February 25, 2009

Canvas, Not Fiber, Beads

I've been thinking about fiber beads. It all started when I say some wonderful stringy beads on the front page of Etsy. I clicked and admired the artist' beads. Over the next week or two, I found myself looking at a variety of beads and wondering about their practicality. How well do they hold up ... okay, a necklace might be one thing, but how about bracelets, their use as buttons, etc. etc. etc. Then, out of curiosity, I started doing searches on Etsy and Artfire to see how these beads were being used in end products. And, MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, found very little useage of them. SO, what are the folks that buy these beads using them for ??? I know they are pretty, but can't imagine they are just sitting around in bowls as coffee table decorations.

I belong to the Artfire Fiber Arts Group and posted an inquiry in the forum asking if there were any bead makers and if so, what did their customers use the beads for .... not the felt beads, but those wonderful fiber ones. I didn't get any answers, but one of the artists, Unique by Karlee, told me about how her grandmother use to occupy them for hours making beads out of wallpaper and she was going to try to make some beads using some of her fabrics.

So ... off I went to try my hand at beads with the painted canvas.

1st set: Cut 1/2" x 2" pieces. Smeared up the blank side with E6000 and wound them up on a coffee straw. The E6000 is quite toxic and believe I was abit high before done. I wouldn't say it is a great adhesive for these ... the canvas is just too heavy ... the ends did not stay closely set against the bead.

2nd set: For these, cut the canvas strips at 2" x 3/4". Decided to try the high tack adhesive spray. Layed them out, blank side up and sprayed. Again, rolled them up on the coffee stirrer. WOW ... is this adhesive every tacky. It is so tacky that I had alot of trouble getting my fingers off the canvas. Had to stop a couple times and soak them in a little finger polish remover to get the sticky off. But, it works much better than the E6000.

3rd set: I found myself thinking about my old 'favorite' adhesive from the mosaic days ... clear acrylic caulk. Broke out a tube. Cut canvas strips the same as set two and smeared a thin layer of the caulk on the blank side. This time, rolled them up on a piece of 16 gauge wire .. for a smaller hole opening. Worked wonderfully !!!

Now, these beads are certainly not those wonderful fibery art pieces I saw on Etsy, but these are pretty cool looking and I think I might try them on a bracelet soon.

26 more Urban Grafitti style canvas for upcoming projects

Stamped and painted my way into a terrific mess in the studio. Great fun. Generally, I pour a color and use it on various canvases until the color is depleted, then, pour another, etc. etc. etc. The only difficult part is deciding when each individual canvas is complete.

These should last me for awhile.

February 22, 2009

Painting more Canvas

The truth of it all is, I really enjoy the paint. It's my favorite. I'm also enjoying creating the cuffs .. but painting is the best. Pulled out some canvas scraps last night and measured them out to 9"x10" and 9" x 12" pieces. There's also some border strips in here.

Pulled in a good 12 bottles of paint from the garage (I like to store my paint in poweraide bottles) and painted the canvas pieces in a variety of colors. Then, took out to the back deck and applied spray paint to most. Also found a 12"x12" painted canvas in the paint box. Guess I must have taken a piece from the last batch out there to apply a final layer and forgot about it ... a surprise.

Set up the workbench to start stamping, writing and general fun for tomorrow. I hope to get a couple hours in there anyways ... family gathering here next weekend and I really have to start picking up around here instead of just hanging out in the studio pretending the house isn't covered with 1/4" of dust.

February 21, 2009

Cuffs 14 - 19 ... I like how these are coming along

I'm still experimenting with the cuffs. I switched from the canvas cuffs over to fabric for a couple of days. I cut out fabric for 8 cuffs and I made 5. Brought in the container of ribbon, braids, etc. and had a good time going through them, making decisions, etc. Ended up putting together 5, then cleaned it all up .... Paint was calling me ...

I've been listing these in my shops ... I also made a stop by the Mandeville Trailhead last Saturday to check out their community market. I'm thinking about making up a good variety of these, along with the fabric necklaces and perhaps some pins and taking them to market starting in June. We'll see.

