Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Rubens Inspired Dress & Artful Bag!

Ok, first, this was a hard challenge.  The dresses Rubens painted were usually ornate and frilly.  He seemed to either go all in decadence, lace, and frills or nothing..ladies in various states of all their glory.  Anyway, I managed to finish my dress, which is based on Portrait of the Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria, 1606.

My photo didn't turn out great.  I painted card stock shimmery silver and white and then accented with strips of gold and red glitter paper.  Honestly, I'm glad May is over because I am really excited about June's theme!

I finished my bag for Frosted Petunias Artful Bag Challenge.  I used a piece of stationary paper to create a summer clutch.  I even used a real snap for the closure!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Tootles!
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Drumroll......The Theme For June's Dress Up Is....

Asian art!  Isn't this painting, called, Young Woman With a Lily, just gorgeous?  It was finished in 1943 and painted, in oil, by Vietnamese artist, To Ngoc Van.  I guess I have been inspired, of late, by Asian themed images and fabric for the little bags I've been sewing.  Asian art is very wide ranging.  Don't just think Japanese and Chinese.  Travel to Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Korea...even India!  Here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing.

I can't wait to get started!  I'll have the Simply Linked link up at midnight on June 1st!  
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Let The Summer BEGIN!

First Magnolia Bloom This Season

Well, it's summer, officially, I think.  It's Memorial Day weekend..the start of the swimsuit, flop flop, and tanning (or baking) season!  I'm ready for BBQ, swimming, and boating!  I am so ready for my VACATION!  My vacation begins NOW and I am going camping, canoeing, and hiking (maybe not the hiking)!  I'll be off the grid for a few internet, no phone, no signal.  I'm actually a bit anxious about all that, but I'm convinced it will do me good.  I need good right now. 

I've been busy at work and gearing up for vacation, but I've finished a few more bags for my "soon to be opened" Etsy shop.  I used the same image transfer technique using the gel medium for the front images.  I used beads on the peacock bag and embroidery thread on the others.  What do you think of them?

"Make Up" Front

"Make Up" Side View

"Make Up" Back View

"Peacock" Front View

"Peacock" Side View
"Queen For a Day" 

Before I go under the radar, I will post about June's Dress Up 2011 theme.  So, stay tuned.  I think you'll enjoy the theme...  

Tootles for now! 

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Age Of Wisdom?

From The Graphics Fairy

So I've been a part of the Over 40 scene for a little over a month now.  I'm still not feeling the wisdom.  Quite the opposite, really.  Instead of ah ha moments, I've had ah what? moments.  Sorry, no epiphanies yet.  I haven't given up hope, however.  I am fairly certain I'll have an Oprah moment sometime soon.  In the meantime, I'll keep plugging along at work, home, and in my sewing room!  

The last bag I made is just a simple clutch or wristlet.  I've used the Japanese ladies image I used on a toiletry bag, but I embroidered on it a bit differently.  I really like this image and it transfers to the fabric pretty easily.  I used a really pretty Asian inspired fabric for the back of the wristlet.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those in the path of the mighty Mississippi.  Please keep all those in mind as that powerful river, and its tributaries, crest in the coming days.

I'm off to my sewing studio!  Take a moment to check out May's Rubens Inspired Dress Up dresses.  They are fabulous!  Have a great weekend!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

A Necessary Tutorial Update and More Bags

You know it's Spring in the Mid West when the temperature fluctuates 40 degrees up and down in a few days!  Another big clue is observing the Wal-Mart crowd.  Half in shorts, flip flops and the odd muscle (loosely said) shirt.  The other half clad in winter coats and scarves!  Last weekend we turned on the A/C and I got a sunburn.  Today I donned my heavy coat when I went to work and am now wishing my husband would not have turned off our gas!  Damn you, Al Gore!

I got a bit of sewing done since my last post.  I'm hoping to have my Etsy Shop up and running by the end of May.  Fingers crossed!  Here are a few of the bags I finished this week:

"Pin Up" Bag

Close Up of "Pin Up" Bag
Close Up of "Kimono" Bag
After printing both these images onto transparencies and then transferring them to fabric for the bags using gel medium, I embroidered certain areas, like the pin up gal's shoes.  The other day I was trying to explain to a friend how to transfer images to fabric.  I told her to read the tutorial I had written.  I was mortified when I clicked over to review my tutorial and realized that I had left out an important step in this process!  I had totally omitted the part about applying the gel medium!  So, if you've read my tutorial and wondered...what?  I've written up and hopefully explained how to apply the gel so you can achieve the best results!  Remember, this process is is not perfect...and that's what is so great!  You will never get the same results twice!  In other words, the resulting image on your fabric will not look like you printed it directly onto the fabric via a computer printer.  You are transferring a printed image onto the fabric by hand.  Therefore, even if you use the same image twice, they will not turn out exactly the same.  That's what makes whatever you make with your image so unique!  

Hope you all have a fantastic (and at least sunny) weekend!
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Family Fun

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and Mother's Day if celebrated!  I had a pretty great Mother's Day and weekend.  The weather was glorious albeit a bit windy.  I spent Mother's Day with my husband and littlest daughter at a festival in a nearby town.  It was full of freebie foods, games, and rides...well, no mechanical rides.  These rides involved horses and buggies.  The picture above is of us while riding in (or is it on) a stage coach.  It was fun and bumpy.  I cannot imagine traveling across the country in one of those!  I guess I would have been stuck on the East coast as I am quite sure my back would not have allowed me to migrate West!

