Wedding Watercolor

With a blog name like “Confessions of a Craft Addict,” you’d think there’d be a little more diversity in the crafting. Alas, no, as I’ve been in full-tilt sewing mode for the past several years. I do more than just sew, though, despite all evidence to the contrary.

My sister-in-law and her husband will celebrate their anniversary next week, which led to thoughts of our wedding present to them. Shortly after they eloped, they came to visit us and I snapped some pictures, including the one that inspired this painting. I had not touched a paintbrush in maybe 15 years but decided  I had to paint this.

Sepia-toned watercolor seemed the best choice and I still think I was right on that. There are a few things I think I’d change but I’m pretty pleased with it, especially since I had not painted in such a long time.

Gallery Walk

Twice a year, Miss L’s preschool holds Gallery Day to show off the artwork the kids have been making. I think it’s probably one of her favorite school events because my girl loves to “do art.” School. Home. In the car. Doesn’t matter.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. She’s been watching me make stuff pretty much since the day she was born. Her art supplies outnumber her toys by a healthy margin. Art is just part of life around here.

It’s always fun to see what she’s made at school, since I often see the side effects at carpool. Painty fingers, smears on clothes, animated excitement about that day’s work.

As much as I enjoy seeing footprint penguins and marshmallow sculptures, the thing I love most is seeing her love of creating grow. At 5, she is fearless in her choice of colors and media; there is nothing she won’t try. She’s completely uninhibited, willing to try anything and everything — and delighted with the results.

Treasure Hunting

The third weekend of every month in these parts is the Lakewood 400 Antiques Market. I’ve only been to Lakewood once in the nearly eight years of living in Atlanta, and that was at its previous location near the Lakewood Amphitheater. The market is cool; it’s just kind of a haul from my house. Today, I didn’t care. Honey and I hopped in ye olde momme mobile with Miss L in tow and headed out for some treasure hunting.

Yes, that’s really what I call it. It seems to keep L a great deal happier than telling her we’re going shopping. And, honestly, it’s not that far removed from the truth. My trusty 30D captured some of the cool finds we found. Our first stop was this outdoor yard filled with metal bits and pieces. Archways and plant stands and gossip benches. And a goodly amount of yard art. Who wouldn’t want a flying pig for the garden? (See the ginormous turtle behind it?) I thought the roosters were pretty cool, too, but my favorite was this dress form. I think Honey would have let me bring it home, but I didn’t ask.

I wish I could have captured the grandeur that was this post office counter and boxes. Instead, you’re stuck with just this little bit of it. “Magnificent” really is an understatement. It was like three wooden walls, with one of them all these old mail boxes. The others were the clerk counters, with windows and bars. The whole kit and caboodle. I really was trying to figure out how to justify buying such an eccentric piece. L had a blast on the opposite side, where she played postmaster for a good while.

Honey tells me there were names labeled to each of the boxes on the clerk side. He wasn’t sure if they were original to the piece but suspects they were. No idea how much the thing cost but I’m sure it was more than I could pay — not that I have any place to install a post office.

I had a wonderful chat with Patricia DiBona of Dibona Designs Studio. Her booth just drew me in with all of it’s beautiful collage pieces and ephemera and supplies for sale. I was so busy running my mouth that I never asked if I could take pictures, so you’ll just have to visit her site to see her offerings. If you don’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say they were absolutely lovely, very inspiring and just totally rocking the collage thing I’m into right now. I’m actually thinking that I need to drive up and attend one of her workshops. They just look like so much fun! And I could do with a dose of in-person artsy every now and then. (Couldn’t we all?)

One of my favorite finds at the Market today was a big bowl of old photos. On the front was a sign: “Instant Ancestors $1.50.” That just tickled me to no end.

Actually, I came home with very little today. Restraint can be a challenge for me but I’ve finally learned how to curb the impulse to buy every shiny object that catches my eye, instead buying just the ones that fit with whatever I’m working on right now. That’s why I brought home one of those cute paper dress forms with ribbon and buttons. Love! Mine is not in the photo but it’s just as darling. It was hard not to buy more ribbon there (“there” being Grosgrain Annie’s). Just a wonderland of ribbon. And old thread spools. And fabric. And more. I chatted with Jo Ann Rogers a bit; she’s the one to thank for the pictures because she saw my camera and told me I could take some. (Thank you, Jo Ann!) Really, it’s a shame I couldn’t stay in there long because I’d spot something new to check out every time I turned around.

