Fun in Athens, Ga.

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This is going on at my house.

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Refinishing the floors. Steve is in charge and the dogs and I ran away to Athens to play.

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My son-in-law has turned in to a sculptor. He had work commitments on Sapelo Island and didn’t run the Boston Marathon this year. We are thankful to his job.

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Across the road from their home is a large wooded area with a great creek. Zachary took me over to tromp around. Yes, I sort of fell in the creek. Rock to rock jumping doesn’t seem to be a skill I possess. Anyway, I was transfixed. It is another world like Narnia or a safe Oz. Hogwarts may be back there. We found a Lenten Rose I want to liberate for Erica.

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I brought basket making materials to play with. The trip to Arrowmont really made me want to make baskets again.

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I made this bird feeder inspired by one in Making the New Baskets: Alternative Materials/Simple Techniques byJane LaFerla (Morrison Branch Library). I used a bit of vine we found in the woods.

We went back to the woods yesterday.

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Erica says I harvested some poison ivy. We researched for my next excursion. Evidently if you are going to harvest in the woods, you need more knowledge than I have. I don’t think I am allergic to it. We will see.

Go make something
More later–

Categories: FOs | 2 Comments

Teaching at Arrowmont

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We spent the weekend in Gatlinburg, TN, where I taught a three day class on fitting your body. The event was the Southeastern Fiber Forum Biennial Conference, and it was wonderful. The facility is perfect for an ultra-casual, get your hands on fiber playdate with your tribe.

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Dyeing, spinning, weaving (even a bench), and this year—a knitter. (People kept saying to me, “oh, you’re the knitter.)” I think I’m a trendsetter. I wish I had pictures from other classrooms for you, but they kept me so busy I just didn’t get them. Well, you’ll just have to go in 2015.

I have my friend Jan Smiley who created of the Carolina Fiber Frolic for this invitation to teach. As with the Frolic, I met fantastic, interesting people. All skill levels were there learning from instructors and each other. I know my students taught me some cool things about sewn garments.

Steve went along and had three days to wander on his own which he likes. He found an 18th century ish cabin that showed signs of rehab and an old miniature golf course that didn’t. Both entertained him. The kitschy tourist town of Gatlinburg overwhelmed him. Not at all his cup of tea. He kept talking about how many candy stores there were on one street. But check out this evening sky.
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But Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is a different world. It is right in the center of town, but once you turn into the drive, all other words fall away. Very natural, earthy, handmade. I mean the crafts are handmade.
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My classroom was the pottery studio. The high shelves around three walls were a feast for the eye. I saw the tiles surrounding the entry doors and knew exactly what I wanted around my front door.
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I also watched a video that included bits from a basketry class which used cotton rag paper painted with acrylics and cut into strips. The book store had a suitable paper and that is a future project.

One of the weaving instructors, Susan Levielle, used potholder looms to weave samples of different patterns. Easy to warp, fast to produce. Must try it. Mug rugs? Blanket squares? Bath cloths? Kid project? Clever, I thought.

The very best thing about a fiber conference is the inspiration, both in ideas and in motivation.
Wish you all had been there with me.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | 5 Comments

New work and catching up

I feel a bit like a groundhog just emerging from her hole. I haven’t any profound thoughts to share. I’ve spent the winter making stuff, drawing, painting, holding dogs, and laughing with grandsons. Edna is so much better and loves her new apartment. Steve is well and eagerly awaiting warm weather so he can ride his bike outside instead of in the basement. I have a bum knee, but I am ignoring it.

I’m getting ready for a weekend workshop that I am teaching at the Southeastern Fiber Forum which will hold their biennial meeting at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, TN. This will be my first visit to Arrowmont. I can’t wait to see the galleries and facilities. I hope to see some of my spinning and knitting friends from the Carolina Fiber Frolic.

