Showing posts with label cat sweater. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cat sweater. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DIY: 13 Favorites of 2013

Happy New Year, you crazy kids! I hope you rang in the new year in style...which, if you're like me, that meant recovering from a backpacking trip your hubs dragged, er, took you on. That's right, after I gifted him these paintings, he decided that a camping adventure was in order. Mind you, it's winter here in Tennessee and the evening forecast was about 29 degrees. I don't know if that's cold to you, but for me, the person who stays under her electric blanket (perfect present, Diana!) with at least 3 space heaters aimed in her direction at all times, that's pretty chilly. I'll share that experience with you in an upcoming post (cuz I know you're dying to hear all about it) but until then, I thought I'd give ya my 13 favorites of 2013! 

Now last year at this time I shared my 12 faves of 2012 and I really enjoyed looking back on my year. This year meant a lot of new crafting, art room and travel adventures. So without further jibber-jabber, I present to you my 13 Faves of 2013!
 1. Going to Paris ranks at the top of my favorite things about this year. After teaching about Europe (with a focus on Paris, France) all year in the art room, I was thrilled to have the chance to spend a week there. This photo was actually taken on the day we landed and zipped right over to the Arc. I may have cried a pinch here ... and at the top when I got a good view of the Eiffel Tower. It was just too beautiful for my tired jet-lagged soul to take without shedding a tear or three.
I think I took exactly 500 photos while I was there. You can read more about my adventure here. I'd love to go back; there were just so many things to see and do.
2. Going to Germany to attend the wedding of some friends was also one of my favorite things. We flew into Nuremburg from Paris at which point my hubs took the rental car to the Germany company he works for which left me stranded in the city for several hours. This really pushed my big girl limits as I had to figure out how to navigate that foreign city and find my way back to the town where we were staying. Turns out clicking your heels and whispering "there's no place like Neustadt an der Aisch" only works in the movies.
3. I began my love affair with needle felting this year. It all started when I spotted a certain dotted sweater at Anthropologie and was inspired to create my own version. I've become so addicted that there currently isn't a sweater in my wardrobe that isn't DIY'ed. Le sigh.

Of course I had to felt a bird on it. Details on the sweater on the left here and the one on the right here.
This sweater was (at the time) the most time consuming...although I'm currently working on a felted number that's gonna put all these bad boys to shame. I'm hoping to have that one to share with you next week.
I felted my cat Asha looking dapper and created another Anthro knock-off but putting my own spin on it with a Christmas theme.
4. I had the privilege of working with the awesome Rebecca Tenpenny this year. In case you don't recall, she was my super duper student teacher that I just adored. We spent so much time together dreaming up projects for the kids, laughing and just having a great time.
5. Creating Great Big Masterpiece-Inspired murals has really been fun in the art room this year. The first one we embarked on was this Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Can number that currently hangs in the school cafeteria.

Our second big mural was inspired by the work of Rene Magritte and created by my third grade students. I'm excited to see what other murals we create this upcoming year.
6. So I got it in my head that I would be creating 9 artist-themed outfits this school year. This has been so much fun for me and the kids have loved it. Of course, sometimes I have to point out to them that I'm wearing something slightly unusual because they just look at me and see crazy. An apple for your face? Eh, what else is new.

 7. I started a sewing group after school for the faculty at my school. It's been so exciting to share my love of sewing with others. I have plenty to learn about sewing...but it's so much fun to teach what little I do know. I'm excited to say that about 4 of these ladies have since purchased sewing machines of their own and even gotten some for Christmas! In the photo above, we're wearing some tacky Christmas garb we stitched up ourselves.
8. Getting published in SchoolArts...twice! I've been reading SchoolArts since my first year teaching when I discovered a stash in the back of my first art room. I poured over those issues and learned so much from each and every one. It was such a life saver for me...and still is. So I was honored to have my geeked out art teacher clothes featured.
And an article I wrote that showcased the fab work of my former fourth graders. It meant so much to me and them.
9. A service project to help those that can't help themselves. My kindergarten through 4th grade students each created an animal clay project that they "sold" back to their parents for a monetary donation of their choice. This money was then given to the no-kill animal shelter in our town called Happy Tales Humane. I think showing the kids that they can use their art to help others is very important. We are in the middle of another service project now. By the way, you can see our animal clay projects here, here and here.

