Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Friends

My friend Carmelita brought her lovely young granddaughters over for a visit today so I had the splendid fortune to spend the afternoon crafting with them. I thought that making wee flower fairies would be a fun craft for the girls so I pulled out my stash of fairy making supplies. Out came the bins of flower petals, acorn caps, wooden heads, chenille stems, embroidery floss and felt. I had such a great time watching the girls select the colors of floss and flowers that they wanted to use. The fairies are modeled after the ones created by Salley Mavor in her fabulous book 'Wee Felt Folk'. I absolutely love this book. I bought it when it first came out in 2003 and since then I have lured almost everyone that I know into to the world of flower fairies. This charming girl is Emma and she is holding the flower fairies that she made today. Emma loves pink. A lot. I love pink a lot too, so we became good friends right away. The purple fairy on the left crashes into things when she flies because she is temporarily blind. (I ran out of painted wooden heads so her face is blank until Carmelita can paint her). This is beautiful young woman is Kaitlyn but I'm not sure that I spelled that right so let's call her Kate 'cause she goes by that too. Kate is an amazing Manga artist. She brought her manga drawings to show me and I was absolutely blown away. I am seriously in awe of her talent and creativity. We became friends right away because we both love the color purple and think the Twilight books are dumb (vampires DON'T sparkle!). Kate's fairy is a lovely purpley plum color and her curly fairy hair is styled into a tiny ponytail.
I am sad to report that I did not finish my flower fairy (and neither did Carmelita!). But I had such a wonderful day crafting with my new friends Kate and Emma that it doesn't matter. I hope that they'll come visit again real soon for another day of conversation and crafting fun.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


This is the second month's BJP that was inspired by my trip to Kauai this past winter. A few of of the shells and bits of coral in this piece were collected as I lay on the beach, idly sifting handfuls of sand through my fingers. I spent hours looking at all of the teeny tiny bits of wonder that had washed up on the shore. There were impossibly small shells , fragments of coral and minuscule broken bits from the invertebrates that had once inhabited the coral reef. I loved the meandering patterns that the waves had made upon the sand. A lacy line of foam followed by a scattering of shells, coral and debris that transitioned to smaller and finer particles of sand. I had such a wonderful time beading this piece, which as a result did not take long to complete. I began by gathering up an assortment of shells and treasures that I've collected from a lifetime of beach combing. I glued down some of the shells to my base fabric which is a piece of batik sewn to light weight card stock. I added the twisty lines of white beads to represent the lacy ripples of foam that wash up on the shore with each wave. The rest was purely improvisation. The limited color palette certainly made things easier. I sewed on pearls and stones and baubles, followed by rows of my favorite size 14 seed beads. I listened to Hawaiian slack key guitar music as I beaded and it kept me in a mellow beachy mood. There was no frustration or indecision about where to sew down the next bead. I just let the blissful beachy memories flow from my mind to my hands to the shells and the beads.
Ahhhh, pure beachy beading bliss....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Oceania Pacifica

I love the Pacific Ocean. From the warm turquoise waters of Hawaii to the turbulent seas of the Oregon coast. A perfect day for me is being in or on or near the Pacific Ocean. I love the unpredictability of the ocean. It can be calm and inviting or reckless and fierce. I am respectful of the ocean’s power and grateful for it’s gifts.

This past winter, Adrian and I had the splendid fortune to spend time at a beach house on Kauai’s North Shore. While the ocean delighted us with its incredible beauty, it also never failed to remind us of its remarkable intensity. Here are some of the memories that provided the inspiration for my February BJP….We spend our days swimming. We dive beneath the powerful waves and fling our bodies over the smaller swells. I am a confident, capable swimmer and my body feels light and free as I am tossed about in the warm turquoise water. Our good friend wants to go snorkeling with us for the first time. A few years ago, her mom died in a tragic diving accident in Costa Rica. We drive to the other side of the island to a sheltered bay where the fish are plentiful. We all have a wonderful time and I am so proud of my friend for facing her fears. Afterward, as we rest on the beach, lifeguards pull a man out of the water. He had drowned in a shallow bay filled with snorkeling tourists. We drive back to the North Shore in sorrow and silence.I sit in the shallow water watching Adrian snorkel. Suddenly he veers toward the shore, his fins flapping as he swims madly toward me. An unfamiliar fish has swum too close, startling my darling, silly husband. I laugh and kiss him and ask him if he wants me to beat up the big bad fish for frightening him. I return to snorkeling, holding hands with my beloved as we float above the coral reef.There is a roadside memorial decorated with palm fronds, ginger, flowers and fruit. Last year a local boy drowned off of this beautiful beach. He was an expert surfer and the close knit community mourns his loss.One day we snorkel with sea turtles. Graceful and patient, they allow us to observe their undersea dance. I am completely enchanted.The ocean is fierce and wild today. We acknowledge the ocean's power and postpone our beach plans. We go hiking instead, enjoying the endless blue from the cliffs high above. Today the ocean is calm and as smooth as glass. I float peacefully for hours, caressed by the gentle sway of the big blue sea.....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Treasures from the North

