Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Baking

I love baking and am exploring recipes I have never made before, for our Christams goodies this year.  I made traditional Stollens, only four, and they are already all spoken for, next time I double the recipe!  And I made gluten free Ginger Bread Men.  The GF version is my present to my dearest friend for Christmas, recently diagnosed with ciliac, I am happy to help test recipes and this one is very good.  I thought I'd share a couple of photos of the cookies, which reminds me of a textile design I might have made a number of years ago when I worked for Cranston Home Fashions and we did holiday lines, all that's missing is a green or red background and some metallic gold!  I hope you and your families have a Joyous and Blessed Holiday Season, take time (like I finally did today) and share your talents with others. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Tree Skirts

As I decorate the house for the holidays I have come to realize that I want a new and fabulous Christmas Tree Skirt.  I have been using a piece of fabric I designed when I worked at Cranston Home Fashions, and after we moved to New Hampshire, the pattern on it seemed just perfect for my skirt, though with all great intentions to somehow finish it (line with a wonderful wool fabric or some such thing)  I have not gotten around to it.  SO I thought "what can I find out there on the world wide web" for inspiration.  And yes I am thinking FELT.  Patterned? Or maybe edged with dimensional objects, a winter scene with cutie little animals, a nativity, I'm not sure but I am feeling the creative juices flowing.  So while poking around on-line, I came across a few skirts that said, "Nicole".  We'll have to see how these fun references inspire me and my new tree skirt...   
Anthrolopogie Catalog Holiday 2011 Selection

Tree Skirt posted by thisnext

Tree Skirt by RedMarionette Etsy

Kaleidescope Tree Skirt by Chicago Lost and Found
Tree Skirt (pattern) by Fiber Artist Deb Karasik

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Scarves On-Line (Flowered Yarn)

So a few weeks ago I posted on Facebook, a photo of an amazing skein of yarn I bought while exploring a near-by part of Vermont.  I was out with my husband and mother-in-law, she an advid knitter, visiting local craft shows and shops, where fiber definitely seemed to be a theme.  Well, I really have to admit the main reason for the visit to Proctorsville, VT was actually PIE.  We discovered a really great breakfast and pie place I had no idea exsisted and since I am a very big fan of pie, and I had also known about a yarn store, Six Looses Ladies, there but had not had the opportunity to visit it, our day's excursion was set - off we went!  We began the day with a late breakfast early lunch at the  VT Apple Pie and Cheesecake Bakery and Breakfast.  Here are some photos from their Facebook page.

After we finished lunch we stopped around the corner at Six Loose Ladies.  While shopping at this great little treasure, a very unique skein of hand spun yarn jumped off the shelf at me.  It is hand dyed and spun into the ply are little flowers!! I bought it right away and envisioned it going right into some wooly scarves!

I was determined to try it in a scarf, and since I was doing an on-line scarf class yesterday I used it for my demonstration.  Here are a a couple of photos from yesterday's session.  So MUCH FUN, I can't wait to make some scarves with this!
the table full of of fiber, some from NEFS, yarn from Six Loose Ladies, and fabrics from Delectable Mountain Cloth

The finished sample
VT Apple Pie & CheeseCake Bakery Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 28, 2011

Color Made Easy

I think I am reverting to my old magazine-holic ways, yesterday I spontaneously purchased the Meredith publication "Color Made Easy"  Fall/Winter 2011 Issue

 If you haven't gotten this issue, hurry and get it!  For those of you who have taken my Color Theory Class or any of my workshops where I have talked about mixing pattern textures and scale (all of them!), contrasting and pairing colors, this publication is a beautiful version of what I preach!!  This is the perfect time of year to begin our nesting impulses and get your winter reading materials piled to the ready at the chair side.  This inspiration book is on the top of mine.  When the holiday grinds to a halt in January and the New England country side turns grey and neutral, my colorful inspiration time blooms!  I think of rooms I want to change, spruce up, and color color color!!  My favorite paint company of the moment is Yolo ColorHouse and believe it or not you can get Yolo Colorhouse at Home Depot! (find them on Facebook and follow their colorful path)
Here are some of the colors I am thinking for some of my rooms. 
Upstairs Bath: Create 03
Dining Room: Dream 06 
Kitchen and Porch:  Thrive 03

What are some of your favorite colors of the moment?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Costumed Life Drawing

My Favorite things about life drawing:
1. the smell of the art studio
2. everyone set up at easels around the model
3. how warm the studio is
4. art supplies, my favorite is Utretch, I love the Cambridge, Mass location since the manager shipped an order of presentation boards out for me at like 4 in the afternoon, and got them on the fedex truck for me to receive them the next day! You rock!
5. Caran D'Ache NeocolorII Aquarelle
6. The Arts Students League in NYC where I first went in high school, to life study and studied with amazing artists
7. drawing and painting in Charlie Hunter's studio, thank you Charlie!
8. going with both friends Cindy and Carole Anne, both artists in their own rights.

