Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday -- January 31, 2012

The end of January has snuck up on me! It feels like we just rang in the new year. Today in Colorado, it is 65 degrees and feels like a Rocky Mountain spring day. But we need more winter weather and the trees and animals need to keep doing their quiet renewal work. I had a lot of fun keeping track of my top ten projects, artists, and ideas for this week. And of course, I always enjoy the favorite animal of the week. I hope you enjoy it too. Feel free to click-through to the fine folks I've listed here. I'm happy to hear if something you make or know about should be included in a future top ten list!

#1 Coffee for the Birds

 This adorable bird house and feeding station was created by Weavers Custom Corner on Etsy. If you are particularly fond of coffee, or of birds, this sculputral art may be just the thing for a special corner of your yard.

#2 Homemade Puzzles for Kids of all Ages

This easy-to-follow craft tutorial by Play Create Explore includes numerous ideas about how you can use craft sticks and Modge Podge (don't you just love Modge Podge!) to create simple puzzles that will become a favorite.

#3 Wool Felt Mat or Rug

I first fell for this felt rug project by The Crafts Department on Martha Stewart.com because I love the color selections that were made. Then, when I realized how they so easily made this rug, I loved it even more! I have a lot of leftover felt, as perhaps you might imagine, so this project has been added to my short list of things I'd like to try.

#4 Craft Room Chair ReDo
I am a big supporter of creating for yourself a fabulous creative space! This belief is shared by Mandy at Sugar Bee Crafts. Her chair upgrade project is getting me to thinking about some of my battered studio chairs...I also think it is wonderful when people start taking items apart to improve them before putting them back together! I say, Take out the Power Tools! Make a Mess!

#5 Felt Bird Brooch

I think it is easy to see why I would include this sweet Chaffinch by Lupin on Etsy in a top ten list...it is just darn cute. And, it is made of felt, which I am partial to. I like the color detail that Lupin included as well as her small, uniform hand stitching. This brooch would be lovely on my nubby black and grey winter coat!

#6 Bird Watercolor

This original watercolor is made by Imogen's Attic in Scotland. She tells of finding a whole flock of these sweet birds at the tearoom where she lives. Can't you just see the little bird looking up and asking for another little bite of tea cake? This lovely original work by Imogen, along with other gorgeous art, it available here.

#7 Button Earrings

I think this project is darn clever! You take two mismatched earrings you don't care about any more, and with the easy-to-follow tutorial on Ruffles & Stuff, you create a smashing new pair using an inexpensive card of buttons. Now I know that I have a lot of buttons in my studio...I think I will go see which pair of buttons I will use first to add to my wardrobe!

#8 Bird Pin Cushions

These sweet pin cushions by Felt Mates on Etsy caught my eye on Pinterest. I love her bright colors and the child-like coziness of her designs. It looks like she uses simple porcelain custard cups for her pin cushion bases, which is clever, as it will give the whole thing stability. Well done!

#9 Cell Phone Charger

Can you tell what this phone charger is made out of? I love the design as it keeps the phone up off of the counter, one of my pet peeves. It is eco-friendly. Need another hint? The smell of this thing that turns into a phone charger will make you think of kissing a baby's head....or at least, that's what it makes me think of! The inventive gal behind Make It - Love It turned a Johnson's Baby Lotion bottle into this great new gadget. You can follow her tutorial and make one of your own!

#10 Great Animal Picture of the week...enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by, Georgianne

Friday, January 27, 2012

Studio Scene --- Fiber Folk Art at Nestle and Soar

There are few places I enjoy spending time in more than my fiber folk art studio. I am convinced that when I descend the stairs into this large work/play space, the atmosphere is charged with good energy. It doesn't matter if I am in good mood or bad, entering into my creative space is consistently serene. I often bless my space and walk around feeling gratitude for all the options and tools that are waiting there for me! And I also take the time to tidy up the studio after each work day, as it seems that an environment so important to my well-being should be respected. I think it is a privilege to have a job that often allows me to walk into the room, look around, and ask myself, "What is calling to me today?" It is almost as if the project directs me instead of me forcing a result. Do you think this is weird? Has this sort of object-driven calling been part of your creative time? I'd love to hear about it!

I am including a few photos from my studio today...there is a gentle dusting of snow coming down outside, so the lighting is soft. 

New pillow design in process...100% wool on organic linen.
My favorite Nancy Drew book is ready for a re-read!

