Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Mother Load

If a genie were to pop out of a bottle and grant me a wish, I swear it would be to find a cache of vintage fabric. I have day dreams about hitting the ultimate estate sale with an untouched sewing room of treasures. Or there's the fantasy about travelling back in time circa 1950 and shopping at a fabric store where the yardage is cheap and the textiles are nifty.

Well, when Jaime and I were at our craft show recently, a genie of sorts did appear. Her name is Marie and she told us of this wonderful place (her attic) that contained tons of treasures (5 garbage bags full) and how she'd been searching the world over for two amazing crafters to take it off her hands (okay, I made that up).

To the untrained eye, this table full of fabrics, sewing patterns and wonderful whatnots may look like a flea market spread. But for someone that treasures all things vintage and kitsch, this is The Mother Load. The best part of all was when Marie told us the history behind some of the fabric: the batiks her in-laws brought back from Singapore; the bright flowered fabric she used for her now grown son's changing table; the sewing pattern her mother used to make a Halloween costume. It really was like a trip back in time. Here are some of my faves:

On a different note, it's getting cold. This kind of thing seems to happen every fall. And I've got all of these jackets with three quarter length sleeves, which I love, except for the cold thing. So I decided to make some fingerless gloves. Is it too obvious what they are made from? I'll give you a hint: gloves may cause athlete's hand. Mitch says they looks too "hobo-ish", whatever that means. Not all of us can be so lucky to have a feline hand warmer!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gettin' Ones Groove Back

Back in college, it seemed thee fine arts involved working strictly with such media as oil paints, odorous printing inks and an assortment of charcoal pencils and sticks. Any other media was looked down upon by our professors and this snobbish attitude spread amongst us art students like an STD. It was everywhere and we couldn't rid ourselves of it. I remember feeling so guilty about making a batiked Christmas present for my mom that I locked my studio door for fear someone would walk in on me.

It took a long time for me to get that baloney out of my head. In fact, it took a long time for me get back to the making of art at all. I found that I was no longer interested in painting these giant stories on canvas so I assumed I no longer had any business making art. I stopped. And taught art instead. But how can you teach something that you no longer do?
Well, you can. I did it for a long time. Then I started noticing people all around me making things. Things that didn't involve great big canvases and blood, sweat and tears. Like Diana, Mitch's mom, who recently discovered rug hooking. That's her, holding up her latest creation, a hooked version of a drawing Mitch made in junior high. She began her craft less than 2 years ago and has already made countless rugs and pillows for herself and the fam.

Or my music teacher friend Leah who just started quilting this past spring. She's holding her umpteenth quilt. Her work is amazing and I'm so excited that I'm on her to-be-quilted-for list.

And my burlap bag making friend, Jaime. Look at her latest creation: stenciling onto the burlap. I'm really hoping that my commissioned bag ends up with this adorable design on it (hint-hint).

So now I make stuff. Whatever suits my fancy (with a concentration on belts, of course). I no longer hear my professor's voices ringing in my ears. What a relief, like a weight lifted. And I've found making stuff leads to more ideas and thus the making of more stuff. Shoot, I'm so stuffy some days I can hardly stand it.

What is also exciting is how I think this has made me a better teacher. Excitement is also contagious...but in a good way. Much unlike an STD.

These self-portraits were just finished my my 3rd and 4th graders. I think they are pretty dog-gone amazing.

For those interested, here's a brief description of the lengthy process:

We started with the background paper that looks tie-dyed. Students wrote words with water-based markers that they felt described them. Then they chose several words to go over with a permanent marker. This paper was painted with water. Only the permanent words remained visible.

We then drew a self-portrait in pencil on paper. This was traced onto transparency film with sharpie. Kiddos added color with oil pastel.

