Life Sucketh Not Cross Stitch Pattern

This Life Sucketh Not cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shoplife sucketh not cross stitch pattern

This is a phrase I came up with a long time ago, and it’s a fun way I appreciate living the good life. There are those moments when everything is… just fine. There are times when I just stop for a second and am happy and grateful. Things like enjoying dinner with friends at the end of the work week, looking out over a beautiful view, appreciating the blissful quiet in the house, or even finishing up a big project – that’s when I think “Wow, life sucketh not!”

If you also have those little moments of appreciation, then this pattern is for you…

The example I stitched uses DMC variegated floss 4022 for the letters, although it could be stitched in a solid color and still look great. The border pattern is my tiny version of French pillow ticking, with little flowers in blue and red outlined with a golden yellow and rich red backstitched border. This project was a lot of fun to stitch!

ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of this fascinating ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr, textile and quilt artist. Arlee’s responses are so engaging that the interview was split into two parts! Here’s a link to Part 1, if you missed it or would like to refresh your memory.

acrafty interview - arlee barr ecoprint triptychs

I took a look at some of your first Flickr uploads from 2005. How would you say that your work has changed over the last eight years? AB: There was a long period where i lost myself, literally and figuratively, in the explosion of “mixed media” where every colour was used, every texture, every technique, every found and bought object with every commercial product imagined. The only thing that held it all together for me, however weakly, was the fabric that was the base i worked from, and the fact that suddenly i was making something that was not wearable, that didn’t have to fit anyone, but that was possibly art. When i discovered natural dyeing and other organic cloth marking methods, my whole approach changed. Initially even with these elemental fabrics, i used a fair bit of machine work, then slowly moved into just hand embroidery, finding that the look while more delicate appearing, was quite strong and unifying. As i continue to “find the image” in the unique marks inherent in the process of staining or dyeing, they are becoming works with an amalgam now of machine and hand. I use a lot of free motion embroidery as it can be very gestural, using those areas as either accent or a base to build on with hand embroidery. When i was first doing hand embroidery in my 20’s, i knew only of satin stitch and french knots, but now i prefer cleaner lines and the effects from simple stitches with a few fancies thrown in along the way for texture. I let the fabric move as it will (i loathe embroidery hoops) and with those basic stitches used experimentally, can control the depth of manipulation and the resulting texture.

I’ve pared down my colour use, and refuse to use “technique driven” response as art. It’s not important to show the kitchen sink in everything you create. As i get older, and ironically, my eyesight poorer, i focus literally and figuratively more on the details.

acrafty interview - arlee barr the difference between a plum

 

acrafty interview - arlee barr wild rose series

Has an art project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? AB: I’m currently working on a large project (“Anno Suturae”, 48×72”) that i initially thought would take a year. As it turns out, it’s evolving into 2 years at least, and will have to be pluralized! All hand worked, it’s incorporating things i’ve learned or are still testing with hand stitch. Because hand work takes a lot of time, trying to divide my attention for work that will be seen and work that is intensely personal, has been hard.

How has art affected your character? AB: I’ve evolved into more of an intuitive maker than a deliberate product artist. I’ve learned patience, perseverance and a more critical eye to what i am expressing and how i utilize needle and thread to externalize that. Patience first and foremost is what you have to have as an artist: patience for the process, the technique and most of all your own satisfaction and soul. Patience is trust, learning to find your own voice and knowing your instincts are right.

Can you share a story about how your art has affected others? AB: When i created “Mother’s Heart”, i received a lot of messages about how heart issues of all sorts had affected people’s lives. From poignant memories of of loved ones and their subsequent death, to a painful revelation from a former nurse, to feelings of revulsion and anger, i had no idea of how it would be perceived by others: i had intended only to show Mother Nature as i saw her, with the use of naturally dyed and ecoprinted fabrics and hand stitch. She’s a force, and one that directs all doings and it was an homage to her, rather than a representation of the body or health issues. A fascinating lesson in interpretation!acrafty interview - arlee barr mother's heart

What do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? AB: The future is now! I’m striving to create a body of work as it gives continuity and purpose to my life, and am hoping to finalize a solo show in the next year. A few years ago i was ready to throw in the towel and never make anything ever again–my dear Greyman was explicit in his words “if you quit being an artist, you will go crazy–and so will i!” It made me realize that having been creative all my life, that there was no stopping at any point for any reason. I can’t imagine not making or planning *something*. Even with the immensely destructive June 2013 flooding in Calgary Alberta that affected me personally in my home based studio and emotionally speaking, causing a bit of a “drought” in my creative process, i have found new hope, new work emerging and a stronger appreciation for Mother Nature and the inspiration i find in her.

