"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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Medallion Sweatshirt Finished

I finished this project the other day and like the way it turned out. Not too shabby for a tarted up $3.99 Goodwill sweatshirt, doncha think? Yes, there are cat hairs on the shirt. In my house that is a given. What looks like areas of dirt, is the sun reflecting off the dust on my camera lens. Oops.

I really enjoy working with stencils and fabric paint, then adding the stitching and beads, so  I have plans for many more projects using all of those materials. Next is a kimono, and a over-tunic based on a 1920s beaded flapper dress.  I don't intend to bead the whole dress. Whew, that would be WAY too obsessive. I will post more about that project next time, but I did find a pattern to use, and as for the kimono, I have a pattern for that I bought back in the 70s.

While at JoAnns looking for a pattern, I also cruised the linen section. Sheesh! Cheapest linen fabric I could find, and that was on sale, was $9.99 a yard! The tunic needs 2 7/8th yards, if I make it full length (which I am not, but still...) How do people afford to sew anything these days? Unless you buy itty-bitty pieces for craft projects, it would cost you a fortune to make anything requiring over a yard of material.  I miss the old Fabric King in Southern California. During the late 70s and all during the 80s, I felt insulted if I had to pay over $2.50 a yard for anything. Trim was mostly 5 yrds for a dollar. I got all kinds of great stuff there on the cheap, which was nice, since I was doing a lot of costuming back then, making dresses that needed 7-10 yrds of material. Actually, I still have a few of those fabrics and trims.

Also, since we are bolting toward the holidays, JoAnns was a zoo of people buying craft stuff, and the cutting line was way too long for me to hang around.  I will probably wait until after Christmas...and the after-Christmas "I didn't like this" returns and "get rid of it" sales,  to get the tunic fabric.

Lastly, here is one more look at the scarab necklace.  A day or so ago, between rain sprinkles, the sun peeked out, so I took the necklace out on the deck to try and get a better photo. One that shows the colors. It was later in the afternoon, so there are some shadows, but the colors did show up nicely.

So, that's two projects finished, and two more in the planning stages. Seems there is always something fun to do, and now I actually have the time to do them. Sweet!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ongoing and Future Projects, Plus the Finished Scarab Necklace

There is a project I really want to start which involves embroidery and beading on a Goodwill find jacket. The problem is, the design is complicated, and the jacket is dark purple Ultrasuede. Tying to transfer a labor-intensive Elizabethan design onto the said dark fabric, which has a nap, is something I still haven't quite figured out. I will, eventually, but for now, I am playing with this stenciled design for a sweatshirt.

I bought the midnight-blue sweatshirt at the Goodwill for $3.99. It is a nice heavy one, and in very good shape. A lovely blank canvas. The rose T-shirt was one I bought at the Gap years ago. It was faded a bit and the neckline had gone all funky. But, the rose-pink was on the blue side of pink, not the red site, so it was a perfect for the dark blue sweatshirt. I don' remember where I bought the stencil. It could have been at Home Depot in the paint department, JoAnn's, or Micheal's. The paint is an old pot of Lumier pearl blue, but was so old that it had almost turned to paste. I added water, stirred it like crazy, added more water, stirred like crazy, repeat...until I got it usable. Barely. However, because it was so old, the "pearl" effect on the knit is patchy. I ran into the same issue when I used some old gold Lumier on the Crown Bolero. But, I like the effect. It gives the stencil design a bit of texture.

So, here is how it went.

The rose Gap T-shirt cut in half, with the stencil painted on. The white lines are made with soap.

The top photo is truer to the color of the shirt. The second photo makes it look a yucky peach, which it is not. But you can really see the patchy effect of the paint.


The stencil pinned to the sweatshirt.  The top two photos of the shirt were taken in my garage, where my work table is, and where the light is better. The bottom one was taken in my dinning room, where my sewing machine is set up. The light isn't as good, but the colors photo truer. I also noticed that the design is a tad off center, so I will have to adjust a tad and re-pin it.

