Friday, October 05, 2012

creative baby projects

well, it looks like another summer has come and gone and i feel like i barely have anything to show for it (creative-wise)!  but i have been busy in the past few weeks making and embellishing baby clothes and making a quilt all in preparation for baby #3!  it's a boy (you can tell by the blue-grey-red-brown theme below) and he's due december 30.

i was bitten by the sewing bug when i realized that i really really hate boy clothes.  as soon as i found out i was having a boy, i went to the mall and started browsing the very unfamiliar territory that is BOY clothing.  walking into each store, i immediately, out of habit, would veer to the bright, pink, colorful, frilly GIRL stuff that i am used to buying for my two girls.  it was weird venturing to the boy side of each store after all these years!  and what i found is that boy clothing is dominated by trucks, airplanes, cars, zoo animals, sports and cheesy "mommy's little rock star" type sayings splayed across the chest.

so i decided to take matters into my own hands and make some things that i thought were a little bit more my style.  when he's older, of course he'll be able to choose his own clothing.  but for now he'll be sporting a mix of randomness that appeals to my creative, artist eye.  so i searched on etsy for ideas and found some very cute applique patterns.  the VW bug above comes from kip & fig and they have the most awesome PDF patterns i have ever seen.  clean and crisp designs that have a very modern feel.  i'm not all that into "cutesy"  so it was nice to find some fun designs to spice up a few plain onesies!

i also rummaged through my collection of vintage baby/toddler sewing patterns and i found one from the 50s that included a cute kimono-style top.  for the fabric, i reused an old, flannel baby blanket and bought some bias tape from the fabric store.  the blue pjs are made from a pattern and fabric i found at the thrift store for $3 (total)!

the onesies have been fun to work with, too.  i received a bunch of 0-6 month sized clothes from a friend, but they were mostly short sleeved.  my baby is due in december, so i needed warmer attire.  instead of donating them, i took some of the sleeves off of the clothes that weren't quite my style and added them to the short sleeve onesies.  and i added fabric patches from the left-over fabric i had from his quilt.

the quilt was another fun adventure in sewing.  i chose mostly fabric from joel dewberry and a little bit from amy butler to make a navy-aqua-grey-black-and-yellow creation.

my boy style is definitely all over the map!  i really do love the sweet, baby blue hues with cute and simple animals.  above was a thrifted onesie embellished with a fabric patch made from a flannel baby blanket (the kind you find in 4-packs at target or baby stores.  i think they are called receiving blankets. you can also just use flannel fabric)

and here i jump to bright, primary colors!  the red top has sleeves added to it from fabric made from my daughter's leggings that she had outrgown.  the patch and star is from fabric i had on hand.  the panda and polka dots were found in my fabric scrap pile.  this is a great way to alter shirts with stains or that have images or words that you don't like.  (for me, it was probably a fire truck and "mommy loves me." not to say i don't love my baby, but i don't need a shirt to say it for me!)

another applique from kip & fig.  they range from complicated (like the VW bug) to very simple (like the rabbit above--if you couldn't tell.  i kind of sewed the outline a bit wonky.  i'm still learning!)

and this is just an owl applique that i drew myself.  the polka dot fabric is from a thirfted flannel baby blanket and the other pieces were scraps.  to get the applique really secure, i used the sewable kind of heat-and-bond that you can get at any fabric or craft store.  so once you trace your pattern onto the heat-and-bond, you iron it sticky side down to the back side of the fabric and then cut the pieces out, peel the paper backing and iron everything in place onto the shirt.  i sew around the edges to define the image and also to secure it in place.  they also make a non-sewable heat-and-bond for thicker fabrics or for when you don't want a sewn look (like the VW bug above).

so that's that!  i still have a few things baby things that i recently bought at the thrift store that i'd like to add to.  it's been nice to have these projects to connect to the arrival of my baby.  what things did you do (creative or otherwise) to prepare for a new baby?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

fabric art journal and collage

i had a wonderful art-filled day on sunday at my monthly art sister meeting up in S.F.  my fellow art sister, vicki, led us in a super creative book making project based on pamela huntington's  gorgeous fabric journals as inspiration.

the inside pages are heavy watercolor paper edged with vintage trims, lace, ribbon and fabric.  it gives the journal such a floofy, girly feeling.  i love it.  i used bright colors because that reflects my tastes, though i tried to stick with a kind of vintage feel.

and this was the last canvas i did for the online class "pages and paint."we made an image transfer onto contact paper using a photo-copied vintage photo.  you can see parts of the collage pieces peeking through the transparant label.  it's not quite finished, needs a little more blending and maybe a few more layers, but i like it!

and then i was inspired to do just plain collage--no paint.  this was inspired by the style and techinques of randel plowman of "a collage a day."  i have admired his work for years and when i saw that he had written a book, i bought it right away.  it is wonderful!  it contains all kinds of fun techniques and tips for making amazing and simple collages.

