Archive | August 2009

Mold on a Blueberry: Mixed Media Monday

mold on a blueberry

mold on a blueberry

This is my entry for Mixed Media Monday’s challenge¬† Stitches.

This pillow is comprised of two pieces of felt using a reverse applique technique. the top blue piece has holes cut out through out so that the green piece behind will show through. I then embroidered six different stitches using 10 colors of stranded floss.

This has been a fun project to work on over the summer evenings while spending time with my hubby in front of the fans and the TV.

Have fun, stay cool, create out loud! Christen

The Hands That Built America: The Three Muses Challenge

The Hands That Built America

These Are The Hands That Built America

This is my entry for the Three Muses Challenge this week which was Give Us a Hand. Recently my mom let me rummage through two large boxes of old photos, and as I was looking through them a song came on the radio by U2: “These Are The Hands That Built America”, and I thought yah, you betcha these are some of them don’t yah know.

My dad (on the unicycle) was one of eight children (photograph center left), he was a pro-types engineer and avid model plane builder. His dad and mom immigrated from Sweden when grandfather was three and grandmother was 16. They found each other and were married in Michigan, and soon moved to Burbank, CA. My grandfather was a blacksmith, who then became a mechanic and my grandmother was a house cleaner and a full time mom (seen together in the oval picture above my dad).

My mom (seen in her nurses uniform) was an only child (and her baby picture is to the right), she loves to create whether it be knitting, embroidery, painting and many other areas. Her dad (top right small photo) immigrated from Scotland, and grandpa worked as a warehouse stock person most of his life, he loved dogs, cigars, and bridge. Her mom immigrated from England, and grandma worked first for Eatons Department Store (top photo above my mom), later as an executive secretary, and finally for a bank (at the age of 80). Grandma and grandpa (seen in the oval picture on the right) were married for 62 years, and lived in the house that had been in grandpa’s family.

The song “These Are The Hands That Built America” was written prior to 9/11. Even so the words were quite poignant and almost eerily applied to the hearts and minds of the survivor’s and the families who lost people in the tragic events and was sung at a benefit concert listing every person’s name that was lost.

Excerpt of the 1st and 2cd choruses:

These are the hands that built America
(Russian, Sioux, Dutch, Hindu)
Oh, oh oh, America
(Polish, Irish, German, Italian)

And these are the hands, that built America
(The Irish, the Blacks, the Chinese, the Jews)
Ah, ah ah, America / Hand
(Korean, Hispanic, Muslim, Indian)

I bet that all of us have a great deal of shared history in building this country, and I hope that you are able to share this with your children so that they too can pass on this legacy of strength, courage, determination, and love to their children.

Christen

Tea on Tuesday

Crazy Tea Party

Crazy Tea Party

Tea for Tuesday at my house is CRAZY…..

The city is paving the street outside of my house, and it is smelly, noisy and dirty! YUCK, and more YUCK!

I have all of the doors and windows closed, which for now is ok, but around noon it will be hot, hot, hot and uncomfortable!

In 1922 when our house was built they didn’t have air conditioning, so portable fans are what cools us down one in every room!

So…. for a better mood I am working with a little aroma therapy, playing nice and quiet music for the cats and I while we are holding court with a “Crazy Tea Party”. I have mint tea while they have water in their cups and they don’t seem to mind!

Well off for now to get some work done, please join Kimmie and Patty for tea, always great photos, lovely tea, and all are welcome!

Spookie moth: art on the darkside

Spooky moth

Spookie moth

This is my entry for the Art on the Darkside for this week. There are always very interesting artists here, so you should take a look!

I really enjoyed working with “Fireworks” which is the system that I have installed on my computer for working with digital images. I took the moth picture that was provided for the image this week, and fiddled with it a bit, added a little color and such. Then I took an image of an old door, and did some cropping, fiddling and changed the color. Then I took an image of a prong of an old rusted thing, and created it into a spider web….I didn’t however add in any spiders, cause they quite frankly scare me!

