Friday, August 31, 2007

Treasures from a Country Excursion

You guys would not believe the unbelieveable selections of treasures--both physical and experiential--to be found when you travel outside your own metropolitan area.

Tuesday night me and some crafty gals. Shona, Heather, and new friends Rebekah and Andy journeyed out to Van Leer, Tennessee to a country auction extraordinare. Complete with auctioneer "haaaaayyyyyyy fitty do I hear fitty-five, fitty-five, fitty-five" I kept thinking it was like a redneck rapper. And he was quite good. I could never talk that fast.

After we filled up on Tater Tots fresh from mama's Fry Daddy, we sat down to real auction business. I got stage fright and did not bid on the quilt I spied. Oh well. As Charlie the owner says "there's always Tuesday after next."

These are treasures from the store next door, and from Shona's excellent World's Longest Yard Sale trip.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:45 AM :: (1) comments

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just Listed on Etsy!

Just posted here in my Etsy store. Get 'em while you can!

This is a lithograph print of a little GI Joe size cowboy. The image on the shirt is 7 inches square, printed in permanent ink on a Hanes Beefy T by hand.

There are only 10 of these shirts, and will never be any more printed in just this way--the plate only makes about 10 prints before it deteriorates too much to make a good print.

This is a men's size xlarge, let me know if you have any questions!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:58 AM :: (1) comments

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Me and the Jazzies

I scored some free tix to the quilt show in Nashville this weekend, conveniently up the road from my house. Let me give you a peek at the show's attendance demographics: I was the youngest person there on her own accord, and the tallest by quite a bit. And The jazzy scooters abounded. I didn't get run over by any this year, but only because I'm a quilt show veteran.

I did see some awesome quilts which you can find here at my flickr site. And I made a couple of purchases, mostly little tools and fabric to finish current projects. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was a great place to see some pretty nice quilts even though they weren't all up my ally.

Not to offend anyone, but I also have to post my most favorite horrible examples of people's handiwork.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:08 PM :: (3) comments

Friday, August 24, 2007

That didn't hurt so badly

I wish I had several walls with morning sunlight in all different shades. I do have a mossy green in my dark dining room, but today the pink and brown and red simply had to get along. Oh well.

I made my first purse in quite a long time. I think I put a block on it. I get so burned out on making them when I'm preparing for a show. If I just made a couple of purses a week, I'd probably be in better shape when the shows come around but that's just too sensible.

I have several projects that I'm doing on a favor basis for friends, and this is the first one. Freshie--I Swear I'm going to get to your tablecloths this week! And I'm getting a favor in return for that one, which I'm pretty excited about--Freshie Jewelry!

Here's last night's completed project. It's for the birthday girl wife of my co--worker. He has a 3 year old daughter who is incredibly cute so I decided to make her a little bag to match her mom's. I hope she loves it!

This weekend I'm hoping to work on the other 2 projects and get some exercise in. I have this massive tutorial that I want to do, but it's just taking forever.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:23 AM :: (3) comments

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Art or Craft?

Well, I was feeling quite down on myself for not having much production to post. I mean, it's pretty bad when your mom sends you an e-mail to make sure you're okay because you haven't posted in so long. It's only been since Thursday, people! Here is a snippet: " I usually check your blog for info about you, but see there aren't any postings since Thursday. . . " How sad. But it is sweet that my mom checks my blog so often.

Excuse me for a moment while I go look out the window and see if I can see anything crazy going on outside. The police helicopter keeps flying over....on second thought, I'm just going to sit right here. I'm sure it's fine. That's what you get for buying a house you can afford instead of one in a "Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes made of ticky tacky little boxes neighborhood"

This is why my mom is worried about me. Anyhoo.

