Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The End of 2 Swaps, I'm so sad! Back from vacation, too.

Sad that the swaps (and my vacation) are over, THRILLED with what I received!  :)  Vaca was great, lots of fun, new experiences, so many laughs and good times.  Back to reality, though, which lately hasn't been too bad!  See the photos!

This is the doll quilt that I sent to my friend, Dena Wayne in New Mexico, and she really liked it.  I call it "The Wheel of F#@&(*% Fortune" quilt, because I did a lot of cussing while trying to line up points and seams.  A LOT.  Dena understands the title, because she "gets" me.  That's why we get along so well, we are kindred sisters.  :)  The only reason I didn't abandon this project is because I knew Dena would love it and appreciate all the hours that went into it.  It was one of the most complicated piecing jobs I've done, but paper piecing it really helped me to get those seams to line up.  That and about a million pins!  :)

 And this is what I received, from my partner Silvana, aka Silort on Flickr.  I totally love it, the quilt is one I had been lusting after as I watched her make it, she showed a lot of progress shots and I really loved what she was making, not ever dreaming it could really be for me!  I knew she was in a different group than I was, but the sneaky swap mamas played a trick on me and it turns out, it WAS for me after all!  I got home from my vacation to find this waiting for me- look at all the fun extras she sent, too!  That book is wonderful and very inspiring.  The chocolates are delish and so creamy and rich and they made it here in the summer without melting at all, I have no idea how she accomplished THAT!  lol

These tiny suns are just amazing, as is the rainbow border that she pieced.  Those little squares are 1/4"!  Just amazing the amount of work and skill that went into this little beauty!  Thank you so much, Sil!  I will treasure this forever!  Don't you love how she quilted it?

The mug swap is over for me, too.  This is what I sent to my friend Edy, in New Mexico.  She sent me the longest, funniest thank you note and it was heartwarming to read, what a sweet lady!  I knew she loved red, birds, cats, nature and humor, so I tried to cram it all into one little mug rug and it actually worked!  :)
Her Haiku-
Puddles are okay
but your cup of tea beckoned.
Some privacy, please?

And this is what I received from my friend Jules, chickenjulie on Flickr.  At first I was a little befuddled- it's a great colorful string mug rug, love that, but what is that brown puddle on it?  Then I read the Haiku, which was our theme for this swap and it made a little sense, it was gravy.  

The Haiku-
Gravey on mug rug
is totally better than
Gravy on mug rug.
OK.  Still a little odd, but OK.  lol  

 THEN, I flipped it over to see what fabric she had used on the back and there was GRAVEY!  Our little chubby girl, Gravey!  NOW it all makes perfect sense!  

Bwahahaha, how clever is this?!  Gravey is depicted sitting on the mug rug itself, it's a picture in a picture, totally clever and cute and it has my baby on it and I love it to pieces!  She did her usual excellent job with choosing a design, great fabrics and wonderful workmanship.  Her binding is incredible and of course, the cat steals my heart!   And the extras she sent are great, too.  A little rainbow package of fabrics, a spool of turquoise thread and a package of chocolate covered sunflower seeds, yum!  Thank you so much, Jules! This is of course, going up on the wall to be treasured!  Gravey has finally made it, she's officially famous now.  

 And no post is complete, lately, without some shots of bitty blocks.  :)  This upcoming month's themes are insects/bug and kitchen gadgets.  I'm signed up for both.  I made Luna Moths for the insects.  This is my prototype and I don't plan to change a thing, I'm happy with this as it is.

And for kitchen gadgets, I'm doing citrus juicers ....

 .....and toasters with real pop-up toast made from card stock. 

 I've seen some photos of what the other ladies are making (paper pieced butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, silk beetles and blenders,  measuring spoons and mixers, etc)  and it's going to be a fun month, getting all the great little beauties in the mail.  I'm addicted to these bitties like some perverts are addicted to porn, so when my husband brings in the mail, he calls out "porn call!" if there are obvious envelopes with bitties inside.  If the day is a bust and there are no bitties, we sadly sing "Porn Free" to the tune of  "Born Free".  Yeah.  We're a little warped like that.  :)  He likes to look at them as I open them and we oooh and ahhh over them together.  It's fun!

I hope all of you survived the storm OK and are having some fun as summer dwindles down. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Girl time is the BEST time!

 Time for a get-away!  No, not to the beach, but I'm heading down to TX to a GF's  for a week or so.  We're jumping into the car again to head to Louisiana to another friend's house, to hang with her for a few days. 

 Here we are a couple of years ago at the beach- Jen, me, Lisa and Kate.  (Kate won't be with us this time, though.)  It was so cold and windy but we didn't care, we were on vacation!

 Lisa and Jennifer, 5 AM, I am a task-mistress! Get up, get up, get up, we have a long way to go today, fun awaits!  Jen has on her shrimpy Mardi Gras beads and Lisa is wearing her Star Trek communicator so we wouldn't lose her.  lol

Our friend Tiger made us all scarves that trip! The light above Jen's head looks like a big gold bow, bwahahahah!
So we're off to have more fun, see ya when I get back!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finished the latest scrappy mug rug...

I had shown you a sketch, earlier, and I was actually able to make it work in fabric, surprisingly enough.  Yes, I always doubt my own abilities to translate an idea into an actual object.  

 I tried a new-to-me technique- weaving strips of fabric together that have fusible webbing on the back, to make the tablecloth.  That was fun and very easy to do.
Here's a close up of raw-edge appliqueing.

