Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Calendar Project

At the weaving studio we get lots of fabric and yarns donated.  Some good, some bad, some that leave you a little perplexed.  A couple weeks ago, after cleaning, the ladies of the weaving center found themselves with a whole box of upholstery samples to get rid of.  Not wanting them to go to waste, we turned our minds to what we could do with them.  For example, at the Warped Milwaukee show we used them in a window display, we cut letters out of them to put on the wall, and I used a couple of them to make the Best in Show Ribbon.  I brought home almost a whole bin full of them and used some more to make Kumihimo bags for the Art vs. Craft show.

And now, I've found yet a couple more uses for them.  I'll only show you one of them today.  I'll save the other one for later in the week.  Do you do advent calendars in your house?  The Christmas my daughter was 2 was the year I started making her an advent calender.  Sort of.  I bought 25 tiny stockings, numbered them and hung them in her room.  In each one was a tiny toy or a piece of candy and she would get to open one every morning.  This went on for a couple years, with me buying more and more ridiculous pieces of, for lack of a better term, garbage to put in her stockings.  Once my son was born it got even more complicated.  Do I now buy him 25 miniature stockings and go through the struggle of finding little crap to put in them?  Do I make them share?  Do I just stop the tradition all together?  Yes, that's what I did.  It was too much of a waste.  I had once again gone overboard on something and now it was time to tone it down.

This year, as I sat gazing at these upholstery samples I had an idea.  

See the grommets at the top?  It's already ready for hanging.  And the edges?  They are already finished!  How much simpler could this get? 

All this fabric needed was some mini pockets.  And maybe a little decoration.  It doesn't even need to be perfect because it's homey and it's supposed to look homemade.  So the seams?  Don't worry about them.  I cut muslin (nina again!) into strips that I folded over, ironed,  and laid on top of each other. The longest strips are about 8 inches by 4, folded over the long way and ironed.  Then the folded side is placed to the top and the strips are  placed a little overlapping each other.

Pin in place and then sew the bottom edges with a zig-zag stitch.  Use a sparkly, festive thread if you have one.  Start with the bottom strip.  Sew the bottom edge,  unpin it and fold it down to do the next strip.

Once all the bottom edges are stitched you can put all the strips back up again, pin back in place and stitch their sides in the same zig-zag stitch.  Then measure out the size pockets you need.  I think mine were 1.5 inches?  Somewhere around there.  I used a ruler and a pencil and actually drew lines.  Then I traced the lines with a straight stitch to create my pockets.  

I bought this really cool stamp set at the Farmer's Daughter Antiques (5th and National) about a year ago.  It was perfect for this project. 

Again, I wasn't really worried about anything being perfect.  That's part of the charm of this project. 

I deliberately left space at the bottom so I could put some little Christmas trees in.  All done!  Except for the candy.

One piece in each little pocket.  Easy Peasy.  They can be used year after year and all I have to buy is a couple bags of candy. 
Total Time: 1.5 hours.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Warped Milwaukee Gallery Opening.......Tonight 6pm

Weaving is a dying art.  In America.  It's not hard to understand why really.  When you think about it.  It's expensive, time consuming, and just plain difficult.  There is no immediate gratification in weaving.  There IS gratification, but it comes...........eventually.  Plus, there's a lot of math involved.  People don't like doing math.  With this trend in mind, my friend Susan and I  diligently try to come up with new ways to promote our Weaving Center.  And thus, Warped Milwaukee was born.  With the help of the Jazz Gallery, last year ABK Weaving Center hosted it's first Fiber Arts show.  I won't lie, it was tough going.  By the time of the application deadline I believe we only had 5 entries.  I spent a couple weeks just contacting artists and jumping through hoops to get them to show their work.  Who would have thought it would be so difficult to get people to display their art?  All that hard work paid off though.  200+ people on opening night.  It was a success!  So here we are doing it all over again.  This year we managed to more than double our applicants (I actually had people contacting me this time!) and only had to spend 1 week (not 2) in pursuit of more artists.  The point is:  The show is growing!  Word is spreading!  And this years show is even better than last years.  I anticipate next years show to be better yet.   If you come to our opening tonight, you might see a little bit of this: 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a place to rest your head

