Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DIY: Butterick, Who's Yo Mama?

You ever have one of those annoying sensations that just won't go away? You know, like a little tickle in the small of your back that you can't seem to reach or one of those rouge runaway hairs you feel somewhere on your face but you just can't find. OR, this one's the worst, what about a wedgie that manages to get more friendly than a proctologist?

 Oh, oops. Did I just go too far? Or maybe too close to home. I promise I didn't know this post was gonna head south so quickly when I began. My bad.

But I tell you I was going somewhere (other than south) with that there intro. Because this Red Hot Vintage Floral Fabric has been that unreachable itch, that fantom hair, that borderline sexual harassment wedgie all summer long.

Seriously. It started way back in May when I was working on my Star Wars dress. I spied this lovely piece peaking out from my Mount Fujiyama o' Fabric. And it was all, "Hey! Look at me. I'm gorgeous." and I'm like, "Wow, you are pretty sweet. But doncha think calling yourself 'gorgeous' is a little, I don't know, arrogant?" To which the fabric was like, "Look, if you don't think you are up to workin' with somethin' as amazing as me, that's fine. But let's not pretend I wouldn't make a pretty smokin' dress."

And that there sparked the unrelenting urge to find the perfect pattern to marry with this beautiful, albeit a pinch egomaniacal, fabric. 

(BTW, have you noticed just how much time I spend talking to inadament objects? Dunno what I'm talking about? What about here, here and, oh man, here. Geez, I need to get out more. Or start taking my meds. That'd probably help.)
After some serious online pattern digging, I found The Perfect Partner for my Red Hot Vintage Floral. I mean, look at that cut, that detail at the neckline, that big-drapey-hankie-thingie. It was like a match made in sewing heaven.

Then I saw it. The name of the maker at the top of the pattern envelope. And I went all Jerry Seinfeld and spit out the words with such venom and hate that I almost scared myself:

That's right. The above is an accurate portrayal of my relationship with Butterick. You might recall my ever-so-slight (ha!) frustration with said pattern-maker here. In fact, I do believe I made that scrunched-up, buck-toothed mouse face complete with Wicked Witch of the West hands more than a dozen times whilst attempting to solve the riddle that is a Butterick pattern. And every time it stared right back at me with those dead-Newman-esque eyes and that smirky smile. Oh, how I loathe thee, Butterick.
(BTW, not that it would ever happen anyway, but I'm almost positive that these blatant Butterick-hatred posts are gonna make it so said pattern-making company never contacts me for an endorsement. Whatcha think?)

My frustration over the vaugeness of the directions became so great that I even started fantasizing about tracking down ole Mrs. B and asking her why, just why were her designs so great and her directions so bad. And then I realized that this pattern is super old and that I'd probably have to find Mrs. Butterick Junior if I wanted any sort of contact with my nemesis. And THEN I realized that she'd probably be just as cryptic with directions to her house (because I wanna see this evil face-to-face...which makes me think I shoulda titled this post "Butterick, WHERE'S Yo Mama?") as her maw was with sewing steps: "Oh, you know. Just drive a while and then turn at that stoplight. The one on that corner. It's a white house. On a street. With a yard. You'll find it if you're not an idiot..."


One particularly difficult evening whilst attempting that big-drapey-hankie-thingie, I decided to google this pattern and see if anyone out there might have a word of advice (or an address, perhaps). And that's when I found her: Professor Pincushion. In this 80 minute tutorial, she walks you through the entire pattern and explains every single step. It was like the heavens opened up and I could hear the angels sing (which, it turns out, they like to sing G'n'R. I KNOW RIGHT, how rad is that?!) That's not even a joke, she's really that awesome. AND she's got these amazing sparkly gold fingernails that she  uses to accentuate her explanations which I have likened to Glenda the Good Witch. If she were only a set of nails.
Now I gotta admit, I still had to watch her create that big-drapey-hankie-thingie about two or twenty times before I got it. Which made me think that ole Prof Pincush could really make it big if, after a dozen replays, she could just reach her Glenda nails through the screen and do the hard stuff for you. Seriously. Are you listening, Professor? Because if this idea appears in your next tutorial, Ima gonna expect some royalties.
All moaning and groaning aside, I am pretty excited about this dress. Even with help, this pattern definitely was a challenge that put my severe lack of skills to the test. I still can't believe I managed to pull it off. With a whole lotta thanks to Professor Pincushion. And now that that annoying wedgie is finally released (ewww, sorry! But I had to do some sort of tie in with the beginning of this post. It's called Closure, reader. Deal wit it), I've two other dress-itches that I gotta scratch. Both involve amazing art-teachery fabric that I'm super stoked about. AND speaking of Super Stoked...
Me and my nutty outfits have found their place in SchoolArts Magazine! If you are an art teacher, then you know this is one of the best art education mags out there. AND, if you found this blog because of the magazine, welcome! I promise this blog is normally about much more than wedgies (haha, no it's not). For diy-details on the outfits above, just click on the following linky-loos: Applique Pencil Skirt; Gnome Dress; Embroidered Eiffel Tower; Paris Dress; Painterly Dress; and, lastly, Crayon Felted Hat and Skirt (with painted shoes!).

