"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crown Bolero - Layout

Here is the results from the stenciling. I wasn't sure how my own drawn and cut stencil would work, and as it turned out, would have been better on heavier paper. All I had on hand was a heavier grade drawing paper, which isn't meant for wet mediums. It worked, but barely.

The Lumiere paint I had was old, and getting a bit thick, so I added some water and stirred the dickens out of it. However, I think that is why I ended up with a rather mottled look to the paint. At first I was upset. But the more I looked at it the better I liked it. The uneven coverage gave the crown an antique look, like old gilding that has started to wear off. The center portions of the base of the crown I did not even try to cover, as all of that will be cut away when I do the reverse applique. Why waste the paint?

The arrowhead shape and the long center shape I cut out of tape and stuck to the shirt so it would leave the negative space in the design. That was another experiment that turned out well. Those negative spaces will stay the color of the shirt, and most of the gold cut away around them to reveal the purple underneath.

Here are all the elements ready to pin together. You can see how my paper stencil buckled, so next time I will get some good heavy stock, or even see if I can find stencil plastic, if I do anything like this again. The tiny pieces of paper are the negative spaces that I used as a template for the tape.

And here are all the pieces pinned together and ready to start sewing on. The thread is regular sewing thread, but heavy duty, and I will double it. I will use that to outline all the design elements. I will probably use embroidery thread for any other decoration, and will use that to sew up the bolero when the fun of stitching and beading is done. Last will be to add the dark teal binding around the edges.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Crown Bolero - Design & Color

I have been thinking about his design for awhile, and decided on the muted colors after seeing a reproduction of an Italian tapestry from the fifteen-hundreds. The photo of the tapestry had been darkened for use as background for a rather dark and gloomy fashion ad. But I kinda like dark and gloomy (except rain and gloom all winter. That I don't like at all). I suspect there is more Morticia Adams in me than I care to admit.

Anyway, here are the crown designs I played with, made by folding a sheet of printer paper in half and just cutting away freehand. Like making those paper snowflakes when you were a kid.

Then I took these and played a bit more with cutouts. I can't get too carried away with those, as this will be a stencil. The design, once stenciled on the shirt, and stitched around, will then be cut away to reveal the second layer of fabric underneath — a reverse applique — so the design has to stay pretty simple. Next, I will draw the crown on heavy cardstock paper, and cut it out to make the stencil.

I didn't like the one on the top right at all, so eliminated it straight away. It was too clunky looking. In the end, I decided I liked the spiky quality of the one on the top left.

The hard part was the color. I wanted muted, except maybe for the crown, but even that couldn't be an in-your-face color, or cheesy, like a fake gold lame' or something. I wanted an old, faded, tapestry look without it being made of old tapestry material. And without the old tapestry dust.

So here is what I came up with, all from T-shirts purchased at the Goodwill. The light gray-green will be the main color of the bolero. The royal purple with be for the crown - of course. And the dark teal with be the binding color. The crown will be stenciled with Lumiere antique gold paint, which will only be an outline once the fabric is cut away. The small fleur d'lis will be stenciled on the front panels of the bolero and then cut out in reverse applique like the crown. After that, it will be stitching and beading. Not sure of the binding stitching color yet, but might be a lighter purple than the crown, or something that matches the gray-green. In any case, something that shows up nicely on the dark teal. That's still undecided (there is an insidious little voice in my head telling me to use metallic thread. I did that on my first bolero and loved the look, but hated working with that thread. It breaks, kinks, and doesn't go in the needles very well, so I am slapping a mental hand over that inner voice's mouth).

I am going to have a lot of fun adding beads to that crown! In fact, I like that crown design so much, that I can also envision it in black on a red bolero...or red on black. My husband gets tons of either red or black promo T-shirts from work, so I would have plenty of material to do either.

So, that's my current project, The Crown Bolero.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wildfire Update, Plus Cat vs Deer

After over a week of anxiety over whether we were going to have to evacuate our house, it seems the fire danger is over, for us. The blaze closest to us is now pretty much under control, and after attending a community meeting last Sunday evening, where many of the fire coordinators were present, along with local law enforcement and health care monitors, we feel safe enough to bring our furniture and belongings back home. However, fires still burn out of control all around our valley, and we were told at the meeting that we would be dealing with smoke for the rest of the summer. And the smoke is pretty bad, both for us and our horses. We can stay inside, but obviously they can't, so we ride either early in the morning, when the air is cooler and the smoke not quite so bad, or late in the afternoon or early evening, as sometimes a breeze will come up and blow most of the smoke to the west of us.

Here are a few more photos. This level of smoke, more or less, is pretty much it until the first rains in October. The level of nastiness greatly depends on the inversion layer. If we get one, it holds the smoke low and at ground level. If there is no inversion layer, then the smoke stays a little higher. These photos were taken in the afternoon, around 3:00, during a bad inversion layer episode.

 So, in the words of Monty Python, "Now for something completely different."

For years, we have been feeding a little feral cat we named Harp. We originally thought she was a boy, and because of the markings on her face, we called her Harpo. After we discovered she was female, we had to adjust the name. At one time she was tame enough for me to catch, take to the vet and have spayed, and then release. Now, once and a while she will let me pet her, but just, and not always.

She shows up at different times of the day, but usually either early in the morning, or in the evening just before dark. So we always keep an eye out for her, and when we see her, we put her bowl of crunchies out. At night, when she is done, we pick the bowl up and put it in the house so the racoons can't have it. Nasty little things, racoons. Lately we had noticed that Harp was really chowing down a lot of food, more than what her size would warrant. I was a bit suspicious, so this morning, when I saw the doe coming down the hill behind our house, a very intent look on her face, I had a hint of what was coming, so grabbed my camera.

Mom came down the hill and intimidated Harp into leaving the bowl, then proceeded to snarf down the food. I could hear her crunching away with gusto. I guess I will have to put out more "cat" food, so both Harp and Mom can have enough crunchies to share. (It was a low-smoke morning, so the photos came out nice and clear. By the time I was done writing this, the smoke had moved in again)

Harp enjoying her breakfast.

Momma deer approaches.

Momma deer pushes Harp away from bowl and digs in.

Lots of crunching noises ensue.

And this is why mom needed the extra protein.

Baby gets a snack. Snacking can be rough on mom.

Mom and baby stroll off.


After they had gone, I put more food out for Harp, and she came back and finished her breakfast.  

BTW, not sure why Mr. Blogger decided all of a sudden that the text should be centered, and no matter what I do, Mr. Blogger won't change back to left-side orientation. Ah well. 

So, that was my little wildlife encounter of the day. Made me smile. Smiles are always a good thing.