I enjoy collecting pincushions and buttons.

This sweet Robin in a Cherry Tree is a pillow design that is showing promise...lots of hand sewn French knots in this beauty!

The sun was starting to peek through the snow clouds by the time I took this third photo. If you look closely, you can see a photo of my last marathon...this one took place in Boulder, Colorado in 2007. I wonder if I have any more marathons in me?

Thanks for stopping by my studio!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday

It has been a wonderfully busy week here at Nestle and Soar Studio in Colorado. I have found a few ideas, organizations, and folks that I really want to pass along -- these are the things that have made my work this week just sing! I hope you will have the chance to look into a few of these great offerings. I've tried to make it easy for you to find them and enjoy them.

#1  TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

TAFA is a business community of entrepreneurs rooted in textile and fiber art products and traditions. A majority of their members (and I am a proud member) have social and environmental agendas at the core of their business. TAFA unites old and new traditions, their historical and modern importance, giving a shared platform to both contemporary and traditional textile techniques from all cultures. Click here to see more about TAFA!
You can also visit Nestle and Soar on TAFA here.


This is a great idea that was posted by a wedding design company,  Rustic Wedding Chic.
I think it is a wonderful idea for almost any type of outside family gathering.
What do you think?

#3  Container Garden for the Fashion Conscious

I know it is still winter and the time to be preparing plans for my yard is still months away...
but how about this clever idea from Dave's Garden?
I know just the purse to donate to the cause...

#4  Coexist Designer Pillow for Tree Lovers and Peace Lovers

Coexist Designer Pillow by Nestle and Soar
When all the beautiful birds come to rest in the tree that is your life, I think that is when you know that you have created a life that is filled with compassion, inclusiveness, and community.  Coexist Designer Pillow

#5  Pam Garrison's Blog and her Sailor's Valentines

These handmade hearts would be perfect year-round ornaments, gifts to your beloved, drawer sachets, pin cushions, couch pillows, or gifts. It is a lovely way to do a "little" embroidery without dedicating yourself to a huge project!
I found these lovely hearts here. Enjoy!

#6  Yarn Bowl

This week I learned that there is a recipe for making a paste with which you can make a bowl out of yarn! If you have lots of leftover yarn, like I do, this would be a fun afternoon project! I understand that Elisabeth used Carolyn's paste recipe and an inverted glass bowl with foil on it to create this bowl. She then soaked the yarn in the paste and applied it all onto the bowl.
Here is a link for the special paste recipe.

#7 Plus 3 Network 

Plus3Network is a fun and worthwhile way to pay attention to how much I move every day. When I go for a walk, I log it into the Plus3Network, and they alert their corporate sponsors to donate money to a worthwhile charity because of the exercise I recorded! The financial donation does not come from me, it comes from corporate sponsorship. I love this because it gives extra emotional reward to me every time I log a mile or lift weights with my girlfriends at the gym. You should check them out here.

Making It Count

"Plus 3 makes the world a healthier and better place by helping its members lead healthier better lives. Plus 3 Network will count millions of daily rides, runs, walks, or swims as mileage-rewarded fundraising. We are the social network that actively manages, motivates, validates, and rewards our members for participating in fitness activities. Plus 3 links our members with corporate sponsors and non-profits in a shared goal of worthwhile giving. Making It Count is our phrase for this process of bringing people, causes, and sponsors together for the good of everyone."

#8  Ancient Japanese Gardens

I want to share these phenomenal gardens with you this week. It is so impressive that the gardeners who continue to create these time-honored spaces consider it to be genuine works of art. I agree and I have visiting these gardens on my bucket list! 

#9  Insider Tips on Needle Arts

I am proud to have a new publication make the top 10 list this week! These free tip sheets can be found at my Nestle and Soar shop. The first tip sheet includes information on choosing the right kind of foundational fabric for needle felting and tips on embroidery. I would love to know if there are specific needle art topics you would like to see covered!

#10  Who Do You Love 

This adorable owl is very lovable...don't you agree?

Have a wonderful week ahead and thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What it the Perfect Decorator Pillow?

