Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Felt Lanterns

This time of year in Phoenix, our outside time is limited to right after sunrise and after the sun goes down in the evening - too hot, otherwise!  These are a fun, easy feltcraft that adds a little glow to the night.

*light colored felt - white, cream, and yellow seem to glow the best.  Other colors look nice in the daylight, just don't expect the color to come through at night
*sparkly embroidery thread - I used gold
*battery powered tea lights or short candles

1.  For the outside of the larger lantern, cut 4 pieces of felt 6 x 8 inches (lantern sides) and one piece that's 6 x 6 inches (lantern top).  The the smaller lanterns, cut 4 pieces that are 5 x 4 inches and one piece that's 4 x 4 inches.

2.  On a piece of paper, draw a star.  Draw a line 1/4 inch out from each point and connect to form an outer star.

3.  Cut out star on the outer line.  Use this as a pattern to cut out stars from accent colors - I used yellow and light blue.

4.  Recut the star pattern along the inner line and lightly draw around it on the wrong side of your lantern side pieces.  Cut the stars out.  Repeat for all sides of the lantern.

5.  On the wrong side of lantern sides, place accent stars over the star cut-out holes.  Turn back over to the right side and sew accent stars in place with a running stitch.

6.  Repeat for all lantern sides.

7.  With wrong sides together, sew two lantern sides together in a 1/4 inch seam.

8.  Repeat for all lantern sides.

9.  Pin lantern top on ...

10.  ... and sew in place with a 1/4 inch seam.

Be sure to use battery powered tea lights or short candles, not actual flames!!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, July 29, 2013

Basil, Knitting, and More Basil!

I came back from Oregon to a potential basil takeover!  It hasn't been quite averted yet, but I am winning a few minor skirmishes ..... There is a 12 foot long 3 foot wide bed packed with it - and a some sweet pepper plants gasping for air.  So I've been busy picking, washing, and drying it and making pesto for the freezer.  I foresee a pesto-full winter!

And like the past few summers, our jujube tree is packed with fruit!  The birds love them, but I haven't figured out what to do with them yet.  Any ideas?!!

So there hasn't been much needlework going on here - just a few stolen moments here and there to work on a scarf for me from this luscious Canadian yarn.  It'll be wonderful to wrap around me when I'm outside on those cold Oregon farm mornings this fall ... 

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Inspiration - The Art of Amanda McCavour

Several months ago while going through my sewing supplies, I came across a package of Solvy - it's a material that dissolves in water and is usually used as an embroidery support.  I really have no idea why I bought it - the price tag looks really old - so I left it out to search out ideas for, went to Oregon in May, and promptly forgot about it for the second time!

Cat's Cradle
Now that I'm back down in Arizona, I saw that package sitting on the edge of the table ... and did an internet search on interesting things to use it for.  And that's when I found photos of Canadian artist Amanda McCavour's thread work!  Amanda uses a sewing machine and spools of machine thread to "paint" images onto Solvy and then dissolves it away, leaving what looks like impossible sculptures of pure thread.  They are gorgeous and inspiring!

Amanda's website has a wonderful gallery to look through and there is a great piece about her in a past issue of Surface Design Journal that talks about her inspirations and more about the process - and has more amazing photographs.  

Living Room

I love the delicate feel of the pieces - they look transient, like something to be enjoyed quickly, although they are apparently quite strong.  

Floating Garden

And as wonderful as these look in photographs, I have a feeling they would be even more amazing in person, so I'll keep an eye out for showings of her work that I might be able to get to!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Agreeable Tiger Moth Finale

Yes - my Wednesday post is showing up on Thursday .... I'm back down in Arizona and unfortunately my computer's power cord did not make the trip with me!  Simple enough - just go up to one of the many computer or office supply stores around here and get a new one.  That's what I did when I lost a computer power cord while traveling several years ago .... however, in these days of stores keeping their inventory low, apparently those are not stocked any longer.  But can be ordered with a week to two week delivery.  And all this was discovered while traveling around in humid, 102 to 106 degree weather!  Thank goodness for Amazon - that's all I have to say!

