Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Field Trip! A Visit with Bebo

Y'all. I am so excited to share a new project I've been working on...a little series for both my blog and my YouTube channel called Field Trip! In this series, I'll be visiting the studios of working creatives and filming them in action. My goal is to introduce my students to contemporary creatives (I'm not limiting these trips to working artists alone) who use their artistry in their careers everyday. In conjunction with these videos, I'll be creating video'ed art lessons inspired by these 'trips. So subscribe here and stay tuned, projects inspired by Bebo to come!

But first, let's go to Kingston Springs, Tennessee to the home, recording studio and art makerin' space of John Paul Daniel, aka, Bebo
My good buddy and fellow Art Scout Troop Leader Jennifer Alvarado arranged for us to visit Bebo after we both discovered that we loved his work. He was so kind to let us invade his space and spend time watching him create that the two of us could hardly believe our luck. Thanks again, Bebo! I have a feeling my students (and yours!) are going to love this field trip adventure. Let's take a look around his studio...
These Mojo Men or Bluesmen as he calls them are my favorites. I can see the kids creating selfies in this style all while rockin' out to Bebo's tunes. By the way, you can purchase Bebo's music, featured in the video, in iTunes under John Paul Daniel. 
Jen and I scooped up so much art while we were there as well. My principal and I now both own a sign that reads "My Job is to Love You". Mine hangs in the art room, hers in her office. I like to read it each time I'm in the hot seat and pretend it's directed at me.
 The temperature is pretty mild in Tennessee and Bebo spends most of his time outside when creating. What a great idea to keep the mess outdoors. I'm pretty sure my hubs would love it if I did that. Oh! Fun fact: Bebo's paint brush washing water is rain water. He's the ultimate recycler! 
 I love the bold and bright primary color palette of his pieces. 
Everything is art for Bebo like these old paint brushes getting a new life...
 And these paint cans! These were my personal fave. I so want a stack of these for my art room.
The 8' gator that Bebo was finishing up in the video. He uses these large scale pieces outside of his craft show booth to draw attention but they almost always sell.
 Big shout out to Bebo for being the ultimate host.
Jen and I had the most terrific time! I know my students will as well.

Stay tuned for more Field Trip! episodes...I can't wait to share with y'all just who I visit next, eep! Until then... 

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Monday, November 7, 2016

In the Art Room: Art Conferencin' in Illinois!

Y'all, I'm just back from another incredible art conference this time in the great state of Illinois, a place I called home for many years. I had so much fun presenting (I was one of the keynotes, eep!), teaching and learning that I just had to share. The art educators of Illinois really know how to make a girl feel welcome and put together a FABULOUS conference to boot!

I kicked off their conference with a chat in a lovely renovated theatre in downtown Normal. I was thrilled that so many folks made it out to hear me chat, I thought for sure they'd be sleeping off their Cubs win. I really enjoy speaking with other art teachers, they truly are the best crowd!
Almost immediately after that, I lead a two hour needle felting session. I love teaching hands-on classes at conferences as it feels like hosting a craft night at my house. Just a bunch of soon-to-be friends, sitting and relaxing all while learning something fun and new. I was so inspired by what folks were creating!
My friend Heidi made this super cute Starry Night inspired hair clip to go with a dress of hers. If you aren't familiar with Heidi's blog, you need to check it out! 
 I love that folks were all set to needle felt on their clothing. Check out this sweet scarf that got a lovely flowery update!
 Amazing art teacher Jen Baker was my BFF at the conference as she made sure I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to do at all times (and, with a flake like me, that's a pretty tall order). In all seriousness, Jen was BEYOND amazing as I was witness to her working her tail off the entire conference making sure that EVERYONE was happy and having a great time. She needle felted this sweet little palette on her sweater!

