India: A Home of Inspiration

When it comes to inspiration, Indian culture is a huge influence for me.  Truly a land, with its rich heritage, that is just overflowing with vibrant and beautiful colors, textiles, architecture, music, dance, tapestries,wood-work and more!

IndianDancers

Classical Indian Dancers, with graceful and highly skilled movements, often portray beautiful and exciting stories and emotions with their dances. For more information on this dance troop, please click on the image above.

(The girls in the above photograph are actually friends of mine. Two of them were trying to figure out how to get into my blog but little did they know, they didn’t have to try too hard! I have a soft spot for them, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing them again.)

 

Art is literally all over the streets of India.

Monkey Speak No Evil

“Monkey Speak No Evil” – I purchased this monkey from a street beggar who carved it from a dried coconut shell. (Coconuts grow in abundance in that part of India.)

Perhaps I’m ever-so-slightly biased, being the daughter of two Indian immigrants…Naaaah! India is amazing. Having personally been there, I can attest to the incredible rush of inspiration that floods you when you are surrounded by the lush sights, sounds, smells and flavors that are INDIA.

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In Keekozhoor (INDIA), on a hill overlooking my late grandfather’s pineapple field and distant hills. 2004

As I mentioned in my Recap post, my interest with anything creative, started with illustrative artwork. So on one of my trips to India, I decided to channel that inspiration into a few sketches.

Here they are:

WaitingLadySM

Betrothal

The idea of the above sketch is a young woman, entering a very ornate temple, to catch a secret peek at her betrothed before they have their first formal meeting.

YoungElephantSM

Young Elephant

Elephants are big part of south Indian culture. It’s very common to see them in the streets, giving rides or carrying lumber.

IndianSummerNightSM

Indian Summer Night

This last sketch is just a product of my whimsy. ­čÖé

Looking at these sketches makes me wonder what other magical and beautiful cultural inspirations I might be missing from other parts of the world! I need to start travelling more!

My Slice of the Black Apple

Recently, my sweet little niece turned the big “ONE”. She (who I’ll refer to as “Ladybug”) may not be my niece by blood, but she is so near and dear to my heart that she might as well be! As I perused aisle after aisle, in store after store, for just the right birthday gift, I realized that nothing was good enough for my little Ladybug.

I raided my stash of fabrics for some inspiration and came up with the perfect answer to my gift dilemma – A handmade DOLL! What little girl doesn’t like a new doll??

After a bit of online digging, I discovered a tutorial with a free video and free pattern on Martha Stewart’s site and that’s how I learned about Black Apple dolls. (The creator of Black Apple dolls has a blog which is in my list of “Blogs I Enjoy” to the right.)

(Photo: Property of the Martha Stewart site.) Click on the image to be directed Martha Stewart's Tutorial on Black Apple Dolls.

(Photo Source: http://www.MarthaStewart.com) Click on the image to be directed to the Tutorial on Black Apple Dolls.

As soon as I saw them, I fell in love. They have a beautiful simplicity but preciousness about them. The pattern and directions were fairly easy to follow, and before I knew it, I had a lovely little doll sitting in front of me.

I used a soft tan flannel for the doll’s face and arms and quilting fabrics for her body, legs and hair. I designed a small collar to add to her dress. Adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, no? (Yep, I’m a fancy girl who can throw a little French around.) Polyfill stuffing was used to fill her up. The tutorial suggests using some rice to give some weightiness to the body but I wasn’t sure that would allow for the doll to be machine washable. (I suspected and hoped that this doll would get lots of wet kisses and food-ey finger prints from Miss Ladybug; being machine-washable was a priority.)

BA-DOLL1

Once the doll was stitched and filled up, things got fun AND a little scary for me! What little accessories can I add? Do I give her a sleepy face, excited face or a happy face? OMG…What if I make her and she is HIDEOUS or ANGRY-looking??

