Monday, November 29, 2010

Out with the old...

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving Day weekend! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, mainly because we make lists of what we're thankful for instead of what we wish for, but also because of all the delicious food! I was able to spend the weekend with my parents, my sisters and their families, and my own family. Altogether there were 8 adults, 5 children and 3 dogs! Cassie took her first long car trip and did great! Everyone was very impressed with how mellow she was while my 2-year-old nephew tugged at her ears and tail. She really is very good natured.

So now that my favorite holiday is over, it's time to start making the lists and checking them twice (or 3 or 4 times!). Always on my list for the first week of advent is putting some lights and decorations on the outside of the house. So here is our new wreath! It was nearly torn apart by my very good natured dog who jumped into the back of the car and came out with it in her mouth! But I was able to get it away from her without any damage and get it safely on the door out of her reach.

Here is the door with the pine roping and lights around the frame and down the railing of our front walkway. Now all we need is a little snow!

Speaking of snow, here is a shot from Thanksgiving Day! We were in eastern Pennsylvania. It was cold and wet falling, and we weren't really dressed for it, but it sure looked pretty! It was all gone by that evening. There's something magical about a little dusting of snow - it just transforms an ordinary scene into a fairyland.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snowy bookmarks

Even though I already dropped off my bookmarks at the arts council, I keep making more! Maybe these can be given to friends and family for Christmas. I decided to take a step back to working with only fabric for these - no paper or glueing involved. I didn't even use fusible webbing - just layered wavy strips of various white and sheer fabrics in horizontal lines and stitched them all down. The one on the left shows the resulting plain strip. On the next one, I added a stitched tree and a cardinal and hearts from the red paper-cloth. On the third, the tree was made of three pieces of 4-ply yarn held down with free-motion stitching. I also added a red paper-cloth bird. With this technique, there is not as much opportunity to add stamping or writing, since most of it is not natural fibers and won't take the inks well. But maybe they don't need anything more. They do take longer to make than the ones I made last week; they're really individualized and made one at a time.

After I cut those three strips, I realized I had a piece that was just the right size for a sketchbook page. I stitched on another yarn tree and added the cardinal. While I was at it, I trimmed down all the other sketchbook pages to the exact size and restitched the cut edges. In looking through them all, I realized they might correspond to the months of the year. I would have to make another winter page for February, as well as pages for December and September (this one would be the first page in the book - January). I still have almost two months before this needs to be in the mail, so it's quite possible I could complete those. I also realized I really like the few that have words on them. I'm considering writing short poems to go with more of them and adding them onto the page somehow. I also need to decorate the cover and write an artist statement to be included in the book. I think I'm going to attach them to the cover by adding two grommets at the top of each page and putting two rings through them all. The book could still be folded shut and is the same size as the original journal, only thicker. You would open it and then turn the pages up, rather than right to left. I hope that works!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm in!

It's hard to believe it's the middle of the month already and it's been a week since my last post. Time is just speeding by, as I attempt to make the most of every hour of every day getting ready for the upcoming holidays, especially since now the Putnam Arts Council will be selling some of my creations at their annual holiday sale! I spent a lot of time putting together more bookmarks and lavender sachets, which need to be dropped off this week. I wanted everything to look professional, so I made up a sign to go with the bookmarks, and I tagged each sachet with my name and contact information (hey, you never know!). So I'm dropping off 15 sachets and 18 bookmarks. I can always make more bookmarks if all of these sell, but I've used up this season's supply of lavender, so that's it for the sachets. If they don't all sell, I'll give some away as gifts. The smell is just divine.

