Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quilted Keepsakes

In my massive cleaning frenzy, I came across some photos I thought were long gone. These small quilts are wallhangings that I made for 3 of my friends when they graduated from Law School and Physical Therapy School. I asked each of them for a pic of them when they were kids, then printed those photos onto rayon (the most excellent material for printing from your computer because it's so tightly woven and bright white.) They're all roughly 12 inches by 14 inches.

To print on fabric, if it's not going to go through the wash ever, I skip the Bubble Jet Set. I just iron the natural fiber (cotton, rayon, linen) onto freezer paper, then trim very carefully to 8.5 by 11 inches and tape the stringy edges nicely. Think of how you would feel if you were a printer. Make it as smooth as possible to go through your printer! Then just heat set it with your iron and lots of steam. Easy!

I tried to make each piece a little like my friend.

Mary is very girly and likes lace, so I took an antique hankerchief and some vintage lace and quilted around each bunch of flowers.

Julia's is there at the top. Riding her bike with her dad. She's a lawyer now, and still riding her bike! I wish I could zoom in on that quote a little better, but who knows. I think it says "Love the moment and the energy (?) of that moment will spread beyond all time." She's a lawyer now, and very witty, so I hope it's a very intelliWhen I saw this pic I actually thought--holy crap, did I hand quilt that? Yep, I guess in days gone by I actually had time on my hands.

And Arianne's quilt is very bold and colorful, even though she's one of the absolutely kindest, sweetest people I know. And probably the person whom I've had the goofiest times with, outside my immediate family and Jason. We have inside jokes and quotes like you wouldn't believe (or think are funny). That's a pic with her 2 brothers.

I wish I was independently wealthy and could exclusively make stuff for people I love. Alas, I need to make some craft-supply money to purchase more fabric, and more fabric, and more fabric.

But these do make lovely keepsakes. At least, my nearest and dearest seemed to really like these. You could use any pic you wanted, just tack on some personal effects and make a couple of loops with embroidery thread on the upper corners in the back.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:58 AM :: (11) comments

Monday, June 25, 2007

Weekend in Review

Cleaning of Studio? X
Quality time with long-neglected love interest? X
Pancakes on Sunday? X
Time spent on couch without a blessed thing to do except watch a Weeds DVD? X (thanks for the suggestion, Shona)
Actual cooking activities? X
Peaceful, deep sleeping? X

So it was a pretty successful post-art-show-heatstroke weekend. I actually feel ready to go to work today and get cranking on some projects. Of course, There are lots of things I didn't do this weekend--raking the leaves from my ever-lovin' magnolia tree. I love ya, baby, but seriously, that late spring leaf shedding thing you've got goin' on is really a pain in my ass.

Then last night, all alone, I have a strong craving for garlic bread. So I decided to make pretzels! I'm a devoted Posy reader, and she made pretzels with some bread dough gone strange, and ever since then I've been craving homemade pretzels.

Here is my cheaters way of making them:
Get some frozen bread dough from the grocery store bakery (at Publix it's $1.75 for enough to make a pizza) DON"T get the kind in a pop can. It's so preservative tasting!

So, i cut out strips and streeeetttcccchhedddd them out, and (sort of) shaped them like pretzels. I boiled 4 cups of water and 5 tsp of baking soda, for about 30 seconds on each side, then placed them on a greased cookie sheet. I finally got to use my Trader Joe's coarse sea salt, and sprinkled it on the boiled pretzels. (Why, oh WHY can't we have a Trader Joe's here! It's inhumane!)

In the oven at 375 until nicely brown. Coat LIGHTLY with butter or garlic, or cinnamon and sugar. I especially like the shredded mozarrella cheese.

Here's a pretty good recipe if you want to make your own dough.
I was extremely please with my store-bought dough.

Off to battle with all the graphics projects at work! Then I'm printing my poster tonight in Printmaking class!! Yay!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:59 AM :: (1) comments

Friday, June 22, 2007


If you take a look at the time stamp here, it's 4am, and I've been up since 2. Don't know why. I'm not stressed or anything. You would think that I would have had trouble sleeping in previous weeks, but truth be told, I was out before my book was on the bedside table. I just have an active mind, and sometimes I wake up at night and am so excited about any number of things that I just can't get back to sleep.