Lastly we used metal tooling to create the frame. I was lucky enough to get a box of cardboard frames donated to me. The kids tooled 2 long and 2 short strips of metal which were glued to the frame. My thumb in the picture will put the size of these in perspective.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This, That and Thee Other

This: would be the Scarecrow Exhibit currently on display at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. The scarecrows were designed by local businesses and groups. Not sure what the criteria was but I'm guessing creepy and weird with a touch of scare-hoe. I mean, some of these artists look like they'd been snorting scare-blow. As you can tell, I was not so gungho on the scarecrow...but not something you should forego as you might experience scarewoe (I'm finished, you can stop rolling your eyes now).

would be my legs, not the Wicked Witch's, although some may say they are one in the same. So I bought these little black never-been-worn pumps at Goodwill for a couple bucks. I liked them because of the little ankle strap. It wasn't until I got home that I noticed one of the straps was missing. Then I got all excited because I realized that I could make a million different ankle straps with my fabric. Make some to match my belts, my clothes, the drapes. Here are just a few that I've managaed to whip up so far.
Thee Other: would be an example as to why white trashy people such as myself have no business being crafty.
Yep, that's gum in my knitting. And lemme tell you, getting all of the fuzzies out so I can do a rechew is a real drag.
Scarememo to Self: Knitted Scarecrow a no-go.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Captain Backwards Thong

It takes me a while to get around to things. Case in point: a bed for the kitty. I bought this adorable fabric in Japan for Asha the years ago? I've not been motivated to make it until recently when bed space began to shrink for the humans and expand for the feline. We can't seem to convince her to lie parallel with the bed. Instead, she insists on sleeping across...with her face nuzzled against Mitch, while I get, well, not the face. Nothing like rolling over to a brown star, if you know what I mean (ew, sorry, but you should know what I'm dealing with).

And so I sewed. Made a little mouse for her too. It's stuffed with cotton and cat nip (aka kitty krack) and it drives her wild. I'm guessing it's like having your pot in a ziplock that just won't open. Noticed I started my sentence with "I'm guessing" as I have no idea what that would be like (I never have problems opening ziplocks).

So far, she's only mildly interested in the bed. She sat in it for a while last night...but once the lights went out she was back in her spot. She's almost too chubby for it anyway -- when she was in it, her body seemed to swallow up the cushion and basket.

I don't know if any of you are familiar with the kids books Captain Underpants but my kiddos love the hero. And they like to draw him too. I was the recipient of one of these drawings the other day and just had to share...seems as though this Captain is experiencing an underwear malfunction. More like Captain Backwards Thong to me. Brought back memories of all of my underwear the time I had yesterday's underwear hanging out of the bottom of my work pants for my boss and all employees to see. Or more recently, when I went all day with one of my legs in the waist hole. I couldn't figure out why I was walking crooked all day. Good thing I know how to open a zip lock!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Extra Extravagant

This weekend, Jaime and I did our first-ever craft show. It was called Fall Extravaganza...and I'm not sure how extravagant we were (what does that even mean, anyway?). Please hold while I look this up.


. spending much more than is necessary or wise; wasteful: an extravagant shopper.
2. excessively high: extravagant expenses; extravagant prices.
3. exceeding the bounds of reason, as actions, demands, opinions, or passions.
4. going beyond what is deserved or justifiable: extravagant praise.
5. Obsolete. wandering beyond bounds.

Oh My Gosh. I think I just found the word that completes me. We are a perfect fit! I mean, "exceeding bounds of reason"?! Check! "Spending mre than is necessary"? CheckCheck! "Going beyond what is deserved {unless we're talking housework}"? CheckityCheckCheckCheck! Where has this word been hiding all of my life? We are like peanut-butter and jelly, Angelina and Brad, Ruffles Potato Chips and melted chocolate (what, you've not tried that? You ain't livin, my friend). If I were searching out new drag queen names, I'd go for Cassie Extravagant...

But, not surprisingly, I'm getting sidetracked. Rather, I'm getting extravagant on my writing about the word extravagant.