My work area was looking a little chaotic there for a while, with all the many steps to the many projects strewn all over my work table, but since I cleaned up all the lavender fabric, it's been looking a little better, so today I decided to take a break from bookmarks and do another sketchbook page. I got the idea for this way back in July, when I would pass this lovely mimosa tree on my evening walks with Cassie and could smell the scent of the blossoms as I walked by. I wrote the little haiku and took a few photos, which I printed on a laser printer at work and transferred to fabric using the CitraSolv. I like the way they transferred - well enough to tell what they are, but slightly imperfect looking. These were three separate photos that I printed, cut out, and transferred. Then I colored in the background with Inktense pencils, stitched on the mimosa flowers, and stamped on the words. I like it! Now I have 7 or 8 pages for the sketchbook. I wanted to have at least 10, so I hope to make 2 or 3 more, plus a cover, by early January. With the holidays coming up, I hope I can keep my momentum going!

Monday, November 8, 2010


This morning we were surprised by a little unexpected winter weather! The forecast did call for chance of snow showers, but I wasn't expecting it to actually collect on some of the colder surfaces. Our mums look like they wish they had flown south with the robins! We do occasionally get snow before Thanksgiving, sometimes even before Halloween, so it's not completely unheard of.
Guess I'd better get these leaves raked up soon! Maybe it'll warm up a little next weekend...

Since it was such lousy weather, Cassie spent the day indoors. Rough life!

This weekend I didn't get to the raking because I spent both days chauffeuring my oldest daughter to two cheerleading competitions. She joined cheerleading only last year, but her team has never even placed in any of the competitions they've taken part in. Here is a shot of her team yesterday. Right before this, her "flyer," the girl they are holding up, fell and bumped Sarah's nose on the way down. Her nose started bleeding, but she didn't realize it and just continued until the routine was finished. She cleaned herself up afterwards (it really wasn't that bad) and was rewarded for her perseverance.
Their team finally placed! Here they are celebrating with their third place trophy. Sarah was chosen by the coach to go up and accept it, being she was such a trooper during the routine. She was thrilled, as was the whole team for finally getting some recognition for all their hard work since August. Did you know cheerleading has one of the highest injury rates among high school sports?

Since I only worked a half day today, I was able to spend the cold afternoon hours doing some creative work. Here are six more bookmarks I've finished, so now I have more than a dozen. I decided to make some of them in holiday colors, and some in more everyday colors, so potential customers will have a variety to choose from. I also opted to simply print my contact information like a return address label, cut them up, and glue them to the back. I think it's sufficient. I haven't heard from the Art Council yet, but I still have a few cards I haven't played... I'd really like to give these a chance!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holiday Bookmarks

This cold weather has got me thinking about the upcoming holidays, so I've been playing around and making bookmarks in holiday colors. As you can see, the paper-cloth was in shades of red this time, stamped with copperish gold and dark green. I cut it into strips and added a little more stamping, then placed it on a stiff glittery felt and free-motion stitched some designs and around the edges. The town arts council (of which I'm a member - not very active, but still a member) has a holiday sale every year. You have to be invited to contribute artsy things to sell, but I'm thinking maybe I'll contact someone and see if these could be included. Of course, the arts center takes a cut, so I'll have to price them accordingly, but maybe I should make a dozen or so and take them over there... I also need to find a professional looking and efficient way of labeling the back with my contact information. I'm investigating options now - anyone got any ideas?

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Over But the Shouting...

Another Halloween has come and gone. Here are the pumpkins the girls carved this weekend. They looked quite cheerfully spooky on our doorstep last night.

Along with the celebrations and candy eating, we were busy painting... that's right, the bathroom is finally finished! Ta-dah!

Here is the(almost) completed look, with new towel hooks and lighting installed. The mirror really makes the room look brighter and larger, and has lots of storage space for all the girls' bathroom necessities. They each have one mirror panel and a drawer, with one extra drawer for assorted things. Let's hope we are able to keep it clean and organized (that seems to be my mission in life - getting it all clean and organized! I'm fighting entropy and sometimes I wonder why I even bother!)

But we're very happy with the results, and after we put on the drawer hardware and hang some art, it will be absolutely and completely done! For comparison, check out the before picture by clicking here. As you can see, we left the border of printed leaves I did when we first moved in, but the floor, mirror, toilet, area rugs, countertop with double sink, and vanity are all new. Yay!