Friday, March 26, 2010

T-Shirts Gone Crazy !

I like to wear something that I have created when I lecture and teach.  I have some basic criteria for the ensemble I wear.  First, it has to be stylish and cute.  Preferably making me look younger and skinny. That one has been a little harder to achieve lately, but I am still trying.  I figure that I can't stop the aging process but will go down looking the best I can. My mom taught us girls that and she is a very beautiful woman at 70 something and so is my friend, Peggy. She always looks HOT and is having a big birthday this year. Hopefully, we will be celebrating in Hawaii. Can't wait.

While having coffee with Peggy the other day, she started telling me about this wearable art technique using 100% cotton recycled t-shirts. The book is called Alabama Stitches.  A great book, using t-shirts fabrics and reverse applique.

While I was waiting for my book to arrive from I started my own interpretation from what Peggy had told me. This sounded like cool technique and I was starting to getting obsessed with the idea.

The next day I was shopping with my husband for new work clothes.  He recently got a promotion. (I am so proud) and I was supposed to be helping Joe find a shirt when my mind started to wander over to the Tony Hawk (of skateboard fame) t-shirt rack.  I started fondling the t-shirts right there in public. Like you haven't done that, too!

Shopping with Joe is sometimes hard for me.  I love being with him but he is a little slower than I am in making decisions. He also likes to research, compare, contemplate and hardly every makes mistakes because he is very thorough.

My shopping style is a lot different. I like to walk fast, scan the perimeters, then get in and get out.  I know what I want and what will work so I grab it and go. Maybe I should have been a man (that would be very awkward for Joe).

So this day my mind started thinking of that wearable technique as I waited for Joe to decide if those 501s fit the same as the other 501s.  I was starting to go crazy. Back to the shirts. I grabbed a brown, a burgundy and a wine color each in XL.  I was going to try this when we got home.

You first deconstruct the t-shirt and then stencil a design.  I didn't do that on my Tony Hawk shirt, above.

The book gives you a leaves stencil design. Then you cut and reverse applique your stenciled shapes using the other t-shirt behind (above).

Then you can add beads to embellish. The Alabama Stitches technique even lets the thread knots show on the top of the work. It's so cute.

I didn't have the kind of thread they were using, so I used what I had, which was pearl cotton size 8.
It is turning out so great that I ran to Target and bought a pack of men's XL white t-shirts and dyed them cool colors and have spent the last week making these fun wearable art t-shirts that have had a mind of their own (below).On the shirt above I used some beautiful blue and turquoise hand dyed pearl cotton I had bought from Laura Wasilowski. I am ruching the neckline using more of her thread and soon going to add beads. This one has a uneven hem and cap sleeves and it fits!!!  Now to find the right pants.

I think I will teach this technique one day at my May retreat in Tahoe. If you aren't signed up yet, we have just reduced the price. This is a great deal for 5 days and 4 nights of classes, plus all meals and your room.
A single room is $550, double is $500 and a non-participating guest is $350. It's right on the lake and some rooms have lake views.  Plus, we are going to play with fabric, try some new stuff and maybe play with  beads.  What could be better?

If you are interested let me know at  This is a shameless plug.  You can also go to my website for more information.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Joe's Best Friend

It has been a difficult couple of weeks. We had to put our beautiful and loving dog, Cosmo, to sleep on Saturday. It's OK, because it was his time. There is a time for everything and we knew this was coming. He was going to be 14 this year. That is a long time for a very large Golden Retriever.

I fell in love with Cosmo the day I saw him. He was the only male of three puppies. He would roll over his sisters and then look like he had just won the game. I had just had a miscarriage weeks before and was a little emotional at the time. We already had Molly (our female Golden) but when Matt and I looked at Joe, we could not say no as he was also falling in love with this fluff ball. So we paid the $350 which was way more than we had and took him home. Matt loved him and our other dog, Molly, was not sure at first, but went right into the mothering mode within days.

A new puppy is a lot of work. We were living in a new town, Folsom. We had a tiny backyard in this townhouse. We had no friends yet and all our family lived miles away.

Cosmo was a handful, not at all like the laid back Molly. He wanted and needed to have a bigger place to play. The potty training was wearing me out. By the end of the first week I was worn out. Joe came home to a crying wife,
no, I was sobbing. I told him I was a failure as a dog person - maybe we need to give him back.

Joe knew I had been going through a lot with the move and the miscarriage so he bundled Cosmo up and took him back. It was only 4 blocks way so he walked back to the people we had bought him from.

I started to cry the minute they left. What had I just done? I was so regretting my emotional decision that I wanted to scream. I had lost a child and now a pet. Matt gave me big hugs and was sad, too. We waited for Joe to come back.

A few minutes later I saw the beautiful sight of my husband and, in him arms, the fussy little ball of fur who had no idea what had been going on. We rush to them and with tears kiss them both. Matt was so happy and even Molly was glad to see them. What happened? Why did you bring him back? You knew I needed him, didn't you? Joe calmly explained that the owners were not home.

Again, I burst into tears and knew that Cosmo would be mine forever and, of course, Joe would be, too. We all hugged and kissed. So that is how we found Cosmo 14 years ago.

Saturday we had to say good bye in the vet office. The vet said she would give us a few minutes to say good bye. As Joe stroked Cosmo's head, Cosmo lifted up his paw to "shake", as if to say It's OK and and put it in Joe's hand. Cosmo had not done that in years. It was like he was saying good bye to us, too. When the vet said it was time to go, Cosmo jumped up, bad hips and joints and all, and walked away without a limp or a stumble with the vet assistant . Joe looked at me with tears in his eyes and we both knew Cosmo was ready to go, too.

What comfort it was to have those little gestures that we knew where not normal for this sick dog. God has a wonderful way of preparing us and giving us comfort in this normal process of life.

So this blog today is for Cosmo. The animals in our lives are true gifts from God. They comfort us when we have hurts and losses. They love us unconditionally. They don't judge us. But, unfortunately, they are in our lives for such a short time. He was, however, in our family's life when we needed him the most.

Now Matt is grown and gone, Joe has a new position at his work and I am traveling the country teaching. How different things are from that day I cried when I saw Joe walking back with Cosmo in his arms. Thank you God for that sweet gift.
Doggy heaven is full of comfy sofas that mom doesn't make you get off of.