Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

To all our soldiers both home and abroad - we thank you for all you do for our country. God Bless You and God Bless America.
Have a safe and happy Memorial day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little Flower Arrangements

I love the warmer months for the many beautiful flowers they bring. I don't like the heat of summer but it's almost worth it to have a constant supply of flowers at your fingertips. I have an assortment of things to hold flowers down to the smallest one below. It was a favor at a wedding, made for holding toothpicks; I love putting a rose in it.
This large rock had a hole drilled into it and a "frog" attached underneath. The frog has spiky things that hold the stems along with a well for filling with water.

And these next 2 are my favorite - both gifts from some good friends who know what I love!
This is a combination of 2 different types of Raku - the horsehair raku (white) and the oil slick look around the edge. Nancy knew I collected Raku and knew I would love this. I think I use it everyday during flower season.
You don't need many flowers right now with all the peonies in bloom; they practically make the entire arrangement and last for 3-4 days.
Big fun doing these little things.
Have a good and colorful day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Love with Peonies

When I was a little girl, I lived next door to my grandmother, her and my mom were great gardeners and shared a Peony garden that separated the 2 properties in the back. I remember walking along the length of this garden, smelling the Peonies and thinking they were the biggest flower I'ld ever seen in my mind, the size of plates - well leave it to my childhhood imagination to remember them like that. My husband and son planted Peonies a couple of years back and they are really starting to come into their own. Although not the size of plates, they are a beautiful, big flower and right now my new favorite. We have light pink ones

and a beautiful deep rose colored one.
John and Mike planted 5 more Peony bushes this year - anxious for them to get big but I know I have a couple of years.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fiber Day Kids

Fiber Day at the Folk Art Center last Saturday was such a fun day and and working with the kids was great. I used to be a teacher many years ago and forgot how much fun working with little ones can be - especially when it's something they like to do. The kids all got a chance to marble a piece of fabric. I had 2 trays set up, a rake and some hair curler picks which served as a stylus. They picked their colors - most all of them wanted to use ALL the colors and then they dove right in, like they had been doing this all of their lives.
Kids are so spontaneous and all did a wonderful job raking the patterns.
This little girl was absolutely adorable - she was very sure of herself and knew exactly what she wanted to do! She also wanted to stay and marble with me all day - I would have loved that. She did come back several times to do more prints!
And with great results!
The most fun part was in the end - drumroll please, when I had them pick up the corners to show all the onlookers the results and of course everyone cheered and clapped!

We had kids of all ages and even some moms who did it along side of very little ones (who wanted their mom there as a security blanket)
And another Wow! Moms came up with some clever ways to use their fabric - decorative patches on clothing, book covers, bookmarks.
It was wonderful fun for me, the kids and all the onlookers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fiber Day

Fiber Day is this weekend at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC. It's one of the many activities sponsored by the Southern Highland Guild. It's 2 full days of events focusing on fiber, so for the fiber lover, you'll receive an overdose of all the things you love. On Saturday, from 10-4, visit the auditorium for lots and lots of demos on weaving, spinning, dyeing with natural dyes, quilting, machine arts and marbling on fabric. Sunday will present 2 fashion shows featuring garments and accessories made by members of the guild.  It's always great fun and a wonderful source of inspiration.
I'll be doing marbling with the kids (both the big and little ones). We'll be using smaller than usual pans so everyone will get to try it. We'll start with a marbling base and 2-3 colors of paint which are dropped on top.
Just using 2 colors here.
We'll be using Cascade rakes and a stylus to rake designs which will be easy for the little ones.
Lowering a small piece of fabric on top of the design and waiting a few moments for the fabric to look like it's wet.
Then a quick rinse in warm water and voila - My little marblers willl go home with a piece of fabric they designed themselves.
There are so many beautiful patterns you can do with this technique but not enough time to do on fiber day so here's a "look-see" at some of the pretty patterns I will have as samples. This is the Cascade pattern made with the Cascade rake. It was done on silk.

And Bouquet done with a series of rakes and the final rake which uses the Bouquet Rake.
This is a waved Non-pareil using a resist made of contact paper in the marbling process (in the shape of a leaf). I later went back and filled in the area with silk paint.