A few hours or so later, this is what I came up with. How lucky I am to have a few hours here and there to PLAY! Hope that you do too! Christen

Flutterby: The Three Muses challenge

Flutterby

Flutterby

This is my entry for the “Wings on Things” challenge sponsored by The Three Muses. There are always many exciting entries, take a look when you get a chance.

I started out with a simulated “tie-dyed” piece of felt. The face is painted with acrylic paints and high-lighted with a Sharpie pen.

I free- hand embroidered the wing details and added in a fan decoration using four colors of stranded floss. After the embroidery was completed I stitched in sequins on her wings and body to give her a little glamor!

Her legs are made from florist wire wrapped with satin ribbon. Her shoes are made from 1-1/2″ wide satin ribbon and ribbon roses adorn both the shoes and the top of her head. I used one stamen for her antennae.

This project was quite fun, and it has given me ideas for a grasshopper, a ladybug and a busy bee … so we shall see if we can create a group of bugs that will go to the ugly bug ball!

Enjoy the time that you have, create out loud! Christen

Star Shine: Mixed Monday Monday Challenge

zentangle star

zentangle star

This is my entry for the Mixed Monday Monday Challenge this week was “Stars”. I had seen a few people use this technique which is called “Zentangle”. Basically it is a therapeutic form of “drawing” which seems similar to the doodling I did in Geometry class when I didn’t understand the lesson!

I started with watercolor paper and a sharpie fine point marker, I put on some Lorena McKennitt then channeled Peter Max and my own Celtic heritage. About an hour later I had finished my curly star. I photographed it on a piece of art paper, and digitally removed some bits here and there.

Star Shine

Star Shine

Then I started to play with other star shapes, and created a totally different piece. The stars here are also drawn on watercolor paper. I cut each one out and dry brush painted swatches of gold paint across the surface of each star.

I then wrapped a branch from a tree that we found on a walk, with gold mesh ribbon. I glued each star down, some on the front of the branch, some behind the branch. I also decorated the branch with vintage silver buttons and blown glass rods rescued from an old ornament.

Truthfully while working on these stars I may also have channeled Beetlejuice and Johny Dep’s Willy Wonka (he quoted the first line of the song when he first addressed the winners of the “Golden Ticket”) .

Anyways this was great fun and I encourage you to doodle when you feel a little stressed as it is a very relaxing and creative way to work out the brain knots and tangles! Enjoy, Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Chaos and Order

Chaos and Order

Chaos and Order

Well pictures are worth a thousand words if you get my meaning…. I am a really organized person, but for some reason cannot keep items like embroidery floss or ribbon neat and organized. Buttons and beads on the other hand, no problem!

I think that I really like the chaos of the bird tangled spidery web mess of thread because you can see how colors blend together in combinations that you might not have originally thought of on your own.

I organize and touch the buttons or beads when I need to have a little quiet time in my head. I love to see the shapes and colors, and I imagine what the button may have originally been stitched to before I found it.

So in my every day organized and structured art, I love to work with chaos as a creative element. Where as in my unstructured chaotic work and career I need to be able to organize and capture moments of peace and serenity.

What “sweet and sour” dichotomy do you find that works best for you? Christen

Bearie Antoinette’s Hat: The Three Muses Challenge

Bearie Antoinette

Bearie Antoinette

Here is my entry for The Three Muses Challenge this week which is Hats. I wanted to make something fun, and different.

My dad always wore a paper bag on his head when he worked on the car, couldn’t mess up his look or get grease on those locks! It was a great hat, and as time wore on it really acquired a lovely patina…. So I thought about taking a long not so wide paper bag and try to make my own cool hat.

I had in mind the height of something similar to the wigs that Marie Antoinette wore. So I began crunching, munching and scrunching the bag into shape.

The next step was to add bits of lace pieces to cover the entire hat. These pieces were a gift from a relative, but were a little on the grungy side, so actually perfect for this project. I stitched the lace into place with crochet cotton. I also stitched the brim and the top of the hat.

