27 June 2013

On another note plus some great info

I saw this on another website and it was too good not to pass along to my online friends. This is a must see - Very creative!!

Clothing faces

And here is the great info

I use waxed linen to stitch up my book spines and I recently found the most fabulous site for waxed linen - beautiful, in fabulous colors and cheap.

Most colors are $1.40 to $2.97 for TEN YARDS!!!!!!

The colors above were 4 ply at $2.97

25 June 2013

My new "baby"

You may already know the story about my first sewing machine

 but if not, here it goes. My first machine was from a new company that had just started exporting sewing machines to the U.S. called Brother. I think the company was about two years old and my basic machine (forward, backward, zigzag (?) and reverse) cost $50.00 and could sew through steel and concrete ( slight exaggeration). I'm embarrassed to say, I left it to molder when I had an opportunity to get a "fancier" machine about 15 years later. Fickle!
Well, many machines have come and gone. Ironically I bought a Brother Innov'is 4000 - a special 50th Anniversary model a while back. It threads itself with the push of a button, cuts the thread and stops before the bobbin runs out of thread when a sad face with a tear drop appears on the computer screen (no kidding). I love this machine like my first Brother.
I also have a Janome 7700 Horizon (on eBay today) which I never did fall in love with. Both of these machines are high tech but are a bit on the delicate side (all wire and computer chips). I began a search for a basic "mechanical" machine that could sew through steel and concrete. I read an interesting article about the Bernina 1008.

Now if you know me, you know I'm not a big Bernina fan. However, in my search for this elusive machine, I put all prejudice aside and did some research. I was directed to a Bernina dealer in Cranston, Rhode Island and made the trip down last week. They were the nicest people - all six women except for the man who repaired the machines (we like men who can fix our machines). He also gave me great directions to 295! I have to say that I had such a great time at this dealer, Blaines Sewing Machine Center, that I called when I got home to thank them for the great experience. One of the great staff members sat with me and showed me the ins and outs, how to thread, oil the hook and a few other things. It seems this is the go to machine for heavy duty use - theater companies, dressmakers, costume designer - you get the idea.

This is the machine with the attachment box clipped on the back of the free arm

Attachment box with 4 (I think) attachments bobbins and other accouterments 

Free arm without the attachment box

The minute I put my foot on the pedal, I fell in love again. It sews almost 1000 stitches a minute which means it needs to be on a very stable surface. Enter Tony's "SewPerfect" Sewing tables. Tony is a Brother dealer and other brands as well, with quilting frames and long arms and a bunch of good stuff at great prices. He can't be beat on price. Well, he started this "SewPerfect" sewing table company and an elephant could sit on these tables and not break them (NOT an exaggeration).

This my SewPerfect table that the Jamone (sold in 10 minutes on eBay) was on. The top and shelf for the machine are about 2" thick and laminated in a Formica type material. The legs are 2.5 " wide and this table is the essence of stability. Everything is adjustable from the height of the table to the depth of the machine shelf. You can also get Plexiglas inserts for your particular machine. It just so happens that the Janome insert is exactly the same width as the Bernina with the opening just 1.5 " too long leaving a 1.5" gap.

Here is the machine on the shelf with the Plexiglas insert. The large piece of Gorilla tape spans the small gap and keeps the fabric from catching on the opening in the Plexiglas - good enough. The other black piece of tape is a guide for make long strips like binding. I use it for making binding for my purses. I'll do a tutorial sometime - it's ingenious!!

So this is the end of my tale. I have a wonderful new machine which is like my first machine and the great table it sits on. You also know where to go for Berninas (Blaines) and Brothers and SewPerfect tables (Tony) if you live in the New England.

20 June 2013

Batik workshop

I had 3 women take the Batik Silk Scarf Workshop at the Art Greehouse

We had scads of fun - look...

This scarf was on the line drying. You can see the lines as the scarf blew against them.

Love that "batik" effect. Nothing like it!!

