Sunday, April 24, 2011

The SON has risen

The SUN has risen

and our footsteps have run their course with only an

echo to be heard.




and you have been invited to sit at table

in order to partake in an endLESS feast

under a canopy

of amazing grace.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Needle-Felted Chicks

Needle-Felted Chicks

Tools and MaterialsFoam mat
Wool roving
Felting needle
Wood skewer
Black upholstery thread
Sheet of felt (to use for beak)
34-gauge wire
20-gauge black-coated craft wire
Needle-nose pliers
Fabric glue
Cosmetic blush (optional)
Mini fabric flowers or mini hats (for embellishing)
Egg cup
Needle-Felted Chicks How-To
1. To make the head, pull off tuft of roving and wind into a ball. Jab with a felting needle.
2. To make the body, wrap wool roving around wood skewer; pull off skewer. Jab with a felting needle, sculpting it as you go into an egg shape.
3. To make the breast a different color, needle-felt a thin layer of roving. Add a bit more roving to one end to form tail. Jab with a felting needle.
4. To make the wings, needle-felt a ball and flatten it into a disc, tapering one end. Needle-felt wing to body.
5. To add eyes, poke a needle threaded with black upholstery thread up through bottom of head, exiting where you the want eye to be; thread bead onto needle.
6. Go back in and out through where you'd like second eyeball to be; thread bead; go back in and out through where you want the beak to be.
7. To make the beak, fold felt in half and cut a triangle. Attach beak using same thread as used for eyes and bring thread out through bottom and tie off.
8. Attach head to body using 34-gauge wire threaded through a needle. Insert needle up through bottom of bird body and out through the top where you want the head to sit. Go up through the head, then and down the head, through body and out where you entered. Twist the wire very tightly to secure. Use pliers to curl up the wire tightly against the bottom of the body. Take a tuft of wool to cover dent in head and wire at bottom.
9. To make feet, cut two 7-inch lengths of 20-gauge black-coated craft wire. About half-way down, bend wire around needle-nose pliers. Make three "toes" and then wrap wire; twist, then bend up at "ankle"; cut "leg" 1-inch from ankle. Snip excess wire at ankle.
10. Use an awl to make two holes in bottom of body. Put a dab of fabric glue onto leg. Insert legs into holes. Allow to dry.
11. Sew feet to a larger felt ball with upholstery thread. Glue ball into egg cup. To embellish, glue a mini fabric flower (or mini hat) onto bird head and to the rim of the egg cup, where it meets the felt ball. You can use a little bit of cosmetic blush to give the chick rosy cheeks.
ResourcesWool roving is available at
Special ThanksViewer-crafter Jenn Docherty,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Paper Peonies

These gorgeous peonies are made of paper.
The artist Lisa Yuen shows how to make these flowers here: Part One and here Part Two.

Click this link---> to go to the Peony petal Instructions. The link in the supplies list below takes you right to the printable template.

Tools and Materials:

20-pound recycled paper (20 sheets)
Silpat (I think plastic wrap would work too.)
Cookie sheet
Rolling pin
Paper Peonies template
Acrylic paint (magenta and green)
Acrylic varnish
Pearlizing medium
Plastic bag
Thin paper
Glue gun
Cable wire
Floral tape
Paper Peonies How-To:
1. Rip 20 sheets of 20-pound recycled paper into strips.
2. Boil ripped paper in 5 quarts water; let cool.
3. In a blender, pulse to reduce to a paper pulp.
4. Place 3 cups pulp onto Silpat-lined cookie sheet; spread out.
5. Use sponge to soak up excess water. Let dry for a couple of hours.
6. Flatten with rolling pin. Let dry for one day.
7. Download and print template.
8. Cut 50 petals for each peony: 10 small, 20 medium, and 20 large.
9. Make mixture of 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon magenta acrylic paint, 1/3 cup acrylic varnish, and 1 teaspoon pearlizing medium.
10. Dip petals into paint mixture. Dry overnight on cookie sheets lined with a plastic bag.
11. Curl and wrinkle petal edges.
12. Make a pistil by cutting a 3/4-inch-by-8 1/2-inch strip of thin paper. Fold lengthwise. On the fold, make 1/4 inch cuts, approximately every 1/4 inch. Roll to resemble a paper decoration for a "lamb chop" end. Secure with glue gun.
13. Make a 1/2-inch diameter wad of pulp with a point (shaped like an acorn); let dry.
14. Take dried wad and glue (using glue gun) to uncut end of "lamb chop," pointy side down. Flare ends.
15. Assemble a flower. Using a glue gun, glue five small petals overlapping, surrounding the wad. Glue another layer of small petals. Repeat process for medium, then large petals, working in layers, until you have a full peony.
16. For stems, use the glue gun to glue the end of a length of thick electric cable wire to the base of the flower and wrap, then wrap in floral tape. Paint stems green with acrylic paint.
ResourcesRecycled copy paper is available at office supply stores. We used magenta acrylic paint from Delta, Iridescent Tinting Medium from Liquitex, Acrylic Glazing Gloss Liquid Medium from Golden Makes, yellow card stock or yellow/pink origami paper for the stamens, and a hot glue gun by Dremel. You can find cable wire for the stem at hardware stores.
Designed by
Lisa Yuen,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Matter of Faith

 A brilliant post by Steve McCurry:

Girl praying at a mosque, Kabul,  Afghanistan

 I have seen many manifestations of  faith during my travels over the past three decades.  Some have been spontaneous, some have been part of a liturgy, some have been prescribed rituals, some have been in magnificent buildings, others have been outside under a tree.   Some people’s faith is embedded in the way they live their lives.

