Looking for something a little different this year for your holiday decor? How about colorful crochet garlands and hand-painted fabric ornaments to bring a little merry & bright to your holiday decorations?
Just because I've been working mostly outside doesn't mean I've completely neglected the inside of the house. I've got lots of plans there, too. Like this random stitch blanket. I do love to knit and crochet, but I don't want to have to think too much about it, like counting stitches or following a complicated pattern, and I get bored easily. My favorite projects are the ones I can make up as I go along. So this blanket is perfect for me. I'll probably end up with 12 of them because I'm enjoying it so. One for every room. On the block.
I've had to learn a few new stitches in the process. Just to keep things interesting. I like the little bobbles and twisted stitches best.
This one I can take my own sweet time with. Because it's just plain fun to work on and because we certainly won't need any extra blankets any time soon.
Next was a project I had in mind when we first moved into this house...almost 2 years ago, but have just now gotten around to. (I've been busy.) A crochet cafe curtain for the front door to replace the generic white sheer that had been there before. With little sparkly dangly beady things for, you know, fun.
Loved that pretty shell stitch. Hmm, need to remember to work that into my random stitch blanket. Now, doesn't that look inviting?
Sorry for my absence, but at this time of year with so much gingerbread to bake, spiced tea to sip on, twinkling lights to stare into, heating vents to huddle by (damn a house with no fire place!), and Christmas books to read, its hard to find the time for concentrating on a screen and making your numbly cold fingers dance across its lettered keys. It's my favorite time of year and it is going to be over before we know it. So, I think a little holiday crafting is in order, don't you? (I had planned on getting at least a few of these into my Etsy shop, but as the days whiz by me the outlook's not so good.)
As I've mentioned, I've been working feverishly on some new journals to add to my Etsy shop in time for the holidays. Well, I'm cutting it a little close but they are now available along with new painted fabric garlands and a new patchwork messenger bag if you're still looking for a unique gift for someone special (And, don't forget, who could be more special than you yourself?).
I'm in love with these new patchwork bags and had to keep one for myself! But that just means there's only one in the shop for now. I will be making more but if you are interested in another messenger bag or would like to request a specific color scheme, just shoot me an email. Custom orders are always welcome!
You can see more pics and details here in the shop!
I love living so close to the mountains! We had some good snow a week or so ago so we took a drive to find the perfect place for skimming down the mountainside at warp speed with nothing but a piece of plastic under your butt--otherwise know as sledding. I have to admit, we had a great time and the snowy mountains were absolutely breathtaking.
Back at the house, I had my own kind of snow day fun alone in my art room with a cup of hot coffee and some paint and fabric.
I'm already looking forward to next Winter. Yeah for snow days!
My brain is all over the place this week. Maybe it's more transitioning. Or maybe it's a fresh start. In a way it feels like I'm fluffing my nest or storing up for Winter. I'm not sure what to call it, but I hope it leads me somewhere good. I'm feeling the need to be more productive, wake up, come alive, get in there and do the things I spend so much time thinking about doing.
Painting on canvas has opened up a whole new world to me. A world I've explored before but haven't visited in a while. And never on this scale. I feel the need to open things up, spread out, think bigger, but at the same time pay attention to the little things.
Today I should have been doing laundry, getting ready for the holidays with family, but I'm having too much fun with my scrappy journal a la Mary Ann.
The fabric/paper combination journal cover is now complete and I'm loving the direction it's going. I didn't have anything particular in mind when I started out, just a pile of fabric scraps and some new corduroy Christmas ribbon, but it turned out kind of granny chic. I love that. At the last minute I added one of the many granny stars I've been making off and on (excellent tutorial here), but still it all seemed kind of random until I spied the blue vintage trim I had been hoarding for the perfect project and everything fell into place. Throw in the piece of cherished psychedelic bird fabric I used on the flap and I think it looks kind of crazy and funky and way over the top. In other words, perfect for me.
As much as I'm loving my new journal, I've saved the best for last: Maisey's journal cover. She has designed and planned the whole thing herself. I am insisting on doing the actual sewing part myself--for the protection of my already abused machine--but she tells me what goes where and with what so I just follow her orders. Wonder where she gets such strong opinions at six years old??