I sucked up my fear of somehow messing the doll up and decided to give her a serene happy look. However, since I didn’t trust my acrylic painting skills to create her face, I used a Sharpee. To add that signature┬árosy-cheeked doll look, I brushed on some of my own fancy blush. I messed around with the idea of a bow in her hair but then settled on a flower, incorporating the fabrics I used for her body/legs.

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And here she is, sitting pretty…ready to make a very special little girl happy!

BA-DOLLMy own version (slice) of a Black Apple Doll.

This is the very first doll I’ve ever created so it’ll always hold a special place in my heart, just like my Ladybug!

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

LadybugMeetsDoll

The Reckless and The Lucky

I’ll admit, my least favorite thing about sewing projects is the meticulous measuring and cutting that has to be done before you can really get into the more fun parts.

So, I decided to be reckless and create a throw pillow for my bed with the least amount of precision/planning I could get away with. (I know…I’m a real wild child.)

I scrapped some fabric from two old skirts that were too far gone for even the Salvation Army. By coincidence, the teal-patterned skirt happened to coordinate with my pale teal bed sheets, so that was nice.

Scrap Fabric SkirtsThe yellow lighting in the room dulls the beauty of these fabrics. The 1st skirt is a teal/pale teal pattern. The 2nd skirt is black/ivory.

I guess-timated about how big of a pillow I could make with some leftover polyfill stuffing I had on hand and used an old GIFT bag as a template for the pillow. Real precise stuff. hehe Holding the gift bag down on the skirt, I managed to hack a rectangle out of the black skirt and then I cut some strips out of the teal skirt to use as embellishments.

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Now here’s where the “Lucky” part comes in. As fate would have it, after I had already cut up my fabrics, sewed on my embellishments and pinned the pieces for sewing, Dwayne shows up with a pillow he had made in his Home Ec. class in high school. And guess what…it was the PERFECT FIT for my pillow case! WOW. Lucky just doesn’t capture it!

Before I could take Dwayne’s beloved high-school (Bart Simpson-themed) pillow to use for my own purposes, I had to convince him that the Simpsons just didn’t quite fit in with our home decor. (And it took some serious convincing.)

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With the green-light from hubby, it was “Bye Bye Bart Simpson!”

And after a few runs with the sewing machine and some hand-stitching, I had this lovely creation!

CompleteRufflePillow2

You can see that my strips are not perfectly straight, but that’s part of this pillow’s charm. (I created the matching pillowcase set pictured behind the main pillow last month.)

CompleteRufflePillow4

The ruffle really ties in the bed sheet color while the boldly contrasting black/ivory fabric makes the whole thing pop.

CompleteRufflePillow1

I love how these two fabrics pair together.

CompleteRufflePillow3While I was taking the pictures posted above, my two babies were hanging out on the bed. J may love Moby…but sometimes, he’s only got eyes for “Jingle”, his toy dog.

Glad my recklessness worked out this time! So I say to you…be free and create! You never know what will happen!

Recap – The Sweet Start of My Crafting

Although some of it comes naturally, I’ve been teaching myself many of the arts associated with crafting for a while now. Sewing and yarn-crafts, were skills I once thought out of my league. But when I learned that I was going to become a mama, I decided to take on a whole slew of new learning. Thanks to Google, YouTube and Freckled Nest┬áI discovered that I was capable of quite a bit. My craftiness, which used to focus on the illustrative arts, expanded as I, in preparation for the baby, learned to sew bibs, knit hats and more.

Although this is just the start of this blog where I plan on sharing all of my latest and greatest, I’ve decided to re-visit some of my past creations with you.

Here’s a quick recap of a few of my favorites:

CraftRecap

I now have my own CRAFT ROOM! I’m beyond excited! To be honest, it’s pretty bare right now, but I’ve got some big plans for that space. I’ll be sure to post the before/after shots so you can see the transformation as I create my little happy place.

Also, I’ve crafted a few things this year that I can’t wait to share with you, so stay tuned for some great Sheepsakes! ­čÖé