Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Boo

November 1, 2009

Autumn is upon us and that means the holidays are quickly approaching.  At the studio, this means decorating many homes and businesses for the festivities.  We completed our first installation this week.  The home is one of our regular clients.  It is a spectacular mansion, designed by the reknowned Julia Morgan, the female architect most famous for designing the Hearst Castle and hundreds of other buildings.  William Randolph Hearst, however, was her most prestigious and regular patrons.  This particular home is perched on one of San Francisco’s spectacular hills.

For the installation the client asked us to decorate the entranceway of the home with some fun Halloween elements which could be removed at the end of October to leave behind a feast of autumn.  The lead designer and company hung webbing, spiders and a gorgeous rose-hip wreath on the door while I created the cornucopia arrangements.  The result is fun and, now that Halloween is over, we’ll take away the silly stuff and leave behind a lovely installation of fall’s bounty.

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Halloween Fairies…

November 1, 2009

I received a call at the studio on Friday at 5 pm from a woman asking if we could make 2 floral crowns for her daughters by 1 pm Saturday.  They were going to be fairies for Halloween.  Now, floral crowns can be quite labor intensive as you have to wire each individual flower in order to weave it into a crown.  The studio closes at 6 pm.  And every Saturday I must complete 24+ very large arrangements for our weekly accounts + handle any walk-in customers/phone orders + manage retail sales of home accessories.  I nearly collapsed at the thought of 2 floral crowns.  But the woman sounded desperate and was open to any floral idea for dressing up her kids’ hair.  After discussing options with another designer, I decided to take on the challenge.

On my way home from work I picked up some inexpensive mums from another shop (since we weren’t going to the flower market in the morning).  I also purchased some inexpensive plastic head bands.  In the morning I wrapped each headband in ribbon:

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And then set about decorating the headbands with flowers:

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And voila!

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Two, quick-and easy, floral headbands fitting for a fairy!

HOW TO HOST A FELTING MYSTERY

May 14, 2009

It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of two creative, informative, and exciting new books by two first-time authors who are dear to my heart.

feltique

The first is entitled Feltique; Techniques and Projects for Wet Felting, Needle Felting, Fulling, and Working with Commercial Felt. It is a collaboration between Nikola Davidson and the fabulous Brookelynn Morris. I’m a bit biased, yes, because Brookelynn is a friend who never ceases to amaze me with her talents, inspiration, humor, and joi de vivre. I cannot wait to get my hands on the book and try out a new craft. For all of my N. California readers, Ms. Morris will be making two book launch appearances!

Feltique is published by Random House and all rights to the image posted above belongs to them. (Please don’t step on me Random House…I’m just trying to promote your phenomenal new book :)) So everyone, go pick up a copy!!

library mystery

The second equally exciting, unique, and inspiring book is….drum-roll please…Hosting a Library Mystery by Elizabeth M. Karle. I know I’m not alone in my viewpoint that, well, libraries ROCK. Sure, the computer screen will always beckon us with it’s wealth of reliable and unreliable resources, but nothing gives back more to a local community than a library. As the world looks more and more for quick answers via technology, it is very important to nurture our libraries as the crossroads of information and inspiration that they are. In Hosting a Library Mystery Ms. Karle puts all of her years as a dedicated Library goddess to work in a fun, creative, and interactive how-to book chalk-full of ways to excite and educate library patrons of all ages. The book is an absolute gift to libraries around the world looking to invigorate and connect with the people they serve and to help library goers realize the wealth of resources available just around the corner– in the pages of books and through the knowledgeable library staff themselves. What’s more, I can say from 30 years of looking up to Elizabeth M. Karle as my big sister and role model– you can’t find a more thoughtful, intelligent, unique, and fun-loving lady around. We are all so lucky to finally have a tiny sliver of her insight and essence on the page to share. So go get yourselves a copy and let the games begin!

(Hosting a Library Mystery is published by the American Library Association and all rights to the image posted above belongs to them.)

Congratulations, ladies, on these huge milestones in your lives and creative development! I cannot wait for your next book releases and to follow along on your exciting journeys. Thanks for always inspiring me!

SHUTTER STEPS

April 4, 2009

I’m finally moving forward with photography musings which have festered in my mind for ages. I adore taking photographs and I have a very specific aesthetic. I understand camera mechanics (I took photography classes in college) but get overwhelmed whenever I delve into the world of professional photographer forums. The gear talk becomes paralyzing and my ambition/confidence level plummets.

