About 10 years ago my friend traveled to West Africa and he brought me a dress made from Bògòlanfini or bogolan (“mud cloth“). The dress was several sizes too large so it sat in my closet untouched. I absolutely love the fabric and wanted to display it in a prominent way – I decided to do what I do best – make pillows.
I agonized about cutting up the dress, but my friend gave his blessing and I went for it. I was able to make two 22×22 pillows covers. I added a feather and down pillow insert and I am loving the result.
Notice the fringe detail at the bottom of the dress? I kept it – I think it adds interest.
They made a great addition to my holiday decor – red, green, white. Now that the holidays are over, I think I will move them to the guest room or maybe to my bedroom.
There are 2 gray crowned cranes living on the campus of my son’s high school. Each morning as I inch along with the traffic, I watch them as the go about their business. They seem to peacefully coexist with the noise and confusion that accompanies teenagers.
One morning my son took a picture of the cranes, he sent the image to me with this message – ” I can hardly wait to see your interpretation”. I guess he has noticed that I do not see thing the same way others do…
The bird perched on top of the bamboo plant is a kingfisher. It added even more color to the piece – I love color…
I typically use my illustrations on to make pillows, but this time I wanted to spread my wings, I used it to customize a lamp shade.
A few weeks ago I was walking to my mail box – yes, I still get snail mail- and saw my two young neighbors (Lets call them M and J) enjoying a lovely Florida day on their bike. As I approached J turned and waved – “hey Al” – “Hey J, please be careful”, I said, “hold on with both hands”. After all, we live on a cobble stone street, so if she fell off, that would certainly blight her prospects of becoming a model.
Seeing both kids reminded me of my brother and I. As a kid, I rode on the back of his bike and like M and J, I am 2 years his senior. M is 8 and his sister is 10.
Naturally, since I am in the pillow making/surface design business, I was inspired to design a pillow depicting the scene.
My first draft did not include the cobble stone road…
But I thought it looked a bit drab – it needed more color. If I punch up the color on the cobble stone, that should do the trick.
I also tried different back grounds, but, since my signature style is kids playing in open spaces, I decided against this option.
Maybe I will do one with a chevron background, that seems to be hot these days. But for now, I am sticking with the our doors.
What do you think?
They say you know it’s fall in Florida when the licenses plates being to change. Unlike our seasonal visitors from “up north” we do not have changing foliage as an indicator of fall. This year, I decided to welcome fall with a South Florida style creation.
Over the summer, I had a new AC unit installed at my home and the workmen left behind a piece of foam pipe insulation. It was begging to be used in one of my projects, but I did not know what until I read a blog post by Crafty Endeavor where she showed us how to make a winter wreath and I had a light bulb moment…I will do a FL. Fall wreath.
I taped the ends of the foam insulation together to form a circle (Please read Winter Wreath Tutorial for full instructions). Next, I used some dyed variegated yarn (that I snapped up from a clearance bin for .99 cents) to wrap the around the pipe insulation. I think the vibrant colors represented the changing leaves of fall quite well.
And now for the Florida touch – I have a croton plant growing in my front yard and I noticed that when it sheds its leaves, the colors on the discarded leaves does not change. I decided to gather a few of the leaves, and a leaf from a sea grape tree – these will be added to my wreath. A lone bloom that I had laying around the house will complete the look.
I used my hot glue gun to affix the foliage to the wreath, then I used a wreath holder to hang it on the door.
What are you crafting this fall?
An up-cycled project
Have you ever had the feeling that someone or something was staring at you? True story, I was asleep in my dorm one Saturday night and I had an eerie feeling that I was being stared at. I slowly opened my eyes, and and a bat was hanging upside down from the walls of my cubicle. I guess it was not staring since Jamaican bats (or rat bat as they are called there) are blind. Oddly enough, I was sot spooked – you see, my high school (Hampton School for girls) is over 100 years old – it was founded in 1858 – and in buildings that old, bats came with the territory.
I was telling my son about my bat encounter, and I had a light bulb moment. Why not do a bat project for Halloween! I had the perfect thing with which to do my project – on old inner tube from my bike – I bet you can pick these up for free from your local bike shop.
Here’s my process:
- I drew a simple outline of a bat and cut it out with scissors. This will be my template.
- Next, I placed the template on the inner tube and traced around the image. I trace several of them.
- Carefully cut out the traced images.
- Glue on googly eye. You may also draw the eyes on with a sharpie marker or paint them on.
I use glue dots to attach the bats to my front door. I can hardly wait for the trick or treaters to come to the door.
Each time I open the door, they appear to be moving – spooky:)
Have a safe Halloween
My Leather Bag Project
Last weekend I attended an art festival in Palm Beach Gardens and I fell in love with the handcrafted leather handbags and totes form Sulay Rodriquez. I wanted them all, but alas, my budget did not lend itself to such a purchase. Since I had some ‘scrap’ leather in my fabric stash – I got several pieces of leather (about 10 lbs) for $20.00 a few years ago when a local leather furniture store was going out of business.
Here is my attempt – not as elegant as the ones I saw at the show, but I had a great time making it. And here is how I made it.
- Leather punch tool
- Embellishments – large jump rings, beads, crystals.
- Magnetic Snaps
- Cut a piece of leather to the desired size. Mine is 18.5″ x 10.5″.
