Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

I hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Scary Stuff

There is not much scarier in life than watching time pass like a train barreling down the track with no brakes to stop or slow it down. I don't remember when I went from " Christmas is taking forever to get here" to " dang it is Christmas already". It just snuck up on me.
I love listening to Christmas music but lately I have realized all my favortes are sung by people who are no longer with us. That is very eerie to me. It is like the ghost of Christmas past appearing every time I turn on the radio.
I really don't mean to sound so glum but I guess the stress of not knowing what the future holds has made even Christmas a little sad this year.
I promise this blue mood will pass...for all of us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Final Steps in the Little Brown Purse That Could.

Well I have finished my little brown felt purse and am ready to move on to a few new projects.
Here is the last installment of the purse project in pictures. I have pinned the two pieces of both the lining and main bad pieces right sides to gether and sew them leaving a 4 inch opening in the bottom of the lining for turning later.
I always pin and hand tack the handles on so they do not shift during sewing especially when working with thick layers like felt. The handle is just a four inch wide piece of the sweater that I folded over itself three times and stitched each outer edge to close it. It made a soft sturdy handle.
Then the purse is placed inside the lining right sides together and sewn along the top. Trim all loose threads.
Pull the whole bag through the opening you have left at the bottom of the lining, hand stitch that closed and you have a purse.
I make little discreet stitches inside the purse to tack down the lining and you can top stitch along the top of the purse if you like for an extra decorative touch.

Monday, November 15, 2010

And the winner is..........

Well I have picked the winner using and it is....drum roll please........
Roberta Cohen

I will be dashing off an email to her tonight.

Be looking for a new giveaway starting on November 20th.This was just too much fun to not do again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Looking Back On October

I can't believe how fast this year is winging by. I wanted to get so much more done than I have.
I know I am working full time outside of the house now but still I should be getting more crafting done. Someone who posted a comment on my giveaway page has given me a good idea.
Deborah said...
I've decided to put at least one hour a day aside for making something with my hands - thanks for the chance to try something new!
November 13, 2010 7:02 PM
Setting a specific amount of time as a goal to work on projects is a great idea. It makes more sense than just winging it like I have been.
Some weeks I am happy with the amount of work done and some not. If I set a specific time aside and then that is that. I will not try to judge by the amount of work just be happy if I have filled the allotted time.
I plan on doing this for the rest of the year and see how it works.
I also am setting new rules for working on my projects. I used to think you could not be creative if you had to abide by rules and regulations but I have since discovered that "some" rules are needed or it all can turn into unproductive chaos.
So here is the plan....
  1. Daily a minimum of 2 hours will be set aside for working on projects.
  2. All errand and shopping will be done on one of my days off.
  3. No more than 2 projects in the producing stage and one in the designing stage at one time.
  4. I must have all structural aspects decided before I start a project, (I have three purses in my closet awaiting handle decisions..not good) embellishments can be decided as I go.
  5. At the end of each month I will photograph and put a slide show of what I have produced on this blog.
  6. Good or bad I will move on to the next project or next design. No regrets, just design decisions based on past projects are allowed.
  7. Every third project has to be in a different medium than the two before it. I think this will keep things lively.
  8. One project a month has got to be put on the blog as a tutorial. This will keep me thinking about the hows and whys of my projects.
The thing about being creative is that you can create art but you also can create a living hell inside your own mind when you do not realize the potential you feel you have.
I thinking learning to create peace in my own mind is the hardest project I have been working on.

So here are the projects I have completed for October.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Felted Purse Project Step Five

I have finished needle felting the leaves and I used machine stitching to add more color and dimension to them. Then I went back over the leaves with the felting needle to add more veins to them. The pictures on the left below are the needle felted leaves and the machine stitched leaf.

On the right I have added just an accent of beads along one edge of each leaf to give them a sparkle in the sunshine like the leaves seem to have in the fall when the sunlight streams through them.
Now comes the last part the putting the whole shebang together. I really like that step because all the figuring out is done and it is a nice soothing run to the finish.

Since hubby is going on a motorcycle ride this weekend it will be a crafting weekend for me. I should have this purse done and more.
I plan to make a wrist-let or two and maybe cut out another felt purse. I have this soft camel vest that felted up beautifully that I plan to turn into a purse this weekend.

