Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Bag

Another bag. I had this vision after making the other bag that I showed you two posts ago.

I combined washed wool with pearled cotton for embroidery on a cotton foundation. .
It's a simple pattern, but very textured. The "worm" is floss that has been fluffed.
The bag has an inner lining of batting, giving it a soft feel.
I used a recycled zipper in the side opening. The lining is patterned cotton.

A quaint bag for a summer day.

Thanks for visiting.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Bring Them In!

They are here! For me, daffodils are the beginning of spring. I know, by the calendar we have another month before official spring. In the northwest we revel in the week of sunshine we usually have in February. We know that there will be lots of gray and rain before the sun of July and August. We celebrate the smiling faces of daffodils, the flowering trees bursting out in color quickly following, the sunshine that comes with them, and keep them in our memory during the rains that bring the lush green and flowers to our part of the world.
I bring the bright yellow into our home and tuck them here and there,

and in odd places, such as in small bottles nestled in small open drawers.

Enjoy your rain or shine, think of what it may bring to you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From Silk Scraps To Lamp Shade

I needed a lamp shade for a lamp by my work table. I had this old wire shade frame that has seen several makeovers. I wanted something different. Affordable lampshades can be so boring. What to do that would be creative and playful?
My inspiration was this bag of silk scraps. It's the bag I reach into for little applique pieces, or to make little potpourri bags. It's all those little, wonderful pieces of fabric in yummy colors. What I did was: cover the wire frame with black satin ribbon. I just wrapped it around the wire and tied it leaving a tail hanging. Then I cut strips of fabric, on the bias about 1/2 to 3/4 wide and 5'' long. I used scissors, not the rotary cutter, and cut the strips a little crooked for interest. I attached the strips with a half hitch knot to the horizontal wires.
Finished shade. It's very funky. I think I'll get a different bulb. It looks a little haphazard, yet rich with the texture of silk.

Well, that was fun, I better get back to work. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Finished Embroidered Bag

Another project finished! This one was really fun....again. Because most of my projects are fun. This did not take very long.
I enjoy embroidery. I can relax or think, whichever needs to be done, while keeping my hands busy. Lately, I have been using mostly pearled cotton instead of floss. I really like the depth and texture that the pearled cotton gives. This bag is from the same book that I've told you about several times.
Worked mostly in chain stitch, in a delightful folk art pattern. Lined in floral cotton, and finished with a vintage fabric button and loop. The long narrow strap allows the bag to rest nicely against my hip, when slung over my shoulder.
To top off the fun, I was able to teach my cousin some embroidery stitches over the weekend, to pass on the craft. It is satisfying to pass the knowledge and skills on. Then watch and see how the craft grows and changes. Tell me some of the skills you have been able to pass on.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reclaiming the Window Molding

No way would I part with this window header and the surrounding molding when we added onto our home, turning the window into a door. This is molding from when the house was built in 1892. Old by Northwest standards. I thought about putting doorknobs on it and turning it into a coat rack or just something fun to hang things from. I never found just the right place. Finally,......inspiration struck! It would make a fine black splash for the table holding the sink in the bathroom.

So I added some new paint, and quickly put it up.

I think it would look good if I added a little stenciling to blend with the stenciling already in the room. But that will have to wait.........I loaned my favorite collection of stencils, the stencils were lost "somewhere". I am truly bummed about that. So I will add that detail later.

The mirror is off center from the table, but is centered to other features in the room. There are so many quirky, irregular features in this room that you have to look at the whole to balance everything.

I think I'm liken' it.

Her are some other views of the bathroom.

I found the decanter at goodwill and filled it with lavender and rose bath salts that I made with botanical from my yard.

I enjoy the sun and shadow effect that plays on the walls.

The sweet Amish couple I made years ago now aromatically sit on the ledge, scenting the air with their spice filled bodies and cinnamon arms and legs.

The large cast iron tub, original to the house, is perfect for relaxing and planning the day, or contemplating life's twisting turns. Things hanging from the shaker pegs need a little revamping. Another project....

I have a large old open shelving piece for storage. The old sewing drawers hold make up, clips, etc. The picnic basket holds the hair dryer and curling irons, etc. Jars and boxes add interest and hold all necessities, such as pot pourri, lotions, salts, and bath herbs.

I enjoy this old room. It hasn't changed much since first made as a very modern bathroom of that age. Time has almost stood still here. I'm glad I was able to take from one part of the house and add that part here, keeping it a part of the whole. Moving, changing, slightly, slowly, going forward, living.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Crocous, Snowdrops, and Make Do

We are so Blessed in the Northwest to have a few sunny days! I wish I could send some of it to the east coast. Instead, here are a few cheery spring flowers to warm you hearts. The back yard is a carpet of snowdrops.

