Thursday, August 16, 2018

Creative Retreat #2 - 2018 Day One Furniture Painting

I hosted another great "Getting Stitched on the Farm" Creative Retreat this past weekend. This weekend's class featured one day of Furniture Painting - inspired by the Bloomsbury Table project in my new book Crafting A Patterned Home


Each student brought their own small piece of furniture painted in a base coat. The day was spent figuring out how they want to decorate their table and then doing it. I supplied many colors of latex paint. 


Here are their projects before they were attacked with pattern and color. 


Here the students are cutting paper, making sketches and figuring out how to work with their individual pieces of furniture. 


Jan looks to be in intense concentration. 


Now I will share photos from each person's project as the day progressed. 

Stephanie's project was a navy blue wooden tray. You can see her original sketches and how the design progressed over the day. We used hair dryers to speed the drying. 




This is Stephanie's tray at the end of the day. She has further plans to add lines and shading to the flowers and decorate the sides of the tray with stripes and polka dots. 


Cheryl brought a sweet little side table. She designed a water lily motif. She lives on a lake and is painting a room with a mural of undersea designs. She used sponges to create the texture. 




Here is the side of Cheryl's table with Jan poking her face through. Doesn't Jan look like she is having a blast? 


The finished top. She took the table home and will be coating it with some polyurethane to seal it. 


Gail's project was a colorful bench for her granddaughters. Gail is an author and has a hand-dyeing business called the The Kangaroo Dyer. I love how her design is reminiscent of the mottled colors that her yarn is dyed in. And it is bright and cheerful like Gail. 




Gail plans to add some glitter and sparkly bits which I can only imagine will make the bench a favorite place for her granddaughters to sit when they visit. Someone in the class named it "The Sisters Bench."  

Jan who came the furthest - all the way from West Virginia. She has an antique store and also sells painted furniture. She brought a cute little side table. Here are her process photos. Her design was inspired by a rug she saw at a hotel. In order to fit the motif onto the oddly shaped table, we cut a pattern to fit it. She has more work to do on it when she gets home including outlining the shapes and adding more dots and spots. 





We enjoyed a gorgeous lunch cooked by friend Cynthia. 



The tablecloth is made from one of my fabric designs. You can purchase a tablecloth made by the folks at Roostery (a division of Spoonflower) here. The fabric design is available in my Spoonflower shop here. You can purchase the design printed on 26 different fabrics, 2 types of wallpaper and gift wrap.  


It was a great day of sharing ideas and stories. I love hosting these retreats because even though each student comes knowing none of the others, by the end of the day they are all friends. For me, it is so rewarding to see the projects and each person's confidence develop as the day goes on. And meeting fellow creative spirits who are brave enough to come to our farm is one of the best parts of each year here at our farm - at least for me (maybe not my family :) ). 



Friday, August 03, 2018

Creative Retreat #1 2018- Day Two - Ceramic Tile Painting

On Day Two, we did Ceramic Tile Painting. Oh wow - what beautiful work the students did. 

Maureen came to this same Retreat last year and brought her friend Betsy with her this year. Here are Maureen’s tiles. She is thinking of making either a table top with them or using them as a centerpiece for a table. I can’t wait to see these fired. 




Betsy is a water color artist and so we all were looking forward to seeing how she handled the ceramic glazes. She came with her source material and had her tiles planned out. Can you believe how beautiful her tiles are? 




Mariana grew up in Finland and shared her interesting life with all of us. She hadn’t painted since her days in school. He design idea came from a Scandinavian napkin. At first she struggled with the glazes and painting but by the end of the day she was adding details like a pro. Won’t these tiles make gorgeous coasters? 





Here are the finished tiles. Now I will fire them once to set the glaze. Then I will add a gloss glaze to them and fire them a second time. 






