Saturday, March 7, 2015

Making Your Own Bliss

Phew. Life. After two months of recovery and working from home, I went back to campus this week. This coming week, I get to go back to the gym and we have auditions. The week after includes the beginning of rehearsal and another follow-up with my surgeon. Whoa. So I took today to just do things that I love. I spent the majority of the day in the kitchen and the remainder in the sewing room. Bliss. 

Although I can't chew yet, I can eat baked goods in teensy bites. Plus, I have been watching scads of seasons of The Great British Bake Off. I dare you to watch it and not want to bake everything.I found a delectable recipe on Pinterest for Salted Chocolate Espresso Brookies from mydailymorsel. Seriously, some of the best cookies that I have ever had. I made a batch of baked oatmeal and my very favorite bread: Graham Bread from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger. Even more bliss.

This afternoon, I got to work on The Big Quilt. I added Wisconsin, Minnesota (isn't the lumberjack fabric from Joyful Roots adorable?), and Kansas. Ramses wanted to help.

I also made chicken pot pie, many jars of homemade chicken stock, and delicious chicken barley soup. I had graham bread and soup for dinner. Still more bliss.

Time to watch a show about Broadway on PBS, have a cup of tea, and a few of those cookies. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Paper Dolls for Grown-ups AKA Costume Design

So, I feel most like myself when I am working on a show. It has been a major part of my life for the last 30 years (yikes!). Multiple sclerosis and my surgery took me out of the musical this year, but we are a scant three weeks away from starting the annual Skakespearean play. I don't know where will be performing next year as the high school auditorium is renovated, but right now it's time to focus on The Tempest. Last weekend, my sweetie and I created the set model and this week has been all about costume design.


Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand, Caliban, Stephano & Trinculo

Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian 
(I also have designs for Gonzalo, Adrian, and Francisco)

Ceres, Juno, Iris, and the Naiads and Dryads

Like what you see and want to use them for your own shows? Go ahead! Enjoy! Just drop me a line and some photos when they are constructed. Theater should be about sharing :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Setting the (Tiny) Stage

It is the dead of winter in Central New York and the snow  is up past my knees, It is tough to put myself into a spring state of mind right now. It is even harder to imagine a semi-tropical island with roaring waves, sandy beaches, and quiet solitude. Okay, the solitude is pretty easy to imagine. I have not been on-campus with my co-workers in two months and while I am getting tons done while I heal and work from home, I am definitely suffering from cabin fever and separation anxiety from being alone most of the time, In that way, I can definitely put my head in Prospero's head space. Sigh.

This weekend though, my sweetie came to stay with me for the weekend. We made a furniture fort, we played board games, and we began to collaborate on the upcoming production of The Tempest. I have been doing research and pouring out ideas since the early fall, but we worked together yesterday on refining some concepts and we built the set model. Finalizing those details will enable me to move on to the next step in the process: blocking. Eeeek.

I have had general ideas but after watching Shakespeare Uncovered last week, we decided that the show would be based on Porto Santo, one of the Mediera Islands. The island is made up of many basalt column rock formations. That sealed it.

We had spirited discussion about costumes and how they related to each character to be able to finalize the color scheme. It was a wonderful dialogue and I truly enjoyed the process.

We constructed a 1/2" scale model with foam core, cardboard, muslin, and even some recycling. Above is Act 1, scene 1 on the ship.

The main set is a a basalt cave with a practical roof. There will also stream, a basalt pit (for Caliban) and a hollow tree (for Ariel).

Stay tuned for more news as we begin the actual show next month.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stitching the Nation: The Big US Quilt

Every day the nation becomes more of a reality. I have caught up with the rest of the 50 States Stitching Cub, so it was time to turn to the map. Each state has been appliqued with the fabric that will be the corresponding quilt block and in some way invokes the motif for that state. Virginia is a funny example: the motif is a Virginia Ham, so the fabric that I choose for the state/block is covered with sausages and meats! Also, did you know that the state craft of South Carolina is basket making? Hence the woven fabric for that state.

Saturday was full of tea, stitching, and sleeping kitties. We had a quietly productive day with "How the States Got Their Shapes" playing in the background. Apt, I thought.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reaching for the stars: Adventures in Paper Piecing

You know how things look lovely on the internet and you think, "Oh, I can surely do that!" Then you actually start the project and realize what a production it truly is. So it goes with me and English Paper Piecing. This is part of The Big US Quilt project,so I can't just say, "It's too complicated so I am not going to do it." Well, I guess that I  could but that is not my way. Here I go:

First, I cut out 50 star shapes (I was originally gong to trace them, but decided to use up my printer ink instead). I then snipped off all of the points (Moses helped) so I have 50 pentagons and 250 triangles.