While traveling I got a nice block of time to work on my Agreeable Tiger Moth and then finished it up once I got back to Arizona.

I used black velvet thread for the moth's black spots, a mixture of silk, perle cotton, velvet, and embroidery floss for the french knots, and added a bead to the center of each flower.  Now I just need to get it framed!

And on my last full day on the farm, I found another amazing moth!

I was surprised to find that this is also a Tiger Moth - a Garden Tiger Moth!  I like this moth family .... I think I need to embroider a series of them.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Inspiration - Felting

I've been looking at felting artists lately - getting inspired to do some more of it this fall - and wanted to share these three gorgeous pieces I found.

This amazing felted purse was created by a Russian artist - here's the link to her page, but I'm afraid I can't figure out what her name is.  If anybody can navigate around Russian enough to do that, let me know and I'll edit it in.  I love the colors, the thinly felted roses and leaves, the sprays of pearls ... gorgeous! Edit:  Her name is Olga Gulyaev - thank you, Dad!

I really like how Finnish artist Renatos Veltinis uses needle felting to create what almost looks like watercolor sketches.  These birds are great!  Be sure to look at her blog - it has many amazing felted creations.

And heading over to Norway, these vibrant poppies were created by Lise.  Like with the change purse above, I'm intrigued with the way she used wool as a medium to create painting-like pieces.  She also felted in some silk to give it a bit of sparkle.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Tiger Moth Continues ....

I've begun adding the first layer of textured stitches to my Agreeable Tiger Moth piece - lots of fun and I just wish I had more time to sit and work on it!  So far I've used good old french knots, feather stitch, and a buttonhole wheel cup (which I learned from Sharon Boggon's site!).  

The buttonhole wheel cup adds great texture and a little height.  You start with a buttonhole wheel ...

and then work a detached buttonhole stitch around the edge of the circle.

If you use fewer stitches around the edge, the buttonhole wheel curls up a bit - like a cup.

See those little puffs in with the french knots?

They're actually french knots also, but done with a new to me embroidery thread that's becoming one of my favorites - it's velvet!  I can think of all kinds of cool ways to use this ....

I also used it with the feather stitch.

Well - off to another day of working on the chicken run and stealing a few moments for embroidery!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, July 15, 2013

Third Anniversary!

It's hard for me to believe, but this week is the third anniversary of this blog!  When I first started, I had a vague worry that I wouldn't be able to come up with enough fiber art projects and inspirations to keep going - ha!!  Entering the fourth year I feel like I've barely begun exploring the genre.  It seems like the more I do, the more ideas I get!  And thank you, thank you to everyone who reads Art Threads and gives me even more of a reason to keep going with it!  Your readership, comments, and encouragement mean a lot to me.

Usually on my anniversary week, I have Christmas in July - I've loved that concept ever since I was little!  However, this year I'm delaying it and will have Christmas in August, with new ornament patterns and some new embroidery.  Work on the farm still continues to occupy most of my time - very, very rewarding and very, very time consuming!  Progress is being made, however ....

We have nine lawns - yes, nine.  They have been beaten back into lawn shape and we're now plotting which ones will go first - nine lawns are too many for anyone without a permanent landscaper on the payroll!  

Little c's playground has had the wasp and hornet nests removed and new bark chips piled high so the little daredevil will hopefully bounce when she falls!

There are piles of sand and gravel delivered and waiting to be spread ....

And if you noticed the pasture behind that last pile, it needs to be cut - so that means looking for someone to do it since we don't yet have a tractor!  Luckily the front pasture is being nicely manicured by a neighbor's horses.  Best workers ever!

The raspberry canes are almost reclaimed from the huge weeds and grass ...

And the chicken coop has been cleaned, refurbished, and has six new residents!  Their outdoor run is almost finished and I think they're anxiously awaiting being able to be outside.  

These are the girls a month and a half ago ...

and here they are now!  Minus a shy Rhodie.  She's still here and doing great, but hard to get rounded up!

And if I get enough sand shoveled into the chicken run today, I can actually spend tomorrow embroidering on my tiger moth piece and have more of it to show you on Wednesday!

Happy Creating!  Deborah