10. Dressing like Mary Poppins for Favorite Book Character Day was such fun. Since the kids were learning about the UK at the time, I was reading P.L. Travers book to the children and playing my old Disney records. By the way, have ya'll seen Saving Mr. Banks? If not, you absolutely must. I loved every minute.
The best part about dressing as Mary is that I actually got to meet her at Epcot that very weekend. I told her I was a teacher and she asked, "Do you keep those students in spit spot shape?"
11. Getting to visit with my mother and brother this summer was awesome. My baby bro teaches on an Indian reservation in Arizona so I don't see him as often as I'd like. And my mama lives about 6 hours away in Indiana. So for us to get together is a pretty big deal. I took 'em around to the usual touristy spots.
12. Hubs and I love to go to Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios in Disney World. Yeah, we're nerdy like that. For the last two years, I've created a dress for the occasion, once with the Star Wars sheets from my childhood and this year with a Mad Men theme. Already hubs is asking what I'll be wearing this upcoming year.
13. Getting this insane tree into the art room. Okay, this one goes down as one of the funniest things that happened this year. My girlfriend and I made two trips with her huge car hauling this monster of a tree...and then more girlfriends attempted to help me assemble the thing. In the end, a kind dad volunteer put the tree together and I'm happy to say, it's still standing.
And we've so enjoyed having it in the art room this year. Fingers crossed it hasn't decided to collapse over Winter Break.

And that's my 13 faves of 2013! I hope your year was a good one and here's to a brand new one. Happy New Year, ya'll!

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #59

Feelin' Catty Monday: Aw, what am I talkin' about, I'm catty everyday! For the first time in my small-chested life, I actually got to use the phrase, "My eyes are up here," when I caught folks staring at my Nerdy Cat Sweater. It's the little things in life that give me joy. sweater: made by me, DIY here; dress: vintage, Four Sessions Vintage; tights: Target; shoes: Fluevog
You gotta be kitten me! You cat be serious. Have you seen these images of cats vastly improving masterpieces by your fave artists? If not, I'm feline like you go and check 'em out right here, right meow. 
 Hey, hep cats. I come to you with clay under my fingernails and visions of some of the cutest clay critters ever created by kids dancing in my head. Which is givin' me a migraine. But it's all worth it. After two weeks of hard work, my kindergarten through fourth grade students have each created an animal sculpture worthy of howls, meows and woofs. I'm so thankful for the many parents that volunteered in the art room to help make this project possible and to keep me sane. It takes a village. Well, to keep me sane, it takes a village, meds and adult bevvies. But I digress.

Since this was our last week to craft our animal sculptures, I decided to continue my all-animals dress code from last week. And since I outed myself as a crazy cat lady earlier this week, I thought I'd share with you some of my fave feline masterpieces. I do hope you enjoy and have a purrrrrr-fect week!
Tame Cat’s Optical Illusion, Tokuhiro Kawai, 2006, Oil on Canvas Kawai is a Tokyo-born surrealist artist who's painted several paintings of this Scottish Fold house cat. I am completely toying with the idea of creating a few paintings like these of dear ol' Asha. You can see more feline masterpieces by Kawai here.
Feline Footsie Tuesday: And on this day, I had the pleasure of hanging out with some of the adult artists in our school as they created their own gnome homes. I figured that while we had the clay out, why not allow everyone to join in on the fun? sweater: Old Navy, thrifted; dress and belt: Anthropologie; tights and necklace: Target: cat shoes: Modcloth
Okay, I do believe I could have totally created my own version of these kitten heels but I decided to birthday splurge on these instead. Seeing as how I saved a whopping $99.99 by creating this Modcloth sweater, I had a little money to burn.
Woman and siamese cat, Eileen Mayo, 1952 Aw, so sweet. When I try to do this with my cat, she will usually smack me with her tail a good couple of times before getting up and sitting on my hubs lap. This is then followed by her "um, we'd like some privacy, please" stare.
Birds of a Feather Wednesday: I actually wore one of my own belts created belts on this day. I don't know why I've stopped wearing them. But the bird seemed to work with the bird feathers in the pattern of this dress. sweater and necklace: vintage, thrifted; dress, tights, shoes: Anthropologie; belt: made by me
 Julie Manet With Cat, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1867, oil painting Not until I did some googling did I discover that Renoir has featured cats in many of his paintings. I've never been a huge fan of Renoir's work (his brush strokes are just too fuzzy and fluffy for me) but one look at that kitten's face and I might become a convert.

