The Great Jeans Crusade of 2014

At the beginning of the year I finished my pieces for my Painting Ten Years Later show. My next creative project was to make jeans. I thought that I would be finished with the project in a few days  and I would be proudly wearing jeans.  Well, for two months I tried to make them and kept failing. People don’t really talk about their failures on blogs but I feel that this is a really important thing for me. Other people may have difficult times with this and feel like they are the only one. I haven’t fully given up but I am giving myself a breather from the process.

To give you a visual, this is how many patterns that I made. Basically, you adjust as you go and fit as you go. Once you know how a pant can fit well, it is hard to settle for something that fits just fine. Also, different fabrics have different stretch levels. This makes for a fit that alters. It can be incredibly frustrating.

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Here is the pile of scrapped muslins and destroyed jeans that I tried to fit.

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I can’t make jeans out of these pieces anymore. I decided to cut the usable pieces from this and save them for future jeans. I will get new fabric and rewash the fabric with this. These smaller pieces will be useful for pocket pieces, pockets, belt loops, etc.

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I have been using a Craftsy class to learn how to build jeans. It is called, “Sewing Designer Jeans.” It has been an amazing class, yet the fit part of the jeans just wasn’t working for me. I tried and tried, yet it wasn’t working. I learned an incredible amount from the process.

I also learned what doesn’t work. I came across a few blogs that a professional sewer Kenneth D. King had written. It seemed to be what I had dealt with in fitting issues. He also had a Craftsy Jeans class. There was  a special sale and I decided to go for it. His student’s jeans also looked like they fit really well. His class basically has you start with a pair of jeans that already fits you and a pattern is created from this.

The class is called, “Jean-ious!” So far he has described every fit issue that I had and how to fix it. I haven’t started the jeans but I feel that this will work out really well.

I am going to take a short break for making jeans though. I haven’t been active with painting and drawing and I miss it. I just inventoried my papers, boards, canvases, etc and want to get started on some new work. I will also be posting the remaining work that I have for my etsy page. I also still have a few Kickstarter pieces that just never got finished. The holidays disrupted this and I really should finish this work.

I look forward to making my jeans. Below is a great video that show the details that can go into created jeans. It is a fun process once you can get beyond the fitting aspect. Below is also a place where I am going to post handy blogs/videos/sites that talk about fitting and jeans.

Embedly Powered

Jean Blogs:

The Little Tailoress

Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing

http://www.silhouettepatterns.com/html/media/livestreamchannel/replay_04_29_2013.htm

http://www.silhouettepatterns.com/html/media/livestreamchannel/replay_06_20_2011.htm

 

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Painting Opening

This last Friday was the opening for the MECA Painters 10 years later show. It was a great turnout. I took a few photos of the work for those people in the show that live in other areas of the country.

Mali Mrozinski’s amazing sewn piece. She hand died each of these colors from plants that she collected. DSCN5332
Natalie Larsen’s incredible drawings.

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From Left to Right: Sage Lewis has a really interesting cut and died piece. In the middle Larissa Mellor’s meticulously stretched calque (tracing paper). To the right is one of my acrylic pieces. This image is from the sideyard at my current apartment.  DSCN5325
Here are Adam Kitzerow’s paintings and funny videos. There was a group during the opening that enjoyed watching it.
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DSCN5337Owen Mckenzie’s pieces were an interesting mix of image and text.DSCN5322

Patrick O’Rourke had a fun blown up piece and a sign hung up at street level.

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Jared Radding tried to play it casual by wanting his pieces propped up against the wall.
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The other artist in the show who is still in Maine is Clint Kaye. His work is an interesting mix between reused items and painted imagery.
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There was a great group of people who ventured through the cold weather for the opening. DSCN5339
Our former professor Honour Mack came to the opening and it was great to hear her interpretation of the show.
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Out of the blue I looked over and saw that my high school art teacher, Betty Brown was at my opening. I went to high school in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire and this was a huge surprise. We had a great moment of reconnecting. She had no idea that I was still an artist. It was great to catch her up on what I was doing and hear that she is now lucky enough to be retired and making work again herself. DSCN5345
Some friends came by for the show. Here is Kimmy Convery gracing our presence!

