Tuesday, June 5, 2018

When I grow up, what do I want to be?

I often think ask myself (silently) what do I want to be when I grow up?  We have been asked this question since we were very little and I am certain the answers have changed dramatically over the years for most.  The dynamics and situations change and with that so do our dreams and ideas.  Not to mention our definition of 'grown up'. 

The paths I have taken have been good and the career I have  - and the achievements I have made along the way - have been positive.  The ideas I create in my head as possible projects, businesses, designs, articles - and so much more - do not ever stop coming.  They often get written down but rarely executed.  Why?  I don't know.  Timing?  Finances?  Stage of life?  

Just slightly over 50 I now find myself in a new stage of life with new dynamics on the horizon.  My youngest has graduated high school with plans to continue his education halfway across the country, while my older son has taken a job up North.  With no children to tend to - or even have a meal with - on a daily basis - that frees up some time.  What to do next?  I feel young, healthy and energetic with so many possibilities that it makes my seems to overwhelm my brain.   At times I don't quite feel completely grown up.

I have come to an exciting crossroads and am eager to explore the different paths that lie ahead.  How do I narrow my choices and find the courage to take a leap?  We shall see!  Perhaps my name might someday appear on a cover page or selvedge.  Maybe find a way to share my passion and belief that EVERYONE needs a creative outlet (and hobby).  

For now, I will sit down and stitch. When the ideas swirl and overwhelm, I can always soothe myself with my  own creative outlets.  Relax. Breathe.  Dream.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Finding My Tribe

We are over two months into 2018 and it has been seemingly non-stop since the ball dropped!  Being a shop owner in Boca Raton, Florida means seasonal residents and vacationers  join our year 'round friends for shopping, classes and quilting cammaraderie.  The community buzzes with festivals and fairs (and the traffic is horrendous)  No complaints, however! We are grateful for the business and the friends that we see during the Winter!

I have been fortunate to partake in some wonderful creative retreats and host a wonderful visiting instructor in these last two months.  The time spent at these events are so necessary to my soul, as it allows me to be with other members of my tribe - the people who share the same interests and philosophies and accept each other without judgement.   It may seem easy to find people who fit the bill - and maybe for some it is.  For me, however, it has been more challenging, which makes me every grateful for the opportunities.  

When we are young our friends are those who our parents put us together with to play.  We add neighbors and classmates and our friends are limited to the people with whom we have regular contact.  When we leave home as adults we have a wider range of friend choices but once again we often socialize with neighbors, parents of our kids' friends or coworkers.  As my kids got older and more independent I was not always drawn to these friends or aquaintances that didn't share similar interests.  I have grown to find that there are like minded people all over the country - and the world - and I had to venture out and cast a wider net to meet them.  

For the past three years I have attended Craft Napa in California - an art retreat and series of workshops and social opportunities that has brought together my tribe.  From the minute that I entered the hotel for the first Craft Napa I was welcomed into this creative world that was created for four wonderful days.  I made friends in the classes that I have kept and cherish.  I was accepted for the person who I am - inspired and encouraged and never judged.  Last month was no different, as I took some amazing classes once again.

Loved my Dollies, Monsters and Birds - Oh My! Class with Libby Williamson.  Amazing - and I LOVE my pig!!

Deborah Boschert was such an organized teacher.  I went home with several small quilts and finish one completely finished, mounted, signed and in plastic.  

A graffiti wall was supplied by Dharma Trading and available for all of us to make marks and art.  It turned out awesome by the end of the event!

I learned some new techniques with mediums I had not used before.  Jeanne Palmer Moore taught art quilting using inktense blocks, collage and free motion stitching.  Another finished project - and I was quite pleased (it's a silky chicken in case you wondered.)

