Saturday, January 28, 2023

Silk Painted Purse


  Back in 2016 my mom and I went to the Internaional Quilt Festival in Houston (Houston 2016) where, amonth other things we took a short (half day? two hour?) silk painting class with Ginny Eckley  I hadn't ever really done any silk painting, but it was fun to try something completely new-to-me!  Even though the class was short I made two little ~12x15 silk paintings which I took home and promptly stuck in a drawer.

Fast forward more than 8 years to last week.  I've decided this year to use up some of the doodads and small bits of things I've made over the years.  They're all over my studio, little bits of piecing, little bits of embroidery, little bits of felting, little bits of random experiments, and yes, little bits of silk painting.  They were just the right size to make into a small frame purse.  I didn't want to start some big new project, I just wanted to turn them into something useful.  I had two 8x3" purse frames that had been lying around since 2012 when I bought a three pack.  I made one small frame purse (Previous Frame Purse) and never did anything with the rest of them.

I didn't really have a pattern, and I didn't want to put any pleats in the middle of the panels because I didn't want to obscure the painted fish.  The silk is interfaced with SF101, and then the whole thing has a thicker layer of  foam interfacing which gives it nice body.  The strap is one I kept when a very old store bought purse fell apart.  I didn't have any small D-rings, so the straps attach through a grommet.  It's a little janky, but I was determined that this should be a fully stash-based project.  I think it turned out super cute and it was very satisfying to use up two pretty pieces of painted silk and a purse frame and leftover strap all in one go.  It's one of the simplest purses I've ever made, no pockets or anything, but is plenty big for all the basics and it came together in about an hour and a half!

Three cheers for using things up!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

I Like #287

Welcome to a short week of likes!  It's been a good week, just not too many things to take pictures of!

Things I'm liking this week!

The Library Lover's Mysteries!  I picked these up after seeing them on LeeAnna's post, they've been the perfect accompaniment to cold afternoons and evenings in the studio.

LeeAnna's prompt for this week is favorite colors.  I love bright colors- my off the cuff answer when people ask me this question is either rainbow or pink, but I also love green and turquoise and bright intense red orange and all the dusty New Mexico colors where exquisite blue skies are complemented by dark green brown and yellow and red and orange covered with a light layer of brown beige dust.

I bought a six pack of (what turned out to be) gross peanut butter stout this week, and while usually I've discovered that if beer is too gross to drink it's too gross to bake with.  But I thought peanut butter beer might be ok for baking, so I made up several loaves of beer bread and it turned out very tasty.  Such an easy quick recipe.

I was excited to make this piece for the upcoming SAQA Spotlight Auction that coincides with SAQA's annual conference in May.  The little feather/scale things are used coffee filters I've been washing and saving.  They give a fun texture!  The whole thing is mounted and matted before the auction, so the lumpy edge won't be seen.

I love my pups!  I got this great picture of them snuggling up to me this week.  They look so sweet but I think really they just wanted me to stop sewing and feed them dinner.

Also, I blogged this week about Christmas Crafts from this year.  Click here to see more!

Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Christmas Crafts 2022

 Now that Christmas is past, it's time once again to share crafty items I made as gifts. 

The best crafty item of this Christmas was a fantastic Christmas Tree gnome my sister crocheted for me, but I forgot to take a picture of him and he's now in the attic with the other decor.  I'll share him next year when I get the Christmas stuff back out.

I didn't do nearly as much as in some past years, but I made a few star ornaments out of the selenite crystals we collected while digging in the salt flats earlier this year.

It was fun to try to pick out coordinating pieces to put together to make the stars.  I love that in the one on the far right, the sand is far blacker than the rest-  I think it had more organic material in it. The ornaments look much prettier in the sun- you can see the way the light highlights the hourglass formation.

I also knit two pairs of simple mittens, one for my auntie who moved to Canada and one for my mom.  They all came from the same ball of Noro yarn which made some interesting color changes.  They were a fun knit, and my first mittens.  The pattern was Mountain Hiker Mittens from ravelry.

Finally, I made a little pencil pouch for my cousin Sage.  She lives in the UAE now, and her mom was gathering up a Christmas package to send her!

I  love making small crafty projects at the holidays!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

I Like #286

Welcome to another week of things to like!  I did a 2022 wrap-up post this week, you can see it here if you like.  

This weekend was the first post-holiday weekend after our big 12th night feast so I finally had time to work on non-holiday stuff.  I spent part of the weekend piecing this bookcase topper for my geology friend Brett-  it's long and narrow so it was hard to get a good picture.  The central geology fabric was one from spoonflower, I loved the various geological illustrations and the surrounding topo line pattern.  It was fun to piece, quilt, and finish something that had been on my to-do list for months.

The puppies are doing well-  Spooky will never understand that he and Blue can't both fit on the footstool at once, but they're both as snuggly as ever.