Stay tuned for some upcoming photos of my nearly complete art room!

Monday, July 29, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #71

I have no idea what's happening here. More than likely I'm trying to suppress a fart because hubs was in the background making dinner and his gross-out-tolerance is extraordinarily low. Which is unfortunate for him, being married to a fart-in-the-kitchen-whilst-preparing-dinner dame like me. dress: The Limited (I know, right!); cumberbun: gift from a friend; crinoline: picked up at Pre-to-Post Modern in Nashville; shoes: Sofft; necklace: vintage Target
Ya'll've (yes, I just invented a new contraction: you, all and have. Deal wit it) heard of Shark Week, right? Well, with hubs on vacation last week, it was Hubs Week at Casa de Cassie. Which was awesome because we got to spend so much time together (well, okay, "awesome" might be a bit of an exaggeration. A week is a really long time) and we got so much done. For example, we managed to watch every episode of Naked and Afraid (are you watching this? You really should be because it rocks). Now, if you're like me, when you heard that title you had flashbacks of the time the electricity went out in JCPenny's while you were trying on bathing suits...very frightening and naked. Kid ya not. Thankfully, that's not what this show is about. It's a reality survival show that features a nude guy and gal who are stranded on a remote location for 21 days with only one item of their choosing. After watching back to back 'sodes, hubs and I already know what we'd take: a keg and a hot tub. Duh. 

Other than that, we went to the movies, visited friends and fam and just plain relaxed. It was a lovely week that just zipped by at the speed of a flying squirrel (more on that shortly). And now, it's back to reality. Hubs has returned to work and I go back to school on...Wednesday. This Wednesday, people! And I can't...stop...crying. Tears of joy, of course. Big fat hairy tears