Playing With Paint

Back when I moved my blog, I gave a little peek at a non-sewing project on which I was working. Boy, that seems like forever ago! Today I finally finished it, as well as a companion piece (of sorts).

“Lovely” (above right) is a 12×12 canvas featuring white gloves and pearls. I soaked a pair of vintage white gloves in a mixture of Mod Podge and water (probably 3-1 ratio) and then squeezed them out and arranged them on the canvas (which already was painted blue). After they were dry, I brushed on a little pearlescent paint to give them a little sparkle. I used the same paint for the swirls and title, and affixed the pearls.

“Fancy” (above left) is another 12×12 canvas. This one is painted a dark/hot pink, which I mixed with a little pearlescent paint to give it a slightly marbled look to the background. The “necklace” is made from faux jewels and embellished with a bit of silver paint. The title and swirl are both chipboard; the letters are embellished with silver glitter and I used just some silver paint on the swirl.

This is my first experiment with this type of mixed-media art and I had loads of fun playing with the different elements. It’s definitely given me a lot of ideas for other works, not necessarily like this but not fabric-based, either. I think anything that inspires me is a worthwhile endeavor.

I Work Here

When I decided to take the plunge and buy a new sewing machine and serger (and then my first cover stitcher), I knew I needed to revamp my sewing space before I moved in my new machines.

I think I’m like a lot of other folks when I say that I made do with what I had. I started out sewing in my dining room. That worked when I sewed only occasionally but quickly became a hassle when that pace picked up (and a serger on the table didn’t lend itself to mealtimes). We actually use our dining room, so repurposing it was just not going to happen. Instead, I decided to take over ask Honey if I could use his desk/office area, since he rarely used it anymore.

Our downstairs has been largely unused since we bought our house 4.5 years ago. It’s a pretty big space but oddly shaped (a big L) and poorly lit. My sewing space is at the right-most side of the L’s bottom leg, running along the wall between the door to the garage and the door to the laundry room, right at the bottom of the stairs.

Originally, the space had an L-shaped arrangement of desks (a regular sized desk and a laptop desk), with my serger on the small desk and sewing machine on the big desk. This didn’t work for me for a couple of reasons:

  1. Lots of wasted space on the corner of the large desk adjacent to the small desk. It just would end up buried in piles.
  2. The rolling stool I used would lower with each spin, so I’d have to get up and raise it every 20 minutes or so.
  3. Add in my cutting table, and the space just seemed really claustrophobic.

Here’s my new, improved sewing space (as seen from the stairs)!

Left: My cutting table was a sale purchase from Joann’s, as was my cutting mat. The little “paint can” on my cutting table came from Archiver’s. I cut some of the paper I used for my sewing table so it would match. The inspiration piece for my revamped workspace is actually on the floor underneath my cutting table: my vintage sewing box, which I won from Lisa’s blog. It’s roomy and fun, and now I actually have a place to put it! LOL!

Right: We have a few 6-foot folding tables and I pulled one out of storage to use as my main sewing table. One of the great things about having lived near a university (while Honey was in law school) was being able to pick up stuff like that on the cheap when kids graduated. I think I paid $15 for one table and dragged the other two home from the trash at our apartment complex. I bought a roll of adhesive-backed paper at Target to liven up the table. It wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole table top, so I overlapped it by rolling it along the long edge on one side of the table and then the other. (There are close-ups of the tabletop further down.) On the left, behind my cover stitcher, is a basket I bought at Michael’s; it stores the patterns I’m about to use, plus current reading material.

Here’s kind of an overview of the space from the other side of the room. You can really tell from this photo how poorly the area is lit. I actually need to go shopping for a new light fixture soon because I can’t stand the cave-like feeling that’s down there.

Continuing the tour … To the right of my sewing table is a trash can. Big deal, right? Well, it is for me! Until now, I’ve relied on the trashcan in the laundry room. It’s actually not that convenient, so I often would just make a pile on the floor while I was working. It’s so much nicer to have a dedicated trash can right there.