I will stitch around the pattern, then trim away the pink material from the edge, so the finished design won't be square, but rounded like the stencil. After that, I will add accent stitches around the whole thing. I had originally intended to make this a reverse applique by cutting out the larger parts of the design so the dark sweatshirt would show through, but changed my mind. Mainly because with the blue paint, I didn't think the reverse applique would show up very much. I'll just go crazy with beading inside those shapes instead.

So, that's the project that is going to keep me busy while I try and figure out how to deal with the purple jacket.

Along with getting this sweatshirt thing going, I finished the Scarab Necklace. Again, lousy photo, taken in my garage with the best lighting I can get at the moment (outside it is dark and raining). The scarab was part of a broken necklace in a  box of jumbled, broken stuff I bought at least a year ago. I really liked him, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do with him, so he has been sitting in my stash for all this time, waiting for me to make up my mind. While looking for something else I came across  him again, took him out, set him on my work table, and contemplated him for a few days. Well, I thought, he's got this Egyptian vibe going, so let's play with that, without going all Cleopatra.

The necklace is made of all kinds of bits and pieces...rock chips, coral chips, black glass beads, turquoise chips, red crystals, and frosted glass blossoms. The large copper jump rings were in a tube of copper rings meant for either electrical work or plumbing. I don't know which, as my husband found them somewhere and brought them home for me. I also wanted to play with the contrast of "silver" wire and the copper. The thin copper wire was a pain in the butt to work with, but if I did two layers of wrapping, it looked really kewl.

The necklace is choker length, which tends to be my favorite. I am going to try and get much better photos of this piece, as you really can't see the lovely colors very well in these.  But it does give you an idea of how it came out.

So, that's what's in the works, and that's what just got finished. Another project lurking at the back of my brain involves a pattern for a short kimono I bought back in the 70s. I made one back then and wore it out. I am thinking of making it again, out of linen, and doing a jellyfish applique/beading/stitching design on the back. Pinterest has some amazing photos of jellyfish, that got me all fired up to try that kind of design. Also, I happen to love jellyfish, and could stand for hours, totally hypnotized, in front of the jelly tanks at the Newport, OR Aquarium. Actually, Robert has had to drag me away from them on several occasions, I got so mesmerized.

Anyway, that's what I have in store for the winter...well, except for the make-your-own-rubber stamp kit I want to order from Amazon, and the jelly printing I want to try (which has nothing to do with jellyfish, thank goodness), and the SCA costumes I want to make for both  Robert and myself, and working in my art journals, and doing more drawings, and...and...well, you get the idea.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Journal Pages 3 & 4

Never fear, I am not going to inflict every page of this journal on you, but these first pages, as I start, have all been quite fun, and not dark, brooding, or depressing at all. This comes as some surprise to me, as I usually go into a funk at the start of winter, and don't come out of it until the sun comes back, sometime in May. And if you wonder why I live in a place where it rains half the year, I can answer, "Because for my husband, his funk starts in April or May with the coming of the hot summer, and doesn't go away until October, when the rains come back." Well, they do say opposites attract.

For the last year or so I have been in a Turkish/Persian mood. I think seeing a photo of a beautiful patio with hanging colored-glass Turkish lanterns may have started it, but I'm not sure. I have since bought a large etched-brass platter that came with a folding wooden stand, so I use it as an end table in the living room. Suddenly the cushions on the deck took on more color and pattern. A few months ago we drove up to Eugene, OR to cruise through the Cost Plus World Market store, where I bought a few very small colored glass lanterns, for out on the deck. I also came home with a jar of apricot and cilantro tagine sauce, which I used to cook a chicken with in the crockpot.It was wonderful!

It's all gotten a little crazy, and so far I am still on a roll, having borrowed two Moroccan/Turkish cookbooks from a friend. I now make my own hummus and tagines, want to have my hands henna painted, and have long been addicted to couscous.

Which is why my journal pages seem to be more about exploring than anything else. I guess while the fog rolls in, the rain pours down, and the dark settles in over the house, I can dream of Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, or anyplace else on the planet where the sun is shining.

