Tuesday, April 26, 2016

21 Secrets Tools & Techniques

This Spring brings yet another amazing season for the 21 Secrets class. I've enjoyed several of the classes already and am only about halfway through.

Today I finished my project from the Susie LaFond class which involved much sewing. A couple years ago I would have skipped right over this class but, alas, I did it because, contrary to my former belief - I can sew!

For the class, Susie taught us to make a portfolio style journal. The videos were great, showed exactly what to do and how to do it. I had to tweak mine a little because I thought it would be a good idea to use sari ribbon instead of fabric.

First of all, my wad of sari ribbon took hours of ironing, which is not my favorite thing. Also the ribbon is very flimsy so after I got the first side stitched I had to add something to the inside to make it a little firmer. Not being savvy about these things I used burlap which worked out alright but in one spot it stretched (oddly) so I had to make a creative pocket to cover that little oops.

For my inside pockets I couldn't decide what kind of fabric to use with the ribbon and ended up deciding on painted muslin. This would all be fine but I don't like the colors I used to paint the fabric so I may change that up a bit yet.

In the video you will see the pocket on the right side that is a fold over of the back cover - that is to hide the spot where the burlap was showing at the top and I'm OK with that.


This was a fun class and I think it would be fun to use this technique to make other things as well. 

Thanks for the lesson, Susie!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Find your tribe...

The prompt in the Colour Me Positive weekly challenge group for this week is by Danielle LaPorte - "Find your tribe. Love them hard".

As I was tossing around ideas of  how I wanted to do my journal page this week I was really moved by the shared mourning and outpouring of love and respect by all of the fans mourning the death of Prince this week.

I don't know how it's been in other parts of the county (or world) but of course here in Minnesota there's been quite a bit of local news coverage and there seems to be a united sense of loss. Along with that has been such gratefulness for the mark he made on the music industry in Minnesota as well as the millions of memories people have shared about him or how he marked an event in someone's life.

Prince's life was a perfect example of the quote. He'd found his tribe of fans and they certainly loved him hard. I would assume he felt the same toward all of them or he wouldn't have been able to keep doing what he spent his life doing.

I sort of incorporated bits of that emotion into my page this week. My original intent was to depict a woman with bright facial markings, jewelry and adornments. I switched it up with a nod to Prince into shades of purple with a few drops of purple rain in the upper corner.

 Find your tribe. Love them hard.

Friday, February 12, 2016

February prayer flag - the fabric version

As I said in the previous post, the theme for our February prayer flags is "Faith" and the inclusion is "hand". This is my fabric version of a prayer flag for the challenge.

I started with an image transfer onto fabric. I printed a cropped section of the Hand of God painting and used Golden gel medium to transfer it to fabric. I was pretty pumped about this - it turned out to be one of the best image transfers I've done.

Next I sewed an assortment of doilies and lace pieces to my muslin flag and machine stitched the image transfer to the center.

I found this interesting item in a box of my Mom's sewing notions. I believe it's half of a frog. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure that's what Mom used to call them. I only used the half with a loop on one end and I used the loop to attach ribbons and streamers that will dangle and move when the flag is hung. On one of the ribbons I wrote "Let your faith be bigger than your fears".

To balance the frog with the streamers I stamped the word FAITH and attached it to the bottom left.

This is the completed flag. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February Prayer Flag

The theme for our February prayer flag is Faith and the inclusion is a hand.

As soon as I saw this I knew I wanted to include our favorite Grandchild, Jonah's hands (relax, I'm not playing favorites, he's our only grandchild).

It's been a long time since I've had a toddler in the house. I'd forgotten you don't keep a 1 year old still for very long and the thought of holding his hands on tissue paper so Grandma could trace them was a total foreign concept to him and he wasn't having it for long! So... the hands on my flag are roughly based on Jonah's hands.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Prayer flag of Hope

I thought I would do a short blog post about my second prayer flag for the month and explain a bit of the detail and thought process.

