Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Bags - Upcycled Pajamas

Last week I was sad to discover my favorite pajamas had a giant rip in them.  My sister gave me the pajamas a few years back for Christmas and they are one of two flannels pairs that I wear all winter.  I have always liked the print and I knew the fabric hoarder in me would not be able to part with them.

Also last week I happened to be in a toy store with a friend when I noticed a super cute Aaron Rodgers lego character staring at me.  Four weeks ago I wouldn't have known who that was but every other word out of my nephew's mouth this Christmas was Aaron Rodgers.  Needless to say I left the store with Aaron and several other MLB and NFL players for both nephews.  Just this week I was thinking about sending them a Valentine's package with the legos and it dawned on me that I should make gift bags from the pajamas!  The idea of it just pleased me so... the perfect way to part with my flannel friend. 

It was super easy to do.  I just cut off the legs and zig zag stitched the raw ends.  Then I turned it inside out and sewed straight across for the bottom.  I then folded the top down making sure to leave enough space for a drawstring.  And finally I sewed straight across again and then cut a small opening to insert the drawstring.  I did end up top-stitching the bottom but if I had to do over I probably wouldn't have.  So now if you ever have the urge to make Valentine's gift bags out of your pajamas you will know how!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hummingbird Sign

This week I finished this logo/sign project for my brother-in-law.  They wanted a hummingbird feeding on a trumpet vine and gave me the image below to show what they wanted.  I am always torn between the scientist in me saying, "Is it accurate?", and the designer in me saying, "Simplify, simplify, simplify!".  For example, the leaves of the trumpet vine are compound and toothed. I tried drawing the leaves with teeth but felt it was distracting and there was too much going on.  As you can see I opted for smooth in the end.  (At least it still has the idea of compound leaves.)

I think the designer won that round but I can never silence that scientist in me.  I do appreciate that attention to detail can be incredibly helpful when trying to render something accurately, but sometimes it holds me back and constrains my work. "The head is too round and the body too narrow, a bird only has two wings, there should be a bend there because that's where two bones meet, etc."  I especially think this when I see beautifully simplified, flat work (like this) where it looks like all the bones in the animal's body have been broken and flattened to fit in two dimensions, but still retaining it's identity even if only by a thread.  I feel myself wanting to move in this direction... of wanting to be more free with my shapes and forms.  But everything in life is a balance and to honor that inner scientist I remind myself of this saying from the Dalai Lama, "Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vintage Frame Sale

Where else can you be invited to a vintage frame sale in an old warehouse jamb packed with handmade wooden frames that have been collecting dust for almost a hundred years?  Nowhere but Cincinnati.  And that is why I love living here!

I went to the sale with the idea that I would only take photos.  But I left the sale with about 15 circular frames of varying sizes because the deals to be had were too dang good!  People were buying huge stacks of frames for $75.  It was really quite a scene.  When we arrived we were offered rubber gloves and we all thought that was extreme...that is until we saw the amount of dust.  The frame in the photo above looks grey, but it is really a white frame covered in dust!  And after about fifteen minutes of frantic frame shoppers grubbing and grabbing frames, the air was filled with dust too. I'm sure we all left with a pound of extra dust not only on our frames but in our hair, coats and lungs...small sacrifice for such fun.  Now, what to do with all these frames?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Two rare events occurred this morning.  First, I woke up early (which many of you know is not a common occurrence).  And second, when I opened my eyes I discovered the most lovely frost feathers had grown on my window pane overnight.  I hopped out of bed, grabbed the camera and took these photos.  I then shut my eyes just as the sun was rising.  When I awoke again they had disappeared completely.

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." - Crowfoot

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Winter 2014

"The snow is sparkling like a million little suns." ~Lama Willa Miller

"There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.  It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance."  ~William Sharp