Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beginning to feel a lot like...

What do Grinches do when they are having trouble getting in the Holiday spirit?
They decorate! To the left you see a teeny tiny tree, for which I made a teeny tiny tree skirt. I made this tiny tree skirt by setting the lid to my All-Clad Saute pan on top of the red fabric and drawing the circle with tailor's chalk. I cut it out, folded it in quarters and cut out the inside circle so that the tree base would fit inside. I carefully measured by setting the little tree in top and eyeballing it. Then I did a satin stitch all around the edges and my mini tree skirt was done. Add tiny presents! "Do you think we can get away with this as the Christmas tree?". I asked Mr. Grinch, hopefully. "Nope", he said."You're dreaming."
I needed more Christmas spririt. Act the way you want to feel, right? So I made a Christmas stocking. Stockings are small and fast and fun to design, plus they make great gifts. This one is inspired by the stocking shown in Fast, Fun and Easy Christmas Stockings in the gallery. No instructions are given for this one, but that sort of thing doesn't faze Mrs. Hunting Creek. We don't need no stinking instructions, as my mom would say.

The little stocking is removeable, and hanging from the mantelpiece on the stocking. The Big stocking is hanging from my mantelpiece. Very meta, my son said.
The cardinal bird was my own genius addition to the design.
This sent the Holiday Spiritometer up only a notch. Clearly I would have to design my own stocking.

So I thought about doves, stars, snowflakes and the Holy Spirit, and came up with this one:

To make the doves, I traced a dove from last years Quilting Arts Gifts magazine issue. They had a dove tracing that was just what I had in mind, in the gift bag article. Well, I would repurpose their dove. Then I cut out the traced dove and then with the dove shaped hole in my tissue paper, gently penciled a dove on my white fabric. Then I cut out the two doves, but they were kind of plain, so I did a rubbing on them with a gold paintstick and the curves rubbing plate(but ONLY on the dove). I glued them to the fabric with an Elmer's glue stick and then when I liked the placement I zigzagged them on with gold thread. (Elmer's Gluestick is my secret weapon for applique. You could also use Steam A seam or Wonder Under. I like Elmer's for non-clothing applications.) I stood back and admired and then decided the blue fabric with gold stars needed more... I decided to stencil on some snowflakes with the silver paintstik.
Have you ever done a paintstik stencil? I never had before. I looked up the procedure in my copy of Paintstiks on Fabric, which tells you everything you need to know and then some about using paintstiks. The stencils are a nice weight of plastic, not too thin. I held them tight to the fabric with a little painter's tape. Scotch tape works too. Whatever you have so that the stencil does not move while you are painting. Then I used a little stencil brush to color in the stencil and when I was done I lifted it up and was careful not to smear it when I did the additional snowflakes by setting some wax paper over the finished ones.
Then I left the body of the stocking to dry for 24 hours and did the snowflakes on the cuff with my new sapphire blue paintstik. It's a beautiful dark iridescent blue that matched my fabric. Tonight I'll sew the stocking together and hang up and admire. I especially like how the dove at the top(done with just paintstiks to indicate a spirit dove) came out.
If you have never used the paintstiks before, I have to tell you that they are super fun and it is only because my family made me stop that we don't have multicolored (every color!) snowflakes all over the whole house. I can hardly wait to try the leaf stencils. Maybe I'll make a table runner...

Sometimes to break a creative slump it helps to do something totally different from your usual pursuits. I am thinking now of all kinds of fun and creative paintstik applications.
Here are some ideas:
A silk wrap with stenciled leaves or snowflakes or other designs, or rubbings
A table runner
painstiked appliques along the bottom of a skirt
On the bottom or pockets of jeans
On T shirt fabric for a custom design
I'm sure you could add more to my list.

Have you done anything fun lately to break a creative slump? Sometimes I think we don't let ourselves have enough fun. Maybe that should be my 2010 resolution: have more fun.

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