- Cut 2 strips of leather for the strap. Mine is 1.5″ x 30 – I like a long strap. If you are using a thick/sturdy piece of leather, you will need only 1 piece for the strap.
- Cut a piece of leather about 3.5″ x 4.5″ for the outside pocket. I like having my cell phone in an outside pocket for easy access.
- Fold the bottom piece of the leather about 3/4 of the way up – leaving a portion for the flap. This part is up to you – depending on whether you like a deep or shallow bag.
- Following the manufactures instructions, attach the magnetic snaps to the bag. I find it was easier to add the snaps before assembling the bag. Be careful to measure for the precise location of your snaps.
- Glue the sides of the bag and let it dry.
- Glue the outside pocket in the desired location.
- If you are using the 2 strips method for your straps, glue both pieces together – ugly side facing in – the glue goes on the ugly side.
- Once the glue has dried, use your leather punch tool to punch holes along the side of the bag as well as along the sides of the straps. Punch the holes about 1/2″ apart.
- Use your awl to punch the holes for the pocket. I placed a piece cardboard inside the bag so that I did not damage it while I was punching the holes for the pockets.
- Whip stitch the sides of the bag as well as the straps.
- Use a running stitch to secure the the pocket to the bag.
And there you have it – your very own leather messenger style bag.
To add the strap, cut 2 strips of leather about 1/2″ wide by 1.5″ long. loop the leather through a large O/jump ring, fold in half and stitch it to the backside of the bag. Loop the strap through the jump ring and stitch securely. Or you may stitch the strap directly to the bag.
I added some beads to make the bag more festive.
If my instructions are unclear, please feel free to email me with questions.
I was reading a blog post last week entitled The Top 10 WORST Corporate Gifts! Item # 4 on the list was the mouse pad. “The average person is never in the market for a mouse pad. And with laptop sales on the rise, they won’t need one in the future either.” When I saw this post I had to give my mouse pad project a second thought. But then it occurred to me that I am not your average user. Not only am I old school – I prefer to use a mouse as opposed to a track pad, I can’t imagine trying to draw one of my designs using only the tiny track pad on a laptop.
Anyway, I was looking around at my many well used mouse pads, and they were looking a bit grimy and uninspired. It hit me, why not make them over…
I purchased a plain white mouse pad from Ikea for $1.00 a few years ago – as time went by it got a bit soiled so I decided to use it for my mouse pad project.
You will need:
- Fusible webbing – I used Wonder Under.
- Mouse Pad
Here’s the process
- Create your design or select your fabric of choice. I created a design in Adobe Illustrator using one of the graphic styles that came preloaded with CS5.
- Cut the piece of fabric – (8.5″ x 11″ worked well).
- Cut a matching piece of wonder under or any fusible webbing of your choice.
- Iron on the fusible webbing to the wrong or ugly side of the fabric (follow the manufacturers instruction).
- Place your fabric in your printer and print your design. The design should be printed on the side that does not have the webbing.
- Following the manufactures instructions, iron the fabric to your mouse pad.
- Trim excess fabric.
*Please note – There is no need to create your own fabric – you may use a piece of fabric from your stash.
I also had a boring blue mouse pad that I rescued from my old office when they went under. It was just begging for a little pizazz. So it went from uninteresting…
To something more inspiring…
I created the bicycle pattern to be used in an embroidery project (my nod to all the fixy riding hipster I met while visiting the San Francisco Bay area). However, I have not been able to find the time to start this project – so doing a printable was the next best thing. Feel free to download the pattern.
Send me a pic of your project.
Over the summer, my nephew, his wife and their 5 kids stopped by my home/office to rescue this workaholic for a day. Since the beach is only 2 blocks from my home – and it’s one of my favorite places to work – I decided to oblige – plus I could not say no to those cute kids.
While my nephew manned the grill, his wife took the kids for a
swim splash. I sent a few e-mails, tweeted, updated my Facebook status, then walked down to the beach to join them. As I approached the water I saw my niece (also my god daughter) sitting down in the sand – all content – with the most innocent smile ever – she is a bit of a troublemaker.
The kids were having a blast, I had to join in on the fun. We collected shells, we made sand castles, we swam, we ate. It was the perfect day.
A few weeks later, I was having a particularly stressful day. I called my friend for a pep talk and she suggested that I close my eyes and think of something that made me happy. I did, I focused on that day at the beach with my family. The memory became my happy place. That afternoon, I started to compose the scene (as seen in my head) of my family enjoying a warm summer day at the beach. I sketched nieces M and T. Scanned the sketches and digitally colored them.
They were joined by their brothers C and D.
I could not decide if I should add baby H (I did not want to make the composition too crowded). Baby H. was the the cutest of them all and the biggest troublemaker. He kept knocking over the sand castles. As soon as we got them perfect, he crawled over and knocked them over – it was like a scene from Godzilla. I finally gave him a beach ball and that kept him entertained for about 45 seconds.
I did a small Facebook pole and my fans voted to include him. I am glad I did. It gave me an opportunity to add even more color – I love color.
After all the details of the image is finalized, it is printed on 100% organic cotton fabric. A 20×20 pillow will look perfect in the kids play room.
The image looks great as a shower curtain in their bathroom - even as a window treatment.