Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grow like a tree -- Think like a tree

Coexist by Georgianne Holland, 2011
"Think of a tree, or any living event that emerges from within itself. It is the degree to which it obeys its inner commitment to unfold a certain pattern that enables it to overcome all of the resistance and the obstacles in the environment, and to demonstrate itself as a vast and vital manifestation of the energy of Life."
Swami Chetanananda

I have to admit that I do think about trees, if not like them, almost daily. Today, my favorite tree thought is the red maple tree in our front yard, as its leaves have just now begun to turn a coppery-pink color. Soon the entire tree canopy will be bright red and it will be brilliant. I am hopeful we do not get an early Fall snow storm, as that will shorten the fall foliage season considerably. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

My latest fiber art construction titled Coexist is another tree that has kept my mind busy. There are 12 birds of different colors nestled in the branches of this wool tree, and the leaves are appliqued wool, which cause them to protrude, or have that 3D-effect. The entire piece is made of wool, and is mounted on ivory linen in a wooden frame. It is my hope that this Coexist design will come to signify the unity that I believe exists between all people, for even as we have unique characteristics, we are all members of the human family. Chetanananda speaks of this as the vital manifestation of the energy of Life, and that energy can provide worldwide harmony. That is my prayer.

The Arbor Day Foundation is supported by my artwork and the success of my Nestle and Soar Studio. I received recently their journal where I read a vitally interesting article about how trees can tame storm water problems in communities everywhere. Most cities and towns in the United States have water systems that were constructed generations ago, and because they are underground and out of sight, their overwhelmed condition can be "out of mind" to most of us. Abundant trees can help curb costly storm water runoff, which is another benefit to trees that may not be top-of-mind. If you'd like to learn more about how you, your business, or your community can participate in water-system health through green landscapes, see the nice folks at

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Knit Three, Crochet None -- from Etsy

Full of Holes Pattern from 2SistersStringworks in Canada
There are so many resources on for people who want to be creative. I bought some lovely yarn at the Wool Festival in Estes Park, Colorado this summer, and stopped by Etsy today to find a few beginner knitting patterns to use with this yarn. As a member of this creative community, it is nice to know I can buy handmade items, and also, get help on making handmade items that are not yet part of my skill set!

3 Dish Cloth Patterns from KooklaCreations
I thought I'd share the three beginner knitting projects I fell in love with, and while there is no crochet involved at this time, I may challenge myself next month with a beginner crochet project. Does anyone have suggestions about what I should take on as my first crochet effort? I'm sure I'll need moral support :-)

The first project is a lovely triangular scarf pattern from 2SistersStringworks in Canada. I'm assured it is easier to knit than it looks, and I am counting on that. I have a gorgeous blue/cream/green variegated yarn to use for this project; won't that be great!

Olivia Scarf Kit from DaisyAndFlorrie on Etsy
The next project I'd like to try comes from Sydney Australia and the Etsy shop of KooklaCreations. I think that these dish cloths will be a perfect way for me to practice knitting stitches in a small format. Once I get the hang of the pattern, I will have confidence to try a larger project with more than the garter stitch. Brilliant! Also, when knit with a cotton yarn, these dish cloths will dry quickly and be a colorful addition to my kitchen...or your kitchen: great gift idea!

The final awesome beginner knitting project I found today comes from DaisyAndFlorrie of Chicago. This sweet kit is so appealing to me, I think I'll need to buy more than one. I'm thinking the kit itself would be a great gift item as I'd like to encourage a few of my non-knitting friends to take up the craft! With this gift, we can all knit together and that will make it more fun. I guess I'll just have to save my other Wool Festival yarns for the cold months ahead...and perhaps my growing confidence with being the kind of knitter who can do more than just "make garter stitch scarves" will blossom. You never could happen!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, September 16, 2011

How to Make It on Friday

There are never enough ways for a busy studio space to provide storage. Especially when the studio is the home of a fiber artist, and said fiber artist likes to have multiple projects in process at all times. Add to those storage needs a few daily drop-in visitors or students who need one-on-one sewing instruction, and what you have is a hot mess.