News Cat-astrouphe: What you are looking at is a DIY sneak-peak. No, I didn't make this dress (although I did later discover the fabric here and was bummed that I hadn't made the dress myself) but I did embellish it quite a bit. But you'll have to wait to hear about that. On this evening, a buddy and I attended an invite-only event at Anthropologie. There was music, drinks, snacks and plenty of good company. Ask your local Anthro to put you on their emailing list about special promotions. You'll love it. black top, necklace: Target; dress: originally Modcloth, DIY by me; sparkly fishnets: TJMaxx; shoes: Dolls by Nina
The kids were very intrigued by the print of this dress and loved seeing the images of the cats. However, my kindergarten students were completely confused. They thought I was actually wearing a dress made out of newspaper and several had to have a touchy-feely moment with the fabric (after a couple of "bad touches", ahem, I limited them to the fabric near the hem). There's also a dog version of this fabric found here.

I had a copy of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories growing up and I loved them. This illustration from The Cat that Walked by Himself was always one of my favorites. I'd love to have this print in my house.
Oh, hello, neighbor: Pretty sure the neighbors think I'm a freak show what with my tripod and goofball poses. sweater: from the Anthro shindig. Got it on super-duper sale and was able to use my birthday discount. If you're not familiar, if you sign up for an "anthro card" (not a credit card, just something they scan at each purchase so they can see just how completely addicted to their store you are), they'll send you a 15% off your total purchase card in the mail to be used during your birthday month. skirt: vintage, thrifted; fishnets: Marshalls; shoes: Dolls by Nina
Girl in a Field, Tsuguharu Foujita I discovered this artist in college and had several of his prints in my dorm room. I love his strange style of paintings that almost look like drawings; the similar doll-like features of the women in his paintings and, of course, the cats! His funny faced felines are featured in many of his paintings.
The artist himself sounds like fashionable funky dude. I read this about him: His hair was cut in the style of an Egyptian statue; he wore earrings, dressed in tunics and had a tattoo around his wrist. He even wore a lampshade sometimes rather than a hat! You can read more about Foujita and see more of his work here.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

DIY: The Crazy Cat Lady Sweater

Cat-tastic Outfit Details: Cuz you know you want 'em. sweater: originally a Free People, felted by moi; dress: vintage, Four Seasons Vintage, Knoxville, TN; tights: I'm wearing two. Don't ask me how, you don't wanna know; shoes: thrifted, Nine West
I recently took an "Are You a Cat Person?" quiz and, by the looks of things, I betcha can guess the results. But c'mon! Tell me I'm not the only one who answered a resounding "yes!" to the following: 
  • You consider cat hair in your food an additional source of fiber (What? You can never get enough. Fiber that is. The hairballs kinda suck).
  • You sleep on the edge of your bed because you hate to disturb the cat sleeping in the middle looking so darn cute (Not only is cuteness a factor but you try moving 20 sleeping pounds. No small task).
  • You call home multiple times daily to ask your spouse what the cat is doing and to speak to her (Okay, this wasn't actually on the list but this is what my hubs does everyday during my summer vacation. Looks like I'm not the only one with a problem).

