Part of My Workshop Includes – UPCYCLING. Today, Let’s Upcycle a Skirt!

by Heidi Emmett:

Upcycling is SO FUN!! If you have been hesitant to get on board with it, today I’m going to show you a great project you could start with. First we need some inspiration.

Found this on Pinterest. I LOVE the way a beautiful dressy lace was paired with denim.

For me, Going to the Thrift shop is all about the fabric. I often buy a garment JUST for the fabric. This silk printed fabric is so great next to the denim in this skirt. Notice the top stitching on the denim and how it brings the fabric and denim together.

I like how this is a wrap skirt with interesting features on the front of the skirt.

THIS IS THE ONE! My skirt is so small that opening it up and adding pieces here and there like this skirt will make mine a perfect wrap skirt.

My thrifted skirt was so small but I loved the embroidery and the ragged hem, (the embroidery is the reason I purchased it, I new it would NEVER fit me as is.

The embroidery is machine done, but great colors and design.
O.K., snip, snip, snip! I cut it open all the way at the side seam opposite the embroidery.
Don’t forget to check out my cool slip on canvas tennis shoes. OF COURSE they are leopard. Remember, I said that Leopard is hot, HOT this season (in my humble opinion, Leopard anything is hot in any season).These are by Blowfish.  And so comfy almost right away.
I needed some other pieces to add on. Found this lovely woven piece in my stash. I decided to add a piece of fleece (try The Warm Company, made in the USA)  and a batik to the back of this woven.  And when I had to fish a spool of thread out of my trash bag, I found this perfectly colored piece of wool yarn.
I quilted my fabric “sandwich” together with different colored threads in an up and back motion that would show off the pattern of the fabric.
Arranging “stuff” to see if I can use some, all, or none. This is the fun part. Not sure about what you might pick out. “Test” them out as I did, by placing everything on the background of the starting skirt. Take a few pictures and look at your items objectively, through a camera lens.
Oh yes, I want this yarn and felt it down with my machine felter (mine is a Husky Star by Huskavarna). Check my past posts on “Fun Felting” to learn more.
It’s perfect.
The back side of this felted yarn is  pretty too.

It’s getting close to being finished. Think about which side you will add your quilted fabric piece to. How wide does it really need to be,and  how much of a wrap do you want? Maybe you will want to add more pieces than just the one as I did? All questions that will need answering and remember, it’s never wrong. Add something to it or cut it off and start again. I LOVE upcycling.
Check out my off-centered (ON PURPOSE, to reduce bulk, and I like how it looks) upcycled skirt. It is truly one-of-a-kind, just the way my clothing needs to be.
Maybe, I might add something else to this skirt. But right now it’s perfect as is.
Isn’t this fun! I am pairing this skirt with a red turtleneck, dark gray leggings, and my cool leopard tennies.

Upcycling is so freeing. As I said, you can do nothing wrong. I teach the upcycling portion of my workshop at the Artistic Alchemy retreat, on the first day. It’s a great warming up exercise to get your brain to start thinking outside the box and get you ready to work on one of my “ART TO WEAR” patterns later in the week. Please visit my Etsy store: DesignsbyHeidiEmmett/sewing patterns, to get an idea of the sewing patterns I sell. Next years Artistic Alchemy Retreat is Sept. 7-11th. It’s not too early to be thinking about it. All the information for our 2020 retreat comes out the beginning of February.

Fall at Pope Beach at South Shore Lake Tahoe, Oct. 2017. Notice how faaaarrrr out you can see the beach. It was the height of our drought. This year, same color in the trees, but the water comes all the way up now, within a foot or two of the railing.
An Aspen tree at waters’ edge of Zephyr Point Conference Center.
A storm is moving in to Zephyr Point in October. Foaming spray and big white caps.
Color trees are everywhere on the grounds of Zephyr Point. It is a great place to visit any time of the year (they do keep all roads on the grounds plowed when it snows), but fall is my favorite.

Thanks for stopping by and maybe check out your favorite Thrift shop this week (I love thrifting because your money goes to so many different great causes) and you find FABULOUS STUFF!! It’s a win, win!

I leave you with a quote: Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision. Hugs, Heidi

P.S. Follow me – DesignsbyHeidiEmmett on Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO POWER= NO Internet, landline phone, cellphone, t.v., nothing!!