I didn't get one thing sewn this weekend, but I'm not too upset about that since I had such a great time Saturday and Sunday.  I started a new project today.  I'm pretty excited about it.  It involves another vintage image.  I've already transferred the image onto my fabric and I am now sorting out how to embellish it.  I'll keep you posted.  Oh, and I mailed off the mixed media piece I made last week.  I took this photo, which turned out better, prior to posting.

It should get to England by the end of next week.  I cannot wait until it arrives.  I am positive she's going to love it!

Please don't forget to post your May Dress.  The Rubens inspired dresses are fantastic!  I just wish being Rubensesque was in still in!  I am sure I would be a 10!  Sidenote:  After looking at the family photo at the top of this post, I've determined that, with the exception of the goatee, my husband and I are looking more alike with every passing day!  Does this happen to all married couples?  It also appears I have a death grip on my purse.  Just noticed that.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Wasn't my mom gorgeous?  When I was little, I thought she looked like a combination of these lovely ladies:
Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Cher (before plastic surgery).  Happy Mother's Day Mom...miss you.

My littlest daughter gave me these gifts:

I guess the Pity Party for One is over.  Nothing really beats these handwritten notes from a sweet 6 year old.  Hope you all have a great Mother's Day...whether you are a mom or not!

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Pity Party..Table of One

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope everyone had a super week!  It's been a long and busy one for me.  I'm back in rehab and I'm pretty sure my therapist finished first in torture training at CIA because I am feeling the burn today for sure!  I know the exercise will do my knee good, but wow my entire body is killing me!!  

Here in America, Mother's Day is this Sunday.  Since my mom died about 6 1/2 years ago, it's not a holiday that I especially look forward to celebrating.  May is also my mom's birthday month.  Oh, and I don't have a grandmother still living, either.  Okay, no pity party here..well, maybe a little one, but I do know a wonderful lady who is my other mother.  Anita took care of me when I lived with her and her family in England when I was an introverted, timid, awkward teen.  She called me, "Flower," "Petal," and "Sunshine."  She taught me to open up and live out loud.  She laughed at me and with me.  I respected and appreciated her so much that when I got older and had my first daughter, I sent her to live with her when she was an introverted, timid, awkward teen, too!

I think about Anita and her whole clan all the time.  I miss her and love her "heaps."  (as she says).  She lives in one of my favorite places on earth..on the Yorkshire coast.  One of my best memories is when we went to the beach on one hot July day.  It was almost hot enough to get into the water!  I said, almost!  I decided to make her a present keeping the beach theme in mind.  I transferred the three beach gals image onto an 8X10 painted canvas and then highlighted the image with paint and colored pencils.  I stamped the Emerson quote and glued on real shells for a top banner and also used shell stamps and of course a little glitter here and there.  I wish my photo would have turned out better, but by the time I finished, my light was gone!  Yes, I'm impatient!  I'll be sending this out on Monday.  I really hope she likes it.  Happy Mother's Day Anita.  Love and miss you.  

May 11th is my mom's birthday.  Today is my sister's birthday.  She's a mom, too.  I made her a little make up bag using the gel medium transfer method onto fabric.  I've used this same image on another bag, but this time I used gold, hot pink, and green to embroider areas of the umbrella, hat and ice cream.  I've already mailed this off to her. I sure hope she likes it!

Have a great weekend everyone.  And have a happy Mother's Day, too...whether you are a mom or not.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Japanese Fabric and Zippy Bags!

I'm in love.  True.  I'm in love with Japanese fabric.  I feel a tad silly, though, since I'm not really sure what makes "Japanese" fabric different or better, but whatever...I think it's awesome!  I bought a yard of Etsuko Fuyura designed Echino fabric to make a bag for my daughter.  She picked out the bicycle pattern.  I followed Simplicity Sweet Pea Pattern 2205 for the bag, although I made the strap longer so she can actually wear it as a messenger bag as she rides her bike to and from her classes.  My daughter wasn't keen on the flap, so I opted for a magnetic snap in the open top.  I found the pattern really easy to follow and would recommend it to anyone wanting a pleated mid-sized bag!   I found the fabric scrumptious and so easy to work with.  It's just too bad that it's so damned expensive!  Here are a couple more views..YUM:

I know one way to keep myself in Japanese linen...sell a lot of these little bags!



I made this little zippy bag for a friend.  She loved it so much, she wanted two more just like it!  I used linen-like fabric for the front and a pattern fabric for the back.  I transferred the image of the Beach Ladies to the front fabric using a transparency and gel medium.  I then embroidered simple lines to embellish each ladies' swimsuit.  I feel "less is more" here, which, like randomness, is actually harder to accomplish than it seems it would be.  Anyhoo, I really like how the bags turned out and will be making more in this small size, which is perfect for a few personal toiletries or some makeup,  as well as medium and larger sizes!  Yes, I so need to get going on opening my Etsy Shop!!!

Reminder:  If you have an April Art Deco Dress and haven't posted it or linked up to it, you can still do that HERE.  Also, May's Rubens Inspired Dresses will be on parade, too.  You can find those HERE.  I know they are going to be fantastic!

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