Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finding the Muse #9 Sorting your stuff

Artwork by Queen's Ink  in Savage Mill MD
Isn't that something? It appeals to me for several reasons. It's a female face, it's like a line drawing, lots of color with black and white, and not the least of which, it's 3-d.

Last week a friend of mine was in town and called me for a visit. We met at Savage Mill for shopping, lunch and laughs. More on an upcoming post, and it's full of color!

For today's post on Finding the Muse... when your inspiration well is low, it's a fine activity to go into the studio and sort or clean up. Just going through your supplies will make you want to stop and make something! (if only to avoid cleaning up)
I was sorting through some old purchases, you know, putting new fabric in the wash and looking through my loot, wondering where I was going to store all the new stuff when I came across some scraps a friend gave me. I put them in a mesh bag to wash with the other new fabric. When it came out I saw she had given me about 140 colorful 2" squares.

Stop the presses! Well, go ahead and press them, but then I stopped the cleaning/sorting process, swiped off a section of my cutting table and started to play.
 Oh I arranged, and imagined lots of different patterns with them before deciding to sew them together into a table runner. After they were laid out, I mistakenly thought they were not interesting enough. Silly.

So I cut out about 30 solid black two inch squares and imagined a wave running through the piece...
 Not quite content with that, I added in some side waves too, then stitched the gadzillion little seams together.
I'm happy to report most of the corners matched.

Oy!

The pressing of seams took a moment.

As per usual a couple got twisted, and then I saw this...






Wha???

How in the world did that happen? Or how didn't I notice it while sewing it? Then I had to UN-SEAM it and replace it.

That done, I thought, wow, this runner is tiny. About 9" by 22"

Then, again as per usual, I hated it. I started trying to add borders... which made the studio an even bigger mess...

Then I remembered the piece of musical fabric left over from my Husband's dance vest... hmmm the runner  does remind me of piano keys... Let's try it. After all I already tried twenty other combinations.

Which leads me to the rule, doesn't matter how small or unimportant a piece is, one can dither over it.

This is what I think I'm going to do with it. Note: the wave turned into some kind of double wave.
Notice how much the whole thing looks like the first inspirational photo at the top?

So my point is, if you don't feel inspired, feel like you want to sew but can't think of what to make, go into your happy place (sewing room) and sort stuff.

If you keep it clean all the time... well... I just can't imagine doing that but I know people who do. If you are a tidy sort, then maybe you just have to look through your carefully-tidy,  put-away-supplies til you get inspired to finish one of those UFO's. If you are one of those who have no UFO's, well, what are you doing listening to me?!!?  The rest of my Peeps out there with messy studios and piles of unfinished projects... do you find you get inspired to sew by cleaning up?

Other Finding the Muse posts HERE

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cole's capers dog days of summer

Cole enjoys the porch. His porch perch.
He watches critters eat from the birdseed holder, and drink from the fountain. He thinks great poodle thoughts and wishes he could share his wisdom with pups coming up. As the heat takes over, he becomes drowsy and decides to pause in his great thoughts and take a little nap. 
 Is there anything as touching as seeing a pet sleep? So vulnerable and peaceful, trusting you'll take their "watch" and have their back. 

Cole has taken to resting like this with his head hanging off a bed. Or propped up on a pillow but never level. He sleeps deeply. His ability to sleep has increased as his hearing has decreased. He must no longer be aware of little startling noises so he rests more completely now.

 I often have to put my hand on him, rocking him gently to wake him. He wakes a bit confused, staring at me to place me. I see the moment when he remembers where he is and with whom. He is awake then, but relaxed. 

Oh yes, the momma. I love her. Wonder if she has a treat for me. 

I used to plan for the moments puppy Cole would nap, tiptoe-ing around so as not to wake the tempest he was. Now I place a hand on his side to feel breaths, slow in... and out... and I sometimes hold his foot while he sleeps.
 I am aware he loves the Daddy most. His play mate and protector. 
The patient one who lets him sniff for hours in one spot. 

