Monday, November 27, 2017

November Bead Challenge #3

This month, Sarajo Wentling's jewelry challenge was a photograph taken by her husband Eric of a stained glass window at the old Schlitz Brewery Building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Eric Wentling

I love this window!  When I saw it, I immediately thought of the bubbles in beer and thinking about beer led me to hops.  We have beautiful hop vines on our front garden gate arch - in the summer they're full of bright green flowers/seed cones that turn more golden in the fall.

 Last summer I made sprig molds from some of the hops so I decided to make some jewelry components for this month's challenge.

For my jewelry piece I went with one of the spacer bars and made a bracelet with glass beads (representing beer bubbles!) attached.  It's great fun to wear, with the beads bouncing around!

You can see how others interpreted the challenge photo on Sarajo's blog here.

I've added the hops pieces that I didn't use to my on-line shop at

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 24, 2017

Knitted Owl Hat

No Friday Inspiration this week - unless you are inspired by owls, which I do think are quite inspiring!  

I've been working on the first of three owl hats for awhile, caught up in what buttons to use for the eyes.  They really need a 1/4 inch button , but the only ones I could find were white, which sorta made them look like zombie owls to me.  Nothing wrong with zombie owls if that's what one is going for, but I wasn't!  Finally I realized, wait - I make buttons, I should make them.  So .... about 40 clay buttons later I got 18 that had holes big enough for a needle and that I didn't break while sanding!  It was worth it, though!

I have another hat ready for more eyes and a third planned in snowy owl colors - I'll either get good at these or go crazy!

About the pattern - it's an older one by Penny Straker and available here on Ravelry or her website here.  The pattern itself is pretty easy, but (and it might just be me) I had trouble on some parts understanding exactly what was being said.  And if you're making it and absolutely cannot find where the cabling instructions for the hat are (I spent WAY too much time looking for them!), they are at the bottom of page one under "Shape Armholes."  Also, I almost converted it to a knit in the round pattern and then read the comments of one knitter who said she did and regretted doing so because it was very hard to sew the buttons on a completed hat.  So I left it and am glad I did!  One has 18 of these tiny buttons to sew on and it would have been way too fiddly if the hat was not flat.

So, on to more buttons and the snowy owl!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November Bead Challenge #2

The Art Bead Scene Studio challenge this month was The Bouchardon Mill at Crozant by Armand Guillaumin.  I immediately fell in love with the colors of this impressionist painting!  The blue/purples, the red and orange poppies, and enough black to give a nice contrast.  I knew I wanted to make beads that captured this palette.  

This is what I came up with - the background is many colors of ceramic stains washed and rubbed together, then fired to set them.  I added black for contrast, fired again, put on the poppies, fired again, and finally fired a last time with a clear glaze.  They are about 13 mm in diameter.

And after admiring them for a couple of days, I laid claim to two of them and made this pair of earrings - one of my favorites among what I've made lately!

You can read more about the challenge here and look at how others are interpreting the inspiration piece in beads and jewelry here.  And if you'd like to create your own masterpiece with these beads, I've put four of them up in shop at  

And to celebrate my successful Holiday Studio Open House Sale this past weekend (it was truly soooo much fun!), I have a coupon code for those of you that live too far away to have joined in.  From now through Sunday, November 26th at 12 midnight PST, use the code OPENHOUSE to get free postage within the US.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 17, 2017

November Bead Challenge #1

Erin Prais-Hintz's November challenge on Earrings Everyday was to interpret one to four of these inspirational quotes:

Okay - of course I chose "Stars can't shine without darkness."  It's about stars!  I knew I wanted to go with a matte black background, so as little light would be reflected as possible, and white stars and hit it on the first try - well, a couple of tries to get the chalkboard feel.  This is a study in dark and light/black and white - I had the idea to make an old black slate chalkboard and do the stars like chalk drawings.  I remember (with several friends) covering my third grade teacher's, Mrs. Fieldler, blackboard with stars when we figured out how to make them in one motion without picking up the chalk!

I added a clear crystal for sparkle!

I've been hard at work on the next two challenges and also my first Holiday Studio Sale and Open House.  Stay tuned on Monday or Tuesday for the release of the next shop update of holiday and winter beads - and a special offer for you blog readers who aren't local enough to come to the sale!

Be sure to check out how other's interpreted this month's challenge here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Inspiration - Dorothy Tucker's Kantha Inspired Embroidery

I've been getting the embroidery itch lately - a deep desire to pick up some cloth and stitch!  It's been quite awhile since I've done any, knitting taking a forefront in my fibers work lately.  So while looking at contemporary embroidery artists, I came across UK artist Dorothy Tucker.