February 16, 2009

Wrist Bands 08 - 13, minus 12

I finished the 8 painted canvas wrist bands I've been playing with. One of them had three large beads side by side. I cut the beads off this one and set it aside. (I'm planning on getting it dirty and sink washing ... I think these would be perfectly suitable for a handwash ... but want to make sure. . The beads layed out at angles when put on the wrist and did not look good. A lesson learned. I took photos this afternoon, and the photos for Wrist Band 12 and 14 did not turn out well. So, I'll retake those over the weekend.

These turned out fairly well. I like them. Each lay over the wrist nicely and are sturdy pieces. I'm going to post them on Artfire this weekend and see if anyone has any interest in them.

February 15, 2009

The Clivia plants are incredible this year

The Clivia plants are incredible this year. They sit right outside my studio window (we bring them in whenever the weather drops below 40 DegF), and bloom during February and March.

We bought the one lone little cliva plant on our way back from vacation at a little plant shop in Marshall, TX. For the first two years, we struggled to keep that little plant alive ... too much sun, too much shade. Finally we moved to another house, where it was quite happy. Then, 8 years ago, we moved here, where it is obviously really happy as the one lone little plant has mulitiplied to about 12 plants in three different pots. This year, for he first time, each plant within the pots are each producing a bloom. There' blooms now, plus more just forming, so this wonderful display should go on for at least another month. It's always a great surprise and pleasure when I open y studio blinds each morning .... flowers in the winter landscape.

February 13, 2009

Planetscape, An Original Framed Mosaic Art Piece

There was a time when I was completely obsessesed with mosiac work. I would get an idea, vision perhaps, and have to get right to work on it; trying new things, changes to materials, refinements, etc. Frequently, a soon as I finished the mosiac work on one item, I'd already be starting on the next ... letting several stack up before doing the grouting and completion work. Once completely finished, they get packed away here and there ... in closets; in the attic ... just moving on to the next idea.

Well, I've run out of space and getting a new house certainly does not make sense. So, I'm pulling the pieces out one by one (going to try to do a couple a week) and decide what should be done with them. Four categories really .... 1) keep for myself (and I'm mostly out of wallspace and already have several of the largest pieces hanging), 2) Sell, 3) It's not so great and donate to Grans (perhaps they can sell for a few dollars and help feed those in need).

There's a good stash in the closet in Lilly's room. Decided to start there. Pulled out this piece ... Planetscape. This piece was completed in 2004. I'd upcycled a frame and actually completed the mosaic right on the sheet of glass. It is grouted into the frame. It's a great peice and I've decided to sell. It measures 13 1/2" x 16 1/2".

Checked it over carefully and decided the the frame has suffered a couple scratches to the paint. I searched through all my paint supplies and no longer have the original grey blue that I put on this upcycled frame. So, selected an acrylic paint that a bit more blue. Updated the paint and let dry thoroughly and photographed. This piece is listed for sale (at a more than reasonable price because I'd like it to go off to a new home where it can be enjoyed) in my Artfire Shop.

February 12, 2009

Painted Canvas -- Wrist Bands/Cuffs ... In Progress

Cut out (I think) 12 pieces of the painted canvas to experiment with some more wrist bands. Thought it should be simplier to work on them in sets .. particularly when going through the huge variety of found objects. This weekend has alot going on so time will be in bits .. I'll probably work on these over the next few days.

February 11, 2009

WB-07: Summer Fields, an Upcycled Wrist Cuff

I cut my index finger on my right hand and my thumb on my left with a razor blade while fixing a pair of Alex pants, so my mood slipped a bit. It so reminds me of my mosaics and having cut fingers so frequently that they don't even warrant a second thought.

So, decided that I'd pick up a little and then work on photographing a few pieces of mosaics that I'd like to get listed in my Artfire shop. But, I picked up the sets ofpainted canvases and the green one called out to me and before I knew it, I was half finished on the WB-07 wrist cuff. These are great fun to design .. look at this, consider that, try this, etc. etc. etc. I stopped after sewing on the disc beads as it was abit difficult with sore fingers and bandaids. I'll finish it tomorrow.

So no cleaning (no surprise there), no pictures

WB-06: Measuring Time Golden Red Grafitti Wrist Cuff

This morning I selected the reddish canvas that I painted last week. I selected a white measuring tape a button thingie (from a belt), a couple little scrap pieces for the 2nd cuff, and a wonderful gold lamay scarf that I also got last Yard Sale Saturday.

