Tuesday, February 28, 2006

the Mapron: Necktie Collaged Pocket. For the manly man!

Tie One On, February (a man's apron)

Here's my submission to this month's Tie One On. (click on pic for a larger image). I wasn't too hip on the theme this month, seeing as I don't have a husband or son or boyfriend longing to grill for my ass (um, that's poor phrasing. I mean, no one is eagerly waiting in the wings, composing love notes, and assembling dinner). Anyway, I was napping one afternoon recently and had an ephiphany--one symbol of "man" is the necktie. And I love to sew with neckties. I decided to pull from my stash (eliminating expenses is key right now) all the ties with symbolism or male stereotypes. Tools, remote control, fishing, sports, science, transportation. I did a collage of ties for the pocket, and added a collage of labels as well. I even added a few descriptions that were on the inner side of a couple of the ties. This was fun! I used one of my vintage patterns as a foundation, but deepened the pocket so I could get the full golf scene on that one tie, plus I increased the pocket horizontally so it covered the full apron width. I used a left over tie end for the neck strap, and four narrow tie ends wrong sides together for the sash. The letters are leftover tie fabric also, fused then raw edges sealed with the same decorative stitch I prefer over basic zigzag. The base fabric is a canvas-like stripe that someone gave me. It reminds me of train engineer uniforms (or Olympic snowboarders). I may go back in and add brown bias tape. I'm not finished tweaking it yet. Ironically, I used a typically non-male thread color (a pinkish mauve), because the tone was such a perfect blend. Not that practical for a BBQ apron, but certainly a personalized one. The POPA here stands for "grandpop", that being my brother Rog (don't look at me like that! He's way older!). I'm sure it's bound to fetch a smile. I'm saving it for Christmas.

I have detail photos to post, but it will have to wait for later. Please check back, as the detail is the best part.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Just getting started on the swap

Just a quick note to touch base. I should be able to post my apron by Monday. Today after work I did a bit of thrifting, trying to find a few items for my Vintage Vixen Swap partner. I found some fabric scraps that aren't vintage but are so pretty it's hard to part with them. Just pieces, but she quilts, and they're in her chosen colors, so that should be useful. I have another fabric from a previous trip that I think I'll send too. I thought of washing them, but I think I'll just send them as is with the price tags (for thrifty fun), and she can care for them as she sees fit. I need to head back there again on Monday since I got there at closing today and there wasn't enough time to cruise. Have to have these in the mail by Tuesday, so I'm pushing it as usual. Wish I had time to craft something, but I'm just not a fast enough seamstress to pull off anything. I helped a coworker last week by stitching strips together for her for a quilt that was to be auctioned for a school event (she fused the top decoration, but I stitched the foundation piece). Just piecing wide strips took me nine hours! That's always the way with me. Oh well. I'll post a pic of the package of goodies before I mail it. I'd better get back to that apron now...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Crafty Chica has a book

Crafty Chica Kathy Cano Murillo has a book coming out. I'm excited to find out she'll be doing a book signing here next week, at a coffee shop I hadn't previously heard of called Chicano Perk (adjacent to Chicano Park--how cute is that?!). She reminds us in her blog that next month is National Women's Month, and let's all get crafting. She made this collaged torso and gives a link to a site where you can buy a blank one and express yourself. What a fun idea!

I'm almost finished with my Tie One On entry. Had a few snags, so I'm fixing stuff as I go along. I'm so glad I'm more at ease with winging it--creating as I go versus being such a stickler for perfectly following the pattern (how I used to be). Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Aunt Jane of Kentucky, ca. 1900

'I've been a hard worker all my life, but 'most all my work has been the kind that "perishes with the usin'," as the Bible says. That's the discouragin' thing about a woman's work...if a woman was to see all the dishes that she had to wash before she died, piled up before her in one pile, she'd lie down and die right then and there. I've always had the name o' bein' a good housekeeper, but when I'm dead and gone there ain't anybody goin' to think o' the floors I've swept, and the tables I've scrubbed, and the old clothes I've patched, and the stockin's I've darned...But when one of my grandchildren or great-grandchildren sees one o' these quilts, they'll think about Aunt Jane, and, wherever I am then, I'll know I ain't forgotten.

I reckon everybody wants to leave somethin' behind that'll last after they're dead and gone. It don't look like it's worth while to live unless you can do that.