I made new friends, reconnected with friends I made in years past.  It is an amazing feeling to travel solo to an event and never feel alone.  Can't wait for next January!!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Create Something Every Day - and a look at 2017

I have been reading peoples posts on social media and blogs about doing a daily or weekly challenge.  I like that idea but not sure that I can stick with one thing consistently.  As much as I would like to, I have way too many different things going on [all good, not complaining].  Contemplating this I went back to the beginning - this blog!  Not that anybody is reading it (yet!) but I called it Johanna Creates Something Everyday because I do.  Not finish everyday but I do something creative everyday - not unusual when you own a shop.  So I thought I would document what I do each day that is creative.

Before I dive into 2018, I took a little inventory of some of my UFOs from 2017 and will show a few (these are certainly not the only ones).  

I am still enjoying the rug hooking.  I did finish a couple of projects and have a couple that need finishing.  This is one that I had delayed starting because I don't like the base cloth that came in the kit.  I like the design by the talented Nancy Rink.  It will get finished.

Pokey Bolton, who coordinates Craft Napa, is putting together a fundraiser for pet rescue.  She is asked for 6"x6" pieces of art to be sold and I experimented with the piece above.  Traced from a photo of my pup, thread sketched and colored with Inktense pencils.  Not sure how to finish it.   

I started a mixed media fabric collage last winter using some rust dyed fabric for the background.  And there it stayed.

I am still working on my hand pieced, Lucy Boston inspired wall hanging.  I really do enjoy the hand work.  Love the precision, with I could do it faster.

I took a class with Bonnie Hunter in September and it was AWESOME!  She is one cool lady and superb instructor.  I started Jamestown Landing in the workshop and finished a block.  I have some more components pieces and lots of fabric gathered and cut.

Houston Quilt Festival in October had some awesome opportunities for me to see and hear some top rate quilters.  I crossed a Judith Baker Montano class off of my bucket list and enjoyed this crazy quilt type stitchery project immensely.  I don't think it needs too much more stitching - but will definitely need a finish.

I love to dye fabric at home.  This linen duster got a bit of shibori folding and was dyed a denim blue.  I hand painted the white that was left with a lime green dye.  It needs some stitching, patches, buttons - something.

Punch needle (with floss) has also been in my hoop this past year.  I finished the punching part but didn't get the backing on this holiday ornament in time for Christmas 2017.

Speaking of Christmas, this project has been off and on my hoop since 2014.  I make a little progress each year.  BOY is that wrinkled!!!  It is call Shiny and Bright and is a Crabapple Hill pattern that was first colored with crayons.  When I do finally finish it, I hope it won't be too much of a bear to block.  Those wrinkles!

And these are things that are NOT finished.  I had many that were.  So even if I don't finish a project but I work on one I considered that creating for that day.  Let's see what I can creatively accomplish in 2018.  Want to join me and share what you create every day?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Resolving to resolve

The final week of any year makes us all both reflect and plan.  What did we accomplish this year?  Where did we go?  What did we make.  We try not to get too down on ourselves if we did not meet the goals we set for ourselves.  Isn't that a cliche or saying - "resolutions are made to be broken"? (or is that 'rules'?)  

I try my best to set an attainable goal and not try to kid myself with resolving to exercise everyday or lose 10 pounds.  Instead I have set goals such as my 2016 'switching my bills over to online banking.'  Success!  I can't recall, however, if I set one for 2017.  Must not have set anything of any consequence or interest, as I don't recall neither a success nor a fail.  

So with 2018 looming in less than a week, do I make a resolution?  I have thought about taking an inventory of my creative UFOs to see what I can set out to finish in the coming year.  But then I remember that I prefer reasonable goals!!  [read:  I have wayyyy too many!].  I have thought about signing up for an online class but am afraid of not having the time to commit.  It is a thin line between creative work life and creative personal life (awww, poor me! lol)  I try to carve out time for personal creative projects but always feel a bit guilty that I should be working on projects that are shop samples or a guild challenge.  I have rug hooking projects I would like to play with;  art quilts under construction; stitchery to be stitched, hand-dyed wool wishing to be used, not to mention the unfinished blocks of the month and stacks of fabric, paper and found objects (upcycled junk robots, anyone?!)  

