Sunday, June 9, 2019

Button Busting Fun...

Here's my latest (and current favorite) necklace made in a class I took with Goatfeathers Studio. It combines pretty buttons, beads, and charms. The ribbon closure makes it a little more comfortable on the neck, because these pieces are on the heavier side as you can imagine.

As if there are not already enough buttons in my sewing room, we had the opportunity to belly up to the button bar and choose a colorway we wanted to work with. Doesn't this look like the proverbial "candy shop"? We students were as gleeful as if it was candy!

With selections made, we got to work (if you can call this kind of play work!) making an assortment of stacked button charms in various lengths.

Barely controlled chaos reigned for the next couple of hours as you can see from our work table.

Our instructors provided plenty of guidance and lots of examples of the charm possibilities.

And here's a sneak peek of my next favorite necklace! I love the golden butterscotch look of this one. And I found some Tiger's Eye style beads to include with it. It's hard to stop making these. I can't stay out of the bead aisle at the local craft shops. And my button jar will never be the same!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

It's a Lollapalooza!

     Oh, my! I suddenly realized that May is nearly over with, and I haven't posted anything in a long time. It isn't that I've been doing nothing, just that I haven't slowed down enough to take photos and share the projects. We also did some traveling during the month, so the time seemed to fly by.

     But I did complete this quilt which I titled "Lollapalooza!". I was drawn to the design because of  the inter-woven look and the use of large pieces of fabric which showcase the prints. I was gifted several of the fabrics in the quilt, and had a few more in my stash to complete it. The pattern is a downloadable PDF called The Libby Quilt from Kitchen Table Quilting. Fun to make and pretty quick, too. Mine was quilted by Debra Johnston, longarm quilter at The Old Sewing Machine Man.

     Our quilt guild, The Country Road Quilters, has a fun activity involving UFO projects and encouraging us to complete them. We listed 5 projects that are in various stages of completion-anything from only having fabric purchased and waiting to a quilt just in need of binding. Every other month, a number from 1 to 5 is drawn at a guild meeting, and that is the project from our list that is due two months hence. The participation has been wonderful, and quilters are getting their projects done! Myself included.

   June is coming up and I hope to share a couple more quilting and crafting projects... like a fun ice-dye day.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Curtain Up on Magazine Makeovers...

I've discovered another fun and creative outlet using magazine images- mostly fashion magazines which are inexpensive and easy to find at our library used book shop. My interest began with some of the many images created by artist Alisa Burke. You can see a short video of her methods here on her YouTube channel. I was very intrigued so I enrolled her in mini-course Magazine Makeover to learn more. It's a simple concept of "adding to" appealing images cut from magazines like the one above. Acrylic paint, paint pens, and pens are the readily available tools. The lyrics from "Everything's Coming Up Roses" popped to mind when I started working on this image.

Doodles and drawings done in black Sharpie markers and white Signo Uniball pen added pizzazz to this romantic image. It's very relaxing to sit with pen in hand and just let the patterns flow. The images are glued to cardstock to give them stability. And in a few cases, I added clear gesso over the image to take the paint better.

Originally appearing in shades of gray and black, I added lines, marks, and flower doodles with a white pen. It's basically a matter of filling the space with pattern. Once I was done with several of the images, it dawned on me to take before and after photos to record the changes. So that was a lesson learned! 

It's not ALL black and white however. Bold splashes of bright colors create the background here. And it's easy to paint out elements that distract from the focal point. I'll add more to this one eventually. Alisa Burke keeps her images in a journal, but I've been working with them as loose pages so far. Eventually I hope to bind them together.

The images are just the right place to add journaling as well, and it becomes part of the pattern. I'm a note-taker while reading non-fiction books, and I thought magazine makeover pages would be a good place to record some of the ideas I want to remember.

Any white space or built-in lines are a good spot to add journaling. I happened to find a similar advertisement using the same model and elements to give you an idea of a "before".

I was glad to find this because I liked using the lines for writing. Now I have another one to work on.

If you watch Alisa's video linked above, you'll see that she is way more adventurous than I've been so far. She alters the models faces and features, paints over their hair and uses lots more patterns. I'm sure I'll get there eventually, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying using my pens and paints in this new way.

