Each week is coming and going, quickly, like a runaway train. I stand at the platform and look back on the last seven days and wonder what happened.
I think of things I want to write about but, am so tired at night, I don't have the energy to sit at the computer and put them down. sad, right? :(
It's 7:30 on Sunday morning, the last of this month. Later today I will go to a Guild Play Day workshop being taught by Kevin Tobin on Gel Skins and Transfers using Golden Products. For now the sun is just rising and I seek coffee and the clarity of consciousness.
I miss writing. I miss sharing my thoughts and visions.
So much has changed since I started this Blog. It will be 5 years in Oct. Must do some sort of celebration, where is the time to think, plan, do that? Remind me, OK?
To explain my absence I would have to back up to January, or maybe even December, when my friend Debra received a serger sewing machine from her parents as a Christmas present. She and I had been drooling over recycled sweater coats (or swoats) that Katwise sells and after failing to purchase one we decided to try to make our own. I never dreamed that it would change my life!
I met Debra at my first Atomic Holiday Bazaar Show back in 2006. First I learned to spin art yarn. Then I learned to crochet and finally, begrudgingly, gave in to learning to knit. I knew that if I started knitting it would leave less time to sew or create other things and there is so much that I want to make that it seemed unwise to take on yet another craft.
Well, I don't have to tell you how it has changed my world- I started another blog, just for the fiber stuff (I don't keep it up very well either, it seems!) and have tried to share my enthusiastic journey into processing wool, dyeing and spinning and knitting it into one-of-a-kind somethings. But now, I find that I don't have time to even do that. Because of the "swoats".
Yes, the swoats.
In Florida the thrift shops are overflowing with sweaters and wool coats. The perfect solution is to recycle, upcycle, reuse, transform these tired old sweaters into something new and fun and there are plenty of examples to be found on the internet. I was blown away when I saw the Katwise collection because she has made the most fabulous dream coats that any modern day elf, hobbit, fairy, pixie or witch girl could ever imagine. This is Katwise on her porch. She is lovely and so talented. I am a fangirl. If I lived nearby I would seek her out and beg to be a minion. I love her work and am delighted when she posts a collection on Etsy for sale. I will never be able to buy one of her creations because they are gone in a matter of seconds! It's phenomenal!
I usually make everything from my own imagination. I don't intentionally copy other artist's work because I know what that feels like and I have plenty of my own ideas. But, how else to obtain a coat like this? When you Google sweater coat or elf, pixie coat you will see lots of versions of Katwise inspired coats. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? If it's a good idea then everyone is going to be doing it. The thing is, if you want something so badly, but are unable to buy one and have the capability to make your own then why not give it a try? So I did.
This is my first coat before I added the hood. This was Dec 28, 2010.
Deb brought in sweaters from home and we also used some knitted yarn samples from her shop (Picasso's Moon Yarns) and I began cutting. It was fun. No, it was exhilarating! To play with the pieces of knit fabric and create a whimsical, magical garment was really cool. I wanted Debra to have a "swoat" and she loved it! That made me happy, but I had discovered a new love- I was a woman obsessed and then the hunt for sweaters was on!
Yes, Goodwill Hunting. See that sweater Robin is wearing? It would look so much better cut up and sewn into a coat! There are so many unfortunate sweaters out there it seems. Really- you've probably owned a few yourself. It is an adventure to search for and then find the perfect sweater!
Customers to Deb's shop have been donating sweaters to us and it's lovely to imagine moments captured and embedded in each sweater. Like the first kiss sweater or last time in San Francisco sweater memory. I want to retain those dream fragments in each "swoat" I create.
This is an apron I made using leftover sweater pieces. You should know how I love aprons and it was a forgone conclusion that I would make one as soon as I could. I made a pair of arm warmers and a tote but don't have pics to share.
This is Debra modeling a vest (or swest I suppose!) that I named Beyond The Sea. It is trimmed with my handspun scrumbled crocheted yarn in the front and has pockets that are made from beaded sweaters and a silk collage that I made a while ago and never finished. I have lots of small art quilts that I never finished that would work in one of these creations. The vests are an excellent compromise for Florida's climate and each garment is unique and one of a kind.
I look forward to each day, going to the shop to sew. Going to a job.
I have my own little work space with everything I need to sit and sew. (I have to thank Debra for partnering with me on this project- it's a collaboration of creativity and I couldn't do this without a dedicated space- it's too messy and takes up way too much space!)
