Friday, February 26, 2010

Getting crafty on the radio

~I am super excited and a little nervous (I still have a few weeks to get more nervous) about being on fave crafts radio on blog talk radio. I will remind you to listen again, I am sure!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

spring cleaning....time for new aprons

~It is nearing spring here in Austin(even though we had snow this week!???!)and much to my utter delight, I have been working on a sleuth of new aprons for custom orders. I love aprons; for their utilitarian properties, as well as their capacity to evoke memories of comfort. Historically, aprons bring to my mind images of tender pie crusts and caring calloused hands. Personally, it is all about my Nanny's buttery wedding candies; stealthily slipped off the table by tiny paws, and a big bright yellow head of big bird cake she made for my 6Th birthday.

....But no frock, skirt, frilly blouse or gown makes me feel more feminine, and out-of-this-era than I do wearing one of my aprons ...

Back in in early December, I had a bulk order of four aprons, for a salon. I had already, been trying to come up with an apron design that is simple yet not generic that I could make at a lower price than my standard bib apron. I came up with a designed based loosely on your basic butcher style apron. I had had a few request for fuller bibs and longer hems last summer and had worked maybe 5 or 6 aprons in the same manner (meticulously) as my classic bib aprons but offered more coverage all around. The salon order gave me the perfect opportunity to simplify the process and much to my amazement I came up with a pattern that satisfied me. I felt like I could make 2 of these aprons in the time it took me to make one of the others. I also felt the new design was even more user friendly yet still had all the quirks of an original belle and burger design.
Of course during the frenzy that is the hollydaze and the added obstacle of relocating our nest I was unable to post ore even photograph the salon aprons. I also made a few more undocumented versions the week of Christmas for a friend as a last minute gift. So needless to say I am thrilled to finally be able to share this pattern after six aprons have gone away, lost in my subconscious( I, as have claimed before, have a terrible memory)

~This is my classic bib style apron. I started with this apron because I wanted to compare the make time with the new design.( which turns out was even more than I thought) Also I wanted to really pour over an apron to get my feet wet so to speak. I had not made one of these designs since the summer, so I felt a bit deprived and really
The bib applique was actually made during my fabric scrap collage tutorial. the bottom layer is a cotton (linen like) material with a shear cotton vintage fabric attached ( the floral). The vintage buttons are decorative and the tie can go in the front or back. It has some beautiful details with vintage materials. This apron is the only one of these three that is still available. I will post it in my shop , in the next day or so. If anyone is interested you can send me and email or leave me a comment with your contact info.

~This is the pattern I designed for the salon job. And it was the choice for my "dear friend" apron client. The first step is to create yardage from scraps. I absolutely love doing this; I just pull out the boxes of scraps and start hunting. I build a pile of scraps that I would like to see as a yard of fabric and then I put them all together.(insert up and coming tutorial here) then I find a backing fabric that will be all one piece and compliment the patchwork( often times recycled linens) This double sided apron consists of a front panel cut from patchwork made from vintage and new fabrics all in purples and greens. The pocket is in the shape of a heart and cut from a lovely vintage scrap. The back panel is made from recycled ticking(love). Putting all these fabrics together gives this soft sweet apron a french country feel of . It is all cotton fabricand mostly vintage and recycled. It ties in the front or back.

~The gold bird apron is the first in a series of 4 custom works ; The goddess aprons. In this version of my new pattern the front panel is still a patchwork of fabrics but I am more deliberate in assembling the panel.The bib has beautiful vintage kerchief appliqued to a patchwork bib . The bottom center is the linen like cotton natural that was on the first apron. It has gold fabric on both sides that helps create a lovely silhouette.The pocket features an appliqued bird from a shear cotton vintage fabric. the bird is almost like stain glass. The back panel is yellow and cream and white printed fabric reminiscent of a quilt design.This apron can tie in the front or behind. I think it is quite a treasure the way the fabrics came together. The vintage pieces are accented and echoed by the new fabrics that I combined with them.

