More Masked Projects!

I’ve started work on the largest of the mixed media art pieces I’ll be doing. The canvas is 18 x 18. I wanted to showcase three masks in Mardi Gras colors and work in a Mardi Gras background. I’m up to step three, which is decorating the masks. I want each one to be unique in more ways than the fabric and mask designs. Here are two pictures showing the work so far. The lighting in our kitchen is terrible but the photos came out clear enough to grasp the idea behind the project.

The first step was to paint the canvas black. They didn't have a black canvas in the size I wanted to use. The colors of paint I'm using are black, purple, pale antique gold, metallic green-gold, and white.

The first step was to paint the canvas black. They didn’t have a black canvas in the size I wanted to use. The colors of paint I’m using are black, purple, pale antique gold, metallic green-gold, and white.

I used the colorful paints to create a simple background of different confetti. Then I placed the masks on top to determine a pleasing placement. I also attempted to roughly plan out what I wanted to embellish the masks with. The only one that stayed the way it is in the picture is the green horned mask. I used brass beads to embellish it.

I used the colorful paints to create a simple background of different confetti. Then I placed the masks on top to determine a pleasing placement. I also attempted to roughly plan out what I wanted to embellish the masks with. The only one that stayed the way it is in the picture is the green horned mask. I used brass beads to embellish it.

All in all, the project is coming along nicely, though it will take time. I’m having to work on it around my work and family time schedule. I’ll keep updating you on the progress. I got the masks embroidered at Sew What Embroidery and Screenprinting based in Branch, LA. You can check them out by clicking here to get to their facebook page. The green one is embroidered in black and the fabric is a gold/green dragon brocade. The white one has pale gold embroidered scrolls on the fabric and it’s embroidered in pale gold. I’ll be using black and silver beads to embellish it. The purple one is a stretch lace fabric with hologram sequins on it. It’s embroidered in green. I’ll be using chain and metal scales to embellish it. I’m also going to use different kinds of fabrics and pictures to add to the background. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read!

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.” ~Emily Dickinson

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Tree Costume Rundown

I only realized today that I hadn’t yet posted on the completed tree costume! I had to create a pattern from scratch to make the dress. It’s basically a t-tunic with a rounded skirt. It’s not perfect, for sure.  Because I couldn’t create it with a turtleneck, like Starshine wanted, I ended up making the dress with a boat neck and topped it off with a separate cowl that served the double purpose of covering her hair and neck. It may not have been perfect but it was adequate for the play and she was definitely the most fabulous tree that stage has seen in a while…or pretty close to it!

One of the reasons I do not make costumes for money is this reason. I don’t go for perfection when I create something. I go for what will work and strive to get as close to the target result as I possibly can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This time, it did!

You’ve seen the birds, their nest, and the hat. Here’s the photo of the whole outfit complete with makeup.

Photo taken by Melody ~ I used the camera that came with my phone to take the photo and the Pixlr-O-Matic app to edit it. This shows her hat, dress, nest and birds.

Photo taken by Melody ~ I used the camera that came with my phone to take the photo and the Pixlr-O-Matic app to edit it. This shows her hat, cowl, dress, nest and birds.

Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks.” ~Goethe

Experiences and Observations

Hello again! I know my posts have been very sporadic over the last couple of months. There are many reasons but the fact is that there were some things that needed our attention more than our blog. The kids were involved in a play. They practiced 4 days of each week until the last week of June and then had two dress rehearsals. The play ran last week and finished up with a matinee this past Sunday. We’ve been working on doing what we can to separate John’s photography business from the rest of Kittles Family Artworks and while doing so have come to some other conclusions. We’re busy trying to organize all the things that need to get done in order to make these transitions go smoothly. We’re tired and worn out but we’re putting one foot in front of the other on this life journey and we’re walking the road together.

Because we are creative people, the need to experience new places and take advantage of new opportunities is quite important. We decided to take a much needed trip to refresh and renew our spirits. We opted to visit family in Georgia. There are many things to do and see in our home states so being able to stay with family is a great help on a tight budget. One of the things we’re determined to do more of are outings and trips to different places. We feel these are necessary to keep the mind sharp and fresh and to keep the creativity flowing.

Feeling tired and run down? Feeling like you’re in a rut and going nowhere? Then I highly recommend you get into your vehicle and just go driving. Don’t drive? Do you bike? A bike ride can be just as rewarding! Prefer walking to either of those? A good hike is refreshing and slow enough that you won’t miss the small things that are truly inspiring. We’re really enjoying our down time. It’s really great to be able to just step away from the daily routine and take a few deep breaths.

Just because we are away from home and away from the supply containers doesn’t mean we haven’t been creating new things or expanding our knowledge. Starshine and Magiba have been working on their drawing skills. I’ve been snapping and editing cell phone photos taken at some of the stops along our route. (If you’d like to see those, please keep an eye on my personal blog by clicking here. It is my intent to post a gallery of some of the best edits of our travel photos there in the near future.) John has been taking more storm, still life, and flower photos. (You can check out the photos he’s been posting on our trip at his blog by clicking here.) I can’t believe we’ve already been gone for 4 days! We have been creating things on our journey but I know I’ll be ready to start creating new artworks when our trip is completed!

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius

A Quick Update

While the kids have been involved in the theater this month, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time to create many works of art. I have been quite inspired, though, during this time. I’m getting back into my music, creating with some simple chord progressions I can build on. Nojo and I will be working on refining those in the coming months for John to use them along with some of his time lapse photography. We’re really looking forward to that!

I’ve also been inspired by my own hometown. John and I have been taking photography walks while the kids are at the theater. It’s quite calming and meditative, most days. While doing these photography walks, I’ve been thinking about my next mixed media art project and came up with two ideas. As soon as I can replenish my supplies, I’ll be working on more panels of mixed media art. Here are a couple of my favorite photos from our photography walks of the last three days.

