Sunday, November 29, 2009

Let's finish our scarf...

Yummm, Yummmm. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It's back to business now. The next order of business? Gift giving! As I mentioned last post, scarves are a great thing to make and give and you can be as elaborate or simple as you want.

The first step in this project involved cleaning off my table. It actually looks pretty good this time. Is your's clean?

Ok, the work area is neat and we have already decided on our fabric and got the store to cut it to the width we want. Our next step is to even up the edges. You might think that if you had it cut to the desired width at the fabric counter, it will be even...not necessarily so, for a variety of reasons. If you ask nicely, they may even it up there at the cutting counter for you, thus eliminating this step. It's not crucial that the edges be perfectly straight, but my fabric really needed some help. So let's gather up our tools, scissors, a ruler and if you are using a cutting wheel, a self healing mat.

Anyway, what I do is take my fabric and fold it in half and make sure there are no wrinkles and then take it to the cutting mat and straighten it up either with your cutting wheel, which you should already know how to use, (if you don't know how to use a cutting wheel, please don't buy one for this project, they are very sharp and dangerous) or with your scissors. Most of us have handled fabric and know how to do an accordion type fold and are able to achieve this next step.

You place the ruler to the the shortest edge that is closest to the "body" of the fabric, line up your ruler and either cut with your wheel, or make a mark along the edge of the ruler, then pin and cut with scissors.

Depending on the fabric, you could actually be done at this point. The fabric I chose, doesn't ravel, and is in fact, stretchy enough that the edges curl in slightly and that eliminates the need to finish the long edges. So you could actually wear your scarf at this point. Really, you can.

If you want to put some fringe on the ends, you can go several ways. You can purchase pre made fringe, or you could buy pre-beaded fringe from Michaels. It is easy to pin and then sew on. You might be able to use fabric glue, if you don't sew, but I'm not sure about that. If you choose a non ravel fabric you can simply cut the edges and make fringe. Like I did on this scarf made I from polar fleece, where all I did was cut the ends in 1/2 in strips for a fringed look.

But on my crushed velvet scarf, I felt the need to embellish the ends a bit. First off, I chose my thread, finding the perfect match...

The top right spool was an exact match. Since I am going to make my own bead fringe, I decided to turn under about 1/4 " on each end and top stitch it, giving me a good base for my fringe.

After top stitching both ends, I went to my stash of seed beads and picked out several tubes that I thought would compliment the fabric. I didn't want to go "matchy-matchy" on the beads.

I then proceed to make beaded fringe for my scarf. Making bead fringe is quite easy once you know how. There are several on line tutorials (this is a fun one) for bead fringe, it just takes time, patience, beading thread, the proper sized needle and good vision to thread this tiny eyed needle.

My finished scarf is perfect. It is comfortable and the slight weight of the seed beads makes the ends of the scarf lay perfectly in place.

Hope this little tutorial made sense. The next scarf I make will be the type that you pull threads from the ends of the fabric and then twist and tie to make fringe. If anyone wants to see how I do that, let me know.

That's it for now. Hope everyone is geared up for a new week, a new day or just a new thought. Take care and have fun.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Make it yourself

With the holiday season upon us, lots of us want to express our love and gratitude with hand made gifts. Whether it's an edible treat, like a make it yourself mix recipe presented in a festive container, or a sock monkey ...just remember to think about the recipient of the gift. Will they really appreciate the time and talent, as well as the thought, that the gift represents? Sometimes when you think you know someone quite well, they still may recoil slightly from a homemade gift.

My own mom comes to mind here. One year a good friend of my sister worked all year long on a crocheted shawl with collar for my mom. The workmanship was marvelous and she even had it professionally blocked at the dry cleaner. My mom was gracious when she received the gift, but years later, after her death, when cleaning her house to be sold, I found this once beautiful shawl, still on the hanger, but never worn. Alas, it was now obvious that it had been used as building material for various yarn loving mice that had unknowingly taken up residence in Mom's back bedroom..

With all this being said, I did want to let you know that you can make a beautiful gift for someone that probably wont be relegated to the mouse condo...

That brings us to Part One of a tutorial that I hope you will enjoy.

