Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Between the Covers" Sketchbook Show

Between the Covers:
Artists and Their Sketchbooks 

Artbeat Gallery
Opening reception
Friday, May 9, 2014
7-9 pm

Artbeat gallery will be showcasing the sketchbooks of regional artists for three weeks in May at their Waynesburg, PA, location. The exhibit will give viewers a glimpse into the artists' creative process - a peek behind-the-scenes to see the planning and work that goes into creating an original work of art. 

While many artists use sketches as a stepping-stone to a larger more detailed piece of work, others see the sketchbook as an end in and of itself. For them, the sketchbook is the work of art. Both approaches will be featured at "Between the Covers". 

You'll see sketchbooks filled with everyday sketches and preparatory drawings, thumbnail sketches, and sketches that look more like finished paintings. Subject matter will include everything from barnyard animals to Venetian canals. Styles vary from loose and impressionistic to detailed and realistic. 

Get to know the artists as they talk about what inspires them and how they do what they do. This will be a chance to ask those questions that you've always wondered about.Some of the artists will even be demonstrating their art and techniques at the opening reception.

I'll be there, along with other Artbeat artists and several of my students whose work has inspired me. We'll have artists with a lifetime of experience, and others for whom this is a whole new adventure. I hope you'll support them by coming out to see their work. 

The show will run through May 31st. Artbeat is open Monday thru Friday 10 am - 5 pm, and Saturday 10 am - 4 pm.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Squeezing in Sketching Time

Sketching time has been scarce for me lately, and I've really been missing it. Teaching, commission work, spring garden chores, and a whole host of other obligations have been filling my days, and it seems like everything needs to be done right now! When things start to get out of whack like that for me, I make a conscious effort to squeeze in some sketching time, even if it means combining it with some of those other things I need to take care of, like running errands...

9" x 12", ink, watercolor, & colored pencil in Aquabee Super Deluxe sketchbook with 90 lb. paper

I'd much rather be home than spending my time visiting fifteen different stores in an afternoon, so the other day, when I had a long list of places I needed to go, I thought I'd give myself a reward for each one I checked off my list. I took a few extra minutes at many of the stops I had to make to do a quick little sketch in my Aquabee 9" x 12" sketchbook. I drew and painted on site, from the front seat of my van, and only had to add a few finishing touches later at home.

First stop - the mailbox at the end of our driveway...

Then a quick stop at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to look for a good used chair to slipcover. (No luck.)

I had things to return at Marshall's and Sears, but I only sketched Marshall's. The Sears store was so uninteresting I didn't want to waste my time on it - I make the rules here! :)


Guess where I bought flip-flops for my granddaughter's Easter surprise...

I picked up some last-minute Easter dinner supplies,

stopped at a certain discount department store for a few odds-and-ends,

and finally hopped on the interstate and headed for home. After all the busyness of being in town, I love the drive home, where all I see are spring-green hills, budding trees, farms, and fields. And my favorite scene is this last one, the winding driveway that leads around the bend, through the woods, to our house on the hill...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Most Adorable Ruffled Lampshade On Planet Earth

Here it is! The most adorable ruffled lampshade you're ever going to see...

And it belongs to the most adorable baby in the world!

That's my granddaughter, Callista Rose, just 18 months old . She's the sweetest, cutest, funniest little girl, and I just love her to pieces!

When her mom was decorating Callista's new bedroom, she wanted to refurbish the worn lampshade on a white "Shabby Chic" style lamp, so we searched the internet for ideas for making a ruffled lampshade. When we couldn't find exactly what we wanted, I designed one that would look just perfect in Callista's room. It's feminine and pretty, but not too shabby and messy-looking. Ivory cotton fabric gives it the understated look we wanted, and the fabric roses encircling the top add just a hint of elegance.

So here are my complete (and excruciatingly detailed) instructions for constructing "The Most Adorable Lampshade On Planet Earth"...

Supplies needed:
3 yards fabric (for the shade shown here)
12" x 12" piece of felt in a color to match the fabric
Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Start with a lampshade that's in need of a facelift. This one measures 6" top diameter, 13-1/2" bottom diameter, and 10-1/2" high.

Decide how many ruffles you want on your lampshade. This one has four rows of ruffles. The height of this lampshade is divided into four sections, each 2-1/2" wide. I allowed a 1/2" space at the top for the area where the roses would be glued on. The cut size of the ruffles will take into account seam allowance and overlap, so don't worry about it at this stage.

Make a paper template for marking the ruffle lines on the lampshade. Put a few pieces of rolled masking tape on the back side to help hold it in place on the shade.

Position the template vertically on the lampshade and mark ruffle placement lines every few inches, all the way around the circumference of the shade.

Place intermediary lines between your initial marks, so you'll have a continuous line for aligning ruffles on the shade.

