Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween and Samhain!

Happy Halloween and Samhain! Here is a final bit of holiday sewing that I accomplished during the month.
I wanted to add to my long-in-process Halloween Houses quilt with something different than the pieced and paper-pieced houses and log cabins that I have completed so far.
I had to play around with the shapes until they fit together well. Free-hand cutting with no pattern makes it challenging. Sometimes I'm better at eyeballing sizes when I use this method.
I fussy cut the stem so that the bat and notes were on there without getting cut off.
Here's how it looks next to some of the other blocks after appliqueing down the shapes with orange and brown rayon thread.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dog Collar Scrunchie

I just had to do some sewing with my colorful Halloween fabrics, so I made a dog collar scrunchie for Zelda. Might as well decorate the dog too, right?
I measured the widest part of the plastic buckle, then cut 3 strips of fabric, each about 1.5" wide across the whole width of 45" wide fabrics. I wanted it to be pretty close to the size of the actual collar so it wouldn't be too floppy.

I sewed those together on the long sides and then hemmed the ends, then I sewed the final seam to make it up into a tube and turned it right side out. Next I just fed the collar in and scrunched it up.
See how happy she looks?

She had to show me the other side.

Then she had to signal that the photo shoot was over by politely crossing her paws and shooting me a most dubious look. Sheesh, I really need to trim those claws don't I?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Friendly Ambulance Company

This scene was on my ironing board the other day. Curious, since I hadn't been involved in the use of the scissors or seam ripper so I asked the most likely suspect, my older teenager. He just decided he didn't want labels showing on his clothing anymore. That it was bothering him that people (especially at his high school) care so much about what particular brand one is wearing. That he thought people should care about people and not what they wear. And he also didn't want to give free advertising to big corporations who don't need extra advertising.
I completely understood what he was talking about, and was kind of tickled by the last part about advertising since that is something I've tried to get my boys to be conscious of being manipulated by companies' advertising... In most cases he had successfully removed the labels without damaging the clothing underneath. I helped him repair the small holes in a few things.But then left behind are shadowy areas of different colored fabric, one of which is on the front of a jacket so we wanted to cover it up somehow.
He'd found this patch at Goodwill a while back, it originally said "FEDERAL AMBULANCE CO." We were worried that this might be Federal as in Federal Government and that he shouldn't wear it, sometimes there are laws about impersonating federal employees, etc. I looked at the word and said "how about I change it to read Friendly Ambulance Co. instead?" Well, that cracked him up big time, and after he was done laughing about he asked me to change it. So I did. After some removal of stitching and figuring out how to switch letters around this is how it ended up. No before picture, but I'm sure you can imagine it. This is going on one of his jackets, and he'll definitely be dressed as the unique person he is.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Costume In Process

I was at Beverly's Fabrics a couple weeks ago to get some glue and decided to get some fabrics to make myself a Halloween costume. I didn't really have anything in mind, but went to the remnant table to see what was there and if any ideas would spark up.
I found these three fabrics which I think will work together really well for a gold witchy woman costume. (I was a green witch last year) The upper left is to be a tunic-y blouse, the gold on the bottom a skirt, and the gold lacey stuff a skirt overlay. All of this was super cheap since it was on the remnant table, maybe $15 for all of it.

These other various nettings and tuelle and so forth are from my stash, they may make it into the costume, I was seeing if they complemented the piece on the right that is to be the skirt overlay.