Tonight I was feeling like a really terrible sham of a grown-up. I often feel that I'm failing at adulthood, even though I'm now 27, officially a full-fledged adult. For example: After shopping on Saturday for healthy, fresh food, I came home today to consume some of the fresh produce. And IT WAS ALL MOLDY. Strawberries? Moldy. Peaches? Moldy. Lettuce? Moldy. Green Beans? Moldy. This is why it so sucks to live alone. I try but fail time and again to grocery shop only once, maybe twice a week, and cook my healthy food before it goes bad. But I end up with so much in the trash! Thanks to my mom, I have a pretty healthy fear of food poisoning (She teaches food safety classes), so if it's at all questionable or slightly funky smelling, out it goes. I wish I could buy food in single person servings without it costing an arm and a leg. Bahhhhhh! There is a conspiracy against singles. What do "they" want? All singles to eat fast food and grow fatter and thus lonelier forever?

Anyhoo. So back to crafts. I was feeling down, poor 27 year old can't keep her house clean, keep online billing straight, use food before it expires, or post blogs often enough to stop mom from worrying that she has been eaten by wild dogs. I decided to make an etsy post of my crafts poster. I was going through the stack of prints to weed out the good ones (and there are only about 10 usable or sellable ones) and I remembered that I had printed some without the orange blobs so as to watercolor them later.

Don't you just love coloring? I do. And I LOVE watercolor. I'll have to post some of my Italy watercolors from college sometime. It was so relaxing to listen to great music, a couple of crafty podcasts, and paint any color my little grown-up heart desires.

I posted it on Etsy, if you just can't live without it. More to come, I hope!

p.s. I cleaned my kitchen, scrubbed the floor and took out the trash too, which has gone a long way toward me feeling like I'm earning my Adult Badge.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:27 PM :: (2) comments

Thursday, August 16, 2007

That's me, hands shaking

UPDATE: Here is the Link for the video clip. I'm not watching it, because I think I did fabulous, and I just don't want to see otherwise.

Hey everyone! Just a post to let you know that I'm going to be on television today at 11AM here in Nashville, and on the web later in the day for everyone else. I'll post that link when I get it.

I'll be demonstrating how to sew a box, and plugging my upcoming sewing class at Watkins College of Art and Design.

Tune in to see my hands shaking! I have horrible stage fright that I try to ignore for the glory of live television. In high school I used to sing the national anthem before basketball and football games, and each time i thought "I'm gonna puke. Why do I do this? I'll NEVER DO IT AGAIN!" then I would get done and think "That wasn't so bad." and do it again.

P.S. I'm not the best singer, I just went to a very small high school--I graduated with 76 other people! And I could sing better than only 74 of them.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:15 AM :: (7) comments

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Latest Music Obsessions

The highlight of Sugarland's show on Friday--this is a Beyonce cover! I'm listening to it over and over. Sorry if you don't like country--I live in Nashville and it's required when you register to vote here.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:57 AM :: (1) comments

Back from a Break

I had a blow-out birthday weekend in Missouri, and I'm just now getting my head above water. Starting Friday, my travelling buddy Chris and I rolled out of Nashville headed north in 105 degree heat. Ouch! We met my parents for lunch in the University City Loop in St. Louis at Blueberry Hill. We stopped in at the Craft Alliance gallery there and a couple of other places before heading to Trader Joe's where we stocked up for Kenny Chesney tailgating.

Here's what we got a Trader Joe's:
Strawberry lemonade
Low-fat awesome cheese
Blue corn tortilla chips and salsa for Shona
$2 riesling wine for our float trip the next day
Figments dark chocolate covered figs
Awesome guacamole
Tortilla chips
Tuscan artisan bread
Sparkling French lemonade

And it was so cheap! All that stuff up there was $30 total. Man, I love that place.
Anyway, we stopped off at H&M for Chris's enjoyment before we went on to tailgating at the K-Chez concert. Notice the police busting some underage drinkers. Apparently, you're not allowed to drink in the parking lot. Lame! My sister Lauren and her friend Eric joined up with us and we had a delicious, if alcohol-free picnic. (Okay, so Chris and I slipped a little Jack into our cokes, well, Chris slipped a lot, but I made nice with the golf-cart police)

We love us some K-Chez. And Sugarland opened for him. I almost liked Sugarland better than Kenny!