Making a Scarf

I know this seems like a overly simple accessory for a "how two", but I really love neck scarves and if you're like me, you hate to pay $10, $20 or even $50 for one in the store. When you take your time and choose some lovely fabric from your local yard goods store, you can get a nice scarf in a color that you or your best friend will really love and wear.

These three pieces of fabric cost $3.00 each. I got 3/8 of a yard of the fuchsia colored and 1/2 a yard each of the purple and green. So even if a fabric is expensive, it's affordable when you only need a small amount.

What I did was take my favorite neck scarf to the store with me and walked around and compared it to various bolts of fabric. If you aren't going to have something with you to use as a "go by", keep the following things in mind...

* What type of scarf do you want to make? You have to keep in mind whether it will be used for inside wear (almost like fabric jewelry or wearable art) or if you want to choose a warm fabric for looking cute when you're out walking with your honey on the nature trail.

* Comfort and drape are another area of concern. You can pick the most gorgeous fabric there is in the entire store, but if it is itchy or too stiff to whip sexily around your neck, you have wasted your greenbacks.

When choosing your fabric you also have to remember how much or how little sewing you want to do.

Ok, now you have decided that you can sew a bit and you want to pick your fabric based on have to remember to check to see how much the fabric ravels, as that is a concern if you want to fringe the edges. I say this because, the green and purple faux crushed velvet fabric that I love, love, love...does not ravel, so I will have fringe it in a different way.

After you have found the type of fabric you want, the fabric that you have held in your hands and scrunched up and made sure it's not stiff and scratchy, or made sure it is warm and cozy...then you can think about color.

Since the fabrics I chose are for me, I was looking for bright colors that will be close to my face. I wear a lot of black and lately, as the hair becomes more silver and the green eyes get lighter and lighter, the black seems to wash me out (either that or I am slowly becoming a zombie). Anyway, I read somewhere that wearing colors close to the face combat this wash out.

So that is the first installment of the scarf tutorial. This week I will be working on actually making the scarves and taking pictures as I go (boo boos will be documented if and when they occur) so hopefully there will be plenty of time to get to the fabric store before the gift giving season is over.

Since this is a fabric related post, I'll show you the cross stitch I have been working on. I got a kit many years back and finally started on it. For some reason there wasn't enough floss to complete the lettering and I had to fill in with some I had on hand. Of course, it didn't match completely, but it's close enough. Some folks insist that you must do your lettering after the rest of the design has been done, but as you all know...I am a rebel. Plus I find it comforting to read the message while I stitch.

As with most cross stitch instructions, it suggest using masking tape to keep the edges from raveling, but I actually think that it makes the fabric too stiff to work with. I'll probably take the rest of it off.

Any way that's it for today. I did want to let everyone know that DH is doing quite well after his dental surgery. Still on mashed potatoes and oatmeal, but he's been a good patient and hasn't complained too much about not being able to eat. Thanks for all the well wishes.

Take care and stay tuned for the progress on the scarves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More pictures, less prattle

Yes friends, it's me again...back with more pictures from my browsing this past weekend. I don't usually post so many non art shots, but this was such an interesting shop that I just must share them with you. I'll try not to gab so much in between shots, so here goes.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I just have to post these cute displays...

I just love the painted mantle in the room where this wonderland is displayed...

Look at the floor in this next shot. I love old houses and although this is probably a faux finished floor, it looks so worn and homey...

How many of you have hubbies or loved ones that would think this is a room full of junk and put it in the dumpster. Imagine if we had saved everything that we love, where would we live?

Another cute idea for a tree...

Check out the ornaments, they are hand painted with the names of our local schools and colleges. If you are a decorative painter, this might be a project for you. Here is a closer version...

Back when I was working, I had a special friend that I went all out for each year, usually making her an ornament. One year I beaded one, and one year I used these same type of blank ornaments and made some pretty spectacular ones, another year I passed on some vintage glass ornaments from the family of a Belgium friend. We no longer put up a tree, so I'm not as into ornies as before, but I still use them in decorating our mantle, (which is above our television) combining them with white twinkle lights for a festive way to watch all our favorite holiday shows.

Oh yay! we've wound our way around to another shabby chic booth and look at this kerosene heater. Is that not the cutest thing? I love it...

