Ravenswood ArtWalk 2018

I participated this last weekend in the Ravenswood ArtWalk!  The variety of art in my location at 4500 Ravenswood was wonderful and I felt honored to show my work with three other wonderful ladies, Barb, Lilly and Sue.  Above is a picture of my Farmers Market!  Making all those felt items brought me so much joy, and it was wonderful watching the joy sneak in and burst onto people’s faces.

Above is Clara, named after Clara Bow from the twenties.  She’s dressed in her flapper dress with long black fringe with the lovely string of pearls to go along.

Amelia the hen, shown above, is stretching her wings.  Named after Amelia Earhart who was the first woman to fly by herself across the Atlantic Ocean.

If Rosie the hen had a a riveting gun in her hand, instead of holding a couple of carrots, it might be a little more obvious that she is named for all those wonderful women in the 1940’s who went to work in the factories to help the war effort, Rosie the Riveter.

If you would like to purchase any of the items, prints, hens, or felted goods, just let me know!

I really enjoyed watching people check out my Farmers Market display filled with felt “produce” and “baked goods”, my lovely hens, and prints of my sunflower paintings. They would grin, laugh, and in general have a wonderful time!  Grateful thanks to those who came, purchased, conversed and participated in the Happiness!

The Story of the Dress – Part VI The Amazing, Beautiful and Enchanting Wedding

Catherine and John were married this past weekend!  She looked absolutely beautiful in her dress and John was very handsome in his tux!

Mrs. Catherine Game and Mr. John Cawood

Most of my “art time” for the three weeks before the wedding was spent on tweaking her dress – completing the beading, trimming seams, tacking down the lining and hemming the underlining, lining and dress.  On Catherine’s last visit up north before the wedding, I took the bodice in about 1″ on each side seam creating a perfect fit, showcasing her figure.  I cut the hem line for the lining and underlining and proceeded to hem both.  As I worked on covering the remaining stains with beads, new design challenges emerged.  Working with the original bead designs from my mother’s dress, I tweaked and adjusted the final composition, while keeping in mind what went on the left front skirt panel would also go on the right front skirt panel (and the same with the back) to follow the symmetry of the dress.  One side held quite a few stains, while the other only had 2-3 small spots but both sides received equal beaded treatment.  When it was all said and done, it looked beautiful and no stains were seen!

Back in March, I opened a cupboard door looking for something and out fell an old tattered white cardboard jewelry box. I bent over to pick it up and realized it held an old necklace and clip earrings that had belonged to my Grandmother Alma.  As I held it in my hands, I couldn’t believe what I saw.  The strands of beads matched so closely to the beads from my mom’s dress!  What a synchronicity!  I showed it to Catherine on our next visit downstate  and she decided to wear it with a little bit of tweaking.  Instead of two twisted strands of beads, she wanted only one and we shortened the length of it by about 2 1/2 inches.  Removing the old dark cording that was twisted with the strands, lightened the weight of the necklace and I added a string of the very tiny seed beads from my mother’s dress.  The clasp on back was broken, but I went to our local bead shop, Twisted Sisters, and purchased a lobster claw.  With the one strand removed,  a hole was now available for the claw!

During the ceremony, Catherine looked up at John. Notice her necklace once worn by her Great-grandmother Alma Woodward.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  Well, the necklace wasn’t quite finished when we arrived at the Kettunen Center, but I thought I would have plenty of time to complete it.  After all, we arrived on Thursday evening, a day and a half before the wedding would begin, at 3 p.m. that Saturday.  On Friday, many hands pitched to wrap small white lights around grapevine which suspended from the dropped ceiling, transforming a basement into an enchanting dance hall.  Saturday morning rolled around and we all were very busy, perhaps extremely busy, finishing decorating the reception room, setting up tents, hanging fabric on the outdoor arbor, putting centerpieces on the dining tables, etc.  Hugs and introductions were made as guests arrived!  The joy and excitement built as many important people in Catherine and John’s lives, met the others for the first time.

