Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farewell, June

This comment from Kelli on one of my previous posts is a favorite:
These swaps that you take us to are just fascinating to me! I have many many interests so I follow all kinds of blogs and I think the group of people you hang with must be the most giving and fun and willing to get together of any I have contact with - you all seem to support each other and don't look down on others if their talent isn't as good as yours - I really appreciate getting to virtually hang out with you and your talented friends. 
I couldn't have said it better myself, Kelli.  I have a wonderful group of creative friends!  They are so giving and fun, and I feel so lucky to have met them!
Let me give you just one example of their awesomeness : upon arriving at Karla's Birdsong Three on June 7, Beth greeted me with a bag full of these beautiful little badges.  She knew that all the girls who worked on the Breakfast at Tiffany's fabric book that was just published in Somerset would be together that day so she created these for us: designed them and sewed them all by hand.  They say, "I'm a Tiffany Girl".  Beth, like Karla, is frequently published in Somerset publications so she knows that it's a thrill and a cause for celebration!
Was that just not so thoughtful?  Here are 'the Tiffany Girls' posting with our badges; unfortunately, Linda McMillin was unavoidably detained/unable to come -- but she was with us in spirit!
Soon after, Karla showed me these Tiffany blue-birds and told me the story behind them: they started out as a special Tiffany blue cake she baked for the 7 of us!  A mishap made them into cake pops instead -- but even if they had been a three-tiered cake I couldn't have been more honored by the treat!
Karla couldn't have known how much those little cake/birds would mean to me.  There have not actually been a lot of celebratory cakes in my life -- so, that she'd thought to create one for all of us to mark the occasion of our art being in Somerset was a complete joy!
As was being reunited with friends...
from near and far...
who take time out for creativity -- because it's important!
I wish everyone a chance to get together and create at an event like this...
where you will be greeted with relaxation, smiles, and friends who celebrate your joys!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shopping at Birdsong Three

Two weeks ago when we hit the road for Kansas/Karla's House/Birdsong Three, Rebecca and I drove just about straight through because we were determined to get there in plenty of time for the pre-event dinner.
At one point, around 1 pm or so, we realized we'd be making it in plenty of time so we could stop and shop.
I texted this photo of Rebecca to Suzanne because I knew she'd remember this as one of OUR stops in years past when we drove to KS together.
Well, you can imagine my surprise when Suzanne then texted me THIS photo of her -- she was driving with Cheryl and we had missed them at the store by about 10 minutes!
A quick phone call, some directions and a few minutes later, we all met up at the NEXT store and shopped together.  We had a blast!
It was a great little shop called Countrypolitan, and we all found something fun.
Rebecca and I picked up the little glass doorknobs we would use on the cloche's we made at Karla's, and I also got this stuff: a cute little lamb planter, some spun cotton angel heads, and some cool metal hinge things that I know I can use in my art, someday.  Then it was on to Lawrence!
I am about to show you the only other thing I bought the whole weekend.  Yes, I was being very frugal on this trip...until I laid eyes on this beautiful necklace Lori Oles brought for vendor night.  I have always admired Lori's jewelry whenever I've seen it online.
As soon as I saw this necklace, its beauty took my breath away.  I am not even kidding. I haven't felt that way about a piece of jewelry or art in a while.  I was completely charmed by the mix of an VERY narrow old leather purse, mother of pearl and vintage sparkly findings...
glass rosary beads...
and more buttons.  I thought about it and thought about it and then made up my mind that it had to come home with me.  I made it my one and only purchase at vendor night (as difficult as that was!) and I have no regrets.
I will always treasure it and always think of the wonderful time I had at Birdsong Three whenever I see it!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Birdsong Three: the swaps and more

The swaps at art events are always a joy.
At Birdsong, the setting is Karla's patio on the first evening, after the first two classes.  Above, Karla as she opens her matchbox swap from Suzanne.
For Birdsong Three's matchbox swap, I made a box for Gail that I showed you here, and Marj made this box for me. And what a box! On top, a lovely altered bird on a branch...
and below, it was actually TWO boxes -- the one on top contained TEN DRAWERS with beaded pulls that were decorated inside and out! They were filled with little treasures that I love!  I really love the paper she chose to decorate the outside of the boxes.  Can you imagine how much work that was?
This is Marj as she opens her own special swap box (above.)  She and Gail were the co-hosts of the swap.
The box was full of trims, gorgeous findings, buttons, something sparkly and intriguing (a polished rock?), and look at those wooden beads that spell my name! The sweet, pale green handkerchief underneath was also in the box!  One of the things I really enjoy about Marj (we've Birdsong'd together before...) is her amazing hugs.  She is very gifted in bear-hugging.  I look forward to seeing her because I don't really have anyone else in my life who is a hugger.  So what do you think was in the bottom matchbox?
A likeness of her beautiful daughter (who I haven't met in person but have seen in photos) giving me a hug!  It is really heartwarming.  I loved this box -- it was just for me!
And here are all the swapped boxes together in Karla's kitchen.  Note the one in the top right corner: it's Audrey's dresser!  They were all so much fun to see.
My new friend, Mercedes, hostessed the rosette swap; she had a neat way of randomly choosing exchange partners by matching up pretty bird tags.  The one I made, which I showed you here went to one of the gals from Iowa, Lyn, while I received one from Tami.
She packaged her rosette sweetly in a pouch made from an embroidered vintage textile; it is a mix of neutrals and is shown next to the tag that Mercedes made.
The focal piece is a vintage bird and nest pin.  I love the colors together!
Here are most of the rosettes assembled for their group photo.  Isn't it amazing the way everyone interprets the same creative challenge?  This was a fun swap and I know I'll continue making rosettes now that I've tried it out!
My lovely friend from Indiana, Stephanie, hostessed the tag swap.  I showed you mine here, and here's the awesome book I got in return:
I'll show you ALL of it so you can enjoy the artistry.  I photographed the front of each tag and then the reverse is to the left of the next tag in the next photo -- I hope that makes sense!

