Hello Friday! Here you are again, it feels like you were just yesterday. Whew, these fall days are flying by. Here we go: Rearview Fridays is a regular post in which I share an artistic project I completed sometime in the past. However, today I’m going to share someone else’s project, because it’s too darn good to keep to myself! Baby Silhouettes by my friend Lindsay Zier-Vogel.
Three years ago, when Rudi turned one, Lindsay gave me this beautiful piece of art, a silhouette of a sweet baby. And then she revealed that it was a silhouette of my actual baby! SO special! She’d worked from a profile of Rudi after secretly soliciting a photo from my husband. Silhouettes have been gaining popularity in design of late so I feel a little extra hip having this on my wall!
I have to admit that when Gene turned one this month I was hopeful that Lindsay would remember and make one of him. And she did! I love how different their silhouettes are; Gene has way more hair than Rudi did at one, which she’s captured, he’s also a lot more jowly than Rudi, and she’s also got that down perfectly! I love that for these silhouettes Lindsay used white instead of the traditional black. And placing them in shadow boxes makes them chunky and significant. My boys silhouettes sit at the head of the stairs and always produce a smile as I go by.
I had to share this because it’s one of those simple projects that you wish you’d thought of! And anyone can do it, be brave and bold, get a profile photo of your favourite baby, scale it and go for it. And Ikea’s Ribba shadow box frame is perfect for a project like this. And make sure you credit Lindsay, this is such a kick-ass idea and gift. It drew happy tears, I cannot lie. Happy Friday.
I’ve been true to this challenge all year, having made a patch for each month thus far. But while August got made, the poor dear never got photographed or blogged! So I’m catching up … onwards with my 2012 Quilting Challenge!
I’ve made paper patterns for all my designs so far but while contemplating a star pattern in August, I was struck by the fact that I love how a freehand star looks, like it was doodled on the back of a school notebook. So I freehanded August. The star looked lonely by itself so I added some rays and I love the result!
For September, another freehand — I love it, it’s like drawing with my sewing machine. A little kite to catch the fall breeze.
And here are all 9 pieces thus far. I love that it looks like a quilt! I’m planning to make a garland from them but I think I might try a quilt too, with one pattern in each square. Oh crafty plans, I have too many of you!
Rearview Fridays is a regular post in which I share an artistic project I completed sometime in the past. This one reaches back 20 years and is a co-pro with my childhood friend Christa Couture. It goes something like this …
Circa 1991 Christa was in the midst of a 3-year battle with cancer (deadly and serious). I was being homeschooled through junior high (socially deadly but not quite as serious). She was often in the hospital or home sick. I was able to visit or hang with her because of my loose schedule, plus she was by best friend, it went without saying that we had to hang whenever possible. We were very crafty (still are) and inevitably a project emerged: Lu-Lou. I have no memory of how Lu-Lou developed, or why we chose a periodical format, but it was an imaginary empire that grew, made us laugh hysterically and filled a lot of awesome, creative hours of companionship. Lu-Lou gripped our early teens.
In fact we published, er “published” 14 issues with about eight pages per issue. And this was in the days before computers and desktop publishing were common in the home. We drew each page, wrote every bit of copy by hand. It’s quite a feat, by true magazine publishing standards and in terms of sheer dedication to a purely fantastical, creative project. It represents some serious perseverance.
And Loulou Magazine SO ripped us off! I was shocked when, in 2004, a Rogers Media publication showed up on newsstands called Loulou. So blatant. So obvious. Clearly someone had been into our secret Archive of Awesome. They. Ripped. Us. Off. We are currently suing for copyright infringement and various damages. They think they can add an “O” to the first “Lu” and get away with it?!
Okay, back to reality, I really was shocked when I saw Loulou, had a laughing fit in a Toronto subway station near the newsstand and immediately emailed Christa. What a coincidence! Who would have thought we had had such foresight, that we were so ahead of the curve?
The funny thing is that, until last year, I worked in magazine publishing for 10 years and for a Canadian fashion designer for four years. I could never have predicted that at 14! And Christa works in electronic media and graphic design with panache and success.
The other funny thing, though not so surprising, is that we have both turned out to be fiercely, professionally creative. I’ve spent most of my independent career as a dance artist while she works as an independent musician. [Shameless plug: Christa’s got a fantastic new album out this month called The Living Record. You can get it on Bandcamp or iTunes. And you should.]