The blouse has turned out well so far, for sleeves I used an embroidered sheer, it has an overall pattern of various sized circles. the neckline is just an elastic gathered style, real simple but it suits the fabrics well. The fabric for the skirt worked out to be just the right size for the simple gathered waist style I wanted to make. The overlay part was a bit trickier, but I safety pinned it in place while I was wearing it to get the draping right. (safety pins instead of straight pins!) Yes a dressmaker's form would come in handy for something like this. Guess I should get around to making one of those duct tape ones.
Now for the sash/waist thing I had sketched out originally to pull the top and skirt together. Haven't made it quite yet, I have to search for that gold satin embroidered upholstery fabric to make an obi-type sash. Hopefully I can find it and get that done, because it is almost Halloween!
Oh and a hat of some type, I was unable to find a gold witch hat in the stores. Maybe some gold spray paint or gold netting over a plain black one? Or make my own? I don't know yet. I guess I could make a golden sparkly wand too, there are plenty of sticks all over the place because of this second very windy day in a row. I have the gold hair spray and gold shoes and nail polish already so I'll be good and sparkly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Imagined Crinolines

(satin side up)

I'm not sure why, but I just bought this enormous and fabulous satin and netting wedding train at Goodwill. I saw it a couple weeks ago when we were shopping for costume parts for my son and almost got it then, but there wasn't enough room in the car. Plus I knew that since my family was with me, I'd have to explain why the heck I wanted to buy it, and at the time I didn't have a clue why this thing was calling my name.

(net side up)
After a few weeks of thinking about it, the car steered itself towards Goodwill the other day when I was doing other errands (with an emptier car and no family members along), "I'll just go see if it is still there, if it is, then I'll buy it." There it was with all the other hoopskirts and bridal gowns they put out every Halloween. I snagged it for $13. As you can see it is rather long (about 6 steps down my staircase), it has a really high quality satin and many many layers of netting.

Major confession time:
I've always wanted a nice puffy crinoline to wear under those imaginary Audrey Hepburn circle skirts and dresses that I envision wearing while I scamper off to who-knows-where.
I realize up front that this will most likely not be figure flattering for me at all.
But I miss that dressing up fun that I used to have with my mom's party dresses from the 50's which had the built in crinolines, the swishy, scratchy feeling, and the feeling of taking up more room than I'm usually allowed.

And somehow, this wedding dress train was demanding that I Am Your Crinoline If You Make Me. Well, ok then, now to figure out how the heck to transform this satiny, net-filled thing into a useable crinoline and then to actually wear it. I may even have to throw a dinner party to have an excuse to wear it. I'll admit that I was very likely inspired by the Project Runway episode this season where they transformed divorcee's wedding dresses into new outfits.

But for now, I really have to work on this thing, it is taking up a LOT of room in my studio at the moment and I'm worried the cats are going to start clawing it up. I had a few links that I was going to put on this post to show you what I'm envisioning but unfortunately the power went out (very windy today) and now it is back on so I just want to get this out there before it goes out again.

If anyone has any tips or tricks or ideas or whatever to suggest please do, I'm (as usual) making this up as I go along...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Blog-i-versary!

Hey, I just passed by my 5th blog anniversary this weekend. Hard to believe that it has been five years of blogging about all the art making and life living and etc. ...
Thanks to my dear readers for sticking around and giving me your ears(eyes) on occasion. I truly do appreciate your being there and listening (reading), and even commenting sometimes!
Here's a mosaic of some of my favorite pictures of just this last year.
The links go to my flickr account.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Last of the Brow-Beating Light

I'm Made of bones
of the branches
The boughs and the brow-beating light
While my feet are the trunks
And my head is the canopy high

And my fingers extend to the leaves and the eaves
and the (bright?)
Might I shine?
It's my shine (child?)

Lyrics from The Queen's Rebuke in The Decemberist's Hazards of Love.

But the river is deep
To the banks
and the water is wild,
I will fly you
To the far side

Grass, Earth, Rock, Leaf, Water, Sky and Tree Reflection all in one picture.