In less than two weeks, I am hosting the second Creative Retreat of 2018. We are doing Furniture Painting and Fabric Printing. I have quite a few students for that retreat. Hopefully The Farmer will be a little more mobile and be feeling better. I’m looking forward to sharing another weekend in my studio with wonderful women.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Creative Retreat #1 of 2018 - Fabric Printing, Crewel Embroidery - Day One

This past weekend I had the first creative retreat of 2018 here at Leyden Glen Farm. If you read yesterday’s post, you know that The Farmer had his hip replaced a couple weeks ago. The surgery came up rather quickly — his hip was in such bad shape and he was in such pain that they worked him into the surgery schedule earlier than they normally do. This of course was after I had scheduled the 2018 retreats so I had no clue that I would be dealing with an ailing husband, trying to run the sheep farm, and holding creative retreats all at the same time. Luckily I have had a lot of help from friends, family and neighbors and somehow most of the sheep have survived (darn coyotes), the house and studio were cleaned and polished, and the students had a good time. 
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The first day of the Creative Retreat, we did Fabric Stamping and Crewel Embroidery. I don’t have a lot of photos from the day - unfortunately. I think I was just so exhausted that I forgot to take step by steps of everyone working. There were five students but unfortunately I forgot to snap a photo of Maureen's printing. 






In the afternoon, we added Crewel Embroidery to the printed fabrics. I forgot to take photos so I will share my most recent project that I have been working on...... I am adding Crewel Embroidery to this handprinted fabric.



More photos tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

July Update - Surgery and Sheep

July flew by. In the middle of the month The Farmer had his hip replaced. He just got home from a rehab facility on Monday. He is doing quite well but moving slowly and very tired. He is having physical therapy, visiting nurse visits, and doctor’s appointments. He won’t be able to drive for a while so I have been chauffeuring him around. Julia is helping out a lot which I really appreciate. She has a little more patience than I do. She really missed him - he was gone for almost 2 weeks. 

Me - I had no time to miss him. We did visit him every day but I was so busy worrying about everything that would, could and did go wrong with the sheep. I won’t bore you with all the farming details and mishaps but let’s just say there have been many. One day I broke down in tears at my brother-in-law’s dairy farm and he helped me sort some things out to make the sheep farm more manageable for me. I have some great help from a couple of guys with haying and feeding and lifting the things that I am not strong enough to lift. My nephew Nicholas has helped me move sheep and set up fences and my friends Kay and Terri helped fence a field. 

There have been a lot of adventures and luckily we have some great neighbors who have ATVs and John Deere Gators and they have helped me move sheep around, collect sheep that escaped fencing and have generally given me moral support. I’m going to continue to need their assistance because in the next two weeks there are some big chores that need doing and I can't do it myself. I can’t wait for Mark to get better so that I can give up the farming responsibilities. 

Yesterday he went to the doctor and had his stitches removed and an X-ray. All looks good. He is anxious to have his second hip replaced quickly and we are going to talk about that with the doctor in a month. 

Amongst all of this, I had my first Creative Retreat of the year this past weekend. We had a great time and I will share some photos of the projects soon. I was lucky to have my friends Kay and Gail help me clean up the house and the studio before the guests arrived. Three bodies are definitely quicker and it was much more fun than than just slogging it out by myself - never mind that I am stressed out by the farming responsibilities. Julia isn't capable of helping me out with the farm at all so it is just me and my superhero farmhands. Now that could be a comic strip - believe me. 

Here are some photos from the last couple weeks when I have remembered to snap them on my phone. I really love how the sheep look so peaceful and bucolic and behind the scenes it has been a bunch of chaos, vultures, leaking water tanks, coyotes, fencing issues.... Although this makes me appreciate The Farmer more - it also makes me wonder why he wants to bother. But I do know this - it is what makes him tick and he can't wait to feel better so he can get back at it and not have me butting in with my streamlining and organizational ideas. That is one thing that has kept us together for so long - we let each other do what they want to do and don't step on the other's toes in each other's work domains. I must be patient and bide my time now and keep doing this farming thing until I can get back to my own work. Fingers crossed he keeps on the healing path. 

Looking peaceful
Kate - constant farm companion
Turkey Vultures - the sign of dead animals
Kate has been wondering where he went????
Mobile sheep unit - put together miraculously by Jason and Donnie
The possie helping to move the 12 rogue sheep
Action - atv's, motor bikes and gators
Nothing a little metal HVAC tape won't fix
Stately ram
Photo before we moved this batch of sheep due to coyote predation

Friday, July 13, 2018

My Trip to Google's Offices in Cambridge

Things have been busy since the last time I posted here. Julia and I had a fun adventure to the Google offices in Cambridge, MA where I presented a talk about my new book Crafting A Patterned Home. I don't have any photos from the event but I do know that the talk will be available soon on the Talks at Google Youtube channel.