I also worked a little bit over the weekend on my latest sculptural project.  It's been in the works for months, and has been a struggle for me but I think I'm making progress.  This weekend I mostly was working on building a frame for it so it could be supported.

Lee Anna's prompt for this week was whether we make lists and how.  I am definitely a list maker.  Although I use an online calendar (in my outlook), my lists are all on paper apart from my grocery list which is on my phone.  I usually keep work and personal lists, and carry a small notebook in my purse for the personal lists.  It's always fun to get new notebooks when the old ones get full, I usually get them at TJ Maxx or Ross or something, and I love using them to jot down all kinds of stuff.

I hope everyone is having a good week, and don't forget to click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Friday, January 13, 2023

2022 Wrap-Up

It's time for a look back a 2022.  These are mostly for myself-  creatively 2022 feels like a really off year.  Blogging wise it's about the same as 2021 and 2019 (2020 was an uptick), and the majority of posts were I like posts, thanks to LeeAnna's wonderful community.   Where it really feels off is in the amount of time I was able to dedicate to art-making.  That also feels like a continuation from 2021, again down from a pretty productive (artistically) year in 2020.

I lost Bentley this year, and my mom lost both her dog Jordy and her dog Shooter who'd lived with me for several years before going to my mom, so it was a tough year on the dog front.  It was a good year for flowers, lots of dahlias on these pages, and a hard year for work.  I'm here though and doing just fine.  Really really grateful for my family and friends.  Another good thing this year were travels with my family, and on the art side, I sold a few older art quilts.  It always makes me feel better about making when old pieces find new homes!

This came from my 2021 wrap-up post:

"My goal for 2022 is not necessarily to make more, but to hopefully just spend more time working on things (like my art quilts) that are positives in my life, rather than running around constantly feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and negative.  My goal for 2022, articulated by LeeAnna, but resonating so much with me I decided to adopt it, is to promote goodness.  I feel in need of an attitude adjustment, of reframing to not necessarily always see the bright side, but to work toward something good.  I'll try!"

I don't feel like I really succeeded on any of that, but I still like the goal, so I'm going to hold to it for 2023.  I'm starting the year optimistic which is a step in the right direction.  We'll see if I can translate it into action.  

A few other goals for 2023, not all craft focused but I'm writing them here so that they can be written somewhere:

1. Use up some of the miscellaneous crafty bits.  I don't tend to accumulate UFOs in the traditional sense, but I do accumulate little crafty and artsy bits here and there.  They pile up in my studio just waiting for the day I will use them in something.  They all tend to be put away, and some might be suitable for art quilts while others maybe should just be pieced into baby or charity quilts.  In any case I want to use some of them!  I think I'm going to write a post cataloging some of them just to bring them to my own attention.  

2.  Visit 12 National Park Service Sites in 2023.  I want to challenge myself to visit 12 new NPS sites this year.  I got off to a great start with Alibates NM, but it will be challenging to hit 11 more (there aren't that many around here) but I figure maybe I can get to an average of one per month if I make a point of visiting ones near where I'm traveling.

Since part of the reason I like to do these wrap-ups is to remind myself I really did make things, here's a quick list of art and other makes for 2022.

For the first year in a long time I didn't complete any large (by my definition, which is less about piece size and more about the overall magnitude of the project) work.  I did make several medium sized art quilts, many of which I really liked. 

Finally, this is a 3D sculptural piece I made this year,  I hated it so much (all the color washed out in an unhappy way) that I never even blogged about it, but I'm determined to make it into something I like better in 2023.  I like the shape and form, but the colors make me want to curl up into a ball.

Smaller Things:

Thursday, January 12, 2023

I Like #285

 Welcome to another week of things to like!

This was a busy week here-  things at work are going like wildfire and regular activities have resumed post-holidays.  

The biggest event for the week was our 12th Night medieval feast at church.  It's a very big event I organize every two years (though we haven't had it since 2019) with lots of moving parts and chaos.  It turned out fun, as usual, and I'm definitely glad to be done.  I was working on costumes and costume updates right up until the very last minute as well, and as usual got very few pictures.  Here's one of the royal court and some of the cast right ahead (I blurred the youth faces).  I'm still doing final wrap-up stuff but that's not too onerous.

The pups are well, Blue is a bit stinky so maybe he'll get a bath this weekend.  He hates it so much, but we'll see.

After 12th night was over I started trying to get my studio cleaned up (herculean task) and get myself organized for the upcoming year of craft and art work.  For a handwork project I'm finishing my Wheel of the Year Embroidery from Carina's Craftblog.  I finished this last small piece of embroidery and now I have to work on mounting all the pieces and finishing the whole thing off.  I also pieced a bunch of baby quilts from scraps and scraps of leftover piecework from my stash and my mom's stash.  I'll share those once I get around to quilting them.

