Inspiration

Wowee, the last few months have flown by, but they also seemed to drag on.  I know, this doesn’t make sense, but this is how time has felt for me lately.  Time drags, when you are uninterested in anything, feel depressed and just not motivated.  Am I speaking anybody’s language here?  Time flies by when you head into a department store all decked out in holiday decorations in the middle of September. I forget what season I am in sometimes- (California weather can do that to a person) especially when retail messes with your head and you have to question if you slept months away in a Rip Van Winkle kind of way.   Today I was in a bookstore and they were playing holiday music it was disguised in a jazzy elevator tune, but it was definitely Christmas music!  Ugh!  Can we please do Halloween first?

I have been working on my fabric designs, and they are actually coming along.  It is exciting for me to be doing this, I wish I could share with you, but for now I need to keep these under wraps.  I can share with you however,  a class I discovered on Creativelive.  Taught by Bonnie Christine, a successful fabric designer.  The class is called Design Surface Patterns From Scratch.  It was/is so helpful.  I bought the class, and now I own it…So I can review it at anytime.  I highly recommend both Creativelive and this course.  Creativelive offers many other courses for artists…of all kinds.  Check it out!

The other course I am taking is The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, which I found on the website Do What You Love for Life.

So this is where I have been.  Working on designs, sketching a lot and taking some on-line courses. I have been battling my depression along the way and trying to stay inspired even when I have pretty much given up on myself.  It’s hard to look at the future, when you aren’t feeling like you want one.  So..

A few weeks ago I went to the Catskills for a weekend workshop with my friend Heather Ross.  Also in attendance was the very talented Denyse Schmidt.  The dynamic duo welcomed 11 of us to a 1850’s Victorian Farmhouse, situated on 20 acres!

photo 3-59

Most of us brought projects to work on, I was to work on my design work with Heather.  She has been sort of mentoring me along the way.  I have to say though, there were two highlights to this weekend.  First was having the opportunity to spend more time with Anne Sullivan from Play-Crafts… I have met her before, but never really got to know her.

photo 2-61

Heather Ross and Anne Sullivan talk fabric design

Now I can say she is my friend.  We flew together both ways.. It made the whole traveling process for me so much easier!  The second highlight of the weekend, was searching for a dead animal in the basement with both Anne and Denyse Schmidt.

When I say basement, what I really mean is dungeon it was dark, smelly and scary.  There was a dead animal stench emanating from the bowels of the house.

photo 3-60

photo 1-58 Some of the gals that were sewing in the dining room could get whiffs of it every now and then.  So Denyse, Anne and I decided to take the matter into our own hands, and take care of the little bugger.  We found nothing.

I am sure there aren’t too many people who can say they went dead vermin hunting with Denyse Schmidt. 🙂 I can now take that off my bucket list!

Now to give you some inspiration for those of you that still have little ones and would like to do something special for them.  I painted two toy boxes that my mother in-law gifted the boys for their 1 year old birthdays.

Here is Kenny’s toy box.

photo 2-84

photo 3-77

Included on Kenny’s toy box were our pets at the time, Chloe, our yellow lab and Wooley and Poly-ester our cats.  Now, sadly they are all gone.  They did get boxes of their own, with ashes in them.  Sad face.

photo 4-46

Now here is William’s… His has more detail, since I thing I was a little more confident about painting on a toy box at this point.

photo 2-60

photo 1-55

photo 2-59

photo 3-57

photo 1-56

photo 3-58

That’s all for now folks.  Have a lovely inspirational weekend!

Does Purpose Stop You From Creating?

There is a lesson to be learned in this post, so read carefully and use as directed!  🙂

The Heather Ross Sewing and Craft Weekend Workshop in Palm Springs was a blast.  We had phenomenal teachers as always.  Gretchen Hirsch, Annabel Wrigley and of course the amazing Heather Ross.  These teachers are inspiring, not only because of what they have already accomplished, but because they continue to create….. and think of new and different ways to keep people like myself engaged and wanting more.  We come back to these workshops just to be around their creative aura.  I just want to suck “it” all in, hoard it, take it with me and remember every single inspirational and creative moment.

photo-32

My Sewing Sisters!  Robin, Margaret and Me!

