Thursday, December 31

New Year's Eve Fire Works, well not really

I've never been one for celebrating New Years, seldom do we even make it to midnight. It's just not a big deal to me. New years day isn't either since neither of us are sports fans and don't watch any of the "big" games. I seldom even know who's playing and my friends joke with me that I only know the colors of the uniforms to even be able to tell them apart. I do cook the good luck black eyed peas, but that is about the end of any traditions around here. It's a day off work and one to relax and in my case, sew. I did get several very nice sewing related presents for Christmas and today while working on an apron for Angel my pin cushion ran dry and when I went up to get more I put them in one of my new pincushions that was from Angel. It's Mary Engelbreit and so very precious. It even has a little pillow that goes in the chair.

I finally got the sewing machine back open yesterday and had other things to do and not a lot of time to sew so I started on a few ATC. I got 4 started and they are ready to trim down and do the hand beading etc on.

So today while letting a big pot of beef stew simmer I started on Angel's apron which was to have been a Christmas present (oh bad sister) but I didn't even get it started. This way thou she will get a little present between now and her B-day - so hey another present is always good. I got this pretty fabric in Gatlinburg at the Cherry Pit, I just loved it and it has that 50's flavor. Toss in the red rick-rack and I'm feeling pretty much like June in Leave it to Beaver, minus the pearl necklace. This is the first time I've used rick rack on anything and I found I had to pin it to death to get it to stay, bad rick rack stay!

Happy New Year to you all and
thanks for stopping by from time to time.
May you all have a good new year
filled with peace and happiness.

Monday, December 28

My Blocks Are Here!

We had a small but very enjoyable Christmas this year. We didn't go out of town because I'm very lucky to have all my family right here. We had a very yummy breakfast here Christmas morning with my sister and her hubby and we all pigged out on the good stuff Angel and I made. After that all I could think about was hitting the couch - I'd been sick for the past few days, so we just chilled the rest of the day and watched a wonderful DVD my SIL gave me for Christmas, Craft In America. It's wonderful. I did finally get out of the house today, had to go to the post office to pick up my signature blocks! They are all so very different it will be a lot of fun trying to figure out how to arrange them all into a quilt. I've got them all spread out on top of the sewing machine cabinet (which is still closed) and I look at them every time I walk by. I want to resist putting sashing between them and setting them in a row if possible. Not sure what I'll do yet...hum. Thanks so much Linda for hosting the swap. That was the first time I'd made a 9 patch. There was also a wonderful surprise in the package with the blocks one of Linda's beautiful hand made pin cushions. You can always use another pin cushion.

One of the best presents I got this year was the little snow man below. He's very cute and I love Jim Shore's work, but the best part about him was how he got here. Long ago in a land far away lived 2 crazy young girls who did everything together and were the best of friends, then along came life and as high school friends often do we drifted apart. OK I guess the high school reference let you know just how long ago that was. Well my dear friend moved to California and I moved to Florida and our mothers kind of kept up with what was going on with us. They would see each other at the store or out shopping and tell each other what their girls were up to. We pretty much lost track of each other over the years and we often thought of each other and wondered what the other one was up to, but I had no idea how to get in touch with her. She was more stubborn thou and kept looking for me, then along comes facebook. Just a few days after I first logged on and was checking it out to see what all the buzz was about I get an email from Janice. WOW! I was shocked. Hey this facebook thing is wonderful! So while she was in town visiting her mom she came by and we did as much catching up as we could. It was like we had just seen each other last month or so (except for all the crying and hugging). It was one of my best gifts this year. Now every time I look at this snow man I'll smile and just maybe tear up a bit.

Monday, December 21

Counting down till Christmas

It's getting to be very busy every day now with Christmas rolling upon us quickly. Was all ready for the cookie baking this morning and realized I was out of butter. Darn how does that happen? That is one thing I sometimes forget to do is mark items off my list when I take stuff out of the freezer. Then I look at the list and it said I had butter down in the freezer... So out I go into the 30 degree weather - yuck. And then when you're at the store just buying butter you see that a pretty roast is on sale and the next thing I know I've got a cart half full.

