Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spankin' Fresh and Clean

Austin's Gallery has gone through a big transformation over the past week, and we have reopened this weekend with a new, fresh, clean look! All the walls have been transformed to white. The beauty of it is that all the art work shines in sparkling color, and it's so eye-catching right when you walk in the door. :o)

I hope you will stop by when you're in the area and support the local artists who work very hard making their craft, in hopes it will bring some happiness into your life!

Austin's Gallery
1024 C Street

x, Val

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kokeshi Love

Do you have it too? I spent time during my childhood in Japan. When I left, a part of Japanese life and culture became a part of me... imprinted into my very consciousness. In total and complete awe of the beautiful Geisha and Kokeshi dolls, and of everything cute... do you see how it has formed me, and affected many things I make?

Oh. my. heck. Will you look at this bunny? How impossibly cute! ...and she's carrying a little flower....

In an online book club, my mom's group has been discussing Pema Chodron's book, When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times. I have been drinking in the thoughts and ideas by this amazing Buddist teacher, who encourages us to relax with whatever arises and bring whatever we encounter to the forefront of consciousness, so we can be free with the idea that "chaos should be regarded as extremely good news".

I have encountered the philosophy that wretchedness and inspiration are inseparable. As someone who works hand-in-hand with my inspirations, and struggles greatly with the level of wretchedness that has upended my life as of late, it's amazing to think that these two situations are not opposed to each other, but they actually work to compliment each other. Hummm...

Is that the reason my bunnies are coming out cuter than I can actually fathom?

Do I need the utter sinking of my soul to draw me into a place of humility and deep groundlessness, in order to be fresh and connected with my ideas?

Do you think I am getting awfully deep for someone who is drawn to the practice of making "cutes"?!

In reality, these are the things I ponder as my mind sits quietly in meditation and I needle felt away, very patiently, for hours at a time.

Miss Kokeshi and her Bunny friend will be making their way to Paper Tales later today. If you are in the neighborhood, make sure to stop by and see them in real life. I am warning you that you will squeal with their cuteness!! They will be two separate classes, and I am thinking about offering a giveaway for the first 10 people who sign up for either class! A kit and the instructions for making the sweet glittered stand! Oh my, will you be able to resist??? Details are coming very soon!!

x, Val

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mobile blogging?

This is a test. For the next several seconds, this blog will conduct a test of the mobile blogging system. This is only a test.

I only ask three things as part of this test, and they are as follows: 1) does this post look weird or abnormal to you? 2) Can you see the photo? (I can't!) and 3) are you in love with my newest Geisha needle felt? It will soon be a class. Stay tuned for more photos coming soon. ... on the next non-test blog post.

I thank you for your time, and will now conclude this test of the mobile blogging system.

Signing off,
Mobile Val, xx

Monday, April 9, 2012

design finds

My HSHB online class is in it's last few weeks, and though I am sad it's soon coming to a close, I feel ready to begging putting many of the new ideas I've learned into action. I am also getting ready for another exciting class organized by the amazing, and inventive Beth Nicholls; The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design. (If you are interested in finding out about Beth's repertoire of incredible online classes, check her out here.)

...I am 7 years old, and wandering in and out and under the stacks of fabrics (yes, you can do "under" when you are 7!) while my mom shops to make a new dress, or curtains for my brother's room. Lost in the scent, and color, and feel of the fabric.... and my mom tells me I can "pick out what I want, and she'll make me a new dress!" Yip! So excited! and, I am lost in the fabrics again....

So, now, everything I'm looking at is inspiring my thoughts about surface pattern design.... are you like that too? I get an idea in my head, sometimes just an inkling of an idea, and once it takes hold, everything becomes colored by it. I find I am thinking in patterns and shapes, bold lines, and complimentary colors. I am getting so excited for what's coming next!!

.... I am finishing high school, and beginning college courses, and for fun, I take a class in fashion illustration. Though I love drawing and painting glorious dresses on models, and billowing blooms of fabrics, my mind wanders to what more I can do to support the seamstress love that's taken ahold of my heart.... wouldn't it be grand to be able to design the illustrations for fabric prints?, I muse. But, how does one go about doing the likes of that???...

A visit to Etsy takes on a new experience as I stumble around, landing on the likes of Nancy Desmond. I am smitten! A walk through the neighborhood with my camera, and I see pattern and shape, color and design everywhere. Idea sources and inspiration are coming at me faster than I can handle.... beautiful!

Won't you join me as I begin yet another big adventure - climbing into the world of surface pattern design?! I'm loving this wacky, realtime adventure-seeking I am doing, and watching things that I have been dreaming about for nearly my whole life finally come true!

What are you doing to fulfill a life long dream, girl friend? Leave me a comment so I can come take a peek into your crazy crafty world!

x, Val

Friday, April 6, 2012

Scrap haps

I have to say that it's been bittersweet to see the end come so quickly to Junelle Jacobsen and Christy Tomlinson's class, The Art of Wild Abandonment. Most days felt like I've been scrambling for time, but working so hard to fit in a bit of much needed messy painting, and art play. We all need time for art play, girls... I know you know what I mean!

Much of our class went way beyond the boundaries of paint on canvas. Yep, it was all about being wild and abandoning traditions, and I truly loved every minute. I especially loved how it gave me permission to paint and stitch "outside of the lines", for I am continuously trying to mesh my love for fiber in with my love for paint, and struggling to find the link between the two.

This week, I've been sidelined by a surgery on my leg that I thought wasn't going to be a big deal, but the painting and wild abandonment took a backseat to calmer crafts, where I could sit for a while in one quiet spot. This lovie Friendly has a band-aid patch on the leg, just like me (hehe!)

... along with button joints at the arms. Ok, too cute! Lots of studious stitching-up from my scrap bin was in order, while other pressing tasks lay in wait for the healing to get a bit further along...

Well, except for Lola... who just can't believe that I'm in the photography mode, and won't I please hurry up and get her dinner???!!

Ok, all better now. Thanks Mom!

Happy scrap to you and yours. And Happy Easter too!
x, Val

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Grrl crush

Do you get those too? Girl crushes? Um humm, I know you do... So, it's ok to admit it. Today, I'm crushing big time... I'm over the moon about grrl + dog


I actually first stumbled on her pinterest page. That's where the trouble began. I found out she's a fan of Julie Arkell, and my sighs of "oh no" got going. After about an hour of checking out all 3641 pins.... sigh (Ok, I know you do this too! so, don't think badly of me, aka. Ms. Time Waster)

Profile Picture of grrl + dog

I think what it really comes down to is that I see a bit of me in her. I see a love for fiber, knitting, painting, vintage, and of course, ...the dog. She has a big lot of experience, which of course makes me feel jealous and on edge, but in reality, I kind of want to be just like her... at least I feel that way today, ...for about an hour. Ok. Yes, it's ok...

Lavender Vintage fabric stitched keepsake softie rag  doll with vintage button eyes - Mouse

She says things like this about products she makes: "I love the era of the thirties and forties and try to source material that reflects a time when things were more honest, and people kept every single thing."

I could be saying just the same thing about my products! I just haven't figured out such cool wording yet...

So, though grrl + dog has no earthly idea who I am, I'm the one who is right up her alley today, a little bit stalk-y, and all about her business. (must. take. a. break. from. computer. now)

What do you think? "val + bird" for a new business name?... it kinda has a nice ring to it, don't you think?!

ok, enough.

Who is your girl crush today? I know you have one!
x, Val