Several years ago I was in a Bible study with a group of women and we worked through several Joyce Meyer books. One of our favorite quotes was "Hope: the confident expectation that something good is going to happen to me". Of course when the January prayer prompt was "Hope" this was the first verse that came to mind.

I printed the verse on my laser printer on plain paper. Then I soaked it in coffee and baked it for 20 minutes or so (there are several Youtube videos detailing this technique). I'd never done this before and was uncertain if the stained papers would bleed or not so I sprayed it with a coat of Mod Podge sealer before continuing.

I tore out the verse and then inked up the rough edges and machine stitched it to the muslin.

Our inclusion this month was 'feather or wings'. I looked all over my art room for my "extra" tissue paper wings that I was so certain I had to no avail but then I spotted my Mona Lisa button fairy. She's been hanging around my art room for several years; time to up-cycle her a bit.

I had all my doilies, lace bits, and sari ribbon ready to go so they were all sewn on next. It was looking a little blah so I used a little acrylic paint and a plastic cover from something to stamp some circles on the flag to match the ribbon and sort of tie it all together. 

I was pretty happy with how this one turned out too. I will most likely try to do 2 flags again for February like this month with one more contemporary or painterly and then another with lace. They are fun and actually sort of meditative to make, a great way to get your head in a good mindset while working on them as well.

Stay tuned - next month's theme is "Faith" with an inclusion of "hands".

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year - New Challenges

Happy 2016 one and all. I hope that 2015 was good to you and that 2016 will be even better!

With the start of the new year I started a new challenge. There is a small group of us that will be making a prayer flag each month for the entire year.

We are taking turns choosing a theme and an inclusion but beyond that there are no rules. Our flags can be made out of any medium and any size or style.

I'm torn between styles so who knows, I may end up with more than one flag some months.

Our first month's theme was chosen by Terri. It was pretty much Terri's plan to do this on her own and she was kind enough to let the rest of us jump on her bandwagon, so a big Thank You, Terri. Our theme for January is Hope with an inclusion of wings or feather(s).

I decided that I wanted to make my flags out of fabric. I have only recently realized I can sort of sew and I didn't want to intimidate myself so I chose muslin as my base because I am familiar with it and know it's not hard to work on.

First I made the little rod pocket at the top (that may not be the right terminology but you get my meaning). Next I spread a coat of white gesso in the center leaving about 1/4" space from the edge untouched.

When the gessso was dry I covered it with green acrylic paint and set it aside to dry. While that was drying I took a small piece of muslin and gessoed it. When dry i went over the white gesso with black gesso (I used gesso instead of black paint because I like the grittier finish). When it was dry I used a white Sharpie paint pen to draw a feather and then machine stitched it onto the now dry flag.

I drilled holes in Scrabble tiles to make our theme word of Hope and hand sewed them onto the flag. It was looking a little blah at this point so I used acrylic metallic paint and added a few circles randomly for a bit of interest.  I outlined the circles and wrote a few lines of the Emily Dickinson classic around the feather with a fine tipped Sharpie marker.

I sewed the feather off-center to the right side of the flag because I have some beautiful sari ribbon that I wanted to use as well so I chose a few strips of that and sewed it on the left side. Once it was done it looked unfinished so I just stitched the little bird and glued it over the stitching.

I used another length of sari ribbon through the pocket and it is now hanging in our house! 

I believe traditionally these flags are hung outdoors so the wind and energy carries the prayer and blessing to those along its path. My flags will be hung in our house and, hopefully, bless those who pass through.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Painting Pottery

I have not blogged in several weeks but that does not mean I haven't been doing anything fun. One of my latest obsessions is painting pottery at an area "paint your own pottery" shop called Pot Spot.

The last time I was there I tried a technique called "sgraffito" for the first time. Sgraffito is a technique where you apply different color underglazes and then use tools to scratch away areas to create your design.

This square plate is my first attempt. I used several different tools to get a feel for some of the different marks you can come up with.

For my next piece I painted this oval platter and added a few more colors to the mix. The image on the left is before glazing and firing and the image on the right is the finished piece.

What a fun way to spend a few hours time. I can hardly wait to go back!