Wanted you to see this new recent phenomenon we have here. Hubby got these 2 little carpet samples from the flooring store for our little babies. With the cold weather and the lack of carpet they sit on these little islands of soft warm fuzzy and it's almost as if they are adrift in a sea of cold hard floor.

Made cookies today for hubby to take to work, for their holiday brunch tomorrow. Have 2 quiche's in the oven now for him too. I've got the good looking roast in the crock pot and hopefully will get some sausage balls made today too.

I have been very blessed recently to get 3 bags of free fabric from friends/family. I've just got to get it rolled up and put away in it's proper place - that may not happen till after Christmas. In one bag of fabric that was from my hubby's grandmother was a special surprise. This was some of her stitching. It's hanging on my pin board for now till I determine what this will be used in. It's so pretty.

Friday, December 18

Finally Finished

Well it took me a month to get back around to this little quilt. I started quilting it right after the fabric was ironed in place but I was having big problems with my thread. I ended up getting some info from the author of this technique Maria Elkins and switched over to Superior Thread. Wow what a huge difference it made. I couldn't find the thread locally so I ordered it and by the time it came in the house was in a mess with the floor project. So now that life is back to normal and I can sew again this was one of the first things on my list to get finished. I see a good list of things I'd would have liked to have done differently, but it was a great experience and I plan on making many more quilts with this technique. I'd love to do my dogs, but that would be a good bit more difficult I'd think.

Christmas is pretty much here and I've just got a little wrapping left to do and my baking. I'm going to try this super easy snack recipe I saw in a magazine. Just take a square pretzel and top it with a Rolo, pop in the oven for 1 whole min. and then press a pecan on top. How easy and oh it sounds good.

Monday, December 14

Only Crazy People Do House Renovating At The Holidays

Well I guess that makes me crazy. After I'd determined to get that old carpet up thou their was no stopping me. Well the old floor stopped me, but just for a while. The the prices of new floor stopped me, but I'm a hard headed girl and moved on from there too. So now 10 days later it's over with and I'm so glad. I've moved the last piece of furniture back into place and even opened the sewing machine today. Life returns to normal. This is what it started out with, sad huh?

The babies didn't want to give up the carpet.
It was all broke in, for goodness sakes.
All the sawing and compressors and nail guns were almost too much for
Ginger. On the other hand thou little Auggie didn't seem much
to be bothered by any of this.

The kids still miss the carpet and for now I've just got them little carpet samples I got at the flooring store. Hubby said we could just move the little carpets around and the babies will just go where we sit them. That is pretty much true. With all this crazy stuff going on this is the first year EVER I've not put up my big Christmas tree. It seems very odd. So I stopped one day while I was out and got a little 4.5 ft tree with lights on it and have it on a little table. Oh have to have a tree, Hubby laughed at me and said he knew I'd do this. Well I'm predictable at least.

Friday, December 4

Button Up For Winter

Been very lax here lately with my blog. I guess I've lost my mind starting a big home improvement project this time of the year, but hey you know sometimes you just have to go with it when the mood strikes. So I've decided I've had it with the carpet in the downstairs of our house and have pretty much ripped it all up. One room left to do. It's been a bear to deal with. All those seemly thousands of staples not to mention the angry track stripping. So under the carpet is 77+ year old solid oak flooring. I'm keeping my fingers crossed with each hammer blow and hope for the best. I knew there was paint splattered all over it but only after I'd pulled it all up did I find the cupped planks and in places rotted wood. Oh heart break. Well buck up and come up with plan B. Checked into having it replace and almost had a heart attack. Might as well look for a new house, good grief. So it's time to shop for new floor covering. Been bouncing ideas off hubby of the new floating floor systems, tile, sheet flooring what will we do. So that's where we're at now. Had all the rooms measured today and will be checking on how each of the options budget out.

Needless to say with all this going on I've not been sewing too much. I did make my sister a Christmas table runner and have been working on several Christmas presents which I of course can't put on here till after Christmas. So for now here is another project I've been working on - Buttons & Beads for my mixed media stuff. I normally get the clay out several times a year and go gun-ho for several weeks to get a stock of stuff made up. I'd run completely out of my hand made beads! So for the last few days it's been poly clay and a little Christmas shopping.