I will post my finished projects Sunday night.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Felted Purse Project Step 4

I have started to add the leaves to the front of the purse. I start by putting a tiny amount of fiber between the felt leaf base and the front of the purse where I want to attach it. Then I use my needle to poke through the leaf and the fiber and stick it to the purse. This is only to keep it in place for now.
Once the leaves are in place (I check my sketch to make sure the design matches the drawing) I then put on tiny bits of the three colors of fiber I have chosen and needle it to the leaf. This is a very slow process. I add just the lightest amount at a time to get a good blending of the colors.
I use a course needle for this. I want a lot of texture and color on these leaves.
I am not worrying to much if they are attaching firmly because I plan to do either machine or hand stitching on the leaves when I am done needle felting. The first photo shows how I pin down the appliques and the second is a detail of the process of felting in the colors to the first leaf.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Felted Purse Step Three

I am finally happy with the direction I am going with this purse so it is time to make the pattern and cut it all out.
As you can tell so far I change things as I go. I never totally end up in the direction I started but I am almost always happy with the destination once I get there.
I have made a pattern out of a stiff art paper. I make notes on it about what needs to be cut out of it and anything else I need to know like pocket dimensions.
You can see in the photo on the top that I have cut out two purse bodies from the felt sweater and two cloth lining pieces from the pattern. I also have two pockets that are going on the lining. I may re-size one of them as I go along but I have started with four pieces of 5 by 5 and 1/2 inches for the pockets.

I have had another design change in that I am making the leaves using a needle felting process instead of cutting them from the mottled red and orange piece I had wet felted earlier.
As you can see from the photo on the bottom I just resized the leaves in my original sketch and printed them out for a pattern. I am using a wool felt slightly lighter than the base of the purse for the base color. Over this I will needle felt the fibers that I chose earlier to use on the leaves.
Then I will sew in the veins on the sewing machine when I am finished attaching the leaves to the purse front.

Now the one thing I have not decided yet is what to do about a handle. I might make it out of the sweater sleeves or use this lovely cord I have that is a good match for one of the orange fibers I am using on the leaves.

What I find to be the most fun about creating things like this purse is that I don't even know what it will end up becoming and I am making it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Felted Purse Step Two

I spent a lovely peaceful day with my hubby David and two little dogs Cleo (12yr old Yorkie) and Tina (2 year old Chi mix). We went to Bay Area Dog Park. It was a perfect day, lots of sun but still nice and cool and comfortable.
We have one social butterfly Cleo who loves the dog park and walks around greeting everyone like she is the queen greeting her subjects. Our other dog Tina is so afraid of everything and everyone she stays close to my husband every minute. She will run a little way away from him but the minute someone comes close she runs under the picnic table he is sitting at.
They are both now sleeping soundly all tuckered out from the days adventure.
The peace and quiet gave me time to do some sketching tonight.
I have done a few sketches and decided on this one simple design with a few leaves falling through the air on a base of chocolate felt. I love the colors on this purse. It is a basic soft round shape with generous dual handles. It is going to be embellished with a few glass beads probably outlining the veins in the leaves.
This is my sketch and work sheet.From this start I will now make a pattern out of paper and start cutting out the material tomorrow.
More photos of the next steps will be coming in a few days.

Felted Purse Project Planning Step One

Since money is tight in our household like in many others I have got to work with what I already have on hand or what I can acquire without too large an investment. Now that may seem very restrictive creatively but I find it is not. First I have lots and lots of material on hand. I am always finding things I had purchased to use and have no idea what I intended them for in the first place but they turn out to be perfect for what I am working on now.

Working with what you have actually can be challenging but it forces you to focus on what is in front of you. I think we often miss the potential of things we have on hand. Newer is more exciting but odds are if you have acquired a major stash like mine newer will turn into yesterday’s news before it gets used. I still have fabric from when I was quilting in the 70’s. Good thing it is coming back into fashion.

For the felt purses I have discovered that you can actually even get thriftier than just going to a thrift shop. We have thrift stores in this area that have days the clothes are half off or more. So I shop on the best days for the nicest sweaters I can find.

So when I start a project I gather up all the items I might use in it and lay them out on the table. I have the lining fabrics the body fabric the trim and possible button closures all laid out.

I had already decided to turn one of my new brown sweaters into a purse with an autumn leaf design. So this is the first setup:

I narrowed it down to two different lining fabrics and the fibers and buttons I liked best but I was actually unhappy with the base sweater itself. I had chosen that brown because it reminded me of foggy fall mornings in New Hampshire but it just wasn’t clicking with the design of this purse.

This is my new layout:

As you can see I went with the darker richer chocolate brown sweater. I am leaning toward the bold print because the purse is going to have a simple button closure so the lining will show more than if it had a flap closure. If the flashier button does not take away from the leaf design I will be using that. We shall see when it is done.

Tonight and tomorrow I will do the sketches and decide on how I will cut the pattern for this sweater. The handle is going to be made of the purse base material and the purse will have a soft round bottom. I plan to keep it simple and soft in design.

I will post the sketches in a day or two as well as step by step photos as I make the purse.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When you can't sleep......

Create something, clean something, resolve something...just don't sit there and play video games. The message was meant for me but if it applies to you feel free to feel guilty at my expense. Better to blame me than yourself...LOL
So I woke up at five this morning and in an effort to take my own advice I have been researching the web and my own books and photos to get some inspiration for the brown purse I am making. So far I have decided to go with fall leaves sprinkled on the front of an half circle shaped purse with a generous handle. I have some pieces of yellow and orange felt that I felted myself to work as the base of the leaves and I sorted out my beads to come up with some to accent the design.