I have posted some of my life drawings over the past few months, and I was finally able to get to this last  session, after having missed almost two months worth!  It was actually one in a series of at least sessions where the models were costumed in outfits from the Walpole, NH Historical Society's and Costume Ladies in Walpole.  I hear the models were quite fun to draw.  This weeks model was in the holiday mood, in a red and green costume and was dubbed the Holiday Wench.  My friend Cindy was there this week, and gave me a set of watercolor pastels so thats the color I played with!
20 minute sketch in graphite
30 minute with water color pastel washes
Sleeping "Holiday Wench" 1 hour graphite and Aquarelle wash

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaching by Web Cam

Many of you know I have been teaching via web cam since the beginning of 2011.  I have quite a few students to date, (most from Canada - hmmm) (I am in New Hampshire USA) and all different time zones!  I have to say how much fun this is.  How does it work you ask?  It really is completely up to you, but here's how I have been structuring the classes. 
IDEAS for Classes On-Line:
Felt Upholstery Fabric
Felt Rugs
Feather Weight Scarves
Design and Styling Motifs
And whatever else you would like to learn.
HERE'S HOW we do it: 

I break the sessions into one and two hour live time demos, slide shows and coaching, each class breaking into 1, 2, 3 or 4 week (or more) sessions.  We set the dates which work best for us both, and meet up on-line at the planned time.  I will have students do a bit of advanced planning, we often go back and forth by e-mail or video-chat before or in between sessions.   During a session I will demo the day's goal, give instruction/tips/coach/brainstorm/etc. and then you do your own piece during that day, the following day or week.  These sessions work well as almost-independant study, except for project's wet felting day, which we spend a couple hours on line getting you started, and then we check back in with each other, so I can see how you are doing or have done, answer questions and that sort of thing. 
*If you would like a full day class we could also do that as well.  Do you have a couple of friends who want to learn too?  We can do small groups! 
WHAT Do You Need?:
- a video-cam/laptop for your computer and the internet connection to support streaming (the better to see you with and sound; the better to hear you with )
- good lighting
- a place where you can work/lay out/wet felt - where I can see you through your camera
- your computer to view my slide shows or receive images and exercises from me
- some felting experience
Here are SOME OF THE PROJECTS made by Video-Cam (On-Line) students:
Elaine's Upholstery Fabric Seat Covers
Cindy's Ottoman (Upholstery Fabric and Ottoman Building Tips)
Trish's Bench (Upholstery Fabric)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Time at Norwalk Furniture

Well, I can't believe it was two weeks ago exactly I was touring the Norwalk Furniture factory.  We were five finalists and their guests, I brought Tom, Alex brought his mom and the other three, Laura, Troy and Kate came solo.  After a lovely (and long) day, (of anticipating) Candice Olson announced the winner, Kate Keough of Burlington Vermont.  We other four are runners up.  WHAT A GREAT ADVENTURE!  Each of our sofa design entries were on display for all to see at the Norwalk Pre-Market.  Their Pre-market is when they invite all their dealers to come to the factory to see the line before the High Point Markets, They also present a trend forecast which explains the whys and method of selection dozens of new fabrics each season.  The fabulous marketing and merchandising team of HB2 made a presentation of the likes I did when I was in textiles in NYC.  It was like a peek at my past (except they went to many more countries than ever I had!)
We arrived at Norwalk on Wed, late afternoon, in time for a dinner buffet and the opportunity to meet the great folks there, our competitors, see all the entries and also peruse the open floor of this season's newest furniture styles and fabrics and colors. 
Runner up Alex (rt) with his mom, enjoying the day's events
Thursday AM began at 9:00 we were promptly ushered to a full factory tour, and I stepped away with even more happy feelings of a company I really admire.  Lunch, and then a trend presentation by HB2, followed by a great presentation by Candice Olson on how she works with clients and an hour and half of seeing so many of her before and after projects.  I would love for Candice to do my bedroom! (OK Living room, kitchen and bathrooms!  I wonder what she can do in an 1830 cape?)

The announcement was made after all five of us were introduced and while I was not the winner I was so glad to be part of the whole experience.  I wonder what will come of my design anyway?

my badge

sitting in the circle of leather chairs so my colors!

all five of us await the WORD! (Kate at the far right is the winner)

awaiting the announcement, Alex, another runner up, is to my left

l-r me, Candice Olson and Tom

me and my board

one of the new Norwalk design for October Market - wow!

Troy - one of the runners up, like Candice too!

