April 30, 2010

Simplicity 9970, Misses Mini Wrap Dress

A month or so back, I picked up two boxes of sewing patterns at the Hosanna Church Sale.   I've been slowly sorting through them, which this afternoon, brought me to Simplicity 9970, a Misses Mini Wrap Dress.

This sweet little pattern has a copyright of 1972.   Now, let's see ... 1972 ... I was 14.   As a teenager I recall we wore bell bottom pants, Pendleton shirts, peasant tops and backless sundresses.   I do not recall wearing anything quite, well .... ugly.   It does, however, look quite interesting.   I actually found myself, for just a second or two, think about making it.   But, wait ... nope ... wrong size; I'd need a large. 

If you like to make it, it's available (unless it's already been scooped up as the winner it might be)  in my shop.  

April 29, 2010

Locals Thursday; New Orleans Jazz Fest

Another perfect weather day for The Jazz Fest; Overcast, windy and in the mid 70's (Versus most years of Sunny, 90 degs and dripping humidity).

First stop, the Blues tent for Coco Robicheax.   Coco is somewhat of a local, he frequently comes up on our CD player and we always enjoy seeing him.    Here's a YouTube Video in case you've never heard his grisly voice.  He put on, as usual, a great show, with the only complaint being .... way to short !
We then set up our camping spot at the Acura Stage and wandered off to look at the art in the Congo Marketplace.   My two 'BEST' picks for the second weekend are .....   (drum roll)

Ron Witherspoon under business name of Rondell Fiber Art.    His works are incredible, every single fiber calling for attention.   I went back three times to see them again.   If I currently had the dollars to purchase a piece of original art, this would be my first choice.    Not only is Ron's work astounding, his demeanor within the area was both humble and proud.

My second favorite is Carl M Crawford, under business name of CMC Fine Arts, LLC.    Carls' work is collage; and its incredible.   He is literally painting (composing) fabulous Fine Art Pictures using 100 torn  glossy magazine pages.    Approaching from a distance I was drawn by the actual, but subtle, lines on the art pieces; they create a unique form of texture.   I would not have guessed they were combined torn pages from magazines until this was specifically brought to my attention.   Although the works are remarkable, Carls marketing approach was overly aggressive, which ruined the enjoyment of viewing his works and we, rather quickly left. 

If you have a few minutes, you might want to browse these artists work.   I'm sure you'll not be disappointed.

Then back to the Acura Stage to See Ivan Neville's Dumpstafunk, Government Mule and the Opening half hour of Wide Spread Panic.   All three shows were Very Good, and the best part of Local Thursdays at the Acura Stage is the crowd is much smaller.

We ended the day by moving back to the Blues Tent to see the Blues Travelers.   I've been half and half on this group (not sure whether I liked them or not), and was looking forward to this show to base a real life decision ... whether to add their music to my CD Changer, or not.     Well, it didn't go too well.  We set our chairs up on the edge of the tent and patiently waited for the show to start.  Large crowds gathered behind us, packing in.   When the band started, the sound (speakers are obviously placed for those within the tent) was very poor, with primarily the base only coming through strong.   With semi-disappointment, we headed home.   I suppose I'll just go to Firefox FM Radio and station them up to develop my further opinion.

We are not attending Friday or Saturday Jazz Fest, but will be back for Sunday. 

Love Bug Dress

Last time Lilly visited, she was drawn to one of the pieces of fabric sitting on a side table.   She brought it to me a couple times.   So, after she went home I selected one of the patterns from my Mostly Pattern Shop, and put together this little dress.  I selected a piece of corresponding blue fabric for the chest pocket and wrote in 'Love Bug' with pearlized fabric paint.

I must confess, this is the first dress I've sewn from scratch in at least 15 years.  Although it is certainly not a masterpiece, it's bright and colorful and fits her just fine.

April 26, 2010

Large Window Light Box

I came across this large window pane type light fixture at a yard sale about a month ago.    I tried talking myself out of it; even walked off twice, but, in the end, it was only $5, which was truly a bargain.     The woman told me it had been the kitchen overhead light fixture in her Mothers House and she'd brought it home to convert it to a trellis for her garden ... a project that apparently never happened.