So here I am, just sitting by the computer waiting for etsy to let me change my shop name......ho-hum, what to do?  I know!  I'll post about the pillows I just made.  I made some pillow covers.  Someone (I shall call her Buyer) sent me pictures of pillows and asked: "can you make these?" because she wanted them as a gift for a friend.  I answered "sure" without really thinking it through, because.....you know....that's how I roll.  Anywho, the one pillow was easy enough:

I used blue and pink thread to make the lines of a piece of writing paper and then hand embroidered the quote that Buyer chose.  It was fairly simple but I had to do it twice because the first white fabric that I chose was too thin and the embroidery started making little holes in it. The back is a brown linen type fabric sewn in an envelope style so it can be taken off and washed.  It's lined with a pretty bird fabric.  AND it pretty much looks exactly like the picture she sent.

The second pillow is this birds nest.  It looks nothing like the picture she sent.  The second pillow Buyer wanted actually had no image on it, just words.  I tried.  It looked bad.  So I scraped the whole thing and did this with the hopes that she would approve.  I stuck to the appropriate theme: Nest.   It was also done in the envelope style, with the brown linen back and bird lining. Luckily, she liked it.

So that's what I've been up to.  I should probably check back with etsy now.  Before I leave though:   Brussel Sprouts?  Yeah or Nay?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Art Walk is over.   So what's next?

Ok, ok, wait a minute, first let me talk about Art Walk a little.  I can't remember if this is my 3rd or 4rth year participating in Art Walk but either way, it was the best year yet.  Even with all the different sport games going on, we had more visitors than in any of the previous years combined.  The weather probably helped a little with that but I'm going to give a lot of the credit to Susan Buss from the RAA .  She did a great job of publicizing the event and getting artists involved.  I'm already looking forward to next year and making plans for how to improve our display and make it more interactive.  Just a small little toot!  toot!  for us: we did win an award for our display.  A certificate and a $50 check to be exact.  How cool is that?  I will send a great, huge, massive THANK YOU!  out to all my volunteers.  They made this whole thing seamless.  XOXOXOXOXOXOXXOXOXOXOXOXO Ladies! 

 I did have a couple pieces displayed this year.  One piece was at the Jazz Gallery (I showed that in the previous post) and then I had a couple pieces up in the ABK display.  2 of them were older pieces but 1 was a new piece that I just finished the day before.  It's another runner done in the Rose and Star overshot pattern.  Didn't I say that I was never going to weave that pattern again?  I must have forgotten that.

 Here is my Butterfly Morning Woven Runner at the Jazz Gallery.  I like were they placed it.  

This is my Star and Rose Woven Runner. The warp is grey and the weft is a pale yellow.

So, next on my list is Warped Milwaukee.  The deadline is Oct. 31st and I'm really, really hopeful that I will not have to enter anything this year.  I just want to sit back and coordinate.  After that is Art vs. Craft at the end of November (as a seller this year) and Hovercraft a week after that. 

THIS WEEK though, this week I'm taking a break from weaving to work on some pillows.  That sounds.....restful.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Riverwest Art Walk

next weekend, saturday and sunday 12 - 5, is Riverwest's Art Walk and once again ABK Weaving Center is participating.  in previous years we have hosted a sale in a Board members back yard and while it's been fun, it's never been successful.  i mean as far as sales go.  so this year i proposed that we set up the yard as a weaving gallery space.  we will have different styles of weaving displayed as well as some different looms set up for demonstration and trial.  i'm kind of excited about it.  i've been planning out how to display everything and i think i've come up with a nice concept. hopefully i'll have pictures tomorrow.  part of being in the Art Walk is having some art represented at the Jazz Gallery on Center st.  i finished this weaving on friday and dropped it off at the gallery on saturday.  look for it on etsy sometime in november.

Butterfly Morning woven runner.  wool and cotton in shades of gold, yellow, and blue.  overshot "trellis" patterns.