Luckily, Mollie from Wild Olive gave detailed instructions on how to actually make the pieces, so it was just a matter of following each step. The real challenge was the actual size of the pieces...they are tiny! The pentagon is only 1.5 inches across.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Quilting Isn't For Sissies

Some women turn into their mothers. Not me. I am turning into my Grandma. I am kinda excited about it. As soon as I finished working on Friday, I started working on The Quilt. 

I started cutting out squares and states out of the coordinating fabrics. I wasn't the only one having fun. Moses discovered that a recently used ironing board was THE best place in the house to lounge, regardless of the fact that I was still using it. I made huge plans for Saturday. The plan was to destash blue fabrics and crazy quilt them together for oceans, gulfs, and lakes. That was the plan anyway...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Making Progress: The Big US Quilt

Whoa. When I decided to combine three things that I wanted to do, I guess that I didn't realize how big of an undertaking that it was. I have ordered supplies online (since I am still in semi-quarantine from my surgery) and decided that being super-organized was the only way that I am going to get through this unscathed. I am a little nervous since I am doing a lot of things that I never have: quilt applique, hand quilting, AND paper piecing. 

Fabrics are starting to arrive. The big order from Spoonflower came in yesterday. I was sad to learn that an 8" swatch is actually 6.5". I have ordered duplicates of some since I am using these themed fabrics for both the star blocks and the actual state on the map. Scraps will become part of the sashing and/or binding.

 I have spent my free time since Saturday stitching tons of motifs from the 50 States Stitching Club. I am up to date with the rest of the club now.

I didn't realize how small that they would be until I started to transfer them. I originally traced them with water soluble marker, but found that it was too pale. Pencil works just fine.

I started tracing states tonight to make patterns. Ramses thinks that he is helping.

Tomorrow night, I hope to be able to start cutting fabric and Saturday, I will start making stars. So nervous. Any paper piecing tips?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

From sea to shining sea: The Big US Quilt

You would think that after the afghan debacle, that I would be off blankets forever. Just the opposite--I just completed designing my FIRST quilt pattern
I didn't design all of the elements, but I am taking two great projects by fabulous designers and putting my own spin on them. 

The first element is a DIY United States quilt kit designed by Haptic Lab. I received it as a birthday gift two years ago, but having been waiting for the perfect project to use it. 

Second is the awesome 50 States Stitching Club by my favorite embroidery designer, Mollie Johanson at Wild OliveThe club is little more than halfway done, so I definitely have some catching up to do! I am up for the challenge, though.

Here's the plan: I will stitch up all 50 of the state motifs and applique them onto a fabric from Spoonflower that evokes the theme of the motif. Then I will use the same fabric on the map and will applique the state. Leftover fabric will become the sashing on the quilt top. 

Today, after printing the backlog of patterns, I measured out some squares of plain fabric to stitch onto. Then, I transferred all of the patterns onto the fabric and started to work.

Isn't Connecticut so cute? It is the state flower, the mountain laurel. Does anyone have a line on where I can find some fabric with mountain laurel on it? What else typifies CT?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stained Glass Quilt

I did it. The afghan is done. That took much longer than I had hoped, but I am super-excited that it has happened.

 I may eventually add more border stitches and a flannel backing.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Doctor Who Craft Round Up: 2015 Edition

Late last week, I saw that Netflix was on the verge of losing shows from the BBC. Thankfully, that has not come to pass, thank Ood. Being the huge geeky gal that I am (as well as a massive anglophile in general), I was relieved to hear this news. I immediately watched the first three episodes of the reboot. I am not just a newbie, my local PBS station re-broadcast Tom Baker episodes when I was a kid. All I can say is that daleks are frightening as all get out when you are seven years old. This would-be catastrophe inspired me to do re-boot of my own. One of most popular posts ever was my original Doctor Who Craft Round Up. I decided it was time to do a new one based on things that I would like to make in the coming year. Allons-y!!

1. First, who doesn't love the fourth Doctor's scarf? But when is is actually practical to wear it? Enter the scarf bracelet. Perfection!

2. If you read this blog regularly, you know that that embroidery isn't just my hobby. It is my retirement plan. How lovely is this piece with 10's catch phrase AND his sonic.

3. Okay, wouldn't make a Weeping Angel for my own use, but I would love to see my students freak out ;)

4. C'mon--needle felting and a bunting? It's a no-brainer. 

5. I really think that I need a cute little Adipose buddy for when I am feeling chubby.

6. Wall + blue painter's tape = awesome. No tutorial really needed.

7. My next afghan, for realsies. I already downloaded the free pattern!

8. Bunting--another no-brainer.

9. A TARDIS charging box would make me feel like the fanciest geek in the department, and that's saying something.

I have created a Pinterest board dedicated to Doctor Who crafts. If any of you would like to include pins to that board, let me know!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Needle Felted Wool Ball Garland How-To

I'm a gal who likes a garland or a bunting and some sparkly lights. What can I say, I'm fancy. 

