Friday, July 22, 2016

Celebrating The Collar

Your ability to create anything has to start with desire - ... desire alone is not adequate to create results. In order to achieve your objectives, you have to create plans and take action every day. You have to do something every day toward your dream. - from Living Write by Kelly L. Stone

This little blue coat is taking longer than I thought to complete although - to be fair - I have sidetracked into other projects however - again to be fair - the collar has been truly tedious to stitch together. It was a days and weeks as opposed to hours and days amount of work that I think looks quite fabulous in the end. LOL - I'm glad.

After trying various ideas, I settled on creating long serger strips with pink top stitching and then stitched them in loops to the collar base. The ruler allowed me to keep the size of the loop uniform and provided an edge to stitch against with a zipper foot.

AND... it's done - the collar that is. The coat still has quite a bit more work to go but for now, I'm celebrating the collar. Having Barb here made it easier to stay with the task. LOL - maybe I'll be done the coat before she leaves. Today, I'm working on the sleeves AND...

... exploring yet still another idea for the pendant for the black and white necklace. I realized that as much as I liked the painted rock, what I really wanted was something more fabric oriented so I've been making large rolled beads from strips of different fabrics. The blurry picture above is white linen with black thread work and an appliqued thicker black cording. It's not quite there yet but it is getting there.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a finished collar

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Art With Joanna

We have had the weirdest weather in the last week. It's far colder than normal with lots of rain - as in torrential downpours - flashing lightening and rumbling thunderstorms. I'm not quite sure what to expect next but if I can't be outside enjoying the sunshine, it's good to be inside enjoying studio time.

My garden is blooming beautifully. The plant above was a cutting from a friend and the one below came with the house. I have no idea what either of them are although I really like the spikes and the soft petals.

The rain keeps the garden watered. This is good. It is quite different looking after a yard mostly on your own without underground sprinkling. It reminds me of when we were first married and Howard would be away for work and I'd completely forget about the yard until a few hours before he came home. Then, I'd be out there watering it by hand and desperately hoping it would green up quickly. He's very particular about his lawn.

Today, I'm cleaning house and getting ready for my friend Barb who is coming to visit for a week. Yesterday, I spent the day at another friend's studio in Kamloops. I first met Joanna over twenty years ago and we did a lot together and then, with life and stuff, our lives drifted apart. I was journalling one day and thinking about her and...

... prayed for an opportunity to tell her how much I missed having her in my life. One Friday shortly after that, I walked into the gallery for knitting and there she was checking out the latest exhibit... even though she doesn't live here.

We re-connected and a few weeks ago she came for a play-date in my studio and yesterday I enjoyed the day in her's... which is delightfully colourful as you can see. Joanna is exactly the same way - joyful, exuberant, colourful, outgoing, fun to be around and very, very creative. When I first met her, she taught me to be more aware of details like how the sun shines through the window and creates a pattern on the floor, or the dew on a spider web, or the wonderful swirl of a spiral. I'm so delighted that we're able to spend time together again even though she's very busy teaching Art With Joanna classes in her studio. She doesn't currently have a website. If you're interested, you can email her at JoannaBattjes @ gmail . com.  I didn't hyperlink or connect it because of spammers.

I worked on the black and white and the grey and silver necklaces. Both are strung with closures and are at the finishing stages... read extensive beading and finishing the black stone pendant. I thought the grey one...

... would look great with garnets between the knot beads and then no, it decided it needed a shiny round bead instead. And then it decided those two were enough and I could focus on creating a focal point. So bossy. But fun. I'll work on it more while Barb is here. Tedious work is much more fun with friends. Actually, life is much more fun with friends.

