Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In the Art Room: Weaving, Part 3

Weaving by one of my fourth grade students.
Hello, crafters! This week I am going to show you how to remove your completed weaving from your loom. If you have not started your weaving, no worries, you can begin here at Weaving, Part 1. Or, if you've finished your weaving and are now ready for the flap, you can catch up by reading Weaving, Part 2.

However, if you've done it all, then let's get to taking that weaving off the loom! This doesn't take long at all so you should be done in a snap.
You may begin on either side of your loom. I am starting on the side with the flap. Cut two warp strings close to the top. Never cut the warp strings close to the weaving as that will cause your weaving to unravel.
Tie your first knot so that it sits right on top of the weaving or weft strings. Do not pull the knot too tightly or it will cause the weaving to smash down and become uneven.
For the second knot, pull very tightly so that the double knot is secure.
Continue this process of cutting two strings near the top and double knot tying them until you have gotten to the end. If you have an odd number of warp strings, you will encounter three warp strings to tie at the end.
If you have this issue, simply put two strings together as one and tie it to the left over string. Double knot tie it as you have done the other warp strings.
Double check and make sure all warp strings are tied off and secure. At this point, you can snip the warp strings shorter.
When you flip your loom over, you will do the exact same thing. I like to pull the warp strings out from the other side or you could simply cut two as you have been.
Again, cut two, double knot tie two and continue until all strings are tied and secure. Trim warp strings.
Now you are ready to remove the weaving from the loom. This might be a bit of a struggle, especially if you have woven very tightly. But you can do it. Just put the end of the loom between your knees and start pulling the weaving off the loom. In art class, we say it's like taking a too-small sock off of someone's foot.
Don't worry about messing it up because you can't. Although it may look like you are.
And if you see this, don't panic.
Just flip it inside out and flatten by hand. Viola! You've woven a pouch!
Next week, I'll walk you through sewing on a button and making that little warp tail (seen in the photo above this one) disappear. Then we are on to creating the handle which is very easy and fun. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments if you've got 'em. Happy weaving!

Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY: Crafts that Travel

My Prissy-Presley Poodle inspired by the wall paper I saw at Graceland.
 One of my favorite traveling crafts is embroidery. I love to work on it during our occasional road trips and flights. Surprisingly, I've never had any trouble making it through security with my embroidery scissors and needles. Now that jar of Reese's peanut butter we tried to smuggle to Germany was a different story...

For this trip, I brought along three embroidery projects and I was so excited to finish this one yesterday. This little embroidery is going to be apart of a much bigger DIY that I'll be certain to share with you once complete. For now, here's the back story behind this embroidered piece.
A snapshot of a recent girl's trip to Graceland. You can read more about it here, if you like. That's Emma on the left and Quincy on the right.
Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of traveling to Memphis to visit Graceland. I had not been to Elvis' crib since college (which was many blue moons ago) so it was a delight to visit again. Especially with Quincy who is the biggest Elvis fan I know.
Elvis outside Graceland, circa 1957. He purchased home and the land for $90,000. The name Graceland came from the original owner who named it after his daughter. Elvis liked the name so much he kept it. All images of Elvis via pinterest.

Elvis with his mother Gladys. Elvis said the most important woman in his life was his mother who passed away shortly after the purchase of Graceland in 1958.
About his mother, Elvis said, "My mother, she never really wanted anything. She stayed the same through it all. There are a lot of things that's happened since she passed away. I wish she could have been around to see them. It would have made her very happy and proud, but that's life, and I can't help it."

Elvis' parents chose Graceland as it had plenty of land (for the animals they wanted) and was off the road and had privacy (for the crazed fans they were trying to keep at bay).

Elvis' parents bedroom which is located on the first floor, to the right of the main staircase at the entrance.
 This bedroom of Gladys and Vernon didn't become open to the public until 1997. After the death of Gladys, the room was occupied by Millie Mae Presley, Elvis' grandmother.

I love this little peek into a world of purple velvet, white French-reproduction furniture (which I totally had in my bedroom as a kid), nifty 1950's lamps, rubber-stamped poodle wall designs and a brassy chandelier.
Emma and Quincy outside of the bed and bath of Gladys and Vernon.
 I immediately fell in love with the poodle wallpaper you can see over Emma's shoulder. It's just darling! So I snapped a couple of close ups in hopes that I'd be able to do something with the design.

 When I got home and started doing a little research, I was surprised to learn that this is not the original wall paper. Apparently a restorator, after studying many layers of paint and wallpaper, discovered that there once was poodle paper in the bath. After chatting with a Presley relative, he was able to get a description of the design. Memphis artist and designer Thomas Malic was hired to recreate the paper. He studied poodle images of the '50s and designed rubber stamp images which he printed with black ink over an off-white background.