and just for fun, here is the newest member of our family: vincent (as in the artist, of course)!  he is just a few months old and full of energy--just like my youngest daughter!  they have been running around all day together.  i think they are the perfect match, energy-wise!  we are happy to have another feline friend in the house again.  maybe he'll keep the little one busy while i can sneak away and make some more art! :)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Ww Watermelon

this was the last week of the online workshop "pages and paint."  above is a painting i made based on a sketchbook idea (shown in the previous post).  i had a lot of fun drawing colors, images and textures from the original sketch.  that's a new thing for me.  i usually just go into a project without a clue as to what i'm going to do.  maybe i'll have some color in mind.  but it's nice to have some kind of theme to play with.

just a few more sketchbook pages...playing with color and inspiration (above).

this was the result of a prompt from the course instructor.  she mailed us goodie bags filled with fun little bits and prompts and ideas to get us going on our paintings.  the above was a game where we had to take whatever words she had given us and incorporate them into our sketchbooks or a painting.  my words were: "bubble gum pink, seaside, lines & dots, joy."  and that's what i came up with.

i hope to continue with the sketchbooks. i think they're a great place to play and try out ideas without the pressure of an entire blank canvas.  what kinds of activities do you do before a big project?  do you use an inspiration board?  a sketchbook?  or do you just dive in and see what happens?

Friday, July 27, 2012

having fun with paint and a sketchbook

i'm having a nice time this week playing with paint and sketchbooks.  i'm taking sarah ahearn's online class "pages and paint" and it's just been nice to have time to paint and play.  i even signed up my two daughters for summer day camp and preschool this week so i could have a whole 3 hours to myself just to enjoy the quite house and my bright studio.  wish i could do this every day! :)

the above two paintings came from a fun game that we played where we took a handful of prompts, but them in a bucket, and blindly picked one at a time.  we had two minutes for each prompt and the prompts ranged from simple ("add collage bits to your canvas") to scary ("paint and scribble with your eyes closed")!  i love the results.  i found that my paintings were more free and interesting this way.  it's a great exercise in letting go.  try it sometime!

part of the classwork is to keep a small sketchbook and to take it out with you into the world and capture just every day life.

i made the above two sketchbook spreads while i was at a water park with my daughter (a park with a tiny water feature-like way would i take my eyes off of her in a pool!)  i wanted to capture just the essence of color, shapes and sounds.

and summer is not complete without fresh fruit! especially cherries, watermelon, plums and nectarines for me.  so many childhood memories trapped inside the juicy flesh.  i just need to take one bite and i'm transported back in time to endless summers of the mid-1980s!

and this was just a fun exercise in using up all the scraps and tiny bits of paper left over from bigger projects that i was just going to throw away.  sometimes inspiration can come from the trash! :)  i love the colors here on the left.  i used them as inspiration for the page on the right.

happy summer, everyone!  i'm still hanging onto the last bits.  school starts again soon.  but we will be enjoying summer-like weather well through october (i hope!  it's actually been quite a chilly summer so far!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

summer is in full swing and i am excited to spend a lot of time in the studio!  i'm taking an online class this summer with sarah ahearn called "pages and paint."  so far, we've created an inspiration board (above) and collected supplies (below).

just the sight of art supplies makes me happy!  so many possibilities.  what will i create?

getting my studio organized again after the big move!  it's so nice to have a space of my own again.  i love my new studio.  lots of light, space and room for all my stuff!

what summer dreams do you hope to accomplish this summer (art related or other)?  i plan to spend as much time as i can painting and making artsy messes.  i'm also looking forward to our family's first camping trip!  i envision taking a little portable art bag with JUST the essentials.

if you could only take 5 art supplies with you (not including the substrate, ie: canvas, journal, etc) what would they be?

Saturday, May 05, 2012

An Artful Life in the Making

hello folks!  it's been quite a while now since my last post.  been busy moving, creating a new nest for my family and a new studio space for my art.

been busy unpacking (a few boxes still remain in the studio!) but i've been slowly putting it all together.  even started hanging stuff on the walls (my own art, no less--as evidenced by the first photo in this post).

spent a few hours in the studio today unpacking and getting distracted.  (as a side note: little colorful, nesting boxes plus colorful buttons and doodads equals hours of entertainment for little ones!  sureya filled boxes and gifted them to me, emptied them, rearranged them, and started all over again.!)

pulled out some cute canvas matroyshka doll fabric that i bought on etsy ages ago and fashioned together a new little art journal (followed the instructions from donna downey's online class).  and i even started a page!  woo hoo.  we'll see how it turns out.  waiting for the paint to dry now.

ok. back to the studio!  hope you are enjoying spring in it's last flowery throes before summer arrives.  i can't wait for warm weather.  it means more outdoor art journaling in the grass!

Monday, March 05, 2012

coming out of hibernation

a little blog break turned into two whole months...  and spring has arrived almost overnight!

warmer weather means more time outdoors in the sunshine... which means more time to journal.

i've missed journaling out on the lawn in the sunshine.  i do love fall and winter...but i love spring and summer the most.

and they always show up just in time.  (just when i can't stand being indoors one more second!)

days are getting longer, and warmer.  and california spring/summer starts in march and will last all the way til october. yahoo!


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