Fall Creative Boost Giveaway

While I was sorting through my beads I decided to have a giveaway. I hand picked a nice collection of sterling charms, connectors, toggles, a 20 inch sterling chain and a leaf pendant in sterling. I also added clip earring findings. To those I put a collection of pressed glass, lampwork, polymer and wood beads all in fall colors with 10 scrabble tiles thrown in the mix just for fun. As you can see there is enough there to make several Christmas presents for your friends and family. The estimated value of it all is 70.00
All you have to do is add a comment to the bottom of this post to enter. You must enter by November 14th at midnight central time. You must be 18 years old to enter and there is only one entry per person and the winner will get all the beads and findings shown in the first photo. I am even going to throw in a mystery bonus gift when I ship the package. I will announce the winner who will be chosen using the random number generator by November 16th. You do not have to buy anything to win just click and add a comment to this post.
Make sure that you have a way to contact you in your comment. If you keep your profile hidden I cannot get back to you if you win. I will post the winner here if I cannot send them a message if they do not get back to me in three days another winner will be chosen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finished Purse...I think

Last night I did the last of the hand sewing, tacking the lining down and sewing on the closure button. This is the finished purse.
So far I like the results but I am tempted to put some beading on the tab and change out the button for something bigger and flashier. Or not.
The hardest thing for me when I am creating something is to know when to stop, to back up and say this is done. To know when it is truly finished.
I used to have the same problem with relationships but at least in that area I now know done when I see it.
I think I will let the purse rest out of my site for a bit before I decide what to do. I will come back to it later with a fresh mind. That usually works for me in Sodoku and crafting.

Hot button topic of the week.
Art vs. Craft
When is it fine to label something as an art object as opposed to a craft project?

MY Answer: I don't really give a hamster's backside. Call what I make whatever you choose. You can hug it and squeeze it and call it George for all I care. If you like or do not like what I create that is fine with me. What you label it is up to you. Some days I feel like an artist, some days I feel like a craftsmen and some days I just feel like crap. So I guess my creations can run the gamut from art, to craft, to just plain crap. Fine with me...LOL Each piece is a learning experience and if every day I get to wake up and design and create something new the world is perfect in my eyes.

This weeks project: The brown sweater dilemma.
I had a good day at the thrift store this week. I got lots of sweaters to felt and all but one felted up nicely (I will be doing a project with that one later watch for it). The only down side is I was only able to find sweaters in neutral gray and brown tones.
So I am going to have a canvas of brown to create my next purse.
I plan on posting the whole process here step by step from start to finish.
Tonight I will go through my scrapbooks and check online to find inspiration for my next purse.
I will post my inspirations and my first sketch of what I intend to make on here in the next few day so watch for it.
Here are my three choices of felted sweaters. One is light with a touch of blue, one is a light fluffy pale brown and the last is a rich chocolate brown. The blue is stiffer than the other two.
I have no idea which will fit the bill but we will find out together.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Felted Heart Pocket Purse

This is what I have been working on today. It is a little tan felt purse with beaded red hearts pockets on the outside. The fabric you see below it the tan with red butterflies is going to be the lining. I know you don’t have to line felt purses but I like the added element and texture it brings to the piece. There will be short tan handles and a red tab with a button closure. I will post a photo when it is all done. If you want me to post a pattern for this purse just let me know.

The Journey

I sometimes wonder how I got where I am now from where I started out. I don’t mean how I got from New England to Texas I know how that happened. I fell in love.

It is as simple as that. Well maybe not simple, love has never been simple for me. I don’t know which is harder sometimes to feel love or to feel that someone actually loves me. Either way it is hard for me. So…..

My husbands family lived in Texas so after I got out of the army I came here with him. That is the how I got to Texas story. A simple sweet love story with its share of drama and sheer horror at times…LOL

The facts are: I was born in Vermont, grew up in Rhode Island and went in the army after my first marriage collapsed and I was in a horrendous car accident that left me checking out of this world three times. I actually lost a great deal of my memory after the car accident and only remember bits and bobs of things from my childhood through my twenties. I cherish the memories I do have left even the sad ones.

But how did I get to where I am in life? I never had the desire for wealth (good thing huh) but I do have a desire for peace of mind and the sense of who I am and where I am going. Sometime even my simple life spins around so much that I don’t have a chance for either.

I don’t mind that the path is a rough one and a long painful hike I just would appreciate knowing where I am hiking to. I know, I am the captain of my own ship, the guide on my own journey and so forth and so on…. But I think someone needs to throw me a compass because I appear to be lost.

The book the Secret tells you to visualize what you want as though you already have it. How does that work for those of us who can’t figure out exactly what it is they want?

So I am using blogging to get all the thoughts that are rattling around in my head out into the universe, sort of a cyber echo location attempt maybe I will get an echo back that will help me find my way.

Feel free to put in your own two cents about my journey and my work. I could use the help.