Arting!

It has been a pretty fabulous week for me, art wise.  I got accepted into the Museum Guide program at the Nelson!  Woot.  I am so very honored and excited.  The classes start next week, and by the end of the summer I will be all trained up.  I will keep you posted of when I will be museum guiding and plead for you to come see me!

I also have been taking a fiber arts class at Kansas City Art Institute through their continuing education program.  So great.  It is super messy and super lots of things to mix.  We have been dying cloth.  Dying whole cloth in the first class; shibori (fancy word for tie-dye) and fabric painting in the second.  I am not sure it is completely my jam, but it has been fun to learn the techniques.

Below are pictures of the whole cloths we died, some of the shibori, and the adorable teacher showing us “pole wrapping”, which looks and sounds dirty but really is just wrapping cloth and string around a pole so that when you die the cloth you get a wood-grain effect.

Capsule

I am working on creating my spring capsule wardrobe.  A faddy thing for shizzle.  But I love the idea of having a limited number of pieces in my closet – fewer decisions, fewer dramas.

Project 333 is the inspiration, but I tried lots of figuring this weekend to see if 33 pieces would work.  It sounds like a lot, but it ended up not being enough.  I dress fairly casually for work, but I sometimes have to dress up.  And I want my weekends to be super casual, wearing stuff I don’t wear at work.

So I am limiting myself to 50.  And that is good enough.  Especially since the crazytownness of my hormones means I really don’t have “seasonal” clothes.  I am always hot (and warm to  – badumpdump), so my spring, summer, fall, winter clothes only vary by the accessories I wear.

I will narcistically be documenting some of my favorite pieces and themes.  Because I am the least fashion-y person ever, so that makes total sense.

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I made 2/50 of my pieces yesterday.  These are infinity scarves that are fairly short so they aren’t too long when not double-wrapped.  The black one is from some precious Liberty of London fabric I purchased recently.  It is dreamy.  The blue and white scarf is out of some Cloud 9 voile.  It also feels dreamy and was a lot cheaper.

Infinity scarves are very easy to make – so much easier than I expected.  And it is great to be able to make them the exact length I want.  They do have to be finished with a bit of hand stitching, but after you put the scarf on, you can tell that it is there at all.

Abstract!

I fell in love with the abstract portrait paintings of women done by Mari Ratanen during this show at the Kemper.  I loved the color and the shape and the concept.

When I needed to pick a project for my final of color theory class, I knew what I wanted to do – an abstract portrait of my mom in acrylic, framed in an embroidery hoop.  Unfortunately, my vision and my ability to paint didn’t synch.  sigh.

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I used a very thin tape to tape the lines, but it didn’t peel cleanly, so I had to clean up the lines, which made them messier, and then the “c” didn’t fit in the frame well.  Lots of problems.

But I still loved the design and the concept.  So I rendered it in teeny tiny cross stitch.

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And I lurvs it.  I love the colors, the design, and the execution.  I plan to design one that is a “portrait” of my stepdaughter.  Soon.  Lots of things to do.  🙂

WIP – Gettin’ Stitchy With It

I am pretty much a sewing machine sewer. I was doing some English paper piecing to keep my hands busy while watching marathons of anything British with my husband. But it would only hold my attention for so long – it feels so fiddly that it isn’t fun at times. And progress is slllllooooowwww.

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And then I saw a picture on Instagram of someone doing this awesome alphabet cross stitch. And I had to do it. On a whim I bought enough materials to get me started, and the pattern. And *maybe* also I bought an Eiffel Tower needle minder. And, well, love, love, love.

And so many ADORABLE cross stitch patterns! I am trying to do a letter a day at least – but I find myself looking forward to working on it. Anything that gets me away (willingly) from the sewing machine is a winner.

There are a bazillion cross stitch projects I want to do now. But I am REALLY. TRYING. to only take one project at a time. I’ll finish this alphabet and then I really want to do quilty stitches. I have my materials all ready to go for that one.

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And then… and then… and then…

Patchwork Kitchen Curtains – Vintage-y Goodness!

I live in an old house.  Old houses can be great if you love character.  I do love character.  Old houses can be not so great if you aren’t able to spend a lot of money on repairs.  I don’t have a lot of money to spend on repairs.  DH has made some great progress on fixing up this old wreck we call home.  Organizing or completing several plumbing and electrical projects that have made the house a lot more liveable.  One of the last few essential projects is fixing a portion of our kitchen ceiling.  We have opted to fix this ourselves, and DH has been a champ.  Being an old house, nothing is easy.  But I am close to having a kitchen without a section of ceiling that I had to conceal with doo-da crap on top of our cabinets.  I don’t have a budget to redecorate, and not sure I would want to.  I love the collected cottage-y eclectic look of our kitchen.  But I now can do some editing now that the bones of the kitchen will be better.

imageSo I decided to make some new curtains. And I love love love love love love love.  DH hung them for me as a surprise for me when I got home from work.

