Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer crafts: Beading Bliss

   When my beading group takes a holiday at the Vineyard, we each carry a surprise craft. Since mine is a secret, I will show you what I took the first time we went, in 2006. I really can't equal or top that idea but I am busy gathering my goods.
(click to enlarge tableware)
    To create this beaded tableware, I bought some stemware inexpensively at the China Fair in Cambridge or Newton and had an old set of barely used and not terribly handsome cutlery.
    Well, now to jazz them up!
    I believe I bought the 20 guage silver-like wire at JoAnne's, Michael's or ACMoore and then picked up some 8mm faceted multi-colored beads. I didn't know that multi-colored plastic beads could look so cheerful.
    We use the tableware each year when we return. Give it a try! Oh, you will need a wire cutter and maybe, but not necessarily, needlenose pliers. The wire is malleable and doesn't need soldering. Just wind it tightly, firmly.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Vacation Vagaries

   Back in the late 60's or 70's when people were leaving the cities or rat race as it was sometimes called and moving to the country, we left the country to move to the cities. This past week when Joe and I and Farley were trying to go to the city for a vacation, packing twice for the Big Apple, for various reasons we felt we had to change our minds to return to nature. To be so different, both Joe and I are vascillators. We hate to plan ahead and to be bound. We like caprice, whimsy, turning on a dime. We oscillate, fluctuate and shilly-shally; and that is what this journal quilt is about and it shows a lack of planning but that is part of the story. Also, I am determined to post one once a week and I am a day late, hence an even greater than usual lack of perfection. We did a little museuming at the MFA to purchase catalogs for the NYC show we would miss, but got to the ocean, the river and walked the ponds. I hope the diary sketch expresses this.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mutts and Magic Movies

       Vacation this week centered on Farley and Flip, movie making and mailing. We wanted to go to NYC to see, this time, the Matisse show at MOMA and Durer at the Morgan. But given the heat and imagined complications, we stayed home with Farley, day tripping to Ogunquit, Maine and Exeter, New Hampshire. At the same time, I was trying to understand the nuances of clipping video with my Flip Mino, making "Magic Movies" with  appropriate music and mailing to friends. My actions were reminiscent of a cat with a mouse he is proud of presenting it to his owner. So I spammed my friends with my creations, proud as I could be.

       I also finished a good book, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, by Gail Caldwell (originally from Amarillo, now Cambridge) who wrote of her close friend, another writer, their dogs and deep friendship."It's an old story," Caldwell began. "I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that.'' I was sad to finish the book. It prompted me to return to walking Fresh Pond, where those friends walked and I walked Molly, our Bearded Collie, years ago. I made two of my little Magic Movies at Fresh Pond, scene of our first picnic in Boston, and Ogunquit, the first beach we visited after moving to Massachusetts.

         [note: These two still photos of Farley were clipped from Flip videos I took of him.]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Freezing Frames with a Flip

New hardware is less and less a challenge these days. My Flip camera throws all of the easy instructions right onto the face of my computer and on a second (maybe third) reading of most of the instructions, I am ready to roll. Artists don't give up.

These freeze frames of videos of the granddaughters on the monkey bars are an inspiration for sculpture and painting. It is not easy to catch models in action like this...just the pose you want.

Swing down to click on each of the photos to enlarge.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hannah Flips: a journal quilt

Hannah Flips (click to enlarge)

   When I received a Flip video camera for my birthday, I was eager to film Hannah in a stop-action movie I had viewed when first searching movies on iTunes. It was an old black and white movie that I have not been able to relocate. I was so excited by the results of 29 seconds, this had to be the journal quilt for last week.
    I have made an abstract of the Flip with a girl presenting a flower. The drawings are quilted on the side: and all will make sense to those who have viewed the video A Flower for LinLin
in my posting of Wednesday, August 4, 2010, a treat!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Milestone Marking: more fabric postcards

