Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dot To Dot at Nido Art Studio

 Well the Dots (Lisa Manning, Joanna Goss, and Anna Lentz) had a day of working together at Nido Art Studio in preparation for Saturday's show: Hop Juice Festival in Aurora.  Our wheels were slow to grind, but eventually we hammered out some solid work.   (I'm too tired to be mixing metaphors)

 Here is a look at what we're are cooking up:
Cuckoo Clock Drawing for Embrodery
 I'm working on an embroidered pillow of a vintage German cuckoo clock.  I was inspired by the German wood carving tradition and simultaneously looking for a vehicle for my embroidery.  Splash in some form meets function and hello pillow! 

I haven't decided if I am mixing in color or sticking with black.  Time may resolve this problem. 
Deciding which colors to use
 We're developing three variations on coaster sets.  We have an Aurora/Illinois pride pack that includes the following three designs (seen below).  We're planning on printing these onto up-cycled t-shirts and sewing them onto felt.  Joanna is creating artwork for four, cheeky Wayne's World inspired coasters which will also be printed.  Finally we began sewing coasters made from vintage fabrics.  Of this last bunch, we hope to have a wide variety that would allow the customer to mix and match and customize their own pack.

Last but not least we made some mockups of toys for our feline friends.  (The toys have a really clever name which I can't recall.) Anyway, they will be felted versions of six varieties of bottled beer and the interior will be laced with catnip.

If you are near the beer make sure you make a trip to see us on Saturday.  I'll have more info on Facebook!
Coaster Design

Coaster Design

Coaster Design

Vintage fabric coaster

Cat toy prototype

Bottle Tree

Scratch Art I made at Nido

 At Nido Art Studio in Aurora my bottles took on a new life hanging from a tree.  They swayed in the breeze and soaked up the creative energy of that place.  Intrigued by the origin of this bottle hanging tradition, I learned that its roots are in an African custom of capturing malevolent spirits at night which would then be destroyed by the gleaming rays of daylight.

While my opaque, soft sculpture bottles are in sharp contrast to glistening, transparent glass bottles, I think they still possess a magical quality.  Perhaps they're unable to trap evil, but they can generate delight. 
Hanging Bottles from Tree at Nido
Detail of Bottle

Bottle Tree Occupant--She was not happy with my presence.

Bottles Hanging at Home

For More info:

Friday, May 25, 2012


 Abe took a series of photos yesterday which I decided to use in my post.  I think it sums up my recent activities--random.

Hooray for organized fabric which definitely beats digging at the bottom of the barrel for a scrap that I'm not sure I have anymore.
 I'm sewing some bottles to hang from the tent at the Beer Fest show coming up in June.  I was thinking about those beautiful trees adorned with hanging bottles in various greens, blues, and browns.  I can't decide if it is a hit or a miss. 
 I began a rough sketch of a painting for our "Magic Bandana" Show coming in July.  I am hesitant to paint.  It has been a long while. 

 I love my yellow sandals and feel a little bit like a super hero strapping on a cape.  Maybe I can do anything with this pair of sunshine on my feet.

Not pictured above, I'm working on an embroidered cuckoo clock pillow.  I also have a flannel quilt design for the "Magic Bandana" show.  I'm not sure how much I can reveal about this process, though.  Secrets abound!

Thanks again to Abe for the photos.  Again, not picture are a sequence of photos of a storm trooper moving along the piano.  If you printed them out and made a flip book it would like a mini movie.  I might just have to do that . . .

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Food Fight

Eggplant, Banana, Pea, Apple, Carrot
I've been making play food for upcoming shows.  These are always popular especially packaged in a miniature tote bag with a felt veggie appliqued on the front.  I call them "Farmer's Market Tote's" and hope they inspire creative play and healthy eating.  My kids sure enjoy them.  Added bonus is that they are machine washable.  Some urging from sister lead me to try making my own tote bags and after fooling with it this afternoon, I've thrown in the canvas towel.  It's not worth my brain power at this point in time.  I was having trouble with the handles.  I think a big part of the appeal (no banana pun intended) is that they look like miniature versions of something mom and dad lug around on Saturdays.  So, choosing authenticity, I just placed an order for tiny canvas bags.  The trick now is finding the sweet spot for the price. 

Meanwhile, I'm desperate for genius inspiration as I begin new projects.  My painting professor always recommended gin and a nap.  Shows are around the corner . . .

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Porch Post

 An official invite to all Pinwheel Anna blog readers and your friends to come have a drink when you are in vicinity of my porch.  Someday I'll have a vintage metal glider, but until Craig's list gives one up . . .

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rebel Quilt

 My original design for  the Pilgrim Gala Quilt included these pieced squares of solid fabrics, but they resisted being a part of that project.  Instead, they preferred to become their own rebel quilt.  The wanted to be a small close clan hose at 52" square.  The backing is a vibrant orange plaid and the binding a firey red-orange.  The other colors recall the 80's and dreamsicles, but don't let the cool colors fool you.  This quilt is for the strong willed with a unique drum beat.  Check it out at my shop if you're of that ilk.
Basket Weave Design

Yellow Quilting Stitches

Orange Plaid Backing and Red-orange Binding

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Promotional Material and Some Favorite Things

Pinwheel Button
 My Brother and I used to hide pennies above the hallway door.  We'd totter on the highest step precariously sliding pennies onto the molding.  Giggling about our secret treasure we'd wonder if anyone would ever discover it.  Acting alone I would nestle spare change into the fluffy cotton insert of a small gift box and rest it on my mother's pillow.  My belly would leap at the happy thoughts of her finding a surprise before bed. 

Ever since reading The Handmade Marketplace which suggests sending swag along with an Etsy purchase,  I've been anticipating making a button.  I finally bit the bullet and ordered pinwheels from  To add text or to not add text?  I decided to keep it image only.  The buttons look a little dark.  I am not sure if this an issue regarding quality of the image or a result of the plastic coating.  At any rate, can't wait to send one along with my next sale.  Up until now, I've sent a paper wreathe or garland.  I don't know why I get the biggest kick out of sending a surprise!
Yellow thread scraps
I'm finishing up the binding on a quilt.  I should have pictures posted in a day or two.  The quilt will go up on my Etsy shop.  I especially love the yellow thread I used for quilting.  Yellow is my favorite color of 2012.  
I like these colors

Abe made succulent planter from cupcake paper mold- good idea!
Spring Tea at Abe's preschool was delightful last Thursday.  His class made concrete planters using paper cupcake liners and a greased cork to make the depression.  They then planted succulents, and the best part, watered them with an eye-dropper.  Succulents are my favorite plant group by far!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rag Tag Rugs--Karen, Palau, and Arles

 I wove three more rugs this week.  "Palau" and "Arles" are on my Etsy Shop along with more photos. "Karen" was a commission.  I'm happy with how it turned out.   There is a certain amount of mystery when weaving.  As you wind the completed part onto the front beam, it becomes obscured.   So, the whole rug is only revealed when I pull the completed rugs off the loom.  It's a little like Christmas looking at them for the first time hoping they look coherent.  Often a rug that I think isn't going well ends up being a favorite.  I think "Karen" fits that bill.  I can't wait to get it to her!