Friday, August 31, 2012


the original lemur with the original lemur hat
 It all began with a discussion with my favorite "almost-teen" about The Golden Compass series and what our daemons would be if we could have daemons.  A lemur suits her so well.  A couple of days later when I pulled out my lady bug hat pattern to finish, I got completely side-track and ended up with a lemur hat pattern instead!  The lemur hat was very well received. Turns out the hat was popular with the younger crowd as well, and yesterday we had round two of lemur hat production.  I had a lot of fun choosing colors for the second round of hats!  All summer long my children have followed said "almost-teen," and she has taken it all so well, it seems only fitting that their daemons might take on a lemur shape, at least for a while, just so they could spend more time playing with her. 

Subdued lemurs

their true nature

hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil....or I'm not listening, I won't tell you, and I'm hiding from you.

YEAH! The crazy lady with the camera said we can go!

Monday, August 27, 2012

September Classes 2012

Next week I begin my September class schedule at the Vicenza Arts & Crafts Center!  I am very excited about September's if you are looking for something new and fun to do, I'd love to see you in class!!!  Remember you can sign up both at the Arts Center and online through Webtracs.  

Sewing Boot Camp
Wednesday Sept. 5, 12, 19, & 26  from 18:00 to 20:00
Drop and give me 20 stitches! Learn basic sewing machine operation and machine sewing trouble shooting.  Learn basic hand stitching, including how to sew on buttons, patches, and make hems. 

Drawing Italian Villas
Wednesday Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26, and October  3, &  10 from 9:30 to 12:00
Expand your drawing skills in this 6 week class.  The first two weeks will be spent in the classroom refreshing basic drawing skills and learning perspective drawing techniques.  The remaining 4 classes will be spent on location at different villas in the Vicenza area.  Read more about the class HERE.  

Baby Steps to Sewing
Thursday Sept. 6, 13, 20, & 27 from 9:30 to 12:00
Learn the basics of both machine and hand stitching!  Making a series of three baby friendly projects while learning how to operate a sewing machine, trouble shoot common problems that arise, learn how to sew straight seams, curved seams, and basic hand stitching.  We will be making a baby blanket, bibs, and a baby friendly stuffed animal.  These projects make especially lovely gifts!  Read more about the class HERE.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mountain Cows in the Valley of the Sphinx

   Northern Italy has a vast system of intertwining hiking trails. However, unless you know exactly where you are going, finding a specific trail is not without it's challenges. Many of the individual communities publish little brochures about the hiking trails and natural phenomonon in the area, but the directions on how to find different places are sparse, if they exist at all. I found one such brochure featuring "Valle delle Sfingi," which translates to "Valley of the Sphinx."  After 4 years and 3 unfruitful attempts, we FINALLY found our way to the Valley of the Sphinx!

   High in the hills north of Verona, happy cows graze in rolling pastures dotted with solitary trees.  Fences made from red marble slabs weave their way across the horizon adding a unique element to the landscape. Just North of Camposilvano, in the Parco Naturale Regionale della Lessinia, an unmarked gravel road veers off to the east. 

Red Marble Fence
    The Sunday we found the Valley of the Sphinx, cars lined the main road, hikers could be seen traveling down the gravel road, and in the shade of the trees were people enjoying picnics.  The gravel road leads to a farm house with a locked gate.  This is where we stopped a couple of years ago, sure we were in the wrong place. However, this time scores of summer travelers had made a clear and distinctive path that circumvents the farm house and leads to the pastures that lay just beyond the locked gates.  Within a few minutes of hiking the large limestone monoliths, for which the Valley of the Spinx is named, come into view.  Visitors can wander through the maze created by these enormous stones and see the bovine inhabitants while listening to the charming "tink" "tink" "tink" of their cow bells. 

Valle delle Sfingi - Valley of the Sphinx
Mountain Cow with her Cow Bell 
Other hiking trails lead out of the Valley of the Sphinx; a day could easily be spent exploring and enjoying this beautiful and unique area.  On the ridge to the south, beyond the rolling hills, you can see the expansive valley that houses the city of Vicenza far in the distance.  We took a trail marked 253 and headed north up a hill, that as it crests reveals a spectacular view of the Dolomites.  The trail is partially flanked by the unique stone slab fences.  Cows and hikers share the trail.  We visited in August when the wildflowers were well past their peak.  About the only things blooming were different types of thistle and the distinctive, prickly, Carlina acaulis.

