A little this and that...

I have been so bad about updating this blog lately. I made myself a page on Facebook and I post things that I do there and for some reason I keep forgetting to also post here. I will try to get better. Since my last post I finished the necklace and earrings I was making and made another pair, another necklace and also a pendant.

 I called a hold on anymore till I get a few new tools I need. Things to help my pieces be a bit more professional. My side cutters are not to my satisfaction as they were supposed to be flush cutters but don't seem to be holding up to their name. Also a plastic tipped hammer for hardening without flattening. Something I really need as I can be a bit overzealous with the hammer I have. Once I get all I need I will try making a few more pieces. I am finding that I really enjoy making jewelry and I am not going to stop. I really like being able to do different things. Never a dull moment here!

 I am now working at adapting my pattern for fairy shoe pin cushions into one for a fairy shoe for babies. It's a bit difficult as I don't have a baby around for trying them on so I made a shoe form from a pattern I found online and stuffed it to use as a model. So now that I have a 'baby foot' it helps a bit to make sure they are the correct size. This shoe is around the 6 month size. It will be in two layers. The outside one will have more  of the fairy boot shape and the inner liner which i made from polar fleece will be more of the normal shoe shape to keep the little ones foot from scrunching up into the toe and being uncomfortable. I am using a buckram type material to line the soles of both the inner and outer linings (though it isn't the same, the fabric store lady here had no idea what buckram was) So all in all they will be nice sturdy little cloth shoes. I also plan on buying a few tubes of fabric paint so i can put dots on the bottom so they aren't slippery. I looked into buying some non slip cloth but they were all in white fabrics and I want the bottom fabric to match the rest of the shoe.

 Here are a few pics of the prototype that I worked on to make the pattern. I have one in production right now and worked on the embroidery last night. I hope to have pics of it completed tomorrow. or the next day.
Hope you are all having a creative weekend!

Playing with wire

This week I got the wire out again. I have been wanting to play with it for awhile and now I remember why. I really do love the wire. I have so much fun when I play with it. I think I need to do this more. Between the silk painting and this I think I am finding some good substitutes for close up stitching. Much easier on the eyes which has been a big concern for me.


Time Warp

Not sure what I have been up to the last two weeks. All I know is I turned around and time had passed, I did this though:

I am going to start adding color to it tonight. I am a bit nervous but it will either turn out good or not. Learning new things are always a bit daunting at first but I am always glad I did them.

Still in holding

So I have finally completed that cleaning job in my studio. Floors and furniture scrubbed down, everything sorted and put away. I removed everything from my dye table and took boxes of items into the bathroom wash area to be scrubbed down. I have piles of bottles and little glass containers that I mix dye in. Eyedroppers and other pieces of equipment. After removing them all from the studio and also removing the tubs I use to soak the material in soda ash and placing them all in the bathroom I noticed that when entering the studio my allergy symptoms did not go berserk as they have all week when I have been cleaning (I have a small bathroom that connects to my studio that is used only for work)
This whole process took me almost a week as I was only able to work in the room for a short time before my eyes were itching so bad, my nose was tickling, I was sneezing and the headaches returned in the first few days. So I can safely say whatever is causing my allergies is in that bathroom. Now with the door closed. Now I still don't know what it is. Maybe whatever it is has nothing to do with my dyes and always came from the bathroom. I never closed the door before so it very well could be that. Next step is to actually go in that room, clean all the items in there and seal them up and see if that makes my allergies stop.
In the meantime I have a huge pile of items here in my living room that I found all about my studio that have never been listed in my shop. I spent part of this week measuring pieces and trying to find the photos to match to the item, etc. I am really quite taken aback at the amount of work I have here that was never listed. How did I fall so behind on all of this? I know that for a good two months or maybe even more I suffered from severe headaches and facial pain so bad from the allergies that I really wasn't working well but never realized just how sidetracked and forgetful I had become. It is hard to concentrate when your head hurts so bad you keep the shutters rolled down because the light is too bright.
Thankfully the medicine my doctor gave me, Aerius, seems to have greatly reduced the symptoms. The headaches are almost completely gone. Still itchy eyes and nose but the facial pain has also diminished to a tolerable level.
My two up and coming goals are to completely catalog the contents of this huge box of dyed goods and start listing them AND to go into that bathroom and finish the cleaning in there. I am determined to get this under control and hopefully after this is all said and done still be able to continue with my dyeing. If it is the dye itself causing the problem then I will have to build a dust free mixing box. I have seen them before and I think building one wont be that difficult. If it is the soda ash then I will simply have to start soaking my fabric in a sealed container and not allow any materials soaked in it to be exposed either (I have several pieces of cotton, t-shirts and such that were soaked in the soda ash mixture, allowed to dry and then not dyed. The soda ash dust can possible enter the air from them I suppose)
SO though I feel I am still in holding with this whole situation I do feel I am making progress.

On a happier note: I received my drawing supplies finally in the mail yesterday. I plan on doing some real drawing in the up and coming weeks. It's been a long time since I challenged myself to do more than just a sketch. Wonder if I still have it in me?

Are natural dyes really as safe as you think they are?