These are a few of my hand made buttons.

And the hand made beads.

Well that's it for now. Getting ready for a jewelry
class tonight at our local JoAnn.

Wednesday, November 25

Giving Thanks

Yesterday while out doing the pre Thanksgiving shopping I was thinking just what am I thankful for? I guess I was thinking a list would come to me of things that are important to me like family, friends and my health - the old stand by. Then I started thinking of the other things that make each day good and the list rolled threw my mind at rapid speed of the thousands of things I am thankful for.

The answer is just everything.

This past Sunday afternoon I taught a poly clay class at my local JoAnn's and we had such a good time. We made these tiny Santa's and Christmas Trees which will end up on top of a jar for candy or other such goodies of the season. Here is Monica (mom) and Kendall her daughter with their finished creations. They turned out great.

Here were the first ones I made while figuring out the formula for the amounts of clay for each part of the figure. Poor snowman has no arms...I'll fix you don't worry.

I found out yesterday just how much my trunk will hold. Normally it's no where this full after grocery shopping. But the holiday shopping and the standard stock up shopping hit on the same day. I'd been a bad mama and run out of milk bones and the babies were about to rebel. Had to get stuff for our Thanksgiving dinner at my lovely sister's house and also stuff to fix for hubby's dinner today at work. The kitchen had a lot going on last night, and will again tomorrow. I enjoy cooking most of the time and the Holidays is one I really enjoy.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. Oh and I'm also very thankful for you dropping by my blog.

Saturday, November 21

A day for photos AND A give a way!

Mother Earth Necklace - with hand made beads

Today I spent the day taking photos of my jewelry and posting it on 1000 Markets. It always amazes me how long this can take. But the photos turned out nice and I opened a new section in my on line shop. To celebrate this new section in my shop I'll be giving away free hand made beads with each order. The beads will be custom made to your color/texture requests so it's a great deal. And to help get you started I'll be giving hand made beads and buttons away here on this blog also. So if you are interested in some free beads/buttons for your quilting or mixed media this is a good time to get some. Just post that you are interested and what colors you would like. If you like a theme then let me know that too. These buttons/beads are beautiful ways to add texture in a wall quilt or on your ATCs. They range in size from tiny to quarter size and come in different shapes too! What a great deal. Free is always good. The necklace at the bottom is free too with this give a way! So get some free beads & buttons - they are all unique.

Saturday, November 14

This Old House

No sewing today. Working on ridding our home of the wall to wall carpet. What a job that is. Tiny staples and little nails everywhere. The hard wood lurking under their is 77+ years old and not looking as nice as I'd hoped. But I guess I have to cut the old girl some slack. Not sure why I've had this sudden urge to work on this big of a project so near the holidays, but it's started now. Even went out and got a hand sander to work on the wood work too. You know when you have been looking at something for years and one day you just snap and have to fix it? Well I'm there. So old home of ours you get a holiday facelift. Now I'm mulling over a new paint color for the hall. That will be my first room to finish. This old house has big windows and lots of big wood work glad I enjoy painting. But I'm thinking tomorrow I may take part of the day off from this and do a bit of sewing. Have a 50's project planned for a Christmas present and really need to get it going. It's going to be fun.

Thursday, November 12

First attempt at Color Blocking Portrait

This isn't finished yet, but just wanted to show it in stages.
So far I'm happy. After I took this photo I added copper accents to her hair with a Cedar Canyon Paintstik. The photo I went from is below. The one thing I did forget to do was flip the image prior to printing the pattern, but it's no biggie on this one.
I learned how to do this from the Maria Elkins DVD, Making Faces.
This was just a test and I didn't put the time I should have into my fabric selection. Got these fat quarters when they were on sale for 79 cents. I'll take a little more time with the fabric selection next time. I didn't have much fraying thou even with the cheeper fabric. It was so interesting to see how this developed charter as I put the 4 fabrics together.