The cowboy was the last thing I added to this collage, other then the title of Modified Plan. That came from the fortune I saved from a fortune cookie, "Be prepared to modify your plan. It will be good for you", which seemed to fit the whole idea. It's as if the cowboy and the intrepid lady on the motorcycle are trying to get back to each other. Maybe she packed the wrong map?  I think the cowboy's horse knows the way, but he's not telling.

I am tossing this in as well. It is the start of the scarab necklace I am going to make. The scarab was part of a broken necklace I found in a box of junk jewelry I bought a few years ago. I've been thinking about the scarab for quite a while, wondering just what I wanted to do with it, and now I think I am ready to play. Playing means things could change—a lot—between now and when it's finished. Photo is a little dark, but that will be the story of my life until I get off my lazy butt and make a photo light box. Oh, and that's not a hair in the photo, that's a line of marker bleeding through from the other side of the paper the piece is on. That shadow...yup, that's my fat head.


And apologies for the sudden shift from left-centric text to centered. Blogger decided that, and for the life of me I couldn't get it to stop!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Journal Pages 1 & 2

Okay, so the Introvert Chronicles is up and running. Well, it's started, anyway. With the weather still rainy, I have the perfect excuse to play, not that I really need an excuse. But if it's sunny and warm outside, I feel guilty about staying inside.

These first pages are pretty simple, and I hope to keep most of the rest of the pages the same. Might not always happen, but that's the plan.

Page 1 is the back of the cover, which is only heavy cardboard. Not something I can slap paint on, so the whole thing is collage. Again, LOVE Pinterest. A never-ending cornucopia of designs, maps, photos, etc., etc. I just make sure I don't use the artwork of someone else. Only vintage stuff, or copyright free.

Page 2 was my first time in ages playing with watercolor washes, using an old set I discovered while cleaning out art supply bins. I probably bought the set back in the 80s, but I brushed the spider webs off, and so far the little cakes of color still work fine. The page is about a documentary we watched recently on bees called "More Than Honey." It was very interesting, but sad as well, to know how fast the bees are dying, worldwide. I talk to all the bees in my garden..."Hi, it's just me. No worries."...and I have never been stung.

I do like the way the hieroglyphics seem to be just as busy as the buzzing bees.

So that's my start of the Introvert Chronicles. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Introvert Chronicles

Now that my horse event season is pretty much over, I can go back to drawing, painting, sewing, embroidery and beading. Also, journaling. As I have stated before, I have a love/hate relationship with art journals. I love them, but am not very faithful. Over part of the summer I did a quickie, small-page, slap-and-dash journal that was fun...but still has empty pages. Event season just got too complicated and I just got too tired to play with it.

A while back I popped into Michael's craft store, and they had all of their art journals/sketchbooks/drawing pads on sale. Buy one, get one free. Seemed like a sign, so I bought one 6"x8" sketch book and got another one free. I had already purchased a bigger sketchbook to use for drawings, but these smaller versions are perfect for an art journal.

The covers are bright yellow heavy paper. Not something I could paint over. So I cut up an old collage I had done at the end of last winter, and that I didn't really like (I had just slapped stuff on paper to get back in the groove of playing with paint and collage, so it was never meant to "be" anything), cut out a corner of it which I thought worked with the title I had decided on, "Introvert Chronicles."

Haven't done anything but the cover, yet, but am looking forward to filling it with whatever catches my fancy, or with whatever angst I am feeling at the time. I might post some of the pages, if they aren't too personal or depressing! Mainly I hope to fill it with a lot of ideas for beading and embroidery as well as drawings and more collage. My main concern is to keep it from getting WAY too serious or complicated ,which usually happens, and is usually why I've walked away from so many other journals.

So here is the cover of the Introvert Chronicles. I still don't like the bright, in-your-face yellow coming through, so may end up trying to paint it and hope the cardstock doesn't crinkle. We'll see.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

RMA International Horseback Archery Competition

I haven't been posting things here lately, as I had been preparing myself and my horse for the Rogue Mounted Archers International Horseback Archery Competition — also known as the RMA Horseback Archery Zombie Shoot. Yes there were zombies. Five of them. They got shot full of lots of arrows.