It's also fun to prepare the images for altering. A piece of direct mail included some gorgeous photographs of architectural details and furnishings. I flipped the brilliant chandelier upside down and used it as a backdrop for the sunglass model. I like it as it is, but will definitely be adding to it eventually. I have a nice stack of images and collages just waiting for my creative makeover.

This is another one of them. Again, it's pretty as it is, I think. The night sky, the elegant woman on the sofa- but it's ready for something more.If you'd like to see more of these fun images, visit fellow blogger Lynette Collis at All of Me blog- she's got some beauties there along with a link to her face journal of altered images. She took Alisa's class as well. This is a great way to re-purpose magazine images. I look at them differently now, and some of them are just too pretty to throw away!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Makers Gotta' Make...

"What are you going to do with that?" You've probably fielded this question at some point in your creative sewing, painting, journaling, or crafting efforts. I'm pretty sure I've tried to answer it myself a number of times along the way. It could be asked regarding my latest interest- that of making boho beads. Boho is short for bohemian, and the design characterized by a unique and free-spirited feel. These tiny creations crafted from fabric, beads, metallic threads, yarn bits, and wire are just flat out fun to make.

 I could feel badly about making things that have no specific use, but nope- I don't. I saw a quote in Deryn Mentock's Jewelry Maker's Design Book (pictured below). It really summed up my thinking on the subject of giving in to the creative urge without an end use in mind. She said, "..a maker-of-things can't give up making things." So it's really more about the process than the product.

And on and on it goes. Just as with journal making and quilting, while working on one project, six others are taking shape in my head!

Most of these beads are ones I've made, but several contain components that I received in a handmade bead swap. I just "tarted them up" a bit more with additional charms, beads and dangling things.

And I did make use of one of my boho beads. I added it to the latest charm necklace. It looks right at home there with the button, thimble, and yo-yo charms. And I do plan to add some of the beads above to the spine of a journal or two. That is, when I pause for awhile in making the beads!

Here's the cover of the design book I borrowed from the library. And if you'd like to see how to make the boho beads, there are lots of good tutorials on YouTube. Here is one of them.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Let's Go to the Expo...

 The Sew Expo that is. The formal name is Original Sewing & Quilt Expo and it's an annual convention held at a number of cities throughout the United States. I attended the one at Lakeland, Florida, recently and it was a feast of everything needlework. There were quilts on exhibit, like this one by Mary Kerr titled "Dry Tortugas National Park." One whole quilt gallery was devoted to Inspired by National Parks challenge quilts.

 I was taken by "Nine-Banded Armadillo" by Maggie Ward, representing the Everglades National Park. What a great use of lace and trims.

 This whimsical "Porcupine" quilt, made by Sandy Kretzer, has a body made from a stitched web of fabric snippets and over-stitching. It reflects fauna of Lassen Volcanic National Park in California.

And for even more whimsy, there was a display of Bake Off Quilt Challenge entries. This is "Sunday Afternoon Coffee" by Renate Diedrick.

Intense painted colors make "Meringue Pie" by Karen Crocker very striking.

And there was this showstopper- "All Major Food Groups in One Birthday Cake" is Gloria Welniak's entry. Food print fabrics make up the slices in the cake and there's even a doily and hand-stitched ruffle trim "icing". 

I love antique quilts, and this Wedding Ring quilt was one of several in the exhibit of "Southern Quilts". All are from the collection of author Mary Kerr who wrote a book with the same title. It's the same Mary Kerr who made the Old Glory quilt at the top of this post.

Such an interesting setting and borders in this Barrister Block  Southern quilt. I'm a big fan of zig-zag vertical settings in quilts.

While some might pass this quilt by with barely a glance, it drew me right in. "Primitive Star" is aptly named and is another in the Southern Quilt exhibit.

In addition to the quilt exhibits, there were sewing and quilting classes, runway shows, demonstrations, and vendors galore! I asked permission to photograph the Quilter's Fancy booth. It was chock full of wonderful kits, fabrics, embroidery threads. Author and teacher Cindy Oravez shared lots of demonstrations of ribbon embroidery and more throughout the day.

I also came across the Rhinestone Genie. At this booth, they were offering make-it and take-it projects to show how easy it is to bling any project by making your own iron-on designs. We placed a template pierced with a design on a special baking sheet, then dusted over the top with a cloth pad and rhinestones to fill in the holes. Once the design was full, we placed an adhesive sheet on top, burnished it to grab the stones, then carefully pulled up to transfer the rhinestones to the adhesive. We were given a protective sheet to transport the sparkly piece home along with instructions for pressing to adhere it to the project of our choice. I didn't buy one.... yet! It was pretty clever and fun to do. That little peek of indigo behind the items in the photo is for another post- I took a hand-dyed fabric class, and will share the results of that soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Sharp Dressed Man...