Can you find the poodle I tried to replicate?
 I flipped and redrew the image of the poodle on the top left of the wallpaper photo. I'm going for a Parisian Poodle theme, hence the beret. Because of the small scale of the poodle and the fine details, I embroidered this guy with one strand of embroidery thread.
Just a little close up.
 Like I said, I cannot wait to share with you the final result of this project...but that will have to be once I return home and have access to my sewing machine. Until then, I'll be working on embroidery project #2. After some sight-seeing, gelato-eating and souvenir-shopping, of course!
Until then, I leave you with one of my favorite images of Elvis...that shirt! the princess phone! the pink stuffed hound dog! Love.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #22

Last Minute Bag Packing Monday: Yeah, I've gotten really bad at bag-packing-procrastination lately. Which means each trip I manage to come home with a new umbrella, toothbrush and a pair of shades. dress: thrifted Target dress that I added the big bow to last summer; hair clips: H & M
Well, hello, er, guten tag, amigos (what, you didn't know I was trilingual?). I thought I'd share with you what I wore around the states and Deutschland this week. I found these wonderful vintage vacation advertisements for Germany that I just had to share as well. My apologies for the photos, they aren't my best work. But the model was experiencing some serious jet-lag and gelato-hangovers so I did what I could. 

I do hope you have a lovely week. I'll be back shortly as I have a little traveling craft I've been working on that I'm excited to share. Until then, auf wiedersehen!
The weather has been absolutely lovely here. It's that perfect spring time temperature without any humidity like we have back in Nashville. Images via pinterest.

Flying Day and Night: Knowing that I'd be traveling by car and plane for 12 hours, I decided to wear the comfiest thing I could. dress: Gap with embroidery DIY you can read about here; tights: Target; sandals: DIY you can read about here.
I actually love a long plane ride. We don't have cable at Casa de Cassie so that wee telly and I do a lot of catching up on those 8 hour flights.
Dinner in Neustadt an der Aisch Wednesday: The company that my hubs works for is located in this sweet village. We snapped this photo on our walk home from a very filling traditional German dinner at a local brewery. sweater: vintage, thrifted; dress: vintage, Pre-Post Modern in Nashville; bag: Anthropologie, last winter
I love this country, especially in the summer. I have visited two other times in the late fall...which has been wonderful because of the Christmas Markets...but so chilly! The summer here means delightful temps and sunset at 10pm.
Guided Tour Thursday: I was so excited to have a sweet friend guide me through Rothenburg. Photos of my adventures there (as well as Jes') soon. sweater: Target, old; dress: thrifted vintage; belt and flower clip: H & M
But when my tour guide had to work, I was left to my own devices...that's right, me on the autobahn in a VW, of course! Thankfully I was once again in good company and bossed around by a GPS. 
Nuremberg, I Think I Love You: Okay, I know I do. I've visited three days in a row! It's the most delightful town. I've been through castles, churches, an artist's studio and shops. Lots and lots of shops. I was so excited to score my second pair of Irregular Choice shoes -- eep! sweater: Target, old; dress: Anthropologie, a couple years old; best shoes for walking on cobble stoned streets: Chacos, of course
I even managed to find some vintage Nuremberg postcards today in an "antik" shop. Vintage postcards are my fave, especially those with writing and postage, so fun.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Adventures with Jes: Nuremberg

I have a feeling poor Jes is going to meet an untimely death at some point. Poor little fella almost dropped to his doom during this photo. He's like a stuffed tiger Mr. Bill. Oh...that just gave me a whole fresh batch of ideas.
 Greetings from Deutschland! Since arriving on Wednesday, I've managed to embarrass myself countless times with my wee stuffed tiger.  Thankfully, my real traveling companions have been great sports and have done an excellent job of pretending that a grown woman snapping photos of a flattened cat is the most normal thing in the world. It's probably a good thing I don't understand a lick of German.

I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite photos of Jes in the beautiful town of Nuremberg. This is the second largest town in Bavaria (that's a southeastern German bundesland or state). It dates back to 1050, if you can imagine. We began our trip at the Kaiserburg which consists of three castles that tower over Nuremburg.
Yeah, so they don't have elevators to the top of this view. Which is probably a good thing for the two-gelato/three-pretzel/five-German-chocolate-bar diet that I'm workin on.
 During the Renaissance, this town was the hot spot for artists, craftsmen and those intellectual types. Kinda like the Soho of the day, so to speak. And with views like these, who wouldn't be inspired?
Several buildings just like the one above are apart of Kaiserburg. One of the things I've loved about being in Germany in the summer is seeing all of the beautiful flowers in bloom. It seems nearly each home has a window box bursting with color.