LeeAnna's prompt for this week was about calendars and what kind we use!  I love calendars.  Usually I have calendars made by artists, and calendars with dogs on them from rescues.  But the calendar I use most, every day, is my outlook calendar.  If things (work and personal) aren't on my outlook calendar they just flat out won't happen.  I pair that with a master paper notebook, not really a planner or journal just a running to-do list/note-taking space.

Finally, this week I blogged about a new years trip to Alibates Flint Quarry National Monument.  It turned out to be absolutely fascinating, click here to read about that.

I hope you're having a good week!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!!

Friday, January 6, 2023

Alibates Flint Quarry National Monument

 I wanted to put this in my I Like post from last week, but it was already getting a little long so I decided to do a separate post.  

I love visiting National Park Service sites, and of course the big name ones are the National Parks.  But there are lots of other NPS sites, National Monuments and National Historic Parks etc., and I've never visited a bad one.  There aren't a ton of NPS sites between my place here in OK and my parents place in NM, but there are a few.  One of them is Alibates Flint Quarry National Monument which is about 25 miles north of Amarillo.  The country is hilly and bit ordinary looking from far out, but get up close and there are treasures to find!

I decided to stop on my way back, and so I called them up to see if they were open (it was January 1) and they were, and I was able to sign up for the ranger led tour of the flint quarries.  I got an early start on the drive back and the weather was mild enough that I knew I could take the pups for a walk and then leave them in the car (with water and a breeze) while I did the ranger tour.

You guys, it was so very very cool.  I had absolutely no idea what it even was, I just figured that there had to be something interesting or it wouldn't be an NPS site.  It turns out that native people have been quarrying flint there to make tools (spear points, arrowheads, etc.) since the last ice age!  Weapon points quarried there have been found in mammoth remains that date to the Clovis people in New Mexico, around 9500-9000 BC.  More recently, the Antelope Creek People, part of the Plains Village cultures, lived and quarried the Alibates flint, which is limited to this very small area.  Around 1,000 small quarries dug by the Antelope Creek People have been discovered in the area of the monument as well as archeological sites of their homes/villages.

The most unexpected thing for me though is that the flint is rainbow colored!  It's the most beautiful array of rocks I've ever seen, every color from pink to red orange, purple, blue, white, black, brown, cream, with stripes and curtain formations, and speckles and every pattern imaginable.   

The hills are topped with a layer of dolomite, a carbonaceous mineral that forms sedimentary rock, in this case deposited when it was at the bottom of a shallow, warm, sea, rich with little sea creatures.  Underneath the dolomite caps is the permian layer, with red iron-rich dirt and minerals, and underneath that a silica-rich ashen layer deposited by the eons ago eruption of a supervolcano.  Apparently, these mineral formations, coupled with fossilization/petrification of sea creatures and lichen and the resulting presence of silica led to agatization of the dolomite (which is boring grey and blobby) to form the most gorgeous array of rainbow flint.  

This rock below had partially agatized-- you can see the sort of boring rough looking dolomite on the outer edges.  The black is a layer of petrified lichen, and then there in the middle you can see the red and white agatized flint (it looks kind of like marbled steak or bacon).  In person the difference is much more pronounced, the agatized sections are shiny and smooth and just catch the light in a beautiful way.

Anyway, the native peoples discovered this area and dug quarries to extract the flint.  They traded it throughout what's now the central United States over a very wide area.  At the top of each quarry (most of which are visible now only as indentations that have slowly eroded and filled back in with scrub, are areas of lithic scatter.  Basically the ground is covered with beautiful rainbow flint pieces that were castoffs, not suitable to make the trade blanks that were traded to other people to make into arrowheads or other tools.  Many of the pieces weren't suitable because they had crystal inclusions, which makes them not strong enough for weapons (the Alibates flint is harder than many other flints, about 7.5), but so pretty to see while walking around.  It was so hard not to take three million pictures, but here are a few of the pieces that caught my eye.  The most amazing thing to me is that they all come from the same rocks! Within inches of each other this variety of color.  So crazy!

Red and Black!

Freckles and stripes!

Blue and pink together!

And then there were ones with crystals in them!

This one had little mini-geode type inclusions, beatiful reddish crystals inside the grey-white flint.

This one was a partially agatized coral fossil covered in crystals.

This one had these funny roundish crystal things growing inside the flint.

And really, they're all over the ground, just everywhere you look are new colors and patterns.

I was the only visitor there at the time, and I got a one-on-one ranger tour of the flint quarries.  The trail through the quarries is only accessible with a ranger, apparently before that people were stealing the flint.  But the tours are twice a day and free, so just call up and get on one.  It's the only way to see this beautiful place.  I had a wonderful tour with Ranger Elaine who was full of wonderful information.  What a great way to spend some time on New Years.   Definitely a hidden gem (almost literally) buried in the heart of the Texas panhandle.   Definitely worth the detour if you find your way crossing along I-40.