Thursday, November 12, 2020

Full time bowl maker!

It's been awhile since I posted!  And other than a brief break from bowls to make a batch of Halloween masks for my friend Joyce, I've been pretty much in full-time bowl making since September, cranking out about 1 a day.  Most have gone to my friend Jana, the lovely lady I collaborate with on gift baskets, but also some that have gone to Arts Connection Gallery to have a full selection for holiday shoppers.  Here are some that I have made:
Poinsettia Christmas Bowl

Bowl with Wood Bead handles

Christmas bowl with medallion


Bowl with fused flower


Bowl with knot

We recently had our first snowstorm of the fall season, with very cold temps, but I didn't get any photos... too busy in the studio!  But it's definitely soup weather and layering is the dress mode of the day.  And our Son and Daughter in law were in town for a few days, so we had a nice visit while they were here.  
 
What's next?  Nothing new to report now, although I am hoping to find some time soon to veer off the bowl making tangent and maybe get time to clean house, and also plan on alternate creative activities to "refresh my palate" so to speak.  Every winter, I like to take a break from production and try new  things, and I'm leaning toward doing some surface design work, a little hand stitching, maybe get back into botanical printing and batik if I have the time.  So stay tuned, and maybe I'll have some new things to share soon!  
One last note - as you may know, my mainstay for over 20 years has been tie-dye.  Yesterday, I heard that one of my wall pieces, "Psychedelic" had sold!

Someone has added a bright spot to their lives, and it makes me happy to know it has a new home! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Shifting gears a little... but not too much!

 As I mentioned in my last post, I've been making some coiled fabric bowls recently, and that carried forward to this post.  I have made some commission pieces, but also have started making some to bring to Arts Connection, and hopefully I will also have some to post on one of my e-commerce pages soon.  Here's one I finished today... if you have been following my blog for awhile, you will recall that I have a "thing" for Autumn Leaves, so each year for several years now, I make several for the season:




And I also love to make covered journals, which are a great gift item:





Some of these are used with scraps of fabric I've accumulated; one has a botanical print that I created last year, then stitched around some of the leaf imprints.  The last one is of a beautiful batik leaf print, combined with a strip of sprigged blue fabric I've had in my stash for at least 20 years!  I love making these, and hope it will keep journal writing alive for at least some budding writers!

On the weather front, we got a temporary reprieve from the unseasonably hot temperatures at least for a couple of days and nights!  A cold front came down from Canada and made me decide to make a big pot of 15 bean soup one night... enough for another dinner, and a couple of lunches!  

Having said all that, I will leave you with a giggle:

Stay safe, but don't forget to laugh!




Monday, August 31, 2020

Some new items I've been working on

 After "retiring" from production mask making earlier this month, I have finally found some time to work on other things which has been a lovely refresher for me.  I'm not into long-term projects, especially those that are repetitive... give me 7 or 8 ideas to chew on simultaneously, and I'm a happy camper!  So here's what I've been working on:


This is a commission bowl for a friend to give as a gift - she loved the autumn leaves on my regular autumn bowls, but wanted it in more of the Desert Sunset colors... gives it a totally different look!  So when I finished hers, I decided to make one to put in the gallery to see if anyone else liked the combination.


Someone on a facebook group I belong to posted a photo of bowls made by Crafty Patti (has a youtube video on how to make them)  and I fell in love with them!  They have no fabric covering the rope, and the painted wood beads (available on amazon.com) are a perfect focal point.  This one is sized to fit a flower pot that has a base of about 4", and I hope to find some artificial succulents I can put in the flower pot to make this a complete piece.  Fast, easy and IMHO, elegant!




This scarf has been a WIP for at least a couple of years!  It was a great project to pick up and crochet a few rows if I was sitting, chatting with friends or watching TV.  I love the soft, muted colors of the yarn... very unlike my normal "ALL COLOR, ALL THE TIME" mode, but I guess my palette has matured just a smidge.



Other than that, I have been doing the paperwork to reset the gallery for our next period, which starts tomorrow.  Sadly, we are losing a couple of artists who are not comfortable being in the gallery to work shifts do to Covid-19, but I'm hoping they will join us again when the virus has been conquered.  But we have some returning artists and a brand new artist coming in, so that will give our visitors new things to enjoy, an perhaps buy!  Once we get everyone set up I will take pictures to share... it's always a treat to see how the gallery looks when we are up and running, and we are able to add Wednesday to our days open this period... 5 days out of 7, that's progress!