I feel giddy with sewing sister love.   Silly right?  I saw some remarkable things this weekend.  My new friend Raven worked all weekend on a lovely tank (I am unsure of the exact pattern) made from Heather Ross’s Water Ski Beauties print and an Anna Maria Horner Field Study print in Tomato.  It was so very cute and whimsical.  Raven had my other friend Robin, (known as Robin Bobbin on Flickr) try on that tank and it fit Robin so well that sweet Raven told Robin to keep it!   Now if that isn’t an example of sister love, I don’t know what is!  Kudos to you Raven- you really are quite  an amazing young woman.  So glad I was able to spend time with you!

photo 2-16

View from my hotel room, look at that thick blanket of fog rolling in!

Not only did we sew this weekend, we got crafty too!  Annabel Wrigley had the most amazing color palette of tissue, crepe and construction papers.  She also had all the other goodies that you would expect to see to construct some pretty amazing paper flowers. All available in any color you could possibly dream up.

photo 4-14

Stunning Chandeliers made by Annabel Wrigley

These flowers were used to create some fairy tale like “chandeliers”.  Now I am kind-of a sewer/crafter with a purpose.  One of my first questions I ask myself when I am readying myself to construct something is- “Am I going to wear/use it?”  Followed by “What would I be wearing/using it for? (This type of questioning comes from a portion of my brain that has to rationalize everything).  It does weed out some pretty unnecessary sewing of garments that I would probably never wear and it also helps with fabric choices BUT It does also however, stop me from just having a little fun.

Girls just wanna have fun right?!

I thought to myself, “Why do I want a chandelier that isn’t even going to serve as a source of light?”

AND

Since most of the ladies making these chandeliers had little girls at home to create these for, I felt like, why?  “Why would I make one of these for my kid”?  I am sure Kenny and Will would have thought I flipped my lid if I brought home a pretty frilly pink floaty thing for them to display in their rooms!  I wonder if I was the only one who went through this thought process?

So… It was PURPOSE that was stopping me from having some fun!  How sad is that?  Isn’t the act of having fun purpose enough?  Think about it for a minute…..

Does purpose dictate your crafting?

photo 3-11

Heather Ross explaining the ins and outs of Inkodye

Well, by the second evening of the workshop, watching from afar all the lovely blooms  being produced- I finally caved.  I wanted to sit around the most colorful table at the workshop, chat and indulge in some colorful creating.  With a little direction I was on my way searching for wires and floral tape- I assembled my first paper flower, and then my second and my third….. you get the idea.  My takeaway?  It is very theraputic, quite addictive…

AND FUN!

photo-31

Color!

I don’t have a photo to show you of my completed chandelier, because sadly I didn’t complete it and the travel home left it a little shabby- BUT I gained so much more by just the experience of assembling all those papers into something 3 dimensional.

So… Have you learned anything?

Maybe sometimes it’s okay to not have a plan when crafting and just be spontaneous along the way? The worst thing that could happen is you might create something beautiful and have a hell of a lot of fun!

go ahead, try it-

I dare you!

Have a great weekend and do some reckless creating while you’re at it!

A Handmade Christmas? Is it even possible?

So here we are at the end of November, and I am just now thinking about A Handmade Christmas!  Wow, procrastinate much?  I have already “bitten off” a lot more than I can probably “chew”.  I am undertaking an 80″ X 60″ quilt for my Mom and Pops.

I started by doing a little research on what I found to be easy on the eyes and just plain easy.  I discovered this beauty on an inspiring blog Quilt Story.  There you will find an easy to follow tutorial done by Megan and Heather.  Gosh, isn’t it pretty?!  I believe mine will be a little bigger than theirs, and also a little different, mostly because as usual, I screwed up!  🙂

I wanted it to be large enough for both my parents to sit together under while watching television, and also if my dad takes a little snooze on the sofa, it will cover him from neck to toes.  There’s nothing worse than having your feet stick out under a blanket just so you can cover your shoulders or covering your feet up and then getting the “cold shoulder”.

Here’s a quick look at what I have done so far:

momandpopsxmas

Three blocks completed, each measuring about 20″, just to give you some reference to the scale of what you are viewing.

