An Art That Stops Time.

There are some arts that have continued on throughout the centuries. The tools and the techniques have adapted to incorporate modern technology and materials, but the process, ingenuity, imagination, and quality have remained the same.

There are not many items today that haven’t been machine made and computer programed. Even the art that adorns our homes has likely been mass produced and bares no uniqueness.

In the 17th century Louis XIV set up a special place for the art of tapestry weaving to be preserved and the education of this inspiring talent to be continued. Today in Paris, this institute still exists in the same place, and is know as the Gobelins Manufactory.

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In the video that will be shared below, these words struck deeply. How often can we say that we take the “time to do things with humanity and soul”?

As you watch the processes that it takes to create a woven tapestry, you will be amazed that this still happens. Great care is taken to the designing of the art, hand dyeing yarn, storing the weft, setting up the warp, and in the weaving process. A single tapestry takes many years to be completed. The weaver is involved in every aspect of the making of a tapestry, and when finished, it is a celebrated work of art.

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The talent that the weaving artist has is amazing. Not only to be able to complete the work and processes required, but in being able to interpret the drawing into a woven work of art.

Take the time to watch this video and witness the crafting of the ancient art of tapestry making and the skill of the artists.

 

Be a Butterfly

Heidi

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Where Tradition and Modern Meet

As we are learning and preserving traditional skills and arts we can utilize modern tools and resources. Every resource we collect to create our projects need not be brand new and we certainly don’t have to first own fiber animals in order to spin yarn, or be able to spin yarn in order to knit with it. Whatever resource you have to gather your supplies will benefit you. The important thing to establish is the ability to create from whatever life hands you.

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In fact, the skill of creating something new from something “old” is an art in of itself. Some of the products our family have loved most has been made without a pattern and without spending any extra money or time at the store. The above photo was taken to show off the skirt that I made for my daughter a couple of years ago. It was made from a pair of already hand-me-down jeans and fabric I had on hand. The ruffle was a long skinny piece of fabric that had been cut several years before for a quilt that never got made. Same goes for the tied belt. She wore this skirt until just last year when the ruffle was up to her knees and the fabric on the backside became too thin. It was her favorite skirt for almost 2 years! We did create some more that were similar for her and the other girls, but this one remained the favorite while it lasted.

Using what we have on hand allows us to tap into our full creative potential without any outside influence. When you have to shop for supplies, often you are also taking in other’s ideas on how to use those supplies. And then, our imagination center is numbed, making it so that we no longer see what we can create-but what others have.

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These fabric dolls were made by my oldest daughter. I may be biased but I think they are adorable! The flower pattern one was made from a torn toddler shirt and the polk-dot patterned doll was made from some worn pajama pants. She didn’t use a pattern or search Pinterest. The idea just “popped” into her head and she cut them out and sewed them up. They were also hand-sewn because she prefers that to using the machine. I learn so much about creativity and imagination just by watching my children.

Sometimes, or rather I should say most of the time it is my children that encourage me to utilize my imagination center. Such as when they wear out all the knees on otherwise sound pants before out growing them…and they want the patches to be “pretty”…

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Let me just say that the patches were indeed “pretty”…but yikes-they were a challenge! Trying to get those tiny legs around my sewing machine arm to get them fastened on was a struggle. This was over two years ago and it still stresses me out thinking about it. I would rather buy a new pair of pants, but when you have seven children-you do what-you-gotta-do. Despite the challenge, it was a satisfying project and they lasted the growth of the child.

Another time that one of my children inspired me to get creative was when she was sad because she didn’t have as many stuffed animals as the others. So this adorable Zebra was born to cheer up her heart:

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He was made from some old baseball pattern toddler pajamas. I still keep my eye out for these types of pajamas at the thrift stores…I would love to make some more zebras!

Recycling, up cycling, repurposing–it’s all over the web in blogs, on Youtube and on Pinterest. While I am trying to encourage your individual creativity, sometimes it is necessary to be inspired by others. If you don’t know where to start, do a search. I am sure there is something out there that will point you in the right direction. Just don’t be afraid to branch out on your own, go beyond popularity, color outside of the lines….develop your creative talent that has been instilled in us all by our Creator. It may not be in the fiber arts, it may be cooking, woodworking, blacksmithing, mechanics, robotics, writing, drawing, painting, paper, basket weaving, or pottery…an endless amount of skill-sets are available. What ever desires God has given you, seek to cultivate and master them with the resources available to you.

Be a Butterfly.

Heidi

P.S.

My new adventure in repurposing is recycling yarn from thrifted sweaters. Hopefully soon I will be able to share my own creative ideas from this practice. If it peaks your interest, here is a good video about how to unravel a sweater and what kinds work best:

 

Christmas Traditions: Pajama Pants

A quick break from the Journal Series...to share how for the first time ever I have sewn our Christmas pjs myself.

