Friday, April 30, 2010

Here's a fun project for a friend....

I made my friend Tiger a cover for her Kindle, using this tutorial from the Moda Bake Shop.

This is the inside-

The instructions were great and came in really handy since I don't have a Kindle that I could use for size as I was making it. Tiger likes animal prints and all things jungle-y so I think she'll like this fine. It didn't take too long to make, either. I cheated just a little and sewed the binding down by machine, but it actually turned out really well and looks like it will hold up forever! The most time consuming part of this project is the decorative stitching that is between each strip of fabric on the outside, those stitches take forever. They add so much interest, though, that you have to do it.

The outside- instead of a piece of velcro, I made a strap for it with a cat collar clasp and thin nylon webbing.

Close up of the inside- I love this fabric! It's so vibrant and pretty. This cat's head is why I couldn't use velcro like I wanted to.... it would have covered up that pretty face.

Hope you like, Super Tiger!

Oh, here's a shot of Murphy and Beeswax on the zigzag quilt I made last summer, they lie on this almost every day on the foot of our bed. These 2 are siblings and just love each other. Murphy has crossed blue eyes and is so funny and sweet. Beeswax has green eyes and is smart and personable. I just love these boys! Usually they'll cuddle like this for a while. Then one of them will decide to wash the other one's head. Whether he wants it washed or not! Which then leads to a disagreement as the wash-er is holding the wash-ee down against his will. lol Since Murphy outweighs Beez by a good 3 pounds, he usually gets his way, unless Beez takes off and escapes. It's a laugh a minute around here!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm realizing why I like quilting best...

I used to sew for a shop in town, I made dolls and models for the patterns and fabric that she sold. It was fun at first but it became a monster job, one where I would start sewing at 6 AM, take a 30 minute break for lunch, sew until 4, start dinner, do YESTERDAY'S dishes, feed us, and then sit on the sofa and turn and stuff doll body parts until bedtime. Actually, my husband would do the turning and then throw body parts at me to be stuffed. lol Then, I would spend the next day assembling the dolls and dressing them and kitting them out in all their stuff. I would probably make between 10 and 20 dolls a week, and those dolls got more and more complicated and eventually, even the dolls had dolls.

Living 25 miles from the nearest craft shop meant that I also spent a lot of time either searching for or making all the little doo-dads that went with them. I was making angels, snowmen, scarecrows, crows, turkeys, Santas, reindeer, witches, bunnies- the whole gamut. I wish I had taken more photos of the things I had made, but I didn't think to.

As an example, I made many of these big Liberty dolls from this pattern- in fact, I accidentally plugged my bathtub drain because I was soaking sisal in the tub to relax it so I could make her extremely awkward hair. WHAT A MESSY PAIN! And dangerous, too, I had hot glue burns all over me, ever drip hot glue on your thigh? lol Anyway, I quit that job after about 7 years, working 6 days a week at home to keep up with the demand and the other day I worked at the shop. Finally I couldn't take it anymore, the fun was gone, so I quit. After I quit, the demand for dolls fell off anyway, so I guess my timing was pretty good.

So my sewing tapered WAY off, I don't think I used my machine much at all for a couple of years after that, until I got over it, I was really burned out. Then I started making things and selling them in my Etsy shop and I rediscovered my love for sewing.

I buy a fair amount of fabric from the new Bernina shop nearby and teach an occasional class there, usually for a bag or something like that. Somehow, and I don't know how this happened, I got roped into making some pincushions that look like cake. I now remember why I quit that other job!!!!!

What a pain in the butt! A lot of little pieces and I actually had to write notes to myself so I wouldn't get them all scrambled up. Interfacing, Timtex, ground walnut shells, stuffing, hot glue (because I cheated and didn't want to handsew those roses down) ricrac, changing thread colors 20 times, OMG! These aren't very good photos, because I don't really care about these things, but they took way too much time to make and I griped and grumbled thru every stinkin' minute of them. They turned out pretty cute, though, especially compared to the one I saw that someone else had made and was collapsing! I have to say, my fingers don't seem to be as nimble as they used to be and I found myself fumbling around a bit which I don't rememberbeing a problem in the past. Old age? Gosh, I hope not!

These are patterns by Cindy Taylor Oates and are very well written.

On a better, less whiny note, I did manage to make up 4 pair of no-no bands for a friend to send to a group called Operation Smile, where they use these to help during the healing process after children undergo surgery for cleft palates. Tongue depressors go into those slots and they make soft casts to keep the kids from touching their new face.

I can honestly say that this was probably the first time I've bought kid fabric to use for an actual kid! :) Usually I make myself something out of it.

