Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don't Forget to Write...

Our sewing and crafting group members really enjoy working on projects for worthy causes. Two of us spent a morning recently making cards to donate to Operation Write Home. Their mission is to support our military by providing them with handmade blank cards on which they can send home greetings to their loved ones. It's a huge effort, and the organization gets lots of support. They are working on their second million cards! And their website contains all sorts of helpful material, including inspiring letters from members of the military.

There is a special drive for "thinking of you" cards right now. So we focused on that for our efforts. Here is what we came up with so far. The card at the top has a cut-away flap that reveals an insert strip of patterned paper on the inside. I saw an instructional video for it on Two Peas in a Bucket's "Finally Friday" series. My cardmaking friend Prue and I agreed that we could spend hours looking at all the wonderful ideas and videos online! But we also decided we better get on with it. We made a happy mess, and these cards were the result.

We kept the designs simple, and for a couple of the cards we used blank cards that had a background design already imprinted. That way we just had to "tart them up", as the saying goes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stitching Up Fabric and Paper Scraps...

All this stitching on paper I've been doing lately prompted me to go ahead and sign up for the "Remains of the Day" online class with Mary Ann Moss. I've seen fascinating photos and videos of the shabby scrap journals she and her students have made. After watching, looking, and watching some more... I took the plunge. Mary Ann's step-by-step videos are thorough and inspiring, and I studied the first few for some time. Once I'd digested the info, I got started and made the cover for my journal. Here's how it looks when closed, above. It's got a bit of everything in it... splashy cotton print, bridal lace, netting, sheer curtain fabric, decorator fabric, and rick-rack.

And here it is lying open and flat. You can see that it is indeed both scrappy and shabby. After pulling together those bits and pieces of fabrics and trims that I liked, I just stitched away. I'm quite happy with the result. The project really makes use of "found" items. The long wrap tie is made from an unused fabric belt that came with a piece of clothing. I stitched pieces of ribbon, trim, and fabric selvages to it. The bit of Crabtree & Evelyn ribbon came from an old, old gift package found in a collection of vintage trims. It's been lurking in my sewing room just waiting for a home. Now, happily, it has one!

The next step is to prepare the signatures (a signature is several sheets of paper, folded into pages, that form one section of the book). These, too, will be found papers for the most part. I can tell you this. Once you take this class, you will not look at junk mail in the same way again. All of it becomes grist for the mill. Here are just a couple of examples. The strips of images from a magazine, seen at the bottom of the photo, will get stiched along the side of several pages. The red envelope provides a windowed section which will become a stitched see-through pocket. Plus I punched some circles from the same envelope and from a piece of a map. The circles can be stitched in place on one or more pages. And even the pieces the circles were punched from will add interest somewhere. The first signature, which will be about 8 or 9 folded and stitched sheets(so 16 or 18 pages) is underway. Paper is piling up in the sewing room. I'm rather slow at this, so may not have much to show on the project for awhile. But I will keep you posted on the progress!

If you are like me, and cannot get enough of looking at these journals, you can see a number of them on YouTube. Also the April 2011 issue of Somerset Memories has an online extra showing pages from the journals published in an article in the magazine. Happy browsing!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quilting Task for Today...

Our guild, Country Road Quilters, is gearing up for the next group quilt. Various members are piecing these "Floating Star" blocks using a white-on-white print and a pretty, frosty blue. It's an excellent block for a group project because it's forgiving. The star points are sewn so that they are away from the block edges... they'll stay sharp, and won't get blunted when joining the blocks together. A good pick, I think! I really enjoy contributing to group quilts. So I've pieced two blocks ready for the deadline.

One little issue... white-on-white prints and over-60 eyesight combined to fool my eye. It is so easy for me to get a piece turned with the wrong side up. As careful as I thought I was being, this piece had to be removed and re-sewn because the right side faced the back of the block. aaaargh! Here is the culprit here. I'm just grateful it was only one piece. All fixed now.

The block reminded me of a colorful quilt I made some years back for our granddaughter Brooke. It, too, had floating stars. A very easy pattern and fun to make. The fabrics and pattern were in a kit... just had to cut and sew.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shhh, Don't Wake the Baby...

We took a quick trip this week from Florida to South Carolina to visit this little guy. He's just 7 days old in this photo, and we are part-owners. His mother Peaches was Jack's red roan Quarter Horse show mare for a number of years. When it was time for her to retire, he sent her to the farm of some friends in SC. They love having her, and enjoy riding her around their farm. Together we decided to have Peaches bred and to share ownership of her foal. In a year, he'll probably move down here to our place for whatever comes next in his horsey life. We're all still working on a name for him. His sire's name is No Doubt I'm Lazy. So something with "No Doubt I'm ..." Any ideas? But meantime, he's healthy, full of himself, and as cute as can be!

You can see that he's curious and independent. He was supposed to follow his mama into the barn, but took a little detour. She was just inside the barn door nickering to him. Soon he'll be led by his halter and a butt rope before he becomes too independent. A fun visit, even though I didn't get to visit the local quilt shop!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Now See Here...

Can't you almost hear this sassy little girl saying something like "now see here?" She's got 'tude for sure. There is something so appealing about vintage images of women, and even little girls, in hats! I just love them. So for my friend Joanne's birthday, I made the greeting card with this little one stamping her foot. She's just so cute and funny. I thought I was drawn to the image because she "was" Joanne, who always had an affinity for hats when growing up. But no... it turns out that Joanne says she's me. To a "T". Oh my goodness! Really? Who knew?? Amazing how others know us better than we know ourselves, isn't it.

I forgot to take a photo of the card before sending.. but Joanne obliged with the scan. I wanted to show it here, and to mention all the new things I used and learned while making it. It's got tissue tape, eyelets, lace, and white gel pen. The image is a free one from The Graphics Fairy. It was fun to make, and I especially like working with the vintage images and sewing trims.

Anyhow, making cards and stitching paper remains a big fascination of late. Our small crafting and sewing group recently held a cardmaking session. Here are some more of the goods... Quilting friend Prue made most of these. She's very talented with fabric and paper.. a real knack. She even lines the envelopes, which is a lovely touch. The yellow one above is my favorite.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Last, But Not Least- Little Book...

Well, it's June and the deadline for the Little Book Swap is fast approaching. So I'll mail mine off this week. Here is the last of the three. This "Pieced Paper Friendship Book" measures about 3" square, and it is filled with painted and stamped pages. It's pamphlet-stitch bound with floss, and has beads and charms added to the thread. These were such fun to make. You can see other swap books at Lenna Andrews' Creative Swaps site.

And speaking of books, I found a lovely keepsake one full of nostalgic illustrations at a book sale recently. We were riding our bikes around the charming village of Melrose, FL, when we saw a sign for the sale at the library. This hardback copy of "Heirlooms from Loving Hands" by Sandy Lynam Clough (Harvest House Publishers, 1998) was only $1. I couldn't resist for that price.