Sunday, April 5, 2015

Practice Practice Practice

Recently, I decided that it's time to pursue Art more fervently.

I have had the opportunity to work on some pewter casting projects that has really flamed (haha) a love of that medium for me. But I certainly need to improve my general artistic skills in order to be able to make more beautiful things with that. Ideally, I would like to eventually be able to do custom pewter work. But that absolutely would require much better skills than I have now.

I have always been drawn to the beauty and joy of flowers, especially in the spring! Several years ago I had the opportunity to take an informal oil painting class. It has been long enough that I've forgotten pretty much everything, except for the fact that I LOVED doing a closeup of a few tiger lilies during the still life study. I have wanted to paint giant flowers ever since! At one point I even started taking photographs in an effort to capture flowers and moments that I ached to paint! Sadly, neither my camera nor my photographic skills were sufficient to really capture what I was seeing. But I have recently decided to pursue oil painting again in an effort to be able to capture those joyful beauties.

Towards those ideas, I was thinking this morning (as I lay in bed, when some of my best thinking happens) about the possibility of taking a single art class in the fall to work on improving my artistic skills. Then I remembered a story of a chef that I saw on television. This person was in very lowly circumstances and desired to become a chef, but culinary school was far beyond their means. Upon reflection they realized that the most important skill developed in culinary school was knife work. Well, School may not be affordable but onions were! So they bought a 50# bag of onions and started practicing. They cut a LOT of onions and potatoes. A LOT! And developed some mad knife skills and was able to go on and eventually became a head chef, achieving their dream with a lot of hard work and tons of practice rather than formal training. Well, you can find instruction for pretty much anything and everything online anymore, especially with YouTube, and I am a visual learner, so that appeals. And due to the kind generosity of a dear friend I have the art supplies to start working on this stuff. I may not have the stuff to start painting with oils every day, but I have plenty of stuff to sketch and color and draw, and if I will use those as my onions and practice practice practice I will have better skills when it comes time to start using oils.

I also realized that I need to work on speed. If I want to be able to take and setup a chair and paint out in the field, so to speak, then I need to be able to sketch and layout quickly. I heard of a friend of a friend that would go to an artists studio class once a week and they would sometimes have speed drawing where they only had like 5 (or 15?) minutes to sketch a subject! While this person was an incredible artist who had crazy mad drawing skills, the speed rounds were VERY challenging, because it forced him to focus on just the most important lines, etc. So I think it would be good to include some of that in my practice as well.

I have also decided to use this blog as a place to report and show my progress and be accountable for working towards those goals that I am setting for myself. Eventually I would like to be able to develop my skills to a point where I can not only do those things that make my heart happy but to be able to find a way to use those skills and art to bless and lift the lives of others. That will come in time, but for now, I will try and post here on this blog... Toasty Tuesdays and Flower Fridays!  Toasty Tuesday will be the day I will highlight and report on those things that require heat, such as pewter casting and possibly flamework glass beads.  Flower Fridays will be the day to highlight and report on things related to flowers be it sketch, coloring, painting, or even photographing.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I'm not sure where Sept went because it just started a week ago!  I guess I have been a little occupied with scribbly stuff and a lot of travel.  But I haven't stopped thinking about it!!!  But now things are slowing down (a little) so it's time to recommit some time!  So, as of this moment I have linen for the apron dress in the dryer and linen for the under dress in the washer and the wool for the front panel still on the loom.  However, as soon as I post this I will go out and find something to put the table loom up on so I can get back into weaving this very night.

Abundant is my gratitude for Mistress Bianca issuing this challenge and for including the need to actually report on progress!  Although, as I went to wash the fabrics I had a moment of realization of just how much I do NOT know about what I'm doing!  I will not panic... I will not panic... I will not quit either.  I will ask all the questions I can think of and just keep working at it.  And breathe, I will try and remember to breathe.  Oh yeah, and I will try to get some pictures taken!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Ok, so just a quick update on the ACC progress.  I started weaving the cloth for the front piece out of some dark blue wool yarn I had.  I'm a little concerned about it being too thick, but since it's just for the front panel it shouldn't be TOO bad.  Many thanks to Mistress Gillianna (sp?) for the patient instruction and use of the loom!  I also acquired some green linen from my Patron (Thank Dame Varia!) for the Apron dress.  Varia also taught me finger loop braiding that I am thinking I will use for ties, etc.,   That was all in August.

