Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bags, Bags and more a little bit of painting

I've been busy working behind my machine.  I've been so enthralled with my new projects that I find it hard to step away from them some times to do my needed errands.  I wanted to share an art bag that I just recently finished.  I'm really excited with how it turned out. I used a slashing technique to add dimension to the fabric. The female is hand drawn, painted, free motion stitched by me and then appliqued on to my custom designed bag.  So excited to share with the world!

Little man and I had some fun making non toxic paint yesterday, the coloring up the backyard for nearly 2 hours and joyfully washing away our art with the water hose.  Have any of you ever made cornstarch paint? (1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup water, food coloring)  I'm happy to report that we got the paint ALL over ourselves, including a white tshirt (which i set aside for painting so not a big deal) but when I threw our clothes in the wash last night, every last bit of cornstarch paint came out of our clothing without a trace. And NO,  I did not use any bleach. So it is a messy yet fun project that cleans up better than kid intended paints and markers.  Here are some pictures from our messy fun!

1 cup of water, 1 cup of cornstarch, mix, mix, mix. Pour into their individual spots and add food coloring.

Not so good for paper but...

A little liquidy, did not work so well on paper but was a lot of fun on the ground (and rocks, and hands, and...)

The colors we began with.

a splattering of color

Something gooey and colorful to stick your hands in.

I'm thinking this could make for an interesting Halloween Costume next year. Incredible Hulk anyone?

We started off with yellow, orange, purple, red, green and blue. We ended up with light orange, neon orange, turquoise and a whole bunch of....

paint on the ground. I wish I could have captured this craziness on paper, that would be an interesting backdrop to an illustration!
Christmas is just 4 days away!  I'll try to write again but if not, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. Thanks for being such great, supportive followers of Threads and Pencils, the support means the world to me!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Almost Christmas, creative ventures flourishing just in time for the holidays!

While my son is taking a quick break from jumping couch to couch, I thought I might sit down to write. Sometimes the task of writing seems overwhelming. I feel like my words are repeated over and over again, or i haven't any new ideas to share and think perhaps sitting down will just make my readers bored.  I hope not, but I think about these things.  But today, I wanted to share a few of my latest creations. 

I've been having a lot of fun with my sewing machine, a little bit of art mixed in, bento box preparations are still a hit (though some nights I am so tired that I wonder why I just don't make a sandwich for everyone) and today a small greeting card "box" idea that is NOT my own idea but totally worth sharing as I LOVE it!   I'm not one for buying the mass produced greeting cards, I feel that I have enough crazy ideas swirling around in my head that i should be able to sit down and make my own cards. I feel this way about my girls too, I encourage them to make their own before thinking of buying something.  So we tried out a new "card" idea today.  Instead of a card actually, it is a banner in a box. Perfect for a birthday but I think it would do for any holiday or occasion that "requires" a card. 

I started out with a simple $1 box (though I'm sure if you AREN'T in Hawaii you might actually find such a box much cheaper!) I decorated the top with the name of the recipient.  With a bit of card stock, scrapbook paper, glue or tape, ribbon, I made a Happy Birthday Banner with a couple of extra circles for loving messages from my girls to their friend.  I'm pretty sure this is all self explanatory, make the larger circle still small enough to fit in the the circles on the ribbon far apart enough that they can fold like an accordion into the box.  For a special little touch, with your scraps cut out confetti shapes (sorry Mom!), much easier if you have one of those funky shaped hole punchers.   And watch your friend smile as she opens her greeting box.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bento Box Adventures continued

I must admit, I'm quite enthralled with the lunch process these days. So much so that I told hubs he will not be getting his normal sandwich everyday...instead, he'll take part in my bento box craze too.  Tomorrow's lunch, you ask?  Teriyaki meatballs (combination of ground beef and ground chicken along with spices, cut veggies and egg), sweet potatoes (cut into shapes for the girls, mashed leftover shapes for hubs), and rice with nori seasoning. I'm quite excited about the meatballs. While we were in Japan, the girls and I were obsessed with the meatballs at the little supermarket down the street called Lala.  I never knew exactly what kind of meatballs they were, and until tonight, I was never able to make them but I finally found the recipe and they are delicious! The extra's made their way to our dinner table along with crockpot chili.