For most of the past year, I’ve been using a stool I bought at Ikea. I love it, but the previously mentioned problem with it lowering makes it less-than-ideal for my needs. The replacement is not only more comfortable, it’s also a little taller, which means I can actually sit at my cutting table now (instead of under it).

Underneath the table, you can see my cheapie Brother sewing machine, which is set up for shirring. It handles it better than my old sewing machine, although I have not tried it on my new Janome. Regardless, I do it enough that it’s nice to have a dedicated machine for it.

The door on the left, behind my cutting table, is my hobby closet. There’ll be a tour of it later.

Welcome to Janomeville!

I picked up this two-sided bulletin board on clearance at Hobby Lobby. The right-hand side is a corkboard. I unscrewed the backing, pulled out the corkboard and covered it with a piece of fabric (a Japanese Little Red Riding Hood print), then slid it back in and closed up the back. Easy peasey! The chalkboard side is magnetic and the new home of the cute magnets Amy sent me (she made them!). I plan to use this as a to-do list and inspiration board, but right now I’m just enjoying looking at the pretty fabric.

I have managed to avoid hanging any artwork downstairs and am glad to say I’ve rectified that now. The frames were picked up on the cheap from Big Lots. They needed to be cleaned up a little but were otherwise perfect. I was delighted to not only find these two pieces of art on Etsy but also that the artist (KJ of The Dreamy Giraffe) was able to accommodate my request for same-sized prints. I need to get some matts cut to fit, but that’s easy enough to obtain. Right now, I’m enjoying having such beautiful things to inspire me every day!

Now, on to the shiny clean craft closet!

The view of my closet from the outside. It’s not a huge space and actually occupies the underside of the stairs leading to our living room and other main living spaces. Fabric is stacked on the left and right side of the doorway. I also store my scrapbooking paper in here, some photography gear (backdrop stand and my formerly lost tripod), rubber stamping supplies, Xyron machines and a few other things.

Honey also uses this closet to store his lawyer books. He is far happier with the renovated closet, since now it’s possible for him to open the door, walk in, find what he needs and retreat without commenting on my fabric stash. (That last bit may be wishful thinking on my part.)

We also have things like big coats down here, plus my tutu-making supplies (gotta keep all that tulle somewhere!). When I need to, I can fold down my cutting table and roll it in here, too.

The fabric is sorted by color, more or less. I separated out the corduroy, flannel, linen, silk and Japanese fabrics (both from Japan and Asian-inspired prints). Since reorganizing it like this, I’ve found it easier to locate specific fabric and also to find coordinates.

But enough yapping. Here are more pictures!

The Artist in Me

I used to love to draw and paint and create art. It was fun and liberating when I was younger, a creative pastime that I could explore on my own time. Somewhere along the way, life really impeded that love, that process. “Art” was something I did when I was bored, doodles on random pieces of paper.

In the spring, I signed up for the ATC exchange at the Creative Mom Podcast. I thought it would give me an outlet for my inner artist.

I was wrong.

What I’ve found out is that creating a tiny piece of art on a deadline is paralyzing for my creative juices.¬† I don’t know if it’s the size (2.5″x3.5″), sticking to a theme (rather broad), maybe that it’s going to someone else or just that it’s been too long since I’ve been “artsy.” No matter, each month I struggle to create an ATC.

There are no rules for ATCs; that’s one of the things that appealed to me about joining the exchange, the fact that I can’t go wrong.¬† Still, I struggle. I procrastinate. And, eventually, I make something and stick it in an envelope, feeling guilty that my recipient will get a card two weeks late.

This morning, after the boys and Honey had left, with hours before Miss L arose for the day, I cut pieces of cardstock for making ATCs, determined to find my groove. As I cut, I gave myself permission to have fun. Why? Because I finally realized that I did not view creating ATCs as “fun.” Rather, it’s been an obligation, something I “had” to do versus “wanted.”

This morning, I made three ATCs. They aren’t perfect and they aren’t exactly what I thought they would be — and that’s OK. They are small moments of art, created by me, parts of me that I am sharing.

And I had fun.