Determine ruffle size:
Add 1" to the size of your ruffle spaces (for seam allowance and overlap.)
For this shade:
Ruffle spaces 2-1/2" + 1" = 3-1/2" finished ruffle size

Each ruffle is made of a double layer of fabric, so multiply the finished ruffle size times 2 to determine the cut width of your ruffle.
For this shade:
Finished ruffle size 3-1/2" x 2 = 7" cut width of ruffles

Figure ruffle yardage:
Measure the circumference of the shade at each of the marked ruffle placement lines. Add them all together to find the total ruffle length needed.
Ruffle circumference #1 + #2 + #3 + #4 = TOTAL RUFFLE LENGTH required
For this shade:
20" + 25" + 32" + 45" = 122" total length required

Ruffles need to be gathered to 3X fullness.
For this shade:
122" X 3 = 366 total cut length required for ruffles

TOTAL CUT LENGTH ÷ FABRIC WIDTH (42" or 54") = # of CUT STRIPS required
For this shade:
366" ÷ 42" = 9 fabric strips required

Cut fabric for ruffles:
Using the CUT WIDTH measurement, cut the required number of ruffle strips. I used a rotary cutter and Omnigrid ruler - it's quick and accurate. The fabric I used was an off-white Kona cotton.

Make the ruffles:
Seam the ruffle strips together with a 1/2" seam on the short ends of the strips.

Trim off the selvage to reduce bulk in the seams.

Press seams open.

Fold seams in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Pin, if desired.

Serge the raw edges together.

Serged edge

Gather the ruffle strips to 3X fullness. (For example, a 42" strip of fabric would gather down to 14" of ruffles.)

Johnson Ruffler

I used a Johnson Ruffler, which makes short work of this time-consuming job.

Other options for gathering include the following:
  • Use a ruffling attachment made for your sewing machine.
  • Zigzag over dental floss using a wide stitch width and long stitch length.
  • Sew a basting stitch 1/2" from the raw edge of the folded strips. Sew another row of basting 1/4" from raw edge. Pull the threads on one side of the folded strip to gather to 3X fullness.
Johnson Ruffler gathering the ruffle strips

Apply ruffles to the shade: (Read directions before beginning to glue)
Prop the shade up on something which will support the fitter. This will keep it off the table and prevent the bottom ruffle from getting wrinkled as you work.

Begin gluing the bottom ruffle in place just below the placement line.

I used high-temp hot glue, as I think it tends to hold better than the low-temp variety.

Don't apply too much glue. A single bead is enough. Work quickly to press the serged edge of the ruffle into place before the glue cools.

Hold the ruffle in place as it cools.

Angling the beginning of the ruffle strip up slightly will help to prevent the raw edge from showing at the bottom.

To finish the end of the ruffle, allow an extra 1-1/2" for turn-under and overlap.

Apply hot glue to the back of the ruffle end.

Fold about 3/4" to the back side of the ruffle and hold it in place as it cools.

Glue the finished end over the point where the ruffle started.

The first row is finished!

Apply the second row in the same manner...

and the third row.

The last row is applied 1/2" from the top edge of the shade, just below the bias binding which finishes the top.

Here it is with all the ruffles glued in place...

Now on to the roses...

Measure and mark the top of the shade:
Measure the circumference of the top of the lampshade. Mine measured 20".
Make a sample rose to determine the size flower you would like to use for your border. The ones shown here measure about 2-1/4" diameter.
For this shade:
20" ÷ 2.25"/rose = 8.88 roses needed  > rounded up to 9 roses
20" ÷ 9 roses = 2.22" per rose

Divide the top of the lampshade into sections equal to the number of roses you'll be using. For my shade, I needed 9 spaces for 9 roses.

I measured off sections which were approximately 2-1/4" for each rose.

Construct the roses:
Note: You may want to make a few extra roses just to be sure you have plenty to choose from. They won't all turn out looking exactly the same, and you'll want to match the size and shape of the ones you use on the shade.

Cut a 1-3/4" diameter circle of felt for each rose.

Cut 4" wide strips of lightweight fabric. It takes a piece about 20" x 4" for each rose.

Fold the long raw edges toward the center, as shown above.

Then fold the fabric in half, lengthwise.

Begin twisting the end of the folded strip.

Continue to twist, and fold the end back on itself, as shown below.

Place a 1/2" circle of glue in the center of a felt circle.

Press the twisted end of the fabric strip onto the glue and hold in place while the glue cools. (I used a low-temp hot glue gun for constructing the roses.)

Continue to fold and twist the fabric, keeping the tightness of the twists fairly consistent.

Continue gluing the fabric to the felt circle in a spiral, a little bit at a time.

It gets trickier as you approach the edge of the felt. Keep the glue on the felt as long as you can.

Continue around the rose one more time, applying glue to the side of the rose. This will give a nice finished edge with no felt showing.

Twist the end of the fabric around to the underside of the felt circle and glue it in place.

Trim off any excess.

Apply glue between the layers of fabric at the cut end.

Beautiful! Now it's time to apply the roses to the lamp shade.

Apply hot glue across the center of the back of the rose.

Press the rose into the marked position at the top of the shade.

Some of my roses turned out slightly larger than the 2-1/4" diameter that I had planned, so I had to squeeze them a bit to fit them all in. To evenly space them around the shade top, I left spaces in between the first three that I glued on. Then I went back and filled in the spaces, nudging the roses up close to each other.

All finished!

Pretty as can be...

Practically perfect in every way, just like my little sweetheart, Callie Rose...

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