Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Joyful Simplicities #4

Don't you just love second- hand book shops? There's something so special in them, especially those quaint little shops in the Cotswolds I love so much. The overall atmosphere, all the knowledge on the old shelves, the smell of the yellowed pages, the forgotten treasures ready to be discovered... I'd spend hours in there!

What about you? Do you stop if you bump into one?
Monica x

Monday, February 27, 2012

Map Wrap and Spring Banner.

Happy Monday dear friends!
As promised, here are close ups of my map wrap. The sturdiness of this paper allows to wrap to perfection, and what an unusual gift to receive, don't you think?

I made coordinated tags and clothespins...

... cards and envelopes! To make the envelope, I used a store- bought one as template. I added twine to close, but you can use glue as well. Little scraps were used to embellish the card.




***
I'm changing my Valentine blog banner to a more Spring-y one!

Hope your week is off to a great start!
Monica x

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Felted Mug Hug.

Do you want to play in the weekend? :)

I'd been wanting mug hugs for a while. Some months ago I had tried to make one from old sweaters, but as the edges continued to fray, and after I had tried a variety of remedies that didn't please me at all, I gave up and let my project 'breathe'.
Then the other day, while I was doing something completely different, I thought that obviously I had to felt the wool before proceeding! And the result was perfect! The cut edges are neat and clean, see? And my mug hug so soft to handle.
If you want to play around, start felting old sweaters using your washing machine (hot setting). Use only pure wool, mohair, angora etc because acrylic fibers don't work. Hang on the line or tumble dry. You may need to repeat the process in some cases.

When you have felted the wool, you can make a mug hug.
1. Cut a stripe of the desired size/length- try it to be sure! Add about 2.5 cm./1" of seam allowance. Fold your stripe and pin, right sides together. It must fit the mug ok.

2. Turn inside out.

3. Start sewing by hand with tiny invisible stitches. This will require a few minutes only.

4. Turn once again inside out and sew a couple of buttons on the front. I used tiny, cute, wooden heart buttons, that costed me more than the sweaters! :( But I didn't break the bank :)



I made two for hubby and me, now planning on making some more, also as Christmas gifts- I hate to run :)
Have a nice weekend everyone!
Monica x

Felted Mug Hug.

Do you want to play in the weekend? :)

I'd been wanting mug hugs for a while. Some months ago I had tried to make one from old sweaters, but as the edges continued to fray, and after I had tried a variety of remedies that didn't please me at all, I gave up and let my project 'breathe'.
Then the other day, while I was doing something completely different, I thought that obviously I had to felt the wool before proceeding! And the result was perfect! The cut edges are neat and clean, see? And my mug hug so soft to handle.
If you want to play around, start felting old sweaters using your washing machine (hot setting). Use only pure wool, mohair, angora etc because acrylic fibers don't work. Hang on the line or tumble dry. You may need to repeat the process in some cases.

When you have felted the wool, you can make a mug hug.
1. Cut a stripe of the desired size/length- try it to be sure! Add about 2.5 cm./1" of seam allowance. Fold your stripe and pin, right sides together. It must fit the mug ok.

2. Turn inside out.

3. Start sewing by hand with tiny invisible stitches. This will require a few minutes only.

4. Turn once again inside out and sew a couple of buttons on the front. I used tiny, cute, wooden heart buttons, that costed me more than the sweaters! :( But I didn't break the bank :)



I made two for hubby and me, now planning on making some more, also as Christmas gifts- I hate to run :)
Have a nice weekend everyone!
Monica x

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Wind will Be with You.

Some days it's so difficult to fly- too many tasks to accomplish, so little time, we're tired, we aren't that well, thoughts, things to be done flood our minds... but there's no better way to hold on than being positive!
I put onto canvas what I keep telling to myself: don't worry, don't care... just flap your wings and fly- the wind will be with you! It's my teenie- weenie bit of inspiration for you today.

Monica x

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lilac Apron.

This apron didn't make it to the pages of Apronology, but I really love it, so I'm showing to you here on my blog!

I tried to keep the design very simple yet striking. I transferred a vintage image on fabric and framed it with a patchwork of wonderful coordinated fabrics in lilac (you may remember other things I made in this color I love, here and here and here).


This vintage girl is so cute, don't you think?

A small collection of vintage buttons finishes it off...

... together with a big bow on the rear!

I think it's so spring-y, can't wait to use it!... Actually, can't wait for Spring to arrive!
Monica x

Sunday, February 19, 2012

While Mom is Busy Painting...