Until I stop sobbing, I hope you have a super groovy week. Chat soon!
A coupla years ago, hubs decided he wanted to grow some fruit in our front flower bed. Which would be great if it wasn't The Front FLOWER Bed. Not like that matters as flowers have been refusing to last more than a week up in dat bed for as long as I can remember (which could have something to do with the fact that I'm like the Grim Reaper Gardener). So hubs stuck some strawberry plants and a blackberry bush in the ground. This year we've finally been able to get to the blackberries before our furry friends and have been munching on these lovelies for weeks. We couldn't figure out just who was eating up our strawberries until we came home to a skunk with a mouthful of berries and a tail raised and ready to rip, not unlike me in the top photo. To which we said, "We're good, skunk. You enjoy those berries, they's all yours."
Would you take a look at this super sweet photo-bomber? We're attempting to put this big ole gal on another diet...we've gotten a bit outta control giving her our table scraps (which include ice cream, cheese, yogurt and grits. Yes, grits. She's a Southern cat, after all). dress: BCBG; sweater: thrifted, Banana Republic; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; bow pin: Sweet Katie from The Little Red Squirrel!; shoes: Crocs...they've become my go-to shoe for all of this rain we've been having
Okay, dudes, quiz time. Do you know what this is...? And don't be all Mr./Mrs. Obvious and say, "Duh, Cassie, it's a squirrel." Because, I can assure you, after witnessing it flying up to the bird house and zip into it at the speed of light, it is not (and by "witnessing", I mean hubs saw it happen and told me all about it. And, unlike myself, he's not inclined to tell tall-tales or fart in the kitchen. Which I bet is mighty uncomfortable for him. The no-farting not the no-lying.)
I mean, it's totally not a regular squirrel, look at those crazy pupils. I had to tiptoe up to the house and hold the camera at arms-length just to get a good photo of the little guy. I woulda gotten closer but I had visions of him flying out of the house and attaching himself to my face and sucking my brain out thru my eyeballs. Because that's what flying squirrels do, right? Hence the dilated pupils.
Another photo-bomber who actually closely resembles the Unabomber, strangely enough. Funny-ish story, hubs and I were out recently when I overheard a woman say, "Oh, I love your sandals." Now, I'm not gonna lie, you dress crazy for a little while and you get rather used to folk commentin' on your duds (my fave, "Do you always dress like that?!") My response to the sweet lady was "Oh! Thank you!" only to discover she was talking to hubs about his hippie rope sandals. Hubs looked at me and said, "She was talking to me. It's not always about you. I look cute too." Indeed. dress: Tennessee Antique Mall
Definitely, um, cute.
Even though hubs had the week off, I had to get into my art room and work just a pinch. I managed to wash Paris off my windows and begin knockin' out my latest theme. I'm still far from finished but it sure made me sleep a little better at night to get some work done. dress: The Hip Zipper, Nashville; headband: Pangea, Nashville
Hubs and I took a mini-road trip to visit some friends in Knoxville, Tennessee. Whenever we are there, I gotta stop into my two fave vintage joints, Nostalgia and Four Seasons Vintage which are conveniently close together. I love this collection of salt and pepper shakers...but I scored my own collection at the thrift store just before droppin in here.
 I love a vintage joint with a shop kitty, don't you? This one cracked up me, I'd never seen a cat scoop water up and drink it that way. With this kind of talent I now understand why the restroom door had to remain closed. Wouldn't wanna interrupt a scoop-n-drink of toilet water.
So I've gotten like super lazy with my hair-stylin's of late. This is what happens when I wash my hair and decide to attempt Heidi braids: I end up with 1980's anchor man hair. Which is totally making a comeback so don't you knock it. dress: vintage; belt: gift; owl sandals and sweater: Anthro
Well, it doesn't look like this anymore because today I finished this beast! Although, just looking at this half finished monster, any idea where I'm taking the kids in art class this year...?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In the Art Room: Tennessee Arts Academy

