Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Reviving my love of crochet

When I went to Lucky Star Art Camp in November 2014 I roomed with 4 fabulous ladies, one of which was Cal Patch, a teacher at camp.  Cal teaches the basics/not so basics of sewing, pattern drafting, as well as crocheting.  She revived in me my love of crochet which I had left behind somewhere along the way, I got side tracked into quilting, bicycling, online art classes and art journaling - which I love and still spend time on.

When I got back home from camp I decided I wanted to make some crochet caps to give away to family for Christmas.  I found a book of hat patterns and yarn and hooks at Hobby Lobby and the first one I made was entirely too small -- I suppose the yarn I chose was not the right "weight".  Anyhow, I perservered and tried a different pattern called the Turnbuckle hat, made it and it was too big but I was determined and undid it and started again with a smaller size hook, finally, success.  So I made another, then another, and then a friend at work wanted one (I had taken my project to work to get a little done on my lunch hour), so I made another - by this time I had that pattern down!  It is a nice hat that fits a little looser than most crochets caps with the idea that it would not give the wearer "hat hair."

Here are some pictures of the finished product - note I failed to take pictures of the first 3, this is a picture of the same hat and a scarf I made for my sister's birthday:

I then felt brave enough to try something more challenging, I went to Cal's etsy shop etsy.com/shop/hodgepodgefarm and found a beautiful shawl pattern called Borealis.  I also purchased another pattern for a cloche.  These pics are from her site:

borealis shawl PDF crochet pattern                    coral cloche PDF crochet pattern

The shawl pattern is made with lace weight yarn which is just slightly thicker than string (think embroidery floss) and a small hook.  I got about half way through when my instincts told me that it didn't look right so I sent a email and pic to Cal.  She informed me that I did indeed have an error, on Row 1!  I was disappointed but undid all my work and started again.  I am happy to say that the second time I got it right and it is about half way done now and is turning out really pretty, here is a picture of the WIP:

I plan on giving this to my SIL since she  is always doing nice things for me.  Of course, since I love this pattern so much I bought yarn to make myself one, although not in the lace weight, so it will be a little bigger and heavier.

I also want to make myself one of those Turnbuckle hats so looks like I'll be crocheting for sometime to come and fitting in all my other beloved crafts as well.  It is good to be busy crafting!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Weaving Potholders + Feeling Like a Kid Again

Do you remember going to Vacation Bible School or Summer Camp as a kid and learning how to weave potholders to take home for your Mom?  I recently stumbled onto this again, my sister was visiting from Albuquerque, NM and we went into Comfort (the small town I live close to) to shop, we ended up in this wonderful store, The Tinsmith's Wife, http://tinsmithswife.net/, full of yarn from all over, some hand made and hand dyed, I could spend hours in there!  Anyway my sister spotted this kit that includes a loom and the cotton loops to make 2 potholders and immediately we both had to have one, luckily they just happened to have two.  It is called the Pro Loom, there is a smaller version called the Traditional Loom.

The loom is made by a small family owned company called Harrisville Designs, harrisville.com, and they have a great website that has a potholder design template which allows you to choose a design and the colors so you can see what the final product will look like.  There are lots of cool designs, here are some that I have made:

They are a really nice size, 10" and are sturdy and thick.  I would recommend purchasing the loops from Harrisville as well as they are a very nice quality, I haven't been able to find anything as nice at the local craft stores.  You can finish one in about an hour.
I gave some away as Christmas gifts along with a chili and cornbread mix.  These are fun and easy to make and I feel like a kid again whenever I pull one off the loom!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hand Made Art Journals by Tricia Alexander

I recently purchased three hand made coptic bound art journals from Tricia Alexander, tricia-alexander.com.  I met Tricia at the Lucky Star Art Camp and saw her work there, another great advantage to attending an event like that is the opportunity to purchase from independent artists.

Tricia makes these journals from vintage books, takes them apart and then makes signatures of 80 lb drawing paper and binds them all back together in a beautiful coptic stitch.  She can do a custom order if you have a special book request.  I asked her to make one for me from a Black Beauty book since that was one of my all time favorites as a young girl, she even bound some of the book text pages (some include drawings) into the journal.

Here are some pictures of the journals I purchased:

I am totally in love with these hand made journals and cannot wait to fill them up with arty goodness.  If you are a mixed media art journal junkie I know you will appreciate these journals.  Visit her site and look around, you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mindy Lacefields - Primitive Portraits 3

I recently attended, for a second year, the Lucky Star Art Camp in Hunt Texas.  It was amazing, even better than the first year.  The experience really opens you up and gets you out of your comfort zone (in a good way).  I met so many talented, sharing ladies, it was awesome.

One of the art classes I took was a full day class with Mindy Lacefield.  It was very laid back and non stressful, just like painting with your close friends.  Mindy showed us techniques and gave us prompts, even taking us for a walk outside to generate inspiration.

Mindy has a new online class that will start December 30 called Primitive Portraits 3, it is a follow up to the Primitive Portraits 1 & 2 (which aren't a prerequisite although it would be helpful).  You will have lifetime access and there is early bird pricing until December 14 (a Christmas present perhaps to an arty friend?).