Two of the women used that stamp I made at the Dorothy Caldwell workshop at the Crow Barn.

This painted scarf was made by a 88 year young participant. She was a real trouper and made two scarves. The workshop was a birthday present from her daughter.

There was another scarf that was absolutely gorgeous but I forgot to get a photo of it.

18 June 2013

Thank You, Nienke!!

On the way back from Toronto, I stopped in Stoughton, MA for a 3.5 hour visit to Mecca (IKEA). Earlier this year Nienke had a blog post about her new work space and I loved it. Not only was it fabulous but she was so clever in putting it together. The thought has never left my mind.
I have a 4' X 8' padded printing table and after seeing Nienke's work space, I've had this fantasy about one just like it 4' X 8'.
I drive one of the smallest cars but managed with the help of a kind man to get the large boxes squeezed into my tiny car. The seat release ended up getting broken but it was a small price to pay for my new work space. This is what the space looked like a few years ago:

Then I added a table in front of the ironing table so that it was two tables wide.

A really messy photo but you get the idea of what was here before. I removed BOTH tables, slid in the leaf of the table and removed the plastic organizer drawers beside the lamp. This is an in-progress picture:

The office chair is sitting in what will be the center of the work space. I started out with the Expedit shelves in this configuration but later turned the end (single) unit facing the same way as the other shelves with a space and one of the short plastic drawer units in between.

This is the entire work space assembled

Here you can see how I spaces the single and large Expedit units with the plastic drawer unit. This side is 8' long, four ' across.

Now I have set up the ironing table (2' X 4') at the end of the workspace. The table top is a 4' X 8' 1/2" particle board with a white laminate on top and bottom. The edges were raw snaggy particle board very vulnerable to water and swelling. I bought some Duck (not duct) tape in purple and used it as a wrap to protect the edge from moisture as well as make it attractive and smooth so fabric wouldn't snag on it. I hope you can see all the room I have on this side of the work space to stand.

Nice edging. Really looks finished.

This side is getting full of bins

On the short end of the table, I slid in a small unit of plastic drawers under the ironing table - still very accessible.

This table was LOADED with stuff but now everything is neatly in a bin.

 Containers for scissors and rotary cutters.

Even my painting table is cleared and organized.

13 June 2013

little book

When we arrived there was a sheet of 18 X 24 Rive paper (cream) on our table. We were to use this as an under sheet to protect the table from messes. On day 3 we cut it into tiny pieces and used long stitch to sew 3 sheet signatures. Then we used embroidery floss to weave the signatures together. Tedious with a beautiful outcome. If you look, you can see all my mistakes... The book is 2.5" X 3.5"

These were all unintentional marks made while working for 3 days. We sewed the signatures with waxed linen and left the tails long. I braided mine.

11 June 2013

Big Sheet of Stonehenge Paper

This was too much fun. We used huge sheets of Stonehenge paper and a 3 foot long stick. I taped a foam brush to one end and a bristle brush to the other. I used full strength and diluted India Ink. When one side dried, I painted the other. On the penultimate day, we turned them into books.

That is me at the top of the picture and Dorothy Caldwell taking photos.

Pictures taken from the balcony (outdoor dining) by my friend Pam Lowe from Texas. The Maine Event folks will remember her - the massage woman. I "met" her when she bought my SAQA auction piece two years ago.

Cover. You never know when providence will appear and add to your creation. The woman next to me was throwing hands full of water on her paper and some got on mine. I think it is the most beautiful part (above). I even made it my cover.

06 June 2013

First things first

Actually the first thing we did was cut a strip from a huge sheet of Stonehenge paper and make marks using only your finger. This is the piece I did.

I used my finger tips, the ball, and the sides of my finger as well as dragging the India ink. Both sides were covered in marks. Later I watercolor painted a wash over both sides.

We laid out strips end to end across the driveway and I filmed it until they blew away. You can hear how windy it was that day.