Artist Date Creates Inspiration

Trip down to Lakefront Festival of Arts, Take 2. (Take 1 was aborted due to raindrips)

Around noon, I was going to set out for the Lakefront Festival of Arts.  For those not familiar, the LFA is an annual event in Milwaukee, WI that draws artists from all over the US.  I noted artists from Cali and Florida and numerous states in between.

I took my time on the walk from the house to the Milwaukee Art Museum grounds where the festival was being held.  Along the way I snapped a couple things that gave me ideas for my own art. A corner finial suggests decoration for my tiny top hatsMetal Giraffe Sculpture

At one point, I sat down for a brief rest (I know when to listen to my ankles and give them a rest).  One guy was taking his pet lizard for a walk.  A number of people out walking their dogs strolled past.  Two adorable little Chihuahuas came up to sniff my fingers and get petted while I sat there. After a brief rest, I was ready to finish the walk to the LFA.

Walk up to the gate, pay the entrance fee, get a wristband (rapidly replacing hand stamps in many venues) and a program.  Then it’s into the shade of the large marquis tents housing the exhibitors.

Oil paintings, jewelry, fiber artists, wood artists, ceramics, metal, porcelain, paper and mixed media of every sort.  People from all walks of life browsing, chatting with the artists who created the work.  Trying to stop at every single booth was not on my mind this year.  I only wanted to pause at those artists whose work really inspired or spoke to me in some way.

Sarmite Wearable Art

Taken @ Sarmite Wearable Art. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced.

The first thing I saw as I entered the shade of the tents was Sarmite Wearable Art.  Geometrics and designs in bold colors and combinations.  I saw a few things that would do very nicely for Steampunk.

Vintiage inspired pins & rings

Taken at Mikel Robinson’s booth.All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

As I meandered through the tents, other shops caught my eye.  Mikel Robinson’s vintage style work gave me some ideas for the gears and cogs that I have accumulated from the deconstruction of 3 IBM Selectric typewriters.

David Burton's mixed medai with toys

Taken at David Burton’s booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

David Burton’s 3D Mixed Media used a number of recognizable icons of comics, film and TV to create interesting murals in matte black.  Some pieces have old time kitchen implements worked into them.  One mural had a unique spot of color – the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.  Stood out in a very playful way against the matte black.

Who knew that cut paper could create such ethereal and fanciful images?  I’ve never seen paper art of this sort before, so I stopped for a few minutes to chat with the artist, Carol Menninga, as she knit a sweater while watching her space.  She told me she folds the paper and scissor cuts it to form the intricate shapes shown in her booth.

Carol Menninga's cut paper art

Taken at Carol Menninga’s booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

There are a number of shops where I lingered, admiring the workmanship and creativity displayed.  One of the most impressive was Unzicker Design.  She works in fine chain mail style garments and accessories decorated with beads and other embellishments. Seeing what she had done has inspired me to pick up pliers and start knitting again.

Chain Scarf/Tie

Taken at Elaine Unzicker’s booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

Elaine Unzicker wearing her creations
Taken at Unzicker Designs booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

Tiny Top Hats & Happy Kitty

May was a month of very busy or very blah.  Not much happening but work and chores.

June is starting out a little better.  Had to go in for the usual 6 month check for meds and got a referral to the sleep clinic.  I just got tired of yawning all the time (no pun intended).  The VNA will be contacting me for a home visit to set me up with a new CPAP machine because the sleep apnea seems to have worsened.  That will be good.

Spent much of today working on a mini Top Hat or Fascinator.  It’s just a practice one as I’ve never done this sort of thing before.  Did all of it by hand and learned a great deal about putting one of these together.

Nearly finished top or crown

The crown is nearly complete

I started out by putting the brim together; turned out to be a bit of a mistake.  It’s much harder to sew the wall to the upper part of the brim when the brim is stitched together.

When I finished with the brim, I stitched the stiffening material (for this one I’m using plastic quilting template material) inside 2 crown circles.  It was stitched to the outer layer and all the tiny little notches clipped.
Then I turned to the wall of the hat.  Decided to use the same type of inner lining method and cut 2 additional wall pieces.  Then I stitched up the back seam.  Only I forgot to just stitch through one layer so I could turn the piece properly.  Thus it was very hard to put the stiffening element into place and I had to wrestle with that  for a little while before it came together.  Next time I’ll baste the stiffening element to the inner liner before stitching up the back seam.  I think it will be easier that way.
Patterns and Pieces

Mid point of assembly

Then I started to put the crown onto the wall and got about half way around before realizing I’d sewn it to the wrong end of the wall.  These little hats are supposed to be a bit wider at the top than they are where they meet the brim.  So I had to pick it apart and redo it the correct way.  Then it went together very nicely.