Sweater on the left available at Modcloth for $99.99 (really? How 'bout we just call it $100, ermkay?) and my felted personalized version on the right.

Since my students are currently creating dogs and cats outta clay, I just knew I had to have this sweater in my life. For educational purposes! For the children! For the love of all things cat-sy! But when I saw that totally ridic price tag, I was all "Edu-what? Children-shmildren! Cats, who gives a -- (cue tilted head, doe-eyed stare as seen below) Awwwww! Cats!" 

AND the DIY Crazy Cat Lady Sweater was born.
Now there's only one cat in my life and that's Asha. Her tale begins with her mom who we had originally adopted after she was abandoned at my apartment complex. Normally a calm and quiet cat, I was a little perplexed when one night she began howling like a crazy fool. Never having owned a cat before I had no idea she was in heat. I threw her outside and doncha know that little hussy came back knocked up. Hubs actually had to deliver Asha (on our bed, ahem) as she was born breach. She is currently our only cat and just about all we can handle.

I mean, just look at this nut. When she's not on some rickrack-chewing or stomping-on-my-crafts rampage...
...she's passed out drunk as a skunk. It's like living with Lindsay Lohan. But we loves her just the same.

Which is why I decided to create my own cat sweater dedicated to my dear sweet drunken Asha. Wanna do the same? Easy. Follow these steps:
  1. You are going to create a symmetrical drawing of your cat. Begin by folding a piece of 8 1/2' X 11" piece of paper in half. From here you could either trace an enlarged photo of your cat or draw a very basic version.
  2. Now here's a little trick to create a drawing that is perfectly symmetrical drawing. Fold the paper in half along the vertical crease. With the paper folded, scribble firmly on the backside of your drawing. 
  3. When you reopen your paper, you will see a ghost line of your drawing. My students use this technique in art all the time when wanting to create a symmetrical drawing quickly.

Originally my plan was to place this drawing under the sweater and trace it. Yeah, that didn't work. The sweater is completely opaque. So then my thought was to use one of those pattern cutting tools that looks like a pizza cutter with teeth. I thought I'd trace my lines with that tool, place the drawing on my sweater and use chalk to "pounce" in the lines. Erm, no go. The chalk just vanished into the knit of the sweater. These failures lead to Plan C (for "C"rap, now what?!):
Cut the drawing into pieces and outline in wool yarn.
This worked swimmingly. I simply outlined the components of the design (cat head, glasses, ears, etc) and filled them in with felt. Almost like Paint-by-Number. Here, lemme show you...

On the left, you can see I've cut out the glasses and I've outlined them in dark brown wool yarn. Only 100% wool yarn can be used when needle felting. This same technique was used when felting the inside of the glasses.
Not being able to draw on the sweater was annoying. But drawing with the yarn really helped. And the good news is that yarn can be pulled right out of the sweater in case a mistake is made.
Creepy kitty face.

Outline in yarn, fill in with roving, lather, rinse, repeat (okay, minus those last three, we're not wet felting here). If you are new to the idea of needle felting, you can read about my first attempt, complete with slightly clearer directions, here. Follow that up with my downhill slide into felting madness: Put a Bird on It Sweater, Floral Applique Sweater and my Crazy Art Teacher Skirt.

Once I decided I wanted to create an Ashie sweater, I snapped this photo of her so I could see her coloring and details as I worked. She doesn't usually have such a freaky face unless she's staring at birds or other lil critters. In this instance it happened to be a giant spider hanging just above my head. Yeah, thanks for the warning, fuzzy butt.
 My feeble attempt to emulate the bow-and-glasses look. Somehow, it's just not the same.
Looking back over the "Are You a Cat Person" quiz, I never once saw the statement: 
  • You unapologetically spend a good portion of your birthday weekend needle felting a picture of your cat onto your clothing. Which you wear proudly to work. Where small children praise you for your craftsmanship while adults smile and pretend they aren't planning an emergency intervention for your insane cat lady soul at the next faculty meeting. 
I mean, who wouldn't check "yes!" in that box, am I right people? 
Erm, hello?

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