Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Commission a painting SALE

I have a lot of canvases taking up space in my (rather small) apartment. I'd really like to clear up some of that storage space, so I thought I would open up commissions!

The way it works is that I will list the sizes of canvas I have, some photos of past works, and you can contact me in the comments, on my Facebook page, or through my private email if you already have it. Let me know what you would like to commission, and I will let you know if I can do it (there will be some things I will have to say no to, as I don't want to give you a sub-par painting!). You can also choose whether you want the painting to be strictly acrylic paint, or a mixed-media work with acrylic and fabric/lace scraps (examples below).

Pricing is pay-what-you-want, with a minimum of $10. That covers the cost of the canvas, paints, and shipping. If you would like to/are able to pay anything above that for my time, it would be greatly appreciated but not required. Mostly I just want to clear some space and make art for people.

List of canvas sizes available (I will update this as often as possible as they sell, but will be running this through several platforms so sorry for any discrepancies):

Example of my paintings (you can also see more here and here):


acrylic mixed media (fabric, lace, glitter ribbon, braided cord)

acrylic mixed media (lace) work-in-progress

acrylic mixed media (lace, burlap) work-in-progress




acrylic work-in-progress

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dyeing Day

I've been a member of the Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild for over a year now. Every July they have a picnic/dye day, where everyone gets together to eat, dye, and spin. I missed it last year, but was able to get the day off this year!

The best part was that the guild had pots, burners, and dye for members to use if they didn't have their own. It was a great introduction to the processes of dying fiber, and now I want to get my own! 

When you're dyeing fiber, the best kind to use is white fiber. It allows for more predictable and bright colors. However, I didn't have much white fiber - just a white silk scarf blank, a skein of light brown wool yarn that I spun, and a large bump of light brown wool roving. It was actually a lot of fun to overdye the brown wool with different colors.

First up is the silk scarf. I dipped it in a vat of moss green, but only for about thirty seconds. I wanted to keep it fairly light, so I had more options for overdyeing. I picked my colors for the next step - bright aqua, peacock blue, and bright iris. The dyes come in powdered form, and they're not exactly the color they will turn the fabric, so it was a bit of a guess. I wanted to go for a sort of ocean look. I spread the wet scarf out on plastic wrap (and weighted the edges down to keep the wind from flipping it off the table). Then I took small amounts of the blue and purple dyes in tiny plastic cups, and sprinkled them randomly over the scarf. After each application of powder, I spritzed the area with a mixture of water and citric acid to help force the dye into the fabric. When I thought I had done enough, I rolled the scarf up in the plastic wrap and steamed it to set the dye.

After cooling, unwrapping, rinsing, and drying:

It actually turned out really neat, if not exactly what I was expecting. A little dye goes a long way, and it's hard to tell how dark it's going to be until after the steam bath. I'm really happy with it, and thinking about ordering more silk scarf blanks to dye :)

Next up is a skein of yarn that I didn't entirely choose the color on. I hadn't figured out what color I wanted to do, and the woman who was using the dye pot before me hadn't used up all her dye. I wanted the water clear to start my roving, so I decided to use the yarn to absorb the rest of her orange dye. It actually turned out really wonderful over the natural brown of the wool.

Next was a large amount of light brown roving. One of the other dye-ers had put three skeins of yarn in a green/blue vat of dye, but the first one soaked up most of the dye, leaving the third one a pale green. So she took some peacock blue dye, and poured a little in directly on top of the yarn, creating a section of darker blue. She did this multiple times, coming out with a beautifully mottled yarn. 

So, I decided to try something similar with my roving. I started by placing it all in a vat of chocolate brown to slightly darken the natural color of the wool. Then I played around with small bits of dye in assorted colors, adding splotches of greens, browns, yellows, and orange. I know there's also a bit of dark blue in there, but I'm really not sure where it came from. I'm thinking it probably came from an interaction between one of the greens and a brown dye I used.

I can't wait to spin this all up - I have another bump of the same roving that I left undyed, so I'm planning to ply them together, and hopefully have a lot of lightweight yarn for a nifty shawl.

Here's some more eye candy shots :)

Feel free to ask me any questions about the process! I'm not an expert by any means, but I'm happy to share what I learned.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Skirt to dress

A while ago I went to the thrift store and bought several linen skirts. I love linen for clothes, but it can get fairly expensive. 100% linen clothing can be difficult to find in stores, and linen fabric is expensive to buy. Luckily, some thrift store hunting can turn up linen skirts and dresses (usually ankle-length and elastic waisted) for less than $10 each.

I finally had a chance to redo this skirt, made out of a well-worn and extremely soft linen in a light grey-brown. I didn't get a photo of the skirt before, but it was floor length, and basically a rectangle gathered at the waist with a tiny elastic band.

I also don't have any photos of the process, so I'm going to just give descriptions. (I want to be better about getting in-progress pictures, but I just get so caught up in doing things that I forget until I'm done)

First step was cutting off the elastic band and ironing the gathers out. Then I grabbed a sleeveless tunic that I mostly like the shape of (it covers my bra straps) and laid it out on top of the skirt. I cut out around it, mostly following the lines and trying to give myself some seam allowance. Pretty straight forward so far.

Then it got messy. I stitched up the tops of the straps, and the sides under the arms where I had cut away, angling that seam to meet the already existing side seam of the skirt. Through the process of repeatedly trying it on, and cutting, pinning, and sewing little bits, I finally got the dress to fit better. This included cutting armholes, hemming one armhole (poorly), cutting it out, cutting the other armhole to match, and deciding that I wouldn't be hemming them, but I also couldn't be bothered to make matching bias tape (probably didn't have enough extra fabric for it anyway). So I decided I would leave the edges raw, and sew a decorative holding stitch to keep them from fraying too much.