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Thanks so much to Jill Dalton who put the show together! It was a great time and great to have my work with these amazing artists once again.

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Winter and the studio.

Having an actual winter has been interesting for me. I have driven through scary snow storms, cross country skied to work, and experienced what it is like to stand and wait for a bus when it is ten below zero. It can be trying but also beautiful. I have been creating my new body of work and it has been inspired by the changes of seasons in my neighborhood. I will be part of a group show soon at the June Fitzpatrick Gallery in Portland, Maine. It is a Maine College of Art Painters 10 years after graduating show. It is strange timing for me to have moved back to Maine and be part of this event. Below is one of my new pieces and information about the show.

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While deep in the cold and snowy weather I also had to take some photos in the trailer and make it seem like it was a nice summer day. I will disclose soon why I did this. It is very exciting for me.

My old friend Dylan Verner took the photos for me. We both lived in the same housing freshman year of college and I consider him part of my “MECA” family.

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Dylan is also a musician and used his mic stands to hold up lights outside. This was to make it seem like it was a nice sunny day. It worked out well.

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Dylan took some amazing photos and I look forward to sharing them with you. My new portrait on my blog is from this session:

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Being out there for the photo shoot made me wish for warmer days to be able to hang out in my trailer studio again. For now it is resting under a large blue tarp and now a pile of snow.

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First real snow storm!

Now that we live in Maine we are getting used to having seasons. Living in Oregon the winters comprised of rain, rain and oh yeah some more rain….. Living in Maine has been VERY cold for us, yet there is something that is different about the cold and snow vs. the rain. Unless you have to drive to work, the snow can be awesome!  You can at least do things with the weather here.

So, before the sun set on us, we got our cross country skies out (mine were from when I was in high school and Stuart found a pair that fit this past summer at a yard sale for $15!). Portland got around a foot of snow. We live on a quiet street and there was enough snow to ski on. It was great! Near our house is a park that we were also able to ski in. Someone had already created a great path with a sled.

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The trailer had some snow on it. It may be the first time that it has experienced it. I tried to rake some of the snow off, but I will need to come up with a better method. I think I may need to get a ladder out for it. I am not entirely sure if I really need to do this, but I figured that the snow is really light right now and it may be easier to remove it this way than for it to become really heavy.

A friend of mine is going to help me take some photos in the trailer soon. We have to make it seem like summer for the photos and this will be really funny. Thankfully I created some transparent curtains that will let light in but won’t show that there is snow outside!
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Is there anything that you like to do in the snow?

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New England Christmas

It has been eight years since I have had a “snowy” New England Christmas at my own house. Today, it snowed and I got my house ready for Christmas. We don’t really do trees. We like to decorate other things. For years we decorated a large potted Ficus tree. We left that behind in Oregon and I decided to decorate our fireplace mantle. We aren’t allowed to have fires and I wanted to make something that seemed like there was one. I got some pieces of wood, screwed them together and drilled some holes in it for candles. I threw in a little glitter and some decorations and it was complete.

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I love how it came out. It is great sitting there and seeing flickering light. Do you do anything different for Christmas decorating?

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My new creative spaces.

trailerstudio I am now able to start my Kickstarter pieces. I have already finished a few and now have my surfaces ready for the rest. I created my Kickstarter and wanted to bring my trailer with me on my move because it was a creative space that I love working in. I could work in it for most of the winter in Oregon, yet Maine will be a little different. The trailer gets cold. I have noticed though that turning the gas oven on really heats up the space well. I won’t be spending too much time in it this winter but once spring comes around I will be able to work in it more.

This light wasn’t working after our trip. I noticed it had come away from the wall a bit. I removed it and noticed that there was a spider’s web completely blocking the airway. I cleaned this and a bunch of spider’s eggs out. I reattached it and it lit up perfectly. I was really proud of myself for figuring it out. lighttrailer1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have started to work on my postcard to send out for my Kickstarter. It feels good to be working again. drawingtrailer1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My apartment is a two bedroom and one of these we turned into a studio space. During the winter I will use this mostly and then once spring comes around be able to go out to the trailer. Who knows maybe by then I may have a vehicle that could pull the trailer and we could do some weekend trips where we can use the space right on the seacoast or in the deep woods of Maine.