There will be 3 guest artists which will give you a chance to be exposed to new artists, always a blessing.

Here is the link:  http://www.timssally.com/2014/11/primitive-portraits-3

I hope you will consider this class for yourself or as a gift to someone you love.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Overwhelmed but a better artist for it

Wow, has it really been that long since my last post?  I don't really have any good reason why I haven't blogged, it is not because I haven't been creating art.  I just finished up a year long class with Juliette Crane, Serendipity, and really enjoyed being challenged each month, pics of some of the resulting art work are below.

Juliette is continuing the year long adventure with Serendipity 2, so if you are looking for a class that will keep you stretching your intuitive side you may want to consider it.

I also took a class with the wildy creative Micki Wilde called a Hermits Compendium.  It was a nice change in my normal art work and was all about imaginary creatures.  She shows how to change an ordinary art journal cover into something that looks like an antique magic book, here is a pic of my cover.  She encouraged us to make it our own by creating our own title.

Another online class I am taking is Jane Davenports Express Yourself and it is all about drawing faces with expression and how the subtle changes in features can relay different emotions.  I am learning lots of new techniques and really being challenged.  I altered a book and am using it for the class:

I also enjoyed a class by the talented Mindy Lacefield called Wild Surrender, all about giving into the creative flow.

Although all the classes were a great experience I have learned a good lesson, DO NOT take 4 online classes all at the same time!  At least for me, I need to dedicate myself to a class and not feel like I need to rush through a lesson so I can get to the next one.

I will be attending Lucky Star Art Camp again this year, in November, and cannot wait to experience this event, it is like nothing I have ever done, creating with artists, in person, who you have only known online, being immersed into all things creative, and surrounded my like minded women is so incredible.  If you get the chance to do something similar go for it, it will stay with you for a long, long time!

Thank you for reading!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Painting on Cardboard + New Stencils

I recently splurged on some new StencilGirl stencils, I had a 25% discount to use! Here are pics:

 I've been wanting a tree stencil for a while and I found the perfect one, it even has a sun/moon on it, couldn't wait to use it and the opportunity arose through a year long course I'm taking with artist Juliette Crane called Serendipity, check out the button on the right for information on this class.  Each month she has a new lesson showing her process from start to finish and then a few weeks later she will post a bonus lesson.  The Dec bonus lesson was painting on cardboard, which was so much fun and offered so much freedom, no worry that I might mess up a "canvas", so I brushed on some complimentary colors - purple, magenta, pink and then used shiva oil sticks in red and brown, dragging them across the cardboard horizontally, which gave some really great texture.

I let that dry and then started playing with the tree stencil, I decided I wanted it to be a moonlit forest scene and I ended up painting a face on the moon, inspired by Juliette's characters.  I used a stablio marks all pencil to outline the trees so it wouldn't look too much like I used a stencil.  Later I added the deer.

I am quite addicted to stencils, I'm a StencilGirl Club member and each month, for $25, I get three exclusive stencils, designed by one of the StencilGirl artists along with access to a video made by the design artist.  Each month there is a large one (9 x 11) and then two smaller ones, all coordinating together. Check out their website www.stencilgirl.com.  I like the versatility of stencils and the added texture and depth they can bring.

What have you done with stencils lately?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lucky Star Art Camp Experience

A few weeks ago I attended my first ever art retreat/camp.  I was so excited when I registered, it was close to home (Hunt, Texas) and my favorite online instructor, Juliette Crane, was going to be teaching all day painting classes, how could I not go?  As the time finally approached, I started to get a little nervous about it, sharing a cabin with 3 other ladies who I would not know, sharing my art work with others (which is always a little scary), and just the overall fear of not fitting in.

I should not have worried, Lisa Hamlyn Field, the organizer of the event, thought of everything.  Even the cabin mates where thought out, I was in with 3 other ladies in my age group and we all really meshed - although our art interests were different.

The event wasn't all art, there was Yoga, gardening, canning, jewelry making, photography, how to write a book, quilting, crocheting, and more.  The venue couldn't have been better, Waldemar, a girls camp, is just beautiful with the Guadalupe River running right through it.  The food was awesome, I haven't had three square meals a day like that, ever.  I got to try paddle boarding for the first time, that was so much fun, and there were kayaks, canoes and paddle boats available as well as archery and horse back riding.

Each night there were key note speakers and I must say, I got a lot out of each one - from how to form a like minded small group of women to get feedback and explore creative ideas, the current state of our food system and what an individual can do to make an impact, or what it takes and how to dream big, to accepting/loving yourself through self portraiture/photos.  All good stuff.  At the end of day we sat around a huge campfire and were serenaded by Mandy Rowden, a local Austin singer/songwriter.

On the first day I thought, boy, 4 days of this is going to be too much, but by the end I was longing for more time there.  I recommend attending an event like this to everyone, just get away and off the "grid" for a while, it does so much good for the soul and reminds you how great female companionship can be.  The only thing that would have made the experience better is more time for more classes!

I don't take enough pictures, which is why I should have signed up for a photography class, but here are a few.  The venue was so beautiful.  In the collage below I've included a picture of the two canvases I painted with Juliette.