For one thing, I have more new things in my etsy shop than ever, and I've already sold one! Hooray! Now if I can just get it shipped. I wish I had a postal scale here.

For another thing, I'm really super stoked about my printmaking class. I'm pretty much sticking to silk screen, and throwing away all the other opportunities to do etching or litho. Oh well. The silk screening is really great for what I do. I have big plans to make yardage prints and sell them on etsy.

Last Monday, I went into class prepared, unlike the previous week. I think I kind of stunned the teacher. I said "Okay, I have a big plan." Then I whipped out these sketches that I worked on at my booth over the weekend. I intend to make a 16x20 poster print out of this image. I cut the background red blobs out of rubylith, and they will be a color. Say...orange. And the illustrations (which I'm mighty proud of, I might add) will be another darker color, say...turquoise. If it all turns out, I intend to sell those on etsy too. You'll be the first to know!

I just ordered 5 silk screens from this company out of new york for $60, so I intend to take advantage of my class time and make up several new screens. One of my biggest sellers last weekend was my hand printed fabric, so I'm going to try to answer the demand for more!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 4:59 AM :: (3) comments

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shop Update

I've begun the big shop update. More will follow tomorrow. I've had mixed results with etsy, but if you were at my booth this weekend and are interested in repeat buying, you're in luck!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:19 AM :: (1) comments

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Flickr Pics are Up!

You can go here to see all the pics from the event!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:10 AM :: (1) comments

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Artisan Festival Wrap Up

Well. It's all over. Jason and I were home, unpacked and showered within 2 hours of the show being over. And I can say that I had quite a bit less to pack up than I came there with, which was a wonderful feeling. In particular, I sold that huge Nashville skyline painting there to some really great people, whom I didn't know. It's so gratifying that someone who doesn't know me likes my work enough to part with hard-earned money. And the home that they're buying it for is going to be on the Belmont-Hillsboro home tour in the fall! I'm so there. I'm very calm about the sale now, but when I was making it, I was trying really hard not to just started squealing and running aroung in circles. Not to mention trying to do math. I'm still kind of on a high about the whole thing.

So, here's list of things that I sold:
-TONS of purses.
-All 30 feet of the bunting I made in this tutorial.
-This flying geese pillow.
-a cd holder
-a couple of prints
-several postcards
-prints of Kelly's Nashville
-TONS of handprinted fabric. I was so surprised by this! But it's great. I think I need to do more of that.
-All of the journals that I had--I probably should have made more, but they didn't have a very high profit margin, and i just ran out of time.
-My huge painting. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

My favorite sale of the weekend. This little girl said she wanted an over the head purse. Her aunt bought this for her--it was the perfect size for her to put around her. And I thought--that's a pretty big purse for a 5 year old. Then she insisted on immediately transferring the contents of her previous purse right then and there. She had a pink and purple fleece bag that had more treasures in it than you could imagine. Including a couple of wheat thins. So I guess I was wrong about the size thing. Go on, girl. You're well on your way.

Overall, it was an extremely hot weekend, but so fun. I wouldn't want to do this all the time, but once in a while (when sales are good and it's not raining or hot) it's quite a thrill to meet everyone and see how much people love my work. Where else can you get that kind of ego boost? I loved to see people just walk into my booth and start grinning. Very gratifying.

My mom and sister were and enormous help and distraction from the heat. They allowed me to get up and see other artists, and Lauren is pretty hysterical. They left at noon on Sunday to go back to Missouri. It probably wasn't their idea of a super fun trip to Nashville, but I greatly appreciated them being there.

This is mom quilting on a hand-dyed, hand-appliqued, and hand quilted masterpiece. Lauren and I agree that it's our favorite of all time. And she's only been working on it for 5 years!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:37 AM :: (4) comments

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Come See Me!!

Hey folks--I'm out here at Centennial Park in Nashville, come out and see my booth!! Today's hours are till 7pm, and tomorrow it's 10am to 6pm.

Hurry! I've already sold out of clutches. (but I went home and made my mom and sister serve as slave labor and made just a few more.)

I'm give a full report on Monday, until then, it's lots of ice water and popsicles for us!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:22 AM :: (0) comments

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm a star student

Last night was the first of my 6 week printmaking class. I love being a student--I love the whole environment of learning from an expert, trying new things without the expectation of perfection or genious. That said, I of course want to be perfect and project my abundant genious.