The second layer of food was cut veggies for M, cut fruit for V and a salad for hubs.

I used metal mini cookie cutters for the sweet potato shapes. I found the cookie cutters at Executive Chef in downtown Kailua.

On the sewing front, I have completed a few projects and I am in the middle of a new project, a tote for a sew-ist.  The exterior is complete but now I'll need to figure out and piece together the interior with enough pockets for thread, scissors and a pattern perhaps.  I used an adorable Japanese fabric.

Another outlet of creativity lately, has been art on fabric. I finished up a semi "repeating" pattern fabric which I turned into a young girls bag.  And the candy skulls have been a big hit as well.

Miss Foxy!

I have a few more projects up my sleeves, hopefully in time for the holiday season. I'll come back to share when everything is complete.  

Until then, if you have any bento box recipes you want to share, please comment! I would love to have more variety :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bento Box Adventures

It's been a while! Hope this posting finds everyone well, probably preparing for the upcoming holidays. It is hard for me to believe that NEXT week will be Thanksgiving and then a few short weeks later, Christmas! Wow. Perhaps it's living in Hawaii where the weather only changes from sunny to rainy but the temperatures pretty much stay the same.  Maybe I'm in denial.  Whatever it is, my mind has been elsewhere and I think I need a swift kick in the butt to get moving on holiday stuff.  What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I kind of got in to another rut here.  That seems to be happening a lot more frequently these days.  A rut with creating, exercising and making/preparing food. One of my ruts was with my children's lunches.  It seemed like I was making them the same thing every day and though they eat everything (sometimes) I make them I wanted them to have something a little bit "more"  so I started doing some research, saw some pictures of friend's lunches, looked up some cookbooks on amazon.  Ever since we were stationed in Japan, I have always been fascinated by the lunches Japanese Mom's made their children, the bento box lunch.  I found a wonderful book with quick recipes and how to's at the library, the book is called  "Yum Yum Bento Box".

I am on day 2 of bento box preparations and as I was adding the finishing touches today, my oldest daughter says to me that she would like to go to school on Saturday and Sunday just so she can have a bento lunch on those days too. I couldn't help but smile at her enthusiasm and encouragement.

Yesterday, I attempted my first lunch which consisted of Spam Musubi, corn, asparagus, egg and cheese blocks/cherry tomatoes.  The little heart on the Spam musubi was made from a Japanese style egg omelette of sorts. You are supposed to strain the egg to make it "fine" and add some cornstarch and sugar. It came out a little bumpy and I had a little trouble flipping it but today, the process went more smoothly and it looked more like an omelette than yesterday's attempt.

This cool contraption is a hard boiled egg mold.  Burned my fingers trying to get this to work but the bunny was well worth it. The Bear didn't work out as planned, the ears did not form but I'm sure if I change the direction of the egg, it'll work.  Here are the molds with the hardboiled egg already in them, sitting in cold water for 10 minutes.

Putting everything together with cute little picks, forks and separators was the fun part.

For tomorrow, the girls get a rice and nori ladybug (I tried coloring the rice with Paprika but my portions are not right so it has a slight brownish tint only), sausage flowers, broccoli trees, wrapped sausages and Japanese style rolled omelette eggs with a side of cucumbers and cheese and fruit.  This definitely makes preparing lunch more fun, to add a little creative tweak to something always makes it more interesting.

Until my next adventure...or until I'm feeling chatty, stay well friends and enjoy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A landscape of inspiration

I think it's ok to admit how horrible I've been at keeping up these past couple of months.  It has to do something with 3 young kids, summer vacation, a new school year, a new machine and travel! Eventually one day I'll get back into my routine but until then, I have a little to share.

After several weeks with my new machine, I can officially say it is a work horse of a machine. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.  I love that I am able to see a lot of the inside of the machine so I can clean the nooks and crannies that like to clutter up with fabric fuzz. I was very hesitant about the side bobbin but it's amazing.  Love the knee presser foot lift, so much so that my knee does this really awkward jerk when I go back to my Singer machine.

I'm happy to confess that despite being busy with the kids I have managed to give Juki baby a run for her money.  Most recently I have been excited about recreating landscapes of beautiful Oahu, all done on fabric.  My most favorite part of it all though, is the 2nd to final step, the free motion quilting.  First few tries my hands were very shaky but as I get used to it, build up my confidence, and practice I notice a steadier hand and more of a fluid movement to my designs.

