Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Ahhh, love.

Conversation Heart cupcakes

What's your Valentine tradition?  Most years, I make Conversation Heart cupcakes (No heart pans required.  Just fill the papers 1/2 full, then before baking, slip a marble between the paper and the muffin tin, and create the point when you frost).  This year, being very recently single, and having also just had a major misunderstanding with a friend of the opposite sex, I have a bit of an attitude.  I made the usual words for my Keystone sisters and the Artgirls, but I had fantasies of a second batch, of a darker variety.  However, I found it difficult to express most of my thoughts in just two or three words. 

Sometimes, KISS ME, just isn't the sentiment a girl wants to express.

I did manage to shorten "Your oversize ego is truly astounding" to "Bite Me", but the rest just sounded more hostile than I honestly feel, and besides, it's not as if I was actually going to give cupcakes to the people who inspired these wicked phrasing fantasies.  Maybe Necco, the candy company, could run with this, and do them truly dark, in either chocolate or licorice flavor...expect to see them in retail locations where ID is required.

Now, getting back to the love...

Faith decorates her family home for every holiday,
 and made this pillow for the living room.

Faith (architect of the amazing gingerbread house back in December), wanted to do a simple project for Valentine's Day, using some red corduroy from my stash (aka Fabric Mountain), so she designed this heart pillow, and learned two new embroidery stitches for the words.

The story of the other project this week is a bit longer...

(Once upon a time)When I was a kid (a pretty long time ago), sewing your own clothes was still fairly common, especially for small town teens.  These days, few kids sew, especially kids as young as my art students, but just like basic carpentry, basic sewing is a valuable life skill, and a great thing to have in your art technique arsenal.  So, when eight-year-old Kadence proclaimed herself the next Miss Thing in fashion design, and continually drew the same dress, perfected a bit each time, I thought (and said), "Why not?"

Um...maybe because Kadence has only ever sewn three straight seams to make a super-hero cape.  Maybe because she's eight, and most kids that young don't have the attention span for this kind of thing.  Maybe because you are supposed to start with store-bought patterns, and kid-level projects.  Hmmm.  Sounds like rules from the Perfection Police.  I have two rules in my house:  #1.  Leave your shoes on, because if you take them off, your socks will get dirty, and I'll be embarrassed, and #2.  If you don't like something, for God's sake don't eat it, or I just might serve it to you again. 

Harry S. Truman said, "I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want, and then advise them to do it."   I can't quote you anything else Truman said, but I could love him just for this.  I mean, really, how stress-free for the parent, not having to devise complicated smart advice, and how freeing for a youngster to be trusted to have relevant ideas of her own.  So, we don't do things the usual way around here, we don't think the usual way, and none of these Artgirls is expected to be the "usual" eight or nine year old (you get what you expect, folks).

Kadence and I brought her drawing to the fabric store, where she chose about twenty possible fabrics, found an empty cutting table, and draped and tested until she narrowed it to just six.  There would have been just five, but a floor sample with a lace overskirt caught her eye, and the design was further perfected.  The next week, just like a professional designer, Kadence made a muslin test of each part, where she realized the very straight skirt was a little tough to imagine walking in, much less monkeying around on the playground, and also that there might be a useful reason to learn fractions in math class.

We did a couple of extra days together this past week, finishing her creation, as her fabric choices were very heart themed, and she wanted to be able to debut the dress at school on Valentines Day.  Kadence sewed everything herself, except the elastic in the waist band, which required a bit of finesse to match it to the three fabrics that converge at that point.  She never once complained about having to do boring parts like pinning or pressing, and even when she scorched a fingertip, she pushed on, then added a lace cape at the end, even though she was butt-draggin', eyelid-droopin' tired. 

Kadence designed and sewed this dress,
including a 3-layer appliqued bodice,
 and lace overskirt, with matching cape. 
Click to enlarge, click again for details.

Yes, she's breaking the shoes-on rule,
but multiple test-fits are not compatible with
snow boots.

She's eight, folks, so next time you come up against a challenge and think maybe it's just too hard for someone like you, remember Kadence, and remember: 
You get what you expect. Expect big things of yourself, and you will be pleasantly surprised at what little ol' you can do. 

I get paid to (re)learn these things every week. Gotta love that!


Susan Turney said...

Regarding the first part of this post, another blogger posted the funniest card and I thought you might enjoy it...

Anonymous said...

thanks sue...wicked funny!


Kristie Duyckinck said...

Wow, Kadence! You are amazing! Keep on designing and sewing! From a fan in Oregon.