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!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I'm a Hooker

Rug hooking has made it's way into my creative space and let me say, I am hooked!  I was at a quilt show years ago and was intrigued by the booth that had rug hooking kits and supplies.  The stacks of wool were like a magnet that kept pulling me back to the display.  Before I left that day I decided to choose a simple pattern and hook.  I chose some wool that the shop owner cut into strips with a special cutter.  I went home with a large, oblong plastic bag filled with layers of quarter inch wool pieces.  To me it looked like a giant bag of candy!  And then it sat for years, being picked up and put down and admired like that delicious bag of candy that a kid wants to save.

This past winter I took the kit on our family vacation to Montana.  Knowing I was going to be in a cabin for extended periods of time I decided I would teach myself to hook.  So I did - and  loved it.  I finished that project and have subsequently ordered four more kits from various suppliers, joined an online group and reached out to anyone that I could find that hooked in South Florida. [Not many, but if you exist, I hope to find you!]

I need to learn how to properly finish the projects. Hopefully some lessons are in my future!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Taking Notes and Making Samples

I asked my teenage son (who is a film maker and musician) why he takes such long showers.  His response was that he gets his best ideas in the shower.  Admittedly, I agree with him!  I have been known to jot down ideas of things I want to do, say or make on a notepad on my bathroom counter. Many times they are topics I want to blog about.  Unfortunately they don't make it off that pad.  There is a lot I want to write and share with the world - finding the time (and motivation) to type it out is one of my hurdles.  Another hurdle is visuals.  I would guess that there are facts that state that photos on a blog or article are necessary for it to be read.  On my to-do list is learn some basic Photo shop, or at the least learn how to take and edit decent photos on my phone.

Ideas swirl in my head like a cyclone.  Opinions and ideas on the state of my industry (quilting and sewing), tutorials I would like to share and liberating opinions of being a women over 50.  [Heck, I could be the next Pioneer Woman - the Suburban Woman.  I can tick so many boxes: wife of a man going through a just-past-mid-life career change who already had a heart attack, mother of 2, one having an auto-immune disease, the other with anxiety, breast cancer survivor, small business owner, crafter, traveler.  I just can't cook anything my family will eat. They would never eat anything Pioneer Woman cooks.  Love her, though.  We share having basset hounds.)

I have the pleasure of meeting so many interesting and creative people in the world in which I work  I love it.  Artists and crafters make the world so colorful, meaningful, colorful and authentic.  It would be nice to share those stories and experiences.  But I digress.  More importantly - what am I creating lately?

Quilt shop samples, of course!  A Trip Around the World using a pattern from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville.  It is a pattern I enjoy making because I get to rip out seems that are not due to mistakes!

Using a Tabby Road by Tula Pink layer cake and a new template from Dash Quilting I created this quilt.  Fun and easy to make.

In my next post I will tell you about my newest creative obsession.  What are YOU working on?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Practicing What I Preach

Fourteen fifth graders came to my shop to learn a bit of fashion sewing, most trying a machine for the first time.  I began by talking about finding inspiration and keeping a journal of ideas, images, colors and ideas.  It was well received (as was the project of making a tote bag, which everyone finished). Wouldn't it be nice if I practiced what I preach?!  I have journals and try to sketch or draw and do keep my ideas in writing, but no practice has been achieved.  I was hoping I would return from my adventures at Craft Napa with a renewed sense of creative excitement that would keep the spark lit for daily creative practice.

It was such a great trip, beginning with an on-time flight despite unusually heavy rains.  I was reunited with friends I had met the previous year and made new ones.  Each class and instructor was wonderful!  I returned with lots of ideas, new skills and components to create more!  But then it was back to work - and paper work, and getting my son ready to study abroad, and bookkeeping.  I haven't touch my journal - but I think about it.  I haven't stitched my free motion collage - but I think about it.  I haven't finished the paintings I started or tried the wood blocks that I bought - but I think about it.  

I have the knowledge, the tools, the inspiration.  I just have to find the motivation and time.  It'll come eventually, don't you think?