Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weekend in New York

Hello friends...I just returned from a very quick trip up to New York on Saturday and back on Monday.  It was a very important trip as my  beautiful niece Cindy, was graduating from High School! I'm sure Cindy won't mind me telling you it has been a long and sometimes hard road for her during her high school years. I am so very proud to know that she persevered through it all, worked hard and showed the world what she was made of....good strong stuff! She graduated with flying colors and the constant smile on her face was proof of her joy. It was a delight to see and so worth the 7 hour drive.
The Balloon Merchant
Before we get to Cindy, I have to show you Cindy's adorable little niece, Merrick. She was fascinated with these balloons
If you remember last weeks post about this bag, you know I had created it as a gift for Cindy. Happy to report, she loved it and promised to fill it with college books. Isn't she beautiful? Her party was a great success and everyone had a wonderful time. 
On the way to the party, my sister Maddy and I spotted this lovely little house. Maddy is as bad as me when it comes to screeching to a halt to capture a great photo. I had to take a picture of this cottage. I loved the flowering vine creeping up to the tiny upstairs windows and the exterior paint was so whimsical. They even painted the chimney green! Some really cool people with a great sense of fun must live here.

My sister-in -law talked me into staying an extra day to go into New York City and spend a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have not been in a while and thought it would fun. I love the Met...the huge classical paintings and my favorite Temple of Dendur
This is how it looked in Egypt back in 15BC. It is a Nubian temple, built by Petronius, the Roman Governor of Egypt.
In 1963 it was moved in order to save it from the waters of the Aswan High Dam. As a thank you to the American effort to save many monuments from the Dam, it was given as a gift to America in 1963. It has been here at the Met since 1978. I just adore it and it is so impressive in person. You may have seen it in the movies...Hollywood loves to film here.
But this was one of the reasons I was looking forward to going.I wanted to surprise you Gretel!  Samuel Palmer is a resident of the Met (ok...not him, but his work). This is a page from one of his sketch books (circa 1848)
This etching from 1850 is titled The Herdsman's Cottage or Sunset. I love the shadows from the setting sun. I really wanted to explore all these wonderful prints for you Gretel, but..............
It was not to be...to start with, others in my party who shall remain nameless ;-) (I was ready on time) were late in waking up, late in getting ready and that made us late to the train station. You guessed it...we missed the  train and had to wait an hour for the next one. By now it is already around 87 degrees and humid. We finally get a seat on the next train and approximately 1 minute before the train is to pull out of the station, my sister-in-law shoots me this horrific look while holding a Museum schedule in front of my face. They are closed one day a week....you guessed it... Mondays!!!!!! I look at her...she looks at me and we make a mad dash off the train seconds before it leaves. NYC is a wonderful city to explore, but it was going to be 96F degrees and humid with chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. A good day to spend inside a museum, but not walking around town with no game plan. 
So as they say..."the best laid plans of mice and men". 
Another time Gretel...or maybe you should come visit and we can go together!!!!
My trip did end on a high note...meet Mr. Peeps! Mr Peeps has a funny story..a little like Jonah and the Whale. My niece was babysitting a Boxer puppy last week. She let him outside and he took off and grabbed something in the grass. She thought he had eaten something he shouldn't have and reached into his mouth and guess what fell out? A baby Mallard duck! Isn't he the cutest little creature? No Mom or Dad could be found , so he is being cared for until he gets is waterproof feathers and will be released in a waterfowl sanctuary. Love his little webbed feet.
So that was my two day up and back trip. Hope your weekend was a good one.
Until next time...be kind and stay creative!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Her Sunday Apron

