Monday, June 30, 2008

The end of June

Summer at full blast: upper 90s, hazy skies, brown grass. Ross and I met his buddy Christopher and his mom Angela at the local pool. A simple afternoon enjoying the water, seeing other school chums, and devouring ice cream treats before they melted into the grass. Perfect.

"Summer afternoon - Summer afternoon... the two most beautiful words in the English language."
-- Henry James

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I've never seen a purple giraffe . . .

Purple giraffe back

. . . until now!

Purple giraffe

I made this guy for my friend who is taking a new job. The party in her honor was Friday evening, so I worked all day Friday to finish. These photos were taken moments after finishing, and moments before leaving for the party.

I used a vintage pattern, probably from the 1950s, that I'd found on etsy. I modified it by making the tail and legs differently. Sewing the body was quite a challenge; you can see that the head and neck came out a bit twisted, as if he's tilting his head. I was going to use tiny, beaded yo-yos for the giraffe's spots, but I didn't get enough made in time, so I painted spots instead. I did make a heart yo-yo for him, though. I'd thought I could use felt for the mane, but it didn't work the way I thought it would, so I made the time-consuming yarn mane instead. It is luxurious to run your fingers through it.

Purple giraffe profile

I want to make another giraffe -- the theme for this year's ArtFiberFest is circus animals -- but I think I'll use a different pattern, or change this one some more. Still, I am happy with the way this one turned out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday -- purple giraffe in progress!

Giraffe in progress

(Sorry the photo is blurrier than I would have liked. On the other hand, it does give a good sense that I am trying to meet a deadline and I need to get back to work!)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Today's experiment

Letting go of perfectionism, one step at a time....

A few weeks ago, I found a cute denim jumper at a thrift store for 99 cents. It has some permanent stains, but since it was so cheap, I didn't mind putting some work into it. Before Ross got out of school for the summer, I stamped some hearts on it, but then put it aside for other projects.

Yesterday I looked at it, draped on the back of a chair, and thought, when am I going to get back to that? I have plans for it, but I have other deadlines right now. I sighed.

But then I thought -- why not wear it to church? It's clean. It's not finished, but it looks okay. Why not give it an outing? Why not play with my work in progress?

So, I ironed it to heat set the paint, and I've worn it all day. My perfectionist tendencies were itchy at first. I received a compliment on it and I wanted to say, "thanks, but it isn't finished yet." But I simply said thank you and smiled. It felt good to let my expectations go. It's freeing! I'm going to work on this jumper as time allows, and document how it has changed each time I wear it out in the world. All of a sudden, the slow pace of working on this project takes on a life, and a fun, of its own.

Now I'm intrigued instead of frustrated. I'm grateful that life pushes me in these unexpected directions!

Denim jumper, round 1

P.S. Notice the big white cat hair at the bottom of the dress. Normally, I would go back and take another picture after removing it. But that wouldn't be in the spirit of this experiment!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Moving through a block

I've been feeling as if I'm in a bit of a rut this week. It's hard to explain. Sometimes, when I have a project that I need to get done in a short period of time, I have a terrible time getting started. Maybe it's the fear of making a "mistake" that I won't be able to "fix." Or the doubt that I'm even capable of making what I have in mind. Whatever I am letting hold me back, it isn't real. It's just my head, spinning more silly tales that I don't have to believe.

So, I'm taking a deep breath. In. Out.

I can do this. Whatever comes from this process, it will be just what it needs to be in this moment. I am making a gift. A gift for a friend that won't be in my life as much any more. I will miss her. And I wish her great joy, because she is moving to something she's wanted to do for a long time. It's a wonderful event. I want to make her a little something, a little token of the love and fellowship we have shared. So whatever my hands make, my heart will be full of love while making it, and it will be a fine gift.

I keep reminding myself: trust the process. Do not be attached to what you think the outcome should be. It won't come out that way -- it never does! I am always amazed when I finish making something -- the actual "doing" transforms what I originally envisioned, and the results are often even better than I could have hoped. Certainly, more interesting. It's all good.

I trust. I relax into the doing. The final product will be what it needs to be, perfect in the moment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paint and paper

I love to play with paint and paper. I don't know much about painting, but that makes it easier for me to mess around with it. Low to no expectations.

When I realized that I'd need to wrap my friend's wedding present, I thought, hey, I could make the wrapping paper! I've done it a few times before. I have a big roll of brown kraft paper, so I cut off a piece big enough to wrap the package, taped it down to my dining room paper, and pulled out the acrylic paints. Dabbing on blues and greens and whites, wiping paint on my smock, smiling . . .

I used a big heart-shaped stamp that I had carved from a foam door hanger, an immediate way to fit the wedding theme. I mixed some copper Pearl Ex into acrylic gel medium and stamped away. The copper didn't show up as much as I would have like, so I outlined the stamping with copper paint.

Heart wrapping paper

Wrapping paper close-up

The only drawback was that the painted surface was not scotchtape-friendly. When I tried to wrap the package, the tape wouldn't stick, and neither would clear shipping tape. Fortunately, the paper held the folds, and I just wrapped ribbon around it to keep it all together.

Friday, June 13, 2008


It's the last day of 3rd grade for Ross. I'll be picking him up in less than an hour, then we're off to picnic with friends. He was SO excited. Nothing beats that feeling of freedom!

On my travels this morning, I saw my first monarch butterfly of the season. Happily tasting the dandelions, it graciously opened its wings so I could snap a picture. I think Ross is feeling just as carefree right now.

Monarch and dandelion

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm still here ...

... but I've got a bunch of photos to wade through before I post! Maybe in a day or two? In the meantime, you can check out photos I took of a friend's wedding on Sunday -- a beautiful day by the Spokane River. They are on my Flickr account (click on the link in the right hand column).