Oh, and one more thing... Artists Coalition of Flagstaff has an e-commerce page that I am selling from since about June, and I have been blessed with several sales from the page so far... thanks to all who have browsed, and those who bought as well!  Here's the link if you haven't had a chance to check it out... we have several artists selling there, so it's worth a visit!










Friday, August 14, 2020

Milestone and more...

 As you will recall if you have been following my blog, somewhere in March, I began making face masks - first a batch to send to a friend who is a Nurse in a remote community on the Navajo reservation, then a few batches for a group in town that was making masks to donate to various front line groups that didn't have PPE, then I began making and selling some to friends, then my friend Joyce who sews professionally, asked if I would like to collaborate with her to make masks that would be sold at local truck stops and mini marts.  Five months and hundreds of masks later, I finally cranked out the last order today, to be delivered tomorrow.  I am FREE again!  That's the Milestone!


I actually made less in this order than I had planned... I think Mask fatigue hit and I miscounted, but I still got 35 done, so a nice finish to a long run!  I'm sure there are more masks in my future, but hopefully smaller orders here and there, not 50 a week!  I really do want to make other things!  Now I'm working to finish an order for a friend, who plans to give them as gifts.  Here's one:


The next bowl will be in pinks, reds & purples with matching autumn leaves... ready to begin tomorrow.  Then, something I have been wanting to get back into for awhile, just haven't had time.  All the fabric scraps I've accumulated forever are waiting to be used, and my first project will be making covered writing journals.  I'm really excited to work on these, and hope that will be my focus by next week.  Will post pix in a future post.

Meanwhile, on the gallery front, Arts Connection has expanded to 4 days a week this month, and we are working to get back to a 7 day schedule staring in September!  We've given the "new normal" - mask wearing and social distancing and hand sanitizer, oh MY - a trial since late June, and it's working.  The Flagstaff Mall, where we are located, requires everyone to wear masks, and we do too.  And we keep everything wiped down with disinfectant wipes to make sure our artists who work shifts are safe, as well as our shoppers.  So far, so good!  

Last but not least, I'm trying to gear up to catch up with neglected housework... hope to have it done before the first snow fall, if that tells you anything!  Other than a lick 'n a promise here and there, I've been wearing blinders for months, but my excuse (mask making) is no longer there, so I'm praying for motivation!  Anyone out there get that?  Betcha!  

Okay, time for a little break, then maybe I'll figure out something else to do until time to fix dinner.  Enjoy the rest of summer wherever you are, and keep fighting the good fight!  Make ART, it helps!


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Masks, Bowls and Gallery

I've been busy since my last blog post in mid-May!  The burgeoning mask demand has kept my friend Joyce and me sewing long hours to try and keep up with the orders... we're trying to get out at least 100 a week, and they are snatched up from the truck stops and mini-marts where her sales rep is getting orders for them.  I actually managed to take pictures of a couple of batches of my side orders, to send to those who ordered them, but for the most part, I've been really focused on getting them done and out the door!  Here are a couple of recent batches:
  
These are for a friend who has a hair salon, to give to her clients who are children

A batch for a new customer who loves tie-dye.

Another new customer, for herself and her hubby.


On another front, my friend Jana has been keeping me busy making my coiled fabric bowls that she has been using in her lovely gift baskets, and has been having brisk sales, so that's keeping my sewing machine humming between mask orders!



Want to see more?  Here are some links to her website where she has them listed:


And then there is Arts Connection, which has been shut down since mid March.  We finally re-opened June 19th with about 20 artists offering their work.  The last time I was there, I totally forgot to bring my camera, so photos will be added to a future post.  

I don't know about you, but this is not how I thought I would be spending my time this year, but events drive our lives, and I have learned the importance of being flexible and adaptable, and always optimistic!  I know to a lot of folks, that may sound Pollyanna-ish, but it's who I am.  I am of the mind that life is too short to be walking around with a dark cloud hanging over my head... I am much more inclined to find the beauty and hope in every situation, so if you find that odd or crazy, so be it!  I'm having fun, staying busy and avoiding all the negativity that seems to permeate so many areas these days!  

I will leave you with this meme, which made me belly-laugh when I saw it .  I hope it brings a smile to your face and a laugh from deep inside!