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This is my current knitting project. It is half of my swing knit ruana. Renate taught a few of us the basics of swing knitting at our Weds, morning knit group at Charlotte Yarn. Now I am playing to see what I can do. I’m using Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool, several colors of my all time favorite Debbie Bliss Cathay, and some random bits of sock yarn and ribbon. I’m not knitting a lot, but I am enjoying it when I do.

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Thanks to a friend who entertains more than I do–doesn’t everyone?–I have a big bag of wine corks. This is my first cork creation. It is a memo board, about 40 inches, to hand on a long skinny wall. I just hot glued the corks on a one inch strip of wood, trying to get a sort of wavy effect.

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This is my tenth in a series of 20 owls I plan to paint. Each one is a bit better than the last usually. By number twenty, I expect the bird to fly off the paper and feed on my backyard chipmunks. This one seems to be awaiting a thunderstorm, but I felt quite cheery working on him this morning.

Some other recent work is below. I do hope you are healthy, happy, and making stuff.

More later–

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Categories: Personal thoughts | 3 Comments

Old age advice and a little art

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Busy, busy, gloriously busy! This quote so describes my brain.

Steve’s mom took a serious fall, but she is better than ever now. It was during a power outage and the Merrywood staff on duty that night went from apartment to apartment just to check on everyone. They called for an ambulance, could not reach us (some kind of phone snafu), and took her to CMC where she got great care.

Next morning we were called and Steve went immediately. He met her doctor and the doctor’s team of residents. Guess who? My knitting/spinning buddy Samantha!! She took care of Edna and was able to teach us a bunch about needs we had not been aware of. Edna doesn’t want to be a burden. That makes it hard for us to know what she needs. She won’t ask!!!

When I get older, I am going to be a bit of a burden. I am going to share problems and needs with my kids. Believe me, that will be a lesser burden in the long run. It won’t involve them feeling guilty. Do consider this!!

Edna has moved into an apartment in the assisted living area. She still has her independence, her privacy, and her personal belongings around her. She has help when she needs it, and they pamper her while making sure she gets plenty of opportunity to play. Meghan and I have started some redecorating for her and we edited her closet. Pitched a bunch of clothes that were too big or too worn or just didn’t flatter her. Now we are taking her shopping for new stuff.

I am visiting more often and taking the dogs who are a hit with everyone there.

Edna is happier than she has been in years. She is such a sweet person and deserves a good life. She is 94, but that is young in her family. Her mom made 102.

Thank you Dr. Dreyer and thank your wonderful team for putting us on this path.

Now, some pics of my recent work. I’m learning more and more which keeps me happy, healthy, and feeling young.

From my series of owl drawings

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From my Watercolor and Sketching-Journal Style class with Jane Lafazio

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I hope you are making something that keeps you happy, too.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Wingspan, Deux

Felicia's front
Finally, a knitting project finished. This took a long time because I chose the yarn three times. It had to be perfect. It was for a very special person.

Felicia is my doctor’s secretary. She is always cheerful, even when you ask her to send mega documents to your insurance provider who isn’t sure you need all your medications—every year! My 94 year old mother-in-law is also a patient. If she talks to my mother-in-law and doesn’t think she sounds right, Felicia tracks us down so we can check on her. When we go away on vacation, Felicia calls Steve’s mom just to check on her. Where do you find that kind of caring in this world of corporate medicine?

When you do find it, you cherish it.

Here’s the back of the shawl.Felicia's back

She loved it.

More later

Categories: FOs, Personal thoughts | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Transferring My Photocopies to Cloth

Today I played with some of my photos–laser printer copies of my photos–and attempted to transfer the images to cloth.  This has great possibilities.

booksImage Transfer Workshop: Mixed-Media Techniques for Successful Transfers  By Darlene Olivia McElroy

This is the source of the information that led to today’s experiments.  I used digital photos of my own that were printed on plain paper with a laser printer.  Laser printer is important because this works with the toner, not the ink in an inkjet printer.  You need a spray can of Krylon Crystal Clear (under $7 at Michaels), some cotton fabric which has been prewashed to remove any sizing, a wooden spoon or old credit card.  Then you just need a playful spirit.

