Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Fairies Are Waiting for Spring!

And so are we! This PCAGOE Challenge was to cover something. Now, I'll cover anything I can bake and then some with polymer clay so this was a wide open subject. I wanted to choose something I don't usually make. Change things up a bit. I'd seen these fabulous fairy houses on pinterest and wanted to give it a try.
With the holidays being over, I had washed up an empty bottle of Grand Marnier. That is my favorite liquor to put on grapefruit. One or two tablespoons on half of a cut up grapefruit, warmed up in the microwave for 45 seconds and voila! You have the beginnings of a beautiful day off at home so you can play with all the toys you got at Christmas. lol
I knew the shape would be wonderful for a fairy house. I went to work starting with the red stone and then cutting out the windows. I knew the fairies would be anxious to get out from winter soon so I added a door. Each window has it's own fairy peeking out waiting for spring to come. Now, fairies who have hibernated all winter don't look pixie dust fresh yet. They need a good rain for that and unfortunately the weather here has not been warm enough for that so they sit by their windows waiting. I'm sure it will come soon and so will they. The chimney comes off so the rain can come in and they can get the inside of the house clean too.
This house was a lot of fun to make. I love sculpting faces because I never who will look out at me until the face is complete. Now, these fairies have had a long wait but I'm sure that with a little rain and a lot of pixie dust, they will be just fine. Fairy tales are safe with this bunch.
Now, hopefully neither of us, me or the fairies will have to wait much longer. I'm starting to think I could use a little pixie dust myself. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St-Paddy's Day at Ironcraft!

Another 2 weeks just flew by. I always wait too long but this time I made it without feeling like I was sliding into home. The theme was Green as in St-Paddy's Day or something recycled, up cycled and the such. I had ideas of what to make and I like to tackle something that I don't always know what to do. This time, though, I chose to make a journal. It is both Green and green. The image on the piece of fabric is so cute and could easily be a little leprechaun or wood elf so that covered the Green in St-Patrick's Day. The supporting fabric is an up cycled green dishcloth. I recycle often old clothes and fabrics from items that can no longer be used for their original purpose. It makes me feel better buying clothes knowing that we give them a long life. I make quite a few of these journals and each one is different depending on the fabrics and buttons I use. This one answers both "green" challenges. Now, back to that image. Isn't it the cutest thing?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ironcraft is Calling for Spring!

I am so into this challenge. I want spring to come so bad! It called for another quilt. I saw this pattern called Flying Geese and thought of the Canadian Geese who are slowly making their way north to us and thought it would be cool to make a quilt with my house and the flying geese coming in. So, that is what I did! Or at least when it's done, it will be that. I paper-pieced the house. That turned out well except for the roof. All these quilting techniques still have a learning curve for me. I appliqued the tree and the black roof on top of the house. The Flying Geese pattern seemed simple enough but I am ever to be humbled by that tendency of saying, "How hard can it be?" The main idea is understood but I will have to get help in getting better defined points in my triangles.
For this challenge, I present a work in progress. The main idea is there so you can see what I'm aiming for but time ran out. In my defense, I spent the better part of yesterday waiting for a tow truck to get my car out of a ditch. The road was icy and snowy and I lost control of the car. I went in nose first. I'm fine and the car got a little damage on the bumper. My nerves got the worst of it. I do, however, long for spring to come now more than ever. Hopefully, the Canadian Geese will hear my call and head up here sooner than later. They are always a sign that spring is here. I anticipate their call.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Many Wonders of Nature

The March Challenge of the PCAGOE is Nature. That is a wide subject that could be interpreted in as many ways as there are artists who choose to do so. At first, when I thought I had a lot of time, I thought of making spring goddesses or elaborate scenes of lakes and mountains. As usual life had other plans and this time it took the form of a bathroom remodeling. Worst case scenario it will take 3 days, they said. Ha! We are a full 8 days later and we are finally seeing the light. Technically, we are seeing the lights in the ceiling being reinstalled properly and the shower curtains being put up. It will look all spiffy once I paint and clean it up and that could take a while. The deadline approached fast and I had to think of something else. Thank God this challenge is so flexible. Nature has a widespread range like that.
I've been making these sewing pins, which I talked about in the last post. They are so efficient when I quilt and sew. This past week I introduced them to my quilting guild and they bought them all. I needed more and necessity met opportunity. In Nature you find fruit. How hard could it be?
I've never done much in the line of miniatures. I'm not a girly-girl much and have always thought of miniatures as a way of making little charms life cupcakes and Pokemon. Well, aren't I the surprised and humbled child when I attempt making these small versions of every day fruit. I tried making a cane of orange slices. That did not go as well as I would have hoped and we won't even mention the poor version of the strawberry cane. I know that with a little more practice I will be fine. I lift my hat to those who make these to be so realistic and yummy looking.
Therefore, I offer my humble creation of oranges, lemons and apples. They will serve their purpose of making pinning fabric much more comfortable on my poor hands and that is a much appreciated purpose indeed. These challenges are about growth both artistic and personal. I have met mine, bowing to those who have made creating miniatures an art. I will study the masters and keep trying. I may even start my next challenge's project earlier this time to give myself more leeway. Stranger things have happened!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ironcraft- Love is in the Air!

