Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Name that sheep!

So my mom got me this adorable stuffed sheep at a rummage sale recently, and gave it to me today. Isn’t he cute?

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But I need help naming him! So, any ideas? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll let you all know what I decide.

Also, while we were still at my parents’ house, the sheep got a quilt top thrown over him like a blanket and it was adorable. Somehow it sparked the idea of dressing him in different outfits and taking pictures of him in the backyard in different seasons. Then I got home to take the first picture, and we decided to take an adventure, so here are the highlights from that!

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The first investigations into our grass, he seemed less impressed than one would expect from a sheep.

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He decided to see if the bird feeder had tastier food, but discovered he is not a fan of sunflower seed shells. Incidentally, I’m not either!

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Then he got into a tree to try for some leaves, and it went so well that he tried to go higher.

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Getting out of the tree was a bit uncomfortable for him though, face first at the ground is not an ideal climbing position. I don’t think the giraffes need to worry about sheep eating all their leaves any time soon.

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Then we got back up on the deck to go back inside, and he discovered Andy’s “living salad bowl” and that seemed to go over quite well.

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Don’t tell Andy! Does he look a bit sheepish here? (I couldn’t resist the pun!)

The adventures may continue, and he may start getting accessories, it all depends on how long my silliness holds out. Now, what to call him?

Wedding dress! and more!

In the end of November I got married to the love of my life, and, of course, there was fibery goodness involved! My mom made my dress, because she is just that awesome, and our friend Virginia made all the flowers, which were all fabric flowers! A good deal of how happy I am with how the whole event turned out is thanks to their awesomeness, so I thought I’d share some pictures with you guys!

All but the first two pictures were taken by Milestones Photography and should not be reused without permission (as is true with all pictures you find online really, but I want to be more specific with these). Hope you enjoyed the quick glimpse of my wedding, next I’ll tell you all about the new project the Designing Quilters are doing!

Fall ATCs

Remember when I said I would post about the fall ATCs soon? Obviously that didn’t happen, sorry. But seeing as my mother is the person who has been pestering me most to update again, and tomorrow is mother’s day, I figured now is as good a time as any to start posting again! And school is done, so I suddenly have more free time. First, the post about the fall ATC exchange, then more about life in general, and soon more posts about ATCs, my wedding dress (!) and new projects. This time I promise those posts will come soon, cause I’m going to write them today!

The fall theme was a bit tricky, because I usually work in more pictorial images, but all of my inspiration was scents, sounds, and colors. I knew I wanted to do something with fall colors, but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of doing leaves or just abstract color combinations. When I really think about fall I think of the crisp feel and smell of the air, along with the damp smell of leaves and the scent of bonfires. So I decided to do something portraying bonfires. I didn’t just want to do a fire with logs, that was too boring and I was trying to do different things with my ATCs, so I finally decided to do a sort of close-up of a fire.

I have really been impressed with what Vicki and Donna do with the many, many layers that they put on their pieces, so I decided to play with layering to try to get the real fire texture. I figured that would be easier to do on a larger piece so I decided to make all the cards as one larger piece and then cut it up. It turned out to be sooo much easier in my head. First, I discovered just how hard it is to get a flat piece of fabric to lay in a way that looks like the motion of flames, or anything really other than a flat piece of fabric. Then I realized that I would need to sew down each layer at a time because there was no way I could stack all the layers up pinned down the way I wanted and then be able to sew them down without taking the whole thing apart, and I knew I would never get it back together correctly. So it became a matter of just slapping layers on and hoping they didn’t look terrible. I can’t honestly say that I really liked the piece for most of the time I was working on it. I managed to get it looking okay as a whole, although I probably would have started over again if I hadn’t left it to the last minute (procrastination is my favorite past-time). Then I sewed the lines for the edges of the cards on and cut the cards apart and decided all but a couple of them looked terrible. In the end, though, when I finished the edges off and added a few extra touches to some of them, I’m actually quite happy with them. They don’t look anything like I had originally pictured, but since I can’t remember now what I originally pictured, that’s not a problem! 🙂 The wonders of time. Here are my pictures of the whole process.

