I even added some to the Etsy shop!
I even added some to the Etsy shop!
(they must have been tasty, there are only a couple left!)
I can't throw anything away. So, I saved the stem and decided to try to make a velvet pumpkin. It's not like I didn't have anything else to do. I'm pretty far behind on a lot of things that need doing.... but sometimes, I just can't resist a side track into a new (for me) idea.
And I've seriously needed a creating binge. These pumpkins were just the ticket for pulling me up from the doldrums I'd fallen into.
Of course, since I didn't have 20 pumpkins to steal stems from, I had to get creative. I re-purposed some of the vines the pumpkins grow on, by drying and cutting those at angles to make them look like stems. I found lots of viney, twirly, curlicues growing there too, and cut those out to glue to the end of the stems. For most of the curlycues, I was able to cut a small slit into the stem, add glue and then stick the end of the curly bit down in.
I found out that they are super simple to make. I free handed a circle shape, a little larger than a dinner plate. I figured that most pumpkins are a bit crook-edy anyway, so didn't try for perfection in my shape.
Some were made smaller, because I was using fabric remnants. But the "larger than a dinner plate" size was ideal for me.
Here are some tips I learned while working on them:
For stuffing, I used some poly pellets I had on hand for making a weighted "sensory pad" for Sugarwings. About a cup or so of these gave the gourd some heft and made it sit up straight, but I think you could also use beans or rice.
On top of the pellets, I slipped in pieces of polyfil, and worked it into a nice shape. Small bits at a time worked best for me.
After pulling the circle to its tightest possible closure, there was always a gap that needed stitched up.
After I had it all gathered and stuffed, I decided the shape was too round. To fix that, I sewed a button on the bottom by pulling the thread from the top of the pumpkin to the base, adding the button, then pulling it back through, so that it forced the orb into a more gourdy shape. (A long needle works best)
Kind of like tufting. This is where it is really important that your thread is strong. When I used plain thread, it broke when I pulled hard on it to make a gentle dent in the bottom of the pumpkin with the button.
(I made sure to use pretty, vintage buttons. Because, something worth your time is worth using the Good Stuff, right?)
After gluing on stems, I inked the fabric at the top of the pumpkin. Different colors for different fabrics. This is a carmel tone on the green velvet. This is fabric that I'd saved from the back of a throw that fell apart years ago.
The pink is a white velvet that I'd dyed to reupholster a rocker for Sugarwings when she was born. And the white is remnants from repairing that some throw that the green had come off of. (brand new velveteen from Hancock fabrics) I try to save as many leftovers from other projects as I can, I just never know what I'll need someday.
(what I really need is a good studio clean out!)
On the pink and the white, I used an olive green ink.
And over the ink, I rubbed some Stickles or store brand glitter glue. The finer the glitter, the better, which is why Stickles is so pretty. But Michaels carries this brand for a dollar a bottle, and that is hard to beat. I used bronze on the green, pink on the pink, silver on the white, and red on some rose patterned Waverly fabric that I tried.
But then again, is glitter natural on a pumpkin? It is at my house.
This material is from an embellished rayon/satin doll dress that was ripped. At a flea market recently, someone was giving away a box of vintage doll clothes, most in bad shape. But there were some very pretty bits in there that I picked through to reuse.
This was the hardest fabric I worked with. It was stiff and heavy, and left a big, thick blob at the stem when I sewed it together. So, I hid that with velvet leaves cut up to look like the stem base. Well, at least that is my story. If you look at a real pumpkin, there are no leaves around the stem. Still, this little arty tid bit is prettier with the leaves, so I didn't care too much for accuracy.
The shiny, elegant satin, looked too fancy for the rustic stem, so I painted the stick with white pearl paint. That looked so nice, that I added some pearl paint to a few of the other stems too.
And on one of the pink guys, I used some more velvet millinery leaves, just because it is sweet, even if it isn't accurate.
Around here, there wasn't a lot of bright colored fabric to chose from. Our Hippy Chick admired the ones I'd already done, so I wanted to make one in her colors. She likes rainbow shades, and this is as close as I could come in my stack of saved bits and pieces. I think I had it from covering a set of dining chairs for the antique mall ten years ago.
It's a pretty rose and fruit pattern from Waverly, and turned out cute. But the edges were a bit ravel-ly, so I sealed them really good with a blop of glue around the stem, and sprinkled extra glitter over that to hide it, instead of using the Stickles glitter.
