Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers to Slipping Glimpsers Everywhere

Over five years ago, I started my first art quilt using jeans, overalls, pants, and other fabric scraps. I decided to embroider a long quote on top of the denim. It proved to be a grueling task. Multiple layers of denim are difficult to maneuver with needle and embroidery floss. I am quite sure this project will haunt my hands in the years ahead. I never finished the quilt, but packed it into a plastic bin for the day the gumption hit.
When I woke this morning, I was trying to think of some words of inspiration to cheer us into 2011. I immediately thought of something the abstract expressionist painter, Willem de Kooning, said.

Y'Know the real world, this so-called real world,
It's just something you put up with, like everybody else.
I'm in my element when I am a little bit out of this world.
Then I'm in the real world - I'm on the beam.
Because when I'm falling, I'm doing alright;
When I'm slipping, I say, hey, this is interesting!
It's when I'm standing upright that bothers me:
I'm not doing so good, I'm stiff.
As a matter of fact, I'm really slipping most of the time, into that glimpse.
I'm like a slipping glimpser.

This is the quote I started to embroider on my denim art quilt. This morning, I opened that plastic bin and discovered that the quilt was incredibly close to completion. The only word left to embroider is "glimpser." I do not know why I did not complete the quilt back when I was so close to being done. I was probably distracted by the "so-called real world."

The needle is still in the fabric. It has been waiting for me all these years.

Today I am inspired to take up this quilt again and to use de Kooning's words to inspire me to be fearless, to remember that the nitty gritty of daily life is just "something you put up with, like everybody else." The real magic happens when you let yourself be authentically imperfect.
Slipping Glimpsers, raise your glasses. Cheers to falling!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Layers on the Mystery

Here and there, I get time to work on my large mystery piece. As you might remember, it started off looking like this.
Kind of sad to paint over this.

I covered this base collage with orange and dark pink rectangles,

This was a little scary.

sanded the whole thing,

I am seeing more turquoise and pink. I feel better.

dry-brushed white gesso over the entire piece,

The gesso muted everything and brought out more warm tones.

Look how the tissue paper wrinkled and caught the paint and gesso. Yummy.
and started adding charcoal detail.

Many layers to go and no clear direction yet. It is refreshing and exciting to just go without a plan or a destination in mind. So much fun. My true adventure.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

CraMWO Project #5: Boot Kitty

A relative gave me this old McCall's pattern. I was going to use the pattern paper for collage, but when I saw the Boot Kitty, I saw an opportunity to use up a big bag of Fiberfil sitting on my shelf. I also have to admit, boot slouching is indeed a bit of a problem in my closet, so the Kitty might actually be quite useful.

I originally cut out 3 Kitties, but I ran out of Fiberfil.
Only one lucky pair of boots will have the pleasure of being worn by Boot Kitty.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eye Candy Art Journal

I was so excited to open my mailbox and see my January February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. One of my Facebook comments was published in the magazine.

Some pages from the journal...

Some of the magazine pics just happened to match the printed stories in the book. 

A white page can be quite intimidating. Writing over existing print feels secretive and more forgiving.

This is the inside back cover of the book. The card pocket, WITHDRAWN stamp, tape, and stained paper just adds to the charm and interest.

These pages make me think of fabulous wallpaper in Miami.

My favorite illustrations in the book. I know I am an adult, but I can't help it. I like little critters.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Joy of the $1 Ribbon Bin

I have issues with the $1 ribbon bin at Michael's. It has been a source of needless buying throughout the years. In my defense, I do indeed use the ribbons. Eventually.
But let us stay positive and not go into the hoarding discussion. I want to share one of my favorite things to make with cheap ribbon. Enormous ribbon roses.

On one of my luckier days, I found 4 spools of this pink/gray/ perhaps light puce (?) imitation silk, wire-edged ribbon. I could see the enormous roses immediately. It only took me about 6 months to actually get around to making them. Because the ribbon was wire edged, the job was a quick one.
To make a rose, I pull the wire out of one side of the entire spool of ribbon. Then I use the wire on the other side as my gathering thread. Once the whole piece of ribbon is gathered up, I coil it, hand-stitch the coil together, and hot glue a pin closure on the back.
The roses look beautiful alone or in a group. I would love to have an entire blanket of them.

