January 11

Try This – Preparing Your Felt

.

Last week, I started felting a pile of sweaters that I’d picked up at thrift stores.  Wet felting sweaters in your washer and dryer releases a great deal of lint.  If you’re just doing a few sweaters…no big deal.  If you’re felting alot of sweaters, here are a few precautions you can take to protect your washer and dryer, (1) attach a lint collector or nylon to your washer drainage hose/pipe, (2) put your sweaters in zippered pillowcases both while washing and drying to help contain the lint.

Once the sweaters are felted, you can keep them intact until you need them or  cut them apart at the seams.  You may also want to remove any pills.  You can use a sweater comb, a sweater stone or an electric sweater shaver.  I like to have all three around because sometimes one works better on a particular sweater than another.

Now…what do I make with these sweaters?  Here are some ideas:

Pot Holders

Coasters

Flowers

Decorative Pillows

Cuff Bracelets

Cup Sleeves

Stuffed Animals

Hats

Do you have any other ideas for me?

Daily Inspiration

You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way.

Marvin Minsky

Posted by lori . Filed under Try This | 8 Comments

January 10

Love This – Downton Abbey

. 

Have you ever watched a show and thought everything was perfect…the actors and actresses chosen for the roles, the characters, the story, the period, the cinematography, the locations, the costumes…everything?  That’s the way I feel about Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey is a British television period drama that aired in the US on PBS Masterpiece Classic.  The series is set on the fictional estate of Downton Abbey in North Yorkshire and begins with news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  Downton Abbey is the home of the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their three daughters.  Season One covers the years 1912-1914 and Season Two covers the years 1916-1919.  Downton Abbey beautifully captures the transition between the 19th and 20th centuries.  If you love Masterpiece Theatre-ish things, I encourage you to checkout Downton Abbey.

Daily Inspiration

 

History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.

Winston Churchill

Posted by lori . Filed under Love This | 8 Comments

January 9

In My Studio – January 9

.

This week, I spent time making flowers, felting wool sweaters and taking photos. 

I love to make fabric flowers.  It’s satisfying to me to take bits of fabric, felt or ribbon and form it into a pretty flower.  Here are a few that I made:

 

I also spent time taking photos.  Currently, I’m taking an e-course from Susannah Conway called Photo Meditations

I wanted to take this course to help me understand photography better so I can improve the photos I post on my blog.  I admire beautiful and intriguing pictures, but have never been especially interested in photography.  It is a thought provoking course, so I’m hopeful that I will learn some things and improve my attitude about photography.

A struggle I had this week was all the things I did that didn’t “turn out” and that I had to pitch.  I know this is part of the process, and I need to relax into it.  Last week, Nellie’s mom (The Cat From Hell) commented with this quote from Scott Adams, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.”  I need to remind myself of this on those days when it seems like everything I do ends up in the trash can.

Daily Inspiration

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. 

Anaïs Nin

Posted by lori . Filed under In My Studio | 16 Comments

January 8

Resolutions

.

In the interest of “completeness,” I wanted to do a post about my 2011 resolutions and make a report on my “twelve by 2012” challenge.  To make it simple, I’ll give myself a PASS or a FAIL.

2011 resolutions, first.  Here’s what I resolved:

1.  Blog and see where it leads – PASS.  365 posts in 2011.  I absolutely love writing What Remains Now.

2.  Simplify – PASS.  I still have more to do, but I’m not a hoarder anymore.

3.  Learn and challenge myself – PASS.  I’ve tried alot of new things and pushed myself in some new ways.

4.  Create – PASS.  2011 was a good year for me.  I’ve started to create a wonderful new life for myself, now that the “mommy” years have passed.

5.  Love better – PASS.  I don’t think I can ever say I do this nearly well enough; but I have tried very hard to be more patient, thoughtful and loving this year.

I also participated in a challenge from Oh, Hello, Friend called, “twelve by 2012″…12 things you want to get done by December 31st.  Here’s my list:

1.  Add 50 items to my Etsy shop.  FAIL.  Although a “fail” for the goal, this was a “pass” for my head.  My Etsy shop is on “hold” for awhile.  I’m not sure that’s a direction I want to go.

2.  Window treatments on all my windows.  PASS.  Not on “all” my windows, but on “all but two” of my windows.

3.  Complete the Right-Brain Business Plan Home Study e-Course.  FAIL.  However, I have this methodically scheduled on my calendar now…week-by-week.

4.  Hire Mary G. to come over and consult on furniture arrangement.  PASS.  She gave me some good ideas.

5.  Clean and organize the basement.  FAIL.  I don’t know what to say…this makes my head hurt.

6.  Organize my paper/files.  Hmm…PASS.  I still have some work to do, but I made some pretty good headway on this goal.

7.  Send Christmas cards.  PASS.  Not only for us, but Freedom, Casper and Nikki sent out cards too.  Some of the best fun I had all year!

8.  Exercise/move every day, starting today.  FAIL, FAIL, FAIL.

9.  Measure all the rooms for carpet/flooring estimate.  FAIL.

10.  Create a birthday list.  FAIL.  I have a template on my desktop, but I didn’t get it done.

11.  Write creatively for 5 hours every week.  FAIL.  I write creatively for more than five hours every week, but what I meant for this goal was 5 hours of story writing, and that I didn’t do.

