clay stage. and there is a close up of his hands so far his hands have been the most difficult part of doing him.

I am finding that this has been a fun class so far and I am enjoying it greatly. Creating the skeleton from chicken wire was not as difficult as I would have thought it would be and making the paper clay is a great way to recycle. All in all so far my Mixed Media Class has been a fun learning class.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sticking With Your Dreams Even When

As I continue to try to define my dream, I find that I often get distracted with other things. Even though my dream is still lurking around it just seems so much harder at times to actually begin working on it. My dragon has all the material ready, the outline is drawn, the thread and fabric are there waiting for me, and yet I still have not been able to sit down and start it. So many things are happening right now and its all about living life.

We finally finished the tile in the dining room and kitchen and I must say it looks pretty good. The counter tops arrived and the wood for the new faces of our kitchen cabinets. We decided to go with Knotty Alder. For the most part on the remodeling home front that is, my part is there but it is now on the back burner. So I do have a bit of a break in that department. So below is a picture of knotty Alder wood and a cabinet that has been made from Knotty Alder. It isn't a picture of my cabinets, but it gives the general idea of what Knotty Alder can look like in a cabinet.
Kitchen tile

Knotty Alder Wood
Cabinet built with Knotty Alder

However, I still have many other projects that are in the incomplete stage and other projects that I have been working on. As for some of those projects, they too shall stay on the back burner as classes have so far completely captured my attention. Attending three class and each class being three hours long is not typical of me, taking three classes is typical just not the length of those classes. However, I am thoroughly enjoying each one, they all present a challenge to me in different ways. At the moment in my mixed media class I am currently working on a life size torso of a human being it is to show gesture. To create the form we are using chicken wire, armature wire (which is really a 16 gauge wire that has a bit of strength to it but it is still flexible enough to bend and re-bar wire which is very flexible. My greatest challenge at the moment is creating the hands and as the hands are really the main focus of this particular gesture piece I have to get them right, the hands will give the piece some of the more realistic gesture of the piece I am trying to capture.
My life size skeleton using a denim shirt to add some focus to the piece.

one hand experiment in progress still need to add the pinky though that is today's job.
And so my dream of Smaug once again must wait to be fulfilled, I do know that with each new project and the completion of other projects that Smaug is very important to me and I will begin soon. Oh yes, I almost forgot I have also been working on crocheting a valance for my kitchen window and one half of the valance is almost complete. 
Detail of the stitching of the kitchen valance.

view of the kitchen valance with the progress so far.

I have been quite busy and am still working towards my dream of creating the images that I see in my mind and making them into real and tangible items. I have met a few challenges along the way my ability to not be able to draw does hinder me, however, that is where the Photoshop class comes in because by being able to manipulate photo's I will better be able to make a model of what I see in my mind. The graphic arts class will give me a better understanding of how to lay my work out in a straight forward and sequential manner as well as teach me depth and perception abilities. And the mixed media class introduces me to new techniques. Therefore, though I have not reached my dream yet, I continue the journey to my dreams. After all life is about the journey not the destination, So I think I will continue my journey.