Folk Art Flowers Pillow from Nestle and Soar

Decorative pillows may not be the first decision you make when decorating your home, but perhaps it should be! Finding a handmade pillow, throw pillow, or cushion that contains your favorite colors or style is a wonderful starting focus for a decorative plan! Or perhaps you prefer to wait until all the painting, rearranging, and furniture choices have been made before you select any embroidered pillows, tree pillows, or flower pillows to provide the “icing on the cake”, as it were. Either way, as a focusing tool or a final touch, choosing the perfect decorative pillow for your home is a lot of fun!

What do you need to think about before you put on your shopping shoes?
  •  Take some quick notes about the space you will be decorating. As you observe your space, would you like a contemporary/modern decorative pillow? Have you always admired handmade bird pillows, and as you walk around your space, you see that this bird pillow would be a perfect fit? Your notes are a good place to write down words that describe your style aesthetic: traditional, modern, vintage, cabin, eco-chic…you get the idea. Knowing the direction of the space will save you lots of time and ease the shopping experience. Also, knowing the direction you are headed based on your personal style may help you find a great pillow that stands-out from, instead of blending-into, your developing plans. A pop of interest can be the perfect touch!
What is the size and color of your sofa?
  •  Somewhere in your notes, jot down the dimensions of your furniture. Finding the perfect pillow for your home may come down to a matter of scale – if your sofa is tiny, your pillows probably won’t be huge! At this time, also note how you use your furniture. Is the room you are decorating always kept perfectly ordered, or do you lounge around in the space and truly make yourself comfortable? These are important questions because if your pillows are “for show” vs. for napping, it is good to keep that in mind at the beginning. I like to have a napping pillow near every sofa, but I also like to decorate with artistic pillows that are truly conversation starters!
  • Quality craftsmanship matters: unless you plan to place the pillow out of reach, know that it will be handled. I think of my pillows as soft art for the home. When you decorate with embroidered items in particular, the stitches should be meticulously made. In fact, a well-made decorative pillow can become a family heirloom.
Fantastical Tree Pillow
  • Know how to clean the pillow: when you decorate using fibers like wool, throwing the pillow in the washing machine may spoil the fun. If the maker of the pillow does not state care instructions, make sure you ask. If there is no one to ask, say, if you are shopping vintage, I would recommend you choose professional dry cleaning to be safe.
  • Colorfast materials are important, especially if your decorative pillow will be in direct sunlight. Light has the ability to fade out fabrics quickly, so rotate the placement of decorative pillows in sunny rooms.
  •  Some designers sell the pillow cover only without a pillow insert. This has pros and cons. If you order your decorative pillow online, a pillow cover alone is less expensive to mail. If you don’t already have a pillow of the correct size to use as the new pillow’s insert, you’ll have to make a trip to the fabric store. The retail price of pillow inserts varies depending on size and what they use to fill the insert. It’s great to buy a down pillow insert, if you want to spend a little more!
Decorative pillows for your home are like jewelry or designer hand bags. As your mood changes or as the seasons change, you can change your living space to reflect how you are feeling. I love having a wardrobe of decorative pillows on hand, and it is always fun to collect pillows with personality. Your home can be uniquely beautiful, just like you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Studio Scene (but not heard) at Nestle and Soar

On my work table today...Spring Tree Pillow top
It has been quiet at Nestle and Soar this week. I've gotten into the habit of not having any music, television or other white noise in the studio. I find this very peaceful. I can "hear myself think" when it is quiet, as my mom used to say. Before this little experiment, I'd end my studio work day almost over-stimulated, due to the 24-hour news cycle that is readily available these days. I do not miss having to listen to commercials on the television or radio, either! Does anyone know why folks are allowed to significantly turn up the volume of commercials? My fiber arts studio is a large L-shaped room, so I have to have the television or radio on fairly loudly to hear it in all corners of the space as I work. Also, when I'm running the sewing machine, the music is drowned-out. But holy cow, when commercials come on -- wow -- I'm blasted with the volume! I truly don't miss that at all. I wonder if I will continue with this monastic kind of studio atmosphere? Do you work in quiet or in chaos?

Three wall felts in the process of being framed...
Shirt I sewed for myself...button holes and buttons are next!
Work continues on the folk art flag...this is a long-term project!
As you can see, either quiet makes for a very productive week or I was just simply on a roll! I'd like to say I will take a break from all this action over the weekend, but I'd be kidding. I won't be able to stay out of the studio. And then next week, will it be quiet again? I don't know...I have lots of recorded movies calling my name!