Her works are inspired/informed by the Bangladesh and Bengali embroidery form of Kantha.  Pieces of old fabric (like sari silks) are pieced together with stitching to form cushions and quilts.  Dorothy uses found fabrics and a running stitch to both draw them together and draw pictures.

In her artist statement, she also talks about using digital prints of landscapes, adding layers of fabric and areas of stitching, in creating her works.

It was this that got my imagination going! I'm just beginning work on a piece using these techniques - it should be ready to show you in a week or two!  And I may have finally found something to do with the old botanical print files I've been collecting!

In the meantime, be sure to check out Dorothy's work at the Textile Study Group here.  And she does give workshops in Kantha - the classes for 2017 appear to be finished, but keep an eye on her page here for next year. 

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Looking at Grays

With the idea in mind of "if you can't fix it, feature it," I went out this morning looking at all the grays outside.  Now this is Northwest Oregon and while we've had a beautiful autumn with lots of blue skies and color, it looks like the grays are starting to set in.

What I discovered while editing the photos, though, was that very little of what I photographed was actually only gray.  I would've told you it was while I was taking pictures, but some of the grays actually turned out to have very light shades of pinks or yellows in them.  And even the truly gray grays had a little bit of green peeking out between the cracks, a piece here and there of reddish brown, or a sliver of blue sky.

I'm starting some ceramic work focusing on grays and this has changed how I'll be approaching it!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Inspiration - The Warm Fires of Autumn

Mmmm ... few things are better than curling up in front of the fire when the weather outside turns nasty!  By the end of winter, it's gotten a bit old, but now in mid-autumn it feels wonderful.  With the tough summer of wildfires we had here in the West, it's also nice to have fire be for warmth again.  This seems to be a more common inspiration for fiber artists - I found several nice pieces that really capture the magic and comfort of winter fires in the hearth/fire ring.

I've had Terry Grant's campfire themed quilt saved for quite awhile - one can almost hear the crackle of the sparks rising and feel the excitement of being around a fire outdoors!  And I just recently discovered that she's an Oregon fiber artist who actually does not live very far from me.  Small world!  Be sure to look at the other work on her website here.  It's wonderfully composed and detailed.

Next I have two works with the same name!  The first is Fire and Ice by German artist Claudia Pfeil.  I love the motion of the flames in this quilt and the juxtaposition with the snow flakes falling outside.  Perfect day for a fire!  Fire and Ice won many quilting awards and, if it looks familiar, graced the cover of Quilters Newsletter some time back.  Claudia creates beautiful, intricate pieces - her fractal quilts are amazing!  Check out her website here.

The next Fire and Ice is by another Oregon artist, Barbara Walker.  This piece was created using the centuries old technique of ply-split basketry - and she has a wonderful explanation of it on her website here.  This basket is absolutely stunning!  The thin line of blue ice jumps out from its complementary color of orange fire in a way that seems to move - it makes me think of ice melting near fire.  I know it's not really in my theme of hearths/fire rings, but the way it's a contained basket reminds me of the containment of fires we light for warmth.  Barbara teaches workshops in several weaving techniques - the 2018 schedule is not up on her website yet, but I know I'll keep checking to see what it offers!

Okay, time to go put another couple of logs on the fire to stave off the rainy day!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Easy Cotton Flannel Scarves

Okay - these scarves are really, really easy.  I love the coziness of cotton flannel scarves - not the thin printed kind that works great for pajamas, but the little bit thicker, woven designed ones with the same pattern on both sides.  And I love my cotton scarves big and fringed - but not too long on the fringe.  So .... when one is that picky, it's better to just make it!!

*1 square of cotton shirting flannel  - depends on how big you like your scarves.  Mine is 44 inches square, but you can also make it a rectangle
*seam ripper

First, iron your fabric and cut off the selvages.  These are the two sides of the fabric that are woven - you don't need to cut off a lot, just enough so you can unravel the threads.

Next, using a seam ripper (or a pin will do), start separating out the threads on one side of the scarf.  Pull each thread all the way down the length of the side and take it out.  At first, it's easier for me to start at one end and just refind the thread when it breaks, but after my fringe is about a quarter inch I find it easier to start pulling the threads out from the middle of the side.

Keep on taking out threads until you have the length of fringe you like!  Mine is 3/4 inch.  Continue on to the next side.  You can leave the fringes as is or if you like those twisted fringes, just grab a few of the fringe threads and give them a good twist.

You will have a huge thread pile!!

To stabilize your scarf so you can wash and dry it without the fringes continuing to grow, sew right along the scarf edge of the fringe - I use a small stitch count (2) on my machine.

And that's really it!  On to the next two and I'll be set for a cozy winter!

Happy Creating!  Deborah