Candice Olson gave a lush presentation - we were right there!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Norwalk Sofa Contest: My Entry

Some of you may know, but for those who don't, I also work at a furniture store in Keene, NH called Syd's Carpet and Snooze Room a few days a week.  I have been designing rooms, selling furniture, flooring and bedding there for 4 years!  One of my favorite furniture lines we sell there is Norwalk Furniture.  I love this line, the company, and the recent influx of the coolest printed fabrics in the world!  As a textile designer I have pattern envy!

Norwalk is running a very interesting contest open to all sales/designers who sell their furniture in all the Norwalk Galleries across the country.  There are many national stores and galleries like the one at our store in Keene.  I thought it sounded fun and right up my alley as a designer, SO I ENTERED!!  If you were chosen as a finalist you go to Norwalk, Ohio to attend their pre-market showing for their reps and dealers letting folks know what will be presented at the upcoming furniture market in High Point.  The five finalists attend this October's pre-market, October 6th, and enjoy a full day of events which include a tour of the factory the Parade of Chairs, and where our sofa style Inspiration Boards will be on display for all in attendance to look at, including Candice Olson.  Candice - also of HGTV's Devine Design (one of my favorite design shows) - also designs a line of furniture for Norwalk, will be be presenting the winner! 

OK how much cooler can this contest get?  WAY!  So the prize?  The winner has their entry in the running line of styles for the next year, and over the next 5 months or so, work hand-in-hand with Norwalk's product development and marketing teams to bring the new style to April 2012's market.  The winner goes to HighPoint 2012 to present their style.

Can this get more exciting? YES! I AM ONE OF THE FIVE FINALISTS!!! 

Wish me luck! - Nicole

Sunday, August 14, 2011

500 Felt Objects

I have been waiting excitedly for my copy of the latest anthology book on contemporary felt work, newly published by Lark Crafts (A Sterling Publication) and juried by Susan Brown.  By simply, slowly, leafing through this book, it is so apparent to me, how felt work can indeed be considered art, and felt, the artist's medium for that expression.

I love it and an honored to be included in this book.  My two pieces can be seen on pages 356 and 389

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Somerset Home Magazine

I am excited to announce that I am featured in the current issue (vol 6) of Stampington's shelter/style magazine called Somerset Home.  Pick up your copy and begin reading at 100.  My article is about felt rugs!  It is styled beautifully.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Yellow is getting there

The sling is almost finished being wet felted, (the above photo is before any water hit the fiber) I am fine tuning the shaping with hand forming, and then I' will be finished with the YELLOW Challenge!  (Which I think was really more of a challenge in time management than anything else!!)

What do you do on Tuesday Evenings?

I mentioned in previous posts that I have been going to an open studio set up for life drawing on Tuesday evenings. I am really loving the way my mind thinks when I am staring at naked people...hmmm what kind of clothes can they be wearing? How can I get pattern and color into an image that basically is just the human form against a white wall?  I am experimenting with patterning the shadows - love that! and this past Tuesday well, heck I just put pattern all around and on the model.  I was thinking Gondolier but I think he turned out a bit more Polynesian.

This last pose intrigued me, this fella was very bleached blond and a bit tanned into burned in his face and upper torso, but as he laid there the color just blended down to almost white where the sun don't shine!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Yellow Challenge took a Turquoise Detour

Well the past two weeks my yellow challenge was side railed by Turquoise and Red, specifically.  I finished a runner for a client and I am happy to say it turned out beautiful and I am now baack on to my YELLOW challenge!  Check out the Turquoise and Red Rug...
Don't forget, the challenge is for everyone welcome to participate, it could be something you decorated in your home, something you felted, something you made like baked, something you found at a flea market, yell is the key, just upload it to my Festive Fibers Fan Page on Facebook

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


This time of year in my yard always makes me love the color yellow.  The forsythia are in full bloom, albeit this year their blooms look more like they are wearing skirts with all the flowers open at the bottom and not much up top.  What's with that?   And I just came in from plucking dandelions out of the grass.  A couple of weeks ago I made a color combination challenge, posted a photo and asked people to send in their color combination they made from the inspiration.  No one played with me!   This week I am going to challenge you and me in another way by using the color YELLOW in a challenge of ANY sort of creation.  I am painting, and felting, cooking and decorating.  I wonder what I will come up with?  And I wonder who will play with me this week?  When you have finished your YELLOW creations upload them onto my facebook fan page...can't wait.  Hmm I am also cleaning around the house and am about to hang my yellow sheets on the line to dry

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Life is like...

Life is like a bowl of cherries (or a box of chocolates!)
Needle felted HUGE cherries

A visit to Longwood Gardens

We went to summery New Jersey for Easter, and on Monday decided to visit a favorite in the Telaar house, Longwood Gardens.  The weather was beautiful - mid eighties, and sunny.  The gardens were stunning.  I have been there before but never this time of year.  The following photos are instead of a note book and sketching...but I will get out my paints for sure now that I am home.

Tom and 91 year old June