I had backed out of this event, feeling that I wasn't quite ready for the big show. I got talked back into it, and I am glad I went, even though I ended up WAY low on the final scores. Partly because I had to pull Delight out of the Sunday shoot, as she had come up with a stone bruise. Then again, my shooting is still pretty hit and miss...mostly miss, so I went for the experience more than anything else. I met a lot of wonderful people, and had a great time. Delight did me proud and didn't spook at the crowds, and gave me consistent runs of between 12 and 12.6 seconds in 90 meters, which is plenty fast enough for me. Any faster and I wouldn't get any shots off at all. Just so long as she stays under 14 seconds, which is the cut off. Go over 14, and you get penalty points.

There were contestants from all over the US, and also from Japan, South Korea, and Brazil. There were two grand masters attending. One from Japan and one from Korea. The Japanese were using the traditional Yumi bow, which is much longer than the shorter horse bows. All in all it was a very fun event, even if the weather turned very hot, and toward the end a bit smoky from the forest fires burning in Oregon and California.

Here are two pictures of me and Delight taken by the wonderful photographer Carla Resh (All rights reserved. Please don't re-post anywhere without giving her copyright credit).

In the above photo, I am not celebrating a great shot. I am saying, "Oh, shit!" because my arrow hit the target but bounced off...no score. 

Another photo by Carla Resh. Not many people get to meet a true Samurai. Tanaka-San from Japan is such a one, and it was an honor for us to meet him. Here is a photo of him and my husband, Robert, retrieving arrows off the course between runs of shooters. He was out there all day, helping the ground crew, and in his 70's he could outlast a lot of the younger guys. And boy, could that man drink whiskey! Chugged it down like water, and then just walked away, steady as a rock. He told me later that he'd had lots of practice in Mongolia drinking Russian vodka from a bowl. Yikes!

There are a ton of stories I came away with from this event, too many to tell here, but ones I will cherish. Can't wait to meet up with all these people again next year.

Next up is an SCA mounted archery event October 3-5 and then I am done for the season! Back to artwork, beading, sewing, and new experiments. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Looking Forward To Winter

Most of my friends reading that title would ask if I was feverish or delusional. I usually rant and rave about how much I hate winter and the months of rain and cold. This year things are a bit different, and it surprises even me that I am actually looking forward to winter this year. And since we don't have a covered arena, and our place turns to mud after the first rains, I don't have to feel too guilty about not getting outside and working...either in the yard or with our horses.

It's mainly due to the fact that this summer has been a busy one of horse events, or trailering the horses to the Rogue Mounted Archers site for practices. Then things really ramped up when the RMA decided to host an international competition Sept 9-14. As members of the group, we were driving back and forth (it's about an hour and fifteen minutes one way) to help get the property ready for this first time event. Also, things got even more antsy, for me, as I ended up deciding to compete. Since I had waffled back and forth over that decision — yes I will, no I won't, yes I will, no never mind — then had several friends tell me to just go for it, so I did...or will. Which put me in a tissy, because I had let things slide, thinking I was out of the competition and the pressure was off. Now it's back on.

Then, just two weeks after this BIG competition, Robert and I are involved in putting on the equestrian part of an SCA event Oct 3-5. We had hoped to kinda bail out of setting things up for this, but it turned out that we still needed to be involved, which just added to the stress level we were already under.

You can see why I am looking forward to winter. After that last event, I want to be a slug for a few weeks, then start some art/sewing projects that I just haven't had time for, as my limited brain power has been focused elsewhere.

Here are a few of the things I want to play around with...some new, some old friends.

Gelli printing. I had never heard of this form of mono-printing, but stumbled on an example on Pinterest. I then did a search of gelli printing on Pinterest and got tons of photos and how-tos showing what it was all about. It looks like fun, seems to be pretty easy, and you can do it on fabric as well as paper, just use fabric paint instead.