The finished mug rug- the binding is a red with pale gray dots.
The label is the tea bag paper thing.  I added the napkin to help make the cup and saucer stand out from the tablecloth more, it adds a nice 3D touch, too.

 The back is called "Round Robin" by Michael Miller. 

I still have to decide on the Haiku poem to go with this.  I'll write it on a card and include it.  I hope my partner likes this.  It's not very practical, really, but I think it came out pretty well.  Now I just to make her a little something extra and it'll be ready to mail when the time comes.  :)

Thanks for looking at it!  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Nosey Parker Looks Good in Lime Green......

When I signed up to do a bitty swap titled "one color plus white" and got lime green as my assigned color, I was flummoxed!  What's lime green and white?  I was drawing a mental blank.  Then NP walked by and I thought, Nosey Parker in the grass is green and white! 

I woke her up to get this photo, she isn't too thrilled with me here.  :)

My usual process to get ideas and patterns is to use Google.  I Google the subject, like in this case, "cat coloring page" because I like fun patterns that translate well to fabric.  Clicked on "images" to see hundreds of cats.  After deciding that I wanted to piece a cat rather than applique it, I changed that search to "cat quilt block", where I found a photo of a free-pieced folk art cat.  So I sat down with paper and pencil and drafted out a pattern so I could paper-piece my block, knowing that if I tried to free-piece it, they would just get bigger and bigger as I went along and that won't work when you have only 3.5" to work with.  3", really, because you can't use the outer 1/4" all the way around, that's left for seam allowance. 

After a few trials and errors, I ended up with these- after finalizing the pattern I printed out half of them using the mirror image option and offered my swap partners a choice.  Most of them didn't care which one they got, so they're all packed up and ready to go, along with the ship in a bottle blocks.

Oh, I gave them little green eyes, too.  I had added pink noses, but tore them back out, they looked stupid.  And my friend Jennifer likes them better without eyes, says it's like NP is walking away from her, which is more like the actual, busy NP, as far as Jen is concerned.  LOL  The eyes can be removed with a snip if the recipient wants to take them off.

Now I'm getting ready to start my partner's mug rug, the bird in the teacup.  I pulled fabrics yesterday and if I still like them this morning, I'll get going on it.  I just love having a project!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finished Doll Quilt, DQS 11, and some more bitty blocks.... and some thoughts on swapping.

I finished it this morning and I'm as pleased as pleased can be! It measures out to be 17.5" x 14", finished.  It's adorable, if I may say so.  I would love to keep it, but I made it for my partner with her in mind the whole time and I just can't bring myself to "stiff" her like that. 

This is the back of just the top, you can see all the seams here- there are a bunch of 'em!

This is the back of the quilt, with the label and my partner's name blocked out.  I made this using a leftover bitty block from the month we did "text", this was one I made and it is perfect, I think, for this label. 


 And a close-up of the quilting.  I can honestly say that I worked harder on this little quilt than I ever thought I would.  And it paid off, I think.  All the cussing and ripping and re-doing was worth it. 

Thanks for looking at all the photos! 

And here are the bitty blocks I made for this month's group- Jars.  I took the liberty of making bottles, actually, but no one in the group seems to mind.  

Ships in Bottles-

 Close-up of ship in bottle-

This is my third attempt at paper-piecing and I'm liking it!

And at the risk of offending some people, I'm going to have a little rant, because this is my blog and I should be able to say whatever I want to here, right?  I don't want to hurt any feelings, but I think someone should be able to say what I think an awful lot of people are thinking. 

Some swaps require you to state a skill level when you sign up, that helps the swap mama to make proper match-ups.  Some swaps don't have that skill level taken into account.  Regardless though, all the skill-matching in the world won't mean a thing if people take the easy way out.  

When I see people making fabulous things for swaps that obviously took hours and hours, even DAYS, I am in awe and so appreciative of them.  Yes, I do it, too, and I know it's voluntary- I spend a lot of time making things for swaps because I am a perfectionist and I only want to send away my best work.  So when I see people showing off what they made and it obviously took them about 10 minutes to make what they are sending out, it pains me.  I have to wonder how in the world they justify that and feel like it's fair?   

As an example, and I'll just make this up- say the swap was "wonky houses".  Most people would piece or applique or embroider several different fabrics to make a wonky house, from scratch, and they would all be different and unique and so clever.  And a couple of people would search out fabrics that had wonky houses on them and cut them out and stitch them down onto another piece of fabric and call it done.  I don't consider that to be very creative.  Using novelty fabrics to consistently do all the work for you instead of creating something from bits of nothing, I disagree with that.  Every now and then, in my opinion, it would be OK, especially if the perfect novelty fabric was framed by pieces of other fabric, but to just use the novelty fabric and maybe add a few beads or something, that seems like taking the easy way out.  It's not very creative and I don't think it's in the spirit of the swap to do that.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE novelty fabrics and buy them all the time.  But I rarely use them except as background fabrics when I'm creating something, or like the ship in the bottle, I used the ship as a feature in the block.  I realize that time constraints play a part, too, but a person should know their limits and only sign up to do what they think they can really devote themselves properly to.

So I wish swappers everywhere would ask themselves this- "Am I putting enough effort into what I'm making to be fair to the others in the swap, considering the efforts they put into it?"  If your answer is yes, then that's wonderful.  If it's no, then I am sad.  

And that's my rant for the day.  Please play fair.