Happy Independence Day, and stay safe!












Saturday, May 16, 2020

Mask Mania and more!

Well, my last post gave you a clue what I had been doing, but I had no idea it would parlay into a huge, going concern!  My friend Joyce sews professionally, creating a wide variety of products that are sold in gift shops throughout the southwest.  She even has a sales rep who visits the shops and sends her orders for products!  Well, with the Covid-19 shutdown, the gift shops closed down, and she had a brief -- very brief -- respite before the deluge of orders for masks started to come in.  Truck stops, gas station mini-marts... suddenly she was getting so many orders that she asked if  I could give her a hand, and that was many, M A N Y masks ago!  One busy Saturday I was in the middle of cranking out masks, and wanted to change needles, only I couldn't get the new needle to stay in.  I have had this problem before, but this time I couldn't overcome it.  The machine went into the shop, and I ended up buying another one on sale and had it up and running within minutes of arriving home.
It's very similar to my old machine, but 12 years newer!  
I have lost count of how many masks I have made since early March, but it's been a lot, and I don't see any end in sight!
I did take a brief break last week to make a couple of coiled fabric bowls.  A friend of mine, Jana, is a soap maker and we are collaborating on gift baskets.  She wanted a couple that could be suitable as a Fathers' Day gift, so I came up with these two:
This one is made of hand dyed fabric

This is made from fabric I found in a thrift shop

And finally, we are starting to work towards re-opening the gallery next Month.  This is going to be a slow process!  Many of our artists are in the "at risk" age group and are reluctant to risk their health by coming to the gallery.  We have worked on guidelines to ensure the safety of both our artists and the shoppers who come in, but may only be open on weekends to start.  We do now have an e-commerce site : https://www.flagstaff-arts.org/the-arts-connection-online-gallery.html, and yes, I am one of the artists listing items for sale there.  That way, even folks outside the Flagstaff area can order items!  So please check it out.  So far we have 10 artists offering work on the site, and we hope to have more joining us soon, so bookmark the link!
Okay, time to go back to work, and I hope you are all staying safe and enjoying Spring!



Saturday, March 28, 2020

What a difference a month makes!

In one short month, everyone's world turned upside down!  Our daily routines, our plans, goals, intentions... disappeared as if a hidden magician waved his magic wand and we were left gasping in amazement, fear, uncertainty and grave concern.
In my last post, one of the things I shared about was the Artists' Coalition of Flagstaff's annual Recycled Art Exhibit which opened the March 6th.
I was unable to attend this year because of back issues, but it turned out to be a good opening, with several sales.  Sadly, we were forced to close the Exhibit and the Gallery a couple of weeks later due to concerns about the Covid-19 virus.  The artwork is still in the gallery, but the Flagstaff Mall also closed last week, and we have no idea when it will re-open.  Everything is on hold, businesses are closed, people are trying to figure out what to do while social distancing or self quarantining.
For me, that part hasn't been too hard - first off, I'm home a great deal of the time anyway, since I'm retired.  But I'm also usually busy creating inventory in my studio.  But I have an overabundance of inventory right now, so instead, decided to join the growing ranks of sewists who have begun to sew face masks to be distributed to medical centers, first responders, or even friends and family so we can wear them while out to protect ourselves and those we come in contact with!

I saw a youtube video today about wearing masks, from a citizen of the Czech Republic:


I know there is some controversy about whether it is beneficial to wear masks while out to shop, go to doctor appointments, etc, but I'm one who likes to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to something that could seriously impact my health or that of my husband or friends, so I tried wearing a mask to the store yesterday, along with some latex gloves that I have used and washed.  I am happy that I tried, and now have both items laundered and in a ziplock bag in my purse for future trips out.  If you sew, I hope you will try these... there are a number of patterns and variations available on-line if you google facemask pattern.  I made the ones above for a friend who is flying to another state to be with family as one of her sisters is seriously ill, so hopefully these will protect her and her husband during the trip.

To all my friends and those who read this, please stay safe, and keep your friends and family safe too!  We will get through this! 💗


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Busy month!

I just looked at my last post... can't believe over a month has passed!  I made a bunch more boho bags and a few small purses or pouches.  They can be seen in my artfire shop for now. 

Arts Connection switches at the end of this month to a one day Auction of some beautiful things that were gifted to Artists' Coalition of Flagstaff when a long time supporter passed away, so we are hoping to raise funds to keep our group going and growing.  Here's one of the items to be auctioned, my fave!

