Saturday, February 27, 2010

More snow?!?!

Another beautiful snowfall, but between the shoveling, the boots and snowpants, and other inconveniences, it's getting tiresome! Unfortunately we also had a tree come down dangerously close to the roof and my bedroom window! A branch actually ripped the screen, but did not break the glass. We were lucky!

Finally, here is a shot of this sweet little violet I keep on the kitchen window sill. It began blooming a month ago and is so pretty and cheerful, with so little maintenance required! I wish everything in my life looked this beautiful and needed so little upkeep! Looking at it reminds me that spring is not far away and in another month we will begin to see some bulbs showing outdoors...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Look what I made!

It's another pendant for the swap through Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. It came together quickly and I'll be able to mail the postcard (I decided to swap the Chinese fortune one) and pendant together (hope I can get to the post office soon, with all the snow expected!). I used the leftover scraps from the paper cloth again, as well as some yarn, a seashell, and glass beads. I wrapped it in heavy copper wire which I bent at the top to create the loop, and zigzag stitched over the edges. It's cute! This is something I might actually wear - hope whoever gets it likes it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Affirmations Postcard Swap

I created these two 4x6 postcards for the "Pass it on: Mail Art Affirmations" swap posted in a recent issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. I'll probably send only one, but which one? I created the one on the top first. The saying is a proverb I read recently, but I'm not sure it fits the rules: "a favorite art-related affirmation, quote, or positive message." Is it art related? Should I send that one or the Chinese fortune one? Anyone out there have an opinion?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another fun workshop!

Once again, I had the opportunity to spend a day in the studio with Jane Davila learning how to make thread sketches! Here is a view of her studio set up with worktables spread with fun supplies, mainly inks to use after the thread sketching to create a watercolor effect.

Below is my work area and some of the little sketches in progress.

Here is a closer view of some my smaller pieces. Jane recommends going over your sketch twice, which gives your piece the look of a real sketch. I did that with the leaf and tree and really like the effect. Also, it gives you the chance to make little corrections. I was a little apprehensive about my abilities to sketch with free-motion stitching, but starting small and simple helped boost my confidence for bigger pieces.

My final piece of the day was this sketch of daffodils. Here are a detail shot and a shot of the whole piece. I started out wanting to fill up the fabric with just one clump of flowers (the center clump) but made them too small. So I added the clump in the foreground next, and then went around to add the more distant clump. I generally like the outcome; it does look like a watercolor painting, but my lines are a little shaky, like it was done by a child or I drew it with my non-dominant hand. Kind of charming, I guess. And not bad for a beginner. What fun! A new technique to practice! I even splurged and bought myself some inks and Jane's latest book, Surface Design Essentials.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope wherever you are and whoever you are with, you are celebrating love today!
I sewed this Valentine's Day banner a few years back because we have this nice large space to display things and it is the first thing people see upon entering the house. I enjoyed using a variety of fabrics, prints and solids, a mix of sheens and embellishments. The gold ribbons were wired, though, which makes it difficult to get the darn thing to lay flat against the wall! But it's cheerful and warm and it's so nice to see such a vibrant color after all the grays of a long winter!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day craft

Here is the completed Valentine's Day craft I mentioned yesterday. It is rare that I start and finish a project all in one day, even if it is a "quick" postcard or craft. As you can see from the photo, I have this decorative mantle shelf on the wall in the dining area and I try to change the display items seasonally. I stitched up the little puffy heart garland to hang here. I switched out the white candles for red, and now suddenly it's Valentine's Day! All it needs is some red roses, what do you think?

Here are some closer views. The hearts are about 3 or 4 inches in width and height. I was considering making some red, white and pink paper-cloth, but found so much nice fabric in my stash leftover from other Valentine's projects, that I decided to stick to just fabric, rick-rack, ribbons and lace. I'm happy with the results.

And here is the sunrise this morning, much brighter compared to yesterday. We have a 2-hour school delay, so I have enough time to shovel the driveway again, make lunches, and shower before I have to get to work for an afternoon class.

And here is one more photo from yesterday. I really like this one and wanted to include it, but didn't realize I'd left it out until the post was almost finished, and with this blog program, you don't have the ability to move a photo; they all go to the top.

Doesn't this one look kind of dreamy and quiet?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day!

As you can see, Cassie loves snow as much as any child and we were up and out before sunrise this morning, despite the fact that all area schools (and even the library!) are closed today. She was extremely playful and frolicsome and I couldn't resist venturing out with her and my camera as daybreak dawned.

Snow days have become the only true "days off" now, with weekends, holidays, and vacations being so crowded with activities: shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, rushing. Everyone I spoke to was looking forward to a day when you are forced to stay indoors and unwind; maybe read, write, draw, watch a little TV, bake, really PLAY without worrying about TIME. I still have a list of things I'd like to accomplish (and unfortunately that includes shoveling the driveway!) and the girls have school projects that need to be worked on, but I hope this will be a FUN and frolicsome day for all of us! I may take a break from my more serious projects (I finished the bedskirt for our bedroom makeover and the January quilt is coming along) to work on a fun Valentine's Day decoration. Can't wait to get started! But first, some more views of the world from where I live...

Here is the view of our backyard before sunrise. In this shot, the flash went off. Notice the difference in the next shot, taken without a flash.

Here is a spruce tree near the lake, again, this time with the flash lighting up the falling snow.

A similar shot without the flash.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

The mouse isn't working on our iMac, so I'm blogging from my laptop. I don't have the USB cable hooked up here, so I can't add any new photos at the moment. So I thought I'd give a brief review of Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Being that I work in the Youth Services department of my local public library, I like to keep up with all the latest publications, if I can. Also, having three girls ages 9-13, I'm always looking for books to recommend to them. I often find myself wanting to recommend juvenile or young adult fiction to other adults as well, as I think it is usually better written and has more to say than many novels written for adults. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is one such book. It has the timeless, dreamy quality of a fairy tale, with characters like the Old Man of the Moon, the powerful, proud and fierce Magistrate Tiger, a talking goldfish, a friendly dragon, and the protagonist, Minli who has "shining eyes always eager for adventure." Minli does go on a great adventure from the dull, poor village near Fruitless Mountain, through forests and across rivers and cities to ask the Old Man of the Moon a question. Both Minli and her mother (who remains at home, missing her) learn a great deal about happiness and thankfulness and the book's message is very valid and accessible to readers of all ages. Grace Lin's writing style is graceful, lyrical, gentle, and touching, making the reader's journey thoroughly enjoyable. If you are looking for a book that will make you feel good from beginning to end, pick it up. You'll be thankful that you did!