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!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

according to plan... not so much!

My last couple projects have taken so much longer than planned and this week's flower project was no different.

I bought a pottery flower a few weeks ago and, of course, after getting it home I wished I'd bought a couple more so I thought I would make some with polymer clay. How hard could it be, I thought.

I started out forming all the little pieces. No problem, going great so far.

Next I baked them and that was all fine - still going great.

When they were cool I painted them with enamel paint - still going great.

I was excited, they were looking so fun. After letting the paint dry I popped them in the oven to set the paint. But when I pulled them out of the oven, half of them had lost all their color! Hmmm... 
(note to self - next time read instructions on the paint bottle)! 
I had to repaint them all and this time did not try to set the paint in the oven.

OK, now on the the finishing work. Of course that took way longer than expected also. I spent an entire day assembling them and floral taping the stems. 

My quick little project turned out to be a 3 day ordeal but they look kind of cool in my latest "paint your own pottery" vase.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

must have toys

Just over a year ago we became grandparents for the first time. Like all good grandparents, we bought a few toys to keep at our house.

And then we bought a few more toys, and a few more and pretty soon they were spilling over the basket. Of course I could have just bought a larger basket but where's the fun in that? Instead I found this great antique cabinet.

The only problem was I didn't like the paint color so I decided to give it a face lift. I was thinking mustard would be a nice color.

Normally a coat of paint would not be a big deal but this little project went on a little longer than planned.

I've been hearing so much about the wonders of chalk paint so I figured I would give it a try. We needed to stop at Menards for a few things so I got my paint there. I picked out a color as close to mustard as they carried in chalk paint.

I started painting about 9:00 last evening and after the first coat of yellow over the barn red it looked a mess. By the time I did a second coat I realized this was not a mustard color, it was more of a sunshine and lemon drop yellow and  there is no way I could have looked at it every day and liked it. 

Being too impatient t wait til morning, I called our local Walmart to make sure someone was working the midnight shift that could mix paint. They assured me there was so off I went in search of mustard latex. 

There was someone working that knew how to mix paint but something went wrong with the recipe apparently. When she finished shaking the can and opened it to check the color it was a pale butter shade. She said she would try again but first had to go help another customer with something. Again, being impatient I didn't want to wait for her to go help someone else so I went to the craft aisle and found a softer yellow premixed chalk paint and headed home.

Still not the mustard color I'd hoped for but workable. After 2 kinds of chalk paint, distress ink, Stazon ink, acrylic paint and wax I finally finished and I love it (and now have a great place for toys)!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Imagine Flowers

Today I took an online class by Sandrine Pelissier called Painting Flowers from Imagination

I wanted to share my first painting with you.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow to go back and try it again.

My thanks to Sandrine Pelissier for this class as well as all of her other videos and art tips that she so freely shares - you are appreciated.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Every New Beginning...

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end  -  Seneca

I've been playing along with a Facebook challenge group by Tracy Scott to create 100 faces. I started my faces in November of last year and finished my 100th face for the challenge this morning.

She looked a little melancholy to me, kind of sad that the challenge was over (yes, I know I sometimes read way too much into things). Anyway, I'm pretty sure the expression meant I was not done with faces yet. So... I am going to do Sharon Tomlinson's 100 face challenge as well.

And I am off and running - meet #1.