And here he is- every suave bit of him! This whimsical quilt was the result of a really fun activity in our Fiber Art Bee. We all brought fabrics in various shades of purple- laces, cottons, minkee, home dec fabrics- you name it. We worked in groups of 8 and dumped all of our fabrics in the middle of the table. In front of each of us was a rectangle of cotton batting. At a signal from our leader, we each selected, cut and placed fabrics on the batting, collage style. After a few minutes, we got another signal and had to pass our piece to the person at our left. We then cut and placed a neck and shoulders on the piece. Another signal, and we passed the piece to the left again. This continued, cutting and placing fabric and passing it on, while adding a face, features, hair, clothing, etc. Finally we were done, and whatever piece was in front of us was ours to complete. My purple person turned out to be a man, and I think his hair is his finest feature! Meet some of his relatives.

We had a "reveal" at our next meeting and some of the Sharp Family were able to join us. This is Mom Sharp, and I think the hair is her best feature, too. Though those sparkling eyes are quite compelling.

One of the Sharps has become a rock star. Again- great hair. It must be in the Sharp genes.

One distant Sharp uncle had a shady past, but says he's on the straight-and-narrow path now.

And good old Uncle Sharp has always been known and loved for his warm smile and his snappy bowties.

There are lots more Sharp Family members yet to meet. Those that were completed were displayed together in a local library during March.

Not only was the activity fun, but it was also an exercise in using value and proportion. Here you can see the Sharp Dressed Man in his "awkward" stage. He's not looking so good yet.  Nose, lips, and eyebrows too big for his face. And he was missing that trademark hairdo. We pinned pieces in place to transport them home, and then the work began. Our job was to add and refine our people, transforming them. You can see that many of the elements in my pinned piece are still present in the completed one. I added paint to the background collage, free-motion quilted the piece, and edged it with purple fabric twine. And I styled his hair.

See? ZZ Top was right- every girl really IS crazy 'bout a Sharp Dressed Man. This wonderful vintage style mural is one I saw at the Disney World Boardwalk display.

And there was more sartorial splendor on display there, too.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Duly Noted...

After swapping large squares of hand-painted or stamped fabrics with a fiber group, my next challenge is how to use them. When I saw this beautiful hand-painted piece made by quilting friend Kandace, I knew I needed to free-motion quilt it with red metallic and neon yellow threads. I used bobbin quilting to keep the metallic thread from breaking as it went through the machine. Because the thread that will show is coming from the bobbin, a direct no-stress path, it means working from the wrong side of the project. I'd already done some quilting from the front side, so it helped define where to put the metallic stitching lines. The fabric is so abstract and modern, that I somehow really liked using the vintage image printed on fabric with it.

Once I finished quilting the piece, I combined it with this flocked denim to make a binder cover. Blue denim is the standard, but there are lots of other colors and prints in the fabric shop, so that was a welcome surprise.

Journals and notebooks are my "go-to" project for combining interesting materials along with notes and memorabilia. I had the opportunity recently to teach a journal making class at a quilt group. I brought along this display to show students the wide array of possibilities when making journals and whet their appetites.

And this display shows class samples. We made a gate-fold fabric journal with pockets to hold all sorts of note cards, post cards, and special mementos. The class was lots of fun, and most of the students had never made a journal before. I assured them that this would not be the last!

We collaged covers on a piece of felt, and then stitched on pockets on both the outside of the journal and the lining. So each journal holds quite a bit. This crazy-quilt style with a butterfly makes for an appealing cover.

I may have shown this notebook cover awhile back. But I like it so much that I've made several more. It covers a humble composition book and makes it look quite upscale. It's funny, but as many notebooks and journals as I make, I don't write in them very often. I guess I do my writing here on the blog. But coincidenatally, blogging friend Mary Stori also posted about making notebook covers this week. She does lovely work with wool and hand-printed fabrics. Check out her covers here. There is something very satisfying about making these journals and notebooks. I have lots more hand-prints, so I'm sure more notebooks will be coming soon.