A hydrangea from John's mom, Becky, floated in a round vase, with a bundle of sticks tied with milkweed fiber, moss, votives and a dried milkweed pod holding the table number was placed into a sand weighted wine bottle decorated the tables.

The time was zooming by too quickly!  At 2:30 (wedding to begin at 3!) I arrived to our room where Catherine and her attendants were getting dressed.  As I moved around to get my dress, I realized, “Oh my god!!!  I didn’t get Catherine’s necklace finished!” I scrambled over the bed, only to realize I couldn’t find my little magnifying glasses to attach the lobster claw.  I looked about and saw Laura, a friend of Catherine’s who also happens to have a terrific art background.  “Laura!” I squeaked, “I can’t see to put the hook on, could you do it?!” With unending calm, Laura said, “Sure!”  and with deft assurance, she completed the necklace!

As the necklace was placed around Catherine’s neck (and of course I could not see clear enough to fasten the tiny clasp – helped once again by Laura), she turned and I saw my beautiful confident daughter physically surrounded by some of her closest friends with many “threads” encircling her from her maternal line:  part of a necklace once owned by her maternal Great-grandmother Alma she wore around her neck and her dress made from one once worn by her maternal GrandMary and sewn by her mother.  In her hair she wore a beautiful hair ornament created by Catherine the week before.  Four generations of women were represented!

Brian escorting Joan up the aisle.

Our son Brian escorted me to my seat, I thought how quickly time appears to move and how important these traditions are in bringing family together.

Russell walks Catherine down the aisle.

As Catherine walked down the aisle, escorted by her father, she beamed and her dress shimmered in the afternoon sun, with light bouncing off of each curve and drape of fabric.  In a quantum world, where we are so connected in ways we don’t fully comprehend, isn’t it fun when the universe presents us with gifts and opportunities that create so much enjoyment!

PS – Thank you, Megan Ziegler for the use of your photos!

Their first dance as a married couple!

The Story of the Dress – Part IV

Before I start this part of the story … my website is currently under construction.  You may find my artwork website by pasting https://hanamele.com/old/ into the search line!  Sorry for the inconvenience, but when construction is done, you will have an  easier time staying up-to-date with my blog and artwork.  You’ll also be able to easily order my art through PayPal!

Last weekend we made it downstate with the bodice, the skirt and the invisible zipper.  The goal was to sew the bodice to the skirt and put in the invisible zipper.  Well, that was accomplished, at least the first time through …

On the 8-9 hour drive down, I realized I wanted to put tiny piping between the bodice and the skirt.  At that point, I also remembered I had wanted to put the same piping at the top edge of the bodice, prior to all the beading I recently finished.  “Ah well”, I thought.  “I’ll just hand sew the upper piping on after we’re home.”  We drove to the fabric store to pick up the piping and the special invisible zipper foot.    Shopping turned into a scavenger hunt!  Three stores, numerous packages of varying white seed beads, bronze beads (both of which I remembered on the drive), silk thread, piping, polyester thread, sewing machine needles, hand sewing needles, beading needles, an invisible zipper foot and 2 1/2 hours later, we headed back to the apartment.

Upon arriving at the apartment, we ate lunch and said “See you later” to our men.  Out came the sewing machine and before I knew it, the bottom tiny piping on the bodice was in place.  How beautiful and what an elegant touch it made!  Next, I aligned and pinned the skirt onto the bodice.  The sewing commenced and to my dismay, I found a pucker off-side in the front!  I felt like I was back to my old 4-H projects ripping out the sleeve to get rid of that pucker.  I re-sewed and another tiny pucker showed up!

“Grrr, but no problem. I can do this …”  soon turned to, “good enough for now, I can readjust it when I get home.  Joan, remember the goal is to get it to fit Catherine.”   She tried it on and we oooed and awed looking at the result on Catherine in the mirror!  With the pins marking placement of the zipper in back, I began sewing the zipper in place with the invisible zipper foot.  “We are making progress,” I thought.  As I adjusted and moved the heavy weight of the satin skirt, to my horror I discovered a small 1/4″ smear of sewing machine grease!