By HEIDI EMMETT    Yes, I was one of the 800,000 P.G. & E. (Pacific Gas and Electric) customers to get power cut off because of high winds and fire danger.

All the above is back up and running.  I am so far behind  that I am dropping in some cool pictures from Pinterest instead of a normal post. I’m just loving my Fall Upcycling projects! I did not make these particular projects but I certainly want to. Enjoy!

Until next Friday then…… Hugs, Heidi

Driving into downtown Nevada City, California on Monday, Oct. 7th, 2019, 5:00p.m.

Driving over one of the (3) bridges in Downtown Downieville, CA, 12:30p.m.,10/7/19. Beautiful day for a drive.

The Artistic Alchemy 2019 Retreat in Photos

by Sandra Bruce

Today I am simply going to let the photos I have of our retreat tell the story of some of the fun, creativeness, and learning that occurred in our 2019 Retreat at Zephyr Point. We 4, Jane, Heidi, Mary and myself thank all the participants for giving us yet another successful year! Following are photos of teachers, students, Open Studio ladies, Show and Tell, and some of the fantastic work that was created.

We look forward to 2020!




And last but not least, our annual group shot….the serious one, and my favorite, the silly one!

Zephyr Point Here we Come!

Packing up for Zephyr Point

Getting my car packed for the Artistic Alchemy retreat

Its Jane here. Just a few more days until our 2019 retreat starts at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe and I have so much to do. Over the last two weeks I’ve been away teaching my Love of Pets Fabric Collage class in Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale and Livermore . Today I was finishing up a T-shirt quilt for a customer. With all this behind me I have a day or so to get focused and pack up for our 2019 retreat. I can’t tell you how excited we all are!

Early morning at Zephyr Point

Tranquility at Zephyr Point

Last year was my first year to attend the retreat. I just loved getting up early and walking down to the dock to drink my coffee and this is what I’m really looking forward to again.

I know Sandra, Heidi and Mary have been busy making unique, handcrafted items to put in their stores and these photos are some of the tea-towels and the unique collage bags I’ve been working on for mine. We hope the attendees will enjoy browsing our stores and picking up special pieces.

Artistic Alchemy attendees 2018

2018 Artistic Alchemy Attendees

Here we all are at last years retreat! Looks like we survived and don’t we all look happy and relaxed. Now its time for me to get back to my packing so I’m ready to head up the hill later this holiday weekend.

See you all soon 🙂

It’s Countdown Time!

The last couple of weeks in August always prove to be our busiest time of the year. We are bustling with putting the final touches on the annual Zephyr Retreat. We’ve been brainstorming over figuring out the daily schedules, making room assignments, creating cute items to sell in our store, making the final payment to the Conference Center and getting our supplies ready. We happily do this so our students can have the best retreat experience we can provide them. We will have close to forty women joining us this year. Some have enjoyed this special week many times before, some are attending for the first time. We’re are so excited to welcome them back or meet them for the first time. It’s a great creative week to just play and create together!

Having purchased way too many new stencils from Stencil Girl, ( hey! they were having a sale!) I got busy painting and sewing reusable journal covers. These have been a big hit when we participate in shows. The first one is made with a stencil designed by one of my fellow Sew Sistas and artist, Daniella Woolf. I love that it says nothing but gives the idea of script. There’s a word for that; asemic writing. Who knew?

Here are a few more made from my new stencils.

I’ve really enjoyed making these journal covers. They can be personalized to suit your needs.

Here are some lighthearted pictures to make you laugh.

There are these nifty tools to take care of dust build up.

But this is what I use!

My husband and I were recently at a museum where we saw this. It is the same exact serger my mother handed down to me many years ago. The prototype to all sergers!

And a clever new use for your tool caddy.

Every year my husband and I run in a six mile race, from Santa Cruz to Capitola, and after Zephyr I collapse into fall when I hope to start sewing for myself again.

I hope everyone is having a terrific summer creating clever things, having picnics with their families and enjoying vacation time. See you after Zephyr!

N

 

Indigo Dying- You gotta Try This!

by HEIDI EMMETT

It was a bright, summer day. Perfect for playing with fabric and Indigo dyes. With very little experience with this process, I was ready to jump right in. And it is all the more fun with a large group of “like-minded” friends.