The next day, 4 hours after we got to bed, we rolled out of bed and headed to the Niangua River in the Missouri Ozarks. I've been on this river several times, but I realized never on a Saturday. Talk about the Redneck Riviera! We got hosed with water cannons, and we saw more than our share of beer bongs. I tried really hard to just paddle past and not get pissed. We couldn't even drink the wine we poured into plastic water bottles. We didn't want to blend in with the rednecks. So we paddled on, and it was lovely.

To carry out my Redneck birthday dreams, we ate dinner at the lake and played 10ยข skee ball by the dam there. My only requirements for dinner were that I wanted to sit by the water and eat something out of a basket. So after that was accomplished, we went home for a deep sleep.

My favorite birthday gift? A Cuisinart frozen treat maker.
Oh yeah. I made home-grown canteloupe sorbet just last night. Wowie, wow. wow. It's the most amazing thing!

My last print-making class was last night. Here's my final project. More on the total list of projects later in the week. They all have to dry, ya know!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:24 AM :: (4) comments

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Neighborhood (or Barrio)

Ever since these neighbors revamped their yard I've been trying to figure out how to take a good photo of their gnome garden. I mean, you can't get this stuff out in the fancy suburbs. Last week when I was coming home from work at noon, I did a roll by and snapped the pic. I was still worried someone saw me, but nobody came running out of the house, so I think I'm safe. Now that I can stop and stare without bothering the neighbors I see that they're not just any dwarfs, but Snow White and her septuplets!

Here is my sign of true love for my boyfriend. Instead of using the last of my printmaking classes to print yet more flowers and nature type things, I printed a mutant he calls "Bug Boy" on t-shirts. And I have to say, the class went nuts for it. He's such a great artist, but doesn't really have an outlet for it. So I printed a couple of extra shirts thinking we might sell them on e-bay. Then with all the extra money he makes he can take me someplace nice like Sonic for a treat. Yeah. Banana cream pie shake, here I come!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:40 AM :: (5) comments

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back to School

Okay everyone, if you've ever wanted to learn the basics of sewing, now is your chance. So many of you have written or spoken to me and said the following: "I have a sewing machine, but it's never been out of the box/I'm scared of it/I have no idea how to use it/I'm just a huge weenie.

Starting September 14th, on Wednesday nights you can be with me, fearlessly learning how to sew the practical way, not the "let's cut out this pattern and sew it only by reading the instructions way"

Here is the line up for projects, subject to change depending on what the students would like:

Class 1: Intro and Machine Basics
Supply list, discussion of materials and sources for them, testing students on their machines. I'll bring fabric to test machines and make sure everyone is ready to go for class 2.

Class 2: Cafe Curtains
Techniques: basic stitching and assembly, piping, topstitching, measuring and materials for practical use

Class 3: The Basic Tote
Techniques: basics of forms, corners, bias tape and construction, pockets, button holes

Class 4: CD Box -- a square fabric box with handles
Techniques: construction of sturdy forms using heavy interfacing, lessons on handles, shape and box corners, finishing.

Class 5: Stylish Basics--that extra detail that makes a project personal!
Techniques: 3D flowers, yo-yos, applique of shapes, decorative stitching

Class 6: Zippered pouch
Techniques--zippers, lining and pocket basics, shaping, finishing details.
We'll also finish up any loose ends.

I'll also be teaching a purse-making workshop, if the 6-week class is out of your schedule. It's scheduled for October 20th, and also on the Watkins website.

It's going to be a blast! And I swear I'm not a nazi teacher. Although I do want people to listen when giving instructions, because I hate to repeat myself!

Shoot me an e-mail if you have any questions, and go to Watkins College website to sign up ASAP.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:44 AM :: (1) comments

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A few things about weird little me

Shona has tagged me to share 8 things about myself. I'm always thinking of how weird I am, but when it comes to writing these, I can never come up with them. And I recently realized that Sunshine tagged me 2 months ago, and I never responded! How rude! So this is my answer to you both.