Using resin in jewelry making. This is another thing I have been wanting to play around with for quite a while. With the new kits available it seems an easy process and I have seen some really wonderful things done with resin.

More beading on fabric. I got really hooked on beading ever since I started doing the boleros. I want to try using stencils for beading designs, and incorporating paint, stitching and beading all together on pieces of clothing I pick up at the Goodwill. There are just so many wonderful beading ideas out there, and I get all excited. But I don't want to start anything until after all these events are over, so I can really hunker down and get busy.

Back to drawing and painting. I started drawing and using colored pencils a while back, but due to all the time spent trying to get ready for these upcoming events, I put it on the back-burner...again. I did buy a new and better sketchbook with paper than can stand up to wet media, so I am ready to go when everything else calms down.  I can also use this sketchbook as an art journal, which will be fun.

Here is a list of some other crazy things I would like to play around with during The Dark Days: Bleach pens, dying fabric, embroidery, making beaded bugs (I bought a little book on how to make them), and printing photos/artwork on cloth so I can use my own in designs on fabric.

Now you can see why I am looking forward to those long, cold, rainy months. I have a lot to do, and I can't wait to start playing.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weather, Street Style & Curly Hair

Every now and then, mostly on FB, I get asked to show how I wear the boleros I make. I figured it would be easier to talk about that and show pictures here, then post a link to the blog on FB for those who were interested.

Yesterday, on a quick trip to town, and with the sky dark and threatening rain even with the temps still in the 80s,  I got Robert to take a couple of photos of me wearing the Wm Morris bolero.


Summer thunderstorms have been rolling over So. Oregon for the last week or more. Lots of lightening in some places, wind, ominous clouds, but very little rain. Just short bursts of fat drops that hit the ground like a slap in the face, and then are gone.

I took this photo from our deck, looking east, the evening before our trip into town. We left in bright sunlight, but the sky was like the photos by the time we got back.

Street Style

This is the combo. Bolero over a gray skinny tank top, with skinny jeans, and my favorite all-purpose, all-weather fedora, and flip-flops with green beads on the thong part. I am going to try and find a darker gray tank top (closer to the binding color on the bolero) to wear with this because I think it would look better. I tried black, and it was way too much contrast. Also, I am not a "matchy-matchy" person. I don't like something to look like an "outfit." So this color combo works okay for me...for now. Even with jewelry, I wear silver with gold, fake with real, because I like the contrast and it kills the "precious" look, or at least what I think of as precious.

Just a side note. Yes, I like skinny tanks, skinny T-shirts, and skinny jeans. After making two other beaded projects that were fuller and, yes, baggier, I realized after wearing them just once that...I don't like baggy. One of those looser projects I spent a lot of time beading, wore it the one time, put it away and haven't worn it since. I'm lucky in that I am naturally thin, but I also work to stay a size 4, and baggy clothes make me feel frumpy...always have. No offense to those into loose and free, but that's just not me. I like skinny. But not tight. Having to lay on the bed and attempt to wriggle into a pair of skintight jeans is not my thing either.

Here is the back view up close.

Curly Hair
And this is the bit about curly hair. I confess, the order of these photos is out of sync, which is kinda obvious by the weather...bright sunlight in the ones we took before we left, and dark and cloudy in the ones we took when we got back. The reason? Well, I usually always wear a hat, or some kind of hair ornament, but I had just washed my hair and it was still wet when we took the first photos. Want a near terminal case of hat hair, just wear a hat over wet hair for a few hours. So, when we got back, and my hair had dried...mostly...I had Robert take the photos of me wearing my hat, because that's the way I would have originally left the house if my hair had been dry.

The other thing I wanted to see is the difference between how long my hair looks when wet, and how much it shrinks up as it dries, because it is naturally curly. This was pure vanity on my part. LOL Mainly because I wish it would stay looking long.

Curly hair when wet, and a better back view of the bolero.

Curly hair when dry, losing about three inches in hair length as it curls up. Again, this was pure, silly vanity on my part.