But I love him, chose him, wanted him in particular among all the available pups at the time. 

I think, if he could talk he'd say, "love you, Momma. Relax"


Sunday, July 24, 2016

A wedding! (22 years ago)

My friend Nancy sent some snapshots to me recently that she took at our wedding. I thought others might enjoy seeing them too. It's our 22 wedding anniversary today!

We met at a contra dance. My beloved was finishing his masters degree in engineering at UMASS Amherst. He had come to Tampa to install equipment in a NOA plane so that he could fly in hurricanes and take measurements. He attended a dance while there, we met, and that was the start.

He asked me to marry him on a subsequent visit at Halloween. I said yes.
We knew. We just knew it was to be. 
He was a poor grad student. I was a poor social worker. We got married one year after meeting, the ceremony was outdoors with about 60 people in attendance. The whole thing was on a shoestring budget. My dress was a lace and chiffon concoction bought at Macy's bargain outlet. The veil was new bought for $20, and I glued pearls down the length of it.
My childhood friend Lane came, and her mother played the piano for me to walk toward my partner. No family to escort me, I chose my great friend Eric to escort me to Drew and couldn't have been in better hands.Drew's Uncle officiated.
We held the reception right there inside the community center hall.
This is our first married dance to the tune, "Just in Time"

We met dancing, and planned to marry on the day of a contra dance, so that after the reception we could go dance together as husband and wife!  We are still each other's favorite dance partner. (I know his moves)
We gently fed each other cake. No smashing cake in faces for us. We match in values, and neither one of us thinks that's clever.
We still like cake!
Here we are in our going away duds. Off to meet the challenges of the world! Together! 

This is our picture from a month ago, at Elizabeth Park Rose garden in CT...
 My husband looks more handsome, and you can see our 8th anniversary gift in front.
 (8th year is "poodle" )
We enjoy travel, long walks, dancing, eating out, comfort and peace,dogs, reading, and each other. 

Not necessarily in that order. Happy 22nd anniversary to us!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pink Sewing Machine

The color of the month at the rainbow scrap challenge is Pink. Hot pink with bits of lime.
See the grasshopper scrap on my machine??? Again, I love the idea of having a machine like this!
It all starts with the scraps.

My overflowing bins of colorful odd shaped pieces. Sort thru and choose prints you like. Sew the odd angles together into the basic machine shape, then press flat.







Then using interfacing with fusible place right sides together with the scraps, and pattern pinned over the top
sew around the machine pattern, trim seam line, turn inside out gently, and applique to a background.
Cupcakes, clocks, flowers, dancers, bunnies, woman with heart and the word princess in the top right corner...


What's not to love here??

I pressed the machine to the spools background
(by the way, I used up -gulp- the spools yardage doing this) and machine appliqued with a blanket stitch and rayon hot pink thread.



I have used those dancer scraps before, they are very flexible color wise, lol. And I do love to dance!!
The geese blocks were given to me in a scrap bag. The person must not have known what to do with them
Some are appliqued, some not yet. They will be finished as little quilts, then sewn together into a banner for my sewing room.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Finished needle books

Pattern source Cindy Johnson (c) 

We had the second half of the needle book workshop on Monday.
Cindy showed us how she puts a beaded edge on with a button hole stitch and floss.

Isn't the edge gorgeous? I used three strands of hand dyed floss, a self threading needle, size 8 multi color beads. 



(click to see details)

I made two books, one for my friend's birthday and one for me. I used different floss and beads for each.  The multi colored beads for mine, with green floss. A mix of the greens and blue for my friend's with a hand dyed perle cotton in bright multi color. They came out VERY different.
Snaps for the closure


This is Mary's gift.

Check out the edge. Very different from my edge.
You don't notice the beads as much but the threads come forward.
I suppose it's because the beads match color tone of the background but the thread contrasts.

It's the opposite on mine.

Hmmmmm....