While I was preparing my talk, I took the time to explore their video channel. There were not any talks that were presented that were similar to mine that I could find. I did my best to get an idea of how they would be filmed and what the audience would be interested in. They host and tape these talks at their offices all over the world. Their Youtube channel has over 770,000 subscribers and there are My host David was hoping for an audience of 5 to 15 people. I think we had about 20 which was great. 

I will admit that this was the first time that I have spoken to an audience of primarily men. Most times when I speak there are almost all women listening. I did my best to feel comfortable with this difference. Mostly I was hoping someone would be interested in what I had to share. Speaking at Google gave me an opportunity to get my ideas of design and the handmade out to a totally new demographic. I had some very enthusiastic and sweet listeners that came up after to pick up a book. 

Google tapes all the talks and there was an awesome videographer named Tim who took care of all the technical issues. What a joy to get to a place and not be worried about the technology piece of the puzzle. They had all the cables and power cords I needed for my Mac and my Powerpoint loaded onto the screens without a hitch. I know it seems funny to worry about something like this but when I was in Minnesota speaking at The Textile Center several years ago I had a full crowd waiting to hear me speak and we couldn't get the audio visual piece to work. Thank goodness for my friend Robin's husband Daniel who saved that day by bringing his computer in and getting that presentation to play. 

This is an illustration I did to begin my Powerpoint Presentation. I wrote the word Google on my iPad Pro and then added bits of pattern design in separate layers. Then I brought the files into Illustrator and tweaked them. I used Google's signature colors for the decoration.


After the talk, Julia and I had lunch with my host David in one of the Google cafeterias (I think there are four). That was super cool. Very good food and so many selections. They even had lamb that day which I had to try! After lunch, Julia and I got a tour of the different floors. This was a real treat for me. Each floor of the building which is just above the Kendall Square T stop is decorated in a different theme based on the T Stations in the Boston area. The offices were incredibly well done which shouldn't be a surprise. There were lots of comfy chairs for people to escape from their cubicles. There were many fun meeting spots with creative decoration and several places to pick up coffee or some kind of beverage. Infused waters were quite popular. (Now I am making them.) The fabrics they used were varied and I noticed a lot of woven wool and some gorgeous wool felt used in the design of different areas. (Perhaps the wool felt came from this company which specializes in wool felt for architecture and design.) There were lots of innovative design treatments including plywood that was cut out in different patterns. There was so much to look at and absorb - it was really a very cool experience for someone like me who lives and breathes textiles, design, color, and interiors. 

I found these photos on-line on the blog Office Snapshots of the Google Cambridge offices and thought it would be fun to share them here with you all. The offices were designed by the Nelson Firm which is a global design and architecture firm. Google employs 1,400 people in this office space which is close to MIT and just above the Kendall T public subway stop. The offices are in excess of 300,000 square feet and they were done in 2016. I learned that they are still expanding that office so I assume there will be lots more fun and innovative design happening there. What a fun job that would be for an up and coming interior designer - working on the interiors for Google. 








The library - my book will be in here for Googlers to borrow
Thanks so much to David for inviting me and putting it all together. And thanks to Stephanie who suggested the talk. Thanks to all of the Googlers who came out and listened - it was lovely to meet you all. This Google experience has got to be one of the high points of my creative life. I'm still wondering how I got there.  

I will let you all know when the talk goes on their Youtube channel. 

In the meantime, here are some of the Talks at Google that I listened to before I spoke. You may find some of them interesting too.  Each is about 45 minutes long and there are often audience questions at the end. They are different than 18 minute Ted Talks and take more time to watch but if you are knitting or stitching or cooking, you can learn something really interesting while working on a project. 


Nancy Hachisu - Cookbook Author


Sam the Cooking Guy


Michael Beirut - Graphic Designer


Aaron Draplin - Graphic Designer


Diane Von Furstenburg


Martha Stewart (this one is interesting because it was filmed 6 years ago and so much has changed since then technology wise)


Have a great weekend everyone.