I knew exactly what I would do with it, just took me a month to decide where to place it when it's finished.   This is, really, the crucial decision, as its' placement dictates the colors.   After measuring a variety of places, I decide it will hang in the guest bedroom, which currently is clothed in earthy type colors. 

This piece measures 4'2" x 2'2"; it's the largest window light box I've made so far.

--  Took the frame to the garage and lightly sanded to remove finish.   Applied a coat of wood reconditioner (it is very dry with raised grain) and let it sit for a couple hours.
--  Selected and brown paint, watered it down a bit and reapplied in a distressed fashion.
--  Dug through my stained glass sheets and selected colors that were somewhat earthy.   A couple of the pieces are a bit of a stretch, however, the goal was to use up some of the existing inventory; I certainly don't want to go out and buy more glass at this stage.
--  Cut 16 panels that are 6" x 6".
--  Cut 16 panels that are 6" by 6 1/2".

Picked it all up and put it away.   Lilly is coming to visit tomorrow and I don't want to risk having glass out on which she might get cut.   I"ll pick up a light fixture and appropriate hardware at The Box and continue working on this over the weekend. 

April 25, 2010

New Orleans Jazz Fest, Day 2

On the first day of Jazzfest, it poured down rain and turned the Racetrack grounds into a sectional mudfest.  The weather all Friday Night and Saturday morning stressed ongoing doom, gloom and torrential downpours.  Knowing that they frequently get it wrong, we headed out to the Fairgrounds anyway.   And, although we were slip and sliding through the mud in all the common thoroughfares, nary a drop did it rain!.   (Shame on Jazzfest for not putting down straw through the common walkways as done in previous years !)

As we are attending only one day of First Weekend, Jazz Fest, we had to go through both the Contemporary Art and Congo Marketplace same day.   I enjoyed almost all the works by this weekends artists.   It seems that mixed media assemblages are moving more and more center stage.   Two of my favorites were :

Stacy Brown 

In addition to His multimedia sculptures are a variety of other fine art pieces. 

John Sims
I was literally drawn into John' tent by silk.   He incorporates silk, as parts of closing or accessories, in a number of his fine art paintings.  These splashes are color and texture add a wonderful dimension that made me want to keep taking, just one more look.   Had I had the money, I certainly would have had to take at least one of these pieces home for a lot more looks.  

The food, as usual, was spectacular.   Our main point of musical interest was Simon & Garfunkle, but we also enjoyed the Marva Wright Tribute in the Jazz Tent, Cowboy Mouth and the Funky Meters.

Accura Stage did not start seriously packing into until 4:00.   It appears around 3pm many of those still heeding the weather forecast of doom and gloom, decided they were wrong and headed out.  As usual for 5pm at the Acura Stage, we became an almost solid wall of people. 

We love Jazzfest.   Next week we'll be attending Thursday and Sunday ....

April 23, 2010

Dippity Do Workshop

Beau's been lovingly chiding me lately about the amount of fabric and related stuff I've been collecting at yard sales over the last year.   When I show off my yard sales Saturday finds, he might say something like "what are you going to do with all that fabric?      Now really, do you think this is too much?
Okay, you got me.   There is more stuff in a couple other places (you know, thread, ribbon, needles, fusing, etc. etc. etc.).    But, I have this feeling that I'm going to need it.   Under distress, however, I have cut back dramatically on what I'm dragging home.

A couple months ago I joined the Fiber Arts Mixed Media Ning Group thinking I might find some inspiration and a starting point to create.    That didn't work, but, a couple weeks ago I received an email about upcoming classes and decided to join on for the Dippity Do Workshop.     This is the first time I've ever participated in an online workshop and, I'll post my progress and let you know how it goes.

The first Lesson Plan was very simple, to make a totally hand stitched sandwich, which, I decided to make Two since it really takes a very short period of time.       So, here were are, Lesson 1 complete.