There is also an extra space at the back of our apartment that I have set aside for woodworking. DSCN5163 DSCN5167
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Fixing up the trailer.

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I have to credit my landlord Zack with coming up with the idea above. He made a joke about “Next on this old Trailer” and then I thought that it would make a great column on my blog. So, my trailer redo’s/fixings/projects will now be called, “This Old Trailer.”

Along the trip, the trailer had a few times where it proved its age. It wasn’t the smartest idea to take a vintage trailer on our maiden voyage all across the country. We had taken it for a ten minute trip for an art fair, yet that didn’t really show us how it would be.

The first awkward thing to happen was the brakes going on when the headlights were activated. If we had to rewire right before going on out trip it may have been difficult. I was able to disconnect the brakes easily since I saw where we had reconnected them. This is something that I will try and figure out later.

The front of the trailer lost a few screws (which could have damaged the tires) and while we were on the dark road at Yellowstone at midnight one of the metal corners came loose and was scraping against the road. (This terrified us yet it was an easy thing to remove).

The pieces to the front of the trailer that held the rock guard on came loose. I was able to remove them and keep them safe in the trailer. One side of the trailer had a dent from the moving truck. It dented it in quite a bit and made the side of the window guard off. I tried to tap this back out as much as I could.

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The piece needed to be secured better this time. I purchased some exterior liquid nails and added this between the two areas. The edges I added some new Butyl tape. I then trimmed it and then added some flexible sealant to both this and the areas on the trim that had opened a bit during travel.

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The wall with door started to come loose from the flooring. Stuart helped to bang this back while we were in Indiana. I should have added more screws originally and this made it come loose while driving. Stuart already fixed this in an earlier post.

During travel the air conditioner that I installed was a little too much weight for the seating. The screws that held the wall up were not long enough and it didn’t hold it together well. It made a huge gouge in the wall. I am currently fixing this and will show the after later.

DSCN4984DSCN4987I also have no idea how these metal strips came out like this. This shows how much things were tossed around. I think they originally went under the green area. I ended up just folding them up against it and screwing it down.

This also happened to the walls. Here is where the awning poles were. They scraped against the trailer and created these marks. I am lucky that they didn’t create large enough sparks and start on fire. This is behind where there are curtains and I think that I am just going to leave them be. I wiped them off a bit, yet it isn’t worth the effort right now to try and fix it.

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The corners got quite torn up. I am probably going to replace the metal in the spring. For now, I just taped them up and placed objects in front of it. Who would know except for you right now?
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The trailer got a must needed bath. It did have the whole country’s worth of dirt on it.
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To the left is the clean side. I couldn’t believe the difference.
I put the table back in place and added the glue where that was needed as well. It is amazing how constant vibration will make something come apart. I didn’t realize how important glue was. Here it is now ready to work in. I already started the drawing for my post card that I will be sending out to my Kickstarter contributors.
It is amazing to be able to be in this space again and create again. It is an amazing feeling!

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Major News! The trailer is here!

My father has a truck and was able to bring my trailer from my Mother’s house to my current apartment. We went over and hooked it up. This moment was huge for me because finally after months of travel and settling in I was going to finally have my trailer.

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I got out my bike pump and made sure that the tires were at the right inflation.

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When we hooked up the trailer to the electrical hookup on the truck we noticed that there wasn’t much play. As we pulled out of the driveway we had my Mom check to see if it popped out. Of course it did. We pulled over along the road reattached it and then pulled into a nearby parking lot. My Dad had luckily brought his tools with him. He detached it and then reattached it with some zip ties closer to the trailer.

DSCF0499This worked out great and we got back on the road. My Dad said that the truck handled the trailer very well. He said that the hitch was really strong and now he knows why we were able to travel across the country without a problem with the lacking pin.