Unfortunately, I don’t have as many or as good pictures of the other cards for this group than I usually do. I helped to swap the cards into their groups, and then we got very busy discussing other things, so I didn’t have a chance to take good pictures of the cards before they were swapped and they didn’t get passed around after getting swapped. So I have good pictures of the ones I got, and some general pictures of the ones I didn’t. Here are all the pictures I do have.

There’s only one group of ATCs left to post, and I’m going to write that post right now, so it should be up in the next day or two (I’ve gotta spread them out you know, don’t want to spoil you). Now a life update. The wedding went incredibly well! No real hitches and no major disasters, which was amazing and also really relaxing. I’ll post pictures of the dress my mom made for me (it is such an awesome dress that I wish I had other places to wear it to!), the fabric flowers that Virginia made for us, and a highlight or two from the wedding soon. We also bought a house in October! Life has just been blowing up with things to do! Once I get my work room into more order I will post pictures of that as well (it’s getting there, but I still have boxes all over the floor and want to get that dealt with before showing anyone).

Farm Felt Baash!

This weekend I was at a needle felting retreat on a farm down by Rochester and it was sooo much fun! I was so excited to meet other needle felters, and the weekend did not disappoint! Amy from Needle & Felt hosted the retreat and I met lots of wonderful ladies including Ginger, Mary, and Amanda who all have Etsy shops that I wanted to link to because their stuff is so cool! Ginger makes all kinds of stuff including needle felted things, nuno felted things, and hollow book boxes! Mary makes neat bags, many shaped like animals, and Amanda makes lots of needle felted things including these absolutely amazing needle felted masks! Amy and Ginger both have blogs too, with lots of cute fiber things, and sheep pictures! And I think I need to stop using exclamation points before I hurt myself.

On Saturday there was much cuddling of lambs and baby goats, with lots and lots of pictures of all the animals, and we got to play with all different types of fibers and some new kinds of needles and see each others’ felted stuff and just generally hang out and chat. At the end of the day everybody made their own sheep so we had our own little flock, and it’s amazing how many different kinds of sheep we all came up with! Now, pictures!

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Sunday was a shorter day, but no less exciting! Amanda graciously showed us how to make felted masks, and I think I’m addicted now. She has some really amazing ones (you really should check out her Etsy shop, there are some amazing masks, and other things of course), and I don’t expect I’ll make any quite as beautifully lifelike, but they are fun. I was so busy working on my mask though, and trying to get it done because I had to drive home that day, that I didn’t get many pictures. Here are the few I did get.

I didn’t manage to get a picture of Amy’s mask cause it wasn’t very far along by the time I had to leave :-(. The whole weekend was so much fun, and I hear it’s already being planned for next year so hopefully I can make it again!

Our next ATC exchange is this Thursday (the theme is Spring so the snow better be gone again by then!) so I should have lots of pictures for you soon after that!

ATCs and Inspiration Boxes

As my mother keeps reminding me, it’s been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. So, remember my post months ago about the artist trading cards I made and the exchange for them? Well here are pictures of the other cards from the exchange!

I managed to miss getting a picture of one person’s cards, they’re adorable kangaroos with Santa hats! Somehow I was thinking that I had one of them in my set so I didn’t take a picture of them at the meeting, and today I discovered I didn’t get one.

The next exchange is this Thursday, so I will post more, including the ones I’m making, sometime next week! (hopefully)

We also exchanged “inspiration boxes”. Somebody found one on Etsy that you could buy, and figured they’d be good for an exchange. So first, here’s the one I put together.

And the inspiration box that I got. I think this one was a lot better than mine!

My inspiration box came from Australia, hence the Koalas and the neat fabrics that I suspect you can’t get here. And I love the sparkly box, but boy does it shed everywhere! I put it in my purse after I got it, and have been spreading sparkles everywhere, even at work, ever since. 🙂

Beauty and the Breast Redux

The title for this post popped into my head and the word redux just appealed to me, so I went with it. Well, my life has gotten crazy busy. I started school again last Monday, and I have soooo much work for my classes that I haven’t had time to post anything, and barely had time to work on any projects! So I probably won’t post nearly as much until the end of November or so, because I almost certainly won’t be finishing anything, but I’ll try not to disappear. I’ve been thinking about doing a series of posts showcasing people’s studios/work rooms, so I may try to do that while I don’t have time for crafting.