Message: Are Reactive Dyes eco-friendly?

I wanted to direct you all to the link above because this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I struggled mightily with this in the beginning of my dyeing adventures because I felt pressure from many to do natural dyeing instead of using procioin MX. The more I read about it and studied the subject the more I felt uneasy about using natural dyes and just wasn't so sure that they were really as eco-friendly as they were believed to be. I finally concluded that I truly felt the procion mx was the better choice and that is why I went in that direction. Now I'm not saying I will never use natural dyes. I think there could be some fun small projects using readily available natural dye stuffs on a small scale. For large and extended dyeing I have already made my choice though.
I told you all I would post some pics of my trip to Scotland  and I certainly took my time getting back here to do it. Since my last post I've left again, this time for Paris and I had a wonderful time there. September was a fun filled month and I was very fortunate to get to visit two very beauiful places. Both inspiring in their own ways. I can't even tell you how many amazing Impressionist paintings I got to view at teh Musee D'Orsay. I still get choked up thinking about it. It was that good.
Since coming home I have discovered that my allergy symptoms have almost completely disappeared. I have been out of my studio for a bit over a month now with the door shut tightly. I am finding myself more and more reluctant to open that door and go back in even though it is preventing me from doing any but the smallest jobs. I so fear the return of the crushing headaches. The other symptoms were aggravating but tolerable. Headaches so bad I can't think though...those are not.  It seems lately that I have had one thing after another barring my way and I feel frustrated by it all. I am an artist though and even though I have created little these last months it is still screaming to get out so soon I will steel myself and enter into that room again. If I find the allergy comes from my dyes then I will move on and find another outlet. I have so many things I love to do in that room that dont involve the dye.
I did do a small study in pencil this last week. I plan on refining it and I did enjoy getting the pencils out again. I am not sure where this is going but here it is:

And here are a few shots of Scotland. I hope you enjoy them :)


Home Again!

I just arrived home last night and always no matter how wonderful of a time I have had, my bed is a welcome sight. I have to admit though, I think that Scotland has captured my heart and I find my mind turning back to it over and over today. The wide open spaces! The beautiful, awe inspiring highlands! The deep wonderful fresh air! The warm and friendly people! The food! Wow, I could go on and on. I really loved it despite the weather. You can't scare a former seattleite that easy :)
I took tons of pics as always and promise to post a few for you all to see sometime soon. The strangest thing of all from my trip? I find myself missing a bit of reknitting to do. It was always a calm and satisfying work.

Silk Painting

I have started adding color and I am in LOVE!

The beginning of silk painting

Finally got around to playing with my new frame and getting geared up for some silk painting. As you can see by the picture it has several pieces so I can actually make a very large frame if I want to. This piece is for a color chart that I am doing out of Susan Louise Moyer's book Silk Painting: the Artist's guide to Gutta and Wax Resists. An excellent book by the way if you are at all interested in this subject.

And here is after I applied my first gutta ever. It was definitely different from anything I have done before, I was quite shaky and my lines are terribly wobbly. This will definitely need some practice. Next: Painting time!

Weekend Festival

This last weekend we traveled to a small town in Germany called Emmendingen to the African Music Festival. I had a fantastic time! Most of the festivals I have been to usually involve a large open space like a field that is fenced in with a stage or two, some booths for merchandise and that's it. This one was in the city center. There were tables and benches under trees and a nice grassy upraised area with a stone ledge you could also sit on. Lots of interesting African food vendors and lovely authentic African wares. The atmosphere was laid back and enjoyable. We spent the afternoon poking around in the booths and eating good food. Lots of nice beverage offers too. Prices were reasonable. The bands were good and the last band was one of my favorites 'Dub Inc'. They put on a stellar performance and even though it started raining right in the middle of their set I don't think a single person left. They were just THAT good. I was really surprised to see them at such a small event because they can draw a crowd easy. I have seen them twice at Reggae Sun Ska in the south of France and it is NOT a small event. This was so fun though, since it was small we were able to get very close to stage and it was the best fun I have had in a long time. 

     I have been cripping around all week due to pulling out my back the weekend before and I was very worried about going. I spent the afternoon being careful because I wanted to make it through the concert without too much pain. Well..when they started playing it was electric. We were all jumping up and down and I didn't stop the whole time. I was getting sore but didn't care. On the way back to the tent that night I wondered if I would be able to move the next morning. Well I woke up the next day and I felt GREAT! I think I actually popped my bones back in place. Since I arrived home my back continues to feel good so I am quite happy about it all :D Who would have known, Dub Inc, the cure for all my woes!
Doing the Happy Dance! I have my internet back. YAY!


Internet Troubles

I've had problems with my modem for the last week and it looks like it might continue on through the week till we can get it replaced.
In the meantime, I have been busy


More Floss!

So here I am, up to my elbows in new floss to wrap and get ready for the shop. I am not complaining though. It's been fun getting back in the groove. I even bought myself an umbrella swift. I figure with this much wrapping I need all the help I can get...now if it would just hurry up and get here!

Tonight...back to wrapping more floss. I think if I don't I might sell out. Oh dear!