I've gone in to a couple of local galleries to see if they will carry my work.  I will pursue this more once we get back from our trip, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will all pan out.  I'm gradually growing my inventory in hopes of joining a gallery in the near future.

So we are heading out on a trip for the grand event of our family! My younger brother is getting married.  And with only 2 weeks to spare my bridesmaid dress arrived and to my dismay, it didn't fit.  In a true panic, I took a few deep breathes, whispered to my seam ripper "don't let me down"  and together we worked at tearing seams apart, reworking them and finally, getting the dress to fit without having to pay a seamstress to alter it.  Another check in my book of things to learn. I'm thankful it worked out.  I'll share pictures of the dress after the event.

I've been practicing my "smokey" eye makeup.  So far, I've tried green, gray and black.  I'll find the links to the good tutorials I have been using to learn how to do this.  I love the reaction my girls give me when they see a new shade of smokey eye.

Despite being gone from the blogging world, I hope you have all stayed creative and inspired!  Until next time,

                                              Mokulua Islands off of Lanikai Beach

                                                The many shades of Kailua Beach

                                                          Mt. Olomana from Kailua

                                                              Plumerias at Pyramid Rock

Friday, August 23, 2013

A new Machine?

I've been missing my blog, writing, and just over all being creative.  I just completed week 4 of my workouts, trying to get ready for "little" brother's wedding next month.  But with that said, after my intense workouts I lack energy and though I have had the urge to be creative, I just haven't had the energy.  So, I switched my workout a little bit.  I'm really not trying to prove anything and I realize how totally obsessed I can become over something.  I feel if i don't follow this program exactly, then I wont see any changes.  Finally decided I need to get over that feeling and just realize that doing SOMETHING is good...doing nothing, well that wouldn't be so good.  Needless to say, I scaled back but I do something every day. Thankfully this has provided me with a little more energy to do something creative while the kiddos are at school.

I've been heavily contemplating a new machine.  I even stopped by a sew n' vac store last week and sat down with a few machines, then again on Monday.  I have read 100's of reviews on the 3 machines I was heavily thinking about and finally, decided on the 4th option.  Much more affordable and though it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the pricey machines, it does what my intention for a new machine is supposed to do.  I've read countless reviews on it's reliability, it's performance and I think I have yet to read anything negative. The other machines had quite a list of con's which seemed crazy to me with the price tag they came with.

First on my list was the Viking Eden Rose, though affordable, when I sat down with that machine, for 4 times the expense of my current machine (Singer Quantum Stylist 9600) it didn't feel much different. In fact, it felt more flimsy to me and the only thing I like about it was the bigger throat and the way the presser foot lifts when using just the pedal.  Slashed off my list when I finally go the chance to try it out.

Next was the Viking Designer 1 USB.  But I think my judgement was clouded by a little bit of bait and switch from the sales person. Luckily, I don't just jump on things with hefty price tags. I always discuss with my husband, read reviews, watch videos and look online for better prices.  Thankfully, I found out that this machine was more for embroidery, older (crazy price tag for an older machine!) and it didn't have the throat size that I am looking for to ease up some of my FMQ.

I did more research online, looked into Babylocks.  The Crescendo is still on my dream list but for quilting, I realize that it too has too many bells and whistles that i just don't need right now.  Of course, the store didn't have any babylock Crescendo's for me to test drive, but instead, she brought me over to the Bernina's.  Now mind you, every quilting book and magazine that I drool over, most of the quilting artists have Bernina's so there has to be something there.  I sat at the 750 QE and OH my! I was in love. I still am.  But I am so hesistant to purchase something so expensive reading some of the reviews (a lot actually) of issues people have. Of course, while we are stationed near a Bernina dealer I have someone who can help me BUT what happens when we get stationed elsewhere? Particularly if we go overseas again?  The thought just unnerved me.