We made it in good time to my apartment and my Dad expertly pulled the trailer into the driveway. I think that Stuart was happy that there were other people who knew how to do this and that he didn’t need to do this.

The plan was to park it in one driveway and then in a few days move it over into the new home. The area is nicknamed “Brownfield” in reference to a place near were my landlord grew up.  Here is what it looks like before:

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This is how I cleaned it up to make it ready for the trailer.

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My landlord Zach had worked at a shiphard and had lots of experience moving large boats and was excited about the challenge. My Dad and him hooked up the trailer and they moved it over.

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Right now I am elated. Last night while at work I kept dancing around and aplogizing for my smiles. It is also a really funny thing to be happy about. I never thought I would be obsessed over a trailer. The process to get it to Maine has been a lenghthy one. First I had to decide if I wanted to bring the trailer with me or not. The most practical thing to have done would have been to sell the trailer. Thinking of this made me incredibly depressed though. I had put so much work into it and I wasn’t able to use it.

So, I created my Kickstarter video and presented it to those interested in watching it. This would decide if the trailer was coming with me or not. Because of the generosity of others I was able to bring it with me. It has been quite an adventure getting it here. There were moments of fear and excited along the way.

Now, the trailer is in it’s new home. I get to go out now and figure out what its new life will be here in Maine. This winter I will be able to sit in it and watch the snow fall and drink some hot chocolate. Once spring comes around I will probably be able to actually use it as a workable studio space. I am already excited to get started on the Kickstarter pieces in here. It will be a summer retreat for me and a place for friends to be able to stay in when they visit.

Now I get to go out and get it all fixed up after that long journey!

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Last Day of driving with the trailer and Uhual.

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Today was our last day of driving and we were looking forward to not worrying about the trailer for awhile. Our plan was to drive to my Mom’s house and leave it there till we would be able to find a location for it in Maine. We got up early and got started to try and beat the heat.

Well, it ended up being a good thing that we got an early start because we ended up with some Uhual trouble. We were four hours away from my Mom’s house….I will say this again…we had been on the road for 15 days at this point and only 4 hours away we had to call in the Uhual company. Our truck going up a hill in Troy, NH started to overheat. Stuart threw on the heater and opened the windows. This usually can cool down a vehicle. Well, this did not work. We pulled over at a gas station that was closed. This gave us some shade at least while we waited. In about an hour a service man came to check out the truck. He looked it over and noticed that the radiator had a leak. He said that he would call Uhual and they would decide if we would have the truck towed to their shop to fix or we would have to repack all of our stuff in a new truck. This is not what we wanted four hours away from the end of our trip.

Well, they decided to tow both the Uhual truck and my trailer. This wasn’t the best thing but way better than having to repack everything.

So, we had to unhook the trailer and they brought two tow trucks. One was really heavy duty in order to pull our Uhual. We watched as it was raised onto the truck and I could just picture everything in the trailer sliding onto our bikes. (Luckily they survived).

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Then they attached the trailer to their other truck. They asked for the pin to the trailer…..Well, I didn’t have a pin. They were shocked that we had made it that far without any trouble. My trailer had been gutted when I purchased it and I didn’t know that a pin was needed. It is mostly insurance in case the lock pops up. It makes complete sense to me now, but I was really naïve on this whole trip. Well, I did have a locking pin for it to be used when it is not attached to a vehicle. Well, we used this and it worked out just fine.

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They pulled both vehicles about a half hour away. Once there it took about three hours to get the truck fixed up. It was annoying but way better than breaking down on a back road in New England. Since Sacajawea was on our truck we felt like she was watching over us. She guided our journey safely. If we had broken down on some of the roads we later traveled on it could have been seriously dangerous.

So five hours later we are back on the road. We are tired from waiting, but we want to just get there.

The trip was only supposed to take six hours but instead it took twelve. We stopped and had dinner in Vermont because we needed some rest. We pulled our shiny trailer up to a shiny diner. It was a perfect match. We had a great meal and we ready for the evening commute.