Can you believe this gorgeous ceramic pieces? It was created during a class taught by Denise Ertler who is the professional development coordinator for Mayco, my fave glaze company. You can find tons of amazing ceramic lessons here.
 Every summer I'm super lucky in that I get to help out at Tennessee Arts Academy (they call me a "facilitator" because pain-in-the-a## was taken). If you've been hanging with me on this here blog since last summer (for which I thank you and I gotta ask, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?!), you might recall this post in which I gushed over the Academy. Well, this post will involve a whole lot more rambling and a peek inside the creation of these marvelous pieces. None of which were created by me except for that just-started piece at the bottom of this post. I have this weird thing where I can't seem to get anything done when I attend the Academy. And by "weird thing" I mean an inability to shut up when I'm around other art teachers. I just love chatting with like-minded weirdos! Part of the reason I spend so much time talking to myself. But whateves, let's talk about the amazing Denise Ertler and her ceramic lessons.
So Mayco makes these things called ceramic canvases which is a bisque fired canvas-esque surface for you to go crazy on. During Denise's lesson, she taught the participants how to glaze a scene onto the surface with Stroke and Coat (not the best name but, seriously, The Best Glaze Ever). Once the painting was complete, the participants sculpted lil whatevers out of low-fire clay. These were then placed onto the ceramic surface and left to dry. Once fired (a low fire of cone 06), the hand built pieces adhere to the canvas and look like the image at the top of the post. Nutz, right? I love it. Even if you couldn't afford the canvas, I'm thinking this same concept could be done on a slab of clay, don't you think?
Mayco also makes these bisque dinner plates. Which makes me totally wanna make my own dinner plates partly because that'd be awesome and the other partly because my paper plates do not wash easily. They make the biggest mess in the dishwasher eve-rrr.
 I really love this project. The above piece is unfired but I thought I'd share it with you so I could better explain the process. The surface was glazed with two coats of brown underglaze. A stencil was then created with fuzzy string, twine, whatever you got on hand. Once the underglaze dried, Stroke and Coat was added in any variety of colors, painting right over the string. Once dry, the string was removed, the piece was covered in clear glaze and fired. I love the layers of color you can see in the finished glazed piece.
Here's another one of those clay canvas thingies. I like the square format of this one, don't you? This was created with a pen called Designer Liner and all I gotta say about this pen is WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I WAS ATTEMPTING THIS, huh?! ANYway, this was done directly on the canvas, color was added and then a coupla coats of clear glaze finished it off.
Do all ya'll art teachers know Peggy Flores? I know I just heard a resounding "YES!" because if you said, "no...?" then you have either been living under a rock (which sounds mighty cramped but I hear the temperatures are nice) or you just didn't know you know Peggy Flores. What in the world am I talking about? (geez, how many times in a day do I get asked that question!) Well, she's the lady behind the art instruction videos created by Crystal Productions. I have this metal tooling video in my collection and love it!
Another one of her lessons is the folded paper project. I wasn't in Peggy's class so I don't know the details of the project but I love the three-dimensional aspect of the piece. It adds a whole new layer to a collage project.
I know Peggy offers a paper mola video. Again, I didn't take this class, so I don't know the details but you better bet my kids will be making one of these when we "travel" to South America.
David Christiana was our awesome instructor for a two-day illustration type class. If you aren't familiar with David's work, go here and be prepared to be amazed. His work is stunning and he was just the nicest guy to have as an instructor. Now the above may look like your typical grid project but what made it different was the fact that it was a lesson on value and mark making. Each pieces was made on clayboard (have you ever worked on this stuff? It's got a smooth as silk surface on masonite) and created with a combination of pen and ink, pencil and charcoal.
The other project created in his class (which my camera ran outta juice before I could snap photos of) was one he titled Castle-ness. I loved this project (even though I failed to produce anything because of my aforementioned blabber-mouth-itus). He had us all brainstorm words that we felt described castles. So we said things like your typical stuff like stone, massive, drawbridge, etc. Then we dug deeper and came up with fortress, safety, power, greed, your mama (not really, just seeing if you were paying attention). After that brainstormin session, we were to come up with a brief description of either ourselves or someone close to us. With those two groups of words in mind, we came up with a drawing called Castle-ness: A castle idea but much more. I think I can use the brainstorming ideas with my wee ones.
I learned so much from Nicole Briscoe about inspiring creativity in young artists. Nicole teaches high school artists but many of the ideas that she shared I could easily see bringing to my elementary art room. The above is a display of projects from both Peggy's class and Nicole's. Oh! And you can also see some of the pen and ink Castle-ness drawings from David's class.
 Here's what I loved about Nicole's class: the drawing prompts. She have us giant sheets of lovely thick paper (I dunno, thick ole drawing paper, maybe? You know, the stuff that's not in my wee elementary budget) and, seriously, 25 prompts. Things like: a contour drawing; write a letter to yourself in 50 years; write your 5 core beliefs; draw a self-portrait; draw a tool (I drew my lipstick because I am a tool); do a value study; draw patterns; movement, etc. You can find a ton of her prompts and other great ideas for inspiring creativity in your art room here.

 So, now dontcha wish youda gone to Tennessee Arts Academy? Anyone can go, not just Tennesseans. All you gotta do is apply (like, in October, it fills up fast). Get your school to chip in on some of the cost and rack up the professional development hours -- 36 hours to be exact. AND, if you go, I'll show you my totally rad food processing blade scar. I KNOW, RIGHT?! Now you GOTTA go. Okay, I'll stop shouting. 

Hope your week's a great one! I hope to be back soon with a freshly finished DIY. Later!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #70

blouse and bangles: vintage, thrifted; skirt and belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: Sofft
Like, wow. It's been seriously forever since I last blogged but you gotta know, it's not my fault. I place the blame on my maw and bro for their week-long visit which was immediately followed by a week-long professional development (the Tennessee Arts Academy, aka, The Best Professional Development for the Arts ever. More on that soonish). I know, I've got lots of excuses (always, it's just who I am. When I'm not whining about something, I'm usually excuse-a-micating. I'd stop but I just can't shake my excuse-itus) but Ima gonna try my hardest to get my bloggin' schedule back on track (oh, who am I kidding, this bloggin' train done derailed ages ago).