I hope you all have a great day and only have to make the things that YOU want to, today!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Psychotic Seagulls and a Message in a Bottle...

Some people make quilts using Flying Geese and then others of us have to do Psychotic Seagulls. They're made the same way, sewing 2 squares onto a rectangle, on the diagonal, but when you're making a beachy placemat, geese just didn't seem fitting. And the effect you get is different, too, as you end up with chevrons or arrows in bright colors, instead of a colored triangle surrounded by white or some other solid. Where the one in the link is a blue triangle with white below it, mine would be blue with blue below it, making the arrow. The process is exactly the same, though. In retrospect, I could have done them a different way, faster and easier, but this started out differently and evolved as it went along and turned out OK. Next time I think I would just sew strips together into a long row of piano keys and then cut them on an angle and piece the 2 rows together down the middle, forming the chevron that way.

Anyway, this is the placemat I made for the swap at Flickr. I sent it to Sudi-Laura and she received it yesterday which means I can show it to you. I had so much fun making it, I tried new things and they came out well, I think. The flying geese/seagulls were new for me but very easy to do. Only problem is that the strips of them are very unstable as to staying straight and I ended up with a placemat that doesn't want to lie down really flat, it has a couple of little waves in it. Hence the term- psychotic seagulls. Psychedelic would work, too.

I free-pieced the houses and the tree trunk and figured out a way to keep the cabana flaps open all the time. That was all a little tricky due to water/sand/sky horizons needing to match up. I have to give credit to Lynne, of The Patchery Menagerie for house and tree help, she taught me how to do them. I machine appliqued the fronds. And I did a little hand embroidery for the flying seagulls and the cabana flag, because it was all looking a little drab. :)

I did some hand applique on the back- the bottle and sand covering it.

And when you tug on the cork- out comes the label. This part was SO fun for me, I love doing quirky, odd things like this. And I just adore hidey-holes, and I think this qualifies as such!

Inspector #7 was doing a great job, too!

All in all, I am really pleased with how it came out and I think Sudi-Laura is, too. It was a little hard to send it away, but I know I can make another if I decide to. And I knew it was going to a great new home! Enjoy it, Sudi-Laura! Think of your beach when you see it or use it. xox

My husband was helpful in the making as I kept running ideas by him and asking advice about the bottle/label construction. And he said an emphatic yes to the bit of black separating the houses from the bright colored seagulls- and he was so right! Thanks, honey! You have good taste in more than just wives. (Well, wife- you didn't choose so well the first time, now, did you?) lol

Have a great weekend, everybody! Make something fun. I was kind of sad when this got finished up, it was a great weekend project!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It can happen in an instant!

One minute you're minding your own business and the next- BANG! You're a victim of a drive-by!

I'm working a new quilt, or what may become 2 quilts- hexagons. This is another quilt-along over at Flickr, at the Old Red Barn Company group. This one is being taught by Julie at jaybird quilts. I decided to do a stash-busting one using fabrics I had on hand, so I thought a black/white with brights sounded good and summery.

Due to the nature of these triangles, half are predominantly black/white and the other half are mostly a bright fabric. They don't mix well with this layout that I've chosen, so I will probably make 2 different quilts, one like this, mostly black and white with little bits of color, above.....

......and another like this one, mostly brights with little bits of black/white.

I was having a great time making up more triangles and working them into each layout, when suddenly- the beast came from out of nowhere and plundered the layouts. Ack! Then she came back to admire her handiwork.

It was exhausting work, too.

A nap on the fabric hutch (where all good things come from) was in order. Oh, a life of crime- it'll flat wear a girl out!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's been a good week! OK, a great week!

First, I had to renew my driver's license and since I was driving past the place AND had fixed my hair that morning (something I only do if I going to more than just the post office or grocery store) I decided that it would be a good time to get it over with. Usually it's not a fun experience, the women there are overworked and underloved and never hardly crack a smile, so sitting there grinning like a loon at the "look here" sign is hard to do. Well, I lucked out- the place was nearly empty and they had to time to goof around. Not only did we get a really good photo, we had fun doing it. Turns out, they said, don't come in on Monday or Friday or in the afternoon because the lighting is bad then with the sun ripping in the big window and we'd all look like vampires, all pale and icky. lol So Tuesday mornings- they're perfect! Now I'm set for the next 4 years with a really nice DL photo, yay! How many of you can say that, huh? :)

Then yesterday, I found out that I won a drawing from the lovely and gracious Jodie of RicRac! She's going to put together a show-bag of her patterns and things after her big show is over in Melbourne, Australia. No offense Jodie, but I hope you have a few good things left when all is said and done! I know you, and I know how popular you and your products are and I seriously doubt that you'll have ANYTHING left! Jodie designs THE cutest little dolls/softies/robots/animals, etc and has such a knack with them. And she is a wonderful photographer, too, and has quite the sense of humor. I just am so grateful and excited to be her winner. Woot! The link to her blog that I gave you above is to part 1 of her 5 part story of Ernst, the most wonderful turtle you'd ever hope to meet. Be sure to seek out all the parts, trust me- it's worth it.

