Mended Heart Monday

28 Feb

My Mended Heart

My mended heart project is started with a light hesitation, nothing as strong as resistance. What’s concerning to me at the moment is that I don’t know if I can do it well, do a good job. Yet I trust Charlene as My Mended Heart Guide and we begin. Before I know it, I’m wondering where the day went!

Clearly, I am not the first student of the Mended Heart process. Charlene is cool as a cuke and is leading me through all the steps with precision order.

I’ll need to choose a ready-sewn heart from the stacks and stacks available. Right away I’m wondering: how do you get the stuffing inside? I find out I’ll have to cut open the heart to stuff it! Wow. Chills. I’m already feeling the magic–that didn’t take long. Without too (terribly) much difficulty I’ve chosen this colorful, kind of wild, batik style heart.

I select a yummy red fabric as the patch material and add the stuffing. Using a chopstick, I make sure to get the tip nice and pointy–the stuffing soft and even, not lumpy. Now on to the findings. There are really way too many choices. Good thing I’ve reviewed the dozens of finished hearts that Charlene has on hand. She watches for that sparkle in my eye and it helps her narrow down my options. I start with a wee bit of burlap and a length of silver chain.

Don’t remember how many ooohs and aaahs I spewed out over her basket of everything wonderful odds-n-ends, but it was a lot. This box is over 15 years worth of collecting, some of the odds are very odd and some of the beads are handmade by Charlene. Now that I’ve pawed through the box for a while, a nautical theme is emerging–seahorses, fish, shells. Again, tooooooo many choices! I never even get to the towers of seed beads that are in my peripheral vision the entire time.

What I choose is just an anchor and two bells. Charlene graciously waxes my threads so I can sew. And she engineers my jump ring situation so the bells will hang just right. At this point Charlene tries three times to get my attention to show me something and I hear nothing, so intent am I on the stitching of the burlap to the heart.

Ta da. It looks good, just… Charlene politely offers that if I want to, I can sew down the anchor to prevent it from hanging backwards. Nah, I say, just let it swing, no problem. Without missing much of a beat, I casually say that we could glue two anchors back-to-back. Oh, we are both so relieved! Apparently, we’d like for it to not bug us if it hangs backwards but in our hearts we know it will. Too funny, right?

Anyway, now we’re down to the hanger and apparently I am too tired to choose one (have I mentioned the many many choices?). Charlene chooses for me a perfect hanger and I promise to finish at home.

So I’m home. I’m looking at it. Liking it. But it doesn’t make sense. Do I really need to understand this? Yes. I’m wondering why I have the burlap completely covering the red fabric that I love so much. My first thought is to reinforce the red stitching as a way of bringing the inside out. No. Here comes the ah ha: what if the solution is not to add something–but to create the mending by taking excess away? Yes.

Pulling out every other thread from the burlap gives it a looser weave that allows a hint of the red to show through. From across the room I don’t notice the mending at all. A person must look closer to see that. I notice the happy colors, the strong chain. An anchor for moveable security. Bells to sing out that I have a mended heart, although I can’t sing, hence the bells.


Squares are neat and tidy

25 Feb

Backs of 17 more word blocks

I’m thinking of a lot of reasons why I like squares. They calm me. I feel a sense of order. Predictability. Four sides. I know where this is going. Security. Familiarity. It’s like comfort food for my eyes and hands.

There are 34 word blocks in the works now. In various stages of wet so I can’t touch them. I’m sort of waiting. Thinking about baking, actually. Cookies come in little squares, too!

That million dollar five dollar idea

23 Feb

Little blocks will have type along the spirals

Actively pursuing the concept. Believing. Hoping to get my art career hopping with an original quirky item that people can relate to. Part of that relationship is that the art needs to be easily affordable.

Word blocks are on the way. Right now these are in the sun drying. Little squares, less than two inches, of wood molding covered in instant papier mache mix. Fasteners on the back are made out of real picture hanging wire. I love that touch.

A great book of phrase origins was gifted to me which is perfect to slice up and glue down along the spirals. I’ll be painting the blocks in a soft white to match the book pages. I’m really exited about these little ditties and hope that will show through in the finished product.


17 Feb

Some of my all-time favorite colors!

Leave the light off
I don’t need it
To be able to hear
What’s in my heart
Wants, needs, waits
For us to smile
Share our smiles
Will wait as long as it takes
Will be here, will be ready
For us to smile
Laugh shout cry
Let the cosmos deal out
The cosmic karma
Keep your chin up, chin up
Don’t fall
Big Girls don’t cry
Keep going, going
I’ll never get the housework done
At this rate
Just leave the light off

Creating the Illusion of a Pocket

5 Apr

When I wear my tee shirt designed with the faux breast pocket full of paint brushes, I can count on double-takes and usually a comment or two. The surprise of this illusion seems to make people smile. For myself, I love fun clothes and wanted the shirt and design to look intentionally made for each other. The result is relevant to my personal style and to the client, Big Island Arts Annual.

For the design inclined and otherwise curious, a brief tour of how the illusion was created.

First, we shot a concept photo with the tee shirt spread flat. I positioned the brushes in the pocket, just so, to capture the bumps and shadows of the handle shapes inside. Since we were working on the floor, the angle of the shadow was easily adjusted by rotating the subject.

In order to get good close-up focus on both the pocket and the brush tips, we took two separate photographs. The photograph of the heart painting was handy from a previous photo shoot, so I was ready to bring all my parts and pieces into Photoshop.

I didn’t have the kind of short stubby brushes that I wanted for this design so I shortened the ones I had. After clipping out the white tee shirt background, I cut away most of the long wooden handles. Then I positioned the brushes individually, behind the bumps in the pocket. To keep it looking real I adjusted the angle of each brush, just a little.

Next, I layered the hearts painting over the pocket image. I made the pocket extra high contrast so it would show up more under the painting. I made the painting extra bright to compensate for the partial opacity that allows the pocket to show through.

For the paint blobs, I copied a portion of the bristles and filled them with semi transparent colors that were sampled from the heart painting. Semi transparent colors allow some of the bristle details to show through so the blobs don’t look flat. I copied these same color shapes to scatter a few behind the brushes.

Now it looks like the brushes were still wet with paint when the artist stuffed them in their pocket. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get that perfect “random” pattern. I worked it until I was satisfied.

The back of this shirt features the “I Heart Hawaii Artists” logo of

(Go to to get the I Heart Hawaii Artists logo wear and share the love)