There was a black Friday sale that I just could not resist at my local fabric store this year. Flannel was 70% off, so I decided to dive into a long time goal of someday sewing pajamas myself. If I remember correctly I actually saved $98 on this fabric! If not for the sale, I would have had thrift some flannel sheets in order to afford this grand project!

This tradition was brought into our family via my husband. For Christmas Eve his family always has opened one gift-that is always pajamas. We have kept this alive and our children love it!

Check out the results:

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Count them up- 9 pairs in total!

The pattern I used was so terrifically easy that it only took me about 3 days of afternoon sewing. You still have time to get some done for your family!

Check out this easy method at http://mycottoncreations.blogspot.com

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All of the girls got pretty little lace along the cuffs.

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The boys got a cargo pocket on one leg. Love this print!

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My 7 year old made chain drawstrings with cotton yarn with her fingers. She had a good time “helping” mom. Of course, she was not present when I was sewing up hers.

**The pattern called for using elastic in the waist band, but I prefer quick drawstrings. All I did was use my button hole setting on my machine to make two holes where the from of the waist band would be before it was hemmed closed.

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Some of the pants received a drawstring made with the same trim as on the cuffs.

This method was so simple and quick I plan on recycling some clothes into leggings for the girls…and perhaps some more p.j.’s in the future!

In case you missed it go to http://mycottoncreations.blogspot.com for this free easy pajama pant pattern! All you need is fabric, sewing machine, basic sewing supplies, and a pair of pants that fit the individual.

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

p.s. The third part to the journaling series will come soon as promised! I am excited to share more plus share a new one I was inspired to make after my last article.

little things are sometimes Big.

 

Yesterday I did a small thing-and then realized it was a big thing—

I cleaned the laundry room.

It was in such a state that one could not get in the door let alone to the washer and dryer. This is a bad scenario when you have to do 15o loads of laundry a day-I might be exaggerating just a little, but the concept remains the same. Who wants to go into a room that you can’t see the floor of? My 3 year old son told me he heard a monster in the bathroom sink-it could easily have traveled the water pipes and be lurking in the laundry room. The last thing I need is to encounter a sink-monster when trying to find a clean shirt after being peed on. I am very happy today that the laundry room is clean and can be used in a productive manner again-whithout fear of a sink-monster attack.

This has been the theme of my thoughts of late. We are surrounded by little things that have big impact. Even Jesus taught of small things that have large importance. From the creation of the earth beginning with the basics of things such as light, water and planting the seeds. Then of course when we think “seed” our mind goes  to the parable of the mustard seed that teaches us of faith. We can see a pattern in all of the examples in the Bible that illustrate to us that it is important to have a special reverence towards the seemingly insignificant. 

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The list of things I can make that are small yet largely important in my life is so endless that I can not pick what deserves to be in this article the most. So I will just stick with the most recent discovery of a clean laundry room and leave you to ponder the little big things in your own life.

I will however, bring this topic around a corner and point it towards these little lost skills I am being directed to learn and teach. It has started with knitting, but it doesn’t end there, and each skill is as important as the other.

This description, given in “Our Vanishing Landscape” by Eric Sloane,  makes a great illustration that can be used as a comparison to those things that have been forgotten or un-taught, in that, they can be learned again and the generations after us can indeed benefit.

Imagine a farm abandoned….The summer after cultivation ceases, the plowed fields will have become overgrown with weeds. The next year you will find grass and berry seedlings that have blown in with autumn winds. At the end of five years the fields will be a complete tangle of briars with occasional clumps of birch and juniper from seeds brought in by bird droppings. In ten years these trees will be a head high above the briars and in their shade will be hundreds of tiny oak and maple seedlings. In forty years…..the fields will look like woodlands that had never seen a plow. Fire or insects and disease may decimate this second-growth forest, or winds may blow it down, but it will miraculously build itself back again….

This little thing of teaching how to use traditional skills for our benefit today-could be a big thing.

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It could mean that our children and grandchildren know how to survive.

Without (enter large chain store name here).

 
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A little skill now, could be life-altering later. 

 

Next Month…

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The topic will be “slow food”.  This differs from my original lesson plan for 2016. It was going to be the topic for November but yesterday I started a rescue mission for my sourdough start that has been neglected and so it is perfect timing. In the past, we have successfully made all the bread our family needs from scratch-with little effort. Bread isn’t all we will learn, so make sure to follow by email (click the button on the sidebar) so you can get next weeks articles! I will be sharing recipes too!

Thanks for learning with me about what we can do to give “New Life to Old Traditions” this past month!

Heidi

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