I called yesterday afternoon to see what I needed to bring to class. "Oh, he's just going to lecture, so just bring a pencil and pad of paper." Um, okay. So the teacher walks into class, says "Hi, I'm the teacher, today we're doing silkscreening, so please choose and image out of this book of animals here." WHAT!! I had a semi-major spaz fit, and internally freaked out. WHAT!!?! I would have brought all manner of images, and designed. Why would I want to just randomly take an image, and waste an opportunity to make a screen? I wouldn't. The perfectionist in me wants to plan everything out. And then I didn't have an exacto knife or scissors or anything.

Anyway, I made do with what I had at my hands, and can't wait till next class--I'm going in with an arsenal. I intend to make use of every piece of equipment they have. And honestly, I was really excited to learn silk-screening. I've been reading about it and even have a kit that Jason gave me for Christmas, but I've been scared to try it. Now I'm know not to be a weinie.

And to come to class prepared, despite what anyone tells you.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:03 AM :: (2) comments

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The elusive thistle

Friday I was in Murfreesboro to visit my favorite guy who's name rhymes with "Shmason". I took the day off work originally to go to a friend's wedding, then to take the day to sew and generally gather my wits about me and not freak out about the show. I'm actually really excited, despite last night's crazy dream. It's gonna be great! So what that I can't sleep past 6am, but that's okay, it's a good time to walk or sew. Or read this really mediocre novel about a Victorian woman running an Arizona ranch. It's awesome.

Anyway, I got up really early in the a.m. (6:30) to walk the greenway there. It's a lovely paved trail along the Stones river. I mean literally a few feet from it. I realized that all the walking I've been doing has always been with someone-namely my friend Jamie who could talk to a stone wall for hours and not get tired. Wow, an hour and a half goes by a lot faster when you're with someone than by myself. It was a lovely day. Capped the morning off with a Grande Mocha Frappacino lite from Starbucks (insert more dime-store novel reading). Then home to be true artist. I've been making arty things instead of production type things.

Sorry I didn't take better pics of the Greenway. I didn't take the camera to begin with, and the walk kinda kicked my butt--I hobbled back to take the pics of the Thistle--this is a really weird thing. I've been trying to take close up shots of thistles for 2 years, and I can never get to them before they go dry and to seed. Don't they have amazing shapes and lines to them? I will be making this into some ingenious art idea. I just don't know what yet.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:48 PM :: (2) comments

The first of many...

I had my first anxiety dream related to the show next weekend. First let me say that I have incredibly vivid dreams. I'm talking CRAZY. And sometimes it takes me half the day to shake the feeling. So if my boyfriend makes me mad in my dream, well, he's not out of the woods in real life until about 2 in the afternoon.

But this dream really was giving me heartburn. It's classic me, though: I was at the booth on Friday and wasn't selling ANYTHING! AHHHHH! Then I realized I only had my purses, not paintings, or any of the other fantastic stuff I'm making. So Saturday comes and before the show I'm trying to get to the warehouse where all my stuff is--way down a gravel road where I've never been (how do you dream about places you've never been?) and I have to walk, and can't get there fast enough, then people come to help me, and they can't carry enough of the stuff. I had some pretty crazy paintings, too. Maybe I'll take them as inspiration and create them in real life!!

The above are some pics from last year's show. I was really freaking out about how much stuff I have to sell, so I went back and looked at last year's stock. I'm already way ahead of the game. So I'm going to work on some more arty-weird/cool things instead of cranking out purses like there's no tomorrow. I still have a couple that I want to make, but I'm going to do some other things first.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:31 AM :: (3) comments

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Purses on Parade

I've been sewing like mad--here are some of the new designs. And there are more to come! 8 days and counting till the big festival!!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:13 AM :: (2) comments

Monday, June 04, 2007

Festive Bunting Tutorial

Update: I've posted this item up in my shop!

Finally! This blog can be useful to you! No more yammering about flowers and how busy I am, yadda yadda. Today, boys and girls, we have a little lesson about bunting. Or bannering, or flappering, or whatever you want to call these things. It's so simple you could probably figure it out, but a little prodding goes a long way toward actual production. In fact, I think those words have similar etymology. Anyway.

