Archive for June, 2010

Mini Sculptures: Wrapped Twigs

June 24, 2010

The last couple of weeks here in Chicago have felt more like August than June. By 3 or 4 o’clock, we have needed a bit of a reprieve from the temperatures, humidity and/or storms outside. So, always on the look out for craft projects that use found materials and other items on hand – and still thinking about the Steelroots: Tobin at The Morton Arboretum (see my previous post), an exhibit featuring the work of Steve Tobin – we decided to make our own little mini sculptures from twigs collected from the yard. Not content to leave the twigs au naturel, we wrapped the them in our favorite colors using pearle cotton.

We tried to find twigs with an interesting line – this is my favorite. Some parts of the twig were too interesting to wrap, so we didn’t.

We wrapped the perle cotton around the end of the thread as we worked and changed thread colors, but at the very end when we were finishing up with the last wrap, we needed a dab of glue. We used Aleene’s “OK to Wash-It” glue on the loose end; when it was dry, we just snipped the thread close.

Sitting on the table in the hallway, people can’t seem to help but rearrange the wrapped twigs every time they walk by. Other materials have made their way into the “exhibit,” like the yellow origami snake and these rocks collected from the beaches of Lake Michigan several years ago.

An Afternoon of Inspiration at Morton Arboretum

June 15, 2010

The Morton Arboretum, located about 25 miles west of Chicago, currently has a beautiful outdoor sculpture exhibit, Steelroots, featuring the work of artist Steve Tobin. The exhibit is a reminder that just as interesting as the parts we do see are the parts we don’t immediately see, roots in this case, but I’m also thinking of seeds in a piece of fruit, the insect life under a rock, or the world beneath the surface of a pond or other body of water.

As Tobin does not name the majority of the sculptures, my kids and their friends had fun coming up with a name for each one based on what they saw in the piece. The sculptures will be on exhibit through January 31, 2010. I am lucky enough to live just several miles away from the Arboretum so I plan to go back this winter when snow is all around the sculptures.


If you visit with kids in tow, the Arboretum boasts one of the best children’s gardens around; right now, the toad nursery is teeming with baby tadpoles.

Now, to take the exhibit one step further and go back to work in my studio feeling a bit more inspired than I was several hours ago!

A Simple Summer Skirt for Girls

June 10, 2010

It has been a busy spring of stitching, gardening, working, and winding down another school year, but I am back to doing all of those other things on my list like blogging. Just a bit of advice to anyone thinking about starting a blog, don’t start until you have about ten posts all lined up and ready to go. You don’t have to use them all right away, but just have the posts “waiting in the wings” for those times when life gets busy and you’re short on writing time.

Now about this summer skirt . . . some time ago, I saw this free “Lazy Day Skirt” pattern on the Oliver & S blog. After an afternoon of shopping with my increasingly fashion-conscious (but also practical!) 9-year old daughter to find an age appropriate dress that she could wear to my son’s 8th grade graduation, I remembered the pattern.

We went home, she picked out the fabric from my stash, and together we made it in about an hour. I had a polka dot trim that looked great with the fabric she chose, but she is a minimalist when it comes to fashion on most days and she wanted a plain hem.  On another blog (I can’t remember whose though), the maker had used leftover quilt binding strips on the bottom of her skirt, which was also very cute.  I would only add that I wished I had made the casing 1″ rather than 7/8″ – it would have been easier to work the elastic through and stitch the casing closed.

While you are printing off the pattern, check out this cool video of how a sewing machine works, also on the Oliver & S blog.