For September, I have had some 1 on 1 instruction from Mistress Bianca on some very helpful hand stitches as  well as some practice with her looking on until I was comfortable! THANK YOU!!!  She also let me examine some of her Norse garb up close and personal, which was also very helpful.  I feel a BIT more confident about cutting material, which is first on my list of this for October.  For September my goal is to finish weaving the front piece so that I can return to the Loom to it's home.  And maybe make a few glass beads. :D

Pictures will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking the Plunge!

A month ago a challenge was issued to all of the Kingdom of Artemisia: Get Dressed! Ok, really, it was more like Get Sewing! But the result is a (hopefully) better dressed, more accurate populace, and with a spending cap of $100 (or $200 with a patron) hopefully at least a few dents in some "fabric stashes!" Well a fabric stash I have--I've been buying fabric since I joined the SCA with all the intentions of "some day". Thankfully I was blessed with a Pel-Laurel who took pity on me and whipped up a few things to help cover my nakedness! But the time has come to do some of my own! My first taste of dressing Norse came back at the Coronation of Konrad and Kortland, and I liked it! Enough that eventually I bartered my way into a pair of historically accurate brooches that I was VERY excited to wear.

I was thrilled!  Over the moon! But I felt a bit like Anne of Green Gables when she is nearly perfectly happy, but, due to red hair that she just cannot imagine away, she can't make the leap to perfectly happy.  That was how I felt due to my shoes!  Then I attended the Northern Collegium where (then) Countess Inga the Unfettered taught a class on Norse clothing!!! On the one hand I wanted to dig a hole and hide! I felt like I was a sitting example of all the "almost" possible! BUT, was I upset by this? No! Okay, maybe a little. But as I sat there and watched and listened to Inga's excitement and enthusiasm and the knowledge that she was freely willing to share, I was absolutely inspired! Finally I was going to be able to give in to my utter geekness for authenticity :D :D :D   I left that collegium ready to hand sew EVERYTHING, and have nalbinded socks and leather shoes etc., with plenty of grand dreams and plans.  Well, here it is nearly 9 months later and what have I done?  Not much.  I did get a shoe pattern started when I last visited Boise.  But one thing I've learned about me is that if I don't have a deadline and a reason for doing something, it doesn't get done.

Enter Mistress Bianca and her First Annual Artemisian Costuming Challenge.  Details can be found here:

I liked the idea of doing this from the first time I read about it, but was also absolutely intimidated!  As with most things, I was thinking about it but hadn't really followed up until I saw the email that had been sent out as the final call for entrants!  I read over the challenge again and was hesitant, but as I considered how I would feel if I didn't even try, I knew I had to go for it.  I realize I may not win (although I would like to have a shot at the Novice category) I will still be further ahead of where I am today as far as being dressed for the SCA the way I would like, and I knew I would always feel like I had missed out on the fun and regret not doing it.  So I took the plunge and immediately texted Kari to say I was in, and tonight sent in my formal entry info:

My vague plan is:

Layer 1 will be an under dress made from white linen (from my some-day-sewing stash).

Layer 2 will be an apron dress, hopefully of linen.

Layer 3 I want to include a front panel, which could be considered part of the "for formal wear" outer layer, or I may just count it as an extra layer and do a coat/kaftan as my warm outer layer.  The front panel might be from a piece woven for that specific purpose, or not.  The Kaftan would be from repurposed wool (old army blanket) and possibly combined with material from existing stash.

Layer 4 SHOES!!!  Absolutely I am in NEED of period shoes and this is the perfect time to make that happen!  So leather shoes are on the list.  I may also try and make the beads to go with the apron dress and possibly try my hand at a bit of copper wire woven chain.  I may even get wild and crazy and try my hand at a bit of tablet weaving for trim.  But shoes for sure.

I will be posting my progress here on the blog for the duration of the competition.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Ok, so it's been apparently about forever since I actually posted anything, and I won't take the time to play catch up. I have been working like crazy on some projects for the SCA this year, and the madness simply continues with one thing after another. So I have finally asked for some help and am grateful for it! Here is the design for the beaded doobis. Size 11 beads, 00 nemo thread. The pink and blue around the edges are just to help me keep track of where I am and for counting lines. I am grateful for the chance I had to design this, and for the help of other in making the large production run work out :D

Friday, December 25, 2009


The things I've been blessed to receive this far :)
(in order received/opened, as near as I can recall)

A reversible apron that was SO cute made by Laura

A set of cute measuring spoons attached to the apron gift :)

Some yummy-smelling "Scentsy" wax from Jen :)

A plate of the yummiest Cinnamon rolls EVER! (Thanks Bren!)