Come winter, I will wear this bolero over a long-sleeved skinny T-shirt, and instead of flip-flops will wear boots or my Ariat riding shoes, which are super comfy. And with a hat. Almost always with a hat.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wm Morris Bolero Finished...For Now? Plus a Goodwill Find

Since the weather has been close to, or up into, the 100s, working outside is not fun, and to be avoided if possible. The most I do is move a sprinkler from one part of the yard/garden to another and then head back indoors. So, with a decent excuse to stay inside, and while listening to a book on tape (The Copenhagen Connection by Elizabeth Peters), I managed to finish the Wm Morris Bolero.

It started like this, with me trying to determine what binding color to use. As it turned out, and with a hint from Zom, I didn't use either one of these, deciding they detracted too much from the pattern on the material.

I took one of the sleeves cut off from the patterned T-shirt back to the Goodwill, looking for a better color match and was lucky enough to find one. It was a dark grey man's T-shirt that had been washed so many times the grey had taken on a greenish cast. Just a hint, but it hooked into the teal perfectly. And since JoAnn's is right next door to the Goodwill, I strolled over there to look for embroidery thread, and also found some beads I thought were stunning, and which were on sale for 40% off. Sweet!

However, once I got the bolero sewn together I decided the beads wouldn't work. They were a little too big and too bright, again, something that detracted from the pattern of the material. As it turned out, I had some beads in my stash that matched much better and were smaller. They worked great.

Here is the finished bolero. I really like the way the colors in this one are subtle. My other three boleros are flashier, either in color or beading/applique. I may add beads to the leaf pattern, but have decided to think about that for a while before I commit, start beading, and then decide it detracts from rather than enhances the design.

And this is my latest Goodwill find. A couple of weeks ago a small group of women (and one man who tagged along) from the Rogue Mounted Archers went on a Goodwill/consignment shop crawl looking for clothes for which we could make Zombie Apocalypse costumes. We have an international competition coming up in our area in September, and one of the contests is a zombie shoot. Anyway, after a day of hitting the Goodwill and two other consignment shops—with a stop for Mexican food and margaritas — all I could find that I really wanted was this beautiful jacket, found at the Goodwill, and it had nothing to do with Apocalypse costumes.

It is supposed to feel and look like hammered silk, but is not made of silk. The label inside doesn't say what it is made of, but I suspect some kind of acetate, which I normally would avoid like the plague. But the colors, the lightness of the material, and the oriental look of it grabbed me. I carried it around the whole time I was looking at other stuff, thinking that if I hadn't put it back by the time everyone else was ready to leave, then it was meant to be mine. And for only $4.99 how could it not, right?

I like it "as is." So this piece is not a project waiting to get done.

This little jacket is so different from anything else I have, and will look awesome with jeans.

Well, that's my remedy for beating the heat. How are the rest of you doing?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


My cat, Celeste, all comfy in her favorite sunny spot on the couch, caught in mid-yawn.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Do I Want To Say...If Anything?

There are some artists who make you think. Lately, Zom Osborne has been doing that for me. She asks questions or makes observations about her world through her artwork that cause me to pause and think about things. This is good. This is what art should do, at least to me. Which had me asking myself a few questions about my own work, the biggest being, "Why do I do it, and what do I want it to say, either about me or the world I live in?

It bothered me that my first answer to that question was, "I don't know." It bothered me even more when I realized that I have never really thought about it, or felt compelled to make, for lack of a better term, "statement" art. So, the next question I had to ask was, "If I have always thought that good art made some kind of statement or made you think of the world in a new way, why didn't I ever require my own work to say anything?" After thinking that one over long and hard, I decided the embarrassing answer was, "Because I had no idea what I wanted it to say." I do it because I enjoy it, which is fine, and because I feel compelled to do it or I feel lousy, and that is fine too, but it has never said anything, I don't think, about who I am and what I believe. I have never tried to change people's way of looking at the world, or tried to make them understand the way I view my world.

Maybe artist automatically say things through their artwork even if nothing was originally intended? I suspect the very act of creating something says something about you, no matter what you create. And, since people interpret works of art differently, maybe you end up saying something to one person, but draw a big blank from someone else.