There are many resources available to all of us for creating a handmade Christmas.  One thing I discovered the other day is something that came to me on Twitter.  It’s called A Hip Handmade Holiday from Craft Pack.  

A Hip Handmade Holiday - a digital craft book with 18 projects, 9 instructional videos and over 100 downloads

This awesome pdf can be purchased for 10 US dollars.  It consists of 18 craft projects that cost about $10.00 each to make.  I have it, and will be crafting some of the items included in this clever magazine.

Two other great resources that I have talked about before are, Creativebug.com and Craftsy.com.

I am especially enjoying Creativebug at the moment.  I have once again crocheted the one skein scarf, I bought 5 more skeins of yarn today to crochet more scarves!   Creativebug has all sorts of paper workshops for decorative gift wrapping, party decorations and much ,much more.  Really, you have to stop by and check it out.

Here is a picture of the One Skein Scarf.

oneskeinscarf

My last resource, is Etsy.  If I am unable to make it myself, then I will purchase a handmade item made by someone else.  Why not?  I think doing this, for me anyway, will make Christmas seem a little less overwhelming, (since crafting to me is therapy) and I love supporting my fellow artisans!  There are some very talented and creative people on Etsy.

Another Item I stumbled upon on the internet was a paper pieced Christmas Tree.  I saw one similar to the one here I have sewn up.   I just drew up my own rendition of a tree and sewed it up.  Really, it is very easy and I think if I make 2 of these they will work quite nicely for a festive table runner hmmmmm…..this might be a gift after all.  Now I just need to figure out how to paper piece a Santa- I wonder if it is even possible?!

christmas tree paperpiecing

So, as you can all see, I am going to be a little busy, cheap therapy though, eh?  Maybe you also may want to partake in A Handmade Christmas?

Have a great weekend!

Good Bye October!

My spirits have been pretty low lately.  My husband was out of town for 9 days, in Australia of all places.  With the crazy time change and the spotty at best communication through cell phone service- the 3 of us missed him desperately.  We survived, I became a single parent for 9 days and Kenny became the “man of the house”.  Thank goodness he passed his drivers test.  Having that extra driver around the house when Jim was gone was very helpful, there were many runs to the grocery store for me- it was awesome!

I think between all the sewing cramming I did before the Sewing Summit, the single parenting and sleepless nights over the last several days played into the “lovely” little cold I came down with 1 day before Jim arrived home.

Feeling better today, I thought I would show you what I actually accomplished today!  I finished 1 of my UFO’s I brought home from the Sewing Summit!  I haven’t been feeling very creative lately, (I am in an icky slump) so I thought that if I finished the 3+ UFO’s I brought home with me, I could then move on creatively with some other fun stuff.  Like experimenting with making a “porthole quilt” and a “polaroid quilt” in a mini size, of course.

This is the first UFO I tackled from the Sewing Summit, the description of the class follows:

Michelle3

Idea Pouch – a hands-on sewing workshop
Teacher: Michelle Webster from Michelle Patterns

 The Above is our teachers’ result, Michelle Webster, from Michelle Patterns.

This is my result, not quite as nice, but I am happy with it nonetheless.

 

The other UFO that brought me to tears, literally during class was this lovely one:

Curves Mini Quilt – a hands-on sewing workshop
Teacher: Christina Lane from The Sometimes Crafter

Christina was a great teacher, but I got all the pieces mixed up and ended up cutting a piece too small and ugh- tears started running down my face, AND it was time for ME to pack up.  No worries, I bounce back.  I came home with this:

I think maybe there are actually water marks on the direction booklet where my tears fell!  No, I don’t know it looks more like coffee!  Teeheehee!!!!
Anyway- I am going to be working on this one the rest of the week, I will do it for Heather Ross and Crafty Chloe (Fabric print I picked for my mini quilt)!
As you can imagine I came back with so many ideas for projects, that my head is spinning!
Please bear with me these next couple weeks as I try to gather my creative thoughts and get back into IT again!

Then And Now

I don’t know about you, but I love a good “before and after” show and tell.  Shows like “The Biggest Loser” or “Trading Spaces” always intrigue me.