(from book of same name--an excellent read)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Symbolic Quilts

I took an English class a few years ago, Literature of Death and Dying. It was, surprisingly, amazingly inspiring.
Thought provoking, interesting, and a class where everyone got involved in the discussion.
For a final project, I did a presentation and a paper on mourning quilts--quilts that are made to memorialize a loved one, and/or enable the family closure of some sort.
The fabrics in these items might use funerary ribbons, old clothing, etc.
I was so fascinated, I read 30 books and numerous internet articles on the subject.
I could have written a thesis.
Anyway, this was one of the publications I used for photographs in my slide presentation.
I started my own quilt also--about the end of a relationship I had just experienced (its own form of death), but I have not yet finished it.
It includes torn pages of a book, an old doll's head, and quilt blocks in the Storm at Sea pattern. Posted by Picasa

The subject matters of the quilts in this booklet are about natural catastrophies, deaths in the family, or personal struggles.
This quilt, Holding it Together, by Gretchen B. Hill, is cut at the top and the jagged edges are held together with safety pins.
It's about the stress of her husband being diagnosed with cancer, and then about the healing of his body and their stress. Posted by Picasa

I love this quilt, entitled Final Flight, by Judy B. Dales.
It was made in memory of the quilter's friend Doreen.
Doreen's ashes were released over sea, and the author's description of the event is what inspired the construction of this quilt:
"As we gathered at the ship's stern, we said a few words and Megan (Doreen's daughter) released the ashes. Expecting them to drop straight down and disappear from sight, I was quite enchanted to see them captured by the breeze, lifted up and away, each little puff drifting off in another direction. This is the moment I have tried to capture in Final Flight. It symbolizes the ongoing journey of the soul and my hope that Doreen's spirit also flies free and unencumbered." Posted by Picasa

Another quilt by Judy B. Dales, entitled Final Flight.
Dales said the quilt helped her grieve the loss of her mother, and "This quilt expresses belief in the continuing journey of the human soul. Being with my mother at the moment of her death convinced me beyond a doubt that the soul is separate and distinct from the body."
Dales said she was visited by an apparition several times, and it offered her peace when she realized it was the spirit of her mother. "The entire quilt represents the flight into the unknown which begins at the moment of death.
The brilliant stars floating on a backdrop represent heavenly possibilities, and the tears
symbolize the grief that we on earth experience when a beloved's soul departs." Posted by Picasa

Breaking Point, by Vikki Pignatelli.
"This tree is a tribute to endurance.
When stress becomes overwhelming, one way to survive is to bend and ride out the storm rather than fight against it
." Posted by Picasa

Far and Away, by Judith Vierow.
Hand-painted, dyed, and stamped, it was a cathartic work about the Oklahoma City bombing. Posted by Picasa

Passage, by Ricky Tims.
Tims is both a pianist and an artist, and this quilt is the cover art for the CD of a concert he conducted that was intended to provide comfort for people experiencing all kinds of loss.
Tims says the passageway represents the physical (life experiences and changes therein), but also the unknown and what lies beyond this life. "I thought of the open door at the end of a passageway--an image that's not scary, but inviting. It speaks to the mystery of the unknown."
"The creative process for my music and quilting is the same. I sit at the piano and compose on the spot. I can do the same thing at my sewing machine. My music and my quilts are my legacy."

Think of your time spent crafting and creating as being what you leave behind...what gives you definition.
It's interesting to note that bold American women crossing the western frontier during the 19th century would create quilts from any available fabric (worn clothing, feed sacks, etc), and their signatures on these quilts are sometimes the only evidence of their having lived--census takers were only concerned with the men.

Think about that for a second.

And craft with purpose. Quality over quantity. Never settle for mediocre. Make your art as well as your life something that is moving and meaningfulPosted by Picasa

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Torino on my mind

I get a kick out of how google keeps changing their logo to include a skier, etc. I saved a really fun sled one the other day so I could share it here, but my computer crashed and I lost the image. When the Olympics are on, all else in my life ceases to exist. I am standing up and screaming "Go...faster!....come on!". I am crying, I am inspired, I remember my dreams.

It pisses me off that the media reports results before the races have been televised, and we therefore lose the element of surprise. Years ago, when the dreaded Tara Lipinski won figure skating, the final program was like my Super Bowl. I was so careful to avoid the radio and newspaper. I made myself a killer dinner and settled down to finally watch the anticipated event. Right before it was to start, my roommate came home, and as he walked through the door, he said, "So, Tara won huh?" Grrrr....I was beyond pissed, and he never did fully understand my disappointment (both at her winning and at him crashing my fantasy). Anyway, there are so many elements of the Olympics that inspire me. So many of the athletes have faced seemingly insurmountable tragedies, but have risen above the question marks. So many are the epitome of courage, determination, self-belief.