Tuesday, November 10

Getting A Few Things Finished - Finally

Sometimes when I start a project I don't see a clear ending. These projects just get set aside until it's clear to me how they need to be completed. Here are 3 of those projects. The little brown tapestry bag here started out fine till I discovered I didn't have enough fabric to make the handle match. I was just sure I had 2 of these remnants. I didn't think I wanted a different fabric for the handle so I set it aside. Later I remembered this leather "look" fabric I had and wondered if it would make a good handle. I think it worked out well.

This jean jacket embellishment started out with the fabric pinned to the jacket and hung out on the dress form for about a month. Then I decided I wanted to do the front part all by hand. Crazy me I hate hand work. But it just seemed it needed to be done that way. I make my patterns for cutting my fabric with tracing paper. I place it over the garment and draw the shape and then refine when cutting the pattern out. It works real well. Since I plan on making several of these jackets I just tuck the tracing paper pattern away and can use it again.

This close up shows the stitching I did in the light blue area that is a "stab" at sashiko stitching. I also added some bead work to her hair.

Now this little bag had been on hold for almost a year. I started it with good intentions and just lost my momentum. It's all hand done. The ribbon and fringe beads were sewn on bit by bit and the fabric on the back of the purse is one section. The sides were hand dyed to match the ribbon. I like the way it turned out. It did take a long time, but worth the effort.

Now that all these ghosts are finished I can move on to my next fun thing. I've also finished my swaps for this month and will get those in the mail today. The themes were Christmas which were so much fun to do. It's not like I've completed all my UFOs I still have a quilt with no binding lurking up in the play room. Closing in on the UFOs is an never ending process. I'm going to try to start 2010 with the grand plan of only working on 2 large projects at a time. We'll see how that works out...

Still awaiting the Baby Lock Sashiko machine. They are on back order. Sure hope it gets here by the Holidays - what a present that will be. Gee Baby Lock how could you think that machine wouldn't be popular?

Friday, November 6

No Sewing This Week

I've been very down in the dumps due to my dear friend Auggie, my little dog being sick. He's been in the baby hospital. The vet isn't sure why he's not getting better. It's hard to think of much else other than him being sad and away from home. I just want him well and back with us.

Sunday, November 1

Back From Our Trip To Gatlinburg

On Tuesday Paula and I headed out for Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg for 5 wonderful days of fun. Paula was there on business, and had to be in meetings for 2 and a half days. I went shopping while she was in her meetings and then after they were over we both hit the trail looking for good deals and of course quilt shops. From what I can see there are only 2 shops in the area. The one near Pigeon Forge which is in Sevierville, we'd both been to before and it's a really nice shop called The Cherry Pit. We found lots of very tempting fabrics and Paula got 2 patterns that are oh so cute. Can't wait to see them when she gets them completed. One was a beautiful Christmas Quilt which she is thinking she might do in blue's.

The other quilt shop we went to was on the Arts and Crafts Trail. This is an 8 mile loop just covered with small shops mostly run by the crafts persons to sell there arts & crafts. These small shops serve as their studio too. You can find pretty much anything alone this route. One of our first stops was at Apple Annie's, run by a husband & wife team it was wonderful little shop filled with home made potpourri, soaps and many hand sewn items. Paula got a beautiful pumpkin made from an old 30's quilt. The husband makes very nice frames and I got one complete with double matt. It will be perfect for a photo of my grand parents. There are 2 openings in the matt and the 2nd one will be for the invitation for their 60th wedding anniversary. The photo was of them cutting their cake. I can't wait to put it all together.

We continued on our way not knowing what we would find and just stumbled upon a quilt shop called Mountain Stitches. Susan the owner has a fantastic eye for combining fabrics and her bundles she's put together were eye candy. Must admit several have come home with me. We must have looked at every single item in her shop. I did get a new tool there that I will be using very soon. It's a CD by Bear Paw Productions called Triangulations. It's the no worry method for doing Half Square and Quarter Square blocks. It's a PDF file with printable (fits 8.5 x 11) patterns that you just sew over and then cut apart. Couldn't be any easier.

