Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ench By Sew-020- Mind of the Maker

The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!

Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 
~ OR ~
Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and share them with everybody
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Pensamientos Primero  
Reflecting on Making
For some people, sewing is just practical . For another segment of society, and I’m one of them, sewing is an important creative outlet that helps us to stay healthy and happy.
- Entonces /Then
She B. Coole
Live talk from our local Makers Faire includes extempore  interview with professional embroideress (Tapistres?) Barbara Coole (B. Coole)
o B. Coole Shares
Thoughts on the realities of garment sewers investing both time and money into modern machine embroidery equipment and know-how
Her advice on choosing an embroidery machine

- Pensimentos Finales:  What I’m thinking now, when it comes to my dream embroidery machine
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Web Resources
This Steam Punk Sewist
is right at home at
Makers Faire

My Regular Sewing Blog Me Encanta Coser

She B. Coole - Barbara is a professional embroideress and textile artist.  As Barbara (B. Coole) reminds us embroidery is “… an art form that’s been going on for thousands of years.” People have sent out their embroidery to be done by professionals,  for hundreds of years.  B.Coole  does detailed projects involving professional couture embroidery to order . She also sells a wide variety of embroidered bits and pieces, parasols and more along with embroidery motifs that sewists and non-sewists can add to their garments, bags, hats, etc.
(707) 575-8924

You’ll find that under-pocket cat embroidery created by Hiroko Kubota, along with other embellishment ideas on this pinterest board.

The Steam Punk Esthetic

I have several sewing inspired boards at pinterest

Maker’s Faires are found in many different cities

She’s Hep With Tech  
Mind of This Maker

What Would Beethoven Print? (3D Printing)

Friday, May 30, 2014

CA Eucalypt in Bloom

These Eucalypts grace the trail to the park in my neighborhood
We moved to California when I was ten.  That's when I first encountered Eucalyptus trees. 

I'd never seen or smelled anything like them. From their papery bark, to their pungent scent I was blown away. And don't get me started on their crazy big, sweet smelling seed pods. We used to string them on heavy thread necklaces using a big darning needle, then find them a few months later, on that shelf or  in that shoebox where we left them,  having burst into fuzzy blooms.

As a kid, I had no idea that eucalyptus was an Australian import, brought to California to provide quick-growing lumber, create wind breaks and green up the native chaparral. Nor did I know that these projects had been a failure from the wood producers point of view. Though eucalypts do grow quickly, the wood they produce doesn't provide a good harvest for many years.

Eucalyptus planting is discouraged in California these days. As a native plant proponent, I can relate to the issues that surround this Australian native. However, I also think a plant that's been here as long as the eucalypts begin to have some rights of their own. And questions remain about whether or not eucalyptus are truly troublesome.

I wasn't born here myself, and yet I feel as local as anybody born in the state. I'm thinking eucalypts have the same rights as any of us newborn natives.

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Web Resources

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mind Of This Maker

(co-published with She's Hep With Tech)
We used to be called "creative", but now we're called "makers".* 

Do you have Maker Faire's where you live? Maker Faire is kind of like a Renaissance Faire, and kind of like Silicon Valley translated into a modern day county fair. I went because I'd been under the weather physically and emotionally, and I wanted to recharge my mental batteries.

Good idea.

There's a lot of technology at the faire. A lot of it is fantasy technology reinterpreted as semi-reality - like the big metal octopus that shot fire, the traveling cold drinks dragon-headed vendor that shot fire - in fact shooting fire seemed to be an important aspect of the faire. There was also a big chambered Nautilus that brought to mind Jules Verne's Captain Nemo. The kids were lined up to zip into there and head up on top for a visit with the Steam Punk'y looking guide.

Steam Punk comes to life at Maker Faire. You know how Steam Punk works right? These folks are a natural for this zone.  Steam Punk people combine dressing up in Victorian 'esque clothing with  elements of imaginary technology. They don't live in a reenactor world like Renaissence, Civil War Reenactors, and Dickens Faire participants. They're part of the mainstream plane, but also apart from it. The costumes and the tech are all mixed up together. Gears, cogs and wheels are big with Steam Punk folks. Anything mechanical is big.  And corsets are very important. There were a bunch of Steam Punk costume vendors there, selling Steam Punk garb off the rack. They charge $250 for custom corsets. As a sewist who spent three months creating a custom boned bustier, I can tell you that is not overpriced.

There's a sense of computer games come to life at the faire. Lots of robots and robotics. Lots of little booths that help you make toys that look like they come off your iPhone screen to life. There are Radio Controlled goodies for you RC lovers.

