Friday, July 6, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #24

Motivated Monday: Some days, I've just got it. Motivation, that is. Most days I'm a useless slug. But on this day, I was all about the laundry, the cleaning and the dying of this dress...which I'm still losing sleep over. Note to self: no dying, hemming or drastic-vintage-dress-decision-making whilst pms'ing. dress: vintage, thrifted, sweated thru then dyed then hemmed by me
 Hiya, friends. How are you? Is it just me or has this week been screwy as all get out? It's that middle-of-the-week-holiday thing that threw me off. Wednesday felt like Sunday which made Thursday feel like Monday and Friday just wasn't as cool as it usually is. But, whatevs, the fireworks were cool (oh, who am I kidding, this ole bag and her party animal hubs were both in bed by 9pm).

Apart from this week trippin' me out, it was a good one. I got to catch up with some friends, do some estate sale shopping and a wee bit of crafting. So I thought I'd share just a bit of that with you, along with what I wore, this week. This weekend and upcoming week is going to be an exciting one for me as I'm attending the Tennessee Arts Academy. So if I'm a little pokey on the posts, I do hope you'll understand. I'll be certain to fill you in on all of the awesomeness that is the Arts Academy soon. Until then, enjoy your weekend!
Uh huh, you thought I gave up hookin', didn't you? Because it's not a craft that travels well, it has been neglected of late. However, I'm excited to share with you the two squares on the right that have recently been finished.
Car-Jumpin' Tuesday: I went to visit my adorable and amazing former-student-teacher-now-middle-school-art-teacher Lauren on this day in her new school! You might remember her and her artsy looks from these outfit posts. Sadly, after our visit, I had to bother her kind vice principal for a car jump as my GPS decided to go rogue, fall off the windshield, bump my hazards which blinked for hours on end causing my battery to die. What kind of Terrible Tuesday Domino Effect is that, anyway?! same dress; sandals:  made by me with this DIY
This may sound silly to you...but every summer, I've always wanted to spend my Fridays estate/garage/yard saling. And every summer, I've neglected to do so because I hated the idea of goin' it alone. This summer I've got a couple buddies that love to go with me and I'm so excited about that and my great finds! I found this beautiful book and creepy letter opener on a recent saling trip.
Happy Fourth of July Wednesday: We celebrated our independence by shopping at Goodwill and running into this sweet girl and her hubs. dress: the first dress I ever made based off of a pillow sack dress idea, vintage fabric; flowers in my hair: one by me, the other by H & M; sandals: old, BC Footware
One of my favorite estate sale finds: vintage hankies. Antique stores now ask for almost $6 per hankie...I managed to score all of these for half that. I'm thinking of collecting more to create another one of these skirts.
Ladies that Lunch Thursday: Met up with an incredible art educator and professor for a delish lunch on this day. dress: Forever 21, old. I added the brown and mustard yellow bands of fabric at the bottom to add some length. My thighs just aren't up for that much air time; belt: made by me; sandals: You've seen me wear 'em to death, old ones from Target
Ashie's new favorite place to spend her afternoons is on bird duty in this chair overlooking the deck. During this nap she missed the two dozen bird party we happened to be hosting in our bird bath.
Early Morning Estate Saling/East Nashville Lunching/Car Tire Exploding/Tire Buying Fun Friday: Yeah, throw in a thunderstorm, a near wallet snatching and a 110 degree day and you've got yourself more fun that you can handle. Thankfully I had a good buddy to get me through it! dress: vintage, thrifted; coral floral pins: made by me
"Um, did somebody say Bird Bath Party?! Where??" Poor kitty, I swear she misses all the action.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In the Art Room: Weaving, Part 4

Finished weaving, complete with cord and coordinating background.
Now that your weaving is finished (ahem, you did finish it, right?), let's get to everyone's favorite part: cord weaving. My students as young as second grade absolutely love weaving these cords. They weave mounds of them, fashioning them into necklaces, bracelets and belts.

If you need a refresher course on the woven pouch, you can catch up on that with Weaving, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
For this project, you'll need:
  • two colors of yarn, four strands of yarn each, all of them approximately 24" in length. 
  • thick cardboard
  • scissors
  • pencil
Begin by cutting out a circle. I traced around an old plastic lid with a 4" diameter. 
Make four equally spaced marks on your circle like a compass. We do a short geography lesson in class while marking our loom.
Make four more marks in between your North, South, East and West.
Make eight marks in between each of the aforementioned markings. You should have a total of sixteen equally spaced marks. Cut them. 
At this point, I ask the students to bring me their looms and I stab the center of their loom with a pair of pointy-end scissors. While I'm loom stabbing, I send them off shopping (our art room word for supply-gathering) for yarn. Students will need eight strands of yarn, four of one color, four of another.
Have the students tie all eight strands of yarn into an overhand knot like that shown above. Push the knot through the hole in the loom just enough so that only the knot is peaking out from the bottom and the rest of the yarn is on the top of the loom.
With those long strands of yarn coming through the hole in the loom, feed them through the cut notches you made. Set your loom up like a compass. There should be a vertical "X" and a horizontal "X" of yarn.
To weave, you will follow the same three steps over and over. Begin with vertical "X". Using your left hand, remove the bottom left string and place it on the top left side of the loom. Now your "X" should look like a fork.