Sweaters in every color and hue to cut and create knitted clothing and accessories.
This vest reminds me of creamsicles and sherbet and is named "Silvia Swears Sherbert Can Mend a Broken Heart"! I think I like the pockets the most- they are fun to make.
This one is named "Disco Stardust" and has silver knit with some 80's type sweaters and embroidered bits from dresses. I need to get some better photos- it's difficult to find the time, I swear, to just stop sewing and take pictures!
I am loving the distruction of chopping up dresses, tops and skirts to create these clothes and I have always loved the seams on the outside look. Is it called Deconstructed? I think they have an air of the apocolypse about them. I imagine a melancholy girl walking through the woods collecting abandoned nests and tiny pine cones to use in her Joseph Conrad inspired boxes filled with shadows and dust.
I imagine a woman wearing one of my coats to meet with her lost love, tear stained tissues crumbled in one pocket, letters in the other, worn and torn at the folds from being read a million times. She sits at a wrought iron table, near a terra cotta pot of gigantic proportions, petunias cascade and reach for the wild as she looks around searching with her eyes for the sight of him. Has he gone gray with age, she wonders, as the day lengthens into sorrow and shadows.
I imagine making these clothes with joy and satisfaction that comes each time someone buys one and says they love it! It's rewarding and challenging to work without a pattern and just let the pieces assemble themselves into garments that tell a story with color and mood and feelings evoked after you put one on and twirl about; spinning like a little girl in her brand new fancy dress.
I want to thank Katwise for the inspiration and ask her indulgence as I explore the door she opened in the upcycled sweater genre. I will be sleeping a whole lot less and am definitely planning on getting more organized and spending time doing what I love instead of what I feel I must do. Who cares if we live in a dusty house or if the bed's not made! I don't! Not when there are vests and bags and scarves to make.
In January I went up to Destin for a Spin In and loved seeing the beautiful beaches there.
February 1st marked the advent of the 3rd publication of Apronology Magazine, which I was so proud to be in with an apron I made using handtatted lace from my collection.
On the 13th I turned 50 and celebrated by sleeping most of the day. I plan to go ride go-carts someday soon to be "wild and dangerous" to celebrate!
I will probably be celebrating this half century mark all year!
Our Guild participated in a 4 day show at the Art Center called FAB and I sold a handspun and knit shawl. I have so much to catch up with that I feel like it's just not going to happen. This post is already dangerously long and who cares anyway?
I just miss this. I miss the interaction. There are DAYS that I don't even turn my computer on. I can't believe it myself! What has happened? That is indeed a calamity for me- no time to surf or play plants vs zombies. No time.
Turning 50 made me face the fact that I only have so many years left to make all those things I have and might dream of.
I still have plans to do an online magazine with my friend Elizabeth but it will happen when it happens, as I have said, there's no time. We are putting our talents together to work on a new springtime window display for the shop and it will involve Cinderella and her spinning and knitting her dreams come true.
I will probably end up taking my laptop to work so that I can blog or Flickr or perhaps Facebook stuff more often- Just know that I am happy and excited and joyful at the prospect of fulfilling my wearable art clothing dream even if I have to forfeit some time away from my beloved sewing room at home. So, there you go. I am well. Not kidnapped, marooned on a desserted island or abducted by aliens.
Just living my life to it's fullest possible expectation with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
Recently Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction created a pattern for repurposing men's ties into flowers. Needless to say I immediately bought the pattern and after a few weeks finally found the time to sit and try it out yesterday.
It seemed simple and easy but after the first one flopped I reread the instructions and tried it again and had great success with the flowers after that. I had the center piece too high and had to redo it to make it shorter.
Usually vintage ties are just too funky to really have them match anything else but these flowers are very pretty as a hair decoration or possibly an embellishment on a bag.
I can't share the specifics of the how-to here but I can recommend this pattern and suggest you buy it for the reasonable cost of $7.99.
I sat and made these last night while mindlessly watching tv and really had fun using some old ties that I had no clue what to use for besides knitting needle pockets when lining bags.
I have some deadlines to meet and then will have some playtime in which to host the Fabric Flower Blogathon here so check back on the 20th to see more flower fun!
Well, I have been putting a new roof on the doll house. We purchased the Buttercup Model several years ago. It was my Christmas present and Fred began gluing it together in January (2007) and then it sat.