Hello friends...it seems as if for someone who wasn't going to blog a lot, I am blogging a lot. Funny how that is working out. I am happy to say that I am blogging about what I am doing in my studio...so I guess it is justified. That's my story and I'm sticking to it ;-)
I have been working on a new Couture apron for my Etsy shop.
Well I just finished her..she is called 'Her Sunday Apron" and she is my homage to the American farmers wife. Farmers wives would always reserve their best dresses for Sunday and church. I imagine my Couture apron being only worn for Sunday dinner at the farm. My inspiration was the three vintage linen napkins I found at a rummage sale (look here). One look at the pretty wheat pattern and I immediately thought American wheat farmer. I decided it was destined to have some denim also, so I fashioned the underskirt from a thrifted mens denim shirt. This shirt must have loved and worn many times because it is super soft.
The bib is fashioned from an antique napkin and is the brightest yellow, representing the golden sun that is so needed for a good crop. I love the flower motif in the middle and I think it works beautifully as a bib.
I only found three of these napkins, so I laid them out in an overlapping diamond design and sewed them together with the points turned down for more layering.
Now you knew I had to create a big beautiful bow...you should know me by now. I used a pretty pink cotton with red cherries. What's more 'down on the farm' than cherry pie?
The blue of the soft denim represents a few things....the prayed for rain, the clear blue open skies of our farmland and the ruggedness and strength of the farmer.
Of course I had to add a little secret pocket for the farmers wife to put that handful of grain when she joins the farmer to inspect the crop. I can't wait to write my little story to include in my Etsy listing. That's always fun and I get the nicest e-mails about them (thank you!)
So it is back to the studio..I think I will start working on my Bridal Apron. I think I have collected lots of great fabrics, trims and inspiration for her.
Until next time...be kind and stay creative.
PS...I might MIA for a while..driving back up to NY for a HS Graduation for my beautiful niece Cindy. Computer use will be scarce.
PPS...I can't wait for Cindy to open my gift..I created something very special for her.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Staying Cool In My Studio

It is so HOT here!!! It's 6:22 pm and it is still 91 degrees! Lord knows I do not take the heat well, so you can imagine I am holed up in my little studio with no plans to venture outside until after the sun says goodnight.
I worked most of the day on this jumbo tote. I had fun mixing all my fabrics and designing this all purpose bag. Take a look........
This bag is very large...great for school books, shopping and wonderful for travel.
For the gal who loves all things French but with a wild side to her. 
I used lot's of different textures and colors when choosing my fabric..I think it all goes together beautifully (shine my own apple here).
I fashioned two very large pockets and even included a handy key fob. 
I am very pleased with myself today..he..he...
Until next time...be kind and stay cooly creative.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Keeping Creatively Cool or 'How to Avoid Mowing the Lawn When It Is 90 Degrees'

Hello friends, I hope your weekend was a good one. It was pretty darn hot here in beautiful Virginia, the thermometer rested right around 90 degrees most of the time. This week is supposed to be much of the same. When it gets this warm , I prefer to stay comfortably cool in my studio with the ceiling fan rotating gently above.....Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Add to that a huge glass of homemade lemonade to sip on and I'm content. 
I spent the weekend working on a new handbag for my Etsy shop. I saw a photo of a very pretty bag and made a mental note of it. I made some creative changes, hopefully for the better and here is the end result. I hope you like her.
I love the soft robins egg blue.
I added elastic in the top edge casing and gave her a strap handle instead of plastic tubing like the original... softer on your shoulder.
I loved the little bits of green in the floral print so I decided to fashion a lining using this wonderful green quilting cotton. I love opening a handbag and being surprised by a lovely 'POP' of color. I embellished my bag with a shabby rose that I created from leftover  shear ribbon, fabric scraps and vintage eyelet lace. I think she came out quite nicely. Very summery for sure.  Guess what she started life as?...........a thrift store Target shower curtain! I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love thrift stores!!! 
What have you been working on lately??
Until next time... be kind and stay creative.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Creations!

 Hello friends..hope you are all well and settling into to your warm summers...or cold winters for my 'down under' bloggers. I have been busy in the studio working on a commission from a very sweet Florida customer. Last year she purchased two shirts with painted cats and I guess she was very pleased with them because she wanted 6 more. She mailed me the blouses and I got to work.


Painting on the colors was a challenge because you are competing with the fabric. Hard to keep the paint colors true.
White is by far the easiest and I think the prettiest to paint on.

The client likes to wear black and white so I think these will work nicely. I hope she likes them!
I salvaged a child's laundry bag which I bought at the rummage sale that I blogged about this week. It was made from a wonderfully soft brushed canvas. I deconstructed it and created my 'New York State of Mind' tote bag. I paired it with some great whimsical toile and pretty home decor fabric. You know me by now...I had to embellish my bag with some of my antique doilies. 
Nice long straps for comfort and ease.
Isn't this crocheted doily fabulous..like a giant flower. I really love how my tote evolved from laundry bag to chic and stylish tote. She is now in my little Etsy shop. Three cheers for other peoples trash!!!!!
Until next time...be kind and stay creative.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Admit it....I'm Cloudaholic!

