Thursday, July 26, 2012

Prayer Flag Practice...

Making these little textile banners certainly has become popular. And it's no wonder... they're just the right size for exploring some fabric and technique fun while expressing a positive thought. Right at the same time as my quilting friend Joanne shared an article with me on making prayer flags (if you believe in coincidence), Lenna at Creative Swaps opened her latest trade with... what else?.. prayer flags. So of course I signed up. Swap participants will be making three 5" x 8" prayer flags using their choice of supplies, materials, and sentiments. My first effort is the one above. It's made using a base of hand-dyed fabric given to me by Robbie of Robbie's Paw Prints. I did some reverse applique, to which I added embroidery and paint. The message, "friendship and peace, may they bloom and grow" is from a song of blessing we sing during Kairos Prison Ministry weekends. And just to give the banner some flutter-in-the-breeze elements, I also added fabric beads made in a previous Creative Swap. I think this will look bright and lively in someone's garden or on their porch.

This is my second effort, and it includes a stamped message from Scripture, "peace, peace, far and near". I made it using insertion strips of fabric, and couched twine and yarn. The backing is a piece from a fabric sample book. And the garden print is just a scrap I love. Another handmade bead tops the flag. It feels very creative to pore through my fabrics and supplies and come up with ideas for these flags. I have one more to make for the swap, but I'll likely made several and then choose which ones to send.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Goin' to the Chapel...


..and we're gonna' get married. Remember that song? It runs through my head whenever I look at this quilt block. I like to make blocks that become part of a larger quilt project, especially if it's for a worthy cause. Kind of like having a finger in many pies... I'm a small part of many quilts. Several years ago, Kim Bunchuck at the Sunbonnet Sue website offered the chance to make Sue blocks to be used in fundraiser quilts to fight breast cancer. Kim would provide a kit of fabrics and trims recycled from bridal gowns, and the theme was Sunbonnet Sue, the wedding. The dresses were donated by an organization called Brides Against Breast Cancer. I kind of like Sunbonnet Sue, but am unlikely to make an entire quilt using the pattern. So being part of a charitable effort along with the challenge of using the special trims and fabrics, making a block sounded like just the ticket. The block shown here was my small part. Fun to make, and for a good cause.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Creative Cards, and Beautiful Nature!

Here are a few of the cards with original designs made by the women in the prison crafting program. They're ready to send as donations to Operation Write Home, the organization that supplies free handmade greeting cards to deployed members of the military. Although they have limited materials, I'm impressed with how creative the ladies can get. I call one of them "Confetti Queen" as she laboriously cuts and applies the tiny bits to many of her card creations.

And I wanted to share the beautiful sight that greeted me this morning on my way to walk the dog. The air was cool and fresh, you can see Lindy the horse in her paddock, and in the foreground under the tree was an amazing spider web. It went from the lower branches to the ground. And the tree was festooned with other webs. You can see more on the tall grass in the paddock since the light dew made them show up and glisten. 

This is a close-up. Impressive and intricate! It's just the size I'm sure to tangle with on some unsuspecting walk, and wonder what the thin and invisible substance is that damply clings to my arms.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Tiniest of Scraps...

Putting paper scraps together to make greeting cards is about as much fun as doing the same with fabric scraps for quilts. The downside is even more tiny scraps to manage and store. I made these two cards as samples for the crafting program I volunteer for at a women's prison. Both are simple designs because we have limited cutting tools and supplies for making the cards. But that hasn't stopped us.

The design for this card came from the Operation Write Home website. They provide dozens of sketches for card layouts. This organization is the destination for the cards we're making. So we've made both pattern and freestyle designs, and we're close to mailing out our first selection of cards. There's lots of satisfaction in cardmaking. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blast from the Past Quilts...


I've been cleaning out closets in the sewing room, trying to impose order on the chaos (a nearly futile effort I'm afraid). But I do feel the need to do that every now and then. But I didn't stop at just the closets. I also began sorting through the photo files on the computer, deleting and organizing as I went. And look what I discovered. This quilt is one I made and hand quilted as a gift for our horse trainer's first child. That was seven years ago. It was made from a pattern in "Calico Cowboys" by Karla Menaugh and Barbara Brackman. I may have to make another of these.. I'd forgotten how much I liked it. Glad I found this photo!


This quilt began as a donation for someone in the military. Somehow I got the idea of making a "texture quilt". And somehow I knew I was making it for a service person with sight impairment injuries. The design is very simple, but it feels lovely as you run your hands across the surface. There's soft, napped Minky in one block, zippers that open in another, Prairie Points that lift, pintucking, silky ribbon, bottons, lace, rick-rack, embroidery, and more. It really is one of those quilts that just invented itself. And once it was nearing completion, I heard from a nurse friend that she knew of someone who could be the recipient. I sent it off to her quickly, and later heard back from her and the hospital chaplain that the quilt was very well received. It's good to keep photo records of quilts... both of these had slipped into the recesses of history until I started reviewing and cleaning up photo files. There is plenty more to do, so I may find some other treasures to share!