~I still have three more partials in the goddess series I will share those and the details of this interesting apron order in a later post. Until then, have fun spring cleaning and may we all be happy making our nests.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

.....with love from sarajevo

~Recently I was approached by a friend, Omer Kreso, to get the word out about a charity project he is working on. His inspired project, with love from sarajevo , is working to bring photographers to Sarajevo to hold clinics and teach kids about photography and hopefully break down some complicated, cultural barriers in this war ravaged country. The project touched me because as a young awkward teen I found the realism of photography gave confidence to my budding artistic voice. I think it is important for young people to develop and experiment with reality and vision and this project looks to be promising in allowing for that development. is the skinny directly from the project website

The Project

In the summer of 2008, I came on holiday to Sarajevo, the home of my parents and grandparents, and for the first time saw true destruction. The occasional building was in shambles, of course, but truly haunting was the city's people. Fragmented and disturbed by years of war, a yoke of hopelessness burdens the people of BiH in a way one can't understand without seeing it.

Still pondering this despair later at the Sarajevo film festival, I perhaps serendipitously sat in on a talk by Kevin Spacey. Not normally one to be swayed by movie stars, I was surprised when the Usual Suspects star moved me. He said he was glad to see how art could bring people together despite the fact that, less than a decade prior, they had been literally and figuratively torn apart by war. It was then and there that I decided to begin a project of my own, a project designed to bring the people of BiH together with art, if only for a few precious moments.

With the help of some of the best photographers I know, I intend to tour Bosnia and Herzegovina and document her post-war landscape. The photographs and stories we collect will be used to remind other outsiders that even when battlefields fall silent, the scourge of war remains. More than simply documentarians, however, our collective will also serve as young ambassadors. Our project in BiH will not be complete until we give back to the community, holding photography workshops with interested young citizens. The conclusion of their lessons will be the students taking cameras for themselves to explore their world through - pardon the pun - a whole new lens. Their images and ours in tow, we'll then hold gallery shows in New York and Los Angeles and, if luck allows, the war-torn lands of the Middle East. As much as it is a mission to present the dangers of aggression and violence, it's also one designed to highlight the benefits of kindness, compassion and education.

(~ and from Omer )
.......What I need from everyone is a little help getting my message out. Please help me by passing along this e-mail to your friends, telling people about what I’m doing, posting links on blogs, or by putting me into contact with people who may be able to help me make this project go. I am a big believer in do-it-yourself ideas and this is really DIY! So here are the links:

There are several books to choose from and the proceeds go to making this project happen.

All the photos used in this post were taken by Omer Kreso himself. The books contain many of these images and more. His images are captivating, and he is quite prolific, you can look through both books entirely on the mentioned links and you can also check his work out on his flickr photostream.
This is a great cause and the work is lovely to look at .

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Spring Skirt Design

~The design for this skirt is a hybrid of my summer mini A-line and a skirt I made for Halloween ( I was Velma). I may still change it up a bit. I made this one to go with my Valentine's date ensemble. ~In The Velma skirt I used the tube part of an old t-shirt for the wide waistband. I just sewed in the tube a bit and folded it over. I would have loved to do that with this skirt but I did not have a t-shirt in the right I made the tube instead.Basically I made a waist cincher that was twice the the height of what I wanted the final height to be. I then folded it over and attached it to the skirt using it as sort of an elastic waistband ....I used a rolled hem to finish it.
look for more of this design to come. I like the idea of making a tank or raglan style t-shirt that is meant to be worn with the skirt making it look like one piece, but allowing you to interchange the top part and have several "little dresses"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to make a Fabric Valentine Book

The premise
I love books, I do not mean I love to read( I like it just fine). I love holding books; turning the pages slowly and quickly. I love the intimate interaction demanded by a book. I love the historical references of books; the implications of freedom and equality that are aroused from ones mind when you think of the history of book making and the spread of knowledge to the common folk( my peeps).
I love making books. I have spent years keeping art journals and then making books; every art project was premeditated, inspired by and made record with the help of a book. I am sure my tactile fascination with books was born when I was a wee little Darling', of which I have no memory( I have a terrible memory). However I can remember how books became more and more involved in my creative process. .....This is getting too drawn out. Sorry book making brings out the art nerd in me.
It is all from journals, I believe, In the beginning of my " serious study of art" my journals were always more interesting (to me and to others) than the actual finished art piece. So I must conclude now in retrospect, That I started making books, as art, out of my desire to bring the viewer closer to me; to give them a more realistic and honest rendering of my view point.
When I was teaching a beginning design class at The university of Arizona , I assigned a very similar project to this tutorial. Each student was asked to write down four words describing something in there room at home. Then write one word for the thing. We then made pamphlet style collage books and used the words as the text for the book. I liked doing this project in the very first class because the result was so informative about the student; Like little visual autobiographies. I suggest you make the paper book first to get a feel for this.This is a great first run to hash out ideas and understand the folding method of the pamphlet. They are actually great to have around for making little memory books or we love making "comic" books out of them.