Our teacher, Ginny Lee, showing samples and explaining the process.
So, Indigo is the dye bath we put our item in after it has been manipulated in some way with Shibori techniques.
Here is an example of Kumo Shibori. Love it, and it is the first one I tried on a linen top.
Here is the wrong side and the right side (both are cool) of a Shibori technique that involves using wine corks (I always wondered what to do with mine, ha, ha) and rubber bands.
O.K., here goes my first attempt at Kimo Shibori using a linen top. Wrap at an angle, tightly, but not too tight.
Ginny is showing me how to wrap and pull down on those wraps (to fit the whole thing on the tube.
Here are some very interesting wraps. Notice the printed fabrics too.
I love all these really wild and different wrappings, foldings, and clothes pins! These pieces have been soaked in water and are waiting their turn in the dye bath.
Indigo is a plant. Yes, it is found in Asia, India, and I just learned this, there were large plantations of Indigo in South Carolina in the middle to late 19th century.  Not really a hard process to make up a batch of the Indigo.  Really messy though.
This is my linen top coming out of the dye bath. Whaaat? Why is it Chartreuse? Where’s the blue? It turns this green color in the dye bath and as it’s exposed to the air, it begins to change over to Indigo Blue.
I like this cotton shirt and floppy hat.
Taa daa! My linen top! There is still some green in one bottom corner. 5 min. later, blue.
This piece is so interesting. Ginny said to bring yellow or orange fabrics as a base fabric. Such an interesting piece all wrapped and folded with 1/2 moon shapes.
I think this T-shirt is really cool. There is the yellow and orange(tie dyed before) with a hint of Indigo here and there.
This T-shirt was pinched and pleated in the top area only using larger clips. What a cool design.
I sure wish this was my piece. Again, it started with a pale yellow fabric. I like the combo of styles within one piece.
I brought a baby quilt that I got at the thrift store. The quilting, HAND QUILTING, is so precise, and the stitching is so small. It had languished in my “what do I do with this?” container for years. It was white, well dingy white. It took awhile but I bunched up little poofs of fabric and held them in place with plastic stretchy hair ties. I really like how it turned out. I hope to make a vest out of it using one of my patterns. Maybe a “Mommy & Me & My Lace Vest” only it will be a quilted.
Someone brought this book.  I might need to own this. Filled with great pics and ideas.

It was suggested that we bring fat qtrs. to be able to try many different techniques. Brilliant idea. One student did that, and even went further by prepping some of her pieces at home with some of the more time consuming folding, pinching, whatever processes.
This same student took home 12 different techniques with just fat qtrs. I’m jealous!
Another pale yellow piece of fabric to start (a tablecloth actually).
A really fun day and I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully sooner than later.
I came home and went to the back deck doors and said, “What? ” Rex was sound asleep, thinking he was a dog? Trying to cool off? Pretty funny.  The 2019 Artistic Alchemy Retreat is only 29 days away. All the teachers are madly finalizing this and that to make it your PERFECT getaway. See you all soon.  Hugs, Heidi

Yayoi, and Other News

 

by Sandra Bruce

Before I delve into my post, I want to send out a “Get Well” message to Heidi who is at home recuperating from a burst appendix. She is healing nicely and I’m sure she is storing up ideas in her head for projects to come! Sending you lots of love and well wishes, Heidi!

Our Zephyr Retreat is only about a month away we still have details to prepare, it’s sure to be a fantastic time. Heidi and Jane still have space left in their workshops, it’s not too late, if you hurry!

The main topic of my post today is my latest Matrix quilt, entitled “Yayoi”. But first a few words/pictures about my recent goings-on and travels.

I went to teach in Sammamish, WA recently and took the opportunity to visit my 3 (!) friends in that area, Kathy, Kathy and Cathy. I have tried to get all 3 together but have not been successful, yet. They are 3 of my favorite people. First I taught my Matrix class and did my lecture for the quilters in Sammamish, here is Trish in my Matrix class who was my hostess extraordinaire.

They were a great group and accomplished a good amount on their Matrix cup projects. Cathy #1 picked me up and off we went to Gig Harbor. From there a visit to Vashon Island and Island Quilters, woo hoo! Below, the “Kaffe corner”.