Now, to the actual subject of this post! I told you about the Beauty and the Breast show in a previous post, and this is another piece for the same show. I’m just gonna copy and paste the description I did of the piece for the show, since I already wrote it and I have a paper yet to write tonight as well!

I have always been intrigued by the idea I see represented in the Tree of Life motif. That interconnection of past and future, birth and death, with the present/life in between, in a harmonious, even beautiful, way has always appealed to me. In thinking about breast shapes in nature and how our identity as “breasted-beings” affects our relationship to others, I kept coming back to the shape of boles on trees, and the tree of life. Women, and indeed breasts, are often a tangible connection between life and death, past and future. We create new life in bearing children, and breasts are an integral part of nurturing those children. And women are traditionally the care-takers of the old, and the bodies of the dead as well. When I think of a woman comforting and caring for a dying person I always think of the phrase she is “cradling him/her to her breast”. Of course, in this context the word breast is used simply to refer to the chest portion of a person’s anatomy, but I think the use of the term is telling and important. In this case the breast is meant as a source of comfort, in many ways harking back to the comfort of a baby at its mother’s breast. And so, women are like the trunk of the Tree of Life, a connection between the past, present and future, between the dead, living, and yet to be born. In a way then, the female form can be seen as a beautiful symbol for life in all its stages.

With this piece I had a lot of issues the first time around as well, that seems to be my theme for this show. On my first try, I just started making the shape of the tree trunk by felting down lengths of yarn, like I had done to make a tree before. Apparently I did something different than I had done before because the background started getting really stretched out. Of course I didn’t notice this until I had the trunk quite a ways done and had finished the roots. So, totally disgusted with it, I stopped for the night and sent my mom an e-mail with pictures asking her advice. After showing it to her in person and talking the next day, we both agreed it would be best to just start over, and I’m glad I did. It was much better planned from  the beginning the second time around and ended up with a much better shape that way, and it just went smoother. I ended up felting the whole trunk by hand, which I hadn’t expected to do, and just doing the roots and branches with the machine, Even so I had a couple spots in the roots where the machine started to cause some serious stretching, which I’m quite perplexed about as that’s never happened before. But I am so very happy with how this one turned out.

Both pieces are off to the show. I ended up putting a price on The Temples but marking this one as not for sale, I find I’m rather attached to this one. And oddly detached from The Temples. In a way I think that may be a sign of where I’m at in my life. Anyway, the show has an opening reception next Thursday which I’m hoping to get to, depends on if a co-worker will swap shifts with me, and if I do make it I will put up pictures of the whole show. And the artists too of course!

T-shirt Tiles

In junior high and high school I did technical theater for a lot of plays. And, of course, we got a t-shirt for every play we were in, so I have a lot of them. (Add to that the fact that the BF was in most of those shows with me so he has all the shirts too… that’s a lot of t-shirts!) I’ve been saving them for years, and my mom had sort of vaguely agreed to make me a t-shirt quilt or something with them, but neither of us ever got real excited about it. Then, in prepping for the Fiber Arts Festival, my mom started playing with t-shirt yarn and decided she wanted to demonstrate re-using t-shirts for the Festival. So we pulled out my old t-shirts and she said she’d work on them. Then she asked me if I really wanted a t-shirt quilt or if I wanted something more interesting. Well, I just want to be able to hang them up and show them off so I told her to do whatever she can come up with, as long as you can see the designs. And this is what she did!

It’s hard to know what to call them, but I think t-shirt tiles works quite nicely. They’re much more interesting, and feel more sophisticated, than a t-shirt quilt, and I can intersperse them with pictures on the walls! Of course, I haven’t put them up on the walls yet, but I’m just really bad at committing to wall decorations. No other commitment issues, just with wall decorations. Also, I’m pretty sure there’s at least one show shirt missing, and I may see if I can get her to do something like this with some of my other commemorative t-shirts, if we can find them that is. They’re kind of missing.