I think I will assess my creative plans for the year (maybe mix in some business plans and ideas) balance it with the family stuff and see what shakes out.  For now, I will resolve to make a resolution.  (or not)  BUT, my 2018 will kick off once again with a trip to Craft Napa to take some awesome workshops and hang out with amazing people!!  Can't wait!!  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Creative in the Kitchen

Because I can't cook well.
I have made food for dinner while my boys were growing up.  I endured snickers at the kitchen table and comments such as "we could capture Bin Laden if we drop mom's meatloaf over Iraq".  (This truly was said.)  I gave up being the head chef at home once all of my men were old enough safely navigate and have never looked back.  That being said, I am still asked on occasion to bring a dish.  My quilt guild's board hosted a potluck and I was tasked to bring a dish.  Ask me to write a speech and speak in front of hundreds? Piece of cake.  Bring a dish to share for dinner - I am at a loss. Thanks to my friend's internet post I came across these cuties.  Done!  Success!

Mozzarella balls, black olives, carrots and a scarf made out of prosciutto!  No cooking.  Super cuteness.  Not to mention creative .  You could do really cute displays with these - perhaps some ice bergs?  Happy holidays!

Friday, August 25, 2017

To Finish?

Always needing to keep my hands busy, I have been doing a lot of hand stitching.  I have collected many different variegated threads, pearls and flosses that I particularly enjoy working with.  Variegated adds interest to the texturing.  I brought Sue Spargo's collection of Wonderfil #8 Perle cotton into StitchCraft this year and love it!

I taught a Gelli Printing class this past week in the shop.  It was a fun morning of play!  While making samples I found myself stitching one of them.  Now covered in seed stitches, I am trying to decide what to do with it.  Do I finish it as a little piece or add it to something larger.   I have made many small fiber and stitch collages lately and they are starting to stack up.  I took a class with Liz Kettle at Quilt Market in May and she mounts them individually and sells them as small pieces of art.  
How would you finish this?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fiber Art Hooking

Being a shop own in the fabric and fiber arts world has given me the confidence to reach out to just about anyone I want to for the purposes of learning and furthering the art (not that everyone is as receptive and enthusiastic as me but most are!)  When my interest in rug hooking began to blossom and I couldn't find local resources I started expanding my circle.  Every person I spoke to was wonderful and my circle began to expand.  One new contact suggested I call Carol Feeney, an artist in Southwest Florida, thinking she may be a good resource.  I visited Carol's website and was enthralled by her use of color and texture.  Carol's art is by no means what one thinks as traditional rug hooking, which is why I decided we needed to call it Fiber Art Hooking (can I start a new trend?) 

Carol lives about two hours away and warmly agreed to meet with me and answer any questions.  I arrived with a list!  First she treated me to a show and tell.

Carol is a multi-faceted artist that has worked with different mediums over the years.  She has been hooking with wool for over 30, thanks to a needlepointing friend who introduced her.  Over time she raided her jewelry making stash to add beads and other elements for texture and dimension.  

She dyes her own wools in a myriad of colors that she is ever expanding to achieve the perfect shade. 

She designs her own patterns, which if you are not familiar with rug hooking need to be hand drawn on the backing.  It is a careful and sometimes time consuming process.  Carol's patterns often reflect her tropical surroundings and are created with intense color palettes in mind. (If you interested, her website is here.

My questions on how high to hook my loops, how to finish the edges, what the differences in cut sizes, etc. were graciously answered.  I was so inspired with all that I saw and learned and am so motivated to experiment with color and embellishments!

My choices in materials can be endless!

Like a kid in a candy store I couldn't go home empty handed.  I love my stack of hand dyed wool!

Many thanks to Carol for the time, patience and inspiration!  Time to get hookin' !!

Here is my latest finish...

 This is the GumDrop Tree pattern.  Quilling the flower centers and hand sewing them in was a new technique for me.  Waiting for wool yarn to whip the edges.  

Thanks for visiting!!