I want to share with you one easy way to help in this situation using common materials and 20 minutes of sewing time. This Coffee Can Organizer is easy to make with scrap fabrics, a few feet of yarn as well as 3/8" elastic. I pilfered an empty coffee can from my husband's collection in the garage. If you don't have access to such a collection (lucky you), you can also use an empty paint can available at your local big box home improvement store for about $4. Or, you could just quickly drink a lot of coffee..whichever way works best for you.

Here are the 9 steps to take in making your very useful Coffee Can Organizer
1. Measure circumference and height of can to be covered; add two inches to each dimension. Cut out two rectangles of this size from scrap fabric; these will make the outside and inside of your can cover.
2. Using the dimensions of your two rectangles as your guide, add 10" to the longest dimension and cut a third rectangle from your fabric; this will make the elasticized pocket.
3. With right sides together, using a 1/2" seam, sew the two rectangles from step one above along one of the longest sides. Press that seam flat to one side and stitch it down 1/4" away from stitching line. You now have a larger rectangle with a finished seam in the middle.
4. Press your elasticized pocket piece from step 2 in half, wrong sides together. Sew a 1/2" channel along this pressed edge, leaving the start/finish open (you will insert elastic into this channel). Using a safety pin as your guide, thread 3/8" elastic through channel and sew the start end to the fabric to secure it. Use your safety pin to secure the ending tail of elastic after it is completely through the channel (you won't know wet how firmly to pull the elastic for your particular can, so securing it with safety pin is just the thing to do).
5. Place the elasticized pocket on the bottom of your larger rectangle, which you created in step 3. Pin it in place. Refer to your measurement of the circumference of the can you are covering and gently ease the elastic so that the pocket top is 2-3 inches smaller than the can's circumference. This will allow the items you place in the pockets to be held in place by the elastic. Sew pocket dividers vertically from top of pocket to bottom of pocket, roughly every 3-4 inches. I have 5 pockets in my Coffee Can Organizer using this method.
6. Now that you have elastic in the piece, it will bunch up in a weird way. That's okay. Allowing for that, to complete the next step, place the can cover over your coffee can, right side touching the can. [If there happens to be another person available to you, now is great time to ask for a third hand!] Stretching the can cover over the can at this time allows you to pin the seams shut that you will be sewing in the next step. It will help you "sew to fit" the can you are covering. Remove can cover carefully from the can to avoid being pricked by pins.
7. With right sides together and the finished seam you just made horizontally located across the middle, stitch this larger rectangle into a tube shape, using a 1/2" seam. This step is a little unwieldy because of the elastic, but you can do it. Try to keep your 1/2" seam allowance along the whole seam length.
8. At each open end of your lovely tube, turn under 1/2" onto the inside of the tube, like you are hemming it. Press or sew that 1/2" turn-under flat. Now you are going to repeat that action, turning under another 1/2" on each end of the tube, but this time, sew the "hem" down leaving a small opening at the start/finish, creating a casing that can have a length of yarn inserted to drawstring the tube-ends shut.
9. Turn your can cover right sides out and stretch it over your can. The elasticized pocket should be on the outside of the can and the horizontal seam in the middle should be at the lip of the can. Push down into the can the rest of the rectangle, which is the lining fabric. Thread a piece of yarn into the channels on at each end of the can cover. Pull the yarn to gently close the tube ends and tie off the yarn.

Well, there you have it! I have placed my Covered Coffee Can on my largest work table. It is light weight, so when I need to reach way out to pick it up and take it with  me to another part of the studio, it is easy to do. I have each student make one of these to keep their supplies in order and we store them in a cupboard until the next time they are working with me in the studio. Also, they are creative! Each one is unique and fun to have out--they decorate the worktables!

