Thursday, June 28, 2012

End of the Beginning ...

Well, 20 bags with 5 hearts each have gone to their new owners. It was such fun to see the reactions of the recipients. Clearly, a couple (guys) thought I was a few french fries short of a happy meal, but most were delighted, if not slightly confused.

Bill chose the heart I designed for him—without any prompting and even wore it on his smock yesterday! I was thrilled.

Stacy got right into the spirit of things and passed out hearts faster than I could pass out the bags! Her energy was very heartening (sorry for the pun).

Some hearts stayed in the department, some traveled throughout the building, and some went home for family and friends.

My husband, who is always my best cheerleader, wants to take some to the ladies at the bank. So, I'll make at least six more.

Actually, I like the idea that the project isn't finished. I'd like to send a bag to Hillary, Hilary, Brooke (daughters), and April (soon-to-be-daughter-in-law), each of the ladies in our art party group, and anyone else who needs a little JOY!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

90 JOY Jam Hearts!!

90 JOY Jam hearts are ready to fulfill their destiny! I've actually made 116, but keep giving them away, so there are now 90 of my goal of 100. The photo above shows 18 stacks of 5 hearts each, ready to go into handle bags. 10 more will complete the project.

My goal was to make them all without buying anything, just using scraps and supplies from the studio. Everything went well until I tried to find safety pins. Couldn't find quite enough, so I'll have to buy some—but that's all!

All the fabric, twill tape, ink for the inkjet printer, cardstock for the tags, gift bags (20 for the primary recipients), and ribbon have come from the stash. That's quite remarkable!

So, 10 more to go. That probably means Thursday they will all begin the job they were designed to do—spread JOY (and probably a bit of confusion) to friends, co-workers, loved ones, and strangers!

Please let me hear about your experience with JOY Jam!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

55 Hearts of JOY!

Yahoo! I just finished the 55th heart. Only 45 more to go. I can hardly wait to give the packets away at work and see what happens as they travel around the department. The photo above is about half of the bunch.

I found the hearts were becoming very regular and exact, so made a conscious effort today to stitch inside or outside the heart outline and make each one asymmetrical.

TIPs for stitching several hearts on a slab of fabric:
1. Keep the slab small to medium size. A large slab becomes unwieldy, as you're trying to maneuver it 360 degrees under the sewing machine needle.

2. Don't get too close to the edge of the fabric. Allow about 1" to prevent puckers and bunches as you round the curves close to the edge.

3. Select a thread that works with more than one fabric to avoid having to constantly change upper thread. I used a rainbow variegated thread and really like the contrast against the rusted fabrics.

4. Choose a fine bobbin thread for the bottom. More fits on a bobbin at a time and reduces the number of times you have to stop to wind and change bobbins.

Joy is Contagious (above) is made from what I thought would be backing fabric. It started out as white fabric with a sketchy black plaid. The rust and tannin created irregular areas of texture and color (I love serendipity).

This reminds me of the shirts my dad wore when I was a child. He'd laugh and shake his head at the rust. He was a most gentle soul and would like the way we are passing the joy along in JOY Jam! Thanks for joining me!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Almost to the half-way point!

Working on the JOY Jam hearts in my beautiful studio really makes me happy! I love the feel of the fabric underneath the paintbrush or thread. Making a heart with someone special in mind makes me giggle to myself.

Yes, it sounds so Pollyanna, but I LOVE to see someone smile when they find a gift in their favorite color or with a special message just for them.

There are now 40 JOY Jam hearts on my work table, waiting for their cards to be attached. Others are on the paint table, drying and there is a stack to be sewn beside the sewing machines. Oops! Need to print some more twill tape.

I can't wait to pass these out!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Design out of context

It always fascinates me to see what happens when a portion of a design is removed from context to stand alone. Sometimes it makes the fragment look complex and sometimes it just looks contrived.

So, I was very pleased to see the hearts for JOY Jam from a tattoo-looking stencil. This is way out of my comfort zone, but while thinking about how to make hearts to appeal to the mostly male population of co-workers, my friend Bill (he's "Bill-iant") became the inspiration.

Bill is young enough to be my son, about 6' 3", and a musician. He's smart, interesting, comes from a very different background than I, and has tattoos that take my breath away. They (the tattoos) tell a story of the battle between good and evil and extend from his lower calf to up over his shoulder—at least the parts that are visible. 

Searching through my stash of kewl stencils, this one caught my eye. It kind of looks like what I think a tattoo should look like—and the rust-dyed fabric with pale tannic-acid grays was the perfect background.

Here they are cut out!! How amazing are these? I think even the ├╝ber cool Bill will like them.

The heart count is now 29 toward the goal of 100 hearts for JOY Jam! There is still a long way to go, but this afternoon in the studio has been quite productive and I'm happy!

Anyone else have photos of their JOY Jam hearts to share yet?

Makin' some JOY!

Heading to the studio to may some JOY to share!

My mom used to say "All work and no play makes Beth a dull girl." So, today is a play day—in the studio.

That means there should be photos to share a little later. Yahoo!