So, I'll be the first to admit, I've not made much of a dent in the overall fabric, but one must start somewhere.   And, if you are reading this Beau, I love you.

April 22, 2010

Pine Island Rookery and Bird Fest Social

Each year we volunteer to help with the Pine Island Event for the Northlake Nature Center,  Great American BirdFest.  

Pine Island Rookery is a private property.  They have been allowing the Northlake Nature Center to bring in a group of birders once a year as part of the bird Festival.   Folks come from near and far to attend.     I do not have camera equipment capable of close-up shots of these birds, however, this picture might give you an idea of the magnitude of these nesting beauties .... 

Yep, each of those little white dots is an egret nest with occupants.   And, this picture represents only a small section of the nests, which are in cypress trees over a section of swamp. 

And, you can always tell when there is incredible birding opportunity, when almost all the pictures of the attendees have binoculars at eyes !

 If you are in the community next April, I highly suggest you sign up.   This is a once in a lifetime experience that you'll remember forever.

Is My Blog Reader Working Now ?

I've received a couple message advising that my Blog is not feeding to the Readers, causing some frustrations and/or irritation.   Well, although it's very sweet to hear that not reaching my blog COULD be a frustration, it also meant that I was going to have to face the reality that I probably messed it up myself.    About a month ago I was playing with my previous (and still pending) issue that 18 months worth of posts disappeared, and changed some settings trying to fix that problem and I think it was then that it fell apart. 

I'm not highly html and feedburner literate.   But I did sit here for a couple hours last night to figure it out.    So, I reset my RSS feeds.   To receive (since my account address within feedburner seems to have changed), you might have to delete me and resubscribe.  Or, perhaps it will just work.  I don't know, but I'm hoping it is fixed and I don't have to fret over htlm any longer ... as least this month. 

Is it fixed?   Is it working in your reader ??   Let me know, okay ?

April 18, 2010

The Big A .... A Continuing Saga

 Every Spring I go out into the yard to review the status of all my yard art creations.   All of them need bleached and washed, some need new hanging wires or repainted, some (particularly if wood, and not concrete based) have warped and are ready for their next journal ... to the dump. 

Which, brings me to the Big A ... (otherwise called the monstrosity) in the backyard.  I'll start with a brief recap for those of you not familiar with my 'yard art gone wrong' project.
Summer, 2005:   I had a vision for a concrete & mosaic sculpture, which I was going to call 'Lonesome Road'.  A built a form using roof flashing on a sheet of plywood (as well as a rectangular base for it to set on), and poured the concrete.   A month later, after curing, the big reveal showed it did not anywhere meet my vision for 'Lonesome Road.    In reality, to me, it appeared to be a Big A.   We set it up in the yard to think about it for awhile. 
August 30, 2005:   Hurricane Katrina blew through and dropped a big tree on it, knocking it over, but not hurting it all.  
Spring 2006:  Cleaned it up and decided to mosaic it anyway.   Put together a plan, got some glass ready and started.   By June, decided I didn't like it and stopped. 
Spring 2007:   Cleaned it up and chiseled off the glass.
Spring 2008:  Decided to try a more random mosaic and again began apply glass.  By June, decided I didn't like it and stopped.
Spring 2009:   Cleaned it up and chiseled off the glass.

Spring 2010:   Enough is enough ....   I purchased some paint that will cover up the imperfections and get it over with!

So, one might ask, do I like it now.   NO; not really.   But, it does look better and it kind of fades into the color of the background fence, making it not quite as big of a sore thumb.    And, truth be told ... it's permanent; I'm certainly not hauling it up to the front for the garbage men to haul away ....  

April 17, 2010

Ms Leis reinvented as Muse of Bountiful Blessings

Prelude:  In preparation for another change to The Big A (which I'll discuss in another post), I stopped by K-Mart on the way home from yard sales and bought 5 cans of black spray paint and 2 cans of gray textured stone paint.   I thought I give the paint a try-out before tackling The Big A.