Moving on, to Kathy #2, my CODA buddy (Children of Deaf Adults), our outing to   remember was to “Quilt Barn” in Puyallup (which I can never pronounce), and the cupcake store a few doors down. Batiks and cupcakes, talk about heaven!
Kathy #3 lives in downtown Seattle on the 33rd floor of a building with a view! Wowie! One day we walked over 5 miles. We caught the first day of a fabulous exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum called “Victorian Radicals”, representing the Pre-Raphaelite period of 19th century British art. By far Rossetti is my favorite artist of that period, but in this exhibit my favorite painting was by William Holman Hunt, entitled “The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple”, from 1854. The artists from this period rejected traditional pictorial standards, making them true radicals. In this painting by Hunt, he chose not to follow established conventions but to depict Jesus’s life in a historical context, as a boy: Mary and Joseph have discovered the young Jesus missing but find him in deep conversation with rabbis in the temple. You can see relief in Mary’s face, and I love the beautiful depiction of the young Jesus, the colors! Look at the detail in the background. A really lovely painting. (I suddenly wonder if I’m sounding like Sister Wendy 🙂

It is something else to be on the 33rd floor of a building in Seattle. After our long excursion on foot we relaxed on the tip-top of her building with this view.Tired feet, yes.

In the evening we saw some of the sculpture that dots Seattle. This is my favorite, which consists of letterforms from 7 alphabets in painted steel, which, while not meant to be read, are constructed to create identity and hope that we “can all live together without a common language”. It is titled “Mirall”, by Jaume Plensa. “Mirall” is the Catalan word for mirror. Here is Kathy inside a part of the piece.

Back in California, I did my lecture and taught my “Stitching Words” workshop to the Santa Clara Guild. In my workshop was Mel Beach….she is a natural at writing with her sewing machine! Here’s her work, you can see her enthusiasm.   

I had  lunch and a brief tour of San Juan Bautista while in San Jose. Below a photo from the restaurant where I had lunch with my very kind host Andrea.

On to YAYOI!

So, if you don’t know who she is, here is an excerpt from a film about her that I’m sure you would enjoy:

She is, without a doubt,  a driving force of art culture in our time. She is at present, at age 90, the highest paid female artist living today. I won’t go into a lot of detail about her, watch the movie! You may have seen pictures of her and her art. Her thing is polka-dots. She began to see them in hallucianations as a child and they have greatly influenced her art. She has lived for 40 years in a mental institution, using her art to apply herself to her healing. Every day she walks to her studio to work.

I was invited by Susan Brubaker Knapp and Lyric Kinnard to participate in an exhibit called “A Better World”. We were asked to pick a hero and make an art quilt to reflect that person in our own interpretation. I chose Kusama. Her life story, the challenges she has had to overcome, her incredible talent and drive to make art… these all combined to make her my choice of hero.

I began by making a collage in Adobe Illustrator of pieces of Kusama’s face and inventing a background that resembles the art forms that she makes. She works in bright colors and forms. The quilt had to be 30″ by 50″. I decided to make a border on 2 sides pieced with the letters of her name and fun spiky points. And lots of circles inside. You know how I love circles!

In progress.

When I got the top done and all the circles appliquéd on (by hand) I needed to cut away the quilt parts behind the circles so that I would have a nice flat surface to quilt.

The dots on her sunglasses were drawn on with a pencil, then painted in with “Fabrico” pens (using circle templates saved from my illustration days), and her eye, that is barely showing through the sunglasses was painted on using “ProFab” textile paint. I had just taken a workshop at Empty Spools from Susan Brubaker Knapp on how to use these paints, so it was perfect timing. Painting on top of a quilt that I had spent a couple of months working on was a bit scary but all went well. Relief!

Next came the longarm quilting. I used Superior’s Monopoly on her sunglasses but Omni thread everywhere else. Lots of thread changes.

Since her hair is so straight and vertical I decided to baste the hair and do that final quilting at home on my Bernina.

Here’s the final piece, along with a closeup of the eye I painted.

The schedule of where the “Better World” exhibit will be is on my website, http://www.sandrabruce.com, under “Publicity/News”. It will begin in Houston this Fall. Look out for “Yayoi” to be in Quilting Arts Magazine in the October/November issue.

What’s next in my lineup of creativity? I’m taking advantage of summertime to work on learning my new iPad and how to use the application “Procreate”, along with a bit of lazy time reading (don’t get that very often!) and working on a few projects that always end up on a back burner. Of course I’m prepping for the Zephyr workshop and I’ll be flying to St. Louis towards the end of August to teach Matrix and Stitching Words to the “Bits and Pieces” Guild there.

Happy Summer to you all, here’s wishing you a safe season weather-wise, and lots of sewing time.