After all the shopping we were getting pretty hungry and had planned on having dinner at the Old Mill Restaurant. I was stunned with how big this place was. The portions we were served were huge too.

Old Mill Restaurant

Little Pigeon River

Fat Quarter Rack in the Mountain Stitches shop. Paula and I were thinking we need to try and make one of these. Just a wonderful idea and you would be able to see all your fabrics at one glance. Mine are now in bins and this would be so much better.

Well I have a good bit of fabric to put away. Of course I have to look at it all again before putting it away.

I also spent about 2 hours in the Scrap booking Super store in Pigeon Forge and got a lot of things for my mixed media. I also got a beautiful Jim Shore piece at the Christmas Shop there and already have it displayed in my secretary in the living room. It's beautiful. I just love his work.

Well much to do today. We're hooking up with my sister and her husband for his birthday at PF Changs to have dinner. Great food again tonight.

One sad note. I just got off the phone with Paula and she had put her 30's quilted pumpkin on a shelf and her dog got it and it's now it's in shreds. She was very sad. Bad dog! He was scolded and put outside.

Monday, October 26

A Fun Saturday With Crafty Friends

Saturday I was in a small craft show in near by Murfreesboro TN.
It's a fun little show and I met several new craftspeople.
I did want to take a moment to brag on my little sister.
She is a wonderfully talented photographer and this
was her booth at the show. She does beautiful portraits and
you can view her work here, and her blog.

I did finish the jean jacket and here is the front with the hand stitching and beading. I was pleased with the way it turned out. There was also decorative stitching on the back, but it was done with my Pfaff.

I have several other things I wanted to share but the sun just hasn't come out this morning so I didn't take any photos. I'll try to get those on here tomorrow, if the sun will shine in my little part of the world.

Monday, October 19

Jackets & Handbags

I've been in a flurry of making handbags here lately.
This was mostly prompted by an upcoming show on the 24th
of this month. I've never been fond of commercial
patterns and must admit that is due to me
not having a clear understanding of them.
So I pretty much make my own patterns for my
handbags. That works out better for me in several ways.

I also got several Lee Jean Jackets and wanted to embellish them.
This is my first one which isn't finished but I want to show
it to you as it progresses. Today I'll be adding beading to
the fabric sections I've put on the jacket. I love beads
and adding them to my fiber projects is always a good thing.

I used the same fabric on the front and back of this jacket.
I will be adding beads to the Geisha's hair and garments.
I'll also be painting on this jacket with Shiva paint sticks.
I love these paint sticks. If you've not played with them
then you really should. After the art is completed you
just let them sit for 24 hours then iron from the back.
Then poof they are permanent.

This little bag is just a smaller version of the silver oriental I did a few days ago with the addition of a flap. The strap is pleather. It's the first time I've use that and it did sew very easy.
Well I have an announcement to make - I've been about to die to get the new Baby Lock machine that just came out called the Sashiko. (Pronounced: SA-SHEE-KOE) I saw it in Quilting Arts and have not been the same since. I'd read about Sashiko quilting and was wanting so bad to learn to do this but my hand work just isn't the best. Here is what wikipedia has to say about this stitch style.

Sashiko (literally "little stabs") is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.

Many Sashiko patterns were derived from Chinese designs, but just as many were developed by the Japanese themselves. The artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) published the book New Forms for Design in 1824, and these designs have inspired many Sashiko patterns.

So much for your history lesson. I've found this all very interesting. I also read that some of the very first armor was found to be quilted using this stitch. There were long open areas left where sections of bamboo were inserted to give the garment strength and to protect the wearer. Pretty cool huh? Well I could just go on about this forever but I'll stop.

Don't have my machine yet. They are backordered and Baby Lock is only making 9 each day. So I'm on a list and should be getting mine in about 3 months. This also gave me time to break down the payments which is not a bad thing either.

Monday, October 12

Handbags & Brooches

This weekend I made several handbags and this
silver oriental print was my favorite.
The lining is black & while with small oriental charters.

