Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hello again! And my amulet bag

Oh my gosh...I'm back!
My computer is back online. Thank God.
I swear, I felt as if I were cut off from the world.
So back to more regular posting. Whew.

Here's a teaser, for those of you not willing to read a long post to discover what is in store.
I talk about this:
Amulet Bag detail

I woke up this morning to a rain soaked day.
That might not be a novelty for the folks reading this, but here, where rain hasn't graced the yard for over 150 days (that mist a few weeks ago doesn't count), this is something.
I used to hate the rain, but I've come to appreciate the way the air smells, the way the clouds sway, the fun of wearing wonderful sweaters and jackets, and the advantages to cuddling and snuggling.

What the rain brought forth in me today was the need to bake.
Uh, this kind of weather isn't really what bread craves, but I had to give it a go.

I baked cinnamon swirl bread today.

The old fashioned way, with yeast, and rising times, and the incredible smell that wafted through the house and out into the front (where two of my brothers were praying they'd discover what that aroma meant. I brought them out hot slices with butter that they 'yummed' over).

Seriously, can it get much better that?
That is one fine afternoon, my friend.

Oh, and HOT bread, you say?
Please, do you think I could wait the recommended two hours for the cooling progress?
Yeah, right.
It's like how Krispie Kreme features hot from the oven glazed donuts--that way they melt in your mouth.

I forgot to add the raisins to my cinnamon swirl bread, and I won't post the recipe because it's not the best one I've ever made (it's good for toast, but I prefer a more dense and chewy variety, oozing with slurpy goodness. That is not what the author of this recipe desired. She wanted toast. That's fine).
I will tell you, however, that one of the best snacks on the planet (thanks, debs) is cream cheese spread onto a toasted cinnamon raisin English Muffin, with fresh avocado, and freshly ground pepper.
Seriously, try it.

But I'm off track here. I'm just dying to catch up and have to condense a gazillion thoughts into one post.

I do have to mention that I passed up the Festa in Little Italy today (how do they create chalk drawings in the rain?) and I watched my beloved cooking shows on PBS.
Everyday Food, Rick Bayless, America's Test Kitchen, and my new favorite--Diary of a Foodie. The latter featured a chef so passionate about his food that I just had to smile.
Joy in fresh ingredients, creative application, and a surprise of taste...that's just Heaven to even hear about much less experience first hand.
But I digress yet again...

I finally completed my amulet bag for The Purse Project.
You know, the project that was due LAST month?
I actually have a finished project to post!
Albeit late, but...better late than never.
Some things are a given: the sky is blue, and Barb is always late. Sigh.

Anyway, I took forever deciding which direction I wanted to go with this project.
I considered making a bag to hang in my car, either inspired with feng shui, or with elements symbolizing safe travel.
I considered making something for my pet business.
Perhaps some wishes for critter health and safety.

In the end, I just looked at what it is I find sacred, and over and over again I came back to the sea.
The bag itself is an amulet, though it may certainly be filled with applicable charms within as well.

I started with doodling out ideas.
I wanted to start with a seagull, and add some symbolism.
More doodles

I started out with the symbols for the basic elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
I chose simple circular pagan symbols (many versions and variations of these symbols exist, depending on regional and religious differences).
The circle dissected with crossed lines is both the symbol for the four elements (also the four seasons, and four directions North, South, West, East), but is also the symbol for Earth.
There are also materials and colors associated with these symbols, but I opted not to get that detailed.

Bird body is a raindrop shape = Water
It's also a leaf shape = Earth

I liked the idea of a bird with horns, or sitting atop a horn.
The horn for me stands for The Ram, or Aries, which = Fire (sign)
The horn shape also resembles a wave = Water
A simple symbol for the Ram is also lines that look like two candy canes back to back.
I decided these could be feet.

I used to have a roommate who had a tattoo of The North Wind.
It was a man's face, his lips blowing, and from his lips came swirls, representing wind.
So I played around with swirls.
(you'll have to click on the image to enlarge the detail--Flickr didn't like the width on this one)
I liked the one on the right I have circled, until I realized it coincidentally looks too much like Amanda's logo.
Instead, I used the swirls like feathers.
So feathers and wind = Air

Here's what I came up with.
The finished size is about 3 inches by 4 inches, not including the crocheted handle.
Amulet Bag

Real twig = Earth

Blue felt and blue variegated thread= both Air and Water.
The blue 'window' is a reverse applique of the Earth/Elements symbol.
White felt = Air
Brown and beige felt, brown variegated thread = Earth

The 'pom-pom' trim is the four symbols (light felt with dark embroidery on the front, the back side is dark brown felt with blue thread).

The vintage button features a crane (shore bird)= water
seagull = water

This is the first time I have worked with wool felt--a really lovely material.
Had I desired a softer texture and appearance, I could have washed the felt prior to crafting with it.
I'm pleased with how this project turned out.

The pieces were finished with a blanket stitch, put together with a whipstitch, and detailed with a backstitch or a running stitch (because these are the only stitches I know).
I didn't need a lining, but I loved the contrast of the chocolate brown felt, so that is the interior of this bag, just waiting to filled with charms.

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Blogger Melanie Willows said...

Beautiful bag! I love the colours you have chosen. It was so interesting to hear the creative thought processes which went into it's design. Who cares if it's late when the end product is just what you wanted to achieve.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Claudia said...

Dear Barb,

I love the bag! Oh, you put so many thoughts into the creating process! Symbolism...
I am determined that whatever we create with our hands - together with the thoughts we have about what we create - make the "product" (what a mundane word for something we create and finish) so much more precious than any product we can buy.
*smirk* Yes, when I saw your sketches I was thinking of Amanda, too...


12:34 PM  
Blogger Laura K said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Laura K said...

Sorry, that comment above was me - I'll be more careful this time!

Anyway, Barb, I love your amulet bag and I love the purse challenges. It's not just the results of the challenges and the entries but also all of the in-between posts. You are so informative and inspiring.

Thank you for doing this.

1:26 PM  
Blogger tweetysnest said...

I love your bag! And your thoughts and how it came about is very interesting and you're writing is beautiful, as well. Hey, I love birds!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Wow, Barb - I don't even know where to start! Everything is so perfect. I can see why it took a little longer than anticipated. Heck, this would have taken me a year to complete! Great job! And as others have mentioned, thanks for the continual inspiration.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Vallen said...

It's marvelous and so worth the wait, the receiver will be ecstatic

3:48 PM  
Blogger Pattie - Chicagoland, IL said...

How wonderful this is! I love all of the hand work, which to me, makes pieces like this a treasure forever.

I love the colors, the fabric, and the whole feel of this bag. Well done my friend!

8:54 PM  
Blogger sharon said...

gorgeous bag!
I hear you on the computer- did yours at least come back with all your links and programs and settings?
mine didn't and I am slowly finding everyone again!

6:01 PM  
Blogger kt said...

It's really lovely. And I get a real kick out of seeing your sketches--it's so much fun to see other folks' ideas forming!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Susanne said...

This is very beautiful. And you just reminded me that I actually made two pouches for my tarot cards for the amulet project, I thought the deadline was end of August and then I forgot all about it. So - would you like to see them still? (Blushing.)

12:58 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

This was really a labor of love. I hope that it brings you luck from all the elements!

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Janet J said...

Wonderful Bag! Love it. Really like how you showed your design process. I think you captured the spirit of it all beautifully!

5:33 PM  

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