Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hangin' Out in the Paper Aisle...

The paper aisle at craft stores is a little dangerous for me. That's because I break my own rule when I go there. Many years ago, when I first began quilting, I was also doing other crafts such as cross-stitch, embroidery, even the infamous macrame. Lack of storage space at that time caused me to say to myself, quite firmly, "You need to pick one." So I picked quilting and gathered all the necessary tools and supplies for it. Of course I snuck in a little embroidery here and there, what with making a redwork quilt or a crazy quilt project. But quilting it was for many years. However, more recently, I've gone off in a number of directions again... mixed media, journal making, dolls, card making and paper crafts along with quiltmaking. Consequently, more necessary "stuff" has followed me home and taken up residence in my sewing room.  And I've taken to visiting those formerly forbidden aisles... a heady experience I must say.

So when leafing through an old issue of Expressions magazine recently, I was quite smitten with this accordian folder made from an old file folder. My version of it was already underway when I noticed the article and instructions were written by Lenna of Creative Swaps,  the very swaps in which I've happily participated over the past year or so. The folder is decorated on the outside with scrapbook papers, wrapping papers, tissue tape, and a painted collage paper.


Inside there are five envelopes stamped, assembled together, and attached front and back. Eyelets and ribbon form a closure, and the whole thing is going into the car to hold those coupons for... what else... the craft store! The coupons are always kicking around in the car somewhere, so this will keep them a bit more orderly to say nothing of cleaner. I don't know how the clerks feel about a tattered coupon with a footprint on it, but I'm a little embarassed to hand them one! The file was great fun to make, and I envision one done in Christmas papers for the upcoming holidays.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Prayer Flags... Somebody Stop Me!

The deadline approaches for the Creative Swaps exchange of prayer flags. Only three are needed for the swap, but I've become enamored of these little treasures, and can't seem to stop making them. As so often happens, I'm percolating ideas for the next one while I'm still working on the one in front of me! One reason I like the flags is because they cause me reflect on prayerful thoughts and positive ideas. My earliest flags were about peace and friendship. That led to my thinking about security and safety, so that now I'm making sanctuary-themed flags. I envision these flags fluttering near the homes of those who will recieve them, and home is sanctuary to me. This one has pieces of home decorator fabric samples, acrylic paint stamped letters, and bits of trim.

And this one is made using short lengths of ribbon woven to make the base, It's topped with sparkly sheer, lace, buttons, and stamped images. What's more joyful than birdsong? The ends of the ribbon are loose, and the sheer is cut in loose strips so that there will be lots of movement when the breezes blow. And given the current hurrican track forecast, the breezes will blow indeed in Florida. Do hope the storm will diminish or alter its path for the least impact!

These are the two flags I showed in an earlier post, but with a shabby yo-yo flower added and a little back interest completed with free-motion stitching. The Sanctuary flag also has some back interest, shown below.

Do you remember the recent erosion projects in which mixed-media artists left bundles containing assorted fabric, paper and metal out in the elements to decay? After some time passed, the bundles were unwrapped and the pieces incorporated in journals, quilts or other creations. I have a poetic picture of these little flags out there eroding, too. They'll brave the elements in someones yard, and bring a smile to whoever sees them while the flags get more tattered with each passing day. Until someday... poof... they'll turn into lint. But the beautiful thoughts will linger on!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

With a Little Bit of Felt...

This bright little flower is the pincushion project our small Wednesday sewing and crafting group worked on this week. The sample above was made by Ida, a new member. Everyone admired it, and she was willing to help us make our own version. She brought lots of felt and floss, and we made up kits ahead of the sewing day. 

Making one involves simple sewing with a blanket or buttonhole stitch, but Ida shared a few tips such as stitching 3/4 of a leaf or petal, adding the stuffing, and then completing the stitching. Otherwise that little opening is a challenge to stuff the fiberfill through. Some of us learned this the hard way, but eventually we got the hang of it. Mine is nearly complete, but because of poor planning I had to add an extra flower petal to cover the base. oops. I also want to add some beads.

Another of our group members, Barbara, is really a whiz at making tiny felt ornaments. She brought these to show what else we can do with just a little felt, floss, and imagination.

No matter the season, Barbara has little ornaments to go with!

Just look at the meticulous beading and detail on this one. Barbara handles metallic thread like a pro.

Barbara keeps a grapevine tree (handmade) on her porch and decorates it according to the season so there is always an interesting display of needlework on view. I love small projects like these... so satisfying and somewhat quick to make, depending on those little details. I notice Barbara takes her time, often using just a single strand of floss and adding the tiniest of beads for accents. Lovely!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What a Little Character!

Do you recognize this little girl? She is one of my favorite characters of all time. It's Dolly Dingle. Isn't she cute? I had paper dolls of her and her friends as a child way back when (um... not the '30s though... just sayin'), and always found her cherubic face appealing. Dolly Dingle was designed by illustrator Grace Drayton, who also designed the Campbell Soup Kids... you can see the resemblance. Dolly and friends appeared in women's publications in the 1930s and had worldwide adventures, so the images of them included costumes from the many nations they "visited". Her paper dolls were popular through the '30s, and reappeared to become popular again in the 1950s. When I saw a Dolly Dingle fabric panel on eBay recently, I snapped it up. The panel has four dolls to stitch and stuff, along with some tiny pets.

When I worked at the Quilting Today and Traditional Quiltworks magazines, we did an article on Dolly Dingle and on redwork, and included some Dolly Dingle embroidery square patterns. I made one, but no longer have it as it's in a Christmas quilt I gave away. But I did find my block patterns, so I may need to embroider another block or two of these cuties. I don't know just what I'll do with these dolls or the embroidered blocks, but that never stopped me before. As far as I'm concerned, some things I feel drawn to sew are just there for me to admire. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm sort-of fond of Sunbonnet Sue, but I just love Dolly Dingle.

And speaking of characters, I say welcome back to the Dallas characters Bobby and JR Ewing, and family. We have been enjoying the newly made episodes of Dallas this summer. Have you watched them?We find the series well-cast and well-written (if you like a good soap opera drama like Dallas... which of course we did back in the day of the first series, and we still do now that it's updated). In the next-to-the-last episode, just when several crises were buidling for all the bad actors (and there are many), some brilliant writer or creator incorporated Johnny Cash's foreboding song, "When the Man Comes Around." It was powerfully used, and just about made the hairs on your arms stand on end... which is a line in the song, too. Behind-the-scenes writers don't get much credit, but we thought this moment was genius... tension, dread, drama. Fun entertainment. But back to sewing. Here are some more of the Dolly Dingle stitch-and-sews for your entertainment. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Great Visit in Maine...

This plump gull monitored every bite of my lobster roll at Cape Porpoise, Maine. The waitress told us to watch out for him as people had been hand-feeding him this summer and he could be a nuisance. He was quite polite though, and did not bother us. He looks well fed, yes?

 Overall the weather was wonderful for our week in the Goose Rocks Beach/Kennebunkport area. This view is of boats in Perkins Cove, and seen through the lovely flower gardens there

The one rainy day of the week was Sunday, and that worked out fine because it's the day we attended the Pine Tree Quilters Guild show in Augusta. These two quilts were among my favorites. Holly Dominie of Readfield made these fabric collage quilts "Queen of MyHeart" of her daughter , and "Irrepressible" of her son. The detail is impressive.

The Civic Center was an excellent venue for the annual show with wide aisles for viewing the quilts, special exhibits, and plenty of vendors, too. I got these marbled pieces from Paula Lavender's booth.

Got lobstah? Of course! And it was delicious.