Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'Neighborhood Park' Hat- Part 3 of 3

Swing and kite stuck in a tree.


Close-up of embroidery and cloth kite tails.


From above on my delightful model (and daughter), L.


Displaying the access road into the park.


Ready for a little snooze in the summer sun?


This hat was created for one particular purpose...

...to wear to the Mad Hatter's Parade at the Felter's Fling last week!

It was my first 'Fling', and it was SO thrilling...

...that I'm really still trying to process all that I saw and learned while I was there!

Unfortunately, due to the disturbing presence of Hurricane Irene...

...we had to cut our week a bit short...

...but there will still be plenty of wonderful photos to share in the week ahead!!

P.S. My hat won one of the many prizes...

...in the category of "Most Ridiculous Hat" (or something like that)!!! Giggle.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

'Neighborhood Park' Hat- Part 2 of 3

Laying out a pre-felt kite and adding tree roots.


After a second layer of fiber was added to the grass and road.


The fully wrapped resist.


After rolling and felting...with the resist removed.


The hat back.


The front of the hat.


A hint for next time! :)


I used small triangles of pre-felt for the kite body...

...and made a tail with a thin strip of pre-felt and bits of pencil roving.

I added another layer of fiber to the entire hat surface...

...refreshing the yellow center lines on the road.

After rolling and felting for a time...

...I cut the felt at the hat bottom, and removed the resist.

I finished felting the hat, trimmed the brim...

...and stuffed some fiber into the trees for 'puffiness'.

Next time: the finished hat...and what a silly hat it is!! :)

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Friday, August 26, 2011

'Neighborhood Park' Hat- Part 1 of 3

Cutting out a basic hat template.


Designing 'trees'.


Attaching the trees to the pattern.


Adding the corner of a 'kite stuck in a tree' to the resist.


Laying out roving.


Flipping it over for side two.


Yellow pencil roving marks the center line on the road's surface.


Most of you know that I'm not really a hat maker...

...but I needed to make one to wear to a "Mad Hatters" party this week...

...and I decided that if I had to make one, I'd at least make it interesting! Giggle.

I fashioned a template for a standard sort of hat...

...then added antennae-like trees to the template top.

I traced my design onto a piece of foam floor underlayment for a resist...

...and added an extra corner piece for the kite that I planned to have stuck in the tree. :)

I laid out green roving for the grass and leaves, brown roving for the tree trunks...

...and light black roving for the surface of the road.

Short lengths of yellow pencil roving...

...mark the center line on the highway.

Next time: the kite makes an appearance!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More Synthetic Fun- Part 2 of 2

The completely encased resist with all fiber layers applied.


The back of the finished bag.


The bag front with tussah silk bits.


A close-up of the finished texture.


After cutting out a 'hand-hold' opening and blanket-stitching with embroidery thread.


The opened bag.


The finished purse.


This is one of those projects which languished due to lack of interest.

As much as I loved the finished texture of the felted fabric mid-section...

...I wasn't really happy with the way the fabric pulled the bag out of shape during felting...

...and wasn't sure how I wanted to cut out the handles or finish the bag.

Luckily, my daughter, L, came to the rescue...

...cutting 'carrying holes' in the bag top and hand-stitching around each opening.

She also realized that inserting chopsticks (like dowels) into the bag top for support...

...would make it easier to both hold and open the bag! Brilliant!!

Of course, you might guess that all of this 'help' comes with a price...

...my new bag is now her her bag!! Smile.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

More Synthetic Fun- Part 1 of 2

Stretchy cotton/synthetic blend fabric and foam resist.


Laying out variegated roving.


Adding fabric band.


Close-up of tussah silk accents.


Encasing the resist.


Flipping the piece to repeat the process on side two.


Some months ago, when my friend, Linda was visiting...

...we attempted to make open-top bags using a resist.

Since neither of us had tried this particular kind of bag before...

...it was a case of the 'blind leading the blind'! :)

I had some beautiful variegated red and orange roving from my friend, Dawn that I'd been wanting to use...