The Bay Area Lego Users Group has a booth. It's part model railroad, part completely huge old style city streets, flotilla of military looking ships in a life like bay. If you like to play that way, you could play for a long time.

I went looking for Crafts, Needlework and Sewing stuff, because that's one type of of maker I am. There were tables of people stitching and chatting and having fun interacting, either adding to a big existing project or doing some kind of make-and-take sample. I was hoping to see a lot more of this type of making, but I had a limited amount of time and may not have found it all.  B. Coole was there with her Steam Punk oriented embroideries, parasols, tassels and other nifty Victorian 'esque and Steam Punk accouterments.  She gave me some good audio input for my monthly Enchanted by Sewing podcast, all about buying and using a home embroidery machine.

I've written about 3D printers in this blog before, and you can bet I checked them out at Maker Faire. I saw several genres.  There were kids designing and printing their own toys. This reminded me of the Fun Flowers and Creepy Crawlers I used to make with Plastic Goop. (I also saw kids running around in cardboard box assemblages playing at being robots - no 3D printing required.) There are the home printer and the send-it-off service types. The home printers often create/print/make the items in plastic (PL or a TGlass) type. People might design things like a speciality screwdriver or tool with these. Some folks use Google Sketchup software to design with. There are also resin type home printers that allow people to design highly detailed things like jewelry.

There were design it and send it off to be printed services too. You can create 3-D designs, and send something off to be printed in precious metals, ceramic, stainless steel, etc. I saw a large old fashioned stylemetal key - it might cost $35 to print that. A gold (plated?) bracelet that might code $200. There were design your own shoes (all produced in a variant on plastic) that were designed to fit your own feet. Prices were in the $200 range. I don't think they're competing with Payless Shoe Source. Yes, I'm waiting for them to print in leather and fabric too!
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Web Resources

Lots of different cities have their own Maker Faires

B. Coole Designs - Machine Embroidery, Steam Punk and More

Bay Area Lego Users Group

* Golden age mystery author Dorothy Sayers considered herself a maker. I highly recommend her book, The Mind of the Maker. Look for it in your public library

You might design your 3D printable with

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Poiret Draped for the New Woman

The Lines of Paul Poiret's Fashions
Helped Defined the New Woman of the Twentieth Century
Click on the Illustration above to really enjoy the details!

I've been recovering from a little light surgery lately. (Little for the surgeons point of view, I guess). Are you like me when your getting over stuff like that? Do you also  watch your Downton Abbey video collection all the way through? I spent a goodly part of my video viewing time watching for the corseted Edwardian styles to transition into the modern twentieth century era.

Of course it was folks like Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet who inspired the kinds of clothes the Crawley gals, and their Mama, are wearing in those heady times. (Not so much Anna, Daisy and the other servants, unfortunately for them.) Both couturiers were also known for ushering modern, twentieth century women - the New Woman- into the beyond-corsets era of fashion.

Like Madeleine Vionnet, Paul Poiret is known for creating fashion through the process of draping. Nothing like laying in a cosy get-well-nest of videos, drinking plenty of fluids, working to pull together and feeling the comradeship of a fellow draper. 

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Web Resources

My Pinterest Draping Board

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Field Trip: Bayside Sewing With Susan

I like the color and buttons on
Susan's new purple shirt.
It's a perfect color for her.

My sewing buddy Susan and I, haven't had a chance to get together since she moved from Half Moon Bay to Discovery Bay several months back. Yesterday I took the day off to go and visit her, and get in some buddy sewing time. I blogged a bit about the trip itself in my Windmills In My Head posting in my Postcard from CA blog, 

I'm embarrassed to tell you how much sewing goop I took along. No, I never did use my sewing machine or even shift the contents of three of the receptacles I dragged into Susan's wonderful sewing studio in her great big house. Not only does she have a wonderful big area to sew in, she also has a walk in closet where I observed a goodly fabric inventory hanging up along with her wardrobe. Though I don't think of myself as an envious person, I wouldn't turn down the opportunity for that kind of sewing space and storage if they came along!

And I love the cuff!
Hummmm where could I do this?
I'm not sure where six plus hours went. I know we talked non stop. I showed her my bustier and she showed me her numerous recent creations. I did some fix up sewing on my bustier and worked on a straight denim, elastic waist skirt. Susan pinned my hem in place and advised me on a couple of fit issues. In between helping me out she sewed on a new shirt project.