1) I absolutely hate scrapbooking. I like the concept of making lasting documents of your memories, but it makes me furious that it's become this huge consumerism culture. And I can't stand how everyone acts like buying every little sticker and ribbon at Michaels, and not even cutting out their own shapes but instead using an astronomically expensive Sizzix machine for predesigned shapes qualifies them for the title of "creative". I guess I should just be happy that i can now get cool endpapers for my journal makings, but sheesh! I know I just pissed a bunch of people off, including my 2 sisters and cousins who are obsessed. I'm just sayin': quit buying all that SHIT! Make it yourself! It will mean so much more!

Enough bitching! The rest are pretty tame:

2) I get extremely sentimental at the sunset hour. Something about the lighting I guess..

3) I'm a procrastinator--but only when I'm afraid of something. Like my basement. I know I need to do laundry, but I hate going down there with the dust and bugs. I'm afraid I might find something devastating that will require major remodeling.

4) I have a terrible fear of "getting in trouble" and it was always my goal to be the teacher's favorite.

5) I talk myself into liking foods that actually make me screw my face into contortions. And I tell Jason that I like whatever it is I'm eating through clenched teeth. He refers to this as "yogurt face" because I try so hard to eat it, but after years of trying have accepted the fact that it's just not for me.

6) I grew up drinking at least 3 big glasses of milk everyday. I guess I really did grow up to be big and strong.

7) Just like Meg March, I feel my hair is my best feature.

8)I love a good road trip and often feel the need to just get out of town. My boss always asks me where I'm going that weekend, and he's been told Pittsburgh, Chicago, Vegas, Kansas City and Atlanta. I'm the queen of the short weekend trip.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:46 AM :: (0) comments

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sisters, Oregon Quilt Show

Stripped houses
Originally uploaded by treasureup

Here is a link to some absolutely fantastic photos of the Sisters, Oregon outdoor quilt show.

Every year this quilt store, the Stitchin Post,
holds a truly fantastic quilt show. They hang all the quilts outdoors on various structures, and the effect is just magical.

I first heard about this by listening to Alex Anderson's Quilting Connection podcast. Now, Alex is always talking about how the traditional quilt community wants to get younger people involved. The demographic for quilters skews to the blue hairs and Red Hat Society. And that makes me really sad. Quilting is so enjoyable and rewarding for people of all ages. I'd hate to see it die out with the last of the baby boomers.

There are several reasons to make quilts. First of all, you can purchase and consume large amounts of fabric. And there are lots of wonderful jumping off points out there--tons of patterns which you can take to your own sewing room and turn into real works of art. And in the end you have a one of a kind treasure that no one else can create. A treasure that your grandchildren might actually like to have. Not that they won't want your stuffed owl from the latest indy craft fair. Ermmmm, yeah.

Alex Anderson is a quilting giant, in a manner of speaking, and she truly is trying to reach out there and grab younger quilters. The podcast is a huge step. And she is a fellow Bernina gal, who has the ear of the big bosses at Bernina. And they want to hear from us! Really! Us younger crafters should know that we have some clout, because they want our business. And trust me, we want their support. The indi-crafts crowd might not want a million sewing machine embroidery stitches with country hearts and ribbons, but we do want to use our machines to stitch our own designs which we digitized ourselves. We're not the computer illiterate or intimidated 60 year old set. Most likely, we're kinda geeky. (Self-admission). Hey Bernina!!Please, help us embrace it! I can't write my own software, but you Bernina people have whole development departments for such things!

I'm not trying to put down the traditional quilting or sewing community. After all, I love traditional quilting, all the heart that goes in to them, and I myself love to make very practical quilts, and sometimes--horrors!--pretty much straight from the pattern!! They have a lot of buying power, too, which keeps our quilt stores open. I'm just saying, if you as a consumer can put your money where your heart is, it would be worth your while. You buy independent crafts, right? It may seem crass and capitalistic, but money speaks louder than any felted woodland creature, no matter how much you like your "Winkie the Owl."

p.s. now don't get all offended if you've bought Etsy fresh out of felt owls. To each their own! I have a ridiculous amount of crappy quilt tops from the 70's. Hey, at least your owls don't smell like old aunt Velma's attic!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:02 AM :: (3) comments