I put together the top and cut the scarf. I quickly decided that the gold lamay was not such a great idea; just a bit scratchy and I'm not sure how well it will hold up to frequent wearing ... the good ole sweat factor (something we southern ladies have to consider). I want these pieces to be washable (at least handwash in a sink) when/should they get dirty. So, out went the gold, and in came the brown from a scrap piece ... nice appearance, sturdy & washable.

Finished it off with round piece of tan velcro .. stitched into place.

February 10, 2009

WB05 : It's not Sapphires, but it certainly is a fun and colorful upcycled wrist band, cuff or bracelet

Decided to make another one this morning. Selected the turquoise blue canvas that I painted painted last week and paired it with some plastic gems that I picked up at a yardsale (of course). I decided to try some clear plastic snaps that I recently found at Precision Sewing. (I like these much better than the adhesive Velcro !!!) The gems and the snaps are had sewed, the rest of this is machine stitched together.

This piece is much better and I'm listing it in my shop over at Artfire.

Even though we had to go see the financial guy and get put on a budget, it was a pretty nice day. Had a great Lunch at Shrewsbury Inn on the River and stopped by MIL's house and picked up some of the old stuff from the attic .... more great finds that Beau salvaged for me last Saturday.

February 09, 2009

WB04 -- Red Painted Canvas Wrist band / Cuff

Finished it up stitching on the velcro, finished putting it together and did the topstitching. I learned quite a bit on this piece ... don't use velcro with adhesive, those hook thingies don't rest well and I need some serious practice on top stitching.

This piece is colorful and interesting however. It's not what I would consider sell quality, however, I'd certainly feel comfortable wearing it myself (particularly since this one fits), and that's exactly what I'm going to do with it !

I'll continue experimenting with these canvas pieces .... I love the colors.

Elephant Safari in Silver -- An upcycled necklace (Neck011)

Some time back I'd come across a blue drawstring bag that had some random jewelry pieces. It doesn't appear I'd ever gone through the bag; I found it between my side table and bookshelf this morning while searching for a bobbin that had rolled off my table.

I dumped it out to take a look and came across this tarnished, sad looking elephant on a similarly tarnished chain. The rest of the bag I stuck away in appropriate inventory spots, but him ... well, he kinda called to me.

I cleaned him up with some silver polish; he's metal (obviously from the tarnish). I decided on black and silver beads intermixed with silver pieces of chain, and redesigned him into, what I hope, is an appealing piece. Altogether, it's 19" long. The elephant, the black beads and the chain links are upcycled pieces.

I've listed this Elephant Safari piece over in my Artfire shop.

February 08, 2009

Listing Patterns in my Artfire ' TodaysTreasure ' shop

Each day I try to list a couple of the pending patterns into my Artfire supplies shop. Tonight I was listing McCalls 3230, which is a wrap around skirt. The front cover shows 'Quick & Easy' ... As easy to make as a simple wrap skirt ... takes 90 minutes.

Takes 90 minutes !!! Who in the heck are they kidding. Well, Okay, it just two pattern pieces and I can probably cut it out within 20 minutes, but then, I have to set up the sewing machine and if that entails changing the bobbin, which means I've got to mess with the tension AGAIN, that means another 45 minutes before I even start sewing. And then, there needs to be an alloted time to take out the stitching that went wrong because I didn't read the directions, or possible I did read the directions but didn't understand what they REALLY meant ....

Anyways, the point is the same ... nothing that requires me sewing would ever take only 90 minutes !!!

McCalls 3230

Lillian; the super incredible grandbaby

Here's Lillian .... the reason (at least this weekend) that not much got done. After all, who wants to be productive when there's a grandbaby to play with. 6 months and 10 days ...

WB04 : Red Painted Canvas Wrist Band / Cuff

Selected the red painted canvas (from the set just painted) and paired up with a corresponding piece of the yellow felt brought home from a yard sale yesterday. Stitched together on 3 sides. Selected a couple chain links from a salvaged belt and some beads from inventory. Handsewed the adornments into place from the inside.

Attached a hook clasp .... but, woops ... I don't like the way it connects, so removed and decided on Velcro. The Velcro is sticky backed but want to sew it into place so there will be no concern of it coming loose after some wearings. So, sat to stitch at sewing machine ... But woops ... the glue is super sticky and when the machine needle went through it, it picked up alot of the adhesive, got sticky and sewing, obviously, not successful. Cleaned the sewing machine needle with finger polish remover and started handstitching the velcro into place.