12.  One more round of blog improvements.  FAIL, but this will be a “pass” soon.

Now, for 2012.  I’ve noticed that some folks choose a WORD for the year.  I love that idea.  So no resolutions this year.  Just a word…CREATIVITY.

I would love to hear some of your resolutions for 2012.

Daily Inspiration

 

The years teach much which the days never know.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 7 Comments

January 7

Book Club Reading List

.

One of my favorite lists this time of year, is my book club’s reading list.  Here’s what we’re reading in 2012:

January – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

February  – Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl

March – Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

April – A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

May – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

June – A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball

July – At Home on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball

August – Love Letters from Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball

September – The City Below by James Carroll

October – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

November – The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

We’re called the Eclectic Women, and you can see we live up to our name.  What are your reading plans for 2012?

Daily Inspiration

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

Charles W. Eliot

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books), Lori's Lists | 5 Comments

January 6

Let’s Paint

.

 

Every Monday in 2011, I wrote about my journey to define myself as an artist and reconnect with my creative spirit.  Much of that journey took place in my head and in my heart.  This year, I want to focus on finding my style and the media in which I want to work.  That will involve trying some different things.  I decided to start out with Juliette Crane’s How to Paint a Girl E-course.  I’ve always enjoyed painting, but I’ve always painted from patterns and have never painted “people”.  This course looks like it will stretch me a bit.

Daily Inspiration

 

All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love.

Baruch Spinoza

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 7 Comments

January 5

Stuff With Stories

.

 

This year on Thursdays, I’m writing posts about things I wish I’d taken care of, “if I died today.”

 

I realized that I have alot of things that my daughter has no idea what they are, where they came from, or why they’re important to me.

So this week, I’m going around the house and photographing things that I care about, and that I want my daughter to know the stories behind.  That’s it…one small step at a time.

Daily Inspiration

 

                     I believe that all wisdom consists in caring immensely for a few right things, and not                            caring a straw about the rest.

John Buchan

Posted by lori . Filed under If I Die Today | 7 Comments

January 4

Try This – Wet Felting

.

I’ve been wanting to play with this…wet felting.  Felting is the process of matting and compressing fibers to create a dense cloth.  Wet felting cleans and felts the fibers at the same time. 

Purchase a few sweaters that are made of 100% wool.  Throw them in the washing machine (hot water wash/cold water rinse) with a little laundry detergent and a clean towel.  The towel helps agitate the sweaters.  Some sweaters will release alot of fibers, so you may want to attach a lint collector to the drain hose of your washer or place the sweaters in a pillowcase, secure the top and wash them that way.  Once the wash cycle is complete, you can (1) dry them flat on a towel, (2) wash them again to felt them more, (3) put them in the dryer to felt them even more.

I placed pins at the edges of the sweater pictured below to show the amount of shrinkage.  You can see the difference in one washing.

Sweater Before Washing

Sweater After One Washing

You know the sweater is felted if you can’t see the texture of the knitted stitches.  In the picture below, the yellow sweater on the left is not completely felted; the grey sweater on the right is felted.  I ran most of my sweaters through the wash and dry cycle three to four times before I got the result I wanted.

Join me this month as I do projects with these felted sweaters.  I would love to hear your ideas for projects and any experience you have with felting.

Daily Inspiration

 

The poetry of the earth is never dead. 

John Keats

Posted by lori . Filed under Try This | 10 Comments

January 3

Love This – PhotoWeavers

.

Back in November, I was reading Joey and Scout’s blog, Two Greyhound Town.  The post was called, Mama’s Christmas Present Is Here, and Mama’s Christmas present was a blanket from PhotoWeavers.  I thought it was really neat, so I ordered one for my husband for Christmas.  Isn’t it cool!

 

I knew I would like it because it had pictures of Freedom, Casper and Nikki on it, but I wasn’t expecting to be as impressed with it as I am.  It is beautifully done, lovely quality, great size (71″ x 53″ ) and made in North Carolina.

 

PhotoWeavers also makes tote bags, pillows and wall hangings.  I’m lovin’ it!

Daily Inspiration

 

Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?

Joan Didion

Posted by lori . Filed under Love This | 10 Comments

January 2

In My Studio – January 2

.

This week, I created some “canvases” for myself.  Back in July, I made a little yarn vase and was hooked; so, I wrapped some new vases.  Now, I’ll work on some embellishments for them.  I don’t know if it is easier to create a background and let that inspire me, or plan the whole project in advance.  Since I don’t have a distinctive “style” or process,  I’m going to start with a background and move forward from there.

This year, I’m participating in the Creative Every Day Challenge.  Simply put, it’s a challenge to do something…anything that is creative, every day.  To help myself “remember,” I hung up a calendar to record my progress.  This is the lovely Celebrating Greyhounds 2012 Calendar.

Something else I did that was creative…I moved into the 21st century with my nail color.  I’m currently sporting Essie “Merino Cool” on my fingernails and Essie “Bahama Mama” on my toes.

Daily Inspiration

Until one has loved an animal, part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

Anatole France

Posted by lori . Filed under In My Studio | 10 Comments