Owl-transfer-frontThe technique was for black and white images, so I took my scan of my Owl #5 to Dilworth Packing Company to make a copy.  I followed the instructions and got nothing on my cloth.  I cannot explain that, but it turns out that the technique which has you saturate the photocopy with the acrylic sealer has a great effect on the paper.  Owl-transfer-backThis is the back of the plain piece of printer paper after the saturation.  The whole thing is translucent and has a great look to it.

But back to the cloth thing.  I decided to try some photos Steve had printed for me but they were all in color.  Well, “in for a penny, in for a pound” . . .

Tiffany-transferThis is the first attempt.  McElroy explains some common problems about getting good images in her book, so I blame this on being a newbie.  But…..I used a twill (diagonal) weave cotton for this and the texture on the cloth showed I wasn’t getting full contact.  I then tried printing it to a piece of white cardstock lying nearby.  Again I got a twill effect–the other half of the transfer that didn’t go on the cloth.  Eureka and Thomas Edison.  I discovered twill fabric doesn’t work.

Bikes-transferTry number three was another color photocopy, a bike burial ground in Australia.  This time I used cotton knit.  An aside:  I’m really playing with this to see if I can make cute appliques to cover food stains on my Tshirts.   A much better transfer yet still not strong color.  I also think this photo is too busy.

Mandala-transferNumber 4 is a watercolor pencil mandala assigned in a former art class.  I sprayed the heck out of this one.  I also used plain weave cotton–an old baby sheet to be exact.  This was my best impression.  I could add permanent ink to this to make a washable applique and put it on something.  Plus I would get the fun of coloring it all over again.

Mandala-frontBest of all is how the photocopy looks now.Mandala-back

I still have some other transfer techniques to try.

In the mean time I started a new bigger watercolor painting.

Hydrangea-in-progressThis is the beginning.  The blue tape is to keep the paper clean and provide a nice border to the finished painting.  This is an activity I found on line from the Learning Center on Susie Short’s website.  She even provides a traceable sketch to get you painting without worrying about drawing.  I love hydrangeas, especially blue ones.  Oh, you didn’t realize this was a picture of a hydrangea.  That’s because I got so rushed and excited laying on this first bit of color and then trying to fix it that it is really a blob.  Except for the leaves.  I have the start of some great leaves.

Hydrangea-in-progress-leaf-Check out that top one.  See the lines/veins.  Those are not drawn in.  They are carved into the paper with a stylus and then painted over again.  The second coat of paint seeps down in the depression of the veins and therefore dries darker than the surface color.  Isn’t that cool?

Later I’ll show you how I’m learning to draw watercolor tree trunks with a credit card.  I just love clever.

More later–

Categories: mixed media art, Personal thoughts, techniques, Watercolor | Tags: , | Leave a comment

First ATC Swap

Cindy Angiel is an artist. She has spent a large amount of time and energy encouraging and teaching others of us to make art and have fun. I don’t know how she does it.

She started the Linedrawing Forum– see button in right hand column. I joined it fairly early on and have been amazed at its growth. There you will find instruction, inspiration, shared resources, many freebies shared by members of the community just for the fun of it. You will also find challenges and swaps to enter if you wish.

The latest swap from Cindy deals with Serendipity Colored backgrounds. These are my kind of backgrounds. You just throw, drip, spatter, whatever paints of several colors onto a piece of paper and let them do their thing. If you don’t like what you see, throw different paint. No skill or talent required. Try to harness your inner four year old. Use it any way you want. Cindy made us a video.  Here’s one I made today with watercolor.

watercolor background page

Cindy asked us to cut Artist Trading Cards (2.5×3.5″) from it and decorate it with repeated pattern drawings, aka Tangles, letting the color guide us. Then we were to create a set of five cards to send to her. We will each receive five cards created by another artist. Cindy made us a video.