San Francisco cafes and shops are full of local artwork and damn-it, I feel like my work is just as good.  So what if I still have a lot to learn?  So, in the past week I have taken these steps:

1) I compiled a portfolio/book of some of my best, most focused work entitled “elements”. It’s nothing special– I made it with the iphoto software– but it’s currently being printed and I should have it at my disposal next week. I may have to tweak color levels on the photos once I see how they look printed vs. on screen, but hopefully I’ll have a portfolio to refer to soon.

2) I enrolled in SF city college. They have photography classes each semester for dirt cheap and I’m gonna finally start taking some– in the fall semester, schedule permitting.

3) Last night I completed a photo mounting/display project I’ve been fantasizing about for about a week. I’ve always wondered how to display my photos–I’ve wanted something unique and outside the norm of black frame, white matte.

wax, glue, and acrylics

wax, glue, and acrylics

I stumbled upon encaustic wax paintings recently and imagined how interesting it might be to mount my images on wood and then cover them in a layer of wax paint. My sweetness brought home scrap wood from his work (building wooden boats) and I used 2 pieces for the experiment. I don’t have many of my images printed, but was able to use 2 prints I already had at home which were a bit mis-colored, but usable.

FIRST: I cut the prints down to a size that would work for the scrap wood. Eventually, I will cut the wood down to the size for the prints, sand the wood down, and drill mounting holes in the back.

SECOND: I painted the edges of the wood in white or black (depending on the image to be mounted).

THIRD: I glued the images to the wood. stone-project

FOURTH: I applied the wax substance to the pictures. They are currently drying– it takes about 2 days for the wax to set.

I’m super happy with the results, but need to tweak a few things. You can’t tell in these images, but the wax makes the photographs look like paintings b/c they have dimension on the surface and streaks of wax. So it’s a good start…

trial run:  the wood will be custom cut next time

trial run: the wood will be custom cut next time

FABRIC-ENVY

February 12, 2009

I have fabric-envy this afternoon. Let me explain. One of the many ways I support myself is by freelancing as a personal assistant. I worked this morning with a lovely pregnant client, 2 weeks shy of her due date. In an effort to prepare for the baby ‘s arrival I am helping to organize her home by sifting through boxes of creative projects and years of teaching. Today, I sorted (by color) 13 boxes of fabric she accumulated in the hopes of one day making/selling homemade baby toys. Vintage fabrics, used clothes, upholstery fabric, sweaters, etc. I don’t think she quite realized what an ideal task this was for me. Sorting pretty fabric by color!? I’m such a dork…but I remember throwing temper tantrums when I was a kid if my pajama’s didn’t color co-ordinate. And I don’t believe I was an unruly or snob of a kid– I was a bit of a tom boy, in fact. (Siblings, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). But COLOR…well, everything is color to me. I can’t quite explain it, but my emotions are far too heavily swayed by color.

I’m very glad my closets aren’t swelling with too many boxes of fabric, but I do have a wee case of fabric envy. I often run to the thrift store down the street to find fabric for some hair-brained project. Often I try to make the project too quickly without taking the proper steps or thinking it through. I can spend months without sewing inspiration and then wammo, I get an idea and I want to produce it INSTANTLY. So, I’m trying to learn to be a less impatient sewer and project maker.

iBook quilted pouch, handmade by frutz

Here is a project I made a while back. It’s a quilted pouch for my Apple iBook and it is invaluable to me. I found the quilted blue fabric in the Mission district of San Francisco and the striped blue fabric (for the lining) at a nearby Goodwill store. The pocket on the outside is just the right size to fit a CD/DVD + computer cord. If I ever make another one I’d perfect the design with an additional pocket or two and perhaps a unique button on the flap. But my little white laptop slides into this pouch “just so” and can then travel in any bag or suitcase without a care.

quilted iBook pouch (closed view)

quilted iBook pouch, handmade by frutz

Another recent project involves 2 kitchen chairs my fiance found on the street a while ago. The streets of San Francisco are the Giving Tree of found objects. Rents may be high, but I swear, if you have a little patience and creativity, you never have to purchase a single item of furniture. Between Craigslist.com (God bless you, Craig), thrift stores, and the generousity/laziness of residents who leave things out on the street, you are all set. You’d be hard-pressed to find a piece of furniture in my home which I bought. Some people might find this horrific, but if you’re a bit flexible in your expectations and needs, you can have a pretty chic home for very little. It’s by no means high lux, but my home is colorful, cozy, funky, and inviting. Our home is like a rotating gallery– we have some things which I will admit I hate, but they serve a purpose and when we find something of better quality/style, the old item goes out onto the streets and the new piece comes inside.  Many things I’d like to refinish or paint or change in some way and I slowly get around to those projects. Which leads me back to the kitchen chairs– I recently recovered these found objects with a beautiful, but un-loved sweater. I’m not a huge fan of the wood finish on the chairs, but hey, I may one day get around to changing that. But for now, I’m pretty happy with the chairs’ new outfit.