But of all of the ones I made, I think I like this one the best. I'd bought a black velvet dress, with lots of embellishments on the bodice, at an antique store last year. It was too small for me, but the fabric was so gorgeous, I had to have it. The dress was a bit of a splurge, about $35. But after making a couple of pumpkins from it, I still have a ton of velvet left, so I think I'll get my money's worth from it.
This looks more lush in person, the photo doesn't do it justice. Even though black isn't usually one of my colors, I think I'll keep this little guy for my Halloween decor.
But then again, the dark green ones look good with my haunted birdcages, don't they?
Nope, I can't keep them all! I've made some as gifts for friends at a get away I'm attending, and some for guests coming to visit here. Actually, a lot of the fabric selections were with certain people in mind, so that makes selecting my own pretty from the pumpkin patch a little easier.
Some are embellished with tags, some have 3D collaged charms (How to in this post).
Last weekend, we made our annual trip to the Rennesaince Festival. We always love going, and since Sugarwings was born, I rarely miss it. Before that, it had probably been 7-8 years between visits. But seeing it with my very own little fairy by my side, has made the experience very special.
This year, I had both girls with me. They decided they wanted to be princesses, not fairies, so I created some gowns for them. We had some ivory satin dresses in the play cabinet, but they'd seen better days. Around here, dress up clothes get a heavy duty workout.
So, I stitched bundles of white tulle around the waists, and took the plastic innards out of silk roses, and sewed them on the bodices. It's not a great sewing job, I just bunched up the tulle and pushed it through the machine. I was pretty pleased with myself for not sewing the back of the dress to its own front, with so many layers of bunched up fabric in those full skirts, I was impressed that I could do it. And I ran the pedal right over the silk rose and leaves, no careful hand stitching here.
After that, we threw them both in the washer with a half bottle each of pale pink and fuchsia Rit dye (because that is what I had), along with a few stained tee shirts, hoping to salvage the shirts by hiding the stain under a coat of pink. Anytime I dye stuff, I fill up the machine with as many things as I can find, kind of to see what can be repaired that is stained, but also just because it's fun to see a new color emerge.
Dewdrop and I sat in front of the washer and watched the clothes spin as the color sunk in. I'd say we watched it at least 10 minutes, until I started to wonder exactly what had become of my life, that sitting in front of a washing machine was now entertainment...
We arrived at the festival just in time for the beginning of the Dance of the Fairies going on right inside the gate. It's always the highlight of our day there. I was glad we started with that, I had my hands full with these guys, so it was nice that I didn't have to keep my eye on the clock to make it across the park to get to a showtime for the dance later in the day.
Uncle Ryan came along to help me out, he hadn't been to the festival since he was in high school. Ry has some social phobias and doesn't enjoy crowded places. But his near death experience seems to be opening him up to new adventures.
And I needed the backup. My husband was out of town, all the parents were working, it was just us.
While these princesses are adorable, lovable, and the lights of my life, they are still not easy for me to handle alone with all the crowds and excitement. Sugarwings especially thrives with one on one attention, and that isn't possible, when there is a two year old who needs caring for. Usually, my husband and I "divide and conquer" on outings.
I'm glad he came, we had some laughs, and even when one little girl would get distracted by something shiny and the other one would be angered by something not quite going her way, he managed to hold it together despite the crowds that bother him so much. I was proud of him and thankful to have his help.
I might have been even more impressed with his attitude than with my ability not to sew the bunches of skirts into a big wad.
This wasn't my favorite visit there, but it wasn't the fault of the park, it was me trying to juggle too many special needs at once. I'd like to take each girl on her own, to really enjoy the days with them. Plus, going to that festival is always such a special time for me, that I feel like I missed out on some of the joy this year, our trip wasn't a typical one for us, it had it's stressed moments.
I want a do-over!!
Isn't this entrance to the play area cute? I wouldn't mind taking ONE girl at a time there, just to hang out at the play place for a couple hours. Their father is selling his jewelry and managing a booth there this season, so we have free passes for his kids to go.
He is also helping a friend build a castle there. The guy my son is working for, is a talented stone mason. This is an ongoing project, in it's third year, and still has a few years ahead of it till it is completed.
Here he is, his name is Forrest. I'm not sure you can see all the detail of his work from my photos, but it's quite intricate and arty.
PS- Thank you for all of your enquiries about Ryan. He is doing well, is working at the new job while still going to cardiac rehab. That job is kicking his butt, it is very hard work, but he is happy to be there.
Beth gave me a hand made journal to doodle or glue in and I've enjoyed playing with it. I've glued in pictures like this that I really liked and wanted to save, as well as just messed around with layering stuff simply for the sheer joy of doing it.