What all this introspection boiled down to was, making me think more about my art and what I truly wanted it to say about me and how I view my world, and how I might go about making that happen. I had to dig down into my fairly shallow brain and find out what was in there worth saying. And I think I found it.

There is a line in the movie The Tempest (the old one, from the 70s) that has the main character facing an incoming storm, raising his arms, and saying, "Show me the magic." I have a favorite author, Charles de Lint, who writes of urban magic all around us, but unseen by most because they don't believe it is there. I believe it is there. I look for it. I don't always see it, but I feel it often. I'm willing to believe. That's what I want my art to show. That magic is out there — old magic, new magic, light and dark magic — and that if you would only stop and look, you would see and feel it as well.

This doesn't mean high fantasy art. I like some of that genre, but that's not what I do. I want it to be more subtle than that, and still make it work. Will I succeed in making people see what they may not believe in or can't feel? I don't know. But for me, at least it is a new focus. It is a new way to think, and that's always a good thing.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Two New Projects

I've got two new projects going, which is kinda nice. The first is another drawing in my series Nomads & Gypsies. This time it is a gypsy. I loved the pose and the position of the woman's hand (Taken from a photograph of a real gypsy woman I found...of course...on Pinterest). These drawing are slowly, ever so slowly, getting better as my drawing skills creak out of retirement.

Gypsy 1

It has been pointed out to me by another artist that her hand is a bit large. I agree. However, I redrew that hand about ten times, trying to get it right, knowing it would be the focus of the drawing, so I have left it "as is." If I had messed with it any more, I would probably have wrecked the whole thing, and rubbed a hole in the paper. Maybe she's just a girl with big hands? Another person viewed it as her beckoning the viewer toward her, which I thought was a lovely way to look at it. I'm going with that. Also, I realized she didn't have any ears! Oops. In the photo I used as a model they are barely visible under her hat. I have added them to the drawing since I took this picture. Also, I am out of the soft grey ink pen I use to outline, so she is waiting to be finished with ink and colored pencil.

William Morris Bolero

The second project is a new bolero. I haven't done one in quite a while, and the T-shirts had been stashed in a drawer while I worked on other things. Today I pulled them out of hiding, and cut out the pieces. I barely...barely... had enough of the patterned shirt, which reminds me of William Morris wallpaper, to get the front and back. Even thought it was a woman's size large, I guess there is large, and then there is large. I had found another shirt in the same color of light green, hoping to use that as the binding, but ended up having to used it for the sleeves instead. The question still remaining is, what new color of trim to use for the binding, which will determine what color of embroidery thread I use to sew everything up. I am leaning toward the soft rose, but will think about it a bit before I commit.

So, those are my two new projects. The weather has waffled between really hot...109 the other day...to a little milder...mid 80s. So I have lots of time in the middle of the day, when it is the hottest, to work on these...and other things. 

Hope you all are enjoying the summer weather...or cooler temps if you live Down Under.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


They covered my hair in black veiling, encased my body in heavy brocades, and assigned jeweled insects as my familiars. Surely the small miracle I performed did not warrant becoming a prisoner of their adulation?

Small mixed media collage, done about ten years ago. Alas, the gold in each corner isn't showing up in the photo as well as I would have liked. The piece was done for a members show at the Grants Pass Museum of Art, with the theme The Number Three.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Other Life

Here's what I do when I'm not stitching, sewing, or doing other artwork. I do target mounted archery. This is the first photo of me on my own horse, Delight, doing a run at the canter. It is one of the most fun things I have ever done on a horse, and yet it took a lot of courage on my part to learn this...especially at my age. It still scares me to let go of the reins, and shoot while going that fast, but I keep at it, and I keep getting better, as does my mare. And I love the feeling of power it gives me. I truly do feel like a warrior.