So much fun, and color, and lovely textures!
After the swaps we enjoyed another great meal; one thing that you know you're going to get at Karla's events is well fed!
I still have more Birdsong beauty to show you, but I also wanted to show you this photo of Dennis and I this past Friday night as we celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. Our lives feel very full lately -- and what a shock to go (so quickly) from working at home to working outside of the home.  I really like my job; it's fun and invigorating to be working and doing something I enjoy -- but it's also very time-consuming (funny how that works!)  I'm having a hard time in the evenings sitting down at the computer to read blogs and write on some of my pages...and haven't quite hit the point where I'm organized enough to do it in the mornings before work.  I'm also struggling to find the time to exercise as often as I'm used to doing.  I know I'll get into a rhythm soon, and I hope you'll stick with me as posts are fewer and further between through this adjustment period!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Birdsong Three: the classes

There were four classes during Birdsong Three -- and so much creativity, with so many talented people assembled in Karla's studio!
This was "my" table this year: left to right, Rebecca, my friend (who is now safely back in her home in Black Forest -- whew!), Terri, who I first met at Silver Bella 2010 and have long wanted to get together with again, Lisa another Silver Bella/Birdsong 1-2 and now 3 buddy, and me.  Look how happy we were to be starting on our first project!
The pretty little chair I was sitting in all weekend!
The first project was Beth's: we stitched birds, flowers, hearts, etc. and stuffed them, and then assembled them in a decorated peat pot.
It was fun and relaxing!
Here's mine next to Rebecca's -- see how everyone's turned out so different?  Rebecca used a lot of the soft lavenders and purples.

Here's mine next to Terri's...I love how she did hers in blues and how they coordinate!  I like the shape bird she chose better and I'll probably use it for my next one.
Here's a close up of my favorite element on my assemblage: the heart.  Beth provided so many beautiful things to choose from in the supplies!
I have to tell you -- I really struggled with my bird.  One of the weekend's funniest moments for me came when I showed Karla my finished bird (on the right.)  I said, "Look I added a little tail!"  And she said, "That's not a little tail!"  I laughed so hard!

 Even the back is pretty!  It was fun!
Our next project was Karla's fairy cloche!  We got to create this little cage structure, from scratch using wire and Karla's expert instructions.
It was pretty complicated but we all had fun twisting all the wires and then decorating it! Pictures were provided for us to add wings to and make little fairies inside, but I brought along one of my own.
It's a picture of me when I was in Kindergarten; I had a short little cropped hairstyle.  I hated it then and discovered I'm still not fond of it now -- so I gave myself a flower hat.
I put the "mini me" on a swing in the cloche, but later took it out.  I like it better empty for now.
You can make one, too!  Karla has a tutorial on her blog with several versions of this project!  On the second day of Birdsong Three, we started with Lori's fabric and paper wreath.
She gave us the most wonderful kits full of frothy neutral fibers and fabrics, and gorgeous ephemera.
First, we worked on the tags that hang on the wreath.  We had bird-themed paper motifs and some of pretty women; I decided to mix it up and used both.  We decorated them with modeling paste using stencils -- it was my first time ever working with modeling paste and I loved it! 
One of the things Lori taught us to do was make this little rosette from pattern paper and a pearl.
 Some of the tags began as playing cards...
Part of the beauty of the wreaths was the effect of all those layers of fabric and ribbon.
The rest was simple: we wrapped a wreath form with beautiful fabrics, dotted it with sparklies, and finally, arranged the tags on the bottom of the wreath.  I lost count of how many tags I did -- I think maybe it was 9.
Here I am showing it off, with Lori.  And here it is at home:
All too soon, on Saturday afternoon, it was time for the last project: Karla's necklace.

Her kits came in sweet vintage egg cartons!
We were very excited to start...
First we made the medallions, because they needed a couple of hours to dry.
We painted the metal, then added ephemera and fiber and vintage jewels, then used a resin over it.
Then we took some lovely seam bindings and lace and knotted it, and then added the charms we'd painted and assembled.
Here's my finished necklace.  I love the delicate look of it...
and the way the resin stuff reacted with the metals and gave it an "aged" greenish look!
It's easy to tell that we all had an awesome weekend.  Here's Karla with the only guy brave enough to hang out with us all weekend -- her brother-in-law Randy (who is a DOLL!)
Here I am talking to Barb from Iowa on Karla's pretty porch.  We had such gorgeous weather all weekend!
Here's Suzanne, my erstwhile travel partner, who drove up with her friend Cheryl this time.  I didn't see much of her all weekend but I could tell she was having a lovely time!
I have so much more to tell you about, and lots more photos to share, so please check back!