Here you can see that it really is me taking these pictures. Perhaps this serious look on my face is concern for my hand that seems to be dangling lifelessly from my wrist. Isn't that funny? I guess I was concentrating on taking the picture and not on being my usual cute self. Anyway check out this dresser...

I love the look of this. Don't tell me the value of a piece has been compromised by painting it. I don't want to hear that. I love this. (click on the picture and look at the sign placed above the top of the mirror).

And last, but certainly not least, check out this desk...

You see that one armed monstrosity tucked back in this display? Did you ever sit in one of these in school? I went to school in a small town and I sat in these in grade school and high school. I think they are so cool. There were even left handed ones. I think that they still use modern versions of these bad boys, but look at the construction of this vintage desk. There is no wonder we love furniture and toys from our past. They pass the test of time.

Well, that's all of my mercantile photos. Hope you liked the last leg of the tour. On the art front, I have been doing some pen and ink portraits (believe me, I use that word loosely) while I watch the tv at night. So I will soon be posting them.

In the meantime, my DH is preparing for a big dental appointment Friday. He will be having three dental implants done. This usually requires a pill the night before the appointment and a pill one hour before his appointment, so he is going to be a bit loopy when we get there. He has a great dentist and will do just fine, I'm sure. Still, think about us Friday morning.

Have a great week and stay safe and happy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A trip to the mercantile...

Today there was a comic book convention being held at the neighboring civic center. Since the hubs is into comics and has a nice little collection, that was definitely an event that he wanted to attend. Since I'm more into shabby chic, prim decor and hand made items, I had him drop me off at the Olde Salem Mercantile. It's a nice sized shop and I can easily spend an hour or so browsing. I took lots of pictures while I was there and thought I would share them with you.

Who doesn't like white painted, shabby chic furniture? I loved the way this display was arranged...

Not into that? How about a cabinet full of punched tin plates...

I love the look of worn wood. Even when it's faux finished, it still has such warm and appeal.

Since I love all things heart shaped (remember the heart giveaways?) I was immediately attracted to this display...

Hmmm, this certainly looks like a project that could be done at home. Most of us have extra fabrics, and cutting, sewing and stuffing three little hearts would be easy.

About five years ago, when I first started going to this shop, everything was either handmade prim or actual vintage finds. I haven't been for several years and was surprised to find lots of commercially made items for sale. The store is laid out like an antique mall, with individual vendors. There are some children's items, and a few pet items, but mostly it is still furniture that has been refurbished and lots of knick knacks to place throughout the home.

I'm much more partial to the handmade things. Like this framed item. I'm not sure what this type of art is called, but I really like the look of it. It seems to be comprised of some homespun fabric shapes, the pocket from a favorite pair of jeans and some dried flowers.

The background is a repurposed chenille bedspread and it has a coffee stained tag with a sweet sentiment lettered on. This picture really doesn't do it justice.

There were some primitive style dolls

and several types of Santas

and while these are fun to look at in person, the quality and originality doesn't compare to the art that my friend Peanut creates.

There were houses...

and bird houses and bird's nests,

so many bird related things that I kept thinking that I actually heard birds chirping.

Silly me, I did...
As you can see, tucked behind a book on songbirds, there was a little cd player, with the sweetest chirping bird songs playing. Quite a nice touch.

I still have several more photos to size before I can post them, but I just wanted you to have a sneak peak at what I did today.

In the meantime, if you are looking for a sweet way to display a baby shoe, I'll leave you with this...

Hope you liked my little stroll through the mercantile, I'll have several more shots to post next week, but until then have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oh the woes of Wally World

Every time I leave Walmart, I swear I'll never go back. But I always do. Back when I was still working and the hubs was working from home, he would go to Walmart very early and had little difficulty. Now that I'm home, we go places together.