Tonight I watched Apolo Ohno, and am reminded of an ex-boyfriend who shared his special charisma. It's a wonder when we're touched by that kind of magic--at times difficult, but life-changing...defining. I have been in some kind of fog lately. I'm not paying attention to details. Time is rushing by and I'm not sure what happened, or even why I'm feeling somewhat lost. I have so much to do, and so many changes to make, yet I don't know where to begin. I'm trying to organize stuff at my house--maybe if my surroundings are more together, my attitude will follow suit. I've got to get back to sewing...
I have been fatigued, not well in body or mind. But these paths all hold their own lessons, and I have learned to listen.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Vintage sewing projects book

There's a a public library here in San Diego that has a second-hand bookstore within it. I happened upon it the other day, and got some new magazines for a dime or a quarter (depending on title and date). That's better than thrift store prices! I found a few sewing books too, including this one that is by, apparently, the sewing expert on the Dinah Shore show. Can you imagine that they actually had a job for that? Later she became the fashion director for the Singer Company. The book is filled with lots of projects, and is dated 1974. Posted by Picasa

A different version of a necktie skirt.
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Apron made from a towel. The book has tons of ideas, but I picked out all the apron ones for this post.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hot hot hot...sizzling hot....

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More from the vintage ties book

Again, more pics from Vintage Ties of the Forties and Fifties, by Rod Dyer. I love sewing with neckties--such unique images. I am going to start a pillow soon, and will post as soon as I am able to finish it. So many projects, and I just haven't been up to sewing lately.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Quilting Memories

  Posted by PicasaThis if from the March/April 2006 (yep, it's brand new) issue of Quiltmaker Magazine. This is a really fun magazine--this issue also has a quilt pattern that is an apron-shaped block.

One area of art that I really want to concentrate on learning about and doing, is collage with fabric and/or paper. I love the idea of combining sewing with collage and with memory crafts. I love the idea of embellishing with found objects and written words.

(from the same magazine) I love this quilt that is featured in an ad for an upcoming quilt festival in Chicago. No information on who made it, but the wind whipping the aprons and the sheets just moves me with it.
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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cute totes and tees

My friend Amy and her husband own a surf shop here in San Diego, and sell adorable clothes. She was carrying a tote the other day (from a line the store carries) that said, "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them". Fun stuff from the line at the website.

Think about making Valentine Cookies

I just discovered these cool sugars at Whole Foods that use natural things like beets for color rather than artificial dyes. The recipe is at the link above also.

Friday, February 10, 2006

My take on the opening ceremonies

I adore the Olympics. I'll pass over football and basketball, and if I go to a baseball game you're more likely to find me in the bar. But the Olympics come around, and I am glued to the set. It's wonderment, human acheivement, inspiration, character, and goodness...all rolled up into one. It embodies a striving for peace and effort and good will to others. It is theatre, symbolism, history, and our future. Call me an idealist, but I believe.

I always enjoy the opening ceremonies, and how each host country puts its own individual spin on things. The torch lighting was a pyrotechnic extravaganza that had me in tears for its beauty. Seriously. I appreciated the cirque de soleil elements--acrobats as spiders on a magical web of peace. The sun and moon balloons were stunning...

but dancing cows?

Laura of Rick Rack Ruby also has a Project Runway Blog, and it has me noticing fashion more than I used to. Like the athelete's attire in the opening ceremonies tonight. Why were some in ski jackets, and some in suit jackets, and how is that decided? Hmmm. I LOVED the Alps dresses of the country announcement bearers tonight--billowing white skirts shaped like mountains; embellished with skiers and trees. How wonderfully creative.
I wonder how the music was selected as the countries walked in? Random shuffle of American 70's tunes? How apropos that Denmark's song was about being misunderstood. I failed to notice what was playing when the Americans marched.

Have you noticed that men involved in sports are always hotter than average? You would think that would entice me to try a few sports in order to meet someone. Nah.

I heart Bob Costas.

Let the XX games begin!

Good luck from home, Shaun.

Good luck to everyone.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Gives new meaning to "guess who's coming for dinner"

(sorry, I couldn't resist)

from Betty Crocker's Frankly Fancy Foods, 1959. Posted by Picasa