Monday, September 17, 2012

The Humble Squash Book...

This is a squash book. I discovered squash books by happy accident while searching out tutorials and videos about hand-made books. I found plenty on the subject, but try the one by Dawn of Stampin' Up on YouTube. It's very clear and easy to follow if you'd like to try making one of these yourself. Essentially, making a squash book involves using cardstock, a little double-stick tape, and a variation of the accordian fold. While they may look complex, they're really easy to make. Squash books make good photo albums, but I decided to make mine a sampler containing various painted and mixed media papers I made.

For the front and back covers I used sections of hand-painted and embroidered fabric created in an online workshop with Susan Sorrell. We used the art of Joan Miro to inspire our embroidery creations. I enjoyed the class, and decided preserving the class project in this book would be a fun way to display it.

Another online class I took at Joggles  had as its topic the many ways to create paper backgrounds for journaling and mixed media projects. We painted, and sprayed, and spritzed, and marbled, and stamped our way through a pile of cardstock to come up with a delightful assortment of papers. Some of them are showcased here in the squash book. I even tried my hand at a Zentangle-style heart and glued it in as well. There are pieces of fabric paper on display, too. 

The thing I noticed about squash books is the incredible amount of room there is inside. After all, it's just three squares of cardstock. But even though assembling the book base itself was quick and easy, it took me awhile to fill it up with samples.

This is how the squash book looks while it's being folded or unfolded. It's a little hard to capture or to explain how easily it pops out, and back into, the small 4 1/2" square format. The photos below show the opposite side of the book, so you can see how many display areas there are in that small space. Some of the papers included in my squash book are ones I received in swaps with others who have been bitten by the same paper-arts bug as I have. Good news... there are other styles of these fun little books, too. I spotted one in a Pyramid style, and a round one. I'm pretty sure I feel some Christmas Squash Books coming on!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Twitter Account...

This handsome Cardinal (about 10" x 12") resulted from a bit of collage play with fabric scraps. It's a compilation of methods and ideas from two different magazine articles. I've enjoyed learning about Zentangle-style projects using pen and paper, but this Zen-doodle project went in a thread and fabric direction instead. The idea initially came from Regina Dunn's article in the June/July 2012 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. While it's in the magazine, you can get some of her instructions as an online "freebie" if you are a member of Quilting Daily (easy to join, full of good content, and free).

Rita's article includes several methods for making these zendoodle quilts, including one that uses the decorative stitches on the sewing machine. I found those blank white areas in the background a bit daunting to fill at first. But ultimately I got into the swing of things. 

The Cardinal design came from Vivika Hansen DeNegre's article in Quilting Arts Gifts, Holiday 2009/2010 issue. Vivika is the editor at Quiltng Arts, so she blogs on that site. But the article references her earlier blog where you can see some of her work. I really enjoy both the collage and stitch-doodle techniques. The randomness of creating a project, and surprise of the finished piece is very satisfying. As so many often say, "quilting is cheaper than therapy." There certainly is something rewarding and therapeutic about spending time in the sewing room, surrounded by fabrics just waiting to find a home in a project. And the hum of a sewing machine at work... I just find it so soothing! More of these to come I'm sure.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I've had quite a streak of good luck these past couple of weeks. First of all, Susan of Studio Adventures blog notified me that I'd won the drawing for this cute drawstring bag on her blog. Not only that, but Susan has a great tutorial on her blog for making your own (or my own) version. The bag has a handy interior pocket, is just a nice size, and the string is made from tee-shirt material, so it's soft and flexible. I love the fabrics and small pieced blocks Susan used in this bag. I'm going to have to try making at least one of these.

Then, on Insights from Sew Cal Gal blog, I won this book from Cheryl Lynch and That Patchwork Place. I follow Cheryl's blog... she has some great adventures. And now I can try out some of her delightful small projects. She combines sewing with stitch and embellishments in so many fun ways. I've picked out my first project, and it will be coming soon!

Cheryl even put in the makings for one of her

cute pins.

This device is not a prize from a drawing, but it was a gift. Quilting friend MaryEtta found it in an antique and gift shop in North Carolina. It's a batik printing block. Of course I had to give it a try, but using paints print as opposed to wax for a resist.  You can see the back of the stamp below. Really interesting patterns, and it prompted a bit of guessing to come up with an idea about what is is.


So I've received some really nice gifts of late. I'm enjoying every one of them.