After 6 months or so we worked on it again. Sanding, painting, dreaming, and gluing it began to take shape and I pretended that it was Calamity Kim's Quilt & Pie Shop. Then it sat for long months, gathering dust, waiting for someone to pay attention to it again. Each time I moved the bag of delicate wooden shingles we had initially purchased for the roof they crumbled and broke. They looked so pitiful and the thought of staining them or something made me think it would just be too dark and gloomy.
So several weeks ago I thought about a tin roof made from Arizona Tea cans and asked Fred what he thought and he said it might be cool so we got busy. Now its almost finished.
After washing out the cans and letting them dry his job is to cut them open for me. I made a pattern of a scallop section and use a sharpie to trace around it on the inside of the can. After cutting it out (about 4 from each can) I run it through the cuttlebug to emboss it. Then I fit it to roof and hot glue it down. The tin gets super hot!
I think it will be bright, happy and unique. My goal is to have it finished by this Christmas.
In other areas of the house I am still spinning and crocheting and learning to knit.
The spinning wheel is back in the living room after briefly being stored in the "paper room". I worked on getting it cleaned up and organized last week by buying some white bookcases and plastic storage systems.
My enthusiasm for spinning wool hasn't diminished and I have plans to sell some soon. I just love the whole process and but haven't been able to part with any yet.
A few Art & Craft Shows are coming up and I should be sewing and making paper dolls and getting tote bags ready.
Where has this year gone? I think that it has just gone by so quickly and as I get closer to deadlines, I will be working hard to get ready and not writing as much here. I had intended to Blog more last week but found myself gone most every day.
I snuck up to Tampa with my friends "Cheeko and The Anne" and bought a few things- like these cookie cutters! I can't wait to bake some cookies!
They also have some gnome ornaments made from dye cut thick wool felt and I bought some red paper stars. My plan is to use the small white feather tree with red stars and gnomes and the glass red and white mushroom ornaments that I have.
At Macy's, during my recent quest for new shoes, I found the last Martha Stewart Limited Edition Cakestand and it was marked down to 13.98. So now I am thinking of making a tree stump cake (like a yule log but different) with meringue mushrooms. Maybe I can use some food coloring to make red cap mushrooms. Don't you wish you could come over and spend a day baking with me? I have a new Williams Sonoma acorn pan.
We could laugh and giggle and sing songs and play.
That's after we ran to the grocery store to get the spray oil Pam stuff we'd surely need to make these acorn cakes just fall right outta this pan.
Maybe when the cakes are in the oven we could go plant this amaryllis. Then we could talk about the Tammy Smith piece I just bought from Etsy.
I am in love with her work.It's delicate and whimsical and makes me happy. She is in the new issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and I found her while
Googling "inside a circus tent".
I have been working on my own new line of dolls called "Circus of Calamity" dolls and hope to introduce some of them to you soon.
I have been go go go lately and it could be the coolness of our recent weather or maybe just trying to do as much as I can each day.
Several recent deaths have made me think again of how short our time is here and how we should make the most of it.
Sometimes life is just difficult and small things like a vase of flowers helps to
make it seem better.
here's a flower for you
and you too
oh, and here's a hug!
Have a good day full of wonderful and joyful moments!
Found objects, trinkets and cast-offs revel in their new role as
exuberant participants in this celebratory fixture. Each is a bespoke
creation crafted by hand of reclaimed materials, so no two will be
exactly alike. Created by Shane Petzer, Scott Hart, Sean Daniel and
Richard Panaino, the members of the Magpie Art Collective.
Professional hardwiring required
Recycled plastic, galvanized wire, string
100 watt max
117" chain; 120" cord
82"H, 66" diameter
Handmade in South Africa
An additional $250 will be added for shipping and handling. Please
allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. This item is only available for delivery
within the continental United States. Shipment to international
locations, U.S. territories, AK, HI, P.O. boxes, APO/FPO addresses and
express ship methods are unavailable for this item.
Now, come on, we can make that! Seriously, $4,800 dollars? For flowers cut from soda bottles and plastic creamer containers?
It was enough to make me stop browsing and get up and go do the dishes! (I only enjoy housework when I am upset- it helps me work it off)
We went to see Law Abiding Citizen last night and my sweet Gerard Butler looked great in that one scene when he stripped down buck naked (for plot development? Character enhancement? who knows why it happened, but thanks for that) and it was a sad commentary on our Justice System. It was rough at the beginning and I had to shut my eyes- I can do zombies all day long because I know they aren't real (not yet, anyway) but murder and mayhem is not my cup of tea. It's a guy movie and ya know, I really would rather see Gerard do another romance (with anyone but Hilary Swank- talk about no chemistry).