Not having a goal or deadline or even a reason to work in the book, besides just wanting to, has been good for me. It's been a long, odd, summer for me, without a lot of creating. I've tended the fairy grands, and did some long needed chores and fix ups around the house. I've had trips, a fried computer, broken appliances, illnesses, family issues, and done a LOT of weed pulling and gardening. I've been a chaufer, and a cook, and a babysitter, but not much of an artist.
A few little things got made here and there, but not my typical, nonstop creating. There have been long stretches of days when I don't go to the studio at all.
And when I did, I had the little ones with me. Sugarwings made this page in my journal. We used the bubble paper that we made with food coloring, here.
Piddling around with theses pages and making some charms has been good for me. Hopefully, I'll get back into gear soon. At least it's a start. I need to re-find myself as an artist. Taking a summer off to help with the girls was something I'll cherish, and I know how lucky I was to be able to do it, but by not spending much time in my studio, I've gotten away from some very important parts of myself.
Or I could just be depressed because of all the strife we have faced the last few months.
After Birdsong, I had a few of the pendant charms left and had a good time playing with them. So much so, that I bought a few more.
Quite a few more! Actually, a couple hundred... I tend to over do when I get interested in something. But, I figure that if I find it so much fun, then others might too. So, I get plenty to stock my Boutique with.
Yep, I did it! I added some stuff to my shop. Finally. Did you even remember I had one? Except for my whining here and there about ignoring it, you probably forgot it even exists.
While I was at it, I primed, painted and glazed some fairy charms too to put in the shop.
And lots of rhinestone clusters.
I've used the Mod Podge glaze on all of mine, though in the past have liked the Paper Glaze too. It tends to dry slower and can be milky if you use it too thickly. Mod Podge is shiny and clear, and dries fast.
To transform this teensy, weensy Charlotte doll into a fairy, I laid her onto sheet music, drew wings to cut out and color with markers.
Then, glued down the wings to the pretty paper in the pendant, and glued the doll onto them.
I found a word I liked, Joyful, and slipped it underneath.
Have you ever watched Martha Stewart ice cookies? You do the glaze the same way she does her icing. You outline the area (make a "dam"), and "flood" the interior after. (The rim of the oval tray holds the flow of glaze in place. The Mod Podge brand is pretty fluid and almost requires a contained area, but the Paper Glaze is thicker and can be used on a flat surface with no rim)
If you end up with bubbles, pop them with a pin. If those bubbles roll away and won't pop, your pin isn't sharp enough. I like those tiny, thin, quilter's pins if I have trouble with a regular one. And wipe off the tip every single time. The glaze builds up on the end of the pin and it won't penetrate the bubble.
These fairies come with a ring at the top to hang them, and look nice this way too. If you decide to use them in a pendant instead of hanging off of one, you should snip that ring off. I use the Tim Holtz red handled magic scissors that cut through anything, but you could also use wire cutters.
Although the reason for my trip to Indy was a sad one, I'm always glad for a chance to see my family there. Since I've been home, I've been playing with some of the photos from the visit. Picmonkey has some great tools to use. For this one, I used Bokah to blow out the back ground to white by making the sparkles as large as they'll go, erased it from the figures, then added more bokah stars here and there, and a starry background from the selection of textures.
I also turned it black and white, then erased that from the skin tones. To warm up the skin tones, I colored them with sepia, then faded it.
Over that, I added Orton.
(I loved my new dress! Pima cotton, comfy as wearing jammies. And only $20 from the Tonganoxie thrift store that carries brand new clothes from the Peruvian Connection.)
In this one, we were standing in front of a gray wall, that had distracting piece of trim head level, and it looked choppy. So I bokah-ed it away. I'm sure that people who know how to use Photo Shop are much better at this and can cut images out in a more professional manner. But this is so easy and quick, I'm sticking with the (mostly) free online editing!
Wrinkle remover is found under the lipstick icon, for facial touch ups, but I use it to get rid of backgrounds I don't like. It probably took about 4 times to blur out the wall enough to add the colorful bokah sparkles. Shelli didn't need any wrinkles erased from her pretty face! I really think that when you use that feature on faces, it looks plastic and fake.
If you thought I went a little over the top on the other ones, get a load of this one. I don't even know what I did to it, lots of sparkles, tints, glows, and some drawing.The gawdier and brighter the better!
Lately, I've not felt like I've really had much time to do artwork, or to photograph and list things for my shop. But I've been able to satisfy some creative yearnings by playing with these pictures. Each only takes a few minutes and is a no muss, no fuss way to play.
Plus, I kind of get to spend a little more time with my family when they are far away.