The hardest part was sewing the finished top to the brim.  Because this is a fascinator I didn’t think I needed to cut the center hole for the hat.
I was wrong.
Finished FascinatorTa Da!
It would have been much easier to stitch the top to the brim had I cut the hole.  I’ll remember for next time.
I shot the finished product next to a spool of thread just so show the scale of this particular Top Hat.  When I say mini, I do mean mini.
I was in charge of the house for most of the month of May.  Lee had to be out of town for 2 Rainfall Shows (http://www.pevnickdesign.com/gwflash/index.html) so I took care of things like bill paying, toilet paper buying and Morph feeding/litter box duty.
What’s a Morph?  Morpheus or Morph as she is commonly known, is Lee’s cat.  When he is out of town, I help out by feeding her and keeping her littler box scooped.   Because Lee was gone for such a long time, she was very lonely.  Morph was raised in a game shop so she is definitely a “people” cat.  She doesn’t get along well with the other cats in the house.  So I started letting her into my room during the day.
Morph on the bed

You rang?

She quite enjoyed sleeping on my bed for most of the day.  Now and then she would come down onto the little table I have set up to jot notes and things down for some pets before going back onto the bed to snooze some more or out of the room for a walk..

Even though Lee is back now, she still likes to come in and visit, especially if Lee is out running errands or down at the lab.

Completing Projects & To Do’s is a Great Feeling

Today was a reasonably productive day.

Walked to the bank to take care of some business.  Stopped to chat with one of my neighbors on the way home.  Nance has a cute Rhodesian Ridge-back hound with the canine form of Lou Gerhrig’s Disease who barks like crazy every time someone walks by.  Today I went up to his front porch to pet him and talk with his mom for a little while.  It’s nice to get to know the neighbors.  Once they get to know some of us in the house, they stop thinking that we are extremely weird people. (more on this in another post)

Then it was back across the street to the house and get things set up for the Monthly Steampunk Garb & Prop Build.  On the second Saturday of every month, I play hostess to the local folk who are interested in Steampunk (neo-Victorian time/style Ala Jules Verne and H G Wells).  We gather to build our garb, our gadgets and our friendships.  Today was a small group, Char, Mary, Sari, Chris, Henry and me.  Char was working on a ‘project bag’ she could put her portable projects in for traveling.  Henry was putting a patch on a hat for one of his persona outfits, Sari was creating Steampunk outfits for her ball-jointed dolls, Mary was cutting out a new pattern that Simplicity recently released for Steampunk.  I ordered coutil for corset making and a pattern for Victorian petticoat before switching to crocheting.

Actually, before switching to the crocheting I finished the beading on a Victorian Apron (the drape that goes over the skirt), for another character I will be doing for an upcoming convention.  Black on Black beading needs lots of light; glad I did it during the daylight hours.

I have a pattern for an Amigurumi Candy Dish with some Candies.  I finished the dish a few days ago and started one of the pieces of candy.  Today I finished that one, and made 2 more . The 3rd one a deviated from the base pattern to make a slightly different shape.  It turned out very nice.Mini Crochet Candy Dish  To give  you an idea of scale, it’s photographed next to a nickel for comparison.

One of the disadvantages of working in such small scale is the difficulty in doing anything unless there is sufficient light.  Daylight is best but I have worked on this sort of tiny under bright lamplight.

It is a good feeling to have finished this project and be able to start on the next one.  I may pick one of the little animals in the pattern book where this came from.  It wasn’t a long list of things to do but getting everything on the list accomplished makes me feel better about tackling the next day.

The First Step

Stare at empty screen.  Struggle to think of something to write that is clever, funny or both.

Decide to just start writing something.  This is the first blog in what I hope will be an ongoing communication with the world around me.  I am a writer, a fiber artist, a cook, a seamstress, a “puller of rabbits out of hats,:” a fluent speaker of ‘database’ (if I could teach what I do, I could probably make a small fortune), a friend to talk to, sometimes shy, a Steampunk, and still struggling to figure out what I want to be when I ‘grow up.’

I like that paragraph.  Think I’ll keep it.  Provides many a jumping off point for things to write about as I begin to “re-invent” my life once again.

This morning as I woke up I realized that if I want my life to change, I have to change what I’m doing.

So I invite you to come along and share the progress on my journey of change and growth.  I’ll share my experiences, resources that have helped me, things that worked and things that didn’t.  You’ll see articles I’ve written, maybe a poem or two.

I may encounter stumbles and roadblocks along the way.  When that happens, I hope to use this space to share what I learned from them; perhaps provide some tips and tricks to help others going through similar things.

So that’s my starting point, I hope you enjoy being part of the journey with me.