Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Indigo Dyeing and beyond

I have been dyeing everything in sight for the past few days - all the small pieces of fabric I have been collecting for the past 4 months- and trying with different kinds of fabric (even paper), to see how well they absorb the indigo. 

This is my first time doing this at home. I did try to do this before here, but there was really no explanation on how to care for an indigo vat, how long to keep your fabric inside the vat, or how long before you wait for it to turn the blue you need, so on and so forth. There are so many questions that I would like to ask a professional indigo dyer… anyway…

I have been stitching my days away for the past months, being inspired by Japanese boro, sashiko, and of course the color blue. Some of the work you can see here if you like.

Since I use little pieces of fabric for my work, I wanted to search for the perfect blue. There isn't really a perfect shade of blue, just a perfect shade for me, that is, as I do have a lot of the very dark shades, I simply needed a somewhere in the middle kind of blue.

Not an easy task at all, especially this being my first time dyeing at home.

So far this is the whole collection, but there are still more things that need to be dipped in that vat. They really need it, I can assure you that.

 This is the mini set up in my mini balcony.

The light blues. Plus a piece paper that refused to be dyed ;(

The bit darker blues.

And the perfect blue for me!! Hooray!!

I loved doing this. Everything about it, even that strong, pungent smell is absolutely amazing. To watch the fabric come out of the vat looking bright yellow and then slowly bit, by bit turn into a beautiful blue color, is just magic. And I LOVE magic!!

I bought my DIY kit from here, but there are so many kits out there. I really can't recommend this enough.

As you probably figured by now, I have turned into an occasional blogger. It just happened naturally, the same way I blogged 3 times a week, now I simply can't and won't.  Perhaps it will come again, you never know.

I'm always here if you want to find me.

I wish you a beautiful blue and warm day today, where ever you might be.
P.S: I'm a terrible self promoter, but I would be really grateful if you check out my new things here and perhaps tell me what you think?

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Fabric Book or record of fabrics

This little project has been in the back of my head for quite some time, as I wanted a place where I could keep and look at some of the fabric I've bought or was given to me. A special place to hold all these little pieces of fabric.

I love visual records, and this tactile one is becoming my favorite.

This is the front cover (no back cover yet), and a tad big, but what the heck, I'm all about improvisation, as you will see. No page is the same size or straight in any way.

I've added the typed name of the giver or companies to help me remember. The fabrics above can be better seen here.

Lately, I'm all about the blues, and Japanese fabrics.

 You can find Monday's Milk here and Yoko here.

Last but not least, these beauties were given to me by two very lovely people, and are the reason why I wanted a place to keep little squares of fabric before I use them on something and forget how they look like.

I should have apologized at the beginning for being absent and so on and so forth, but the truth is my life is pretty hectic and with so many ups and downs it has started to look a lot like a mexican telenovela, and the last place I want to vent about my life is here.

I do hope this little project inspires you to get cutting and stitching.  I will show this book once I'm finished, I think it will be in the "accordion" style, and I shall be back, but I don't know when.

Wishing you a very warm and lovely summer,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Commissions and compromises

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had been asked by someone to make 8 "badges/patches' for 8 different jackets.

I have made several "commissions" before, but mostly to people that I know. I met the commissioner here, after he saw one of my brooches on someone who had purchased one that same day. He briefly explained what he wanted for the 8 jackets, and a few days later we met to discuss all the details.

Basically, all the patches needed to be different, and the cost not so high. He also gave me these fabrics, and I was to incorporate pieces of them on the patches, other than that... free reign. So how do you give someone 8 ideas and not charge too much?? How do you make something for someone you don't really know, especially their taste?? Hmmm, questions, questions…..

I simply started by not thinking too much. I made the one above, and then 2 more. All different ideas. After I finished those, I thought it was too much… eight different ideas, all full of details and stitches, and a lot of my time. Scratch that and start over...

I needed a simplified version of this one, something that I could actually make 8 times without raking my brain. I needed to make a compromise with myself. I needed to know where to draw the line. Not an easy thing when you want to give the very best of yourself. It is after all, your work!

This was my compromise which ended up being the commission. They are supposed to be the label of the jackets- men's jackets, and they have one thing in common, the shape of a fingerprint.

I'm very happy with the result, and so was the "commissioner." I'm glad they are all different but that they have a common ground, so it was much easier for me to work around a central theme, and not wear myself down.

I also forgot to mention it was fun and exciting. The what to do, and how to do it, to repeat without actually being repetitive, and the stitches, the million stitches that make me so very happy to be able to do what I LOVE to do, is the best thing EVER.

Even if these are so different to what I usually work on, departures from what I'm used to doing, are wonderful distractions, and very, very inspiring.

I have a trip coming, an unplanned trip - business, not pleasure. I'm not sure I'll be able to write, but maybe I will, I never really know.

I wish you wonderful days, filled with blue skies and warm winds,
and thank you so much for tuning in, and leaving comments here and elsewhere,

Monday, May 18, 2015

Some days are better than others

I briefly mentioned in the last post how hectic and weird the past weeks have been.  A sort of roller coaster of emotions and thoughts have been passing through me almost daily, that I've found it very difficult to concentrate on many of my usual tasks. My sister gave me those words on the title a few years ago, and they seem to always reassure me. Simple and to the point.