SO back to looking.  I came across a few blogs that talked about the Bernina 750 QE and they also mentioned how much they love their Juki 2010Q for FMQ and piecing.  What? What is a Juki 2010Q. Thank goodness for google.  And boy, the reviews I found are amazing!  So with my husbands support on this machine (of course, the price tag is much less shocking) I took the plunge this morning and ordered it.  Couldn't get the free shipping to Hawaii but I did get $100 off my order.  I'm beyond excited for my new "baby" to arrive! It already shipped.  Stay tuned for the unveiling of the machine that will hopefully change the way I do quilting forever!

In preparation for Juki's arrival, I made a few squares to practice some FMQ on my Singer.  What fun, but even my small 12 x 11 piece of fabric got a little crazy to maneuver around the small throat.  Still fun, and so excited to try doing this on a machine made for quilting.

Until then, be on the look out for my new machine and my thoughts on its performance!

My little bird of whimsy, practiced free motion on this as well as some free hand stitching on the tail, eyes and feet.  Available on Etsy :)

And this here is a star pattern I put together to practice FMQ on, just haven't tried yet because it is kind of big. I'm thinking of waiting until Juki-baby comes.  We'll see.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Let's Embroider by hand

Wow, when did August happen?? Crazy how quickly the summer has gone by. Technically it's still summer but my girls went back to school yesterday and so summer feels like it's over here.  I have mixed emotions about it.  House is a little less chaotic with them at school for a few hours but I miss them and their chaos.  House stays a little cleaner, though this morning I told the little guy he was on the verge of making a bigger mess alone, than 3 of them together.  He stopped mid way into spilling the millions of littlest pet shop pets and accessories on the floor when I said that, stepped back and apologized.  So back to school means a little more time for some crafty business.

A few blogs that I adore, do a lot of embroidered work on fabric and yesterday that itching desire I get every once and a while to try something new (ok, every other day or so)  I pulled out my cotton floss that I had stashed away from my friendship bracelet days, pulled out a doodle I whipped up the other day and copied the image on to an Eiffel tower fabric.  I'd say, if I did this again I would certainly NOT use such a busy fabric because it pretty much takes away from the embroidered design but for my first try, I'm pretty pleased.  It'll be fun to put some of my doodles to stitches the good old fashion way with a needle and thread and a hoop for good measure.

I have lots of designs stirring in my little brain! I hope to make them soon. Until then, have a wonderful and creatively filled day!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Paper Roses, repurposed book pages

If you haven't figured it out yet, I ADORE flowers! Fabric flowers, flowers in fabric, real flowers, fake flowers, flowers made from just about anything.  So it shouldn't surprise you that I had to try something new while sipping my morning coffee.

Each petal is individually cut, rolled around a pencil for a little bit of shape and then applied to a "stick" (I used a q-tip covered in washi tape!)   Hot glued on...I have 2 burned fingers but despite that throbbing pain in my poor fingers, I love how this turned out!


Breathing new life into an old book, scrapping books

Perhaps it's not a fantastic idea but I love the printed page style items I keep seeing in the scrapbook, paper product world.  I wanted to try this out myself, without having to rip up a book that I love (which is how I feel about all my books in my house)  so the kiddos and I went to the Salvation Army in downtown Kailua this morning.  After a stop at Coldstone Creamery and a scoop of chocolate cake batter ice cream and another scoop of cotton candy ice cream, we ventured over to SA to take a look at their book selection.  A perfect day, I spotted an encyclopedia right away. 1,000+ pages of experimentation for only $2, how could I go wrong?!   So after a few more errands with the kiddos, we headed home for some paper crafting time.

We (my girls too!) are LOVING making our own envelopes.  We thought they would make for a cute personal gift, some homemade envelopes with hand made cards to go with them, tied in a nice ribbon and ready to be gifted.  I showed the girls how to make the quick envelopes and we experimented a little with the encyclopedia pages.  What a neat little accent to an envelope, open the top, pull our your card and see the background of knowledge.

We did have to break for dinner but we are still at work on the floor enjoying the creative processes and discovering new ways of using old things.

I took a page of the book and made a singed flower and then a doodled heart for a long awaited Thank you card.

But as the night falls upon us, I see some tired eyes (me! me! me!)  and we'll have to pick up where we left off tomorrow.  So until then, I'm sure you are resting peacefully in slumber land or perhaps waking to a new day.

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Miss M's card (I adore this!)

envelope obsession

our creative disaster