"i found you in the corner
down there sitting on the sea
gonna trace your footsteps
underneath the waves
on the petals of a wild flower
with the sun high at noon
i want walks in butterfly mornings
and wild flower afternoons"  - hope sandoval

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bury the Hatchet woven runner

it's been a month or two but i'm finally getting back into the swing of weaving.  swing, tempo, groove, it really is about finding a  rhythm.  when i'm in it, things come easy and it doesn't matter if i just find 15 minutes a day to weave, those 15 minutes are incredibly productive.  when i'm out of the rhythm i can weave for 2 hours and get just a jumble of mistakes.  that's when it's not fun.  luckily, i and my loom are one, for now.  i finished a runner this week that i tied onto the last runner i did.  that means that it's the same pattern but different colors.  it was another color experimentation of mine.  i've learned something about myself.  i've learned that i'm not "into"  a lot of colors in one project.  i like simple color schemes.  so for the next project, which will be another tie on, i'm toning down the colors.  I'm tying all my knots tonight so i should have it done by friday evening.  look for it on the horizon.....

 oh, and i always name my pieces for whatever songs are going through my head at the time.  this one is named for the "Low"  song entitled "Hatchet".

"so you be my mary ann
 and i'll be your yoko
 and let's bury the hatchet like
 the Beatles
 the Beatles and the Stones". - Low

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Washer Necklace

If you are into indie crafts at all than no doubt you have run across a tutorial for making the washer necklace.  I have and I've always wanted to make some.  Early this week I got a call from a friend who asked if I would be willing to do a make and take craft with children at the Bayshore Chalk Art Festival.  I gave it some thought and decided that it would be the perfect time to try out the washer necklace craft. 

First, you need washers.  They come in all sizes and some are rougher than others.  I got some nice smooth, shiny ones with smaller holes in the center. I don't remember the exact sizes.  The smaller ones were .20ea. and the larger ones were .24ea.  I spent about $14 total.

Some of these supplies are optional but some are not.  Here we have glitter, a hole punch, sharpie, and small plastic bags in case the project is not dry yet when the child takes it home.

Mod Podge is pretty much a necessity as is some sort of string (I'm using left-over carpet warp).  Beads are a nice touch. 

This is the best part of the whole project!  Get in your car and drive to Menards. Do it!  Now!  There you will find a 28 piece steel stamp set (all 26 letters plus a . and a &) for ..........$9.99.  SERIOUSLY!
Now that you are fully loaded you can start creating stuff like this:

I made this one for myself to wear.  It's to remind me that I have "enough" of whatever it is that I think I lack.  I suppose it could also mean: "I've had enough!"  Oh, the endless possibilities.  This one is made with a larger size washer decoupaged with pretty paper and some glitter and then the smaller size washer is stamped and laid on top. To Decoupage, you first trace the washer onto the paper that you desire.  Then cut out the circle and use the whole punch to create the inner circle.  Next you spread the glue on the washer and on the back of the paper.  Carefully place them together and then go over the front of the paper with some more decoupage glue and sprinkle on some glitter.  It doesn't take long to dry.

This is another one with the two sizes.  The bottom one is decoupaged with the pretty paper and the top one is decoupaged with plain paper that I hand painted.  Both have glitter on them to make them sparkle.

 This last one is Gl's.  S is modeling it because he wanted to get in on the action.  Gl chose the word "courage"  because that is what she is going to need when going back to school this year without her best friend.  Once you use the stamps to stamp in your word or phrase you go over it with a black sharpie and then wipe the extra off with a baby wipe.  It works perfectly.

I also made GL one that says ALLONS Y !  for any Dr. Who fans out there. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last weeks Projects

We had a  wedding to attend this past weekend so last week I had to finish two projects.  The first was a woven runner for the bride and groom. 

It's an overshot pattern (my personal favorite) in a blue/green/grey wool and the back ground threads are cotton that run through a range of colors from pale yellow to copper.  It didn't turn out as long as I hoped.  Something most have went awry in the math.  

