Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stitched Journal Project - May

The Stitched Journal Project is: Makers from around the world creating one "page" or piece of work per month and sharing. It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn't about perfection, or getting it "just right," it is about process and perspective.

May 2014 - Cotton, fabric paint, cotton batting

The word of the month seems to have been "Home." We've been working on our home (Thank you for all of the lovely comments you left on my last post. I was blown away by all of your positive remarks!), I have been taking a lot of photographs of my home, I've talked about it in interviews, I've recently been asked by a couple of old friends how I feel about where I live, and I've had some great conversations with folks I know lately about what "Home" means to them.

I consider myself truly lucky to love where I live, to live with those I love, and to really have a place in this world that I know as "Home." It isn't all about the geography - though it sure is a pretty place that I live in. It isn't about the house that I live in - though I am so amazed that this is my beautiful house. No. It has much more to do with the people, the friends and the family; the deep sigh of "coming home" to a safe place, a joyful refuge, a remarkable life. 

When life gets hard, gets nasty (and sometimes it gets really nasty), shatters your heart, falls apart - again, when the hurt and mess of it all starts to break you down... there's just no place like home.

For this piece I finally got around to trying my hand at image transfer to fabric! I found an image of a vintage Oregon map and used my computer to print the image onto white cotton. I then dyed the fabric in a strong black tea infusion. I used fabric paint and rubber stamps to print on the map. I then used cotton batting and a muslin backing fabric and machine quilted the county lines.  This was a great introduction to the process and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the medium. Plus it seems that my duty as a crafty Oregonian, is to emblazon at least one of my works with the nondescript outline of my home state. 

I haven't forgotten that I still owe you April. I started April, I did. However, the piece is calling to become a larger work. So, April this is what I have for you...

Below you will find links to the wonderful makers and their Stitched Journal Project pieces for May. Please keep your eyes on this spot in the next couple of days as more add their links. Be sure to visit them and leave comments!

If you think you would like to join in as well, it's not too late!  We will be sharing our pieces the last Friday of every month at least until the end of the year. We'd love to have you.

All of you wonderful Stitched Journal Project participants please link up below! Remember to add your photos to The Stitched Journal Flickr Group! and be sure to share with Facebook, Twitter, etc!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dismantle Re-mantle

This is one of those "Before and After" posts. One of the DIY projects that took up a good chunk of time in the last two weeks (one of many). It's also a lesson in making the most of what you've got.

Our house is a work in progress. I think most homes are really, because life is a work in progress... always changing. When we moved in one of the things that just didn't fit was the living room fireplace surround and mantle. What we had was a behemoth honey oak mess that was not original to the house and stood out like a sore thumb. Not everyone saw it that way, some people even liked the darned thing! It didn't help that the wall behind it was a nice 80's mint green.  It just wasn't right for us, or the mid century architecture of the house.

The thing was, we didn't have the money or the time to make it exactly how we wanted, not right now anyway. So, we worked with what we had and gave it a makeover.

The Engineer and I tackled the top mantle portion, dismantling the large jutting out shelf part, which just took some careful pounding with hammer and mallet. Much of that mantle wood has already been re-purposed and used in other projects in the house.

Next, I got to work with a medium fine sanding sponge and carefully scuff sanded the entire surface including all the nooks and crannies. I followed this with a coat of oil based primer. After that came three coats of an eggshell finish acrylic in a soft white.  The wall behind also required three coats of the same acrylic paint.

We then replaced the mantle with a large salvaged slab of Ponderosa Pine. The Engineer cut it to size and gave it just a light sanding to keep the rustic nature of it intact. The slab was skirted with a bit of black walnut that The Engineer had in the shop. Finally, the fake gold vent cover was replaced with an original piece (again made by the Engineer) created from some old pallet wood. It sure is handy having a partner who also happens to be a woodworker!

All told the makeover cost about $75. Not too shabby. We are pretty happy with how it all turned out.
Now on to the next thing on the list!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In the Garden

Oh hello there! Feels as though I have been gone for ages. I have been busy as can be and I'll share some of the projects I've been working on this week. Today I'm just dipping my toes back in the water and giving you a glimpse of the readying of the garden.

One of reasons we fell for this house was the garden, both back and front of the house, it really is spectacular. There is a huge amount of maintenance involved, but it's worth it. Right now the Rhodies and Azaleas are just about to finish their bloom. The peas, lettuce and spinach are going gangbusters. We've been eating a lot of salad around here!

Those barrels are about to be planted with tomatoes and peppers this afternoon. Hooray! The fruit trees are promising a good harvest later this year, if we can keep some from the birds that is.

A quick peek here of the front garden. In the last 2 weeks it has gone wild, keeping up with the weeds and overgrowth is a challenge. Oh but you should see that giant red rose bush in person!

Well, I have food to plant and weeds to chase. What are you up to?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm painting again

I'll be scarce for a bit, I've got a big job ahead of me with a fast approaching deadline! See you soon!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Getting the Jump

Today I am:

Getting the jump on some Summer sewing for my girl. An old pattern that has been traced and changed and made bigger with endless options... so easy peasy to sew, I could probably make it in my sleep. Long tunics to go over capris and shorts. In shades of green with plans for other color combinations.

Planning a garden makeover for a raggedy patch in the sun. Making lists of plants for a "Bee and Tea" garden. I know there is more that I can do for those precious honey bees! Plus, many of the plants that bees love are also good for making lovely tea blends.

Trying to make our new kitten feel safe and comfortable so she stops hiding under he bed.

Hoping the weather holds for tomorrow's trip to the Farmer's Market. I'm in the mood for fresh peas! Our peas in the garden have a while before they produce.

Enjoying the warm day and of course, there is always laundry!

What about you?