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good to Know ... Insights for the Creative Life

ARF, 2008 © Susan M. Hinckley, 8.5" x 6"
In this week's Good to Know post, I'd like to introduce you to Susan M. Hinckley of Small Works in Wool. I just love Susan's design aesthetic and how she cleverly combines colorful wool fiber art with a fun sense of humor! I first saw Susan's work in one of Colorado's premiere fine craft galleries, Show of Hands, in Cherry Creek. Her work that I saw in person that day just thrilled me, for as a fellow fiber artist, I felt like she was representing her peers in such a smashing fashion in this high-end gallery. But beyond that rather self-centered reaction, I was also thrilled with her craftsmanship and originality. I hope you will take a few minutes to click-through to Susan's own website so that you, too, can see her complete gallery of current work.

I had a chance to ask Susan a few questions, and the answers are good to know if you also love to hear about beautiful success stories in the fiber arts. Let me share her replies with you...

GREENSONG, 2008 © Susan M. Hinckley, 7" x 8"
Georgianne Holland  Have you always sold original work and reproductions?
Susan M. Hinckley  I started offering prints of my work only because I produce such a limited number of pieces (about 12 - 15 per year) and never make the same piece twice. But I'd never been completely happy with the way my wool pieces reproduce -- they are so textural, and somehow even the best photos do not do that aspect justice. In order to re-visit some of my most popular ideas/images, I started offering some collages, which consist of fabric hand-sewn to watercolor paper, and also drawings. But I am truly not in the reproduction business at all. My interest really lies in one-of-a-kind, process-oriented work, and try as I might, I don't think I will ever be a mass producer or merchandiser. To thine own self be true!

GH  Do you have the text for your piece in mind before you create the image, or is it the other way around?
SMH  Yes. That's the best answer I can give you. Sometimes I have an image in mind, sometimes I have words, but it's always amazing to me how often my original sketch for a piece has different words on it than those on the finished fiber version. For some reason, my characters seem to take on a life of their own once the eyes are added -- it's as if they come alive, in a way, and unfortunately they often bring their own set of ideas! I just try to listen.

SKYWINDOW, archival print on Etsy, © Susan M. Hinckley, 12" x 22"
GH  You've had an Etsy shop since 2008. What is its most useful benefit to your work as an artist?
SMH  It's true I've had an Etsy shop since 2008, but I don't really consider myself to be using Etsy for anything but low-cost publicity. It's another showcase for my work, requires very little in the way of maintenance or expense, and can introduce me to a much larger audience than retail shows or my website or blog. I also like the flexibility of being able to offer drawings and paintings -- things I do not feature when I do retail shows, but things I enjoy creating. Actually (and definitely in part as a result of my neglect!) I sell very little from Etsy. But I derive tremendous benefit from being part of the Etsy community (the TAFA team on Etsy, for instance), and from spending time looking at the trends among other artists. For inspiration/eye candy/unusual and vintage supplies, it just can't be beat!

Thanks to Susan for her inspirational work and her words of wisdom. And thanks to all of you for stopping by,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Today's top ten is a very colorful group! I am always pleased with the variety of inspirational projects, products, and organizations I find on the Internet. I was especially happy to find the perfect passport case (Nerd Herder) and a new way to evaluate all of the home care and cosmetics new to the market (Good Guide). I hope you will let me know if any of my Top Ten make your short list!

#1 Handful of Heart
I love the sentiment behind these fun gloves...perfect for Valentine's Day! Offered by Yastikizi on Etsy.

#2 Nerd Herder Gadget Wallet
A popular shop on Etsy named Rockitbot makes these great all-in-one cases, and I think having one for my upcoming travel is a very good idea! It comes with an elastic band that stretches over the wallet, keeping everything tucked into place!

#3 Hand Embroidered Necklace with Glass Beads
I love the tribal feeling of this piece by Madrigal Embroidery! Cotton cord was used to embellish this bark cloth fiber necklace, which is backed with teal silk. It truly is wearable art and would look great on any of my simple black blouses. Just saying.

#4 Internet Bird Collection
I am glad I ran across this website: I was looking up information about a lovely bird, the Yellow-Throated Euphonia, when I found it. The Internet Bird Collection (IBC) is a non-profit, on-line audiovisual library of the world's birds that is available to the general public free of charge. "While the initial aim is to post at least one video or photo per species, the long-term objective is to eventually include material showing a variety of biological aspects (e.g. feeding, breeding, etc.) for every species." Click on the link above and you'll see a lovely video of this sweet species.