The second project was to make a dress for gl to wear to the wedding using the leftover sheets from a previous rag rug.  

You don't even need a pattern for something like this.  It's made up of two rectangles sewn together on the sides with a thin elastic around the top and 4 thin straps that tie up on her shoulders.   To determine the size of the rectangle I just used the circumference of her chest for the width (24") and then I measured from under her armpit to where I wanted the dress to end (above the knees) and added an inch and a half for the hem.  The dress can be worn with or without the sash.  I like it without but she likes it with.  Then I added one of my flower pins to the top.  From start to finish: 2 hours. 


She can even bowl in it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On the agenda this week:

A sun dress for Gl made from the leftover sheets used in the blue block rag rug and an over shot runner. 
I'll be back in a couple days with pictures. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Craftacular 2011

So Craftacular was this past Sunday.  It was held at the East Side Club in Madison and nobody could ask for a more beautiful setting.  What was even better was that for ONCE the weather cooperated.  Occasionally you could hear some thunder off in the distance but none of it traveled our way.  Although it was hot and sticky there was a nice breeze coming off the lake and I was in the shade of my new canopy.  It was fun.  I have a couple of these shows under my belt now so I don't get nervous anymore and I had enough merchandise for a respectable showing.  The people I met were really nice and personable and I even ran into a couple people that I had met at previous shows.  It was nice to see Sally from Night Owl Craftworks again.

Here is the view of the show from the lake.  There were also vendors inside the building on both floors.  Unfortunately I didn't get up to the second floor to check things out but I did see everything outside and on the first level.

The club has these awesome chairs sitting out by the lake so my wonderful husband got to sit and read all day.  He looked very relaxed.  He did stay within site of my space in case I needed him.  He was a great support for me, buying me food and Sangria (I was right across from the Tiki bar).

Remember this shag rug?  It was my first sale of the day.  Huzzah!  I was so happy to see it go.  I really didn't want to carry it back home.  The  lady who bought it asked if it could be washed in her washing machine.  I responded "only if you want to break your machine".  Seriously, this is one heavy piece.

Here's the other block rug that I wove.  It turned out lovely and also got sold.  In fact, almost all my rugs sold.  I think I only have 3 left.  I'm working on getting the rest of my unsold merchandise up on my etsy store this week.  It'll be pretty sporadic.  I put up some woven runners yesterday but there are purses, a quilt, and quilted runners yet to come.

So all in all, I'm glad that I did the show because I learned something.  I learned that I will stay closer to home for shows. As beautiful as the space was, as nice as the people and the weather was, it didn't make fiscal sense.  After  adding up what I spent to get into the show, the canopy, gas, getting a tax number, and food, plus the inconvenience to my in-laws with the kids and the dog....... I really didn't make enough to justify being at this venue.  I did get rid of a lot of items, which was nice but the profit margin was significantly cut down because of all that other stuff. 

On to the next endeavor: Art vs. Craft (Milwaukee)

Thursday, July 21, 2011


 This Sunday I'll be at  Craftacular in Madison.  I've been working my tail off trying to get my inventory up.  Weaving is so time intensive that it is very hard to put together enough merchandise for a booth.  Everytime I sell a piece on Etsy I'm like "WOO-HOO!" and "Oh NO!  Another empty space".  I'm feeling a little bi-polar.

I've set aside all my other projects to focus solely on weaving.  It seems to be what most people are interested in.  A few weeks ago I had a couple fails that had me down.  Some wool that I had warped on a loom started breaking as I was weaving.  There was no fixing it and I had to cut it off and throw it away.  That was a lose of 2 days work.  Another runner that I was weaving didn't turn out as nice as I hoped and a new technique that I was learning turned into a nightmare.  But I started the next week energized and hopeful.  This week went wonderfully.  2 runners and 1 rug (the blue check one from the previous post) complete and another rug should be finished this evening. 

These are the rags for the rug I'll be working on this evening.  Usually I use torn up sheets that I find at thrift stores but I couldn't find the bright colors I was looking for this time and I don't have the space to dye white ones.  Some day I hope to have a studio with a large sink.  Someday.  Sigh.  Anyway, I went to Joann Fabrics and bought this broadcloth for $1.79 a yard.  What a great deal!  They had so many wonderful colors.