It was at this point that I realized the dress got wider way too fast under the arms. I wanted a loose dress, but it was bulging in a rather strange way. So I had to redo the side seams, and somehow the straps became too narrow/situated too far in. Luckily I still had a few scraps left over, so I made little cap sleeve/extensions out of them. I actually really like how they turned out!

The hem of the dress is actually the original hem of the skirt - yay for not having to hem!! Although I kind of lost that advantage by deciding to use the same decorative stitch in a border near the hem. It's not very bold, but I like the little details that it adds.

The sash is a scrap of fabric from another thrifted linen skirt, two layers sewn together with the same decorative stitch, leaving the ends to fray (I actually hand-frayed them to begin with, because otherwise it was looking a little too much like a martial arts belt). The pin is one that I got in Copenhagen, at the National Museum a few years ago. I absolutely adore it - it's a viking knotwork beast, and one of my favorite pins. I don't get many chances to wear it, so I'm glad it goes so well with this dress.

The sash helps to make the dress more fitted, and a little fancier. I can also wear it without the sash, for lounging or running to the store (though it does look a bit tent-like!) The blue skirt that the sash came from I didn't alter much. It had pockets (!!!) and the elastic waist actually fit me, so I just shortened it. I may have cut off too much, so I'll probably be adding a hem in a different color. I have another thrifted skirt that is partially a dress. The fitting is proving to be more difficult on this one, but hopefully will be done soon. I have a couple more skirts and dresses that still need to be altered or completely redone, and some of them will need dying. I'm very excited to have all this wonderful fabric to play with!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Farmers Market

I love outdoor farmers markets! It's been market season already here - for about a month - but today was the first Saturday that both M and I had at least the morning off work. We had been planning for a while to go and get some new plants, just as soon as we had the time.... and we might have gone a little crazy today. It was just so good to be out and seeing all the wonderful fruits and veggies, artisanal cheeses, yummy baked goods, and so much more!

We had to restock our poor pots that had been mostly empty since last summer. The right-most chive plant is from last year, and the twig in the middle pot is a bit of sage that I accidentally rooted in a glass of water, and decided to see if it will grow. All the lettuce is new, as well as the other two chives. We decided to simplify a little this year - last year we got a little over ambitious, and thought we could maybe grow basil and peppers even though we really don't get enough sun. Also, apparently chives and their relatives are supposed to help keep aphids away from lettuce, which is why everything is sharing a pot.

We also got a small succulent plant to add to my windowsill. I plan on replanting in a nicer container - but that will probably also be somewhat temporary. I've made a ceramic planter for my other succulent, and hope to make several more to have a corresponding set. Currently this little plant is sharing with a glass sea turtle that my great-aunt made :)

In addition to all the farmers selling plants, fresh produce (we bought asparagus and strawberries), and more processed foods like meats and jams (we bought delicious ginger peach jam and lemon marmalade), there was also a small row of artist/craft booths. Not a very wide selection, but there was an artist who made the most beautiful metal jewelry. Some of it was made out of coins, including these two rings that I just couldn't resist! I love how they are actually made from pennies, but you would never be able to tell without a closer look. I forgot to pick up a business card, so I don't remember the artist's name - I'll have to see if they're still there when I go back next time.

Not a new plant, but our mint has finally started growing energetically again after the winter. I'm so excited!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sea anemones

Last week I went to the Oregon coast on a three-day surprise trip (YAY!!) It was so much fun, and very relaxing. I also took about a million photos :)

So here's some rather fantastic photos (if I do say so myself) of sea anemones in the tide pools near Haystack Rock.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Historical Jewelry

At long last, I have several historical portrait inspired pieces of jewelry completed! I really enjoyed looking at the paintings and trying to match the look of the beads/materials to what I could find at the bead store. I have loads more planned, but some are more complicated and will need some serious thought/figuring out before I get started.

These are all available on my Etsy shop!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Winter-y Paintings

We're having quite the snowstorm here, so the entire Portland area is having a couple snowdays :)  These are the paintings I did yesterday afternoon/evening while watching the snow fall out my window. There's more purple in the mermaid and moth paintings than it looks like here - how I hate trying to take pictures of purple things!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Viking treasure necklace

So I was recently reminded that it has been a while since my original post on the new jewelry project I'm planning. Here's an update :)

It's been slow going, mostly because of the holiday season eating up my time. I've done a fair amount of research and accumulating of images, but then I realized that a lot of the jewelry uses pearls. And most of my current bead stash is *not* pearls (or fake pearls). Also the jewelry that doesn't use pearls uses colors or styles of beads that are not part of my stash of beads (that I thought was quite large...)

I decided I had really better use at least some of the beads I already had, before going out and buying more beads specifically for a project. And there enters the Viking treasure necklace.

This is the one that I made yesterday. It follows the general idea and style of Viking treasure necklaces (more information here and here). I won't be selling this one, as it uses a couple beads I'm quite fond of, and it's a little small for over-the-head wear. Typically these would be hung between shoulder brooches on an apron dress, but I also like them worn as a modern necklace would be. 

Custom versions are available here on my Etsy shop - the idea is that you pick the length of necklace, send me your charms, special beads, etc, and I will make them into a treasure necklace for you.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New artwork

Images of some small pieces I've done/finished over the past few days:

Hermione, india ink

Little Red Riding Hood, india ink

Dumbledore, india ink

Fawn, india ink and copic marker

Reindeer, india ink and copic marker

Cardinal, india ink and copic marker

Berries, india ink and copic marker