Polka Dots On The Go

Something had to be done about my car seat cover. It was ripped and shredded, uncomfortably lumpy and just depressing looking instead of cheery and fun like it used to be. But the stretchy part that holds it on the seat was just fine, I had to come up with a plan...
Hooray for free FabMo fabrics. I sewed together 4 colors of this polka-dotted upholstery fabric and cut it to the right shape, turned under the edge and stitched it down with some new cushy quilt batting underneath. Easy peasy, eco-friendly, reusing, remaking, refashioning all that good stuff in one project. Plus it makes me smile every time I get in the car.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Risk Should Be Risky

This week's reading in The Joy Diet is all about risk, I can't wait to read what the other book bloggers at The Next Chapter have to say about this one. Challenging would be a good word to describe it. Uncomfortable, slightly terrifying and a little exhilarating. I realize how far into my shell I've climbed with reading this chapter and how much work I need to do to pull myself out and stop being a hiding snail.

When we go through the lists of what we've come up with as desires so far, and start to think about what risks are necessary to achive those desires, author Martha Beck points out that fear masquerades as many things: "anxiety, nervousness, uneasiness, outright terror. Work your creativity until you arrive at an idea that makes you shrink away, a little or a lot. The fear shows that you have reached the border of your personal comfort zone. You're about to push that border back and claim new territory in your own life, the only way you can: by taking risks."
I love that idea, that there is more territory that is available to me to claim and inhabit and use in my life. This whatever I have right now in front of and around me is not the be-all/end-all of what is possible for me, but to get to anything else, risks must be taken.

Further on in the chapter, Beck notes that "If you really put it to the test, you'll probably find that your comfort zone is arbitrary and irrational." I've never thought of that, but it definitely checks out. I could not make a coherent case to myself for why I hesitate to make this phone call, write that email or follow through with that idea. Holding myself apart and separate to prevent possible upset or disappointment just doesn't make must rational sense anymore, and I can't explain to myself why I was even doing it in the first place. Maybe that is OK, just to know that, and maybe I can now work on doing it all a little bit differently. I'll be glad to get rid of the feeling that I've tied myself up in barbed wire.

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do. - Eleanor Roosevelt"

It Only Happens When It Rains

During the wet days after that huge rainstorm here is one of the visitors that we sometimes get, no, not the cat, that's just Lucky. The banana slug on the window!
I thought it would be a good time to take some pictures of both sides of a banana slug since it was on a window.

You can see through a lot of him.
Banana slugs are an important part of the redwood forest that I live in. And they don't eat my garden plants so they are OK by me, not like regular garden slugs.

But he looks so solid from this angle. Soon he was gone, back out into the redwood duff where they thrive as detrivores (decomposers). You can see the two pairs of tentacles in this picture, that's what they use to sense the world.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Something For My Nicho

I've had a few nichos for a while now, can't remember where all of them came from exactly, I know I got this one from Silver Crow. I chose it because of the eye motif at the top, and how the wings look like they could be leaves. Anyways, I finally got around to making a little assemblage to put inside, so I can hang it up and enjoy it. As opposed to it being in my to-do-something-with-someday box....
Assembling some tools of the trade. Cardstock for a base, shiny wrappers from some fall colored candy, a ruler, scissors and glue stick. Measuring the inside of the nicho it is about 2.25x 2.5"

I glued several pieces of foil over the printing so that there wouldn't be any of the words showing when I'm done. Makes for some good texture. The metal numbers are out so I can choose which one, will it be 3 or 9?

Central image chosen from a Pomegranate Publishing calendar catalog (nice small images sizes) it is one of my favorite Susan Seddon Boulet images. I thought it looked a little flat, since there is so much room in the nicho, I added some fluffy fibers around the image.

Lastly I added the number 9.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out, now it makes me want to go make some more stuff to fill up the other ones that I have.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Treasure Island

This past Sunday we went to The Treasure Island Music Festival in the middle of the San Francisco Bay on, you guessed it Treasure Island, (the island that the Bay Bridge goes through). It is a Naval station, but they let them use it for this festival, this is the third year I think, and we'd heard it was a fun show to go to. It was what is currently called an indie/folk/rock show, there were plenty of hipsters, freaks and just plain folks there on a pretty, cold, foggy, windy day. There were a lot of bands slated to play that my boys like a lot, one that I love to pieces, so it made it worth the attempt. My brother joined us too which was really cool!
I copied this picture off the local music website Bridged because it has the three boys in it, there they are towards the back working on some communal art. The three boys are my two teenagers Alex and Zach and their friend Jake. I didn't take my own picture of them because I figured they'd be pissed off at me, but a passing stranger, no problem ,right.