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We got on the road and went up to Northern Vermont. We then entered New Hampshire and took a bunch of small roads. It was dark at this point and there was some rain. We didn’t want to drive at night or in the rain but we just wanted to get there.

Close to midnight we finally pull up to my Mom’s house. It felt so good to get there. It was an amazing journey and one that has changed us. For one thing it will take us a long time to get over that our vehicle is not as long as this and that we can make sharp turns. Anyone who has driven a trailer can understand this.

So, the trailer has been at my Mom’s house and it has been my “summer getaway” spot. This coming weekend my Dad is going to help me drive it to my current apartment. We are really lucky that we found a great apartment and it there is also room for me to be able to have my creative space.

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Day 14: Niagra Falls

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The park had a nice little pond and Topher enjoyed the walk around it. Near our trailer there was a bizarre sight. This trailer had 12 doors (6 on each side!) It is crazy how long this would be with a vehicle attached.

DSCN4854 DSCN4853 We started on our way and were soon in NY. We were wondering if we should make the classic road trip stop at Niagra. It would be a bit of a drive off of our route but we figured that we were doing the classic “American Road Trip” and that this would be a major stop. Well, we follow our phone’s navigation system and it drops us off in a creepy looking place that I guess is the town of Niagra Falls. I didn’t realize that it was an actual town. Well, we got out our maps and figured it out. It took us awhile to find out where we had to park because of our length. It was a hot day. It was such a hot day that we had our “grouchy pants” on. It wasn’t the most romantic thing that I had expected Niagra Falls to be like. I guess not all clichés are correct:) Well, the falls were interesting but I wasn’t fully impressed yet. I guess I was hot and just tired from the journey. DSCN4857DSCN4859DSCN4862DSCN4856

We needed to do something more. We were hot and there was the option of paying to go into one of the closer attractions near the water. Since we were really hot we decided that this was going to happen. We put Topher into the trailer (wasn’t for very long and it does stay pretty cool in there) and bought our tickets. We went to the attraction where you take an elevator down to the water and you get to be below one of the falls. They give you ponchos to wear yet we wanted to feel the coolness of the water. It seemed like the time to have a photo taken and got this: 2013-07-17_14-15-24_373 We walked up the falls and let the cool water drench us. It was great! It was exactly what we needed to fully feel like it was worth stopping.

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This cooled our tempers off greatly. It was what we needed to get back on the road.

That night we were going to find a place to stay in NY. We found a place in our RV travel book. We followed the phone directions and it brought us to some backwoods area. Don’t always trust the directions. We figured it out and found the place.

We got there and pulled into our spot. We went to plug in our electrical lines and found that it wasn’t the right plug. All of the other parks had two systems. This did not. I called even and she sounded confused that we didn’t have the right power. She tried to find a converter but did not have one.

Well, we were looking forward to plugging in our ac, but at least there was a pool there. We had that to look forward to later.

Well, one thing that I wanted to show on here was what it is actually like to travel across the country with a trailer. You would think that it would be easy to stop and get right into camping. Well, that wasn’t our situation. We overpacked and I also didn’t have the best construction skills. As the trip progressed items would move around and shift quite a bit.

Stuart is demonstrating our feelings every time we opened up the door after a day’s journey. We were not sure what it would be that would have moved around.

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This is what it actually looked like:

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The table eventually jumped from its wall holder, the seating screws were not strong enough, the ac unit was too heavy and caused the seating to move forward, everything from the above shelving unit would fall down and curtains would fly off. Well, we were good about keeping things off of counter tops and closing the cabinets. Things still would just fly everywhere. It would take about 20 minutes just to have things back into place.
With the heat we managed to get this set up.
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We had a quick drink and then decided to cool off in the pool. We got our bikes out of the Uhual and headed over. Well, we get there and the sign says that it had just closed 15 minutes prior. We were so upset. The pool was going to cool us down because we wouldn’t have ac or a fan to cool us down. Well, we walked over to the woman who had tried to help us with electrical and she said that we would be fine to jump in the pool. She understood completely how important it was for us.
So, we had a great cool down once again that day. It cooled us down enough to be able to have a great sleep to get ready for our last day of driving the trailer.

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