Sue at Back to Back Fiber provided the supplies for our workshop. She sent us beautiful sheets of prefelt that we also used to create wee masterpieces with. 
 Of course we had to make Palette Hair Clips! It's how you know you are officially Needle Felt Certified! 
We even had folks needle felting over holes in their sweaters or dreaming up the cutest of motifs. 
I mean, look how stunning!
For realz tho, my fave part of art teacher conferencin' is making new friends, hearing about their art rooms and learning from them. 
 And even if we aren't talkin' art, we are ALWAYS having a good time!
It was such a wonderful group to sit and stab stuff with. Thanks, ladies, y'all are the best!
Because I just can't get enough of all things fibers, I attended a class by the Fibers Queen herself, Natasha of Ester's Place. Not sure if Natasha knows it or not but she's kinda like my fibers BFF. I love hanging out with her. We had the best time at the conference!
We made these amazing wet felted flowers. I'm not a lover of wet felting...but Natasha is changing my mind! Full details on these projects soon. 
After a wee break, I joined several dozen art teachers for a relaxed and informal Q & A session. That was so fun! We shared ideas, stories and laughed a lot. The best part was we had a very wonderful group of college kids in our group who were fun to share our thoughts on art teacherin' with. 
 This here is one of them! Pleasure to meet you, Samantha!
 Buddies from way back. Always fun to see Kris and make new friends.
 I was super excited to finally meet Deyana in person. We've been internet buds for years...so it really was like chatting with an old friend. She's the owner of Socks and Souls which you should really check out. They have some GREAT art themed socks. I scooped up several. 
 Making friends from my old stomping grounds was so cool. My buddy Nora teaches in Joliet where I grew up!
Jen and I managed to stay out of trouble late into the evening with a group of other art teacherin' types. 
 The next day, I was back hanging out with Natasha again. We made the world's biggest felted collaborative piece. Can you believe this beauty?! I will DEFINITELY be sharing a complete blog post on this with video included. It was so much fun!
Illinois, I had a blast! I was so excited to speak and share with y'all as well as LEARN from some of the best art educators I've met. I was so thrilled to speak in this theatre that I had Jen snap my photo under the marquee...it wasn't until the photo was taken that I realized the movie they were showing. Idiocracy. How fitting!
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Sunday, November 6, 2016

DIY: IKEA Curtain Cat Print Dress

Yeah, yeah so pumpkins and black cats are so, like, a week ago (I've already busted out the Christmas decor, you don't have to tell me!) but, to my credit, I did finish this black cat dress a coupla weeks ago. It's just taken me until now to share it with y'all here!
I scooped up the fabric for this dress from IKEA and I'm in love. It's actually curtain fabric which means I'm like the Scarlett O'Hara of the sewing world. They did have this same print in orange with smaller cats but I really liked theses big bold babies and the black and white motif. So I picked up the last package of curtains and, when I was heading to the checkout (which took me 35 minutes because, you know, IKEA is about three miles long), I noticed that there was a hole in the curtains. The hole wasn't going to affect my sewing but, if it's anything I've learned from my mama-in-law, it never hurts to ask for a discount. And am I ever glad I did as the $25 price was dropped to $5! I only used one curtain panel for the dress which means, if you are super groovy at simple math like me, this dress only cost me $2.50. Sweet!
I warned y'all last time that I'd learned to create gifs. And I already apologized for it. So suck it up, buttercup. 
Now if you've seen one dress from me, you've pretty much seen them all as I FREAKIN' LOVE this style: large band at the waist, fit and flair. I have found this to be the most flattering for my body type and I have a hard time straying from sewing anything else. 
I often do a lotta gathered skirts but lately I'm kind of tired of them. Of course, gathering a fabric as stiff as curtain fabric wasn't gonna work in this sitch. Also, with a gathered skirt, I just can't get the fullness I dig. So circle skirts have become my new fave. In fact, the last dress I made, this Vincent van Gogh number, is almost identical to this one, sans bow. 
So, lately, life has been rather busy, to say the least. I've been so stinkin' fortunate to be asked to travel to the Wisconsin art conference as well as the one in Illinois (details on that this week, it was A BLAST!) to be their keynote speaker and present fiber arts workshops. I've loved every minute of it. And I'm getting ready to head to Texas for theirs in a matter of days. However, that means I've had to take a wee hiatus from sewing. I've missed it! I'm looking forward to getting back into my sewing room and making more messes soon.
OHHHH, yeah. I forgot to tell ya, those cats were a bit of a pain to work with as their faces are not exactly symmetrical. That means trying to match and align them was a total headache. The bodice I'm wearing is actually the second one I created as the first had cock-eyed cats...which is totally going to be the name of my first band: CASSIE AND THE COCK-EYED CATS!...but not a great look for a dress. 
When el hubbo and I recently traveled to Disneyland, I snapped photos in Cars Land. I flippin' love Cars Land and if only for the ambience. It has a whole Route 66/1950's vibe that I totally adore, especially at night. 
They have these fabulous neon lights that I love. Cars Land was my inspiration for the 1950's Diner Art Show we had last year!
 I mean, how cute are these signs?! Total inspo for this project
 One of my favorite shows growing up was Alice. I loved Flo and her "kiss my grits!" attitude. 
The food at the diner is very good and they have a great vegetarian Shepard's Pie option that we love. Must better than your usual lukewarm pizza park food. 
Because of how graphic this dress is, it gets a lotta comments when I wear it. I scooped up a lot of big and bold print from IKEA on my last trip. I'm looking forward to time in my sewing room to create more of these wacky and wild dresses.
And just because it's catty doesn't mean it's limited to Halloween, does it? I mean, shoot, I'm catty all year 'round!
 I really love it with these ska-wannabe kicks I recently picked up. 
It's super fun to wear. I just need to get better at that whole twirling thing...
Obviously. Pretty sure the neighbors know I'm crazy! 
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