Much of my imagery and subtexts relate to what is internal to me; i can only hope that someone else can feel what i am saying. Having dealt with mental health issues all my life, i can only say that it is healing, calming and necessary to express myself as i do in this medium. Cloth is soothing to everyone, from birth to death and all the days in between. I do believe that today’s world with all it’s supposed cosmopolitan and sophisticated attitude yearns for a more personal, grounded approach to art, one without heavy concept, overly political statement or existing for sheer prettiness’s sake.

You just don’t quit on yourself!

acrafty interview - arlee barr work in progress

 

Once again, many thanks to Arlee for her participation in this ACrafty Interview series! As she commented on Part 1 of the interview, Arlee was glad for “the opportunity to ‘explain’ [herself].” I think we are all the beneficiaries of her generous insights into her work.

Also once again, thanks to fellow ACrafty Interview subject Betty Busby (original interview and followup) for suggesting that I approach Arlee for the series.

You can follow Arlee’s adventures on her blog, her FacebookFlickr, and her shop

Please note that Arlee does not want any of the images that she provided above copied, Pinned, or used in any way without her permission. An excerpt from her Flickr profile: “Please do not add my photos to your Pinterest without asking me–this violates the copyright clause that say *I* have exclusive right to decide where my work is distributed–my photos are ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.”

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germondbasketweaver Tina Puckettquilter and pursemaker Linda Martin, and cross stitcher Meredith Cait.

Water Themed Crafts – Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of this series on healthy water themed crafts! This series of posts compliments the release of BeMores Set 3 which encourages us to be more “Moderate” and “Healthy.”

There are a million crafts that encourage us to be more healthy! These range from crocheted fruits and vegies to building organic planters, from quilted exercise mats to contemplative rock gardens, and even crafted puzzles to keep our brains challenged.
Water in well in PuruliaConsidering that humans are roughly 60% water and the the surface of the Earth is roughly 70% water, I’m going to concentrate on water themed crafts – crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Water Themed Crafts in Crochet

Stainless Steel Water Bottle Sling Free crochet pattern bag cozy aluminum kleen kanteenTo encourage us to drink more water, CrochetConcupiscence has already rounded up this post with 10 free crochet patterns for water bottle holders. I think of all the patterns, I’m most partial to this stainless steel water bottle sling from Moogly, but the sock monkey one is pretty darn cute as well.

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts part 1 - ocean waves throwThere are hundreds of patterns for afghans, but these next two links seem particularly suited for representing water. First is this pretty and traditional Ocean Waves pattern from RedHeart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Wobble Afghan :: free #crochet pattern on mooglyNext is this Vintage Wobble Afghan pattern (with a lovely story behind it) from Moogly. With these colors and an ombré stripe pattern, the vintage becomes a modern classic!

 

 

 

 

 

crochet fish and ocean bookmarkOn a smaller scale is this cute water bookmark made from a nice looking wave pattern from CrochetSpot.

 

How to crochet charming, double sided PurseI adore this crochet bag pattern from AboutGoodness. The broomstick stitch beautifully represents the sea, and you can easily see the sand and shore grasses through the rest of the pattern. Just lovely.

 

 

Crochet Coral ReefAlthough I’d like to concentrate more on water itself rather than the creatures that inhabit the water, nothing is more indicative of clean water than healthy coral reefs. The Crochet Coral Reef Project is a beautiful and colorful way to raise awareness of the plight of coral reefs. The Maine Reef blog has many of the patterns used to crochet and knit these coral creatures.

Water Themed Crafts in Quilling

There’s plenty of watery quilling inspiration! First up is this piece from ACanofCraftyCuriosities, the last of a series also including fire, air, and earth.

 

 

 

Next is this gorgeous piece by Jackie Huang for the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. The post also shows the very interesting progress photos on this creation.

 

 

 

 

 

quilled-wavesThis post from AllThingsPaper features some pieces by Natasha Molotkova of PaperGraphic. A few of her pieces have water, but my favorite has to be this gorgeous wave that was used for a graphic in a magazine article.

 

 

For a bit of freshwater quilling action I found this waterfall project by AJourneyIntoQuilling. This page also features a link to tutorials for basic shapes and how to use them.