Oh well, this just makes me want to go for a swim...
Have a great day, and let's start November off right! Go make something artsy/craftsy.
Caught a link to this over on Facebook and thought I'd share. If you have a few umbrellas laying around that you don't need or if they have sprung from the metal framework this is a great (and fun) tutorial to repurpose them into something useful. Check it out.
Repurpose, Reuse and Recycle, baby!
xo, calamity kim
When given a new idea do you embrace it and see the positive? Or are you one of those people who immediately list the reasons why it isn't viable? Do you see the possibility to use everything around you as inspiration or is a cloud only water vapor in the sky?
Recently I began saving our potato chip bags for some mystery project. You know when the appeal of a certain color or texture or in this case, the matte plastic of these chip bags makes you think- ah, how cool! This could be great in a ______.
Thank goodness my husband is patient and non-judgmental as the collection of cardboard packaging (saved for paper dolls and collage) combines with the Styrofoam meat trays (great for paint trays) and potato chip bags (to be used as material for aprons, totes and book covers?). I have to admit that I am a passionate recycler.
I rinse and remove labels from jars. I wash out all plastic items and put catalogs and other papers into my bins each day and when I forget my totes I always return to Publix with plastic shopping bags for recycling. I don't buy bottled water but if I did I would recycle them. I think that it should be mandatory that all states have recycling laws and make bins available for EVERYONE to RECYCLE. It should be the way we dispose of these things- it should be a given without thought required. Everyone should be responsible for their household waste.
OK, I know you don't want to hear it, so I will move on to some great new books I recently found that may give you inspiration for reusing some of household packaging or paraphernalia. Craft Cycle written by Heidi Boyd is 143 pages of projects that take you from
Spring to Winter.
She details how to make T-Shirt yarn and what to make with it. I love the melted plastic army men bowl (I did that once) and coiled pajama laundry basket.
One of the Summer projects is a snackers bag and it really appeals to me- aside from a way to use my chip bags I have always wanted to make those gum wrapper projects but never knew how or took the time to learn. I like the colors and the woven texture and they would be waterproof which is great for an accident prone calamity girl like me. I almost squealed with happiness when I saw this cover at the bookstore! Somerset Studios has done it again- Green Craft is full of their trademark gorgeous photography and interesting projects.
Great sweater ideas and upcycled chic as they call it.
Another way to repurpose T-shirts is described in this scarf pattern.
Why not try combining wool felted sweaters with chip bags to get a cool new tote?
Here's more of my old fashioned favorite- woven magazines make bigger bags that tiny gum wrappers would.
Of course there has to be an apron and this one is cleverly sewn from plastic bags and T-shirts.
Finally, this book called Re-Bound about creating handmade books from recycled and repurposed materials has me salivating to transform album covers into journals and use my collection of drink stirrers as spines in a handmade book.
There's also a few ideas about those chip bags. This would be great fun to do with your kids- using packaging and junk mail and paper bags to create books or more bags to hold books to color or draw in or as a photo album to send to Grandma...
Priceless inspiration all around if you are open to it.
Open your eyes and your heart to something new today. Welcome an opportunity for Growth and Change. Be comfortable Being Different.
Write your County Commissioners and ask them to change your recycling plan if yours isn't easy- or just make it a part of being responsible- find out where your local recycle stations are and go there with your crap if you can't or won't make something new and useful from it. I know you don't have time. You have to make the time. I know you don't know how. You have to learn to be creative. I know it's painful to change but it's going to happen eventually- the recycle part at least because one day there won't be anymore land for filling with garbage. It will all be used up.
Can you imagine the beauty of a national treasure like the Grand Canyon filled with debris and rotting garbage? Think about it as you buy products- what kind of container are they packaged in? Or maybe you already do this all this stuff and I am wasting my time.
Maybe you can't affect change in other people.
Maybe I should just go mind my own business and stop giving crafty advice. Maybe I will just go make something cool with my saved up beautiful potato chip bags...
Maybe I will be back later if I make time to do Bench Monday. Maybe there is an open door near me to explore. Love & Blissful Creation, xo, calamity kim