But then, Melodye called me back and Lilly was ready for dinner and other things to do ....

Will finish tomorrow.

February 07, 2009

WC-03 : A crocheted, sewed & beaded wrist cuff

This is one of the crochet samples I picked up at the yard sale this morning. It measures around 12" long and about 5" wide.

Here I've selected a variety of seed beads in a couple shades of green and yellow and, using elastic cord, strung beads through sections of the crochet. Carefully hand sewed the ends together and then weaved elastic through 3 sections.

The piece is comfortable to wear on my 'between medium & large' wrist. The other piece is still sitting on the side table. I'm thinking of something similar, but different for that piece. I'll probably list this piece, but not until I have a few done and can start a section.

Yard Sale Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nice and warm morning ... upper 50's. A nice change from last week. Got a bit of a late start, not actually getting out until 8:30. There was only two ads in the paper which I was headed out for, but found another two in the circle.

  • 1 medium purple square scarf.
  • 1 pack (6 sheets) of yellow felt.
  • 1 fabric neck wrap thingie ... white with a tie in the back and ribbon flowers. I picked this up as I was interested in remembering the idea. Neck wraps could be an interesting application for some of the 'finds' I have hanging around here. (I'm going to pin it on the wall so it doesn't get buried and I forget it).
  • A jar with assorted thread spools. Although I'll use the thread (says silk thread), I'm most interested in the spools. They are wood, some very small, and look quite old).
  • 1 silver link belt. Links are both square and triangle. The links are built like jump rings where they can be opened and perhaps things added to them.
  • 2 crochet samples ... about 12" long by 5" wide. Note sure what the samples represented, but they are marked samples and an inventory number.
  • 1 long lamay belt.
  • A bunch of assorted necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I was at a 'Vintage Yard Sale' and under alot of unusual clothing I found a small bag of jewelry items. I was going to ask how much for each item when checking out (there was a table set up with numerous ladies). I handed over the bag and asked, and a woman said $2.00. I was like, for the whole bag? And she was like, yes. Well okay .... most of these items are marked (retail tags) between $6.00 and $30.00). Some great beads here.

All told, a pretty successful day in the finds department.

February 05, 2009

Artfire Fiber Arts Guild

I joined a Guild on the new Artfire site this week called Artfire Fiber Arts. Were just in startup and I'd imagine that it's going to take us awhile to get organized, figure out our charter, etc. But, I'm looking forward to making friends in the group and learning and sharing.

Check us out ... Artfire Fiber Arts Guild

Painting Layers onto Canvas for Wrist Bands

I've was looking at the placemats last night and thinking how this canvas would make sturdy and colorful wristbands. They'd also be quite washable. SO..... this morning, cut two 12" strips off the roll of canvas before Beau put it back under the bed.

  • Cut 8 pieces of canvas at 12" x 12" and the two end pieces ended up at 10" x 12".
  • Selected 8 bottles of paint from the garage and painted the 10 pieces of canvas. Set out to dry.
  • Took all the canvas pieces outside and applied spray paint using a variety of stencils and lace pieces; Left a couple hours to dry.
  • Brought in and added writings or symbols to all but two using permenant markers.
  • Started adding stamps and marks in corresponding acrylic paints.
Of course, I have to do more book pages at the same time. How it works is I invariable pour a little more paint than I need. So, after I do the color on the canvas, I continue on misc. paint pages until I run out of the particular color, then clean the brush, pour another color and repeat. What it means is I have papers and canvas in progress spread all over the floor. Which further dares the cat to come in and lay on top of them. Today he was quite close to being a multi color cat .... Again.
Time today is really hatched up. Had to force myself out of the house at noon to go to the gym. It was a case of 'if I don't go now, I'm not going at all'. Then, of course, it being Thursday, took MIL grocery shopping in the afternoon and brought her home for family dinner. I'm taking Nikki to lunch tomorrow and picking up Lilly, so there will only be a couple hours to play in the morning. I'm already looking forward to it.

February 04, 2009

It's More Than A Placemat, It's a Little Art with Dinner

Last night Paul's 'new potential girlfriend' came by to, I guess, meet the family. It so happened she arrived right at dinnertime, so we quickly pulled up an extra chair and invited her to Gumbo. She says "Oh, how cute, you all eat together".