...and a piece of highly textured, open-weave, orange(!) cotton/synthetic blend fabric...

...with which to make a wide stripe along the bag's middle.

Next time: the finished bag.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

'Secret Weapon' Cheesecake

Perfect looking? No...


...but if you're looking for the perfect dessert...


...you've come to the right place!


Now, I know that people can get a little bit 'political' about what makes a perfect cheesecake...

...and I understand that regional and cultural differences always come into play when it comes to food...

...but I'll bet that if I can get you to try this recipe just once...

...you'll never make it any other way again! :)

I call this my secret weapon cheesecake...

...because it's made from very few ingredients, is quick to prepare...

...and it's designed to please the most critical of guests...

...mothers-in-law, potential spouses or even important business associates! :)

I could just as easily have titled this 'Stop Your Heart' Cheesecake...

...since this recipe is as packed with fat and calories as it is with delicious flavor.

Provided that you serve small portions and don't eat it all yourself :) ...

...I promise you that it will disappear before you have a chance to overindulge!!

Two important caveats:

For it to be as good as it can be...

...you must follow the directions exactly as written on your first try.

(You can save your experiments for tries two through infinity!)

It also should be made a day or two before you want to eat it for best flavor.


Secret Weapon Cheesecake


3/4 to 1 c finely chopped pecans or walnuts

2 cups sugar

Four 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (Philadelphia Brand if at all possible...it does make a difference!)...softened

6 eggs...at room temperature

2 tsp (real) vanilla

16 ounce container sour cream.


Spray the bottom only of a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Spread the ground nutmeats evenly on the pan bottom to make a crust.

In a large electric mixer bowl, beat softened cream cheese.

Add sugar and blend well.

Add eggs one at a time, blending well between each egg.

Add vanilla.

Beat sour cream until smooth and then add it to the mixture, blending well.

Pour into prepared pan (gently, so as not to disturb the crust).

Bake in a 375 degree (F) oven for 45-55 minutes (it should be lightly browned).

Turn the oven OFF, but leave the cake in the oven with the door closed.

Allow the cake to remain in the oven for another hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool 3 hours at room temperature.

The cake must be at room temperature before refrigeration for proper texture.

Remove the pan ring and refrigerate for at least 8 hours prior to serving.

It will keep for 2 weeks...

...but I don't think you'll need to worry about it being around that long!! Grin.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Swap Gifts...Painting and Shawl

Lovely Asian-inspired painting.


My beautiful daughter, L, modeling my new shawl.


A view from the side.


With a chopstick shawl pin.


In all of its glory.


A close-up of the wonderful beaded edge.


My friend, Denise, is a Renaissance woman...

...painter, knitter, photographer (among other things)...

...and this is all in addition to her 'day job'! :)

We happily arranged to do a 'fiber swap' some months ago...

...and here are photographs of my terrific new gifts!

She used an alpaca and silk yarn for the shawl...

...that she purchased from our mutual friend, Andrea...

...and it's wonderfully soft and shimmery.

Now, it just has to cool off enough around here...

...so that I can finally have a chance to wear it!!

Thank-you, Denise...

...I LOVE my gifts!!!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hindu Deity Tote Bag- Part 3 of 3

A view from the top.


The bag back.


The finished bag.


A close-up of the tote back.


A side view.


The stuffing and blocking flattens the bottom and rounds out the bag sides.


In light and shadow...a mysterious smile.


This project made me reaffirm my love affair with silk...

...after I saw the way that the scarf felted so beautifully into the white roving.

Unlike using synthetic fabric, which can be a little dicey...

...this fabric melded with the wool fibers nearly effortlessly.

In fact, after it was finished, I had several friends puzzle...

..."How did you get the design on there?" :)

I take special care when I dry these larger totes...

...ensuring that the bag bottom dries into a flat, oval shape...

...and that the sides are as smoothly bowed as I can get them.

Unlike the last tote that I made for this particular friend...

...this time, I left the handle wide and unstitched...

...for comfortable carrying.

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