I wanted to ask: doesn't it look just like her?? But maybe I should say, doesn't it look like the creation of a typical pink and princess obsessed first grader who also happens to have me as a mom?? The back:
I'm finding myself working almost exclusively in one of three journals lately and thought it might be fun to introduce you to each of them, being the ladies I spend the most time with. I don't name my journals or title them, although now I'm thinking it would be helpful with this post if I did. I mostly think of them in terms of size and sometimes mood-- my mood. When I think to myself, I feel more like working in this one than that one, it is usually a random choice based on how I feel at that particular moment or, at most, simply a matter of feeling the need to work on a smaller or larger scale. Yet, each book is developing its own...not theme necessarily, but voice. Or more like its own way of speaking. But let me let them show you in their own way what we mean. Introducing (in no particular order)....
Journal the First
This little lady has been scantily clad for most of her life. It was only in the last week or so that I got my butt in gear and made her a new dress. Though she was always destined for better things, her bare bones come from a pad of watercolor paper cut in half, including its chipboard backing turned into the book's covers. Wanting the easy way out and a journal that opens flat, I opted for a coil binding which is ugly but easily disguised with a pretty fabric cover.
The beauty of #1 is her simple uniform pages. No fuss and plenty of room for painting, ranting or anything in between. The thicker watercolor paper is perfect for all kinds of wet media and artistic abuse. My usual method is to paint backgrounds on a few pages at a time then work among them with collage, doodling and writing until they are more or less 'done' and I feel compelled to move on and paint a few more. I'll work like this until the journal is filled or I've outgrown it and feel the need to start fresh. I'm hoping this one will be the first journal I complete every page in. As much as I love each of my journals and recognize their importance at specific times in my life, there is nothing as depressing to me as an abandoned journal. Hopefully, as I grow as a journaler and an artist, I'll either get over caring about blank pages or learn to finish what I start.
Some sample pages:
Next up: journal the second, the black sheep of the family....
After playing around with spray inks and paper, I had to try them out on fabric. It has been a while since I've dyed any fabric and my stash is pitifully low so I took the opportunity to stock up and try some new techniques at the same time.
At first I tried to conduct my little experiments on my own which, those of you who have little ones or know anything at all about little ones already know, is complete foolishness. I was selfishly thinking, I don't have enough fabric or ink to share...the kids will just waste it.... Again, foolishness. Fighting off the kids' pitiful begging and pleading is no fun at all and, thankfully, I gave in early and just let them join in the fun. It turned out that their fabrics were some of my favorites.
I also played around with some neglected fabric paint writers that I've had forever and came up with some interesting designs.
And I picked up a few fabric gel pens--have you ever tried them??? Oh, my gosh...brilliant! Several of the fabrics are being set aside for some serious doodling sessions coming up soon.
You can see where this is heading, can't you? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.
This week I've been struggling daily with sinus headaches and a general sleepiness and lack of motivation that has left me taking long naps and wandering the house aimlessly when awake. Somehow I've managed to come up with enough strength to keep up my art journal, though. And besides the overflow of inspiration I brought home from Portland, I really, really want to make one of these and a few of these, once this headache goes away. I've started working on this dress and have another fabric for dress #2 washed and waiting in the wings. I figure headache or not, I can manage to sit in front of the sewing machine for at least a little while if the project isn't too complicated. Straight lines are good.
I mentioned that I had one more group of photos I wanted to share from Portland. These are from one of the highlights of our trip: a visit to the coolest store ever, Cargo. I had never heard of it before, but one look and I was madly in love. I took tons of pictures because this is what I want my house to look like someday, inside and out. Can you see it?
Even from down the street, you can tell this one is going to be good.
Remember this picture. I've got my own version of something like this coming soon--eek!
I know this one is blurry--it kills me!--but I had to include it. Look. I mean, look!
Are you inspired, yet? Me, too!!
And, by the way, I've added a couple of new garlands to my Etsy shop if you are so colorfully inclined. I've tried to make these inexpensively so everyone can have one. Or two. Because, really, after seeing these pictures, don't you think everyone should have at least a few garlands hanging around?? Me, too!!
If you would like to be added to my mailing list to be notified of new items as I add them to my Etsy shop, please send an email with "mailing list" in the subject line to littleblackkittyart(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you!