I believe that life is about relationships, that it's important to develop healthy relationships that support the best in each other, and that - unfortunately - when we're going through the stuff of our lives our relationships can be challenged. We need to evaluate whether a relationship is healthy or toxic and to end the ones that don't nurture us but sometimes one ends that we wish hadn't. I am very lucky to have reconnected with several friends in the past couple years that I'm so glad to have back in my life. I had to say sorry. And it was worth it.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - wonderful friendships

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Long Road To Another Necklace

I've been getting up another half hour earlier for the past week to spend one and a half hours in the studio before starting the rest of my day. While I'm somewhat blurry-eyed this week, I'm adjusting. It's good. I do my best work in the morning so I want to lengthen the morning "hour" to two hours. That may mean getting up another half hour earlier or adding it to the end. I'm not sure yet.


After testing a few different methods, a combination of pins, a ruler, and a zipper foot seems to work for the serger curl collar. It's still slow but not nearly as slow as sewing the details by hand. After all the sampling, I was a bit tired of the piece and decided to it away and work on it next week when my friend is visiting. It'll be much easier with conversation.

I first posted this picture of Audrey from AdvancedStyle in November. Not only do I absolutely LOVE her entire outfit, I'm so inspired by that necklace that I've been working on ideas from it ever since. Not successfully. But ideas. It's not three years (yet) like the previous piece but it's certainly a long road to another necklace.

I've been playing with black and white ideas including painting some wooden discs and attaching knot beads to them. The "chain" is a piece of cotton tubing wrapped with black and white fabric and tied with pearl cotton. HOWEVER...

... the knot buttons looked like blobs on a background. There's no real interest and the definition of the cording doesn't show SO...

... I tried adding beads to one and beads and paint to another and they - really - did not improve the situation. When the pieces are placed with the "chain" it all looks...

... less than lovely and not exactly what I was going for. As I did with the previous piece, I want to push forward to finished realizing that even though I don't have the skills now to execute the idea I have, I have enough skills to execute an idea and if I do that, and again, eventually I'll get where I want to go SO...

... instead of a necklace with a lot of dangling parts, I'm looking at creating one with a main focal point. To start, I painted a grey rock black and then coated it with a clear finish and now I'm exploring ideas for finishing it and joining it to the "chain". And adding some definition. It - too - is looking like a black blob. That's what I'm working on this morning.

Ricky's (a ladies clothing store) had these - IMHO rather ugly - necklaces and bracelets marked way down from $14.99 and $16.99 to half off the last marked price. I bought them for a dollar each which is way less than I'd pay for the magnetic clasps. YES YES - love when I find a good deal like this. The clasps are too small for the "chain" of the necklace I'm working on but they'll work for something.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - keep going

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hurry Hurry - Quick Quick - Before It's Too Late

The Fabricland stores here in Canada have endless sales... or rather an endless sale. I don't even start looking at the fabric until it's 50% off and rarely pay attention until it's 60% or 70% off and I really start taking notice when it's moved to the bargain center and especially when the bargain center is 50% off. Shopping that way, I've commonly bought very expensive fabric for between two and five dollars. Which is good. However...

... I do pay attention to advertising and over the July long weekend Fabricland had what they called their biggest sale of the year and - really - it wasn't any different than their continuous, the name changes but rarely the details, rotating, year long sale. I didn't buy anything. In fact, I've been in and out of several Fabriclands lately without buying anything. When I told Howard, he asked if I'd made a doctor's appointment and was I feeling okay. LOL - yes - there just wasn't anything worth buying just yet and especially because...

... I am happily immersed in the potential boxes exploring the possibilities of my "garbage". The second knitting bag is almost done only I ran out of the lime thread, no one sells it in town, and when my friend went to pick up some spools at her store she learned that Mettler has changed their color codes and there is no cross referencing chart. Since that's not the best business decision, I assume that means they have a new supplier. It's the only reason that would make sense to me but I don't really know. All I know is that I no longer know the numbers of my favourite colors and still need more thread to finish my bag. My friend is bringing "a selection" when she comes next week and hopefully one of those is "my" lime.

Until then, I've been working on the little girl's coat making lots and Lots and LOTS of serger strips and samples. The one I liked the most for the collar worked best when stitched by hand and is VERY labour intensive. While I like labour intensive work, in this case it is too much work for the results so I'm making more samples for more ideas. Of course, both projects would be stalled on the first week of trying two postings and that's life. Some times our work stutters its way along and we just have to stay with it and see where it's going.