Serendipity Colors ATC SetI have been creating these serendipitous pages for awhile and drawing whatever I see in the chaos, so this seemed perfect for my first swap. Cindy’s vast following is very talented, but not at all judgmental. This should be as non-threatening as it gets. Hah!

Serendipity Colors ATC Set2I picked my paper, cut my cards and began. I was too worried about messing up to just start as the tangle community encourages. I actually traced out the color patterns and tried out various patterns. One at a time I drew the cards, then I mounted them all on a solid card stock piece. Finally I created the label to attach to the back. Help is in the video above.

Serendipity Colors ATC Set3An aside—-I have had this box of labels since the Stone Age. I went to the Avery site to get a template but couldn’t find one. Do you think it is possible I am the only person who still has a box of VHS Cassette labels?

two  birdsYou’ve been looking at the ATCs I am sending for the swap.Darkness and Stars ATC

This one was a lucky accident, no,  more an example of faking it to fix it.  I misspelled Darkness on the original.  Yeah.  I loved the way the paint created the woman’s profile and wasn’t willing to give up on it.  I finally just cut that corner of the card away and mounted the card on the black background.  Then I wrote the beginning of the quote in white ink.  Like it even better.

I’m including an extra one for Cindy, our swap host.  This one is from a different background.Reality and Music

Then I made some more cards. The small size makes them quick to do, so finishing satisfaction is really high, unlike my recent knitting.  I’ll show them later.

Then I made some envelopes. I used an envelope template provided by Cindy for her next swap, Mail Art.image

If you can write your name, you can make this art. It’s great for kids as well. Give it a go. Several of us in my knit group come early to share our tangling beforehand.

More later–

Categories: color, mixed media art, Repeat pattern art | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Many, Many Projects and a Few Resolutions

Every year a GiftThis past year was so wonderfully productive for me.  I learned to do so many different things.  Well, I began the process of learning many things, and any learning is fun for me.

I received the annual report about my blog from WordPress.  No surprise that the top hits were all on knitting pages, especially free patterns.  Well and good.  I put them here to share and am delighted when someone takes them.  But that sort of presents a problem.  I’m not knitting so much anymore, so there will be fewer knitting entries.

I started this blog to share my enthusiasm for knitting.  The key is “share my enthusiasm.”  So I have decided to just continue to do that and not worry.  I am far from an expert at the things I am doing now, but in some ways that is a plus.  My mistakes and uglies may be just the thing that encourages someone else to give it a go.  The creative world I find myself in now with classes, flickr, and the blog world has certainly taught me that it is the journey that brings satisfaction, not the end product.

Here are some pictures of what I did over the holidays.  Not everything.  One of my resolutions is to take better pictures of my work.  I am in the process of building a light box and will shoot some other things when it is finished.

Making wrapping paper personal a la Joanne Sharp.

Making wrapping paper personal a la Joanne Sharp.

Four Calling BirdsMail Art--Fabric, paper, acrylic paint, Sakura Micron pen, fused and quilted

Four Calling Birds
Mail Art–Fabric, paper, acrylic paint, Sakura Micron pen, fused and quilted

The reverse side of Four Calling Birds

The reverse side of Four Calling Birds

A book for the Hulin's to keep a record of their 7 week journey from Australia around the world, even to Charlotte.

A book for the Hulin’s to keep a record of their 7 week journey from Australia around the world, even to Charlotte.

cover and back of book

cover and back of book

End papers of the book

End papers of the book

handmade tapes to define the signatures

handmade tapes to define the signatures

Urban sketching at dinner

Urban sketching at dinner

Ultra wet on wet watercolor following along  with a video on youtube

Ultra wet on wet watercolor following along with a video on youtube

Okay, I have to comment on this one.  It is really ugly, but I learned a lot and believe I can do a better one the second time around.  It was great fun to watch the colors run and to feel so free about it.  Here’s the free video that I watched.  Once I’ve done a better try, I’ll cut this one up and use it for other things.  More about “other things” later.