BONUS IDEA You can also make one these cans for your next party...fill the outside pockets with silverware and place a handful of napkins in the middle...quick and easy way to entertain for a large group.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gratitude is an Attitude (and a Habit)

I am a believer in taking time to truly feel gratitude and to do this on a daily basis. I even have a special chair I sit in at home for this quiet time in my day. It seems to me that what I think about in this simple way has a habit of displaying itself more often in my life! For instance, when I am grateful for my creativity, I soon become a sponge for new ideas and great project daydreams. I just bubble over with creative ideas.

I would like to make time to document what I am grateful for in my Electronic World, too, and I invite you join me in this gratitude practice. I am suggesting that we take one minute to make note of what we are grateful for today. Just type out a few descriptive words as a comment to this blog and let's gather in this manner to witness the grateful attitudes we share.

I'll start...
I am grateful for my pain-free feet. The Spenco slippers I just bought are my new best friend. My poor feet have been so sore lately and these slippers are designed to absorb the pressure of walking. Now instead of feeling like my heels are bruised with every step, I feel no pain. This is huge for me and I am grateful.

Now it's your turn...

Thank you for stopping by,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Awesome Ideas I Found Today

Today was fun for looking around at great ideas other people have published on the Internet, and I am excited to share what I found at Pinterest. Do you agree with me that each of these ideas are practical and whimsical? Take a peek and if you like what you see, learn more at the above link.

This is a beautifully simple way to store and enjoy your jewelry! A flatware organizer has been hung on the wall and tiny cup hooks were used to hang your necklaces and bracelets. Small boxes are placed on the bottom shelf to hold earrings. I love this idea!

My next awesome idea find shows how L-brackets from the hardware store can be lined up to make a decorator magazine rack. This is pretty enough to place front and center next to your favorite reading spot!

The fourth awesome idea I found involves a solution to one of my personal pet messy plastic container drawer! This brilliant person used CD racks to make a parking spot for each plastic container lid. No more having to unload the whole drawer to find that one missing lid! Awesome.

Here is the first project I think I will undertake from this group of wonderful ideas...a vintage spoon collection rack has been re-purposed to store sunglasses. Isn't that clever? They have even used a little Modge Podge to decoupage a fun paper onto the display to dress it up quickly and easily. When my family comes to visit, there are often 3 or 4 pairs of sunglasses tossed onto my entry hall table. I've even found a few broken pairs left behind. This will make the sunglasses spot easy to find and use. I love it!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed these awesome ideas like I have! Which one would you make first?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gifts for Bird Lovers

Whitney Smith's Bird Lidded Vessels
You may be a bird lover -- I know that I am smitten with them. I have found (or created) some
lovely handmade items for bird lovers everywhere and wanted to share them with you.
Whitney Smith is a talented and popular ceramics artist who works and lives in California.
I love her Bird Lidded Vessel series and have three colors of these sweet dishes
for you to choose from. They are food safe and perfect for the kitchen or the bedroom.
I like to keep my rings in the green dish on my dressing table. (See more by clicking the photo caption).

Donna Inscho-Hynes' Birdie Cup
 These cups by Colorado potter Donna Inscho-Hynes are my favorite for coffee and tea early in the morning. The sculptural bird makes holding the cup easy and fun! The bird's feathers are carved into
the birdie and check out the leaves Donna placed on the cup's handle!
This is the cup my guests always choose, so that's why I have one in each of the five colors.
Sharing is fun when you get to use one, too. (See more colors by clicking the photo caption.)

Nestle and Soar's 4-magnet Folk Art Set by Georgianne Holland
I am one of those artists who is kind of sad seeing her original work leave home. 
That is why I take professional photos of my most endearing work and reproduce it
into other items! This set of 4 magnets are a simple gift idea for bird lovers. In fact, you can
buy all four and give them away, one at a time. You will know who your super special friends are
when you give them the complete set...their fridge will be decked out with folk art!

Thanks for stopping by today. I'd love to hear if you make or know of other wonderful gifts for 
bird lovers. I am always on the look out for wonderful handmade items in my
Nestle and Soar Studio website. Take care, Georgianne