See the fork? Easy.

Now using your right hand, begin at the top right side and remove the right string. Place it at the bottom on the right side. Now you should see your "X" again.
It should look exactly as it did a moment ago. If the "X" becomes off-center, do not worry. You can correct that by shifting the strings on your loom if it bothers you.
I promise I am not flipping you off, I'm trying to point you in the direction that you will turn your loom: clockwise. Once you have turned your loom clockwise, you will do the same steps over again, this time with the other yarn colors in the "X". And that's it. Really. You'll repeat this pattern continuously until you have completed your cord. We have a little poem in art class that we say to help us remember the weaving instructions: Right string to the top, Left string drops, Turn it like the hands of a clock.

Now let's talk trouble shooting. As you are weaving, your cord will come out of the bottom of the loom, shown in the photo below. The long strings around the loom can sometimes become tangled, shown in the photo above. To prevent tangling, I usually have my students stand while weaving. This allows the long strings to hang straight and not tangle. If they do become tangled, pull one strand of yarn out of the tangled mess at a time. Do not run your fingers down all of the yarn in hopes of combing out the tangles. It will only make it worse.
After just five minutes of weaving, you should see your cord coming out from the whole in your loom. Yippie!
More trouble shooting: if your cord keeps popping out of the hole as you weave, as shown above, tug on it gently from underneath the loom to bring it back down, as shown below.
The entire time you are weaving, it's a good idea to tug gently on the cord to keep it from popping up.
How do you know when you are finished? When the shortest of the eight strings is no longer long enough to make it to one of the notches. You can see my peach colored string at the top is now too short.
Taking it off the loom is very easy. Just remove the strings from the notches and pull it through the hole.
Viola! A finished cord! Often the kids will ask if they can use strands of yarn longer than 24" so they can create longer cords. I have found that this causes a lot of tangling so I try to avoid the question by changing the subject, "Oh, look, a unicorn riding a rainbow!"
Depending on the time, I'll either show the kids how to sew in their cord or have one of my awesome mom helpers give us a hand. Simply feed a knotted strand of yarn through both ends of the cord...
And attach with a couple of whip stitches. The students are give the option of having the cords sewn on the side like mine or across. Most boys tend to go for the cord on the side as the across one looks a little too purse-y for them.
And there you have it! Because I've thrown so much at you today, I thought I'd do one final installment of this weaving series. In that, I'll show you how to sew on a button and hide that pesky warping tail. I'd also love to share with you my favorite weaving books and how I manage to get these pouches woven in the 30 minutes of class time that I have. Yeah. 30 minutes. We have Fingers of Fire! Chat with you soon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

DIY: A Dress to Dye For...Twice

Oh, look. Me in a dress. Shocker.
 Yesterday, I dyed. Twice. 
And after some hemming and hawing, I did some hemming. On the dress. 

But I chose to skip the hawing (what the heck is that, anyway?)

So I thought I'd share it with you as this week's DIY. Mostly because there are some serious do's and don'ts when it comes to dying (of which I am the authority on the don'ts) and partly because my other DIY is currently Resting-In-Pieces in the trash can. Ahem.
So here's the dress before the dying. I know, I love it too. I snapped this photo a couple years ago for my belt shop. Funny thing is, I got more questions on the dress than the belt. I remember the day I found this dress, the very thrift store and the goofy squeal I made when I found it.
 [This is off-topic but...(btw, if ever we were to meet in person, you would find that many of my sentences begin with that phrase) it just me or does that photo look like it should be in some sort of pharmaceutical ad? You know, like it should have superfine print at the bottom that reads:

If you suffer from the desire to take coy photos of yourself, Notbeingadork, might not be right for you. Side effects may include: dressing like someone your age, not wearing bumpits and having a cell phone that is less than 7 years old.]
 And then, this happened.

I remember this day also. It had been a hot one and I had sweated. A lot. Obviously.

 I took it to the cleaners who wanted nothing to do with it. They claimed the only way to fix it would be to remove the red piping, bleach the dress and reattach said piping. My response: Like, ew. That sounds hard.

So I attacked it with a bleach pen to no avail. I pouted and grumbled and wadded it up into a ball and kicked it around in the laundry room.

Then hubs said, "Why don't you just dye it?"

 Oh, yeah. Duh.

Now, when it comes to dying fabric, I do know a thing or two. 

