Monday, June 28, 2010

Embellishing the Embellishments...

Our online journal class with Carole Brungar at Madness and Mess is lots of fun, and we're making great progress. The journal will have that "shabby yet chic" look. That's why Carole's latest advice to us is to "embellish the embellishments", meaning layers and added bits of lace, buttons, fabric... whatever. So here are a few of my embellishments. They'll soon find a home on the pages of my journal, which is under construction. One of my favorite things about Carole's class is that at last I'm using those necessary items I collected for so long, for "someday". Someday is here!!

These small bits make a good carry-along project. Today while waiting for a doctor's appointment I was stitching away. I even had a very cute audience in the form of a 4-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother. They had loads of questions and seemed quite entranced watching the sewing. And they loved holding the bag of tiny buttons and picking out the colors. It made the short wait go by quickly for all of us. That natural childish curiosity combined with the novelty of the paper, laces, images, and buttons created some strong magnetism. They, unlike some adults, did not even ask why I would do such a thing as to sew buttons and lace onto paper. I appreciated that. It's really hard to explain.

And finally, this little package contains an altered Altoid tin for my swap partner from the Yahoo Group MMArtFriends. We're doing a book study on "Mixed Mania". I'll put a picture here of the tin once my swap partner receives this. Don't want to spoil the suprise should she happen on this post. I made the paper holder for the tin using the Funky Folder Template from Stampington & Company.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Overhaul in the Sewing Room...

There comes a point... a point at which I just cannot continue working in the sewing room until I tame some of the chaos that piles up. I reached that point recently, so I set aside the works-in-progress and got busy sorting, organizing, and purging. I'd had my eye on this Closet Maid storage unit and it went on sale at Target. So did the little canvas bins. The unit had clear assembly directions which both my husband and I appreciated, and in an afternoon the unit was ready to hold all those bits and pieces. Sorting everything was a two-day project, but so worth it.

The top of the unit provides a good place to display various small items. I quite like pincushions as the photo above shows. And this little purse journal now resides there, too. It was a giveaway on Susan's Studio Adventures blog. So cute! I can't quite bring myself to write in it yet.

And now that things are better organized, I'm back to working on the usual several projects at once. It probably won't be long until another tidying session will be required. But meanwhile, I'm really liking this storage unit. The bins are labeled and things are much easier to find. Yay!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Results are In...

Ahsley over at The Creative Place is sharing the projects made by participants in her Scrap Paper Challenge. Several weeks ago she provided the pack of paper goods to inspire, and we turned the paper into some fun projects.

One of my projects, an easy-fold mini journal, is shown here. Peek inside and get how-to's on her blog. My second project is shown there, too, and so are 4 others.

Ashley reveals the results of the challenge in a two-part posting. So take a look- fun stuff! Creative soul that she is, she also has her own tutorials and great projects on the blog. Many thanks to Ashley for providing the creative grist for our mills!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Good Day at the Quilt Shop..

We've all been awaiting the opening of our local quilt shop Peggy's Heirlooms of Tomorrow at her new location in Market Square, Ocala. Since I was out and about early (not so common for me.. a natural night person), I stopped at the store and joined a line of more than 25 people waiting for the doors to open. I was number four in line, and the first 20 customers received a gift bag. Here's mine... chock full of goodies like a pattern, specialty buttons, thread nets, thread spools, laces, fabric, a quilty pin, and even a $10 gift card for the pizza place just down from Peggy's. What a treat the new shop is, and the goody bag, too!

While I'm photographing the gift bag and its contents, I'll also show you another of the fabric-covered rope baskets, at top. This one was made in an online class at Joggles called "Treasure Nests" by Tammy Gilley. It's a softer, thicker cord than clothes line, and it's hand stitched and embellished.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This little heart of mine...

"Bright Heart" was my entry into this year's Excellence in Needle Arts Awards- Heart Ornament contest sponsored by PieceWork Magazine. Happily this quilted ornament earned an Honorable Mention and was exhibited with the other 2010 winners at The National NeedleArts Association trade show in Columbus, Ohio, this month. It will be coming back home in July.

All of the winning ornaments are also featured in the July/August issue of PieceWork Magazine on sale July 6. But you can see them here on the magazine's website. Just click on "View All of the 2010 Winners" for a colorful PDF of them. There were four categories- Knitting/Crochet; Lacemaking/Tatting, Quilting; and Needlework.