This wall is labour intensive and I love the look so much that I may try it in my own yard because I certainly have enough rocks to give it a go. Trying it... slow gardening... slow sewing... hand work... reading... just meandering and being... they all strike me as something so important especially in light of all the hurry hurry, quick quick, before it's too late messages that are coming at us all the time.

Hurry, hurry seems to be the common theme of the email advertisements coming into my inbox lately. Of course, they are mostly from yarn and fabric and pattern suppliers since those are my favourite subjects but they're also from the companies who supply my prescription glasses, business cards, health products, and paper supplies - "everyone" is doing it. Personally, I don't feel a need to hurry up and buy something. As I've said so many times before, I'm warm, dry, fed, clothed, housed and loved and there's not much I need BUT....

Playing the movie... We act as if the present is all there is; we forget that the future is going to come either way. It's not an option. The question is what do you want your life to look like on that day? The "movie" is not optional but the where the plotline goes is. - Henry Cloud, 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life.

... when I think about hurry hurry, quick, quick, before it's too late, I think about it in terms of maximizing my time. I wrote the quote above in an earlier posting and it, along with these emails, really makes me think about what will I spend my time on now. I want to hurry hurry to my studio, be quick quick to make sure that I take time for nurturing creativity each day, and explore all the potential possibilities and those "too good to use" fabrics before it's too late. This strikes me as far more critical than new acquisitions - that I hurry hurry, quick quick, before it's too late to live my life to the fullest.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - slow but steady progress in the studio

Friday, July 8, 2016

Keith's Coat

With Canada Day on Friday, last weekend was a long weekend for many Canadians. My daughter and her family went to visit my son-in-law's parents which meant that my grandchildren were going to see the "wrong" grandparents - VBG - however...

... there was this entirely appropriate picture of them in a large lime (which is Grandma's favourite color) wheel-well from a mining truck (which is the industry Grandpa works in). SO CUTE but then I am totally biased.

The picture above is of my oldest grandson who is now three. When my daughter was pregnant, I thought about what to do for each grandchild that would be maintainable even though I didn't know how many grandchildren I'd eventually have or how many would come "ready-made". I decided to make each child something with their name on it. Daimon's coat was Melton cloth with a dark blue lining and turquoise top- stitching and embroidery.

Keith's coat is denim using the lighter "wrong" side as the right side. I finished it several weeks ago but was waiting for it to get to their house before posting. I wanted him to see it first. The coat was the first project from the potential boxes and is made entirely from "scraps". That intrigues me. How much did I throw away before I realized its potential? I'll be sewing out of the boxes for years and it's all "free."

The painted pieces are from the surface designed jeans made in March. I combined the painted scraps with unpainted portions of the denim, a red and black check, and red top-stitching. The back was pieced, pressed, and top-stitched before the pattern piece was cut out.

I tried not to use too much of the painted fabric in case it had a more feminine over-tone. The check fabric was chosen to balance that and used for the zipper placket, hemlines, upper collar, and facings.

The sleeve has two pieces with an accent strip at the hemline. I wrapped that around to the inside so the sleeve could be rolled up until his arms were longer.

The lining is dark blue with turquoise embroidery like Daimon's coat because I thought that's the color direction I was heading in and had the embroidery done at a shop before the project changed directions. I'd already paid for it so it was staying and it still works. The top of the pockets is the fabric's selvage.

Keith will be one at the end of next month so this project took a bit longer than his brother's and it's done and this is good. The only deadline I need to concentrate on now is finishing my daughter's "real" purse to replace the prototype above before her 30th birthday in December. I have some leather but not enough. I hope to get more in Calgary the next time I visit however, just in case, do you know of a good place to buy leather at on-line? Thanks.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - I took these pictures at the start of learning how to take better pictures and even though it's only been a short time, I can already see progress. YES YES!