Hope to see you there

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today is my daughter's birthday. She was born on Mothers Day 35 years ago. My husband ran out that morning to buy me a Mother's Day present, forgetting I already had the best present I would ever get! So to my sweet, wonderful girl from then....
til now. It's been 35 wonderful and way too short years....
Hope you have a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful women who have nurtured, loved, hugged, shed tears for, laughed with and cared for family, friends, cats, dogs, chickens and so many things too numerous to mention. You make the world a brighter, happier place!
Have a great day - sending you flowers and good thoughts!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clever Friends

We had our monthly meeting of Fiber Arts Alliance this week...always an inspiration. My friend Dee Dee recently took a workshop in Nuno felting at John C Campbell Folk Art School. Nuno felting is a form of wet felting using a very sheer fabric as a base whereby the fibers are felted into this base. The results are beautiful; they can be very dense or very gossamer in appearance depending on how much of the base fabric you want to show. Dee Dee covered the entire base piece of fabric on this piece - all kinds of colors and textures along with some tissue lame. Tissue lame will not felt into the base and needs to be covered with a very sheer fabric to hold it in place.

My friend Dot H has been playing with the Zentangle doodling and created these wonderful little samples, but the thing that caught my eye was the fastener she used on the back.
Dot is the "recycling" queen; she finds a use for many things so many of us would normally throw out. This hanging device is one of the plastic seals from things like liquid Coffee Mate. Dot says they work great on light weight pieces. She uses a white glue like Tacky to hold them in place.

I thought this was such a clever idea. After glueing and letting it dry, it can be hung using a nail or something similar.
Dot also showed me a blouse she was wearing - the closures were amazing!

She used an antique button and mounted it on a Chinese coin - how cool is that?

I loved this next piece - a cover made for a notebook or anything you want. Dot started with a piece of fusible web, laid some fabrics on top and using a press cloth, ironed in place. She then added more stuff, pressed and any area left unfilled (fusible exposed), were filled in with foils which works very well with a fusible web. The whole piece was covered with an iron on vinyl to protect, seal and make it "wipeable". A great idea.
Dottie C shared her latest piece with the group - many hand dyed fabrics went into this glorious piece - what a feast of color for the eyes
So my very creative friends have done it once again, leaving me with much inspiration and food for thought. Thank you all for sharing!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day

Happy May Day, I can't believe it's May. In our house that means lots of birthdays along with my daughters first wedding anniversary.  I recently read about the origins of May Day from a favorite column of mine - Dear to quote her  "some cultures felt the first day of May divided the year in half and established the custom of "setting the new fire". It was their way of lending life to the new springtime sun. Sweethearts would walk through the smoke for good luck. The Romans May Day celebrations were devoted to the worship of Flora, goddess of flowers. They danced around Maypoles or cut down a tree, lopped of branches and wrapped it in violets. Then along came the Puritans who frowned on merriment, and most festivities were abolished". So in honor of May Day, I took some pictures of our gardens and some of the flowers in bloom right now. Enjoy the tour.
This is our Arbor garden.
This is our Bluebird house (below). We usually have 3 families every year, raising new little baby birds and then moving on. It's a highlight of the season for me. There's a new family in there right now. I like to think it's the same family returning - guess I'll never know!

Well, okay - this is not flowers but my all time favorite tree, our Fat Albert. We have since planted 2 more - one a little smaller named Hilda (in honor of my mother in law who loved our Fat Albert) and a baby one named Molly (after our cat who is still quite tiny). We have a lot of gardens and it's a way of distinguishing between them all - Molly's garden, Hilda's garden etc. I love the new growth on the tips.
And our Snowball Viburnam
We have Iris's all over the place; I love them.
This is in the back; everything this year is really filling in - like the old adage "sleep, creep and leap". Things are finally leaping!

Our purple Dames Rocket
and variegated Weigela which is flowering right now.

My son (who is a landscape design major) designed this garden and I think he did a great job!
And I love Ponytail grass; it feels as soft as it looks. Grasses always remind me of Jones Beach (former New Yorkers will remember Jones Beach).
Happy May Day Everyone!