A Small Lily ~ I used the Picsart Camera android app to take the photo and the Pixlr-o-Matic android app to edit it.

A Small Lily ~ I used the Picsart Camera android app to take the photo and the Pixlr-o-Matic android app to edit it.

Window Reflections ~ I used the Picsart camera android app to take the photo and the Pixlr-o-Matic android app to edit it.

Window Reflections ~ I used the Picsart camera android app to take the photo and the Pixlr-o-Matic android app to edit it.

3 Basic Elements ~ I took the photo using the Picsart camera android app and edited it using the Pixlr-O-Matic android app.

3 Basic Elements ~ I took the photo using the Picsart camera android app and edited it using the Pixlr-O-Matic android app.

As you can see, there were many different things that caught my eye. We only walked down one main street and around a couple of the nearby blocks. What new things will you find in your town? Isn’t it amazing how the things we see every day as we pass by in a blur become more interesting and clear when we slow down a bit? People often question how we have time to do the things we do. It’s not really about having the time, as much as it is about making the time. Figure out what you really want to do, what’s really important to you, what you really value most, and you’ll find a way to make it happen.

Speaking of deciding what you really want, we will not be merging the two blogs. After much discussion and thought, we’ve decided it’s best to keep the photography separate.

I was not the only one taking photos on the photo walks we took. If you’d like to see one of the photos John took today, then click here to check it out at his blog.

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anaïs Nin

Theater Costume Project Continues

I’ve been working on Starshine’s tree costume again this week. I finally have the nest together. I often start a project with an idea in mind but it turns out equally often that the project has a mind of its own and turns out a little differently than I originally pictured it. This nest was somewhat like that. I used burlap fabric, thread, 1/4″ elastic, and one small sprig of autumn leaves. I basically sewed an open-ended scrunchie, ran the elastic through it, and sewed the the two short ends together, only at the elastic casing. It gave my nest a messy appearance, which was one thing I was trying to achieve. I pulled the leaves off my sprig and cut the “twig” that was left over into 3 pieces. I used Fabri-tac glue to stick the leaves and “twigs” on the nest randomly. Here’s a photo of the finished project. What do you think?

~ the burlap bird's nest I created for Starshine's tree costume ~

~ the burlap bird’s nest I created for Starshine’s tree costume ~

“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” ~ William Blake

Theater Costume Project

I’m working on a tree costume for Starshine. She’s going to be a disgruntled and morose British tree in a children’s play later this month. I’ve been working on her costume for a while now. This time, I’m pacing myself, being sure to take time for important things and time to rest. The elements I needed to include were a trunk, leaves, a bird’s nest, and baby birds that move.

For the trunk, I chose a brown stretch knit fabric that had a nifty pattern and lots of glitter. (This is Fairytale Land, after all!) I didn’t have a pattern in the style I wanted. So I had to create one from scratch. I had Starshine lay down on some brown packaging paper and traced out her body lines. I marked where her knees were because I wanted a very straight dress with a flair at the bottom…like a tree trunk and its root base. The sleeves I kept as small a diameter as possible but made them longer than her arms so she could cover her hands with the fabric. I couldn’t make the dress have a turtleneck like I wished. So instead, I cut out a simple head cover out of the leftover fabric that will cover her hair and neck.

For the leaves and treet0p, I created a leaf garland out of green sequin dot fabric and beading wire. It’s light-weight and should make very nice foliage. I’ll attach it to a brown, floppy-brimmed hat we used to use for our SCA events. I’m still working on how to extend some of the leaves out in many directions without making the hat top-heavy.

For the bird’s nest, I’m going to make an overly large scrunchy out of burlap and decorate it with twine and twigs and maybe some leaves. I wanted her to have complete mobility of her hand and not have to worry about the nest falling off during the performance.

The baby birds were a bit of a challenge. I thought right away to use a glove but how to make the fingers look like believable baby birds was another matter entirely! I ended up gluing lots of brown craft feathers to the fingers, enough to cover the color of the glove (though, I did use a black glove). I cut somewhat large triangles out of bright yellow felt and glued those to the tips of the fingers. The audience should have a nice view of those yellow beaks. I have a photo of the baby bird glove that I can share with you today.

Baby Birds for Tree Costume

Baby Birds for Tree Costume ~ The dress fabric is in the background and the burlap I’m using for the nest is wrapped around the bottom of the glove. It’s still just a piece of fabric right now but tomorrow should see it form into more of a scrunchie nest. 🙂

I still have a good bit of work left to do on this project but it’s coming along quite nicely! I hope you’ve enjoyed this update. I’ll share more photos as the project progresses. If you’re in the area and would like to see the play, it will take place at the Eunice Players Theater in Eunice, LA on June 25-28 @ 7 pm and the matinee performance will be on June 29 @ 2 pm.

Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on.”  ~River Phoenix

News and Updates

I know it was my goal to have my panels up at Etsy today. It isn’t going to happen. Not today, anyway. Probably not this month. What can I say? Life happens. I will continue making more panels as time and money allow, and gathering more items we’ve created to post up on Etsy within the next couple of months.

John has been busy working on getting some of his photos ready for online sales. We’ll update you with the availability on those, as well. If you haven’t done so yet, please do check out his fabulous work at his photography blog.

Louisiana doesn’t make it easy for new, small businesses to get their steam up. It’s annoying but we’re going to keep working on it. I just wanted to keep our readers posted on that progress. And it is progress. We’re keeping on keeping on. Thanks for sticking with us!

I feel that today’s quote is particularly appropriate. I hope you enjoy it and find it inspiring.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, more and more successful.” ~Mark Victor Hansen