You probably know already that I love words, quotes, poems, etc… And these seem to always resonate with my days, especially when the day is not going so great, and they immediately put me at ease. It is really OK to have bad days, they are actually not that bad if you really think about it. You just have to change the perspective a bit. As someone said (I don't know who); "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

I have been trying to remember to breathe and enjoying the little things, which at the end of the day is what saves me from me -I hope I'm not being too confusing-.

For instance, my beautiful and very neglected succulent has given me 2 flowers, and I'm so grateful for her effort. The top picture is from a few weeks ago, the one below is from a few days ago. She seems really insistent on making those flowers really long, and I can't stop being mesmerized by her beauty.

This other one below,  decided she no longer liked where she was and for a moment I thought I'd lost her, but I placed her outside and voilà, as a thank you she is now giving me her first bloom for the first time in 3 years.

Nature has always been the best medicine for me. Even spending some minutes in my balcony watching my plants... really watching and being with them, helps me so much.

Having certain objects close by when I'm at my desk, like the one above, always give me a much needed distraction. I could stare at things like these for the longest while.

Making things for friends just because, is also the greatest tonic for me. I made this tiny piece for a friend who likes little houses.  As I said before, there is nothing like receiving a surprise parcel full of love, but there is also nothing like making something for a friend that you'll know she'll like. In my case, making things for friends is a wonderful opportunity to ground myself.

I'm not claiming I'm an expert in dealing with bad days, but I think the less we think of them as bad the better the day becomes. Change the label a bit, spend a few hours, even minutes around nature, stare at nature's gifts, really look at their patterns and textures, and finally make special gifts for friends with great love.

I hope you have a very magical day, but just in case it isn't that magical just remember: "Things are as they are, we suffer because we imagined different."

P.S: Sorry for the quote overload, I was having one of those days (wink, wink).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Small parcels with lots of love

I have always believed in the perfect timing of things and how they find their way to you. These parcels below are amazing examples of excellent timing. They arrived in time to cheer, comfort, reassure and most of all to deliver the love the person invisibly wrapped just for me.

My life has felt a bit like a roller coaster lately, and these beautiful and amazing people from far away have made me feel loved, and for that I am deeply grateful.

It is magical how "pen-palships" are born, why some are a perfect match, and some others aren't, why some last many years and others don't. I've always thought it is actually quite similar to meeting someone in person- you either have the chemistry or you don't, and you either insist or you don't.

What I  know for certain is, that when beautiful parcels like these or simple, long letters arrive on my mailbox, my life is so much fuller and brighter because of them... And I feel very darn lucky!!

Thank you so very much, Juliane, Jenni, Puk, Julia, and Jen!!

I wish you a beautiful weekend ahead and may the stars align so that beautiful parcels arrive at your doorstep,

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Visiting Solingen and the Klingen Museum

A few weeks ago we decided  to visit the Klingen Museum in Solingen after a tip from a blogging friend. It is only 2 hours and a bit from Amsterdam, and well… I do love scissors, cutlery, knives, pointy things, etc… and this was just that sort of wonderful place.

 A thousand times swoon!

 And swoon a bit more…

 This one would look perfect in my collection…

How beautiful are these cases with the green and silver?  The perfect pocket knife. So sad they don't make things as beautiful as they did before.

 After all those gigantic swords, it was time for an ice-cream break.

Lo' and behold, we got lost but we found my kid's mothership, a Haribo supermarket. Guess who was the happiest in all the Solingen land?? I was!!

We drove 30 more minutes to see the Cathedral of Cologne, ate some amazing pretzels and then time to go back.

A very fun day for all of us, and perfect as a day trip. As a family with two kids that have almost a 10 year gap between them, it is sometimes quite difficult to find things they both can enjoy. This was really the best trip for both of them.

If you have any amazing ideas of things we could do, please, pretty  please let me know?? I will be eternally grateful ;)

Wishing you blue skies and tons of gummy bear eating,

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tulip season in Holland

This might not be any news for you, especially if you follow me on Instagram, but I love tulip season. I'm always quietly waiting for it to happen, and when it does, I feel I'm ready and fulfilled to wait another year for them to bloom again.

Every year it is different, even if they might look bit similar on the pictures, the colors and placement of this colors is not. I call it color therapy, and the most effective one. After 1 minute standing in one of those colorful fields, your soul immediately feels better. I tried filming it, and you can watch it here.

I hope this color therapy injects you with a little joy!

These last pictures, and the ones below are tulips we got to pick ourselves. I love them because they are all different, not like the kind they sell at the flower shops everywhere here, and the black background is my latest  obsession.

 A stylized version.

And a not so stylized version. Our messy dining table, but what the heck, if you're looking at the mess, then you are not really seeing those beauties.

This is our third year visiting the tulip fields, and you can see them here, here and here if you like.

Wishing you a wonderful and very colorful day,
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