Then we set up for the 18th Annual Recycle Art Exhibit:

This is always a popular event for our community, and the creativity combined with the use of cast off materials makes for a wonderful exhibit!  If you happen to be in Flagstaff in March, we hope you will stop by Arts Connection at Flagstaff Mall and see the exhibit for yourselves!

Following the Recycled Art Exhibit, we will be re-opening with our ongoing artists' co-op where you can see and buy items from around 30 local artists, including my work.  




And BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!  Earlier this month I stepped in to take a commitment to co-manage the gallery... woo-hoo!  I'm really excited about doing all I can to continue to make our little slice of heaven a growing success.  We have been at Flagstaff Mall over 4 years now, and really love our location there!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Doing the Happy Dance!

I love when something I have wanted to do for a long time finally becomes more than an item on my "try this" list!  This item never really got written on the list, but it's something that has been popping up a lot lately, so I started by doing a lot of looking for ideas on pinterest... my fave "go to" for inspiration and ideas.  My search was for examples of Boho bags, a perfect project for using some of my fabric stash.  I found a lot of great examples, but no real tutorials.  However, I have made small bags before, based on a pattern I got years ago for a crazy quilt bag.  And I figured I would just do some fabric collage for the outside.  I have a bunch of good sized scraps of cotton twill fabric left over from a project I worked on with my friend Joyce a number of years ago.  I had dyed some to make tote bags, but all the pieces left were too small for totes.  But it's a great background for the Boho bags... sturdy, easy to sew on, so I started out by laying a bunch of scraps out on a piece I cut larger than I would need for the bag:

I've done fabric collage before, so once I laid out the fabric, I used quilt basting pins to anchor it, then stitched with a grid stitch using black thread.  Here's how it came out:


Deciding how to do the closure took some time and more research, but I found a way to use a wood bead I've had forever.  I had black braid which works well for the strap and purple fabric for the lining.  Things to do for future bags: add pockets inside and on the back.  Find other ways to close the bag... the bead is a little clunky, but I figured it would do for my first try.  I love using all my bright fabric scraps this way!

Before I tackled this, I made a couple of new bowls: this one has a little more ornate finish than I usually use, but I've seen samples of this technique and wanted to try it:



I had the lid for this bowl made for awhile, with another bowl, but decided to replace the lid
with another one that had a slightly different knob on top.  So to get this lid off my side table, I made
another bowl... nice to get these made and ready to go into Arts Connection, soon as I have more room on my new display!

I still have a "to try" on my list for sometime soon... will post here when I have had time to play with it, so stay tuned!





Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy, Happy New Year!

The holidays are past, the New Year is here!  Happy New Year to you all!

First off, I have to tell you:  Sales at Arts Connection broke records!  We have been at Flagstaff Mall for over 5 years now, and this December our sales surged to new highs!  I have to say thank you to all who supported our local artists... we are thrilled beyond words!

So to thank our supporters, we have a Red Dot sale going on this month... many of our artists have reduced prices on items, using red dots to show the sale price.  I was in yesterday to mark down a number of items in my inventory, and hope to sell all the items with red dots on their tags!
So what's next?  New year, new projects.  I have started off by making a few Valentines Day notecards:
   

I am working now on some Spring/Easter cards... only one done so far, so you'll have to be patient while I finish a few more!

As always, my goal is to try and use some of my fabric stash which is still (in my opinion) huge!  The fabrics used on the Easter card, other than the white, have been in my stash for years... especially the yellow, which is left over from a crib set I made for a friend's newborn son in 1985!  Do you get my drift?  I never throw anything out if I think there's a chance I can use it! 

On my list of things to try is silk scarves using dye-na-flow and silk salt to create wonderful, organic designs.  If you're not familiar with the process or results, here's a picture I got off pinterest to give you an idea of the look I'm hoping to achieve:

I hope to be ready to start playing with this technique soon!  I have the dye-na-flow and some silk scarves and the silk salt.  Need to be sure my project board will work, otherwise I'm going to have to devise a stretcher setup that will fit on my work table.  
So that's it in a nutshell, for now... winter is here, so I'm spending more time inside, but look forward to when temps get at least a LITTLE warmer so I can resume walks with a friend.
Hope you all had enjoyable holidays, and let's make 2020 the best year yet!