Photo by Carla Erland Resh, taken on the course of the Rogue Mounted Archers (The club we belong to), Eagle Point, Or.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Love of Stencils

Recently I have discovered many wonderful uses for stencils. Years ago I stenciled a pattern of twining leaves high on the walls of our dinning room, and I may have dinked around with a few since then, but nothing very exciting. Over the last two years or so, I have had all kinds of fun with them. The nice thing about stencils is, they are inexpensive, and can be found in all sorts of places. I picked up the variety you see above from JoAnn's fabrics, Michaels Crafts, Home Depot paint dept, and the rose I found at the Goodwill.

It started with seeing Rice's work over at the Voodoo Cafe. She used stencils to cut out patterns for the Alabama Chanin-type clothing she was making. So, not only did those posts inspire me to make some of the same types of clothing (and buying the AC book), doing all the stitching by hand, and getting back into embroidery, but it also got me using stencils in new ways.

The little amoeba-looking beaded star was my first attempt. I never used it on anything because the beads (only ones I had at the time) are heavy, so it's still in a drawer, waiting for a home. 

I started on cloth first, both for design and for stitching around, and for reverse appliques. I did three boleros, two tank tops, a T-shirt, and a sweatshirt. Here are three examples.

I have just started using them on paper for my artwork for background designs. My first try was on this color pencil and ink drawing of Nomad 2. Here is a close up of the stenciled part of of the background.

I drew around the stencil with a light pencil, then colored it in and added highlights. Worked great.

What's next? Well, once again, Rice has featured a new technique that I want to try, using stencils. You draw the stencil pattern on cloth, much as I did for the above drawing. Rather than use paint to color it in, you go over the drawing lines with stitching.  You end up with a lovely stitched pattern. Since I love the little boleros so much, and they are so easy to make, I want to try this way to use a stencil next. Rice used it on denim (or maybe it was linen, I can't remember), and it looks wonderful.

Just an FYI, if you have never visited Rice's blog site, I highly recommend it. She is always finding new ways to decorate fabric...she's now into dying her own embroidery thread...not to mention her other projects and trips to art conferences, photos of her cats, and just general fun everyday thoughts and, yes, sometimes a rant or two, but she's always inspiring.  Some of her posts will make you laugh out loud.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nomad 2

This is another drawing from the series I am working on, so far called Nomads & Gypsies. I like the composition of this, but don't think the colors are quite as successful as the ones in Nomad 1. Color work is hard for me, so I struggle with it and don't always get a successful outcome.  But since these are for practice, to get back into drawing and using color, I don't think it came out too bad. I like the pose so much I am thinking of doing the same one, only bigger, and on illustration board instead of paper.

Anyway, here is the process again, for those of you who are interested in this kind of thing.

Drawing with source material...again, found on Pinterest.

Here is a better one of the drawing. Sorry, I didn't realize the photo was so crooked until I uploaded it, and by then I had already done the color work, so couldn't re-shoot the photo.

Next is the drawing after I inked it with a Pigma Micron 05 pen in dark blue. I started to add color then went, "Whoops, need to photo ink drawing first" so that's why there is that bit of blue on her head scarf.

And at last, the finished drawing. I think I got a nice melancholy expression on her face, as if she is day dreaming of something a bit sad. The design on the green (meant to look like tile) was a stencil I drew around then colored in.

I am going to have to press this one for awhile, as the paper wants to curl up on the corners. I tried carefully rolling the paper in the opposite direction of the curl, and was only marginally successful...barely enough to get the photo. And, in looking at this, I think the green background needs more work. It still looks rough. Like I said, these are practice runs, nothing too serious — yet.

Other than working on these drawings, I have been practicing mounted archery in order to get ready for a clinic in two weeks. So far the weather has been steady, except for a few rain sprinkles, so that has helped. I have also taken a deep breath, for fortitude, and started reclaiming my garden from the weeds. I bought a cherry tomato plant and a basil plant, which are still sitting on the deck in their original pots, so those need to go in the ground soon.

Best part of the warmer temps = sitting out on the deck in the evening, sipping wine, sampling snacks, and having a nice relaxing moment with my husband...who drinks a beer instead of wine, 'cause tasting wine makes him make funny faces and hand the glass back to me.