Who needs an alarm system when you've got a lock like that? This door leads to the castle grounds.

If I don't drop Jes to his doom, he will most assuredly be stolen by tourists. Not only is he popular with the kids (who think he's a free toy they've discovered when I set him down to take his picture) but adults alike as they've also began taking his picture. I can only imagine what their facebook caption would say: "Freak show American with stuffed tiger -- only in Europe!"

At the base of the castle is the home of one of Germany's most famous artists, Albrecht Durer. During the Renaissance era, Durer was best known for his prints but was also an incredible painter and draftsman. I cannot wait to share photos of his home and studio with the kids this fall.

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," Albrecht Duer, 1471-1528

Dunno Durer? Recognize these hands? Well this is one of his many masterpieces. You can check out more here.
St. Lorenz-Kirche or church. This beautiful church was built pre-Renaissance. It sits very close to some of the most amazing shops known to man where I may or may not have stuffed Jes into my purse and spent way too many euros.
Jes spinning the ring at Schoner Brunnen in Hauptmarkt. It's said that if you spin the rings at this 14th century fountain in Nuremberg's main market, you'll have wishes granted and good fortune. Wishing for more beautiful days, adventures and hoping hubs doesn't find all of the shopping bags I've stuffed in my suitcase.
 Well, that's all of Nuremberg for today! Stay tuned for Jes' adventures in Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Bamberg...if he makes it that far. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DIY: A Traveling Companion

Jes getting ready to board the plane to Europe.
 Well, in case you didn't already think that I was the most geeked-out art teacher there ever was, I went and did this. I created a stuffed version of our school mascot to take on our trip to Germany and the Netherlands. Oh yes, I did. And I'm so excited about it.

Each year, I come up with a theme of study in the art room. Last year, we studied all things Egyptian-y. You can see the end result of that here, here and here. Because of this trip to Europe (I have the good fortune of tagging along with hubs who is going for work), I thought I would take the kids on a trip European adventure with our school mascot, Jes the tiger, as their guide.
 Never having created a stuffed animal before, I went at it kind of haphazardly. In case you are dying to create your own stuffed school mascot, you'll need the following:
  • two pieces of felt for the body
  • buttons for the eyes and nose
  • stuffing
  • a sewing machine
  • embroidery floss and needle
  • extra felt for parts of body 
  1. I began by sketching out the tiger. After I was pleased with the shape of the body, I pinned my drawing to my two pieces of felt and cut it out.
  2. The same process was used for creating the face and muzzle. I drew it out, pinned my drawing to the felt and cut. 
  3. From there, I pinned the face to the body and lightly drew in pencil the parts of the face.
 4. All sewing machines have a zigzag stitch. If you set the zigzag so that the stitches are close together, you get this applique stitch. This is what I used to attach the face to the felt as well as stitch the line for the muzzle, the mouth and attach the white fur on the tummy.
5. For the eyes and the mouth, I sewed some buttons on by hand.
6. The eyelashes, the whiskers and my tiger's name, Jes, were all embroidered by hand.
 7. For the last step, I layered stuffing between the two pieces of felt and, using the same applique stitch, stuffed my stuffy tiger.
Yes, I also created a passport. I told you: Geeked-Out Art Teacher.
 So, why in the world did I do this? Well, the plan is to take photos of Jes (that is the name I christened the tiger as it's the initials of my school) in Germany and the Netherlands to share with the kids. By viewing photos of Jes' explorations, I'm hoping the kids will be more intrigued and draw a greater connection to what they learn. Are you familiar with the Flat Stanley Project? It's the same thing but with our school mascot instead of a flattened dude.
When I asked hubs if I could get Jes' passport stamped at customs, he just looked at me. I suppose it's bad enough that his wife is snapping photos with a stuffed animal.
I have a large wall space in my room that I plan to create a map of Europe so we can track Jes' travels. I've got several other ideas of having Jes send postcards and small gifts to the kids. We'll see. Any ideas or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.
Because I'm not TOTALLY crazy and don't want to appear as such by dragging a stuffed animal around Europe, I created this bag to stuff Jes in.
 I do have a wee dilemma. My students will be learning about the art and life of the people of England, Italy and France as well. Sadly, I won't be traveling to any of these places in the near future. If you live in one of these lovely countries or know someone who does...someone that wouldn't mind snapping a couple photos with a sweet and adorable stuffed Tiger,  would you please let me know? Postage would be covered via paypal by me...and a gift of appreciation would most definitely be included.
Jes rolled up and ready to be stuffed into my carry on.
Passport in hand and ready to board.
 Because I know you are dying to be kept abreast with Jes' adventures, I'll be sure to share them with you. 

Thank you for reading and tolerating my art teacher geektasticness. 

Have a lovely week!