So I thought I'd share with you what my mom, brother and I did on their visit to Nashville. It's a rare occasion I get to see my baby bro (he's 10 years my junior) because he lives and teaches on a Navajo reservation in Many Farms, Arizona. After a visit home (to Indiana, we're Hoosier/Pickle-Lovers, remember?!), he and mom drove down here to ole Tennessee for a spell. We had an awesome time playing tacky tourist with entirely too many selfies and sweet tea. 

On our first morning, we walked at Radnor Lake before the heat set in. If you're not familiar with Radnor, it's a super popular place to day hike because the trails are short and deer watching is amazing. In fact, the deer are so used to the people that as mom and I were chatting and walking down a trail, I turned my head away from her and found myself face-to-face with a grass-chomping deer. She just snorted and walked off. The deer, not my mother. Although that does sound like something she would do.
Don't you love those sweet little spots?
My brother wanted to check out the Parthenon which is in Nashville's Centennial Park. The Nashville version of the Parthenon was built in 1897 as apart of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition which was this big ole party celebrating the 100th year of Tennessee joining the Union. Our version of the Parthenon is an exact replica AND, as we like to tell fancy Europeans, it's way better because it's newer and not as crumbly.
Aw, a sibling moment that was quickly followed by, "okay, picture's over, stop touching me!"
Sigh. So, okay, in the 1990's it was decided that Alan LeQuire, a famous Nashville figurative sculpture artist, would create an exact replica of the Athena that was in the original, now crumbly, Parthenon. And she was lovely. Imagine this exact state but all white. It was absolutely breathtaking when you would enter the Parthenon. Because the funding ran out, the statue was left in an all-white state for many years. Apparently the original statue was painted like...this. So when the Parthenon was granted the funding a couple years ago, Athena was gilded in gold and painted up like a lady of the night. I'm sorry. I just don't like it. It looks like a Jean Paul Gaultier meets Liberace.
Mom and I attempting to get pretty on the Shelby Street Walking Bridge.
The walking bridge is several years old and I've never taken the time to walk across it. You can see the best views of downtown Nashville and Broadway from there.

This boy is a constant photo bomber!

dress: vintage, thrifted, and dyed by me here; shoes and shades: Target, old; hair flower: made by me, just a little fake floral glued to a clip

dress: Anthro, couple years ago; shoes: Poetic License; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing
Our local art museum, The Frist Center for Visual Arts, is currently exhibiting one of the most incredible exhibits of cars. Look, I'm not even a car person and this was easily one of my favorite exhibits ever. These cars were all from the 1920's - 30's and each a magnificent work of art. Several were one of a kind and one was even for sale for a cool 2 million. I was amazed to hear that each car was in working order and were driven into the museum.
Mom and me in a gas cap.
Isn't it amazing how something sitting so still can look like it's zooming so fast?
On the last day of their visit, we went to Rippavilla Plantation in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The story goes that the home was built by Nathaniel Frances Cheairs IV. But the story begins way before that when Nathaniel began courting Miss Susan Peters McKissack. Apparently, when Nate decided he wanted to marry Susan, his father tried to convince him otherwise. Not because he didn't like Susan, he just didn't like her name. That's right, apparently, all the Nathaniels in the family had always married Sarahs and ole pops wanted Nate to keep up the tradition. He even tried bribing him to seek out another bride. Can you imagine that in the Singles Column: "SWM seeking SWF, must have most of your teeth, a big hoop skirt, plenty of bonnets AND be named Sarah. With an "h"." Nate decided his pops was crazy, married Susan, had four kids and built a big ole plantation. Take that, Nate, Sr.
The real reason we wanted to go was because the plantation was hosting a big ole vintage event on the grounds of the estate. I managed to scoop up some bangles that I think will go perfectly with that doggone Butterick dress that's STILL on my sewing table. My goal is to finish her off this coming week. Which was also my goal last week...AND the week before that.
So much vintage awesomeness. With the exception of that tractor pillow. Like, ew.
I promise the matching straw hat was totally unintentional! dress: Urban Outfitters picked up a Plato's Closet; hat: Florida