Cute ... it brings back that memory about 4 years ago when one of Alex friends asked if he could stay over for dinner as he'd never eaten at the table with everyone all together and wanted to see what it was like.

Anyway, almost finished the placemats. (I'm liking these !!!). Tomorrow I'll apply a couple coats of Polyacrylic.

  • Cut the canvas down to 6 pieces at 14" x 18".
  • Brought the sewing machine up to the workbench and straight stitched all the edges.
  • Pulled out the 1" seam tape and the iron (my mother would be so proud I still own one) and under taped all the edges.

February 03, 2009

Canvas Painted Placemats (PM2)

Last summer, when I first started playing with the layered paint style I made a set of 4 placemats. These quickly became my favorite placemats. The 2 things I like the best are .. 1) they are colorful and different and 2) they wash off with a cloth ... no washing, drying, folding, etc. Think I'll make some more.

This creation is a set of 6 placemats. I'm going to complete the painting on one piece of canvas and then cut it down into seperates.

  • Cut a piece of artist canvas at 28" x 54".
  • Applied one layer of dark blue paint; set aside to dry.
  • Mixed a nice light blue with glaze and painted on. Added a line design with a paint comb; set aside to dry.
  • Took outside and applied a variety of stencils with spray paint in maroon, yellow, green and white. Allowed to dry.
  • Brought back in and appliedwriting/scribbles with permenant markers and stencils and texture with acrylic paints.

I think there's enough design on here, but I'm going to let it sit overnight and will re-evauluate in the morning.

February 02, 2009

Fab 09 - 11: One Chain Variation, One DOA and Two Regulars

Started out to create the 4 chain variation necklaces. And, here's how it went ...
-- Finished sewing the bias strips together on 2, 3 & 4

I completed the chain variation that I had in mind one one. I used a lobster claw for the closure and had to stitch the chain in place at top and bottom of each stretch. I like the look, but when finished, realized the lobster claw was unnecessary as this piece easily slips over the head.

Moved on the second piece and discovered the fabric was much to fragile for this level of sewing, and after some fustration and semi-fowl words, I tossed it into the garbage can. The first DOA Fabric Necklace !

Made the third and fourth necklace regular with the tie ends. I think I like these the best. I was going to link one of them with the chain, and then started having alternative ideas for the chain, and a scarf, which I'll try in a couple days.

I posted these three on both my Etsy & Artfire CTStudios sites.

Semi-cleaned the surfaces in my studio. Tomorrow I'm going to get out some canvas and the paints and have a some 'real messy' fun.

February 01, 2009

Fab 09 - 12: Fabric Necklaces with chain variations

I have two long pieces of lightweight chain on the sidebench that's been sitting there for some time. When I made the last set of Fabric Necklaces I decided I wanted to try some of the chain on a fabric ball necklace variation. So ... left it sitting on the table versus putting it away in the last cleanup effort.

Decided to make 4 more Fabric Necklaces in this batch. Choose the 2 oblong scarves I picked up at yard sale on Saturday (hand washed them in the sink and dried). Then, went out to the oblong scarf container in the garage and pulled out two more 60's looking scarves .. folded and sewed together; one with ample fringe (Which I'll save for something else, of course).

Ironed, measured the bias cuts and cut out each of the scarves. Managed to get 1 1/2 sewed ... Superbowl Interruptions, dinner, etc.

WB02 - 2nd Wrist Band is Better

First thing, headed back to my studio with coffee cup in hand. A couple things I want to do out here today ... create another wrist band (practice makes perfect they say) and try another variation on the beads. So, first the wrist band ...

Still had a piece of the red fabric laying out. (actually this piece of fabric is part of a fabric belt that was in the belt container). Paired it with a silver heart from the metal belts container and two pieces of polka dot ribbon. I used velcro for the fastener.

I had quite a few sewing machine problems and this little piece ended up eating 3 hours. Of course, some of those problems are me ... changed needles and had trouble threading that tiny hole, experimented on scraps a few of the stitches, etc.

The oblong size works much better. This piece didn't turn out great, but much better than the first one. Ironically enough, it turned out too small for my wrist ... needs a size 6 kinda person. I'll hand this off to Shannon or Mary ... see if they will try it out for me.

I like the idea of these; they could easily become little wrist collages and I'm sure I'll be doing more.