Thing One: (in my best Joan Crawford voice) Never use RIT dye. Ever!
Seriously, I know you see it on the grocery shelf and it sounds so easy but it stinks. You'd be better off dying with Kool-Aid.
Thing Two: Use Procion MX Dye. It's seriously the best. You won't find this on your grocery shelf or even at your local craft store, sadly. My favorite place is from the sweet and kind people at Dharma Trading Company. You can call them on the phone and ask them plenty of questions. They've helped me and my mom army when we tie-dye 400 t-shirts for our annual fundraiser.
 I chose to dye in my washer, although you can use the stove top if the idea freaks you out. Besides the dye, you just need non-iodized salt (found at the grocery) and soda ash (bought from Dharma). You must follow these directions closely for best results.
 Looking at the spooky storm clouds that brought nothing to my dead and dry yard. Gee, thanks.

After the first dye, where I was a little shy with the dye mix, I was left with this light pink. I wore it on my errand running but wasn't thrilled with the color. It was a little too Tums Tablets Pink for me.
 Oh, I wanted to show you the back. Don't you love how it ties? It's a vintage Act I dress...I don't know much about this brand, do you? I have a couple vintage Act I and Act II dresses and I love the style.
I asked hubs, "Well? What do you think?" And he gave me his classic I-don't-wanna-hurt-her-feelings-but-I-just-can't-lie phrase: "Well, it's not my cup of tea. But if you like it..."
After the second dying I'm still not sure about the pink. It's now a little Pepto Pink for me...I'm thinking of going darker. Or not. I can't decide. Maybe this is what the "hawing" in hemming and hawing means. 

Oh and the hemming. What do you think? After wearing it around on Monday, I decided it was just too long. I took 6" off of the bottom before wearing it on Tuesday. That's right, I wore the same dress two days in a row. That should make for an interesting "What I Wore this Week", don't you think?

Thank you for dropping by. I do hope all of my friends in the states have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #23

Beautiful Bamberg Monday: That is, once we found the place. Our GPS was giving us fits (switching from German to English to mute when important decisions like "Do I take the autobahn now?!" needed to be made) and our gas station attendant friend could only point down the road and say "go straight on". But we made it! sweater: vintage, thrifted; dress: vintage, The Hip Zipper; belt: Pinky Otto; sandals: Chacos
 Well, we're back! What a fun week and a half we spent in Germany and the Netherlands. I think I may be cured of my jet lag (a bedtime of 7:30pm last night and a 10 hour sleep just may have done the trick) and I'm now ready to tackle unpacking.

 But first things first, what I wore around town and country. This week I decided to include some photos of the towns we visited as well. If you live in these cities or have visited them, I'd love to hear your stories about these incredible places...especially shopping recommendations! Thanks for stopping by.
This town celebrated it's 1000th birthday back in '73, can you imagine? There were witch trials here back during the 17th century. It's full of so many rolling hills and beautiful churches it's reminiscent of Rome, which the locals refer to as the "Italian Bamberg." They so silly.
An Amsterdam Evening: Hubs drove a caravan of us from Bavaria to the Netherlands. It was a beautiful day for a drive...until we hit Frankfurt and sat in traffic for a bit. But we made it! sweater: Mini-Boden, thrifted; dress: Ann Taylor, thrifted; belt and flower: H & M; sandals: Chacos...again. My only preferred footwear during this trip
Such a fun city to walk around and explore...given you don't get run over by the one bah-jillion people on bicycles.
Gettin' Cheesy: We decided to take a day trip to the sweet town of Alkmaar. It's most famous for it's incredibly amazing, mouth-watering cheese. And adorable kalliopes, like this biggin'. At least we think that's what this large music box thing was. sweater and dress: vintage, thrifted; scarf: picked up at some little shop in Germany; belt and flower: made by me
Alkmaar is also home to a Beatles museum. Apparently John Lennon's first guitar was made there.
We decked in and out of several cheese shops but this one was the best. They had samples of every cheese in the shop which we helped ourselves to. My favorites were the blue cheese (which was so strong I literally pounded the counter a couple of times as if I was downing tequila) and the wasabi and pesto infused cheeses. I tried to ask if they had any Cheese Whiz but I guess they just aren't that advanced yet.
Hubs and I took an evening trip to the town of Haarlem which is the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district and has the nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city), for this reason. We didn't spot a single tulip though as they are now out of season.
Nowhere like Amsterdam: Seriously, it's amazing. I now want to buy myself a salmon pink Schwinn with a basket on the front and a bell on the handlebars and cruise everywhere. dress: Viva, picked up in Germany
I hadn't been to Amsterdam since I was there in college. I did some student teaching in Ireland and made my way over to the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium afterwords. It was so fun to walk through the train station and find the hostel and little Italian place I once ate at again.
A rare photo of hubs. He's was so nice to take all of my outfit photos. Usually it's just me and my tripod. This background is amazing as it looks totally phony baloney.
Leaving on a Jet Plane Friday: Time to head home. We were missing our kitty. Little did we know it would be one million degrees when we got home, ugh! dress: Mango, picked up in Alkmaar; tights: Target; scarf: Germany
Hubs and I had separate seats on the plane. No worries, I had Jes to hang out with. The poor guy sitting next to me immediately caught on to my crazy ways and pretended to sleep all eight hours. I got some great photos of Jes resting with him! (gah, just kidding, silly man kept waking up)