Shaolin monks training, Zhengzhou, China

“Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs the matchless and pure strength of faith.”   Mohandas Gandhi

Prayers and teaching, Peshawar, Pakistan

Sikh holiest site, Golden Temple,  Amritsar, India

Sri Lanka

Prayer Flags, Lhasa, Tibet

Charlotte, North Carolina

Religious Instruction – Jewish child  in Yemen

Srinagar, Kashmir


Camino, Italy

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.  To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”   
- St. Thomas Aquinas


Thrissur Pooram, Kerala, India

  “Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.”
    - Rabindranath Tagore

Tibetan Prayer Festival in Bodh Gaya, India

Pilgrim praying with monks at the Buddhist Academy of Larung Gar, Kham Province, Tibet

“What is Faith?  When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer.”
- Prophet Muhammad

Monk at Jokhang temple, Lhasa, Tibet

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Eye of the Beholder

  As seen through the lens of Steve Mccurry

 The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, are two of the world’s most iconic buildings.   They both evoke passionate emotions, even love, despite being  on opposite ends of the historical and architectural spectrum. 

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Built with translucent white marble and inlaid with gems from China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Arabian peninsula

 In both buildings shape, size, scale, proportion, texture, color, and light  work together to spectacular effect, but very simple structures can also be designed to bring aesthetic pleasure.

Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain
Constructed with a steel frame covered with titanium sheathing

What makes things pleasing to our eyes, and how can the design of everything from majestic buildings to simple utilitarian structures bring delight?

Kyoto, Japan

For centuries, there has been documented evidence that people have preferences for structures in the built environment and in the natural environment that have certain geometric  proportions known as the golden ratio or golden proportion. 

Red Fort, New Delhi, India
  The ratio of length to width of approximately 1.618  appears not only in art and architecture, but also in natural structures.

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

Step Well, India

Kimberly Elam’s book,  Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition, points out that things in nature as different as
the human body, the pine cone, and the trout all share natural proportioning systems that provide the foundation for all art, architecture, and design.

Summer Palace, Beijing, China


Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is
recognition of the pattern.
 - Alfred North Whitehead, Mathemetician

Jodhpur, India

Gujarat, India

Jaipur, India, 2008

 On photography and geometry:
“For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry.”
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Let no one destitute of geometry enter my doors.”  -  Plato 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tutorial-fabric flowers

As found on Project Wedding:
Do you ever find yourself coveting those lovely fabric flower hairpieces at JCrew?  Or maybe one of those beautiful ring pillows with fabric flowers on top that you see on Etsy?  Or even a sweet little flower-adorned cardigan to cover up your shoulders on your wedding day?
Here’s a quick tutorial to show you how to make your own fabric flowers!  The uses for these flowers are endless – attach a clip to one to put in your bridesmaids’ hair, string them together to create a cute garland for the pews, attach stems to create a fabric flower bouquet, or stick one on your clutch to match your wedding colors!

Fabric (anything works – from silk organza to your old bedsheets)


Thread (in a color that matches the fabric)
Large circular object (for tracing around)

Medium circular object(about ¼” – ½” smaller in diameter)
Small circular object  (about 1” in diameter)


1. Trace the large circular object onto your fabric 9 times.
2. Trace the medium circular object onto your fabric 1 time.
3. Trace the small circular object onto your fabric 1 time.
4. Cut out all 11 circles.
5. Set small and medium circles aside.   Take a large circle and fold it into quarters.

6. Place this quarter on top of another large circle.

7. Using a needle and thread, sew the tip of the fabric quarter onto the flat circle.  Make sure you sew through all the layers.
8. Take 3 more large circles, fold them into quarters, and continue to lay them out onto the circle.  To keep the flower perfectly balanced and proportional, make sure all the openings face the same direction. Sew each quarter as you lay it down.  After all 4 quarters have been laid out and sewn, sew a couple times between the quarters to connect them together.

9. Fold another large circle into quarters.  Place this directly on top of another quarter on the bottom layer, and angle it 90 degrees. Again, make sure the opening faces the same direction as the quarters on the bottom layer. 

10. Sew the quarter onto the bottom layer.
11. Repeat this using 3 more of the large circles.  This should form an entire top layer.

12. After the top layer has been completed, remember to sew between the quarters again.
13.  Take the medium circle now and fold it in half.

14. Roll it up into a cone shape.

15. Place it flat against the top layer with the tip pointing toward the center.  Sew the very tip into place.  It should be able to stand upright when you are done.

16. Flip the flower over.  Take the smallest circle fabric and sew it onto the back to cover up your stitches.  If you are attaching a hair clip or headband to the flower, put it between the flower and the small circle fabric.  Sew the circle into place with the hair clip headband sandwiched inside it.

17. Flip the flower over again and fluff it up!