I murmur this into the past: oh 13 and 14-year-old selves, you were utterly, absolutely awesome. Cheers to exploding creativity in our genes and excellent friends with whom to share and cultivate it. You grow to be amazing women if I do say so myself.
I went on the longest road trip I’ve ever taken this summer. My boys and I drove all the way from Southern Ontario to Alberta — Prairies and Rocky Mountains and my family — then back again. We wondered if we might be insane to attempt such a drive with a 4-year-old and a 10-month-old, but off we went, and it was truly a great adventure. There was only one roadside timeout for the kid (there probably should have been a few for me, ahem, lucky I’m in charge!), occasional nursing breaks for the babe and the usual gas/pee/food/photo-op stops.
I wanted to do something crafty with Rudi to keep him engaged along the way. So in addition to borrowing a portable dvd player (a total godsend) and the required colouring materials and books to read, we made a diary book for each day and prepared an antique glass canning jar to collect simple treasures along the way: Rudi’s Travelling Treasure Jar, a.k.a. The Jar!
The Jar itself is a beaut with its glass lid and metal flip attachment. And every day, once or twice, we’d gather a stone or pine cone from the roadside, parking lot or forest path of the day, or a coin from the US, or an arcade token from the movie theatre, or some grain or oats from the fields we were passing, or a beer cap from mommy and daddy’s adult pops in the hotel room (we drink beer with really cool caps okay? It’s all for the kid. Honestly) .
I only had to suggest collecting pieces the first couple of times, after that Rudi would gather things for his Jar in his pocket and in the evenings in our hotel, or at Granny’s house, we’d open The Jar and review the contents, talking about our journey thus far and then add the new trinket/s to the collection. A couple of favourites are the little white figurine of a man with a walking stick and rifle, his paint all but gone. Rudi spotted him in my aunt’s garden and she said, “take it! the bird’s are always dropping crazy things in here!” We can hardly imagine what adventures the wee old fellow has endured! And the mini horseshoe, which was smithed for Rudi right before his very eyes at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village where I worked in my teens.
The final result is a jar full of prairie flotsam and jetsam, a beautiful collection of the in-betweens from our trip. And those were my favourite parts — the in-betweens. Being cooped in a car with my husband and our boys for 5 days of driving each way was my favourite. Kicking stones in the hotel parking lot in Lake Louise and then running through a forest path to catch the sight of the passing train was my favourite. Stopping for an emergency pee on a prairie back road that looked so quiet only to be overwhelmed by the earsplitting cricket song outside was my favourite. Standing on the car to get a better view of the massive hoodoos in the North Dakota badlands … you get the drift, I could go on and on about the favourite moments that The Jar conjures.
Of course there were the standard squabbles between all of us, usually to do with hunger, exhaustion or sore butts (around hour 5 Rudi would always moan spectacularly and say, “my bum hurts!”) but really there was more harmony than I’d anticipated and I loved that it was just the 4 of us in our Toyota Matrix ship, rocket or pirate depending on Rudi’s mood, zipping across the miles and miles and miles and miles between my adult and childhood homes. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. And I look forward to opening the jar from time to time with Rudi and remembering.
I was putting Rudi to bed the other night and looking up at his Alice in Wonderland mobile, as I do whenever I lie beside his little quieting self at bedtime. I love it so much (both the lying beside a sleepy little boy part and the mobile!) and realized that the mobile should have a turn in the Rearview Fridays seat! I am pleased to introduce Alice and her cohort who watch steadfastly over Rudi from high up in the air …
I found the vintage Alice in Wonderland fabric remnant at Lazy Susan’s in Vancouver (a super charming shop, now just in Victoria and online) years before I had kids and tucked it away with the idea that if/when babies came I’d make something from it for them. And I did! In fact I think it was the first thing I made while I was pregnant with the now 4-year-old Rudi.
I was inspired by the simple mobile design I saw in embroidery artist Emily Hamill‘s studio shop and used that as a starting point. I used wooden dowel for the frame and sewed triangular corners onto a square of fabric to tuck them into and presto, strong frame! I cut out the charming characters and weighted each corner with one, choosing a simple white for the background to calm the busy of the art side. A couple of Alices, Humpty Dumpty, and the White Rabbit balancing the Mad Hatter.
I think when Rudi is too big for an arty, retro mobile in his room, I’ll hang this one in my workroom. I never get tired of Sir John Tenniel’s classic illustrations twirling lazily past.