PS- thanks so much for your concern about Ryan. He is doing rehab now and getting stronger. He has a date to be released to work and called the warehouse that had hired him before all this happened. No word back from them yet, but our fingers are crossed that they still have a job for him.
And thanks for your encouragement to me not to feel guilty. I think most of us understand Mom Guilt. It stays with you.
It's been an odd year for me, with upheavals (good and bad), no real routine to settle into, and lots of trips. Change doesn't always settle well with me, I'm a stick in the mud, homebody type. I'm ready for some monotonous, day to day, regular boring days. Ha! Like that will happen....
It's past due for me to announce my two giveaway winners. The charming little novel goes to:
A surprise winner.... I have her address from something else, so I will just drop this in the mail and surprise her with it. I'll let you know who it was later on.
I would love to win this awesome class! The book sounds awesome, too. I'd love to win either. Thank you for the opportunity! Mona
Mona, I'll give your info to Carol and she will contact you. I know she is out of town this week, so don't think she has forgotten you if you don't hear from her right away.
I think I've mentioned that Ry lost his job, rather unfairly? He is a hard worker, never late, stayed on at the end of his shift when the midnight guy didn't show, quite often working a double. He also went in every week off the clock to unload the truck, no matter how many times I told him not to let them take advantage of him that way. Any way, he'd made a mistake on his cash drawer, for the third time in 4 years working at Kwik Shop, for a total over the last four years of under $100.
So, he was let go. Three strikes, you're out.
He has been trying hard to find another. I've spent countless hours with him doing online applications that can really suck up hours of time. Those personality tests at the end sure are sneaky arn't they? With their tricky double and triple negative questions like, "When was the last time you did not think it wasn't OK to take cash from your employer while feeling anger build up against a coworker you sold drugs to?"
Ry had been down about losing his job, his car breaking down, and ending a relationship. When he seemed to lose interest in doing some odd jobs I'd given him, I was starting to think that he was busy feeling sorry for himself and being gloomy (which he had plenty of reason to do) and not trying to get on with his life.
When he slept through an interview (from an application I'd given 2-1/2 hours of my own life into helping him with), I was fed up. He'd laid around all week and hadn't done a thing I'd asked. So, I yelled at him. Loud. And bitchy. Telling him to get out of bed and get to work. Either spend 6-8 hours a day job hunting or doing yard work, no lying in bed during the day if he wanted to live in my house.
He looked awful and I figured he was hung over. Not that he is a big drinker, but I knew he was down and thought maybe he tried to drown his sorrows. So, I was even angrier.
And the next day did the same thing. I didn't see him all weekend, thinking he was avoiding me because I'd gone ballistic on him. Actually, he was sick in bed between the mulch jobs. Ryan has a sensory processing disorder, which makes it hard for him to know the difference between a serious pain or a minor irritation, he just figured he'd ignore the problem, and it would go away if he laid down, then he would get up and work some more.
Finally, on Monday night, he came to ask me to take him to the hospital and told me how sick he'd been for a week and how much worse it had become. One look at him and I yelled for my husband to watch snoozing Dewdrop for me, and I was out the door with Ry. The ER doc agreed that he was seriously bad off, and admitted him.
I should have known that Ryan would not blow off a job interview, he is completely freaked out and embarrassed by being unemployed right now.
Our family spent a couple nights (not) sleeping on chairs in the hospital room after Ryan had a procedure. Which went well. He went from near death to complaining about chigger bites in a few hours. I knew he was better when the itchiness was bothering him more than his illness!
He is going to be just fine, is home from the hospital and is being completely spoiled now. I settled him in his apartment, and gave it a deep cleaning, as well as redoing his bathroom with new shower curtains, rug, hooks on the wall, etc. Not just out of Mom guilt, but because there really isn't much I can do to make him feel better, so it made me feel better just to be doing something.
The Dr. even says that Ry can go back to work in two weeks with no restrictions. And he received a call saying he was hired at the job he really, really wanted. Hopefully, they will hold it for him. Ryan is impatient to get started. (and we are both tired of applications!)
After the quick flight to Indiana for the funeral, then 4 days with the little girls, who seemed to be in an argumentative state the whole time, then the big scare with my son, and sleepless nights at the hospital, I've been worn out. Funny, I was fine during all the chaos, but the day after Ryan came home, recovering and bored about having to rest, I fell apart. It finally hit me that I almost lost him.
There is a deflated balloon feeling in my soul, and I think I need a day or so to just do nothing at all. Since I have some minor dental surgery today, that will be a good excuse to be lazy.