My friend Carmelita and I drove up to Duluth yesterday to attend the Minnesota Quilt Show. We had a fabulous day (as we always do when we spend the day together) and we hunted and gathered some fun new supplies and pretties to add to our stashes. I picked up some fabulous over dyed silk kimono fabric from Laura Murray Designs and a really fantastic rubber texture plate to use with my Shiva paint sticks and polymer clay. Look! The pale pink fabrics has cherry blossoms on it! I also picked up a couple of fun fabric fat quarters, a stencil (another Laura Murray original), some odd bits of fiber and a few packets of embroidery needles from France. This gorgeous rayon ribbon was hand dyed by Wendy Richardson a local fiber artists of exceptional talent. Her booth is a tactile and visual feast as is Laura Murray's booth. Laura and Wendy are such generous and talented artists to chat with and the products that they sell are wonderful. We are lucky here in Minnesota to have such creative people in our community.
I love going to quilt shows. I am always so inspired by the wonderful quilts that people have made and it makes me want to rush home and start creating myself. I'll admit that the shopping is always nice too and it's great to have pretty new stuff to inspire my latest creative endeavor.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Galadriel's Closet

It all began with a conversation with my gal pal Carmelita Fantastica. She wondered if I had seen the latest issue of Stitch magazine. ( 'Stitch with the Embroiderer's Guild' is an amazing British magazine that never fails to knock my socks off with each and every issue. I am more than willing to drive 25 miles to buy it at the nearest bookstore that carries it, in fact I'd drive further for my bi monthly fix of creative inspiration).Anyway, Carmelita noticed that there were little mini corsets on the front cover of the current issue and she knew immediately that my future would be filled with little mini corsets. She knows me well, that Carmelita. She's experienced first hand my obsession with tiny and impossibly intricate needlework projects. Carmelita told me to get busy creating and that she would be expecting a mini corset ATC by the following week, thank you very much. I've always wanted to try my hand at Artist Trading Cards and this seemed like a good opportunity. I've made lots of fiber postcards and journal quilts, but have never worked with the 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" size of the ATC. Considering my love of all things wee, it's strange that it took me so long to jump on the ATC bandwagon. Right away I thought about creating fanciful corsets that could be worn by diminutive fairies. I tried to imagine what kind of wardrobe I would want if I were a small fairy and the title Galadriel's Closet popped into my head. Hmm, I could create corsets for a fairy named Galadriel....Excellent! But I still felt like I needed a little something else for inspiration.....I absolutely love going to textile exhibits that feature historical clothing. Exhibits with names like "A Parisian Ladies Boudoir" or "Lace from the Closet of Madame Bouvier" make me swoon with delight. So I decided that I would create a series of corsets as if I were preparing to exhibit them in a whimsical fairy museum. I thought I could write up descriptions on the back of the card about where and when Galadrial wore each corset. Like this: "Lady Galadriel first wore this embroidered corset for the Autumnal Equinox Feast and Dancing Gala. It became a favorite outfit of hers when hosting elvish dignitaries from distant lands....".The corset shape is cut from two pieces of Peltex fused together. I covered each of them with fine ultrasuede. I gathered up small bits of lace from my stash and painted them with alcohol inks. I've found that alcohol inks work wonderfully on small bits of fabric and lace. The colors are rich and vibrant and they dry super fast. The pieces that I thought were too saturated with color, I washed in the sink with soap and water. This really helped to soften the colors up a bit. I glued on the lace with FabriTac and added some ruffles with bits of organza fabric and ribbon. Next, I pulled out my favorite size 14 beads and gave the corsets a bit of bling. The card itself is made from silk dupioni fused to Peltex. I zigzagged trim around the edges of the card to finish it off. I printed 'Galadriel's Closet' on fabric and I colored them with watercolors. The corsets are glued to the card with FabriTac.I am in no way finished with my adventures in fairy corsetry. I envision creating a series of corsets using some of my favorite needlework techniques. How about a set of embroidered silk ribbon corsets? Or a set of bead embroidered corsets? Or maybe a set of teeny tiny crazy quilt corsets? I suspect Galadriel's Closet is going to to be expanding very soon.So....now that I've made some ATC's.... does anyone wanna trade with me?