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November 27, 2012

From Thanksgiving to Christmas

We had a big family Thanksgiving at our apartment on Thursday and I painted the Gerbera daisies I had in the bud vases on all of the tables.


The following day my husband and I relaxed and then I started planning the Christmas ornaments I will make for our grandchildren.  I made one prototype in order to work out problems with the pattern.  But then I needed to make a second one to tweak things more.  Now I'm almost done making a total of 15 Santas - assembly line production.


The Santa head is the ornament - measuring about 6" long.  The green square is artistic license on the page! 

October 19, 2012

I Made a Quilt for My Niece's Baby

I made a baby quilt for our niece - using a children's print and colors that could be used for a girl or boy.  Baby Jack was born this past week - 2 new babies in our family in the last 3 weeks!  


 I wanted to remember the quilt in my sketchbook and painted examples of the images, stripes, dots, and designs on the fabric.



September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

All of our New York City grandchildren (ages 3-9) spent the Labor Day holiday with us.  We had a picnic in Central Park Saturday afternoon - playing soccer, and then several rounds of a favorite new card game called Apples to Apples.  Here are a few photos and two of my sketchbook pages during these hectic 4 days.




When we were in the apartment, the boys played together with their electronic games and Sydney and I made more animal placemats for them to use when visiting us.  These are the 3rd and 4th that she made.


These were busy days and I barely had time to finish several journal pages.  I started to sketch a few people sitting on the bench near our blankets, because I liked the man's position with his arms over the back of the bench.  And then he moved off to play softball after about 1 minute! ! 



I also sketched the sleeping bear and walrus placemats that Sydney made and the funny fantasy crocodile that I made. 



August 3, 2012

Making Stencils for Art on Paper and Fabric

My friend Melanie Testa is starting a series of online classes through her new website which is called Clever Guild.  If you know either of Melanie's books, you know what a talented artist she is - on paper and on fabric.  I love the way she uses stencils for background images in her art, and I couldn't wait to take her new online class called "Stencil Magic" so I could learn how to make my own stencils.  I am a total novice, making only one previous stencil using contac paper and Shiva paintsticks.

For my first stencil, I used a doodle from my "Doodle Sketchbook."  If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I rarely doodled, and for the past year I forced myself to be more creative when I was visiting my Mom and we were sitting having coffee and talking.   This is a page of doodles from last August. 


I scanned, cropped, and resized my purple flower doodle to make my first stencil.  Melanie teaches students how to convert a drawing, or photo, into an image that can be used as a stencil.  "Bridges" need to be created on the pattern in order to create details in the image.  This is my stencil, photographed over the self sealing mat that I used during the cutting, so you can see the image.


Today I decided to use the stencil on paper, even though I haven't reached that lesson yet.  It was not a nice crisp image using gouache, but I'm sure that Melanie will teach me the best way to do this in the next lesson.


I used a reference book on Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts for inspiration for my next stencil and here is the second stencil that I cut. 


Here is my first, not very crisp, image using gouache on paper.



While cutting the stencil, the mylar is laid over a sheet of paper with the chosen image, and carefully cut out with an xacto knife.  In the process of cutting th stencil, the paper sections are also removed.  I saved them and here rearranged them for another variant of this image which could also be made into a stencil. 


This is a terrific class for anyone wanting to create their own stencils for repetitive images on paper and/or fabric.  It is a rolling class, so you have access to all 4 classes as soon as you sign up.  And the video access is indefinite, so you can return to them over and over. 

It's time for me to go watch more videos in the next class!

June 14, 2012

Making Things

My grandaughter Sydney loves to make things.  I definitely recognize that need and try very hard to get her alone so we can play together creatively.  She is now 7 1/2 and for the last several years has slowly been learning how to use my sewing machine.  Long term readers of my blog may remember previous blog entries as we inched our way toward full competence. 

She finished 1st grade last Friday.  We came home from the beach on Monday.  And we had a "creative day" immediately scheduled for this week.  One day turned into two days, two overnights, and two sewing projects.  As soon as she walked in the door, she asked if she could sew.  I was anticipating this and decided I would have a project in mind.

I bought quilted placemats for my young children in 1981 in Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco, and then designed and made more using the same concept.  Our family used and washed those placemats almost daily for years.  I brought them with us to NYC in 1993, as patterns/prototypes to make more, but my grandchildren saw the originals and loved using them for all of their meals here with us.

Sydney selected patterns that I drew, but never made, and over the course of 2 days made two placemats!  I worked with her, teaching her how to use an iron, adhere fusibles, and applique using a satin stitch.  Here she is using the sewing machine!!  I now only have to stand behind her.  When I told her the eyes were going to be hard to stitch on, she said "I'm ready for it!" She even wanted to thread the machine and change bobbins by herself!  And did.


Sydney with her two completed animal placemats:


Here is the Rhino - each animal has a head, feet, and tail.  Wish I knew who made the handmade originals I bought 30+ years ago.  I expanded the concept into a full set of animals and designed more.


And here is the bull:


When one of her brothers came to pick her up this morning, she told him the rhino would be his to use, whenever they eat here, from now on.  Up until now Cal and his cousin Robbie (one of my sons' boys) share the dragon!


Addendum: I finally found the blog entry I wanted to include in this blog post on why children need to taught to make things.

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