Then I painted the lace and bits of bag that showed with four different colors of acrylic paints, I sealed the paint, then added Lumiere paints on top of this to finish off the coloring.

hat close-up

hat close-up

I embellished the top and the brim with ric-rac and vintage mother of pearl buttons. I added in a bow made from French wire ribbon for the decoration. This I embellished with a few flowers and leaves that I also stitched from French and satin wire ribbons.

The teddy bear was a long ago crib-mate of mine. Then I was not so concerned with names, hence the easy to remember “Bearie”. I think I was more concerned with comfort than conversation. At one point I must have been very naughty though, because she only has one ear! OOps I feel really bad about that!

Bearie Antoinette

Bearie Antoinette

The tatted baby bonnet could also be considered a hat of sorts. I purchased this a few months ago at an antique shop. I changed the cord that is used to tie the hat around the neck. I stitched several silk ribbon roses with ombre ribbon leaves and stitched these around the hat.

The collar that she is wearing is made from French wire ribbon that I ruched. The ribbon flowers are made from vintage Jacquard ribbon and these are decorated with vintage mother of pearl buttons.

I hope that you, the viewer, are not offended and don’t mind that I used Marie Antoinette as a model here for the “look”. What can I say, the muse just spoke to me… he he.

Enjoy, Christen

Green Gardens: Mixed Monday Monday

Green Gardens

Green Gardens

This is my entry “Green Gardens” for Mixed Monday Monday’s challenge “Blues and Greens“. This piece was created for a series of short stories and poems that I am writing. This was a great challenge, lots of choices and there are always lots of wonderful and diverse entries, take a look!

Green Gardens- center

Green Gardens- center

The image that I started with was this sweet little girl dressed in green (from a mother’s day gift a few years back).

She is standing in a garden of lily of the valley, and blue cornflowers. I didn’t have far to go from there to create a larger garden for her.

I used a few art papers, the rest of the greeting card, acrylic paints, lace, mushroom birds, buttons and metal charms.

The tatted flowers my mom had made many years ago; the ribbon worked flowers I made from 1/4″ and 3/8″ ribbons; I also included vintage glass and celluloid flowers. The lace I used for the spider webs was given to me by my sister-in-law’s mother; the embroidered applique was from my daughter’s baby blanket.

There is a large green vine with pointed leaves, this I painted with acrylic paints; there is also a metal vine from Retro Cafe Art, that I cut, curved and painted with metallic and acrylic paints.

Green Gardens

Little girl in the garden green
tell us of the wonders you have seen.

Did you see the robin’s egg blue,
and the flowers colored every hue?

Did you find the ladybug nook,
and see the leap the grasshopper took?

Did the soft breeze kiss your cheek,
and miss spider’s web you did peek?

Did the pretty little butterflies glide by
and the blown petals of the dandelion fly?

May youthful delights and child’s play
leave lasting memories of the day.

Happy day to you, enjoy your youth and the youth around you. Christen

Friday’s Favorites: silk ribbon embroidery

Renaissance of Ribbon Embroidery

Renaissance of Ribbon Embroidery

I love to embroider, I was taught by my mom at the age of seven. I am happiest with a needle in my hand, and a few skeins of floss or pearl cotton.

This swatch is from the very first project that I used silk ribbon for embroidery, and I found that I love this equally as well. Though I must say after the cost of this first project we could no longer afford to send our daughter to college! (But she looks fabulous wearing this!)

The vest I made was for a silk ribbon embroidery class that I have taught for many years. I am happy to say that my mom was one of my first students! It was wonderful to give her something to enjoy as much as I enjoy all of the techniques that she has taught me through the years.

silk ribbon needle work set

silk ribbon needle work set

One of the venues that I taught at was the American Quilter’s Society in Padukah, Kentucky. As a gift, (and so I looked put together for my class), my mom had made me an etui, scissor holder, and pin cushion that she had embroidered. She stitched the embroidery in my favorite colors, and I cherish this set.

The class did go well, I had 25 students, and each one left with new found skills, a love for silk ribbon and happy (thankfully!).

Happy day to you, take a moment to thank those who taught you a technique that you cherish, and enjoy! Christen