What I learned:
1.I love the spine Cindy built into her book. Done with pre cut pieces of interfacing instead of one long piece. Also she put in two lines of stitching along the sides of the spine's interfacing, like a card maker would.
2. The buttonhole stitch needs to be just as wide as the bead so there is no space between beads for a bold look. It would make a different effect to space them further apart, where you could see the outside thread on the stitch.

This is the inside, with two pages which fold and make four. Cindy places a line of felt along each page, which makes a fab. place for needles to hang out. She also marked each page for machine needle types and keeps one by the machine. Brilliant right?

3. I used thicker felt for my friend's book, and like that better.
4. Use fun fabrics even if it's for a small project
Lastly, I'd like to share versions made by bee-mates.
Remember, click on any picture to see the great details!!
 I think their color choices were outstanding, and they took a lot of care in their workmanship...
photo by Cynthia Y. I love her sandy color background, the blue crab, and the mix of beads around the edge. She used a subtle blue/tan background thread and added a label as hers is a gift. 

Photo by Tamie V. I like her gray background, beaded crab and seaweed, and her pinkish beads

Hope you enjoyed the show... 










Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Finding the Muse #8 Beads

Beads, glorious beads! My friend Cindy and I went to a bead show in MD over the weekend.

Shiny Sparkly! Every possible type and color of shiny sparkly bead. It was nearly overwhelming. We started in the lobby, where I purchase three small containers of unusual (to me) seed beads. 
 Then On to the Show! What a world of fun this place is. 
It became hard to choose among the millions of little possibilities here. I showed remarkable restraint however and did not get another kit since I have not made the cabachon setting kit I got last time. 
 Ideas flew around my mind like little birds! 
I had so much inspiration from shape, line, color and example that I wanted to say, if you are feeling uninspired... go to a bead show. 

This gorgeous pen is covered in beads. Wild large petal beads, the little circles are chain links in colors. 

I am inspired to renew my love of bead embroidery. These library books should help...


  I have done free form flat peyote before. I have made needlecases, jewelry, and lampwork beads. I often add beads to my quilts. 

I am now inspired to try encrusting an area of fabric with lines of beads. Stay tuned to see what comes! Meanwhile see what I bought at the show...
The entire purchase... (some of which was in that popcorn bag!) very restrained, no? A moon I can bead in place,
Cool retro style wooden beads in Waaay hip colors! Wonder what I'll do with those? 









diamond shapes, and half square triangle shapes... for fun... ya never know when they'll spur you on to create something....





weird pillow shaped beads
Yum, this is a sparkly crystal in a gold cage on a leather necklace. 
A bargain at $5. 


All that made me want to go through this bag of beads given to me at my last lecture...

Someone had given her an enormous Box of random beads. She pulled lots of strings for me, and I had a good time sorting them today. 



I suppose I should say something important about finding inspiration here but you get the point. Whatever makes your heart go pitter pat, likely has a trade show where you can go and be inspired to create your art. Inspiration is all around us. 

Other posts on beads are found under the label Beading Joy  HERE !

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cole's Capers grooming...again!?!

I look good, right?
Hi y'all! Cole here for this week's Cole's Capers. 
First of all, I survived. 
Yet another senseless grooming day. 
I mean what's with my peeps? What's the obsession with cleanliness and smell? 
I mean... take a look at that carnage! I felt like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz after the witch took him apart ("parts of me are over here, and parts of me are over there!!) 

Don't tell the peeps, but it does feel better to be clean and fluffy. Cooler too. But do they have to touch my feet so much? Sheesh!

After that ordeal, I requested room service, just to settle my jangled nerves...
Lee Anna here:
What a drama king... it isn't that bad. In fact, I don't know if Cole is scared of the tub or disgusted with it, but during a loud thunderstorm we caught him daring to climb in by himself to escape the noise! 

We said the storm must be scary to make the tub look like a safe haven! 

(No poodles were harmed in the writing of this post)