Saturday, December 31, 2011

Faces on Friday - not quite the final results

I just got back from a long vacation with the family. I'm going to show you pictures soon whether you want to see them or not.... (giggles.)

 I took my sketchbook but was so busy that the only time I had to sketch was on the drive down and I've got to say I'm a little pleased with my progress.
Mr. Almost Perfect - actually looks like Mr. Almost Perfect!
Mr. Almost Perfect by Lyric Kinard

Self portraits are easier in a regular mirror rather than the little sun visor mirrors on a bumpy road.
But not bad considering. I don't think I'm going to quit the "faces" project. I still want to learn more. And it's fun. And I want to fill my cute little box the rest of the way. I'm not going to pressure myself to post weekly - by halfway through the year that felt like a burden rather than fun. But I'm going to keep drawing faces.

Self Portrait by Lyric Kinard

Have any of you tried it? What have you learned?
Want to keep it up with me?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge 2012 lineup

I can't tell you how pleased I am to be included in year two of this amazing adventure.

Each month we'll continue to challenge you with a monthly theme and inspire you with tutorials and peeks into our own sketchbooks.

There are no rules, no requirements. Follow along with us as we work on improving our skills and challenging ourselves. There are a many of our same well loved artists and a few new ones.
It's going to be GREAT!


Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge: December Theme

I have a little confession. I'm having trouble with this month's Sketchbook Challenge theme. As much as I usually love such things, "trashed, ruin, and decay" aren't something I'm really feeling during this month of bright reds and twinkling lights.

decay: photo by Lyric Kinard
There isn't anything wrong with the theme at all. It's a fantastic theme. For my life right now -  it's just a timing thing. I've been struggling to even want to try to create something with the theme.

done: photo by Lyric Kinard
It's only sketching it right now that's holding me up. I want to sketch the poinsettia sitting on my desk now, not the dead stuff outside.

linked: photo by Lyric Kinard
On the other hand, put a camera in my hand and what you'll find on the card is tons of pictures of rust, cracked masonry, withered flowers.

withered: photo by Lyric kinard
Decaying things always have the most interesting textures, patterns, and colors to my eye. I love nothing more than peeling paint and fungi growing out of rotting wood. 

antique: photo by Lyric Kinard

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope, dear readers, that you have a very Merry Christmas,
surrounded with love and the joy of the season.

I hope that you have found found JOY, have been INSPIRED, and are surrounded by BEAUTY.
my favorite set at the Apex Nativity Celebration
I look forward to doing the same, all through next year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Joy in Service: Day 23 simple gifts

I'd like to thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for joining with me in finding small ways to make the world a better place. My heart has been warmed as I read about the acts of service you've provided. I know there are many more random acts of kindness that you didn't tell me about. I appreciate your telling me what you've done and I've had a LOT of fun trying out a few of your ideas.

Two days ago I tried again to give a random stranger a flower (a small poinsettia instead of a big bouquet this time) in the grocery store parking lot. This time I said "you look like you need a smile - this is for you. Merry Christmas." She said, "you don't know how right you are" and she smiled!

I'm out and about with the family doing some amazing family fun things. That means that I'm going to wait until after the first of the year to contact more of you to send gifts. I'm loving getting at least one little corner  of the studio de-cluttered. Thank you for the opportunity to do so.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Work in Progress: Rockstar Boro

Beautiful Boro and education at
Japanese Boro is a form of patchwork repair, a method for using every scrap of precious cloth and keeping your clothing functional over many, many, years. It was a necessity - not an artistic choice.

I think my Boro project is much more in the spirit of Boro, rather than following the actual design esthetics. I think it's a beautiful idea. Even though I do my best not to subscribe to our culture's rampant consumerism, I find myself being wasteful more often than not. I'm seriously considering a clothing moratorium for an entire year. I certainly have more than enough clothes. I also have many, many projects I've wanted to make - and the fabric to make them.

So. I have quite a collection of old linens and lace scraps - other people's cast-offs. Some of them are exquisite hand made pieces that I can only imagine creating. 

Many of them are deteriorating, no longer useful in their original form. I've dyed them and now a few choice pieces will add color and shape to my wearable "canvas." 

It's no different than making a sketch or any other work of art. It's all about composition. I have to choose shapes and colors and think about placement.

If I use a contrasting color it might become a focal point. It's very important in wearable art to consider the placement of a focal point or any attention grabbing element. There are places you don't want people to stare when they are looking at your body right?
Boro beginnings by Lyric Kinard
And to reference Melanie Testa, the inspiration for this project, I've stitched a little bird inspired by some of her artwork. Literally - sketching with needle and thread.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Joy in Service: Day 16 The Gift of Forgiveness

artwork by Dalyn Montgomery
My brother is a very good man. And an artist. And a grad student at an Ivy League University - something all of us are very proud of. We all paid our own way through college and after a long time out in the work force he's found something he is very passionate about and is taking steps to make it happen. He also donates long hours of service year round to the people in his congregation. He really does make the world a better place.