With so many cloudy days here, the vibrant, clear colors of spring flowers are a stimulating contrast to much of the weather. This carpet of heirloom crocus is a welcome to visitors walking to the side door.

The crocus pop up between rocks and bricks, multiplying each year.
I've seen some camellias starting to bloom. The lilacs are starting to leaf out and will soon blossom. When stepping outside today, into the sunshine, without a sweater I might add, I could feel the energy of a new season vibrating around me. Everywhere I looked I could see growth. The swelling of branches getting ready to have leaves burst forth from them. Brushing back some leaves, deposited from last year to nurture another year of life, I could see light green shoots pushing upward toward the warmth and sunshine, growing to "live" again. Yes, we will have more winter. But the cold is loosening it's hold, giving way to spring and life. Soon, I'll be spending most of my time outside. For now, well, I better finish projects that I have started. Soon the garden will call......And I will go.

One project is a bag from this book. I've made several projects from With These Hands during the winter. My mind has been full and occupied. I haven't been able to settle and design a project from start to finish this winter. Finding a project in a book that I love and working on it allows me to enjoy the occupation, yet not have to "think" much about design. Leaving my mind open to go other places. It really helps me to sort things out mentally, having my hands busy.

I'll sit, and beside me is a low stool, upon the stool in an old berry carrier. An old lace edged table scarf in draped across the carrier. I'll set my tea, embroidery, or whatever in the carrier. The stool can be moved out of the way, or to another chair easily. It's my portable "coffee" table. Using things in this manner it part of my make do life. Taking things I love, using them in my life in a purposeful way, seeing beauty in the ordinary, in the simple. I'm getting ready to say "good bye" to winter, feeling the creative life stir within. Ready to grow.

Enjoying Life,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Re Purposing Feed Bags

Do you remember the feed bags? My daughter found them in a old barn on her husband's family homestead. I showed them to you and gave a few away here. This Christmas I made them into market bags for each of my children.

I cut them in quarters, to create each side, and lining of the bag. I used scraps of fabric at the top of one side and for the handles. Everyone loved them. The kids are using them now when they grocery shop and will use them at farmers markets this summer. Their size is 18''x23''. So they will hold a lot. They are also strong and very washable. I thinks it's a great way to re purpose the bags.
Now I am sorting and organizing all the remnants. That might take a while.

Enjoy your day,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mortar and Pestle

One of the perks of children traveling to many parts of the world are all the interesting things they send back home. It's even more fun when these items can be incorporated into use, and not just set on a shelf to look at. One of my daughters was in Mali, West Africa this past fall. She loved going to the local market.
One stall had mortar and pestles. This is a small one. Every household has several. The local women selling these couldn't figure out why she would want one. In Mali, one thing they use mortar and pestle for is to smash yams and make a paste that is used in many dishes they prepare.
Here I am smashing avocados to make guacamole.
The mortar and pestle are hand carved by local craftsmen from a local tree. The mortar (the bowl part) is one piece, about 19 inches high and the pestle is 25 inches tall. Each knife cut is seen, making a beautiful textured, yet smooth pattern. The wood is oiled for lasting use. As it ages small cracks appear in the wood, but do not jeopardize it's use. It's a beautiful primitive piece that I'm loving having around.

Being mindful

Where did January go???? I seem to have done this a lot this past year. Family things come up. Then......things get soooo busy that I lose touch. SO I WILL DO BETTER THIS YEAR!!!! Well, starting this month. Let me explain, I have eight children and I sew formal wear as a home based business. When the kids are around I'm completely involved with them, or keeping up with the business. Things are changing. Actually, they have been changing for several years. The house is getting empty, my youngest has one more year in high school. I'm wanting to be in touch with creative people. I've always had a very busy household, kids in and out, here and there. Even though I'm a more quiet type, I love to get with people and be creative. While the kids were at home something creative was always going on. Now I need to reach out to find some of that energy. I'm sure there are many of you who know just what I'm talking about.
Anyway, just as I'm getting into the swing of this electronic reaching out, someone comes home for a visit. Everything gets crazy and fun. Yet, in all that goes on I need to remember to keep reaching out to new friends. To remember that although I will always be very involved in my children's lives, my life will take on a different look, and things will shift. So, this year with a daughter getting married in two months, me making the wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses, and a new grandchild due later this year, kids coming home for a visit from their travels, I want to have room in my life for new friends. I need to use this calendar and write in times to grow with you and explore your creative endeavors. To move into a new part of life. You are delightful people, and I love reading about what you are doing. The joy and energy you generate is amazing. So I'm pledging now to get back to sitting with my cup of tea and chatting, and catching up on all that you have been doing.
Oh - the calendars........I made a new one for this year. I'll show you the pages months by month.