Ms Fleur-di-Leis :   Ms. Leis has spent much of her life being an after thought.  Back in those days when I was hand moulding concrete torso's, I decided to make one the full thickness.   And thus, this torso was created.    I didn't like her (at this thickness) much and so, she spent a couple a year or two hanging on the fence in a far corner of the yard.   Then, upon a long overdue whim, (Spring of '95 I think), I cleaned out the area and decided that I really must do something with the concrete torso (throwing her away just didn't feel like the right option), so I took her inside and painted her red with a black Fleur-di-Leis pattern.    Then, I took her back outside, to the opposite side of the yard and hung her back on the fence.    And, other than a month or so stint tucked away inside the shed for Hurricane Katrina, she's been on that fence.    I check her out frequently as a type of study -- durability of acrylic paint on concrete in full sun (versus a couple painted pieces I have in the shade).      She's pretty faded, making her a good candidate for a makeover.

So, I brought her down and cleaned her with a bleach solution and let her dry in the sun for a couple hours.   Then, sprayed her with a coat of black spray paint.   Dry for another hour and then sprayed with a coat of the Textured Stone Spray Paint.      Hummm .... boring; but, I suppose, better than she was looking.

Along her her new wardrobe, I moved her over to hang with the carved concrete dancers, a mirror experiment that's still holding up quite well and one of the concrete tub planters.   This area overlooks the tomato garden where she can be Beau's Muse of Bountiful Blessings.

Yard Sale Saturday, April 17th

I found myself debating this morning whether to get up and go see what was up in the Yard Sale world.   I've been a bit sleepless the last week, but, the sun was up and the birds were singing; so out I went.     I wouldn't say it was much fun, though; I visited 5 sales and when, I still didn't much find myself in the mood, just headed back home.

2 plastic storage containers; I typically find these just the right size for much of my found objects storage needs.   One was filled with pencils, which I'll donate to Grans; the other filled with markers, which I'll hold on to for Lilly -- perhaps within the next year she'll be ready for beginners coloring.
A small handful of paints; some acrylic, some tulip and a couple ink blotters.
4 decorative pins, which I now can't find where I put and didn't make the picture.
Expenditures ... a whole $1.25

April 07, 2010

Lilly loves to Swing

 Lilly loves to swing and when she comes to visit I like to take her to Kids Connection Park at Koop Rd.    They have those special swings that little ones can safely sit.   I put her in there and she swings and swings and swings.   Ten minutes or so will go by and I'll ask her if she wants to go to the sandbox (her other favorite) and she'll shake her head no and we'll repeat over and over.   Somewhere around 40 minutes, my arms will get tired and I'll pull her out and we'll head for the sandbox.   She swings high and low and smiles real big.   

Gosh, I love this girl.

April 01, 2010

Tamborines No Longer in Waiting

Sometime back I brought home 4 Tamborines that were found at different yard sales on the same day.    They sat in the corner of my studio for awhile and then, after awhile, I hung them on the wall to get them out of the way.   I often glanced at them awaiting inspiration.   And, yesterday, it did !

Back in 1991 Beau and I took out first vacation.    Beau was taking me to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Carlsbad Canyon.    I thought we were going on a vacation, but, in reality, it was more like three weeks to physical fitness .... I never realized that he intended that we were hiking in all these places and I certainly wasn't in that level of condition.  (love can be so blind).   Anyway, while we were out on a stretch of highway leading towards Carlsbad, we kept seeing signs about an upcoming attraction.   You know, these signs every couple miles that tell you 'X place' is just ahead .... rock candy in 50 miles ... snakes is 48 miles ... hamburgers in 46 miles, etc. etc. etc.   And, we got to talking about how we could go to the middle of nowhere and build a 'Beau Town' and sell Gumbo and Jambalaya and post signs for 50 or more miles in all directions.   The conversation was a lot of fun.     It came to me as I was looking at the largest tamborine ... and well ... eat at Beau Ville will now, and for many years to come, grace the wall over my studio doors.

And, while I was at it; decided I might as well do the other three empty tamborines (or knockers) while I was at it !