This is one of the runners I finished this week.  I'm really on a yellow kick right now.  Probably because it's such a hot color.  It's a diamond twill pattern with an off white, yellow, and grey/blue warp.  The weft is primarily off white with just 2 yellow stripes.  It's 100% cotton.  It says "hello, I'm summer." Well, not literally but.. you know.  It's really pretty and I'm a little in love with it so I'll probably put a higher price on it.

This is one of the fails I was talking about earlier.  It's a rep weave runner.  Rep weave is a technique that I've never done.  My friend Susan weaves rep weave and I admire her work so I wanted to try it.  Yeah, well, I can say I tried it.  I made some mistakes but that's bound to happen when you're learning something new.  The runner turned out OK and I will try to sell it but the pattern is not balanced and it bothers me.  I pushed it to the bottom of a pile so I don't have to look at it.  It mocks me. 

Well, this is my last post until after Craftacular.  The Husband and I will be there all day Sunday.  A big shout out to my lovely in-laws for taking the kids.  They are the BEST!  Whatever doesn't sell on Sunday will be posted on my etsy site starting next week.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

currently on loom

2 large rag rugs done in a block pattern.  I just started this periwinkle and white one last night.  I'm thinking that the second one will be a big mix of colors. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wedding Flowers Part Final

I was asked to make 5 headbands for the bridesmaids and 1 flower with a birdcage veil for the bride. 

It measures a little over 4 inches wide and is made entirely of organza.  There was a different button to use in the center but when I put it in it just didn't work.  It was too white or big or something.  It looked out of place.  I ended up sewing in some pearl beads.  It looked more fitting.  The next thing to tackle is the bird cage veil which will attach to the flower with a little pin so that it can be removed if desired.  I started experimenting a little this evening.  At first I used the veiling that the bride sent over but I have to admit, I don't like it.  It's very stiff and hard to form.  I tried some other tulle that I had lying about.

(Gl is just thrilled to be modeling for me.) This is a real light weight tulle in grey.  I cut it into a bandeau style that goes across the top of the head, in front of the eyes and then attaches on the other side with either a bobby pin or an invisible comb.  Gl's hair is really thin so you can see the bobby pin falling out already.
This Tulle is just a little bit heavier (in peach) and is sewn into a much larger piece that goes all the way around the head and falls slightly slanted across the face. 
5 headbands and 1 flower are being sent to the bride tomorrow.  I am also sending over some different veiling that I would like her to play with so we can figure out how to cut it and what weight to use.   This was fun to work on and I feel privileged to have been asked.  I'm greatly looking forward to the wedding.  I love when people in love get married.  What I love most is when it's not all about the ceremony but about the joy of binding your lives together.  People get caught up in making their weddings a big performance or a statement.  It should just be about JOY!  And joy is, at it's core, very simple. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Time Warp

A shag rug?  Really?  Yes.   Yes indeed.  And it's a great size to boot.  The colors are great and it feels so wonderful under your bare feet.  The only down side was the amount of fluff that I sucked into my sinuses while weaving it. 

It weighs a ton so I'm hoping someone will buy it at Craftacular in Madison.  I can't even imagine how much it would cost to ship. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

pipe cleaner bling bling

i was hunting around on the martha stewart website and i came across this awesome pipe cleaner ring   tuturial.  i was like "shut up".  really.  i was.  had you been standing here, in my home, you would have heard me exclaim "shut up".  after rummaging in the basement for 2 minutes, i came up with just enough pipe cleaners to make 1 ring.  5 minutes later it was done.  so cute and easy.  perfect for a little girls birthday party or craft party.  sorry about the fuzzy pictures.  it's storming out so i couldn't go outside where the good light is. 
so stinking cute!  i have to run out to the store tonight and i'm planning on picking up some thinner pipe cleaners in different colors.  gl and the neighbor girl are looking forward  to making these tomorrow.