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Like most of my house, the kitchen is a cacophony of color, so I used a cacophony of color in the curtains.  I got a charm pack (Everything But the Kitchen Sink – hahaha) and layer cake (American Jane) from the reproduction Missouri Star Quilt Co store.  (I am *so* lucky to have this quilting store empire only an hourish away from my house.)  I combined these with a few scraps and stash that I had.  I love all of the prints in these curtains – very, very happy-making.

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I had lots and lots of this little rose fabric – more English country cottage than 30s reproduction fabric, but I think it plays well.  I bound the bottom with this adorable Moda Essential Dots – which I think gives the curtains some visual and actual heft.

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I couldn’t find the types of rings I wanted, so I sewed ribbon loops into the buttonholes at the top.  (Me and my buttonhole foot now are BFFs).

I used the valances that my mom helped me make for my stepdaughter’s room as inspiration.  I am very, very proud of myself for figuring out the right size and how to construct these.  It is slow, but I can see my skills improving.  If I had it to do all over again, I would make sure I could find the rings I wanted before I made the buttonholes, and I would have used a heavier interfacing on the patchwork fronts (you will be able to see daylight through these valances), but overall I am very happy.

Quilting Minimalism

I have been on a slllloooooow path to minimalism.  I discovered that I wanted to embrace some of the tenets of minimalism earlier this year – about the same time my fabric obsession kicked into full gear.  I have done pretty well with my foray into minimalism – I have a very small wardrobe now, have cleaned out lots of things, really don’t buy many consumer goods at all.  EXCEPT for fabric and patterns.  Oy.

I love fabric.  And I have experienced scarcity first hand (uh, Ledger by Carolyn Friedlander) so feel compelled to buy in case I can’t get it later.

Well, that is silly.  And it isn’t.  I love fabric.  And I have found that the whole quilting community is great, but it very much is a capatilistic endeavor, of course.  Giveaways, blog hops, vendor postings.  I.want.it.all.

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But I really do have it all.  In the past six months, I have developed an awesome stash.  Truly wonderful piles of gorgeous fabrics in all the colors.  I can stop buying and have enough fabric for projects for quite awhile.  But I know it will be hard.  Because I love fabric – and I am not the best at “making do”.

But I know I will be happier in the long term if I stop buying and start finishing.  And so I try to embrace quilting minimalism again.  Here is my plan:

1. Do not buy any non-fabric quilting stuff EXCEPT for thread, batting, needles, and replacementrotary cutter blades.

2. The only fabrics I am going to buy are Kona Solids as needed and my Fabric Shoppe color bundle club. 

2a) I don’t really like using or working with solids – I see them as a necessary evil tokeep quilts looking fresh by balancing all of the prints I love and use.  So I know I won’t go overboard.  (knock on wood)
2b) I love the color bundle club unreasonably.  I have built my stash with so much cute stuff I otherwise wouldn’t have chosen – and I love that it is a surprise every month.

3. Stop following blogs that are heavy on product endorsements or sponsored giveaways vs. finished projects, patterns, and inspiration.  I definitely see the point of all of that – this is ‘merica after all – but it just builds up all this desire in me – unneccessary desire.  Here is an example – did anybody else feel like they would get kicked off the island if they didn’t buy a shitton of cotton + steel?

Here is the downside:

1. I HATE piecing backings and batting. HATES it.  But it will build my character. Or something like that.

2. Much fewer endorphin rushes that I get when I receive fabric in the mail.  Gawd, I love that feeling.  Happy Mail, indeed.

Waaaaay much more upside!

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1. Lots more endorphin rushes of using up scraps and stash.  Turning fabric in drawers into cool and pretty quilts and things.

2. More money in the bank.

3. Building my creativity while “making do”.  Although calling working with my stash “making do” is a bit of a stretch.

4. Not being distracted by shiny new things so that I can finish the patterns and WIPs I want to…  V’s houndstooth, Allison Glass’ Celestial, Gypsy Wife, my pending Project Linus quilts.

So the adventure begins…

A Scarf…

I bought some cotton lawn, I got some voile from a new store in the west bottoms called Modern Makers, I pulled some black and white polka dot stash, and made myself a little scarf.

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Scarves are good for me, because they break the harshness of my almost-entirely-grey-and-black wardrobe.  But I like them thin and long – hard to find.  So in love with this idea of making my own.  And that voile is so soft, hard to believe it is even cotton.