Fabric Postcards (click to enlarge)
   Martha wrote from Amarillo that she would be 95 last Friday. She still drives her younger friends, is the same size when she married, and plays bridge with people my age. I hope she will pass on her secret. After I post this blog, I will write her a long letter, but I got off her birthday fabric postcard along with four others today.
   Martha's cake sports a 95, music and a suggestion of long life from the fortune cookie. Andreas, a teen who fell off a 30-foot cliff and only broke a leg, thank goodness, has fortune cookies that mention his magnetic personality and his long life. I cut those two from unused quilted blocks I made at workshop, but had not put into a quilt. My teen neighbor Lloyd brought over a chocolate artist's palette and brush he found in Exeter as a birthday gift, so he gets a thank-you. And belatedly I am thanking Liz for the gold thread she gave me for my needlepoint. Last, but not least, is a card for Georgia whose birthday and 50th anniversary come up this month. I LOVE milestones. More reasons to celebrate, to craft!
   Cut a piece of flannel and a front and a back fabric with rotary cutters, each 4 1/2 inches x 6 1/2 inches. Put the front and back right sides together, and the flannel below. Stitch 1/4-inch around except for 2 inches at one end where one will turn out after clipping the corners. Iron, then sew 1/8 inch all around. I use white thread and color appropriately with fine Sharpie permanent markers. I use a gel pen to address as it does not run. I have a "postcard" stamp and I adhere self-adhesive stamps, rubbing them in firmly and take to the US Post Office to be hand-cancelled. The Post Office people always smile big and the cards have always arrived, locally overnight.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Left Behind: A Journal Quilt

    The Jaguar Concourse in Sturbridge was at a beautiful setting, but we unfortunately left our dog Farley and my paints behind. Things I don't want to forget I include in journal quilts. Farley would have enjoyed lolling around on the banks of the lake with the other dogs and I had time to do some watercolors during the afternoon judging period. Of course, I could have used the Brushes application on the iPod iTouch; and I did play with it which secured some visual memories. (click photos to enlarge)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crafting Close-up: necklace and bracelet

    Recovering from a grandchildren sleepover this weekend, long trip with them to a musical (not having water to drink available in the car), and inventive singing on the way home, I put together another necklace, forgetting to save all the stages for those of you who wanted more details. Hopefully these photos answer questions.
    First, you string the beads, (a bead tray makes it easy) in this case separating the large beads by smaller ones. Check for fit. Then run the beading wire through a silver or gold bead (I break glass ones), a crimp and another metal bead, and loop through the clasp. You reverse and go back through the bead, crimp and bead and a few more major beads in the necklace. Clip wires to hide, an inch plus into the bigger beads. (Click photos to enlarge)
    Use the crimping tool twice at each end, the inside hole with the "tongue" for the first squeeze and then the hole at the point of the tool to round things off. The only difficult part is pulling the wire tight enough so as to leave no gaps in the beading wire. I sometimes use those other tools.
    This method is so fast, that I was also able to make another (already) smocked dress with one seam while the girls watched Babe, the movie. Hannah wanted tie straps, so I used gold bias tape ( there is gold in Tinkerbell's wand), of which I stitched the sides and attached. Of course I double-stitched the dress and attachments as a preventive measure. We made a heart bracelet for one girl and a turquoise necklace (neither pictured) for the other. A fast craft this is!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Flower for LinLin: My First Flip

       For my birthday, I received the 2nd Generation Flip Mino HD 2-hour video camera, about which I had heard good things. It took some nerve to turn it on, but I knew I wanted to make a flower come to life as I had seen in an old stop-action movie. Hannah was a natural to perform for me. We made the movie in under 5 minutes since the family was on the way out the door. You can hear the normally patient David in the background.
     I love to watch this over and over. I hope Hannah will do some demonstrations for me as make some how-to's clear. Flip inserted right into my computer and everything needed opened up on my desktop. Later I figured how to put the footage into iMovie for more sophisticated editing, but I love this as it is. (I may not leave it up if it breaks up trying to load.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Homemade craft kit as a gift

    Trilla had a big birthday this year and her daughter flew her home to hear Joan Baez (who at one point lived where I live now). Of course I could not compete with such cleverness, but knowing Trilla is a book lover, I took Abby's advice from her  June 28, Weave a Rainbow blog to make a gift kit from a pleasurable craft. I had loved making Neal's bookmark and happily found a design attributed to Virginia Woolf or Vanessa Bell (see the beautiful Bloomsbury Needlepoint: From the Tapestries at Charleston Farmhouse by Melinda Coss), I mailed Trilla a Comic Life birthday card with the idea, the canvas, needle and threads to sew. What I enjoyed about the Bloomsbury pieces, was that the people didn't fanatically stitch everything perfectly exactly balanced, but perhaps made up the designs as they went. Coss thought this might be a design for a pen holder or an eyeglass case. But I am into bookmarks and Trilla is a supreme reader, writer and clever friend. Comic Life is an inexpensive software I use all the time. (click on links to read more and photo to enlarge)