 

 

Canvas on Edge - Over Land and SeaFinally is this article, again from AllThingsPaper, about Stallman Studio Gallery who work not with paper but with artists canvas on edge. Their works are not strictly considered as quilling, but some of the shapes are similar and result in absolutely stunning pieces.

Water Themed Crafts in Woodworking

 Java with StyleThis post on WoodturningOnline links to four different tutorials on how to combine turned wood and stainless steel inserts into cups. What a constructive and attractive way to encourage drinking more water!

 

 

healthy water crafts handcarved kuska cupNext is this tutorial from JonsBushcraft on how to carve your own Kuska cup. Kuska are also known as Guski, and originally come from northern Scandanavia. A well made and maintained Kuska can last a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

AleutesqueKayakers and canoeists certainly appreciate clean water. These next three links are to sites with information, DIY instructions, kits, and plans for building watercraft. The first is KayakBuilding.com,

 

 

healthy water crafts - sea rider kayakthe second site is Yostwerks.com,

 

 

 

 

 

Nya kanotenand the third is BearMountainBoats.com. As you can see, some of these boats are gorgeous!

Water Themed Crafts in Lace and Tatting

healthy water crafts - lace with a spiral that looks like a waveThis spiral in this very old German lace pattern from YarnOver closely resembles a wave.

 

 

 

 

 

This post on Martha’sTattingBlog describes her working with patterns from a pre-1862 book. One of her experiments turned out as you see here – I think it’s very much like ripples in water.

 

 

 

Tatted Sea Shell JournalHere’s a little-bit-of-a-wave-like tatting used in combination with lace, fabric, and shells to make a pretty sea-themed journal cover.

 

 

 

Water Themed Crafts in Weaving and Tapestry

Saori Weaving ClassSimilar to quilling, there’s lots of watery weaving inspiration out there! First are photos from SaltSpringWeaving of a SAORI weaving class including this project,

 

 

 

and there’s this Weaving Waves project by MessMuddleandFun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then from FrontiersMagazine is this article about the “Between Tides” exhibition of Ros Bryant and Janet Clark’s tapestry works in Stromness, Orkney. The exhibition continues through September 14th 2013 (as of the time of this posting, there’s still time to go see these beautiful tapestries).
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Water Themed Crafts in Mosaic Tile

Here’s a quick DIY from Shelterness on making a pretty sea glass/mosaic tile serving tray.

 

 

 Cool Garden Paths That Are Off The Beaten PathAmong other great ideas on this page from BuildDirect is this stunning garden path. The pebbles on edge look reminds me of entrances to houses I’ve seen in Laguardia, Spain.

 

 

 

An idea inside the home is this powder room remodel on Houzz,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bathroom with blue mosaic tiles 12 Tropical Bathrooms With Summer Style interior design and then there’s this bathroom covered in STUNNING mosaic tile. So gorgeous! There are other great ideas for modern bathrooms in this post by IonDecorating, but this one is by far my favorite.

 

 

As for ideas on water and wave tiles you can purchase, there is this pattern from New Ravenna (via Houzz),

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts bubble tilethis fun bubble pattern (among others) on Vizimac.com,

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - oasis waveform tileand this Silk Road Oasis Mosaic also from New Ravenna. Just lovely.

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - water mosaic tile piece by lauren trueThere are some beautiful mosaic art pieces out there. This piece, entitled “Two, Water” is by Laurel True through the True Mosaics Studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

090924_SJVCS-Mosaic-of-Mary-09-mosaic-tiles-wavesThis is a detail of a piece made for a Catholic church. I’ve looked at a lot of mosaic tile waves, but I don’t think you’ll find any others quite like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I’ll share this Pinterest page by Taina Suomalainen of Art Mosaics.healthy water crafts - pinterest collection of art mosaics

healthy water crafts - croydon fishpond mosaic tile trompe l'oeil by gary drostleIt’s a wonderful collection spanning from the Ancient Romans to modern pieces. Not all the pieces have a water or ocean theme, but many do. One of the most remarkable pins is this trompe l’oeil piece by Gary Drostle.

 

 

 

 

 

That wraps up this first post on healthy water themed crafts, covering crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tile! Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Stay tuned for the next installments in this series, featuring knitting, embroidery, jewelry, gardening, glass work, polymer clay, chainmaille, basket weaving and a whole lot more!

[Update: Here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 in the series!]