A few years ago when we bought our little house in Cape Cod, we really had to picture what it could be.  The house had dark wood finishes throughout and some very sad worn out furniture that came along with the purchase.  Don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled when we were able to have the house furnished.  It was as if the owners that sold us the house were abducted, they left everything!  The kitchen was fully stocked with everything you would need for cooking and eating, the closets were full of linens that each bed and bath required and I even found a can of Aqua Net under the bathroom sink.  Remember that stuff?

Most everything wasn’t our style, but it would do nicely for now since, running out to buy all the necessities required to spend a summer would have been monumental!  Gradually we are making changes.

Before

After

We put shells down in the driveway and repainted the house, also the shutters were removed.  We couldn’t decide on what color to paint the shutters, so we just took them down.

A special sign was given to our house to reflect our excitement of each summer arrival.

Our last name is Wirth so it is quite fitting and since we arrive from the West Coast, It is certainly a “trip”.

Here is the kitchen Before:

For all of you that love pineapples out there, I am so sorry, but they had to go.  Each stenciled pineapple took about 5 coats of paint!

Kitchen After:

Painting the kitchen a pale blue and adding those bright appliances, really brightened the kitchen up.  It really needed it!

Here is our family room before:

Dark wood made it seem like a cave.

Family room after:

Fresh paint on the walls, windows and beams made all the difference in the world!  The chair seen in the right side of the picture has since been recovered as well.

Dining room before:

Beige walls and beige floors.  We needed a fresh start!  Fresh paint for all the woodwork and walls!

See what I mean?  What a big difference!

Last stop for now is the basement.  Did you know that in California, most houses don’t have basements?  I am not sure why, maybe it is because we have earthquakes? I don’t know, but it is something that we take full advantage of here in the East.

Basement Before:

Basement After:

A different perspective in this photo, but you get the idea.  We ripped up the old rust colored shag and placed gray 20″ x 20″ tile in its place.  All the woodwork was painted a nice Chantilly Lace White and the walls were painted a color called Salt Air.  The old “pleather” couches have stayed for now, but I am thinking that their life here in our home is very limited.  They are pretty fugly!  😦

So in concluding my “Then and Now” I wanted to show you the real reason we purchased this house….

Lily Pond (and the back of our house).

It is such a kick to sit on the deck and watch all the wildlife. There is a show everyday and it’s always good!

Thanks for looking!  Have a great day!

Massachusetts Monday- No Manic Monday Here!

For all you Bostonians….. “We’re Baaaack”…..   The crazy Wirth’s are in town.   We arrived yesterday with too many suitcases and two crazy dogs.  Those knucklehead dogs.  Ruby slept on my lap the whole way and Peek-A-Boo slept in her “studio apartment” all the way.  This would be her bag under the seat.  She wasn’t real thrilled about it, picture the Tasmanian Devil– that is exactly how she behaved until she sucumbed to the drug.

Ruby on the left and Peekers.

Peekers and sneakers.

(Sorry can’t resist a few cute pictures of the girls)

I have started off my first morning as many Bostonians do every day.  A “regular” Dunkin Donuts Coffee and a “coffee roll”  (a coffee roll is not a donut by the way- I learned this from the DD people themselves, last year).  Mmmmmmm, so good and so bad for you all at the same time.  It’s a beautiful thing!

It is really great to be here in Cape Cod, before the season actually starts.  There isn’t much traffic and we get to see this area slowly “wake up”.  I just love it here.  Our little slice of heaven.  If you haven’t been, you really must.

I wanted to show you my mini-makeover of our foyer in our California house.  I didn’t have much time to complete it like I really wanted to- but I did manage to craft a few blinds before we vacated the premises.  Here are some before and after shots.

Someday, perhaps I will do a tutorial on making a shade.  I used all the old hardware from the original shades to craft these two and it worked out okay, thank goodness!

So I am off to “food shop” as they call it here.  Our fridge is bare.   😦

I also want to give a shout out to Lavender from Threadsquare.  She lives in these parts- and I would love to have coffee or a drink, if she can make time to meet one of her biggest fans!!!   🙂

Have a wonderful, wonderful Monday!!!!

Canvas Rug Tutorial

As promised a few days ago, I have put together my FIRST tutorial.  All done by me, photos and all, so I apologize in advance for the iffy quality of this post.

