Friday, August 22, 2014

MAKING CLOUDS

It's always fascinating when two separate, but otherwise unrelated 'things' come together in time to influence and inspire new work.  I blogged here about finding a white feather on my morning walk and how it reminded me how much I enjoyed beading feathers.

A few days later I read a passage in a American Indian mystery that described their belief that white feathers are 'kisses from heaven' or 'angels wings'. The piece I'd been working on now had an additional direction. 
I was so anxious and driven to complete the piece that I hurried it a bit too much.  I even went so far as to attach the embellished felted wool to fabric which was museum wrapped onto a wood frame.  In the back of my mind....I kept hearing a little voice saying.....no, no....it's missing something......

Yup.....clouds....it needed clouds BUT how on earth am I going to add that detail at this stage??  And what material could I use?  Believe me when I tell you I tried EVERYTHING....gauze, sheers, hand embroidery, curly wool roving, batting.  I even experimented with paint on some spare background fabric.
Finally, I concluded that wool roving would work best.  It took numerous attempts to figure it out.  Fusible web was one of the failures....if it melted enough to stay secure on the wool....the fibers appeared too flat, if less than fully fused, it peeled away too easily.
Hand stitching is always my preference, rather than gluing....but there are times when its necessary.  One trick I use is to dilute Fabric-Tac with mineral spirits.....so it's less.....well....I guess I'd say....less gooky.
In order to give the wool roving a bit more body so it wouldn't collapse, I worked a small amount (wet) with my fingers. It's not felted, or even pre-felted.....rather the friction was just enough to keep the fibers gently stuck together. 

Using a bamboo skewer.....dots of glue were placed on the background....a tweezer helped guide the roving in place....  Now it is complete!

A KISS FROM HEAVEN  8" X 10"
Artist hand-dyed felted wool, hand embroidered, & bead embellished.  
Museum wrapped with batik fabric on wood frame.

Check out what others have been up to this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, and Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

CREDIT CARD CASE - THE FINISHING TOUCH

YUP....you really can't make just one.....the beaded edging is the perfect finish....and a nice evening of stitching to finish this piece!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

YOU CAN'T MAKE JUST ONE!

A friend was in need of a little "I care about you" surprise....so the credit card case I just completed fit that need perfectly. Oh ya, I guess that means I should make another one!
 As is my practice, to act as a stabilizer, Pellon's lightweight non-fusible interfacing has been stitched to the back of a piece of 80/20 National Non-Woven's Woolfelt.  The basting lines indicate the cutting line for the case.

A flat mirror is captured with beadwork....spiraling out to add a bit more interest and texture.
A freezer paper template will guide me when cutting the lining section, as well as the backing.  These three layers will be secured with basting during the final step of beading the edges together.

I'm STILL shredding nearly 10 years of records, receipts, files.......so there's been little to do much creating except these small, yet rewarding projects.

Monday, August 18, 2014

CREDIT CARD CASES

The collapse of the storage wall system in the walk in closet used for my business can't be ignored anymore.  As long as half of the contents are now cluttering up the guest room, it's time to get repairs done.  And that means disposing of A LOT!

Piles of paperwork....old business, bank, credit card records are slowly being shredded.  (A time consuming but necessary task in this day and age!) 

There were no takers on my wearable giveaway offer, so I've begun cutting them apart.  Once I got into it.....the task wasn't as emotional as I thought it would be.  So...I expect this will take up most of my week.....creative projects are on hold till this mess is gone and I'll have gained a new closet!

 But, idle hands don't belong to me.....so I began to make a credit card case from commercially felted wool (National Nonwoven's product - Woolfelt 80/20 blend). Using the even count Peyote stitch around a mirror made for relaxing evening stitching.
Years ago I began developing beading techniques specifically to embellish the edges or binding areas of quilts.  They provide such a nice frame and finishing touch.  In this case....the beads are also part of the construction.....holding the  layers of woolfelt together.

Now I can separate the ever growing selection of cards into ones used frequently, such as credit or grocery loyalty cards, and those used less often like my library card.

Perhaps you might want to use your favorite technique and make one yourself?!?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

BLUEGRASS AT ITS BEST


I love Bluegrass music.....it makes me so happy! Fortunately, we have an abundance of opportunities to hear great groups right in our backyard.  The group, Dailey & Vincent continue to outshine them all.  Professional in every way and yet in the sold out concert I just attended....I'm sure every person in the 1,500 strong audience thought they came just to play and interact personally with them.

I took a short toe tapping video to share with you but for the life of me I can't upload it to blogger.  So....please treat yourself.....click here....and then click on the video link directly below the header on the right side to hear what the fuss is all about.   



Saturday, August 16, 2014

ASHEVILLE MODERN QUILT GUILD

Our PTA Fiber group held their August meeting with a trek to downtown Asheville to view an exhibit, enjoy lunch, and some gallery strolling.

The Asheville Modern Quilt Guild has an exhibit hanging at HandMade in America through Aug. 19, 2014.  It was such a pleasure to view their work.  I hope you'll enjoy them too.
 Don't Fall Behind by Miriam Coffey
 For Gary by Allison Simpkins
 Step one Step Away by Emily Coffey
 Detail
 Insta-Ville by Amy Anderson
 This piece was made by Connie Brown, who also belongs to our fiber group.  It's one of my favorites of hers...and it's so personal because Connie is a bee keeper.
 Detail - talk about clever.....she achieved the honey comb designs by 'stenciling' with a show tread.
Summer Spinners by Erica Kilgo

Friday, August 15, 2014

SIGHTSEEING

Before I end the virtual vacation......here's a few more views of interest in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
This 400 foot, 11 foot diameter spectacle can swell a person's pride for our country and most of all for our veterans.  It's the Acuity Flagpole....read more about it here. A fiber fact.....each star is 3 feet high and each stripe is 4.5 feet wide.


