Friday, July 29, 2016

A Walking Purse

When I drive over to the park or down to the lake to go for a walk, I have to take my keys and driver's license with me. I've been putting them in a small, cross body bag that doesn't fit my wallet - and that was good at first - and then it was getting complicated remembering what was where and moving it back and forth so I decided to create a walking purse that my wallet would slide into easily.

In Wednesday's posting, I promised it would be finished for today and then yesterday got all turned around. Instead of sewing all afternoon, I went house hunting.... for the perfect house with the perfect basement suite at the perfect price.

Houses here are selling fast. You have to know what you want and buy it when you see it which can be a bit......

... nerve wracking for a first time buyer like my oldest son. He has decided to move to Salmon Arm which I'm taking as a supreme compliment. It was fun to go shopping with him and he made a great choice. We're still waiting to hear back if his offer has been accepted but hopefully. If so, he'll move early September. If not, he'll keep looking.

And...... YES YES... I did get the bag done. It started with two more pieces from the possibility box, one for the main fabric and one for the lining and bias trim.

The cord is a piece of beige shoestring that I zigzag stitched over to add the green color. It's stitched to the side of the bag and then "decorated" on each end with a smaller button that matches the focal one on the front. The strap is quite secure. For walking with a wallet. Although I may add an inside snap to hold my keys just to make sure that if I fall, they don't fall out. I'd prefer not to fall - VBG.

The main fabric is a surface design piece I made quite a while ago when I really didn't know what I was doing. It is - IMHO - rather ugly... which is perfect. Start With Ugly is one of the lessons in my course Self Expressions and it's a great place to begin playing from because there's no where to go but up.

To give the elements more vitality, I started by outlining the purple shapes with a black felt (for fabric) pen. The left side of the fabric in the image above has black outlining and the right side does not. It makes quite a difference and reminds me of cross-stitch. Adding the black outline always did wonders.

In addition to felt pens, I used pencil crayons to outline the other shapes and then set the colors with a steam iron. I'm pleased with how the fabric turned out. It's far more interesting than what I started with.

I like the finished bag too. It'll work perfect for what I wanted. When I started working with this piece, I felt a new level of confidence and freedom with surface design possibilities than I've felt in the past, like I'd turned some kind of comfort corner - a VERY nice bonus

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - ugly fabric to lovely purse

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fun... And Done

Some ideas are simply stepping stones to other ideas and aren't meant to be "finished" or at least to be finished at this stage. Take...

... this quilted lining. It was the starting point for the blue coat. I sewed it first to test the frankenpatterned design and then set it aside while I put together the top layer. In the end, I used a different lining and this one is left... ready to become the starting point of another garment. Next time, I'll turn it over and applique the design to the flannel backing and let this blue side become the inside. Later. For now....

... I am glad to be finished this project. Although I'm quite happy with how it turned out, it was labour intensive and time consuming.

Serger strips are used throughout. For each strip, I stitched with the serger, cut off the strip, and top stitched it with pink thread. There are hundreds of strips. That took several days and...

... the project took several weeks. And that's okay. I like sewing these little garments. The buttons are purple. The top one is actually small but tucked below the collar. The first visible one is larger and the...

... next five are smaller. Varying the button size was a tip Marcy Tilton gave me at one of the Design Outside the Lines retreats and I try to keep it in mind whenever possible. Apparently I'm in a purple button phase because I've used these on the last two projects. When I took Barb to the bus in Vernon - 45 minutes away - I stopped at the Fabricland there for more purple buttons because the Fabricland here was sold out.

Most of the serger strips along the hem are stitched to the lining. The top strip is stitched to the upper layer and first then through both layers to hold them together. At first, I wanted the lining to hang free only the folds  of the two layers didn't lay nicely so I stitched them together. To finish the collar at center back, I tied the strips in knots and then cut them the length of the loops. It works.

The sleeves are pieced with an upper and lower section. The stitching on the upper section is vertical and on the lower section is horizontal. The thread gave more energy to the denim fabric and the change in direction gave even more energy to the sleeve. I chose the denim fabric to give the coat a more spring/fall look toning down the brightness of the floral and striped fabrics. I like the way the sleeves brought together the collar, hem, and serger details.

And now, I'm working on a purse. It should be done for Friday's posting.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the blue coat is fun... and done. YES YES !

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