... I dropped by to say hello and show you how pretty I am with my stilish coat! It's nice to stay warm, especially when playing in the snow!



I had so much fun! Unfortunately (or luckily as Mom says!), it's almost totally melt now...

What's the weather looks like where you are?
xx (= puppy kisses)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Studio Peeks.

Being a professional artist means never a dull moment (as my agent Linda says!). It also means you work hard, and have to split your creative energy into several programs at the same time. It means you must be willing to also work on art that is requested to you, not necessarily what you thought/wanted to paint... this might be challenging at times, but having devoted my entire life to creativity, I've learnt with experience that if we just let ideas rest for a while, allowing the project to 'breathe' like good wine, eventually we may come up with unexpected, wonderful ideas, fulfilling for our creative soul!
Some of you are waiting to see what I am painting... You know I'm grateful for your support! My blog not only opened up to me a new world of possibilities, but also gave me a fantastic group of lovely friends cheering me on from all over the world! :) Thank. you. I'm really grateful you are there for me! Unfortunately, in this licensing world, sharing is a tricky subject (such a shame)... buuut, even if I cannot show you my designs until they are published, I can show you sneak peeks!
Since before Christmas, I've been producing new collections, some of which were firstly introduced to clients at the Atlanta Gift Show last January.

I was really thrilled with the response about my art, and now I'm working even harder on several new programs. One of which is very demanding, but what a joy to work on! Hope I can share more soon.

This post gives me the opportunity to also show you where I am working at the moment. My old followers and readers know that I moved to a temporary address last year, after my husband and I sold our house in Italy to pursue our dream of a new life.
So I changed from working in a pretty and organized studio room to having but a table in the living room... and mess everywhere! This has been probably the most challenging part of this adventure.

I have piles of boxes and (evergrowing) things in every corner of the house!

But the lack of a studio room doesn't keep me from creating and making art every single day!
I even tried my best to embellish a bit and organize this small space I'm blessed with.

Either working in a studio or in the living room, I always have fresh flowers on my worktable! Always.


Odd as it may seem, I'm in full Christmas swing at the moment! I'm creating new designs for Surtex in New York City next May! Wish me luck ;)

Off to work... hope you enjoyed sneaking a peek at my world!
Have a terrific, creative weekend, friends!
Monica x

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Joyful Simplicities #3

A bit of heart-warming Spring indoors, while outside all is covered by a frozen, white blanket, and playing along with my Mom modeling for me, makes my heart dance.

... Oh happy day!
"Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light, and that makes them beautiful."
J. Carrey
Monica x

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine...

... is my #1 fan, my greatest supporter, my love! He bears everyday with the craziness of my being an artist, and never complains for my bombarding him with never-ending creative ideas, or if things out of the blue change color or place all around our home, if I call the doggie 'love' too, if I put a 'keep off' sign on my studio door and disappear in there for endless hours, if I order his clothes by color in the wardrobe or scream when he sits too close to one of my precious antique linen and lace pillows... and also accepts to pose for my photographs with a smile when I ask ;)
... I'm so grateful I have him by my side!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Monica x

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thinking Valentine's Day #6

If you haven't thought of a cute wrapping idea for your Valentine's Day gifts yet, you can consider making these super-quick and easy cotton bags I designed last year for Somerset Holidays and Celebrations (current issue). These can be used for any occasion actually...

Adorable images from vintage postcards, transferred to muslin, are then freely sewn on the bags, and embellished with MOP buttons and a sentiment handstamped on muslin as well. Note I purposely used creased, tired cotton for the sachets, that adds to the homespun look I was after.

These below can be the cutest addition to a present for a birthday, a 'just because' gift, Mothers Day, etc.




I like to have one always on hand, for last- minute wrapping. Consider making a batch for different occasions throughout the year, even with colored fabrics.

Hope you have a peaceful, relaxing weekend!
Monica x

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Joyful Simplicities #2

Pretty and practical- do you know a better pair?

An old ring binder and ugly complimentary daily planner have become inseparable companions of my organization. And make me even like to do something boring at times!
I already blogged about the ring binder I transformed into a neat organizer with a tartan cover and rosettes here.

Now I made another linen cover for a complimentary daily planner (that being complimentary, wasn't my taste at all! But as I embrace my Granny's phylosophy "waste not, want not"... ). It's similar to the book cover with a 'French- feel' I made for a friend a while back.


Hope this inspires you. To me, it's such a joyful little pleasure to surround myself with pretty things, especially if I can have them without breaking the bank.
Have a happy day!
Monica x