Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Chalk One Up to Chalk Paint

Somewhere I read about an amazing
new paint product called Chalk Paint.
The article claimed the paint adhered to any type of surface
with no primer necessary.
The next time I was strolling along Cedros Ave in Solano Beach, CA
one of my most favorite, funky stores had a sign in the window;
" We have chalk paint "
I went right in and purchased small containers of the primary colors.

The shop owner loves this stuff and had A LOT of wooden and upholstered furniture she had painted with the chalk paint. The brand she loves is 

CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint

The paint is made from clay, porcelain clay and chalk.
It comes in a huge variety of colors.
No chemicals or VOC or odor.
And is water based so clean up is easy, breezy.

I purchased a leather belt at a thrift store to test this wonder paint.
A belt bends and endures a lot of surface friction.
If the chalk paint didn't crack, flake or rub off then that would be...
pretty wonderful!

I just started painting random doodles and quickly realized the colors do not mix well.
Mixed colors were very muddy with a brown undertone.
Definitely better to buy the colors you want; but, I was happy with my red, yellow and blue.

I also embellished with  green and purple fabric paint pens.

The look wasn't quite what I wanted so I got a black fabric pen and did some outlining.

When I had doodled my way across the entire belt I sealed the paint with an 
aerosol leather shoe stain repellent and let dry for hours.

Front View
The amazing chalk paint adhered beautifully in one coat,
It's not cracking, flaking or rubbing off.

Back view
My plain leather thrift store belt is now Cinderella and ready for the ball !

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Imagination is a wonderful thing

Scissors are just scissors unless you have imagination :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Flower Power with Candace Kling

Flowers are always a delight to behold,

the variety,

and simple beauty

make flowers amongst the most gorgeous creations,

in the universe.

A close second to the natural beauty and variety of a flower is a ribbon flower.

and although simple in appearance the subtle nuances of making a beautiful ribbon flower

are a challenge that many artists spend decades perfecting.

Candace Kling is wearing the red blouse
One such artist is Candace Kling; a world renown ribbon artist, published author on the subject, exhibitor in world-class museums, educator and a very nice woman.

 I recently had the extreme good fortune to spend four days of seven hour ribbon workshops at 
Wayne Wichern Millinery Studio taught by Candace Kling.
for upcoming workshops )

Candace generously shared dozens of techniques and tips that are the result of decades of practice and careful examination of hundreds of vintage ribbon works that people send her from all over the world. Museums and collectors also have allowed her access to gorgeous ribbon work.
Candace is a ribbon detective, trying to determine how the beautiful ribbon works were created.

Each day I took at least 9 pages of notes.
Candace specifically asked us not to share techniques online so all I am posting are images.

 Candace would demonstrate and throughly explain a technique 
and then we students tried our best to replicate it.

This student was incredibly successful and had a real eye for composition and color.

One of Candace Kling's sample boards of cockades

After two days of ribbon and fabric flowers the workshop moved onto cockades. 
Cockades developed during the 18th century and were most often used to indicate political alliance or rank. It is basically a ribbon that is folded in a repetitive sequence to create amazing patterns.

A very focused Wayne Wichern

The cockades were extremely challenging for everyone.

Cocades aren't just for medals and medallions,
this is a vintage hat with two lovely cockades.

This is one of my cockades during it's creation. 
Notice the chart underneath that allows you to evenly space the points.
And yes, there are dozens of details like that to make a successful cockade.

These four days of ribbon work were indescribably delightful.
I valiantly tried to keep up and complete all the samples but, 
there was never any down time to catch up.
On the last day demonstrations actually speeded up because 
Candace's wealth of knowledge outpaced my fumbling fingers.

And although cockades were interesting…
 give me a flower any day.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Imagine That ( Hat )

This hat started dancing around in my imagination at the end of last year.
The dance floor in my imagination is very crowded.
So when I knew exactly what I wanted the hat to look like I quickly drew this sketch. 

Approximately 5 months later I can state that I have successfully created the exact hat that I imagined.

Let me share the journey from fantasy to reality...

Shopping the half-price sale at my local Goodwill for a different project I found this beautiful off white 100% wool jacket with moth holes. 
There were minimal seams so it was a great candidate for recycling into my hat.

I salvaged the wool exterior and the rayon lining and began the most time-consuming method of creating a hat.

After endless tweeking to paper patterns I finally cut the band, the brim and the tip ( top ) out of buckram. 
Pieces were sewn together and some were edged with wire then covered in bias tape. 
Easy hand sewing with jab stitches and a straight needle.

Now that the hat structure was finished it had to be covered in the beautiful wool.
Almost all of the stitching was done by hand with a curved needle.
Difficult and precise work.

Creating a hat this way is very time consuming.
If I had a wooden hat block this shape I could steam a hat blank over it.
But, I am weird because I actually enjoy the tedious hand sewing and old school methods.
Sometimes the journey is more fulfilling than the destination.

Once the hat structure was completed I cut out the lining 
and quickly sewed up the seams on my machine.

The lining and head band were hand sewn into the hat and I was pretty happy because…
time to embellish !!

I did not vary at all from my original sketch.
A lace overlay covered 1/3 of the band,
and three strands of velvet ribbon were wrapped around the band.
Triple ribbons are becoming a signature for my hats.

Now the whole time I was working on the structure I was also making flowers,
 and flowers, and more flowers.
Some were too tight, some were too bulky and some were disasters.

and then I found the method to make roses just right :)

front view

My hat is finished and it looks exactly how I imagined it.

back view

Of course, I took a hat class whilst making it,

right side view

and learnt a millinery rule;
 height looks best on the left and embellishment on the right.

left side view

And that is how I sketched the hat but, of course I built it the opposite.

" With the right hat, nothing else matters "
anonymous quote

Thursday, May 15, 2014

If the Shoe Fits…buy it ?

This is a quiz.
Guess which pair of summer sandals is priced LESS than $1,000

Designer: Dries Van Noten

Designer: Prada

Designer: Gucci

Designer: Givenchy

Designer: Dolce & Gabbana

The only shoes under $1,000 are the cobalt blue fringe sandals by Gucci at $767

 I wonder what my fashion purchases would be if my budget was unlimited?