We are quickly getting our items from the list as we scoot through the aisles. This is the way we always shop at Walmart, as our plan is to get in and out as quickly as possible and avoid as many hassles as we can. We must look like a couple from the Amazing Race, or Shop till You Drop. Well, maybe we aren't quite that bad, but you get the picture. We get all 12 of our items and head for the 15 items or less checkout. In front of us, in said 15 items or less checkout, is a lady struggling with several huge items, and about 75 regular sized items (the cart was full). After several minutes of watching her try to unwedge her purchase from the bottom of the cart to place on the counter, I asked the checkout gal if there is another 15 and under area open. She just raises her shoulders and some wispy words of some sort float from her mouth. The hubby then, asks the full cart lady, quite nicely I must add, why she is in the 15 or less check out with a full cart. She replies, I'm getting tobacco and I always have to get it here. DH says, well why don't you get check out in the right area and then get your tobacco? Instead of apologizing and saying, "you know I never thought of that", she said "that would be a lot of trouble". After checking out in another area, we found a manager and talked to him. We can all still see the women with her gazillion items going through the quick checkout, which isn't even big enough to hold her groceries, and he told us that they are not allowed to ask someone with too many items to go to another checkout.

Grrrr, what is wrong with people? What is wrong with Walmart? What is wrong with this world? In a country where we have more freedoms and options available to us then anywhere else in the world, a store like this should be considered a fairly nice place to shop. But people shuffle about in slippers and stop in front of you and lolly gag and scratch and talk on those dang cellular phones. Who are they calling, anyway? Hang up and get on with your shopping!

As we were leaving, the lady, who is still checking out, sheepishly mouths "sorry" to us. Do I feel bad for saying something? No, actually, I do not. Maybe she learned something today. Like, she isn't the only person in the store, and to use some common sense next time. Geesh, some things drive me crazy.

That's my rant for today. What about you? Any stories regarding WalMart? What are your pet peeves?

Whew, I'm tired from all that fussin', better go get a nice warm beverage and settle down. Talk to you later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Typing in the kitchen

Thank you my Darling Hubby. Being a computer guy has paid off once more. I am typing from my kitchen table. I'm using the laptop, and while I love the mobility of it, I'm not used to this keyboard. Anyway, this is so cool. He is such a good guy. He indulges me in so many ways.

I grew up in a small town, single parent family and we had to watch our money closely. I suppose this is the reason that I had certain things that I wanted when I grew up. Let's see how I did.

I wanted a husband that loved me and would take care of me...check

After fifteen years in a small apartment.. we figured out how to get a house. I always wanted a house with a deck, and when I was a kid, I thought the height of luxury was to have a television in my kitchen...check on both

In this house, I wanted High Speed Internet that you didn't have to use your phone line to connect. Then I decided I would love to have digital cable...check and check again

Then I wanted high definition television...we went hi-def

My most recent desire is to go wireless.

Well, guess what? We're wireless. Yep, that sweet hubby of mine has come through again. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that he is a guy that likes all this same stuff.

Anyway, I just wanted to make a post, here from the kitchen, and let everyone know (again) what a great guy my hubby is.

I'll be back soon with something artsy, I hope. In the meantime, I hope everyone had a great weekend and if you get the chance to go wireless...go for it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blue Friday

Just a quick post to check in with everyone. I haven't had time to do any art this week, what with unpacking from vacation and then helping DH repack for a quick trip to Washington, DC. I did go to the library and found the best book.

It is called Artful Paper Dolls by Terry Taylor and the images within this book are so yummy that I want to go get out my papers and glues and make some paper dollies.

In addition to playing with dolls this weekend, I am hoping that my resident computer guru finds time to install our wireless router. Yes, after all this time, we are going wireless. I get all misty, dreaming of having my laptop next to me in the studio, right there, waiting for me to search the world wide web. As it is now, I have to get up (which can be difficult at my table when I've hemmed myself in with projects) go back upstairs to my computer, look up my problem and sometimes draw out the solution on paper to take back downstairs. Now I will have the solution right there with me. Ahhh, it will be so lovely.

So in the meantime, I'll get dressed in my usual uniform of jeans and tee-shirt and go have fun in the studio. Today I'm wearing a blue shirt. This is why.

Blue Fridays

Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing blue every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority' We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing.

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -- and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear something blue. By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of blue much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the USA is covered in BLUE and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is .'We need your support and your prayers.' Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and wear something blue every Friday.

I hope you will join me in supporting our troops in this way. Especially now, with the horrendous massacre that has occurred at Fort Hood. They need our support more than ever.

Well, that's it for today. Have a wonderful weekend. Do something fun. Say something nice. Give someone a hug.

Hope to come back soon with some marvelous creations. Until then, ta.