My little ornament is machined pieced using several different batiks, machine quilted, and beaded. It's little... just under 4". Oh, and the effort won me a year's subscription to the magazine. Sweeeet! I'm very happy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Papering the Sewing Room

Apparently it's not enough that there are fabrics and fabric scraps, along with unfinished quilt projects proliferating in my sewing room. Now I am drawn to paper, and it's filling up the place, too. To say nothing of all the new supplies I need to play with paper... paints, stamps, inks, shaving cream. Yes, even shaving cream! That's what we used in Carol Murphy's "Tempting Techniques" online class at Joggles to make marbleized paper. My husband had to be stopped from taking the can. He thought I bought it for him. ha, ha, ha.

The papers in the photo above are, from the left: paste paper, acrylic paint, marbled, watercolors with stamps, masking tape resist, faux mulberry, glue crackle, bleach discharge, acrylic paint, and marbled. Some were made using methods from online classes and YouTube (for the paste paper), while others were from library books on the subject. All are destined for further layering and embellishment, and will ultimately go into journals.

In addition to online classes and books, there's also a lot of inspiration and instruction among the many blogs published by various creative souls. Just look over on the left at the list of blogs I follow. You'll see some wonderful work by artists like Martha at Art du Jour.

I'm learning a lot, and speaking a whole new language. I didn't know what gesso was, but now I have a great big container of it. And then I also signed up for a journal making class titled "Open Your Door Journal Workshop". It's taught by Carole Brungar, New Zealand, on her blog "Madness and Mess". So we are working away to create papers that will go into the journals, and then get embellished.

And last, but not least, Ashley at The Creative Place had a Scrap Paper Challenge and giveaway on her blog I won a pack of her paper ephemera, shown here. The challenge is to create a variety of projects inspired by the assortment. There will be more coming about these projects on this blog and on Ashley's. Her blog is full of ideas and tutorials for all sorts of stitched and paper projects. Recipes, too. So who knows what all that wonderful paper she sent will turn into! Such fun. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Coffee Break....

This is a small wall quilt I made and machine quilted using a pattern and fabric from the Cuisine-Coffee Classic series by McKenna Ryan. The pattern is for a square quilt, but I added some batiks to top and bottom, preferring a rectangular look.

While it is small, there is a fair amount of work in the piece. It's fusible applique. The machine quilting...I'm making progress. That's thanks to a workshop offered at my quilt guild a year or so ago by Jan Doudna. She gave plenty of helpful pointers and I got some successfully free-motioned quilt sandwiches underway. And I've found the Supreme Slider and Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting blog to be most helpful as well.

It was a fun project. And it's brown. I always like brown in quilts! One time I was with a group looking through some quilt photos. I chose one that I found especially appealing. Another member of the group commented, "But it's brown. Quilters don't really make brown quilts, do they?" Everyone laughed because brown was practically my signature color. That's less true now (or is it?), but at that time, every quilt had brown in it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another Crafty Quilter Turns 90!

Our local sewing group had reason to celebrate! Once again we were privileged to honor one of our members on her 90th birthday (the other celebrant was Emmy Lou in March, shown here). This time it was Marie Block, above right, who was the honoree at our luncheon. Marie is a longtime crafter who still does a bit of crochet, although she acknowledges she's slowed down a little. One of Marie's annual efforts is to fill 20 shoeboxes with small items such as toys, school supplies, and sox for children in need around the world. It's part of her church's social outreach through Christmas Shoebox program. Our fearless leader Gwen Hill-Hearn is shown above left, presenting Marie with a gift and our thanks for being a treasured member of the Citra Crafty Quilters. We were all very happy to celebrate Marie's birthday with her!

Of course a show-and-tell is always part of our group gatherings. This time Elaine Cornett (above, right) had her scrappy Strip Twist quilt. Elaine used plenty of colorful strips and a pattern from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville website. Mary Reynolds (above, left) quilted it on her longarm machine.

Our group always manages a feast for such special occasions. In addition to quilting, crafting, tatting, and embroidering, our members are good cooks. I'll echo the words used my small hometown newspaper years ago when reporting on social events... "a fine time was had by all."