His local newspaper wrote a short article about both his service and his artwork which is hanging at the University. It was really nice. It mentioned the mixed race of his congregation, and his marriage.

artwork by Dalyn Montgomery
In the comment section about the article, as seems to be the usual case in newspaper comment sections, several people got really nasty. It started with bashing Mormons - no worries. It's the one socially acceptable group to stereotype and have false ideas about. We're used to it. What got me were the ugly personal remarks about my brother and his wife. I should have left well enough alone but I jumped in and tried to correct the false comments about our religion and defend my wonderful sister-in-law. Things got worse. I stewed. I tried to just let it go. I couldn't even though I know full well that people believe what they choose to believe regardless of facts and there wasn't anything I could do about it.
artwork by Dalyn Montgomery

But after a full morning of stewing I realized there is something I can do. I can forgive. I got on-line, tried to lay out a couple more facts, then wished all the attackers peace and a Merry Christmas. No. I didn't magically feel better - I was still simmering. Sometimes it takes a little work to truly let something go. What helped was realizing that people who spend their time attacking strangers must have very sad lives (with a heart five times too small - we're reading the Grinch) and no peace. The other thing that helped was blasting Christmas music and singing right out loud. I love Christmas music. After that there was no more simmering.

This was just a little tiny thing. I'm lucky that I don't have any big things. There are things that are sooooo hard to let go. But truly, forgiveness is even more of a blessing to the one who has been hurt than the one who has done wrong.
Tell me what thing, big or small, you have done to make the world a better place!

Work in Progress: Rockstar Boro (how to sew a decorative hanging pocket)

Progress on the Boro
Inspired by Melanie Testa's Rockstar Boro project.
I got the zipper put in (the right way this time!), and the hem finished with a triple row of zig-zag to give it a little bit of a lettuce edge.

I put it on and decided the pocket that used to be a shirt pocket is too small to keep my phone from slipping out when I sit or walk. Time for a free hanging deep pocket. Decorative I think. Deep enough to hold my phone and keys. Free hanging so it won't make the rest of the skirt bulge or get in the way of the swing. I really love clothing to swing and move when I do.

I sewed a triangular patch where I want the opening to be - you'll see it in a minute. You can skip this step entirely if you want to make your own hanging pocket - or make a decorative patch in any shape your creative mind comes up with.
Next I placed the first pocket rectangle over it and sewed the opening shape. Again - this is a place to use your creativity. A rectangle is classic but how about a heart or an arrow? I made a smile.
Make sure to leave at least 1/2 inch of cloth (I didn't) on either side of the opening. Also make sure the opening is at least as wide as your hand.

Slit and cut the inside of your opening - carefully go all the way to the corners.
Clip the seam allowances.

Trim the seam allowances if the fabric is thick and then turn it inside out.
Iron it so that you see just a bit of the outside fabric when you are looking at it from the backside.
Top stitch the opening if you'd like. You could also do some fancy decorative stitching here.

Pin on your second pocket rectangle.

Carefully sew all the way around the edge of the pocket. I sew from the back side of the pocket, pulling the skirt out of the way to make sure I don't catch it. This is the tricky bit next to the opening that would have been easier if I had left more seam allowance.
(That's my edge stitching foot - I was too lazy to take it off for this step.)

I finished the pocket edges the lazy way, turned them over and zig-zagged them. 

There's the triangular patch on the front. I also sewed another line of stitching all the way across the top of that triangle, catching the top of the hanging pocket. That way and weight in the pocket will pull on the full skirt rather than just the pocket opening - which would make it sag out anyway.
More to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Joy in Service: Day 13 (and a shop update)

So - I've been waiting to try out something that one of you do - buy flowers at the grocery store then give them to a random person on your way out. At the counter I looked around to see who else was in line, there were a couple of good candidates - an elderly woman caught my eye.
photo by on Matthew Kang  flickr
But by the time I was done they were gone and the parking lot was empty. My son and I stood there for a minute. Then a woman came out and headed to her car. She had a very hurried and stressed out look on her face so I sort of followed her, walked up and said, "these are for you, Merry Christmas." And I walked off. I think maybe I freaked her out. I had fun anyway.

Next time I think I need to say something else - like, "you look like you could use some cheering up." Even better, I should keep some cards that say something in the way of explanation.... and "pay it forward." Any ideas?

Holly Berries, 5"x7" by Lyric Kinard
And - after spending two straight days filling out stacks and stacks of paperwork for a proposal to teach in Houston next year at the International Quilt Festival. Stacks. And stacks..... I've taken a minute to add two new watercolors to my Etsy shop.
Glory of Trees, 5"x7" by Lyric Kinard

Monday, December 12, 2011

Joy in Service: Day 12 The Gift of a Smile

The easiest way I've found to influence the world for good is one of the simplest.
Have you noticed that young children are unable to smile unless they mean it. 
Their smiles go all the way up and shine out their eyes.
When they smile at you you know they are seeing you.

Looking someone in the eye and smiling. Saying hello.
Surprise them by acknowledging their service, even their presence.

