Friday, March 30, 2007

Painting the jeans purse

I've been working on the jeans purse the past couple of days. Today I decided to paint it with various shades of blue fabric paint. I wanted a bright background, but I also wanted to leave some of the original color of the denim showing. So, I put on some music, and tried to be loose and free as I brushed on the paint. I had a smile on my face as I was playing!

I try to control so much of what comes out in my art, but that gets ridiculous. I'm not having any fun when I think that I need to be in control. There's no joy there. So, I'm trying to let go more and have a good time. Today, I also found that it helped a lot when I decided to set the jeans leg on its "side," instead of "face up." It helped me to let go of my control thing when I knew I wasn't even looking at the piece from the "right" direction! (I'm sorry if this isn't making much sense, but I think the other control freaks out there may understand what I'm talking about.)

Anyway, I am pleased with today's process and the outcome. The blues in the photos are more intense than in real life, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I've been thinking about playing with purses for quite a while, mostly inspired by my friend Debbie's creations. I bought a fun 1950s-style purse at a thrift store in Albuquerque, and now I've dug it out and am thinking about what I want to do with it. Here's the "before" photo (as you can see, I've already cut off the handle):

I'd also been thinking of making a purse from a jeans pant leg, and then I saw the nice "how-to" article in Haute Handbags from a woman who had done exactly that. Hers was a little more complicated than what I had originally planned, but I think it'll be a better bag in the end. I was just going to sew up the bottom of the leg, but the article tells you how to make a round bottom to sew into the leg and then line the whole thing. This will be some pretty sophisticated sewing for me! Here is the "before" photo of the pant leg, from an old pair of Chris's jeans:

Just what you'd expect, right? (yawn)

I have been gathering materials for this purse, and I hope to be sewing and painting on it by the end of the week. I'm working with a theme of "directions and journeys." I'll post more photos as I go along.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A no-sew fabric postcard

Part of the challenge of getting ready for my fabric postcard class has been creating a postcard without sewing a single stitch. I want this class to be as easy and fun as possible! So, I fused some fabrics from my scrap bag onto a piece of interfacing, bound it with iron-on hem tape, and added some Dye-Na-Flow paint, and voila! It's ready to mail.

I liked standing at the ironing board and playing with colors and shapes. I can see how people get addicted to making these!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Congratulations, Debbie!

I want to publicly congratulate my good friend, Debbie Morrow, on having her "Caught or Not" beaded purse featured in Haute Handbags (vol. 2). Debbie is a wonderful artist, and she has graciously taught me a lot over the years. I'm so glad her work is getting some public recognition!

If you want more information on Haute Handbags, a Somerset Studio publication, click here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ross came home with an interesting homework assignment this week. He had to build a leprechaun trap! He was very excited about it, and already had it all planned out when I picked him up from school on Monday afternoon. He knew that he wanted to lure the leprechaun into a funnel that had a net in it, and the net would have springs that wouldn't allow the little guy to escape.

Chris helped him with the sawing and drilling.

I, of course, had lots of pack-ratted materials that he could borrow.

The finished product has lots of gold tissue paper for camouflage, and gold beads inside the funnel as bait.

Everybody in his class demonstrated their traps on Friday. While they were out at recess (and their teacher was on recess duty), they all caught leprechauns! (They were little shiny green confetti pieces, shaped like leprechauns holding a shamrock.) Ross was thrilled.

Today we're going to the parade downtown with our friends Patricia and JD and Leo. (Patricia teaches in Chris's department.) We wish you all a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fabric postcard experiments

In preparation for a workshop I'm going to teach this spring, I've been playing around with fabric postcards. This is my first completed postcard, which I've mailed off to my friend Debbie:

The postcard is 6" x 4", with stamps, candy wrapper, and Cracker Jack prize (the face is sort of like origami, with different faces appearing, depending on how you fold the paper). The little sailors come from a fabric that I've probably had for 18 years! (Yes, I am a packrat extraordinaire.)

I always have to beware when a project is advertised as "fast." The basic construction of the postcard doesn't take much time at all, since you're mostly just fusing stuff with your steam iron. But I tend to putz around a lot with design, and it took me forever to pick out which elements I wanted to put on this postcard and where I wanted them to go. Then, I hand embroidered and added seed beads, which takes even more time. I try not to be a perfectionist, but that streak still runs very deep in me.

The next few postcards will be faster, because I'm trying to make them without sewing a single stitch. I want to be able to teach people who don't sew that fabric is fun, not intimidating. I'm hoping that postcards give people a chance to play with fabric, find out how fun it is to create little pieces of art, and get hooked.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Riverfront Park, finished earrings

I'm a little under the weather today, so I'll try to keep this short.

Ross and I went to Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane this weekend. Chris was feeling lousy from a cold, so we gave him some space and enjoyed the warm weather (upper 40s and into the 50s!).

Riverfront Park straddles the Spokane River. It's a large park with many attractions (IMAX theater, some amusement park rides, ice rink in the winter, a gondola ride that takes you near the river falls). There is even a giant Flexible Flyer wagon, which is a slide for kids.

You get a lot of great places to watch the river, which Ross and I love to do. The river was roaring that day!

There's a small island in the middle of the river, with bridges to connect it to both shores. The totem poles fascinate Ross.

The clocktower is a prominent landmark in downtown Spokane.

My art quilting class is done. I've bought some funky yarns to add to my flower wall hanging, but I've put it aside for the moment to concentrate on some other projects. I also need to send in supply lists for the two workshops I'll be teaching in April and May (fabric postcards, and surface design -- a fancy term for painting, dyeing, and otherwise altering the surface of fabrics).

I decided to finish making a couple pairs of earrings that I started for my earrings class. I had made one of each type of earring as samples for the students, but I needed to make the second one so that I could actually wear the earrings! The black and copper earrings are pretty extravagant -- long and flirty. I've had those cloud charms for a very long time (I think I bought them in Denver, about 9 years ago, so it's about time I used them)!

I took a class on photographing artwork at the Spokane Art School. It was illuminating (pun intended) -- I may end up paying for professional shots when I need them. However, the teacher did give a lot of good tips, and I hope they'll help make this blog look better.