“The cleaners should be able to get that out,” I told Catherine.  “If not, we have lots of beads to cover it!”  Being done in by a spot of grease and a pucker was not on my agenda!

Now, there is nothing like the feeling of a smooth zipper sliding easily up and down after its sewn in place; unfortunately, that was nothing like the feeling I was having.  The zipper started gliding fine, until it hit the thick seam of the bodice/piping/skirt.  “Damn …”  I thought.  “I should have trimmed that seam before sewing it in!”  As I continued to force the zipper down, it began to split open.  “Arrghh!!!”

Working the zipper pull back and forth, we managed to get it on track.  Catherine tried the dress on again.  She looked beautiful!  Seeing her in the dress at this stage (tiny pucker, tiny grease smudge and partially split zipper) made it all worthwhile and I knew these minor aggravations were nothing in the big picture.  I now knew where the zipper belonged for a good fit.  Pleased with the results thus far, we packed it up to be worked on another day.

Yesterday was that day!  While working at Art Works, I took Catherine’s dress as one of my projects; I ripped out the zipper and ripped off the skirt, show and telling the dress to friends who stopped by.  My dear husband came and took the bodice to the cleaners so they could work their magic on the grease spot.  Good news!  I called today, the spot came out and it’s ready to be picked up!

Working on Catherine’s dress is just like life; you do what you can, when you can, ask for and take help where needed.  Simply, keep on tweaking until you have the result you want.   I’m off to the cleaners!

From Hand to Machine

Today called for a change of pace!  After doing some intensive bead work, I pulled out my very old heavy duty Singer sewing machine, my box of paper collage and various materials, and got to quick work!

The Heaven Scent bookmark brought a needed focus to the day.  Sometimes it’s just good to work on something that’s simple in a “plan-as-you-go” kind of way.  I started with my first rectangle cut from a heavy page from a magazine and chose several other colors of paper to go with it.  Sewing in a free form kind of fashion with the sewing machine can be great fun!  You can create your own design or let the printed material help to guide your way.  At times I may sew two separate sides and then stitch them together.  Other times it may begin as a larger sheet that is folded in half and then stitched.  Use the discarded thread ends, bits of ribbon and a loose approach, and it is a delight to see the result!

I find it is very helpful to pull myself away from a large project to just get the creativity flowing in a new way, making those new brain connections.  It’s like being on an island and finding your way around;  an island is only so big, you can’t get too lost!

The Story of the Dress – Part III

After being gone for two weeks, I began anew on Catherine’s dress.  Pictured above is the first stage of phase I, on the left is the old tulle with the seed beads, on the right their new home in waiting.  I carefully took my seam ripper and to my delight, found as I gently pulled on the string from another chain stitch, most of the beads easily unstitched from the tulle, but stayed on the thread.  Go figure!  Only a few rogue beads took off to the far corners of my sewing room!

My tiny needle deftly went through the fabric to pick up some tiny seed beads.  Oh no!  The first bead I picked up with the needle did not slide across it, but stopped about 1/4 inch from the point of the needle.  Panic came to heart and then I remembered not all seed beads are made the same!  Setting that bead to the side, I found three others that easily slid onto my needle.  I sewed them on in a similar fashion of how they originally were applied, with one exception – I did it by hand, no machine.  Pick up three beads, stitch down, bring the needle up about 1/4 ” from where I started, slide on three new beads, and stitch down where the previous three were stitched down.  Now, I bring the needle up at the end of the line.  It somewhat makes a loop around, every three beads.

Below is the result of what I accomplished.  It is fun to see the difference of the beads being directly on the satin verses the tulle.  My goal is to complete this first section of beading and to attach the skirt for a fitting before the magical mystery invisible zipper is applied!

Completed first section of beading! Hurrah!
Part of the completed seed beading!