Monday, July 23, 2012

Creative Challenge

This fall D is turning 40 and we'll be celebrating with a road trip through the southwest. We will fly in and out of Phoenix and do a big loop from there. The highlights will be Monument Valley, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon de Chelley, the Petrified Forest and that huge meteor crater. We're so excited!

To get ready for the trip, we've tasked ourselves with a creative challenge. D has been wanting to get to know his new camera better, and I want to to spend time on this trip using my small watercolor set, attempting to capture the gorgeous southwest landscape in my journal. My problem? I'm not particularly good at drawing or painting (kind of a big problem), yet I always want to include sketches and small paintings in my travel journals.
So, our challenge is to spend 15 minutes each day focused on practicing these skills. For D it's mostly refreshing his memory on photography techniques he hasn't used in a while, plus learning how to do these things on his new camera. For me, it's more learning techniques and practicing them a lot.

Today we went outside to our small, urban garden (which is solely the hard work of our neighbors, I'll take no credit). We each picked something we were going to focus on and spent 15 minutes working. For me, I did some exercises in holding my brush and making lines, and also using negative space to make a shape. 15 minutes went by in a flash and we're feeling a little more inspired. Hopefully we keep it up! (If I blog about it, I'll be held more accountable.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

New Crewel

Thursday night I took a crewel embroidery class at Craftland. For my entire life, my grandmother has had a chair in her living room upholstered with crewel, and the texture of it is so specific. Nothing else feels quite like crewel. While a lot of the embroidery stitches are the same as other forms of embroidery, crewel is done with wool thread, on linen. That's what makes it crewel. 

When we were contacted by Katherine Shaughnessy, from Wool and Hoop, about stopping at Craftland on her book tour promoting her New Crewel book, I jumped at the chance. I was excited to take the class and thrilled that my mom decided to come up and join me. My grandmother just sold her house, and for some reason it seemed like an appropriate time to learn this skill.  We both had a relaxing and fun class learning the basics of crewel embroidery. Hopefully I'll have more projects to follow. I highly recommend checking out the book if you're interested in crewel. 

Conveniently, Craftland now carries copies of the book, as well as some of the crewel kits and embroidery hoops, so you can get started right away. Here is what my little sampler looked like at the end of the class.