Yes, I love clouds and I make a point to notice them everyday. They never disappoint me in their beauty and ability to morph into wonderful shapes and colors.
I love when they tower over my home and dare anyone to mess with me.
I love when they demand to be noticed. Really....who could ignore  clouds like these?
I love when they resemble a bag of cottonballs that someone tossed into the sky.
I love when you see animals in their formations. Anyone see a turkey or an elephant?
I love when they are generous enough to let the sun peek through to give us encouragement for a bright and better day.
I love when they provide the perfect backdrop for a cool photo. Although I doubt the captain was happy about flying into this approaching storm.
I love how clouds know when to step back and let the birds get to where they are going.
I love when my clouds look as if someone put a torch to them.
I love how the blanket my hills.
Most of all I love how they add so much softness and wonder to my life.
Take time today to look to the sky, mine is filled with rain clouds today..but it's needed so it's all good!
So much is happening in this fast paced and hectic world. We need to stop once in a while and look around at the beauty of this planet and let it replenish our faith in life.
Until next time...be kind and stay creative. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Middleburg,Virginia Annual Rummage Sale!

Hello friends...happy to see many of you are still visiting my little blog. I appreciate you all and am very glad to read your wonderful comments.
A couple of weekends ago some girlfriends and I drove to the quaint little village of Middleburg, VA which is only about 20 minutes away. Middleburg is a pretty place...old, well kept estates and lovely shops. It is very much a horse town...meaning they all ride and own horses....Lots of horses. They even have a horse museum! It is filled with history (Civil War) and celebrity (Jackie Kennedy owned a home here). The sport of Polo is king in these parts. The bumper stickers on the Land Rovers and Jags even say 'Polo Mom' instead of 'Soccer Mom'.
So when these folks throw stuff out...I am there to catch it!
One of the first things I spotted was a pair of Gilchrist & Soames porcelain bathtub soap dishes. 
After doing some Googleing, I found that these most likely adorned the vanity or tub area in a swanky International hotel. Perfect condition and I snapped up both of them for .25 cents a piece! Perfect for my master Bath, double sink vanity.
I love cut crystal vases and I spotted a teenage girl holding this vase and yelling to her mom.." Hey mom..this is kinda neat. Should we take it?" I held my breath while the mother thought about it. "Please say no..please say no" was my internal chant for what seemed like 20 minutes. Finally the Mom yelled " We gotta go..put it down". WooHoo!!!! I snatched that vase up so fast..and to my delight it was not glass but gorgeous crystal and very heavy...$2.00!!!! It is about 12 inches tall and my deep blue Hydrangeas look fabulous in it.
I dug under a pile of linens and found these beauties...perfect condition and all pressed for me! $.50 for 6 of them!
I paint canvas floorcloths, so when I saw these two canvas circles(36 inches) all painted in pretty pastel shades I grabbed them for $1.00, knowing I could find someplace for them. Hey...I couldn't leave them there!!!
All of my treasures were great, but these are my fabulous find of the day. These beautiful handsewn linens were buried under some bedspreads. I spotted a corner of yellow scalloped edging poking out. I went into my archeology mode and started to unearth these gems. 
Absolutely wonderful D. Porthault linens!!!! For those of you who are not familiar with the name D. Porthault, they are the linen of the very rich. Sheets start at around $1,000 to $3,000 for a set and go up from there. I know..you are shaking your head and thinking WTH!!! 
Someone in this little town has very expensive tastes and I am very happy to take these off their hands. I excavated 17 of these lovely large napkins and paid $6.00 for all...my best find so far. Not sure what I will do with them..possibly too valuable to cut into. I welcome any creative ideas.
Well that's it for now. I hope you all have a lovely week and I will try to visit your blogs and say hello.
I will be a little busy..just received a box of summer blouses from a customer who wants me to paint cats on all of them. Yup...she is a cat lover ;-) She already owns two of my watercolor cat blouses and I guess she liked them. I'll post photos when I finish them.
Until next time...be kind and stay creative.