The first band we caught was Vetiver, which is a local SF band. They were really good, folk/rock type of music. Up in the bleacher section of VIP seating were some really cool monsters. We saw them again on stage at the very end of the show.
The bigger stage had a great video screen as a background, where they showed closeups of the bands that were playing. Nice since we couldn't really see their faces too well from as far away as we were.The first group on the big stage that we caught was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Alex Ebert, the lead singer seemed, well, um, let's say really really out of it, (like maybe not quite knowing where he was) but he sang the songs kind of quietly, took most of his clothes off (it was freezing and windy!) and the rest of his group gamely soldiered on and backed him up. Especially the woman up on the big screen here, I believe her name is Jade Castrinos. She had an absolutely gorgeous voice and the most adorable smile and dimples, they should have had her sing more. They did one love song/duet "Home" that had me in tears it was such a touching song.
I think this is the best picture I took all day, catching their drummer Josh Collazo, right in mid-stroke, hair flying.
A view of San Francisco across the bay and through the fog.
There were several other bands that we saw all of or part of their sets, but I didn't photograph for one reason or another, Grizzly Bear (one of my new favorites), Bob Mould, Beirut, Yo La Tengo, The Walkmen.
And finally, sunset zoomed past into dark, and The Reason for me to be at this show, The Decemberists took the stage. They performed their newest release The Hazards of Love from beginning to end, completely, perfectly and even better than I'd imagined they could. Amazing stuff. Not for everyone though. If you liked 70's prog rock/story songs and like the current indie/folk stuff I'd recommend it. The crowd really got into it, especially during the bloody and thoroughly vile song "The Rake's Song" all singing along while 5 of the band members pounded out the rhythm on various drums.

I tried zooming in for some good pictures, but that just made it worse, but still of course pretty because of all the cool colored lights used on stage. The big video screen behind the band showed a really beautiful/weird animated/live-action video that went along with the music. A lot of it was gorgeous and suited the music really perfectly, some of the rest was a bit too abstract. They are going to release a DVD of this video along with the Hazards of Love music that it goes with, it will be called "Here Come The Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized". Hopefully in time for the holidays, hint hint.

So blurry, but so beautiful anyways.

The blurriest yet, guess I was really just enjoying the show! I took a few videos, and the music part turned out ok, but the poor camera was trying to focus on the closest things (ie peoples' hands going up in front of me), so they aren't worth showing you here.

Standing behind Alex and Jake, as The Flaming Lips take the stage. We also got to hang out with Jake's parents and aunt, which was really fun, made it a grown-up outing as well as a family outing. It was great to be able to go to a rock concert with our kids, and also be able to let them roam around on their own and feel pretty good about it since they were sticking together. I don't know how much longer we'll be "allowed" to be near them at a concert, or if we'll keep liking the same music, but for now, it is a fun thing to do as a family and with our friends.
Alex and his friend Jake with the blazing Flaming Lips light show in the background. They're wearing the freebie headbands emblazoned "winner" and "loser" that they scored at the show. I think this is Alex's "Mom, stop bothering me and let me watch the show" look.

The glowing ball at the center contains the lead singer of The Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne. He is inside a giant, see-through blow up beach ball that he then tries to walk in, right on top of the crowd. He mostly ended up crawling because I suppose it is really hard to stay upright when you're rolling around on top of the crowd's heads. It was a trip. And hilarious too. Just like the rest of their show, really funny, fun and energetic.
I hope that next year's lineup is this good, I think I'd like to go again.