And come on. Tell me some things you've done.
I'm starting to feel a little lonely in my quest.
Leave me a comment -please?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

And the winner is.....

Julie - please send me an email! You've won a copy of Jill Berry's fabulous book - but you haven't left a way for me to get in touch with you. Please shoot me a note quickly!

And just a hint to everyone - if you leave a comment for a giveaway - leave your email or add it to your blogger ID and set your profile to public.

Joy in Service: Day 10 The Gift of Music

There was a time in my life when I wanted to be a professional musician. I gave up that idea when I chose to have children and mother them myself. It was incredibly painful and I thought I'd never be able to play my horn again, never have the experience of playing with an orchestra in my life again. 

I was wrong. Today I'm spending hours playing some of the most beautiful music there is with a group of musicians who come together just to share it freely with the community during Christmas.

I've spent hours at rehearsal and practicing but that doesn't even come close to what the conductor and organizers have put in. Or the soloists. Nobody is being paid for this but because we all find such joy in sharing music we are happy to do it.

I think one thing I've finally lived long enough to understand is that when you sacrifice something, things change... but often the change is beautiful.

Of course it was worth sacrificing that dream to have my children and be with them. But I had no idea of the blessings that would come from it.

I never would have imagined myself as an artist or someone who travels and teaches art to others. That never would have happened in the driven, single purpose, life of the musician I thought I wanted to be. I certainly have as much joy from sharing art as I do from sharing music.

And now I have music too. It's certainly different than it was. I'm nowhere near as good but this time, it's not all about me, and about being the best and beating out the other musicians for a chair or solo spot. This time it's about sharing the beauty and the fun of music.

If you are anywhere near Apex, North Carolina come today and share with us. The Apex Nativity Celebration is a display of over 800 nativity sets from around the world. There will be live music the whole day. At 7:30 we'll play and sing Handel's Messiah together. There is nothing like making music. Even better is sitting in the orchestra in the middle of it all. (I'm in heaven there!) It's just as good to be in a crowd of hundreds making this beautiful noise.

How can you share your talents and gifts today?
In what way, big or small, are you making the world a better place?

Please leave a comment telling me about your experience.
We'll inspire and give ideas for service to each other and I'd love to send you a little gift from my studio in return.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Work in Progress: rockstar boro

Today was a hurried scurry from one errand to the next.
As per usual I had left several things to the very last minute.
Son's tunic for his school's ren-fest was one of them. He's one super excited little nobleman wearing his dad's size 13 pirate boots.

Then instead of getting started on dinner or sitting with kidlets to get homework done I decided that I really, really, really wanted to just get the last gore sewn and the zipper in on my boro project. (I'm following along with Melaine Testa's rockstar boro project this month.) 

So I did it. I haven't sewn in an invisible zipper in several years and I must say I was rather pleased with myself.  Nice tight insertion. The seam lays flat. I was a little lazy and just zig-zagged the seam allowances to the zipper tape rather than the fancy french seams or bindings I often do.

Then I trimmed up the waist and made a binding for the waistband. I've even topstiched all the seams in this skirt, whether they are raw side out or in. I've mixed it up a bit on the skirt.

Then I held it up and turned it around.
Look again.

I sewed the zipper and the binding inside out. 

Granted, some of the seams are inside out and some outside in on this upcycled garment made from old linen shirts in my interpretation of the boro spirit. That confuses the issue a bit. But I purposefully held the skirt up, placed the zipper, looked at it carefully and distinctly told myself to make sure I do it on the correct side. And promptly proceeded to sew it inside out.
Time to go make dinner.

After dinner little miss ripper and I will get down to business while we sit next to kidlet who really does not want to do homework. Sigh.

The funny part is that skirts and I have a history. Back in high school I was sewing what was one of my very favorite skirts. Grey pinwhale corduroy, ruffle at the bottom with a raised portion so that a fake lace petticoat could show through. I was talking on the phone to a boy while I sewed in the pointed yoke and waistband and zipper. I sewed it in upside down. 

In a row.

Joy in Service: Day 8 Your Time is a Gift

I'm busy. It can be overwhelming. I hear people talk about television shows I've never heard of and wonder what it would be like to have time to sit and do nothing but watch an hour of TV. I'm tired too.
Signature: half time by Lyric Montgomery Kinard
I was at a rehearsal last night and it was getting later and later and they were playing through some numbers that didn't have horn parts but we had to wait around because the very last number had horns. Did I mention that I was tired? I found myself thinking tired and grumpy and irritated thoughts.
Then I thought - my time is my gift.
And I sat and enjoyed the music for a few minutes.
I was grateful for its beauty and so many people who were working so hard to produce it.
It was a shift in attitude that made all the difference.

It takes time to truly listen to a child or a client. It takes time to go out of your way and deliver a package or a meal. It takes time to create something beautiful for someone. The time you are taking to make the world a better place reminds me that my time, the most precious thing I own right now, is a gift.

Please tell me what you did today to make the world a better place.
You inspire me to be a better person.