And just so you don't think I've been sitting around doing nothing but admiring my DL photo and gloating, I finished up a placemat for my swap partner, Sudi-Laura. We agreed on a beach theme with colors and wonky and wild, so here's just a peek at part of it. It's all done and on it's way to Massachusetts as we speak. After she gets it, I'll show the rest of it.

Ya'll have a great week!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Has anyone seen a purple...........

...collar? Murphy has lost his 3rd collar this week.... 2 were red with flowers all over them (maybe he lost them on purpose?) and one was a beautiful purple one. I decided since it was nice out to go for a meander and see if I could find any of them in his usual spots (which means places I've found lost collars before.) This is a matching one on Beeswax's neck. He really looks the best in the purple, but Murphy was looking naked and I had an extra purple one handy. Normally Murphy wears royal blue, to go with his little crossed eyes. I put on my favorite gray hoodie and went out into the windy day.

So I think- this should be easy, hot purple, piece of cake, it'll jump right out at me!

Yeah. Not THIS week!
The redbuds are blooming and starting to drop.

The view is soooo purple.

Under the forsythia bush is a popular tussling spot for the boys, I've probably found 10 collars under that before, one at a time. See the redbuds peeking out from behind? Those are 40 yards away, probably.

The lilacs are blooming, too. Gosh, they smell so good.

Grape hyacinths are everywhere! A hundred times yesterday I thought I spotted the missing purple collar, but no..... it was another cluster of Grape Hyacinths. I think the squirrels are moving them around when we aren't looking, because for sure WE didn't plant them in all those odd-ball places!

We also have wild violets, best year ever, must be because of all the rain we've had. You have to watch where you walk because it would feel too mean to step on them!

I guess we'll just have to keep looking for the elusive missing collars.

Don't you just LOVE springtime? I know we do. Even if we can't find diddly this time of year. lol

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Potholder Pass II sucessfully completed!

I participated in a potholder swap and was lucky enough to receive these from spottedstonestudio, much to my delight.  Krista also sent me 3 lovely batik fat quarters to go along with them and a really sweet note.  This is one seriously talented lady and I so appreciate the time and trouble she went to to make these for me.  She has 3 kids and one is just a sweet little baby, I don't know how she gets anything done, but she does and she does it so well.  And to add to the coolness factor, she lives way up north in Alaska!  

The front-

The back-

Thank you, Krista, for making my first potholder swap so much fun!  I had a great time and I really love my potholders.  If my OVEN WAS WORKING, grrrr, I would actually contemplate using them.  (Long story- used the self-clean feature for the first time and now the entire oven and digital display is DEAD.  Not happy, nope, not at all.  Samsung appliances?  I won't ever buy them again.  This is the 4th problem we've had with our less than 2 year old appliances and 2 of them were in the first week!)  

Here's whatI sent my partner-hopefully she'll like it.  2 wonky potholders, some Pez fabric and a condiment wallet.  I also jazzed up a note card to match. 

the front-

The back-

I had fun making them, this was my first wonky star and I think it turned out great.   I learned how to make this star from my friend Pamela, who has a great shop on Etsy.   She's another super talented lady and is very generous with her knowledge, which I so appreciate.

We had company come for the weekend so I've been busy cleaning house and then having fun with Jennifer and Charles.  The boys fished every day, all day, leaving us to our own devices, which was wonderful.  We cooked, ate, drank, watched movies, visited, laughed, ripped paper off my string blocks, sat in the sun, and just generally had a great time.  Oh, we sneaked in a visit to my mother, the Mumster, too.  That was good, she just loves Jennifer (it's mutual) and she considers her a daughter, because Jen "gets" her.  Mum is 89 but doesn't look it or act it.  

No photos of us, though, because we were too busy chillin'.  :)  It was a great weekend and we capped it off with little grown-up Easter baskets (cute Rubbermaid containers) at breakfast (I can't believe we didn't photograph them, the table looked fun) with chocolates, toys, notepad, fishing lures, gummy worms, Swedish fish, etc.  They were a hit! I hated to see them leave, but Charles and Jennifer both have to be at work tomorrow, darn it.  They're the best, easiest company, too.  SO helpful and fun.  We just LOVE them.  Travel safe, you two!