 

A little bit about the construction of the tiles. Obviously they’re the front of t-shirts that have been cut up, but because t-shirts are very stretchy (and they’re going on stretcher bars) she put a stabilizer on the fabric before she mounted it. Then it’s just wrap it around the stretcher bars and staple like crazy! I’m quite amazed at her skill at getting things on the stretcher bars just right, I know I’d be messing it up 5 different ways, and there would be a lot of swearing before anything got finished. Anyway, here are some details of the back of the pieces, to give you an idea of the construction.

 

Fiber Arts Fest recap

The Fiber Arts Festival this past weekend went amazingly! I don’t know the official numbers yet, but I heard we had around 400 people on Saturday, which is right on par with last year. I had so much fun. I was demonstrating needle felting, which is what I always do, which is just crazy hectic and busy. I don’t just demonstrate needle felting myself, I teach people and let them try as well, so I tend to end up with two tables full of people learning to needle felt. I believe I had 8, maybe 9, stations set out with foam and felting needles and they were all full throughout most of both days. It is fun but exhausting. I love people’s reactions, the adults are always amazed at how easy it is, and the kids just love the colors and making pictures. And of course everybody enjoys getting to stab things with a needle. But I think my favorite part is to see the things that people make. I don’t usually think of taking pictures of the stuff that gets made, but this year I got a few.

We also have an exhibit every year, and this year we got lots of amazing pieces. Sadly I didn’t get the chance to really see everything because I only managed to see the exhibit Friday night while we were putting it up, and several of the pieces arrived Saturday morning. So I missed getting pictures of some things, but I’ll post a few of the pictures I did get, because the pieces are beautiful. I entered my Serenity and a group of hedgehogs (the ones that are in town) and managed to win the People’s Choice award for the hedgehogs. And really, how can you compete with multicolored hedgehogs? My mom said all of the entries got some votes though, so people enjoyed all of them, which is a great thing. The exhibit doesn’t have any sort of judging component, so there is no first place or anything, just the People’s Choice award, which is something I really like, people should be able to share their work without worrying about being told it’s not good enough.

I always try to get at least a half hour to an hour each day to wander look around at the other demonstrations and the vendors. I got quite a bit of new roving, and had lots of fun chatting with all the vendors. And I discovered this great little company in Fargo called Modern Textiles. Once I saw their postcard I realized that I’d seen it sitting around my mom’s house, but never really looked at it. I talked quite a bit with Connie, one of the owners, and she was very nice and extremely enthusiastic. They’re looking at opening up a storefront in town and she asked if I would be interested in teaching embroidery classes there, which would be so cool! She was talking with my mom quite a bit about the ideas they have for the store and it all sounds so cool! I’m really hoping it’s part of a trend toward the local craft/art culture growing, cause we really need that.

All in all the weekend was a big success and lots of fun! And after 10 hours of sleep last night I am feeling very much recovered from the hectic lead up and then very little sleep for the weekend. And I am feeling really inspired, finally! Apparently what I needed was a weekend full of fiber and talking with fun crafty types to get the creative juices flowing again, because today I sat down and worked for two hours on a project that I’ve been trying to get done for a month or so. And it felt like I was only working for about 10 minutes! Hopefully the inspiration lasts, and now I’m totally going to go and spin for the first time in over a year to take advantage of all this creative energy I’ve got!

Preparations

I’m back and the reading binge has been taken care of! And now I’m furiously working on preparations for the Fargo Fiber Arts Festival, which is just 3 weeks away! I’m getting people signed up to volunteer at the Sit and Knit/Crochet tent, getting needle felting demo supplies together, writing up directions for the Sit and Knit/Crochet, working on yarn bombing things, and so much more. And that’s my excuse for not having any new projects finished, or even started. I do have a bit of decoration, for the Knit and Crochet tent, that I made to show you. I also have a cool little craft apron my mom made for me, which she is making for all the volunteers. And I’m working on finishing up these kumihimo, Japanese braiding, kits that she and I make. So I’ll give you pictures of those.

