Friday, May 9, 2014

More Oleander - Creative Recap

Hesitantly, I opened my draft blog post today, expecting a big blank staring back at me.

I was cheered to find these images waiting here. You see, in this last month a hard drive crash and new computer have consumed  my creative time. 

And despite a good amount of backups - I wasn't quite perfect in that backup implementation.

So, I lost some spreadsheet data and photos.  But not these ones!

Continuing on from last month with that oleander motif, this time stitched on cotton over-dyed with indigo, using simple DMC stranded embroidery floss.

You know, working with anything hanging around the house!!

Pondering, too, how to use the Spoonflower printed fabric samples with the oleander images.

And I have a tale about that little 4" embroidery hoop I use...

It came from France, from the Sajou embroidery store online. It's a lovely little hoop with nicely beveled edges and wood that doesn't split.

Late one night clicking around the internet I found the shop online - at that time all in French. And using my high school language abilities I managed to order the hoop - padding my order with some thread bobbins and postcards to reach the minimum international order.

Yet my math failed me in converting from Francs to Dollars (or was it Euros?),and I reversed the conversion factor in my head.

So that cute little inexpensive hoop ended up costing me...



As always - thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Thrift Stories - Aqua

I have a history with things aqua. It's one of those go-to colors that always pulls my attention. It's such a happy hue.

A year or so ago I found this vintage rotary telephone. Slightly overpriced, I just had to have it!

It's kept me company in my office ringing away with its classic bell tone. (Yes, it works!)

Although as a practical device in these digital times - not so much. (Try responding to a menu tree from a rotary phone - can't be done!)

 Great accessory piece, regardless of it's practicality.

For practicality, a Samsonite suitcase fits the bill. This one was tucked into a corner of my favorite thrift shop. (The one that features a wide range of prices.)

 For $4.00 it came home with me. I love the subtle sparkle to the aqua blue textured exterior, and I love the shirred cover over the lid.

 It's a bit stained inside so I use it to tote art supplies to our Odd Tuesday creative group.

Some items come with great surprises inside.

 A recent jaunt to that same thrift shop on a busy day had me feeling that the offerings were picked over.

 Up high on a shelf I spied this aqua and white ice bucket - obviously older with the robust metal handle. Dangling from the side was a small tag with tiny writing - "ice bucket with 35 silver".

They weren't kidding - inside an almost complete set of Towle silverplate flatware. Gorgeous! Made my day.

Suburban thrift picking - always a pleasure and sometimes there's treasure!

Do you venture out thrift picking? Are there go-to items that you always seem to be picking up?

As always - thanks for stopping by!

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Southern Hospitality's Thrifty Treasures

Friday, April 4, 2014

Use a Theme as a Creative Jumpstart

Hi folks! I'm back to blogging again, Yay!!
Here's a little creative recap then I'll show you some enjoyable things I'm trying.

Last year, I created many pieces using this dog silhouette: lots of postcards with the hand carved stamp, some fabric pieces and postcards. After the loss of my dog Lily we are going to be 'cat people' only for awhile.  This kinda' remained in the back of my mind all year and I unintentionally turned to the dog shape again and again.

Kitten Huey joins us - our Dewey is mildly amused
(next year we find Louie?)

You know, I didn't realize that I was doing it at the time, but I found that a theme is a great catalyst when wanting to try a different technique. It gets me past that 'blank paper - YIKES- what shall I do?' fear. The dog silhouette was a jumping off point to get going last year. The end result was a year of projects with a common thread, creating a cohesive mini collection.

Gouache Resist First Effort

This year my creative group 'Odd Tuesday' gave the gouache resist technique a go. (You can find Jane Powell's brief video tutorial here.) I'd tired of my dog silhouette and after bright day outside trimming the oleanders I thought I'd play with the flowers and the associated caterpillars/moths.

That day had brilliant blue skies and clear colors in the blooms and foliage

On Pinterest I started an oleander board for reference (and disappeared down that rabbit hole researching plants and several ways to trim my oleanders - darn you Pinterest!). Sketching from some photos I drew several blooms, buds, leaves, caterpillars and moths.

Four oleander mini cards using gouache resist technique

Taking scans of the resist images I created grid arrays of the flowers and printed them as  paper for origami boxes.

Later, I used those same images to produce some notecards from Shutterfly.

 Do you ever use that service? They make great quality photo books, cards, magnets, etc. Here's a tip: sign up for their email newsletter. They offer frequent free and/or big discount coupons for their products. Then, because their lead time to use the offer is often a matter of days, be prepared with a couple of projects ready to go on the Shutterfly site. When the free/discount offer hits your email, you'll be all set to get great products often for just the cost of shipping! (Not an affiliate - just a happy customer)

I'm a bit excited about the floral images and have some mini projects in the pipeline using them. Next month I'll show you those fabric and stitch ideas.

That's my creative recap for this month. I'll be sharing some vintage finds from the thrift shops next time! It seems that aqua colored bits have been a theme for me there...

How have you explored working with a theme in your creative pursuits?

As always - Thanks for stopping by!

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