Another thing I started yesterday and finished this morning were these fiber brooches. I'd made some of these about a year ago and wore one quite often. I swap from my hat to a shirt. I enjoy the feel of it being like sculpture with fabric. These are hand sewn, believe it or not. I just don't pick up a needle very often. It's very relaxing to sculpt the sheer fabric into shapes then add the embellishments.

Purple Victorian Lady

Silver Snowflake

Bronze Leaf

Silver Leaf

Sunday, October 11

Fiber Accessories - Just for the fun of it

Fiber Brooch

Today I'm going to be making some of these fiber brooches. I love making/wearing them. They always get some good attention. I use my Baby Lock Embellisher to get them started. The beading and other added embellishments are so delicate they are mostly done by hand. I need some with fall colors to wear on my hats. They look great on jackets too. They are fun to make cause you never really know how they will turn out. On average they are about 3 inches across.

Thursday, October 8

Making Faces

I finished my little "Spooky" ATC's for the swap. They were fun. I always try new techniques on this little quilting guinea pigs. I played with the Cedar Canyon paintstiks, markers and dimensional paint. These were my first ATC's with no quilting! Just used steam-a-seam.

I ordered the How To DVD from Quilting Arts by Maria Elkins and watched the whole thing on Tuesday. I was so excited after I finished watching this and couldn't wait to try some of her wonderful techniques. I've never been very good at drawing faces and when I do I normally draw and erase repeatedly till I get it right. On fabric you just can't be erasing so it was a little scary to just put that water color pencil to fabric and start. Little samples like this are kept and dated so I can later see how I've improved. So even thou this isn't very good I was still very happy. I tried the technique and found it easy. On Maria's DVD she goes over the basic layout of a face. This was information I'd been told before but it was over 30 years ago in art school - since I don't draw faces I'd just forgotten everything I'd been told. So getting this information again was a tremendous help in making this first attempt. Also seeing her draw a face from scratch was very helpful. I had to go back this morning and look at all her quilts, which WOW me each time I see them. So I'm going to be playing with making faces and at least now I'm not afraid of the blank fabric.

Wednesday, October 7

What Was I Thinking?

Little Vamps Are Scary Too

What was I thinking trying something with fabric sections this small, I just don't know. His little hands are just a bit bigger than the end of the pencil. I was about to get the tweezers to get the backing off the steam-a-seam - and I was going to make these for my Halloween cards! Crazy girl - I'm switching to jack-o-lanterns.

Sunday, October 4

Great Finds In Centerville

Yesterday while at the Centerville Quilt Show (my first time there) we checked out several gift shops and went to a crafts show. The small town was hopping. As soon as we parked at the square we spotted a cute little gift shop where I was so happy to find this precious little piggy. I might have mentioned I have pigs in my kitchen - just a few now I've recently down sized the collection cause they were taking over the place. But I just couldn't not bring this one home.

Another find was this paper towel holder that really made my day. I though it looked great with the counter/backsplash and I'm a total sucker for pottery and, well it was just going to be mine - nuf said.

OK now for the quilts.

This wall hanging was my favorite and got my vote for people's choice. This was about 24" square at the most and has over 541 pieces. It was made by Ruth Smith of Dallas Texas. I love it.

A postage stamp quilt that looked like it had been fussy cut. I wish I'd taken notes to remember the age of some of these. This show wasn't just for showing the quilts you had made but also to show the quilts you've collect. Some of these were very old and made by the grandmother or other relatives. The one rule for this show was you had to live in the county.

I've seen wall hangings made from ladies hankies before but this one really caught my eye. The stitching was wonderful and the buttons were a nice added touch. Paula had seen this hankie design but hadn't seen the buttons before. It might have just changed my mind about this type of quilt, it was very sweet. I will have to admit thou that the shape of the butterflies did remind me of oriental - I'm hopeless.

This was my favorite big quilt. I really liked the off centered pattern. The colors are right up my alley too. I'd really like to make a full size log cabin one of these some day. Guess I'll put in on my list right under the crazy quilt.

This was the only contemporary quilt I saw there. It would have stood out to me even if there had been many more. Loved the fabric/design. The quilting was very nice too, it fit the quilt well.