Friday, March 29, 2013

RIP Bernette is60

A week ago yesterday my trusty iron bit the dust. After several years of service, my faithful companion decided it was never going to get hot again.I really loved this iron. It had everything going for it that I needed to make all my creations more perfect. Plenty of steam when I needed steam, big water reservoir so I didn't have to fill it repeatedly, quick heat up, simple controls, long cord, and most importantly, it did NOT turn itself off. I cannot stand an iron with the automatic shut off!! I was heartbroken.
    So I had to scrounge around in the iron graveyard (don't all sewists have one?) and find something to use until I could find another iron to fill the void. The catalog from Wawak Tailoring supplies was handy and I considered for a moment to upgrade to a gravity feed system. But decided that was too much of a jump, especially now when my finances are in limbo. The catalog had another iron that sounded like a decent replacement for my departed friend, so I went online and studied the reviews, which were fairly glowing.
 So this is what I came up with---a Reliable Digital Velocity V100. I ordered it from Wawak on Thursday and it arrived Monday afternoon. It has the option of automatic shut off, but that "feature" can be overridden--whew--the water tank is is big enough so there is not constant refilling and it produces TONS of steam. The controls are a tiny bit complicated and we all know how technologically deficient I am. I think it is supposed to light up somewhere, so it might have to go back, but in the meantime, it is working very well.
So the jury is still out on this iron and it will never replace the Bernette in my sewing heart, but maybe I will learn to love it for what it can do to help me create masterpieces.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Altered Book--from long ago

 This post is for my sister to look at so everyone else, avert your eyes! Hahaha...This is an altered book I made years ago. We were talking about it the other day and she wanted to see what I had done. The first photo is the cover. I got the idea to make the book from another book I found at the bookstore---a translation of a fifteenth century German manual on the rules of combat. These pictures were from the chapter on a fight between a man and a woman.

 Of course these photos are out of order (grrrr) because the photo above is the first page. Maybe you can enlarge the pictures to read the captions and make some sense of the pages.
 I made several books and gave them to married couples as gifts. Some ended differently mainly because there were more pages in some of the board books I used. In my versions, sometimes the man won and in others the wife won the fight. The board books were from the dollar store and were sanded to rough up the shiny pages. Everything was attached with acrylic medium. I used the original pictures from the manual, then added paint, my own captions and rubber stamped images. I had so much fun making these books and laughed the whole time I was working on them, which took several days. Of course, I am easily amused.
The covers were fabric from the stash and shiny embellishments I had squirreled away for years. There is a reason to hang onto everything!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Artisan Market Update

The market has been a success. Lots of sales, although none for me--boohoo. I worked the morning shift last Saturday and had a great time seeing my friends who came by and meeting lots of new people.
The real estate manager/owner for the shopping center was so impressed with our art work, he asked us to stay another week!! YAY! So we are going to be open next Wednesday through Saturday. If anybody didn't get a chance to drop by last week, come on over this week.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MACA Spring Artisan Market

It starts Thursday, March 21, at 10 am. Twenty three artists from the Memphis Association of Craft Artists will present a variety of fine craft and art for show and sale at Chickasaw Oaks Village in Memphis Tennessee. I am one of the participating artists and look forward to seeing all my friends and colleagues at this springtime event.

St. Patrick's Day

 Don't pinch me! I'm still full! Yesterday I was invited to a St. Patrick's Day feast, with real Irish people. I made and brought the Gougeres (pictured above). They were quite tasty as was all the other food and beverage served.
                                      Cupcakes with green sprinkles.
                      Fortunately, the beer was NOT green.
 Coronation chicken salad, smoked salmon, artichoke heart appetizers, cheese and crackers, yummy!
Many, many desserts to choose from--Irish cream brownies, Queen's pie, chocolate mint brownies, cheesecake.........oh my! Simple food for me today!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crazy Stuff

 This was a particularly fun project. It's a tux jacket for a young man going to his prom. The fabric is cotton printed with a glow in the dark spider web design. And, yes, it glows in the dark!! Green! I tried to take pictures of that but they didn't work out.
The vest was made from the same fabric. I found black satin covered buttons already made. There's a bowtie too, but for some reason I didn't get a photo. The young man promised  to send me pictures from the prom, so I will post those when they arrive.

More Gold Stuff

 These buttons came from M&J Trimming Co. It.s a highly recommended store that some of my sewing pals visited in NYC. I ordered the buttons online and got very prompt service. The only problem was they were not quite gold enough. So I decided to paint them. First I put a little white paint on the antique gold colored bullion thread that was used to embroider the  fleur de lis motif, kind of like a primer coat.

I finished with a couple of coats of gold paint. They turned out much better than I had expected. Good thing as I didn't get any extra buttons to practice on. I used the more expensive paints instead of craft paint because Golden paint has more pigment in its formula. I had to paint very carefully so as not to mess up the velvet base the embroidery is on.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Quick Get away

On Monday and Tuesday, I was in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sarah Blackburn, who is connected with West Clinic's cancer support foundation, Wings, invited me to come with her to attend the Arkansas Cancer Coalition symposium.
  We were guest speakers and presented a show of art quilts to the attendees of the symposium, as well. Everyone enjoyed the exhibit and I think we raised awareness of fiber as a legitimate artistic  medium. The quilts will also be shown at the West Clinic's gallery in late April.
  The hotel was located on the north bank of the Arkansas River which has lovely views of downtown Little Rock. It is also in walking distance of the Clinton Presidential Center. We spent a couple of hours there before returning to Memphis and the real world.
Clinton Center

In the Oval Office
   It was good to have a small break from the daily grind and meet lots of new people. I'm hoping being in the same room with all those big brains rubbed off some smart on me.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gold stuff

This is how one makes an adornment with gold braid.  First you make a template on paper and tape it to half inch thick foam board. Get a big box of pins, some glue and a few hours of uninterrupted time .
 After much fiddling and maneuvering around all those pins, a shape begins to form, held together with stitching. I like to use a long, fine needle and a double strand of regular sewing thread.
 The paper tape is used to seal and secure the ends of the cord, which ravels like crazy. The popsicle stick has multiple uses. It makes a great glue spreader as well as a shuttle device to persuade the cords to cross under themselves.
Finished product. The ends are trimmed and glued together under the middle crossover. The first one I made had three strands of cord and looked skimpy. The upper adornment, made with four strands is much nicer. I will use the other one, so my time and supplies are not going to be wasted. I made another four strand piece and two small circular shapes (photos in the next installment) and used almost 5 yards of cord.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Luddite Tendencies

Since I have taken on the "job" of being the communications person for MACA, there has not been time for my own blog.
 The group emailing part is okay, because I did some of that before, when I was president. The Facebook page is quirky at best and nearly impossible to fathom due to all the random changes those geeks over there pull out of their collective glitter factories. The website for the arts group is difficult to manage, especially with my meager technological skills. I knew it would be a learning experience, but the only thing I've learned so far is that I am not very good at this stuff. UGH!
   At least my sewing has taken my mind away from my failings in the computer venue. The projects demanding my attention are varied and interesting and a much better use of my talents. I can only hope that with continued practice and persistence, technology will someday be my friend, too. 
  As soon as I find a minute to get the pictures off my camera, I will post photos of what I do best.