Ooh lah lah.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Really Look

It's Christmas Eve and I'm still stuck in a whirlwind of wrapping, planning, making lists. It is time to stop and look out the window. The sun is shining. It is a beautiful winter day. My family is warm. We are well-fed. We are healthy. This is more than enough.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 11: Stop and Think

I've been crafting like crazy for the last 10 days. When I decided to unleash CraMWO (Craft My Way Out), the goal was to use the supplies I have. Somehow that morphed into making a craft every day. After 10 days, I have worn myself out making an even bigger mess, and my creations are turning more hokey by the minute. It is time to get back on track with the true spirit of CraMWO and set more guidelines for myself. The goal is not just to use up all my supplies. The goal is to use what I have to create unique, beautiful, moving, or just plain old fun pieces. This simply cannot take place on a daily basis (not with me in charge).
New guidelines: Instead of posting a CraMWO daily update, I will only post a CraMWO project update when I finish a project. I might still post every day. But some days I might just post about something cool that has inspired me. So far, I will include the following CraMWO projects in my CraMWO collection:
Project #1: Bea's Quilt
Project #2: Collage Magnets
Project #3: Wooden Napkin Rings
Project #3: Wool Scarf

Ok, I feel better already. Now for some inspiration from Pearl S. Buck.  "I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to earth."

Now get to work on Project #5!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 10: Get Your Daughter to Help

My 8 year old is feeling in the mood to craft. I see an opportunity to pawn off some supplies on someone else. No school tomorrow, so we can stay up late making a mess. All the stars have aligned to get rid of some supplies and make cute gifts at the same time.

A while back, I rescued a whole stack of cardboard cones from the trash bin at work. Tonight they will make their transformation.

Straight up acrylic. No primer needed.

Check out this pile of beads. How did this happen?
Paint, beads, ric rac trim, and a hot glue gun turned these cones into Holiday Trees.

Presents for her aunt and grandma. Happy girl. I love 8.
Note to self: Enjoy 8.

To follow up on yesterday's post, here's the finished scarf:

Kept my neck warm all day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 9: Work Through the Distractions

Today I feel like a squirrel. I am down in Hoarder Central (my basement studio) and there are so many distractions down here. I can't stop digging around and thinking of new ideas.
The first inspiration: a pair of jeans and a painted velvet rose pin.

I'm thinking a shabby pillow, maybe working in some embroidery on the denim.

For some reason, these jeans give me Mom Butt. I always keep old jeans. Denim makes fabulous quilts and accent pieces in almost any project. It also looks beautiful with black or brightly colored embroidery floss.

I made this rose from an piece of brown velvet on the back of an old needlework pillow. I cut the velvet into petal shapes and painted them with red acrylic paint. Once they dried, I glued them together to make a rose. The rose has been waiting for a job for quite some time now. Today could be the day.

The crunchy texture adds to the rustic look of the rose. It needs to go on something rather shabby.

After cutting the denim into strips, I start stitching it together in a log cabin style.

And then I get distracted... I am not feeling this Country Western direction anyway.

So I will stitch a dog shape into gray wool felt.

Looks too much like a coyote. The felt is not stiff enough. Will look like a wad of dryer lint got stuck to my coat. Moving on...

Maybe I could do something with this wool cardigan. It used to fit, but I put it into the dryer. It is now waiting to be crafted into something else. But what? Pin cushions? Wooly creatures? Accents on a scarf?

Don't you love the buttons?!

Ok, nothing is coming to me. Moving on.

These black wool pants have been speaking to me for months.
I bought these for my husband, but they never fit right. I now wonder if I didn't buy them just for the fabric. Perhaps I knew they wouldn't fit and would end up in my fabric collection. It was only a matter of time.
I see hot pink thread on this gorgeous chalkboard black.

I am thinking scarf, so I cut one pant leg into 4 inch strips.

I sew each piece together and top stitch all the edges with the hot pink thread. Then I will add some geometric shapes. Very 80's, neon, Tron-inspired. I make the whole thing into a giant loop that I can wrap around my neck about 4 times. It is looking beautiful! I think I might even wear it to the kids' Holiday performance tomorrow at school. I'll take a pic of the finished piece and will post. I look too scary for photography at this juncture.

Squirrelly finally found her nut.