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!