Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bernina Lust

My mother was an excellent seamstress.  I’m pretty sure she could sew anything, even without a pattern.  Her favorite sewing machine was a Pfaff, which makes sense because she was German.

I know how to sew, but just the basics.  I bought my first, and only, sewing machine about 25 years ago.  It’s a White – that’s the brand as well as the color.  It has been a persnickety little bugger for years, but it’s hard for me to justify buying a new machine when I do so little sewing.
 The problem is that I suffer from Bernina Lust.  2 years ago I worked on a Bernina machine at the CREATE Mixed Media Retreat in California.  The class was free motion stitching and it was mind blowing!  The machine was so smooth that I was able to create some wonderful pieces even though I had never done free motion stitching before.  I’m afraid that experience has ruined me forever when it comes to any other sewing machine.
My free motion stitching 

Alisa Burke, artist and Bernina expert,
was my teacher at CREATE
My BFF bought a Bernina machine in California (she too had been transformed by her brush with Bernina).  They offer really great deals at the retreat because the machines are used for classes.  I was able to resist the purchase twice, once in California and once in Chicago, but my resistance weakens every time I try to sew a mixed media project with my old, basic sewing machine.  I think I should start saving now for CREATE Chicago in August where I can give in and buy my own Bernina.  I predict that very soon Roxanne, my best friend’s Bernina, will have her own BFF.

- christina

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Colored Pencils

Recently I went to the Nature Artists Guild Exhibit at the Arboretum.  The art was mostly drawings, some oil and acrylic paintings, some fiber art, and 2 pieces of jewelry.  I was impressed with many of the pieces, but the ones that really caught my eye were done with colored pencils.  I was amazed at the level of detail in the close-up drawings of flowers.  I could see the veins of the leaves and the hairs on the stems.  How sharp must these colored pencils be in order to create those tiny lines?
I wanted to learn more about colored pencil drawings so I went online and did a search.  I discovered the Colored Pencil Society of America website (  They have an amazing online exhibition every year called Explore This.  I would swear that some of the pieces are actually photographs.

Looks like I will be adding "create beautiful art with colored pencils" to my list of things to do.  So little time, so many art supplies to play with!

- christina