You will tape a 6″ stripe on one side of your rug and then do the same 6″ stripe on the other side of your rug working in towards the middle and create a balanced design on both sides.   It should look like a mirror image.

Here is a diagram that isn’t to scale and is not the same design that I painted my rug.

Step 10 is next and for me this is the most fun!  Peeling off the tape!  It’s like Christmas morning all over again.  You get to peel off the tape and see the design that lies beneath!

I took my rug and hung it on the side of our fence in anticipation for step 11.  This can make a back breaking task a lot easier.

When you feel as though you have enough coats of varnish and it is all dry.  It is time to flip and press.  Flip your rug over and fold back your 1″ “hem” or border and press the iron-on rug binding on around all edges of your rug.  My favorite rug binding is this kind :

Iron On Rug Binding-1-1/4 Inch Wide 4 Yards

I didn’t have any of this kind to use for myself, but you can find it on Amazon for about $4.00 for a 4 yard package.  It really works the best!

Your last step is to enjoy.  You also may want to add a rug pad.  I will need one of these because my rug is by my front door and it may slide around a lot.

I hope you have all found this to be an informative and easy to follow tutorial.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me!  I will also be posting pictures when I finish my foyer mini-makeover.  This rug is just the first step.

Everybody Loves a Yo-Yo, Right?

Day 5 of the Me-Made-May 2012 Challenge.  What to wear?  Thank goodness the weather in Marin is starting to change for the better.  It’s sunny today and this gives me the opportunity to wear something that i’ve sewn.  The weather doesn’t really call for a skirt or dress, I am going to throw on a Sorbetto Top (pattern by Colette) it’s a really good basic top and it never disappoints.  I will throw a Kanzashi flower pin/barrette into my ponytail and call it a day.  I started crafting these little blooms a couple of years ago.  They are a fun  little treat to add to a handbag, tote bag, sweater or to your favorite hair-do.  I rather enjoy learning a new little crafty thing to create.  It keeps the mind and hands busy!

I crafted these yo-yo’s into barrettes, displayed here at a local hair salon.

So here is todays MMM.

Hustographer still out-of-town, Will took this picture on his way out the door to volunteer his time building steps on Lady bug Trail in Marin County for Boy Scouts.

On my cutting table?  Another pair of Colette Clover Trousers (6th pair) and my first attempt at sewing a knit.  I am going to use the Sewaholic Pattern Renfrew.  To say that I am a little nervous is an understatement!

What’s on your cutting table?

I would love to know!  Happy Sewing!

Something I just FELT like….

Since I am traveling and visiting with my folks in Michigan and I am not sewing like I should be I thought I would post about something that I sewed last summer.  I made a felt garland that Anna Maria Horner posted a free pattern for on her website.  This  Felt Garland Is adorned with a blanket stitch around the edges of two circles that are stacked together.  I bought wool felt from Feltgirl on etsy.   She has a very large variety of lovely colors and I chose to go with water and beach colors.

I gotta say that if you are stuck in a car for any length of time (not driving) it is the perfect project to work on.  Time will just fly!!!

Here is a close-up!

This was just a fun whimsical project.  Anyway, have a lovely day!!!

xoxo

Tracey

I am seeing lines……

Over the summer we spent 8 weeks in Cape Cod.  We have a little place that we have been slowly fixing up.  This last summer a lot of painting happened.  Not only on the walls, but also the floors.  I have always wanted to paint wood floors- wall to wall or a very large painted rug.

This is the rug BEFORE

The  original old rug was dingy, dirty and really colorless.  We wanted to add color to our “band-aid” colored house so …… I did a little painting….

Painting a Canvas Rug

 Jim and I went to the local Ace Hardware Store and picked up some sample and discontinued paints in a range of blues and greens.  I spent a few hours on the first day taping off a pattern on the canvas.  On the next day I painted, and on the third day I painted.  By the fourth day I was able to pull up the tape (my most favorite part) and spray several layer of clear coating.  This prevents the paint from coming off, and keeps dirt at bay.  Canvas rugs make such a fun project and really adds color to a room!  You should try it! This last picture is a rug I painted for our kitchen.

After with Ruby        

Kitchen Rug