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Sorry about the bad formatting. I also happen to be out of town for a wedding so I’m working with the wordpress mobile app, which doesn’t deal well with pictures. When I get home I think I’ll take more pictures of the kumihimo kits, and probably post about those.

At the Fiber Arts Festival we also have a non-juried, non-judged exhibit that I’ll be putting the needle felted Serenity and an array of my knitted hedgehogs in. Did you know that the technical term for a group of hedgehogs is an array? I just discovered that, pretty cool. So I’ll give you some pictures of all the hedgehogs together, which may be part of a post all about the Festival.

Fibery stuff around the internet

I haven’t been doing much work on fiber projects lately. Honestly, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I go on serious reading jags sometimes, and find it’s usually best to just give in and read until I don’t have such a strong urge to, resistance just doesn’t work well. I have been working a bit on a new challenge project, but after I started it I decided it wasn’t looking right, so I tore it apart and haven’t started it again. Once I get some substantial progress on that I’ll post pictures and details, but right now it’s just a vague idea in my head that won’t make sense to anyone else anyway.

Now that I’ve said all this you might be asking why I’m posting then. Well, I feel bad if I don’t post, so I decided that to entertain you I’d share links to a few of the neat fiber things I’ve found online. There is so much more out there than this, but I can only find so much on my own, so please share any cool sites you know of in the comments! I am always looking for more cool fiber stuff online!

To the links!

I’m a big fan of saving money and the planet, so I just love this tutorial for making waxed cloth to wrap your food in.

I learned to make friendship bracelets in second grade and have loved making them ever since. So I’m always excited to find instructions for new types, like this one with hearts on it. The blog it’s on also has several other neat little fibery projects.

A rocking chair that knits! Need I say more?

Twenty-three weird but awesome knitted things. The title says it all, although I’m not so sure that the one crocheted thing they have in the list counts. I think there should be a list of just crocheted things, and for all I know, there is!

I’ve known about Knitty, the online knitting magazine, for a long time, but I recently discovered the Twist Collective, which is another online knitting magazine. Can you ever have too many knitting magazines? I don’t think so.

The Embroiderer’s Guild has quite a helpful website. They’ve got a couple magazines and a shop, but also lots of free stuff (always my favorite!) like a gallery and info about big names in embroidery.

Interested in crafting as a livelihood and not just a hobby? This article by another blogger has some useful insights on pricing and how viable that might be, as well as info about an app she’s trying and a link to another article she wrote. Personally, I’ve thought about trying to sell stuff I make and have decided that while I may sell stuff occasionally, it’s mostly just because I want to make it and don’t want to keep it, so it will never be a business for me. And watch, now that I’ve said that, I’ll go out in a couple weeks and decide to make a living as a fiber artist.

And last, but definitely not least, a children’s book about yarn! Extra Yarn is a wonderfully adorable book that explains in the best, and cutest, way I’ve seen just why I prefer to craft for other people rather than myself. And being a librarian, how can I not advocate introducing children to not just books, but the joys of yarn too!

 

Now it’s your turn to share a favorite fiber site or two (or more if you want!). Enjoy the links, and I’ll try to do more crafting than reading this week, but I can’t promise it will work that way!

depression comix

a comic struggling to understand mental illness

Jen Muir Illustration

Wildlife and Childrens Illustration

The Geeky Hooker

Not THAT kind of hooker. The kind armed with a crochet hook.

carriescarr.com

technology explorer

James J Need

Writer & Mind Coach

Buzy Day

The adventure of NikkiM

allmostrelevant

Want to see what an Instagram with no pictures looks like? @allmostrelevant

Kitchen Overlord

Your home for geeky recipes, edible art, and nerdy kitchen gadget reviews.

All Night Knits

Sleep All Day. Knit All Night.

The Blog of Knitted Fog

art, life and stuff

knitnrun4sanity

Running, knitting, crocheting and blogging along.

Keep Me In Stitchez: The Blog

Following my passion, one stitch at a time

Knitting, reading, photography, and maybe more

Explorations, procrastinations, imaginations...

All She Wants To Do Is Knit

Welcome to Fiber Addicts Anonymous

WOMBAT QUILTS

An Aussie's adventures in quilting