View of the Dolomites 
Carlina acaulis and bee
A Walk Along the Fence
A View into the Valley
Ribbons of Rock Fence
Rock and Barbed Wire
Pretty Mountain Cow Posing for a Picture
Long afternoon shadows
The entire Lessinia area is absolutely beautiful and well worth the hour and a half drive from Vicenza.  We visited during the August heat and found a 10 degree difference in the temperature between Camposilvano and Vicenza...that's 10 degrees Celsius!  We will be back!  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Drawing Italian Villas Class 2012

Drawing Italian Villas 
September 5, 12, 19, 26, October 3,  and 10 from 9:30 to 12:00
Vicenza Arts & Crafts Center and at Various Locations in the Vicenza Area

As you sit perched upon the villa lawn, pencil and paper in hand, the beauty and magic of Italian architecture is revealed in the subtle details. In this class, you will visit four different beautiful villas in the Vicenza area to study and draw them.  Our first two weeks of class will be at the Arts Center, learning perspective drawing, reviewing basic drawing techniques and composition, and discussing a brief history of Italian villas in the Vicenza area.  Then we hit the road for our final four weeks of class, studying and drawing villas in the area.  

You will be responsible for your own transportation, car pooling is encouraged and can be arranged during our first two weeks of class.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf

little red riding hood
Oh My! What a pretty red cape you have Little Red! 

Yesterday I finished a Little Red Riding Hood cape I made from the Hooded Cape pattern I have listed on today it was time for a photo shoot! 

little red riding hood cape

I started this cape two years ago when I taught my first capes class at the Arts Center.  It was mostly done, minus the clasp and the hem....slacker....I know.  

little red riding hood

My daughter has been really enjoying the Little Red Riding Hood story every since some of the parents at her preschool did a little Red Riding Hood reenactment so I was inspired to finish. 

little red riding hood and the big bad wolf

And since you can not have a Little Red Riding Hood without a Big Bad Wolf I decided to also make a wolf mask as well.  The wolf mask pattern is not yet on Etsy, but hopefully it will be soon!  

wolf mask

I am gearing up to teach another capes class at the Arts Center starting in late September.  Sewing capes was the very first class I taught at the Arts Center two years ago, and I am just as excited to teach it this year! 

little red riding hood costume

The kids and I had tons of fun taking these pictures!  Hope you enjoy them. 

little red riding hood costume

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fabric Printing Class, Week 1...Leaf & Apple Prints

how to make apple prints

You know when your last minute preparations for the first week of class included wandering around the yard looking for interesting leaves and buying a bag of apples, it's going to be a fun class!  In the yard I found, ivy, ferns, oak, fig, and wisteria leaves, turns out the class favorites were the wisteria and the fig.  We printed on 49 cent tea towels I found at IKEA and some plain place mats, also found at IKEA. 

One of my favorite things about teaching is seeing all of the creative things my students make!  They were all working with a very limited number of shapes, but everyone's  unique style was clearly expressed in color choices and composition.  

Apple printing is a fast and fun project!  The most challenging part is cutting the apple in half, and the end result is so fun and lovely.  In the absence of actual apple leaves one of my students fashioned "apple leaves" from cut up fig leaves for this lovely design...

apple print

Off to teach week two...stencil...very exciting!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baby Steps to Sewing Class

Baby Steps to Sewing Class 2012
September 6, 13, 20 & 27 from 9:30 – 12:00
Vicenza Arts & Crafts Center 

Come learn the basics of both machine and hand stitching, in a fun and friendly environment.  Our first project is a soft, cuddly, flannel baby blanket.  This project is a great introduction to sewing, making straight seams, and using a blanket stitch.  Our second project is a baby bib...or two.  Bibs provide an excellent opportunity to practice sewing around curves...and they provide a  fun outlet for creativity!  The third and final project is a simple, very baby-friendly animal, which uses both sewing straight seams and curved seams.  

These projects make excellent gifts... something personal, something unique, something from the heart!

 Sign-up online with WebTrac or visit the Arts & Crafts Center!  
Download a supply list HERE!