Batiks and embroidery make Jake

Batiks and embroidery
make Jake

This is still in progress.  The grey background doesn’t work, so I will cut it off after I finish the handwork and may put it on black linen.  I’ll tell you how I did it when it is finished.

Finally–for today anyway–

Tangling--the art form that started this new pathway

Tangling–the art form that started this new pathway

More later–

Categories: FOs, Personal thoughts | 8 Comments

The Last Prize

KNP--Stitch AlchemyI saved Kelli Perkins until last because I have followed her work longest.  I discovered her book Stitch Alchemy long before I decided to take this new creative path.   I checked it out of the local library a bizillion times and just looked and looked and was amazed at her versatility.    Since receiving her prize, I stepped up and bought my own copy.

KNP--DofD cardsThe first thing that interested me was the Day of the Dead cards in the book.  I really love the concept of the Day of the Dead celebration and have been collecting and planning my own wall hanging.  Someday!  You know how creepingly fast I work.  Anyway, this shows you her sense of fun and joy that permeates so much of her work.  So much lovely color.

Kelli Perkins note

While pursuing my watercolor skills, I have painted many exercises to learn new techniques.  The cheap side of me wonders what to do with these pieces–after all, watercolor paper isn’t cheap.  Kelli has shown me what a clever and resourceful artist can do—this note was written on the back of a previous work.   Loved it.Kelli Perkins note 2

KNP--bus. cards

Kelli’s business cards illustrate her diversity.  Whether brilliantly colored or the subtlety of vintage looks (and yes, that is her face on the left), there is always wit.  Check out the back of the vintage card.IMG_1820

Now about my prize—-Beads!!!!!

KMP-beads

KMP--round beads

I have made some beads, but not like these. They are paper beads, but they are as hard as stone. Still weigh nothing which would be great for my ears, but they are durable. Not to mention being just plain beautiful.  Even some embossing.  Never done that.

The use of text is right up my alley and just reading the bits on the larger beads is great fun.  I can think of stories these words might be important to.  I love the organic, not perfect circle look as well.

Naturally, my first thought was “How can I make some of these?” and would you believe it?

The  directions are in Stitch Alchemy!  I am so glad I bought the book.  The link will take you to an in depth description of the book.

You have to check out her blog.  (click on her name at the beginning of this post)  This woman can make a book out of spoons.  Really.  And you don’t want to miss her fabric postcards.  At the very least she will make you smile—all day.

My Australian friends come Wednesday morning, so I may be off the blog until after the holidays.  Maybe I’ll get some knitting done under Liz’s influence.  Have the Happiest of Holidays and may all of you and yours be safe and well.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Making, Learning, Admiring

Desiree's GourdsI have been practicing with my watercolors again. I bought another big brush in hopes of loosening up more. Still not there, but better. I copied the card from Desiree’s Sketchbook Challenge Gift. Not nearly so well done as hers, but I learned. That’s all I ask.

Speaking of Learning—and I always am—Deborah Boschert sent me her Sketchbook Challenge prize.

This DVD redefines collage for me.

This DVD redefines collage for me.

I’ve learned so much about composing a collage from this DVD. Deborah is so well organized in her presentation that I followed everything she said easily. She carefully demonstrates each step in completing one of her works. She answered questions I didn’t yet realize I had. I’ve joyfully started a small piece based on this. If you have any interest in extending your fabric art or craft, get this workshop.

Here is Deborah’s business card.
Deborah's business card Check out her work.

This is the front of the card.

Check out this embroidery and the gorgeous lotus.

Check out this embroidery and the gorgeous lotus.

While we are admiring, take a look at some of the gifts my good friend Kate made. I loaned her my copy of Mason-Dixon Knits and she has really gone to town.

Colorful cloths to pair with handmade soaps

Colorful cloths to pair with handmade soaps

Felt basket filled with chocolates

Felt basket filled with chocolates

I can’t share anything I made, since it turns out my family does read my blog. :)
More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | 2 Comments

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