 The stunningly beautiful Lake Michigan shore.  This city has done a remarkable job of revitalizing their lakefront.
 Fishing was always a big part of both recreation and industry when I grew up.....it's good to see it's survived.
One of my favorite walks is along the lake shore and out to the lighthouse.  It's far side safer now than when I was a kid stumbling over broken and unsteady rocks!

Now, back to stitching.....

Thursday, August 14, 2014

ROAD AMERICA - CLOSE UP

Arriving super early to the track allows one to have unobstructed views of the pits and other behind the scene areas.
 Each car generates numerous semi loads of equipment for their team.  This is just one section, for one team.....where about 6+ close circuit TVs are located.
Shortly, this whole lane will be filled with spectators....if you look closely you may be able to make out the noses of dozens of semi trucks, parked less than a foot apart.  Each one has been detailed after arriving....you won't find any dead bugs on them!
 Some teams run more than one car......but each car has one or more 'bodies'...replacement parts for the inevitable.  I can't recall another race weekend that had more wrecks than this one. (Thankfully, no serious injuries) The field of cars was large and there was a wide variety of 'classes'.  Slower cars racing with super fast ones....makes for exciting racing for the fans.
 The Porsche team uses Michelin tires......each and every tire is checked in to each team AND each and every tire has to be returned to Michelin.  Their rep. explained to club members that was done to help retain their product's secrets.
 Not everyone was interested in the races.....
I probably took 30 pictures, trying to get a full view of at least one car.....they go soooooo fasssst.....this is the best of the bunch.  


One more post and then back to stitching.......

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

GETAWAY = FOOD

Obviously, since I haven't posted in several days, you probably guessed I couldn't figure out how to do it via my phone.  Instead you'll be joining me on a virtual mini vacation.  

Any time we head to Wisconsin, I know I'm in for a unhealthy food fest...of course I could be more selective in my choices, but that never seems to happen.
This concrete chocolate malt from Culver's tops my yearning list.  The Culver's franchise is slowly making its way south.  So, now we don't have to wait until we get to Indiana to get or fix.....there's one in Richmond, KY.....a mere 4 hrs. from home. 
 I live on cheese, brats, and of course ice cream....after all, Wisconsin is the Dairy State.  Loved this descriptive sign in one our haunts in Sheboygan, WI.
Honestly, I debated whether I should share this with you.....so consider this your laugh for the day.  The back story:  We attend a number of car races throughout the year.....but the one that has THE BEST food is Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.  We got there sooooo early one morning that there wasn't even a line at our favorite food stand....run by Saint John the Baptist Church as a fund raiser.  Every year, each and every day we are at this track, we indulge by having a very large ice cream cookie sandwich (did I mention it was LARGE...a two fister).  There's no pretending I won't have one, so this day I decided to get it over with so I could begin burning off the calories.....it's 9:00 AM!!!!

Surely, if I stayed another couple of days, I'd look just like Mr. Bib....the Michelin mascot.  It was a lucky day for me.....our club had a drawing for a set of tires......and despite the odds since the crowd attending was so large....my name got drawn.  This may not seem like a big deal....but if any of you have ever had to pay for high performance tires for a sports car...you'll know why I say I was so lucky!
Thankfully, there's a hospitality tent hosted by our car club that we can use to get out of the sun.  I snapped this picture on another very early arrival day.  'The husband' is quite  enthusiastic about these events.....me??  .....except for the food, not so much!
However, it's a beautiful location for a race.  This is road racing, a 4 mile road track....not an oval.  Many attendees camp, but many others like us are just day trippers.  I grew up in this area so it's a 'coming home' trip for me.

Yup....there's more to come tomorrow.....though you can hit delete if it doesn't interest you....I truly won't be offended!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

INFLUENCES THAT SHAPE NEW WORK

August is usually considered the dog days of summer.....but unlike much of the country, we've had a wonderfully cool summer.  I know, I know....we live in the mountains so our daytime temps. are always cooler anyway.....but waking up to 49 degrees the other day was actually very unusual.
 ......And it feels more like autumn days.....not just the temperature either.  I've been noticing signs of fall for a week or two.  Look.....acorns are already scattered on the ground!
But unlike when it IS FALL......most are still green with their caps attached.
 Insect eaten leaves inspire intricate designs.
AND....turkey feathers, actually lots of them.  Again it's unusual to find so many at this time of the year.  I sure hope these items are not signs of an early winter.  However for now, I'll just enjoy Mother Nature at her finest.
 In the meantime, I got a hankering to recreate a small white feather I found.  Actually, I had been admiring the masterpiece of my cyber friend Robbie who has just completed a stunning beaded fall leaf. Click on her name to see this beauty for yourself.  

I've beaded many feathers before and still very much enjoy the process. It's stitched on a piece of my hand-dyed felted wool, using a simple 3 and sometimes 4 bead embroidery stitch.
The feather is now complete...with some additional bead stacking to add texture at the lower end.  Using some beautiful hand-dyed embroidery thread, gifted to me by Jill aka The Quilt Rat, I'm stitching some swirls in the background to add a bit more interest.

I keep wanting to start a 'big' project....even have the subject whispering to me....but these smaller pieces keep calling too. My fall will be super busy with my final 4 teaching trips so perhaps for now......the whispers will be ignored...but not forgotten.

Unless I can figure out how to blog from my phone......I will probably be silent for a few days......where is a teenager when you need one??