I have crocheted snowflakes for a garland, made a fun fabric bunting, and I am currently stitching up the hearts from Shiny Happy World  to make a new garland. But today, I decided that I needed something not-so-seasonal for in between times. Hence, the needle felted wool ball garland!

I choose some fun colors from my basket of rovings and pulled out a small amount of each.

I gave to warm water method a try, but didn't have much luck. 
I stuck with the tried and true method using my multi-needle tool and brush base.
I could have wet-felted them afterwards, but I like the fuzzy look.

I made balls in a variety of sizes for my garland.

I used my cool Lion Brand Bon-Bon yarn in bright pink and busted out the sequins.
I threaded to yarn on an embroidery needle and alternated sequins and wool balls.

Love it!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Putting It Together

So...have you ever bared your soul to the unseeing public and then felt like an idiot? 
After throwing my loving boyfriend under the bus this week, I felt a bit like a heel. He was okay with it, thankfully. I used that energy to work on the afghan. Yep, I am still talking about that stupid afghan. Good news though: PROGRESS!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WIP Wednesday: The Never-ending Afghan

A very wise person once said, "I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday." He or she was obviously talking about making an afghan. Obviously.

Good News: all the squares are complete.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bloggers Helping Bloggers

And just like that, I have blogged more in 2015 then 2014. Sigh. 

That being said, I am committed to making Weasinart more of a thing. You know, a thing...something that people read, something that people share, something people value. 

The first step has been posting (obviously) and now for a face lift.  You probably notice the background since you are staring at right now. That one, I was able to figure out on my own. Bigger changes that I wanted to make needed some support. I turned to the logical (in my mind) place: other blogs. 

Pinterest was a great help in locating these resources. Of course, Pinterest! Wait, Pinterest! Can I add that to my blog? It's kind of a value-add, right? Get inspired by others inspiration and all. Turns out, I could, thanks to Marie at Code It Pretty. Perfect! 

She had a great tutorial on how to do exactly what I wanted. It was easy to follow and allowed me to add something that I really value to my site.

 Once I had done that, I was hungry to learn more. Where else do I connect with friends and fans? Duh, social media. I found an absolutely gorgeous site entitled Every Little Polish. Rose is super talented and loves both cats and nail polish. Hello? Kindred spirit. 

Not only does she have an awesome set of watercolor social media icons that I adore,

she also has a great tutorial on how to put them on your blog. I even downloaded a few extra ones for platforms that I am not even using yet. So excited. They look like the were meant for my blog. I am really excited for the direction that I am going. I have an entire Pinterest board of blogging resources to work through. Yay!

Now, back to those granny squares.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Brushing Off The Cobwebs

You hear the same thing every year, right? This year will be different. This year, I will change. I am going to be more (fit, frugal, relaxed, your preferred adjective here) this year. 

I have said the same things myself. I said it right here on this very blog last year...and promptly stopped blogging at the end of March. It was easy to write off: I was busy, I had other priorities, who really reads it anyway? It's not like I am Julie Powell over here. I highly doubt there will ever be a movie based on me because of this blog. I mean, I can hope, but I doubt it.

Why did I really stop blogging? Was it just because I figured that I was only talking to myself? I think that may have been it on the surface, but truly, I think it was because I didn't want to admit some things to myself.

My much-delayed and sporadic afghan is the physical manifestation of those things. 

Let me explain: when I came up with the wild idea to make a granny square afghan, I was enthusiastic...even gung ho. I made Pinterest boards, I started a Facebook group, I dashed to JoAnn's to purchase scads of skeins. I rushed into making squares based on a vintage pattern from my boyfriend's mom. See this optimistic post about it all!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stitching Up a Happy New Year: Embellished Tea Towels

Whoa, does anyone still even remember me? I barely remember myself. Nine months since my last post. Nine months. Enough time to create a human life. While I didn't create anyone new, I did spend plenty of time creating myself. 

I have been promoted...twice. I have directed two more shows. I have run another half-marathon. I have been to Disney World. I have had surgery.
The surgery was recent, just last week. It was frightening, but I am healing. Go through the procedure and now nurturing myself through the healing process, I have really been able to focus what makes me happy: making things. I am committed to making more time to make.

Although I have multiple WIP that I really should be working on (more on those soon, I promise,) I decided that a great way to start the year would be to make some embroidered and embellished tea towels for my kitchen. I focused on things that I really love. It also showed me that I REALLY love decorating tea towels...weird.