How many shirts had she finished? Six or more? Plus two pairs of cropped pants (those blue ones she's wearing above were one pair). And more than one darling little girl dress for granddaughters. What she's gotten done in the same amount of time as I spent sewing away at my bustier, really reinforced for me my desire to turn out as many shirts and pants as possible. Because it's fun looking in ur closets and being able to imediately pull out practical, attractive, well-fitting clothes that we really wear day in and day out.

I wish I'd thought to photograph all Susan's new shirts to show you.

Construction is great
But not a Susan garment
We also did a post-mortem on some of the projects we'd created for our classes at CaƱada. What are we wearing and which not? Susan has decided she's not a big fan of knits, but I still am. While admiring her wardrobe space, we found a shirt she'd created for the "Designers Details" class Susan took while I was taking the "Intermediate Construction" class. The shirt turned out great, but she doesn't wear it. I think it's just not her style. 

I'm partial to the collar bits
Might be nice in linen.
Gotta love that collar detail, however. I think that would be nice executed in linen, with all the bits in the same fabric.

Visiting with a buddy who also loves to sew, and sewing together,  is the kind of field trip that keeps me...
Enchanted by Sewing.

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Web Resources

Windmills In My Head

My No 1 Ladies Detective Agency Shirt

CA Romance Dress 1

CA Romance Dress 2 1,_California–San_Joaquin_River_Delta

Altamont Pass

Altamont Wind Farm Windmills are dangerous for local birdlife, but progress is being made

Windmills In My Head (San Francisco Bay Area Field Trip)

I  enjoyed an early moonrise over the Windmill Farm
 as I drove on Vasco Road, through the Altamont Pass
on my way home from  Susan's house.
Took a day off yesterday, to go see my buddy Susan. You remember Susan right? She's the sewing buddy who fitted my No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency shirt, and my CA Romance dress. Susan and her family have recently moved to Discovery Bay.  Her house there is huge, by my two bedroom cottage standards. Her bedroom is more like a studio, perfect for a sewist!

Though people do  commute into San Francisco and the Silicon Valley from Discovery Bay, it's a pretty long haul from the Penninsula. I spent about two hours driving each way, managing to miss the commute traffic, but getting lost twice.  Once I was through the congestion of I880, south of Berkley and Oakland, and transitioned onto I580, the landscape began to calm down.

Once off I580 onto Vasco Road, it was clear I was heading into land that has maintained it's agricultural roots. The area has still got plenty of working farms, farm stands and narrow two lane roads, and the Sacramento Delta is a hop skip and a jump away.

I'm not sure what the key crops are in the fields just beyond Susan's house, but it's pretty clear that energy is a year round, all-season product in the Altamont Pass Windmill Farm.
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Web Resources

Field Trip: Bayside Sewing With Susan

My No 1 Ladies Detective Agency Shirt

CA Romance Dress,_California–San_Joaquin_River_Delta

Altamont Pass

Altamont Wind Farm Windmills are dangerous for local birdlife

Sunday, May 4, 2014

10 Reasons to Unplug that Car and Get Out My Bike Helmet (green)

In honor of my father, Sam, who taught me to ride a bike whenever possible.

1) Some hackers have found the ultimate in meanness. They're doing all they can to further mess up commuters as folks great ready to move off home on four wheels. I've been in enough traffic jams that were simply caused by the end product of overpopulation. I don't want to deal with this too. On my bike I can zig zag right on by.  Traffic Congestion Just Got Worse -

2) I know that a lot of folks think the idea of robot cars is sexy, but... I want to be out of the way when....Google's Self Driving Cars Hit the City

3) I'd rather turbo boost my bike than my car. And hey this includes blue tooth!

4) If I can ride safer, I'm more likely to pedal, versus turning that ignition key. High Tech Bike with sensors that detect cars in your blind spot

5) The Bamgoo Bicycle is much cooler than any car

6) Because crowded roadways can force drivers to jump through too many hoops

7) Because in cities like London, driving is discouraged and bikers get benefits. How to Cycle in London

8) Because big city driving isn't only a hassle, it can cost you extra just to be on the road

9) Because I get a little exercise when I bike my errands.

10) Because when I'm on my bike,  I can stop quickly and easily, chat with a neighbor, pet a friendly dog, not fret about finding parking, and easily help a visitor out with directions.

Web Resources
May is National Bike Month - According to the American Bike League,  half of American workers live within 5 miles of work. That doesn't mean it's safe or practical for all of that group to bike to work, but certainly a goodly crop of folks can give it a try.

Fairy House Building Follows Rain

Drought busting showers.
Sure they bring flowers. Also
A Fairy palace