Going Forward

Thank you all so much for your kind words on my last post and Anne I will heed your words of wisdom. I can see where that could easily happen!

I have been very busy with my embroidery floss. I dyed a lot of it the last few weeks but continue on to refill my stock. I was amazed to see how low it was.

 So yesterday I spent the day wrapping skein after skein of floss and setting it to soak in the soda ash. Today I will be mixing dyes and hopefully get all these lovelies steeping in their colors.

Last night I decided to take a rest and play with some fabric. I am loving how this is coming along...
For those of you wondering where I have been, I am sorry for my absence. I haven't been here for awhile. I haven't WANTED to be here for awhile. In fact, one day I got up from my studio chair, walked out of the room, closed the door and didn't go back in there for months. The piece I was working on still sits on my desk in the same position I left it in. How does something like that happen so suddenly?
I'm not sure but I do know that looking back I only see long stretches of grey. Why? Who knows? What causes such a thing I can only guess at. The long cold winter had finally hit home?  The realization that I will never measure up to the image I have in my mind? The fear that my eyes would never be the same and stressing them could only make matters worse?
I don't know what caused all this. I do know that somehow, someway I am slowly creeping back out into the light. I dyed a bunch the last few weeks. I found myself looking at colors and thinking...I wonder if I could capture that on silk? I am starting to have ideas again. I picked up a needle and sewed. I am not sure if I am out of the woods yet but I see the sun between the trees and I am going forward as fast as my legs will take me.

I need quiet here!

I've been feeling a little pressured. I like my solitude. I like it quiet. I like a nice even measured schedule with no surprises. I know, I am weird. Truth is when there is unexpected and I jump into it and flow with it I end up having a good time but...I drag my feet every time. Right now I am working hard at learning about my two new passions, especially the wire, though I have been studying and pondering the beads also ( they will have their run too) Now right when I am in the middle of learning this wonderful new art I also hire a French teacher and we had guests all weekend. Now dont get me wrong, I am glad I hired the teacher and I accept the fact that she is going to start taking up a lot of my time. I also really enjoyed having our guests. I just get in this mind set where all I want to do is create. I want to sketch and study and learn everything there is to learn about the new passion and when I am like this there is no room for anything else. So I guess I am feeling a bit disgruntled and very stingy with my time. It will all settle back down soon I hope and sort itself into some kind of routine. Here's hoping!

Anyway, I finished two of my wire pieces this week despite feeling pressured on all sides. I also dyed another piece of the electric dreams. I am quite thrilled with the results! Now back to studying, drawing, wrapping wire and of course...playing!


Is that a robin I see/

So things are looking up around here, the smell of spring is in the air. My stomach flu seems to have turned tail and disappeared!I am starting to feel back to my normal self and this is a good thing. This week I met an English teacher in the elevator of my building. She offered to start helping me with my french and I jumped on that. So yesterday I went to my first conversation club and I had a blast. I think this is going to help me out a lot. It is so convenient that she lives in my building too. I am thrilled.
I did a few pieces in the dye bath this week. This lovely piece was for a custom order. It's a difficult job but I think it turned out good. The little piece you see in the upper left corner was the piece I was trying to copy. I do think it is lacking the pinks of the original but that's the beauty of hand dyed. It's never the same!

I have also been working gung ho on my wire wrapping. The more i do, the more I want to do. Hubby said I can buy myself tools for my birthday present. That is just TOO exciting for me. I cant wait till I have some better tools to work with and more wire....definitely more wire.
So my owl is almost done. I have a few more things to do to him and then I will put a darker patina on him. I really like how he turned out.

I started a new piece too, this is the first part of it. A dragonfly!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Winter Blues

This week I had the stomach flu, this means that for almost the entire month of February I have been sick! I am ready for spring. I am ready for all these ills to go away. I have a theory about all of these germs. Hubby is on a train every day for almost 2 hours each way. I think being packed into that train with lots of other poor souls all with their own germs makes for a perfect petri dish and I am catching the results! He also has been sick most of the month and he is NEVER sick. Poor guy. I don't know how he does it but he is my hero! He works so hard and rarely complains. I am a lucky girl for sure.
So despite being ill I have tried to keep up a bit. I stacked and organized all my new goodies to get an idea of what is ready and what is in dire need of a good ironing. I am happy to say the ironing pile is not as big as i expected. I even have a lot of the photos taken. If I keep this up I might even become efficient (don't hold your breath). I have high hopes that this coming week will be sick free and productive. At least it's a good goal :)
The wire wrapping bug has hit me hard. I am totally and completely under it's spell now. Even when I was feeling my worst I was still catching myself picking up a piece and fiddling with it. I adore it! This is the new piece I have started.

That makes three in production now, all in various stages of completion. I worked on each till I reached a point where I couldn't continue without something I didn't have. Since this is new to me I have very few materials on hand. So I made another order and I am patiently waiting for new supplies to arrive so I can finish my three babies. I'm astonished to say that I haven't even been missing my needle!
I hope I am not boring you all with my lack of needlework projects. I have always been one to jump around though and I know I will eventually make it back to my beloved sewing. This for right now is a great substitute...oh and the beads, I just adore the beads!