#5 Santos Style Folk Art Angel
Inspired by a combination of American folk art and a traditional Spanish Colonial-style Santos, this angel is my new favorite sculpture! She stands 33.5" tall and 6.5 inches wide, which makes her impressive. This would be a lovely showpiece in your home. You can find her at Santos Cage Doll.

#6 Button Tree
I found this irresistible Button Tree and I couldn't keep it to myself. Don't you love the simplicity of it? I love Elsie's blog the Kitch & the Curious: you may want to check it out, too. I like the idea of finding new friends in Bristol, England!

#7 Magnolias Hand Felted Wool Bag
I think this romantic wool felt bag from Felting Pot on Etsy is quite charming. The way she has attached the leaves is clever, don't you think? I'm sure this special purse would receive lots of wonderful attention!

#8 Addie Pendants from Ballard Designs
Here's another item from my wish list! I found it on Pinterest and when I asked my husband which of the four colors we should hang above our kitchen table, he said, "I think we should hang all four...I like how they look in the photo!" God bless him :-)

#9 The Good Guide
 With GoodGuide, you can find better products that are healthy, green and socially responsible. It is easy to search or browse over 145,000 food, toys, personal care, & household products to easily learn about the best and worst products in each category. There is also scientific expertise and sophisticated rating system provided to simplify complex and confusing product information. Shopping just got a little easier!

#10 Baby Harp Seals
I guess I just need to leave each Top Ten list by showing you my favorite sweet animal photo of the week...how did I do?
Yeah, I thought so.

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good to Know ... Insights for the Creative Life

In the past eight months, I have made it my mission to understand (or at least, participate in) social media. Please know that I do not do this because it comes naturally to me, even though I consider myself to be socially skilled. I do this because I've been told it is an important tool for success in the creative industries. When I first worked in the quilt industry in the 1970s, the Internet was not available, and we promoted ourselves in far-less immediate ways, like space advertising and public appearances, both of which took months to plan and implement. Today, I can take a piece of fiber folk art off of my work table at my Nestle and Soar studio, and within an hour, someone in London has heard about it, seen multiple photos of it, and purchased it. Gratifying? Immediately.

It is good to know that learning all about the social workings of this amazing electronic medium is not second nature to everyone, because no one really wants to feel like a lonely dork. So I have sought out others who absolutely "get it" and have picked up two good-to-know tips to share today. Now, this will either help you a lot, or you will think kindly that I am "late to the party". Either way, here you go!

Truths of Social Networks
“Everyone on social networks is motivated by some combination of the following human needs:
Love   Finding love, keeping up with loved ones, and so forth.
Self-expression/emotion   Sharing life’s details with friends.
Sharing opinions/influencing people   Using social media as a platform for influencing opinions, usually about politics, religion, or other things we don’t typically debate in person.
Showing off   Sharing life’s successes and/or achievements with others.
Fun/escapism/humor   Using social media to get a good laugh.
Memories and nostalgia   Catching up with old friends and sharing old stories.
Making money   Using social networks primarily to support professional pursuits.”
Chris Treadaway and Mari Smith in Facebook Marketing, 2010

An item on Pinterest that caught my eye...
There is another type of social media that I've begun to learn how to use, and this platform is inspirational for creativity...Pinterest. Have you gotten sucked into the wonderful world of Pinterest? Next to playing Mahjongg Legends when I have insomnia, this is my next favorite way to unwind. Pinterest is a club of sorts that members use to communicate things they've seen on the Internet that they like or even covet. When you see something that makes your eyes sparkle, you can "pin it" on a Pinterest virtual pin board. This is a social activity because other folks who like similar things as you can "follow" you on Pinterest and therefore see what you are pinning on your boards. Then, they can comment on the item, repin it onto their own board to show their followers, or even (and this is the commercial aspect of Pinterest), click through to the originating source of the item. This is a great way for creative folks who make items to sell show it all around the town with a touch of a button. I find Pinterest to be an amusing way to see good ideas, discover talented artists, and promote my own fiber folk art. In fact, if you go to my website, www.nestleandsoar.com, there is now a hot link that let's you follow me on Pinterest! Maybe sometime, perhaps in the middle of the night, you can see what I see in the whole-wide world of creativity!

Thanks for stopping by,