before

before

after

after

BITS AND BOBS

January 16, 2009
cloud photo installation

cloud photo installation

The cloud installation (above) hangs in my kitchen, above the sink. I photographed the clouds on a trip to Vermont during 2006. The images are mounted on foam core.

my *precious

my *precious

This is the tiny, wooden dish where my rings rest at the end of a busy day on my hand. The handmade ring to the right was bought for me by Seth at an outdoor market on our recent trip to Sydney, Australia. I rarely make quick decisions, but this was the fastest purchase I’ve ever made. I loved it, we bought it. The ring in the middle is my perfect, new engagement ring. The photo does not do justice to the river carved through the middle of the silver ring by a local San Francisco artist, with a beautiful Canadian, fair trade diamond inset. And to the left is a teeny little snail shell…just because it’s cute.

beach glass mobile, homemade by frutz

beach glass mobile, homemade by frutz

I made this beach glass mobile about a year ago after a visit to the wild Lost Coast in Northern California and Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA. I wish the photo better captured how sweet and whimsical this little baby is as it catches the light. It hangs over my bed.
baja, mendocino, joshua tree, baja

baja, mendocino, joshua tree, baja

The photos (above) are mounted on foam core and are hung vertically in my kitchen using cooking string. From top to bottom: Sea Star – trip to Baja 2003, Flower – Mendocino Coast, Seth – Joshua Tree, Beach Sand – Baja 2003.

HELLO WORLD!

January 15, 2009

There’s no right way to start this, so here I go. If you had told me yesterday or even 2 hours ago that I would be writing a blog today I would have looked you in the eye a few moments, thought about it, and then said, “naaaahhhh I don’t think I could ever really do a blog.” My reasoning and excuses would be numerous, and they would boil down to the essence of 3 points:

  1. I could START a blog, yes. But after about an hour or 2 of enthusiasm, I’d become bored upon realizing how much effort would be involved. The blog would wither in my mind or in the infancy of a blogspot username account.
  2. I can’t write down the thoughts in my head. This is true. I’ve tried. If any of this is making sense, it’s luck. It won’t last long. And
  3. I’m too scatterbrained. I have a million ideas that get lost in the throes of sporadic conviction. My interests are many and my talents are genuine, but only surface deep. I’ve dug a million holes looking for water, but the holes are all too shallow to reach the water.

So here I am, turning to a blog. The blog– a perfect tool for wrestling scatterbrain demons and self-defeating excuses, all wrapped within the facade of productivity. I never understood blogs before. But I had an “aha!” moment about an hour ago, and this blog seemed the only and best answer. So I’m giving it my best shot. Ahhh…blogdom.

(If I were a good blogger, you would now see a little black and white pencil illustration of this analogy:

my blog = me bailing out a sinking boat which actually is my brain filled with all sorts of pretty objects that happen to be causing my brain/boat to sink. Got it?)

So that’s my reason. Oh, and the fact that I turned 30 yesterday, which is just a coincidence that happened to collide with my “aha” moment. But it’s a good coincidence.

Aha!

This all started because I received a bouquet of flowers from my lovely aunt yesterday. As I sat in my living room talking to friends today I kept looking over into the kitchen, eager to get the chance to take the bouquet apart and arrange the flowers in various jars, bowls, and glasses. It’s one of my favorite things in the world to do– put flowers into vessels. I pick flowers and branches from all over my San Francisco city neighborhood and backyard and bring them home to scatter around my home. I’m not sure if this is legal, but I do it. There’s a lavender and rose patch growing wild and un-tended just a few houses down the street–literally sprouting up through cracks. There’s a magnolia tree that blossoms the most spectacular flowers next door. Anyway, I was jones-ing to get at this flower arrangement.  I thought, “This is something I’m good at.  This is something I like to do.”  And then I realized, “Aha…I could have a blog recording this type of nonesense!”

Here’s the flower arrangement BEFORE, as it arrived for my 30th birthday:

beautiful, but boring

beautiful, but boring

And here’s how it looked after I attacked it:

simple relief

simple relief

(Insert into blog a pencil sketch of me roundhouse kicking the “before bouquet”. Boo-yeh!)

So that’s what you can expect from my blog: Snapshots of tiny, domestic inspiration, the magnetic pull of bold colors and patterns to my eye, an obsessive preoccupation with simple food, and an over-stating of the praises of nature’s perfection. Enjoy, blogopolis!

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