These past 2 weeks have just flown by. I always think I have more time than I do. For this Ironcraft challenge, we were to make something for someone we love. I decided to make something I love for someone I love. The pin cushion I made earlier and they are very popular with the crafters that come to the Artisans Shows that I do during the year. What is new are the sewing pins. I've always used the ones with the little metal knob on the ends and have sore fingers when I use them for a long time. I was looking at them, wondering how I could keep these things from hurting my fingers and it came to me that I could add polymer clay to make a flat end. I'd seen them in stores a couple of times, wondering what the fuss was all about. They were expensive compared to the other ones. I had seen many quilting videos where the artists were using the flat ones instead of the ones I had. So, I added some clay to the ends of a couple of my pins. From the minute that I tried them I was a convert for sure. They are so much easier on the fingers! And I can make them into any color and shape that I want.
These are for my daughter. She does not sew much now but I made them for when she does decide to exercise her right to make stuff. She has the soul of an artist but for now, ipods and makeup are more enticing than sitting and sewing. I can wait. The pins will be there when she needs them.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I'm Ready For Mardi Gras!

The January PCAGOE Challenge  is masks. They are not my favorite thing. I don't like to wear them. I'm too claustrophobic for that. Don't really like them on other people as well. They kind of scare me. Never sure what is hidden behind them. I do love a challenge though.
Zentangling has been a new past time for me lately.  I drew my inspiration from that. If you are not familiar with zentangling is it called a yoga for the brain. It is a great creative tool for me. It's doodling with a certain freedom that drawing wouldn't allow. It's very restorative.
This mask was constructed on a homemade mask form made from foil and paper. I started with a very thin veneer of black and white stripes. This is the thinnest I've ever worked with, the thinnest on my pasta machine. I wanted to see how it withstand the handling once it was cured. I also was thinking about the clay I would add on top and didn't want to start too thick. The black and white stripes crackled while I was getting it that thin and from far it looks like newspaper. Adding black and white stripes, triangles, squares and circles to make repetitive patterns on the mask I made shapes that I found pleasing. I then added some mica powders to give it a silvery sheen in some spots.
The next step was a spur of the moment idea and I love the way it turned out. The thinness of the base clay gave me concern. After the curing, I was afraid it couldn't be handled without breaking. And I was concerned about how comfortable it would be to wear the mask. Having clay so close to your face would be uncomfortable for me. So I glued a piece of felt to the back and blanket stitched the felt to the mask, all around the edges. I added a silk ribbon on both sides to tie it up It makes the mask much more comfortable and add strength to the clay.
Voila! We are ready for Mardi Gras. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Anniversary Ironcraft!

Well, I'm back with the Ironcraft bunch, given a challenge to make something every 2 weeks. I think this is my 3rd year and I love the challenges and all I learn from them. I had stopped during the holidays-artisans-shows season and am now ready to play.
For a 4th anniversary the traditions of gift giving is of flowers, fruit or appliances. I chose flowers and coupling this with my ongoing self-teaching of quilting, I present to you my Color Wheel Flower Quilt. It was fun to make, I especially like the gradation of colors in the fabrics. They are all from my scrap pile. When I started this project, what was supposed to be a wheel turned into a flower. I didn't follow instructions. Not that I knew that until it was too late. Reading quilting patterns is a skill that I have to learn. It isn't as easy at it looks.
So, finding myself with only half of the color panels I needed, I decided to make it look like I knew what I was doing and I made a flower instead of a wheel. I think it turned out very well and as far as the quilting lesson I got the general idea. I also re-affirmed that I need so much more practice. Patience and compassion are to be my motto for a long time to come and humour, can't forget humour. I'm going to need that too!
And what about you? Have you ever decided to go with the flow when you made a mistake on a project? Did you like the results?