Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sneeze in Style

As I've mentioned before, I am getting ready to sell some of my schtuff at an arts and crafts show in November. Today I decided to whip up some purse tissue pouches, assembly line style. Who doesn't need one of these? Doesn't everyone get a runny nose now and then? And, they are so easy to make, I can sell them for cheap.

Here's the how-to.

1) Create a pattern, a 5.75" x 7" rectangle. I measured and cut the rectangle from a piece of card stock, then made a copy on tissue paper (much easier to pin onto multiple layers of fabric.)

2) Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut. Any medium weight cotton will work. I used black denim.

3) You can leave the fabric plain, but I wanted to give mine an edgy look by stitching a freestyle grid design on each piece using a variety of thread colors. It was fun experimenting with color combos.

4) Turn each short edge under 1/2 inch. Pin. Press.

5) Stitch a small hem (about 1/4") along each of the short edges.

6) With the wrong side out, place the hemmed edges next to each other and pin them down. I created a grid for myself so that I could line up everything easily and pin.

7) Stitch a 1/2" seam along the short sides.

8) Stitch a reinforcement stitch at the place where the two edges meet. This area will take on the most stress when the sneezer is pulling out tissues.

9) Trim the corners.

10) Trim the back side of the seam allowance. This will help the seam allowances lay flat inside the piece.

11) Turn the piece right side out.

12) Gently poke the corners out using a dull pencil.

13) Iron and fill with tissues.

14) Bring on the sneezes!

Let me know if you have any questions. Giving sewing directions is kinda tricky!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Inspiration Everywhere

Last week brought an unexpected trip to see my family in Missouri. Since the kids are in school, I was able to go alone. It was a wonderful to have my parents all to myself for a few days. They spoiled me royally and I loved it.

While there, my dad and I did a little junking. Dad and I could give American Pickers a real run for their money. We are not afraid of spiders, mold, or threat of rodents. If we see good loot, we will climb to get it. Even in flip flops.

Imagine my delight when I realized there was an enormous junk warehouse just miles from their house. How had I never known this? Welcome to the Cimarron Antique Mall (and Native American Museum!) in Sarcoxie, Missouri.

Mounds and mounds of everything. Irons, cast iron skillets, depression glass, linens, tacky glass angels, and even a large pouch made of a dried bull scrotum. Yep.

I walked away with this copper bracelet for only $4. 

On the way to the airport, Mom and Dad treated me to a side trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. What a dreamy little spot tucked into the Ozark hills. It used to be a health resort back in the 1890's, famous for its healing springs. Today it is known for its artsy-fartsiness. So, of course, I want to move in. 

Once home, I was delighted to find a package waiting for me - a new art book!  The Found Object, by Cas Holmes. This one is my new favorite.

This book is not filled with step-by-step project instructions, so if you are new to paper and textile art, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. But, if you have some experience under your belt and want to explore,  you will love the technique descriptions, broad instructions and LOADS of inspiration.

Reading the book this weekend inspired me to start some new creations. My technique involves smooshing trash between sheets of rice paper, adding ink, cutting, and who knows... I 'm still experimenting!

And finally... I've been playing around with Golden Fiber Paste. Here's a little video.

May your day be filled with inspiration and lots of art-making!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Little of This, A Little of That

Here's what I've been up to lately...

Airing out some old luggage. I might rip out the lining and mod podge the interiors with found papers. Not sure what I will do with the exteriors. Should I paint them? Decoupage them? Any thoughts? I am planning on using them as display cases for my upcoming arts and crafts show booth.

Some wool felt scarves are also in the works. I love the way these look, but boy do they kill my hands. I guess cutting the heavy felt is a little rough on my delicate digits.

My family and our friends spent Saturday night at a local outdoor venue watching an adorable bluegrass band, the Locust Honey String Band. They picked tunes, sang, and the momma in the back even did some clogging. The weather was cool. The kids ran around in the grass. The grown ups sat around candlelight with drinks and dessert. I was grateful for the simplicity of it.

 And finally, a look at some lovely little abstract pieces my daughter made with my paper scraps.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hunkering Down into Craftsy Mode

Sometimes I feel artsy. Sometimes I feel craftsy. Sometimes I struggle with who I want to be... artsy me or craftsy me? Then I wonder... does it really matter? Nope. Just enjoy both.

This week I am starting to get ready for an arts and crafts show I will be doing in late November in Savannah, Georgia. It is a small show in my mother-in-law's island community. I've decided to focus on creating things that might actually sell. Crazy notion, right? Sometimes I feel like I am a sell-out to trends when I decide to make cutesy things that might sell. Then I have to slap myself upside the head and say, "girl, what do you think you are trying to do here?"

So... my focus for the next few months will be to enjoy the making part. The cutting, the gluing, the painting of the same thing over and over. I will save the bold and experimental statement pieces for later.

I think it helps to think about producing a "line" of projects, a set of colors and themes that work together so that the booth will look cohesive. This is tricky for me and my squirrel brain. I get bored easily and usually go from one direction all the way over to the other side about 10 times a day. But I am buckling down and I mean it. I will stay on track. This is a great opportunity and I refuse to let my inner 4-year-old mess this up.

I have done a few shows before, but never with a full force effort.  So here I go.

My first project: some trashy birdhouses that can also be used as Christmas ornaments.

Here's the how-to:

wooden birdhouses (I found mine in the bargain bins at Michael's)
scrapbook paper
raw umber acrylic paint, regular and transparent
matte gel medium
liquid matte medium
satin varnish
ric rac trim
small scraps of fabric
mod podge for fabric

1) Trace the sides of the birdhouse onto cardstock to create a pattern for each style of birdhouse.

2) Choose a variety of scrapbook paper prints and trace the pattern, cut.

3) Paint your birdhouses with one coat of raw umber acrylic paint.

4) Use a thin coat of matte gel medium to glue the pieces to the sides of the birdhouse. Cover each piece with another thin coat of matte gel medium.

5) Using transparent raw umber acrylic paint and liquid matte medium, create grungy smudges around the edges of each side. I use the brush, a paper towel, and my fingers to get the smudginess just right.

6) Cut tiny "patches" out of the srapbook paper scraps. Glue these to the sides using the matte gel medium and cover each with a thin coat of matte gel medium.

7) Using the transparent raw umber and the liquid matte medium, create more grungy smudges around the patches.

8) Once dry, coat the entire piece with a thin coat of satin varnish.

9) Insert the ric rac as a hanger.

10) Cut the string into an 8-10 inch piece.

11) Using your fingers, coat the string with raw umber paint. Allow to dry.

12) Cut fabric into tiny triangles

13) Fold the top edge of the triangle over the string using the Mod Podge and coat each flag with a generous amount of Mod Podge to prevent fabric fray. Allow the flag garland to dry on a piece of plastic or other non-porous surface.

14) Once dry, peel the flag garland up, trim excess glue, and adhere to the birdhouse with small pieces of paper and matte gel medium.

 Now back to work!