The project...these books are to be valentines. Choose who you are making the Valentine for. I made three(well I am still working on the third)I chose as my valentine : mother, lover, and burger. For the 4 words you can use almost anything. Just choose something that is relevant and fun loving for your recipient. The fifth word will be a term of endearment.
For my mother I decided to do the traditional 4 descriptive words...using her as my muse. I actually decide on the words by writing like 10 or 20 ideas and using a dictionary to help me decide on the words I liked best together. For my lover I decided to use the title to a song by one of our shared favorite musicians, Allen Toussaint.

His music conjures up such sweet memories of our courtship and we became engaged in N'orleans. For burger I chose a movie( star wars of course) and his favorite characters from the movie.( I am still working on no photos yet)

The materials

Base fabric cut to 19"x13"
heat and bond lite
lots of fabric scraps
hand needles
buttons/ beads/ other embellishments
spray starch
printing and drawing tools : stamps, stencils( some method of putting text to fabric) paint brush, pencil,
marking chalk
sewing machine
spray starch

The process

1. cut and starch iron your base fabric. This 19" x 13 " fabric should be at least med weight. I chose one darker value one lighter value and one that had printed images. This will allow me to layer from dark to light and one from light to dark and on the third deal with the challenge of editing the printed images.2. cut, iron, and attach your back ground fabric.
Apply the heat and bond to all your back ground fabrics. I used translucent sheer fabrics that would help me create depth in my layering and help create a variety of values.

3. Make your pamphlet.
a. fold in half vertically and Iron
b. fold in half horizontally and iron
c. fold both ends to meet in the middle creating four fold across
d.unfold your ends and cut from the middle to the first fold .... creating a slit in the center.
4. Fold and iron you pamphlet . Hold on to the fabric on both sides of the slit, ....pull open ....and fold your pamphlet

into shape.
Iron the entire book shaping it as you go along.

This book will be whimsical and loose don't worry if all your edges don't match up perfectly, because they will not; you can work that into your design.
5. Create your lay out.Using pins and your memory, start designing each page. Now it is time to dig into your creativity and have fun. This is when I establish the flow of my text. That helps me start working each page individually. Of course you want your book to have continuity. This can be established by using color,repitition; of shapes and fabric, and stitching lines. The colors, shapes, and fabric choices should start happening now.The stitching will come later when I deal withthe books final flow. This is also the time I try to give each page an individual look. I can always add elements of continuity on top of these initial design elements.

6. Attach your design elements.
I used heat and bond on all my fabric pieces, some I then added stiching by hand ...and machine. I used stamps, stencils and embroidery to illustrate my text. I suggest stamping on bits of fabric then attaching that to your book. This gives you another layer and saves your book from accidents. Add buttons or other imbellishments that you will be wanting to hide the work in the interior of the book.

7. Finsh your edges...or not.
If this is an artist book not something you will be laundering( like a kids book) you could skip this all together( just heat bond everything), but I just love stitches too much . One method is to topstitch about 1/4 to 1/8 from the edge. I actually sewed around my book several times ...using the machine to draw some ephemeral lines of continuity throughout my pages. (speaking of machines LOOK!!! at my, new to me, necchi let me just say...whole new world lalalalalaalove it!)
Another method for finishing your pages is to turn and press all your edges in about 1/8 of an inch then fold your pamphlet and top stitch the edges together.

I find the method slightly tedious looking for my aesthetic( but not my mothers so I finished hers like this).

Whichever finish you choose from above , Follow this sequence as you sew your book edges up:
After you have chosen an edge finish
- fold your book back into shape and PRESS.-
Sew your edges together starting with the front pages -then iron- next the back pages -iron - then work the middle pages taking care to iron and keep the shape of your book all along.

8.Press with Iron.
one final shaping with the iron....nice and hot

9. share your love