An adorable hand-carved wooden santa ornament (Again, thanks Brenda!)

Gift bag of fruit and peanuts from 2nd ward (I believe I am offically a single old woman now)

Plate of yummies from my Home Teachers

A bag of "Grandma's Carmels" from Amy (YUM!)

A "Pot Mit" that is fuzzy and thick and lined with neoprene on the working side! Yeah Fabianos!

A set of 2 kitchen towels, dark tan, with a decorate trim on the top and bottom edges that at first glance i thought "Oh, they even match my apron, cool" and then I realized that they EXACTLY matched my apron... Laura had added the cute trim herself with her fancy-stitching sewing machine! Even more awesome! (And I was starting to sense a theme)

A DIGITAL KITCHEN SCALE-BLUE!!! I actually cheered out loud when I realized that it really was what the box said it was :D SCORE!

Decided to change things up then and open the package from Mom and Poppa Bill:
Sweet card with a nice chunk of change inside, and a BEAUTIFUL calendar called "Women of the Old Testament" Illustrated by Elspeth Young. I LOVE her work!!! I will admit, I cried.

Back to the Fabulous Fabiano Adventures... A box of Oreos from Costco?? The box didn't look like it had been opened, but it seemed a bit light. Nope, it was NOT Oreos, it was a set of 6 white "Barmops" with colored stripes at the ends! NICE!

Next box, Fiber One bars from Costco. Really this time :) I guess I really am an old woman now that I would find this to be a great gift! I actually quite like them, they give a bit of a chocolate fix, and I can feel like I'm being "healthy," well, at least more healthy than eating a Snickers!

And for the Big Finish of the Laura Love, the biggest box... Filled with packing peanuts! *LOL* More wrapped gifts inside... 2 huge thick BEAUTIFUL bath sheets, a bright white and a DARK blue!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Arrived!!!

When I got back this afternoon from helping Aunt Barbara with some more online shopping for her kids and grandkids, there was a HUGE box by my front door!!! WHOOOT! So I hauled it inside, cranked up some Christmas music, and dove in! I figured that after seeing the picture of wrapped gifts Laura sent earlier it would be safe to open the shipping box. Well, the first thing I saw peeking through the packing peanuts was bits of bow, and an unwrapped set of measuring spoons! My first thought was "Oh crap! I wasn't supposed to open this yet!" But then the bits of bows registered, and I then saw that the spoons were adorably attached to a gift that said "Merry Christmas! Open this gift upon arrival. Save the rest for Christmas Day :) " Phew, what a relief! So then I noticed a Crickit cut ornament with writing on it... it was a precious note from my oldest Niece. Next I found one from my second oldest niece! (Oddly enough, both these native Arizonians mentioned it being FREEZING up here!) By this time, I am all misty! I find several other adorable cut-outs, with notes from everyone in my oldest sister's family except for their 3 youngest children, who are just too young so far :) I am thinking that I need to make a poster or something to put all the cuteness on! So then I started digging out all the rest of the gifts from the cascades of peanuts (which were JUST what I needed to hurry and get Amy's packaged packed and mailed by tomorrow!) and they are beautiful!!! So after arranging them to look cute in front of my bookcase that has a string of lights on it so I could take pictures, it was FINALLY time to get to that gift I got to open upon arrival!

After carefully opening this pre-Christmas gift, there is a roll of material, but it just didn't look like pajamas or anything, which is usually the only open-before-Christmas-morning gifts I've ever gotten. Well, tucked inside the front edge is another card with a quote at the top: The art of wearing an apron is to not only protect your clothing, but to look good while doing so! - Unknown and then a note from my oldest sister. It was great! One side has very festive holiday ornaments and the other has an awesome print full of celtic knotwork circles. VERY awesome!!! Who knows, it may just be the inspiration/motivation I need to make cookies to take out to others this year :)

THANK YOU FABIANOS for making this an awesome Christmas already!!! I am very excited for Christmas morning to dive into the next group of beautifully wrapped gifts!!!

(pictures will be posted after I get them downloaded)