Jaime and I set up on Friday night and added the finishing touches on Saturday morn. And, in unabashed horn tooting, our booth was rockin'. It was even likened to the All Mighty Anthropologie a couple of times. We were maybe a little out of place and the crowds were a little thin (the gentleman selling his wife's knitted scarves in the booth beside us sold ONE)...but we managed to do better than expected. Jaime sold 4 of her fabulous bags (even one to the Always Hip Hilda) and I sold 6 belts and a handful of Cupie Doll ornaments. Success! Money! Extravagant Spending (by me at the neighboring booth selling the most amazing jewelry)!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Waxed and Polished

Stuff People Pay to do

that You Couldn't Pay Me to do:

Stuff No. 1: Get a Brazilian Wax.

Even if I looked like Slash in the Netherland Region, there ain't no way I'd do anything about it.

Stuff No. 2: Sit thru the movie "Sex and the City"...again. I'm embarrassed to say I even saw it the first time. I mean, I could literally feel my brain cells jumping out of my ears. I'd have felt smarter if I'd spent my $10 on sharpies and huffed them for 2.5 hours. And to think they are making a second one (I only know this because I've already gotten my tickets!).

Stuff No. 3: Sky Dive.
Okay, maybe if the flight were showing "Sex and the City" and a mad Brazilian Waxer were on board would I consider this one. Why would someone want to jump out of a plane on purpose? I don't get it.

One would think such things as "getting chased by someone wielding a chainsaw hellbent on your demise" or "having a demon-possessed girl with crusted vomit on her nightie snarl in your ear" or even "being attacked by a half dozen height-challenged people dressed as Chucky" would make it to the top of the list...but no. These are the kind of things I actually pay money to do. Me and the kind of people I keep company with.

So this past weekend we made it down to Orlando to Universal Studios for their annual Halloween event. We've been going for several years's Mitch's all-time favorite thing to do. I mean, I enjoy going...he loves going. Like, starts talking about it and planning it out in May. I guess there are worse things for a guy to be addicted 'net diving.

(Emily and Matthew, so glad you dudes were able to come! Happy Anniversary!!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Head Bangers

Whilst sitting half asleep at my computer this morning, I heard a loud thunk! strike my classroom window quickly followed by the sound of birds laughing. Poor bird, I thought. I can totally relate to being laughed at after doing something moronic. It happens to me quite regularly. Like yesterday when a student opened a door into my face as I walked down the hall. Hil-airy-ass.

Thankfully, the lil guy survived the thunk as I didn't see any bird lying legs-up under my window. He did manage to leave quite the imprint on my window. I find it a little disturbing he's headless...

Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about the times I've spent banging my head against the wall. Or anything nearby. Like the other day when this little transaction transpired:

Me to student: Wow, [insert student name], what's that big brown spot on your shirt?
Insert Student Name: Putting.
Me: You mean "pudding"?
ISN giving me the what-are-you-a-moron? look: No, chocolate PUT-TING.

Um, okay. Mitch's suggestion was that I respond with, "yeah, well, I am tired of PUT-TING up with your..." Needless to say, I decided to let this one go. Not worth the head-bangin'.

One head-bangin' that finally came through was getting my belts into a shop in downtown Franklin. When I first started making belts back in April, Franklin was the first area I sought out. It's filled with the cutest little boutiques and specialty shops. I was given a firm NO at each place I approached. This time the door was shut in my face instead of being opened into it...just as painful, lemme tell you.

Well, the multi-talented Rebecca Davis recently opened a booth in the new Shoppes on Main and asked me to put some belts in her shop. She makes the most amazing jewelry from antique findings like watch fobs, skeleton keys and coins. All of the other goods in her shop are created by crafters from near and far. I'm so excited to be in her shop! It's such a good fit...and saves me some major head bangin'!

Okay, now back to packing. It seems I've got another professional development in Florida that I need to prepare for!