I've been seeing this bunting all over the web, and in my usual fashion had the undying urge to create it to the detriment of all other sewing and art-fair readying projects. I guess it just had to get out of my system.

Cut yourself a cardboard template. I used a 45 degree angle on my ruler, but you could use a rectangle, star, scallop or just any old shape.

Assemble lots of lovely fabrics from your shameful and glorious stash of lovely fabrics

Use a rotary cutter (I love the blades with specialty edges) and cut out, oh, I don't know, hundreds of triangles, or hearts or whatever you're flapperizing.

4> Out of a coordinating fabric, make yourself yards upon yards of bias tape. Don't know how? It's so simple.

a) Figure out how wide you want the fabric ribbon to end up being. I chose 1/2 inch in this case. Don't freak, but here comes some math---multiply by 4 then

b) cut however much you need--10 or 15 feet worth should be plenty. In my case I cut 30 feet worth of 2 inch strips (rememeber the math?) I sewed the seams together before ironing.

c) go to the ironing board and fold the sides of the fabric in to meet at the center folding line. AKA fold 1/2 inch in on each side.

d) fold the folded edges together so you now have a 1/2 inch ribbon with no raw edges.

**side note: you can buy this little tool to help you make bias tape, but I'm faster with the basic manual folding

5> Take your shapies out and tuck the top edge into the fold of the bias tape you just made.

Sew endless zig-zag or other decorative stitches down the length of the bias, tucking in your shapies as you go along. No pinning or basting or other non-sense. And since you're leaving the edges raw, it doesn't have to be perfect. It will do just fine when hanging from your picnic table or over the birthday cake, or wherever you choose to festivigate.

Disclaimer: I'm rilly rilly tired right now, and must apologize for all the made up words and other non-sense. Hope you enjoy the little tutorial!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:28 PM :: (34) comments

Drought is HERE

My yard looks like toast, and my flowers are all drooping, despite sporadic watering. It's so stinkin' dry here! Usually Tennessee is very lush, and it rains at least 1 or 2 times a week in late spring. No such luck this May. It's been 3 weeks since even a hint of rain, and at 90 degrees every day, my much loved but neglected plants and flowers are thirsty. I come from the let nature take it's course school of gardening. My mom would frown at all the weeds, but still--I love my yard, and I especially love the flowers that are fighting their way through the wild vines--vinca is my mortal enemy.

The foxglove is from my mom's most moist yard. It's been raining like crazy in Missouri!! What with the late freeze and the lack of water, my baby the hydrangea plant is quite sad. It's my favorite. It has one lonely white bloom, when usually by this time it's got several. Before the April frost, I was thinking that this would really be the year for that bush--it was actually looking like it belonged there, not just small and newly planted.

Oh well. I spent the weekend sewing like mad--pics tomorrow! and I went to the Print Show at SQFT gallery at the Arcade (see below.) I didn't get a chance to talk much--it was SOOOO hot up there! But the prints were amazing. Shona--your stuff looked great! Sorry we didn't get to meet. I don't think I saw you, but since we've never met in person, I could be wrong. I'm sure our paths will cross soon.

I've gone into full production mode, so be ready for some serious image-heavy posts in the next week. As I've said before--less talky, more baggy.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:13 AM :: (2) comments

Friday, June 01, 2007

Small accomplishments

Here is the finished guest/photo book. I really put my mind to getting it done--the wedding is in 2 weeks, and I knew I'd be chomping at the bit to be sewing on all the bags I hope to--I mean WILL--sell at the American Artisan Festival on Father's Day weekend. I've been having some trouble focusing, what with travel and guests in town, and weddings, etc. And I've been trying to do a lot of walking to get in shape a little. I think it's just making me more hungry to be honest. Doesn't that stink?

Anyway, I'm so please with how this little book turned out. Very handmade and sweet I think. I went through all the stitches on my sewing machine to do the quilting. The hardest part was the spine and sewing it so as not to see any seams. Very tricky. I'll admit I used a little Fabri-Tack glue. Okay, so a lot. That stuff is serious.

Now here are some purses I've done in the last week. Okay, so they're the only purses I've done in the last week. But I'm making myself a recluse for the weekend. Only going outside to paint floorcloths and to exercise. No shopping for materials. Only sewing and crafting. I swear, mom!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:45 AM :: (4) comments