Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks…



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Remembering family members creatively is one way I’m giving thanks this year. Thanks for the legacy and love of generations now gone, and thanks for creative gifts which bring me so much pleasure. This vintage photo from the 1940s is of my mother-in-law Ida Santelli Roberts and her siblings. I’ve always liked the carefree, summertime feel of this photo so I chose it as the centerpiece of a Crazy Quilt display piece. I transferred the picture to muslin, using a scanner and inkjet printer. And then the fun began, pulling together the bits and pieces of fabric, lace, and trims to frame the photo.


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In this close-up photo you can see the array of fabric from silky decorator fabrics to cottons, and the assortment of embroidery stitches I worked to add contrast and interest. I find embroidery so relaxing, plus it’s portable so this project traveled with me. I have a couple of useful resources on embroidery stitches that provide plenty of ideas for the stitched accents. One is "Crazy Quilt Stitches" by Dorothy Bond, and the other is "Pocket Guide-Crazy Quilt Stitches" from Leisure Arts. Both are well illustrated and easy to carry along, too.

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I also added buttons which took longer than I expected. Not to sew them on, but to find just the right ones. With all the buttons in the jar and other containers, it took some time to sift through and find ones that were properly proportioned, flat-backed, in the right color range… well, you get the idea! I also found a skein of metallic embroidery floss that was soft and easy to work with. I like the look of metallic thread, but it can often tangle, break, and fray so that I avoid using it.


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Since I had the floss and needles out, I thought why not try making one of Teesha Moore’s “little pillow” fabric journals. They are so novel and free-form. Teesha has a series of tutorial videos on You Tube and shows a lot of examples of her method. She puts two fabrics wrong sides together, stitches around three sides, and then fills each “pillow” with some fiber fill. Then she stitches the last side closed and whip-stitches the edges, bringing the fabric from the back to the front to add contrast. Adding some embroidery and embellishments gives the pillows even more texture. Then they are whip-stitched together to form book covers, tote bags, or other projects of any size. Always in a hurry, I changed the sewing method by starting with two rectangles of fabric (mine are about the size of an index card) and one rectangle of fusible batting cut 1/2” smaller. I fused the three layers and then did the edge stitching. This is another portable project and it’s such fun to combine small bits of fabric in such a colorful way. I’ll keep you posted on this one. One problem I note- it’s hard to call each unit “done”. There are so many ways to add just a bit more. I have to call a halt and move on if I ever want to finish. And I do… there are plenty of projects in the works and I’m hoping their “done someday” day is coming!

And while I’m giving thanks, I’ll also say thanks to you for reading and following this blog. Your comments always mean a lot to me, and I appreciate your kindness and encouragement.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Back in Action…


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This could easily be my perplexed look as I stare at the new computer screen while trying to rebuild all the photos and documents lost when my old one picked up the crypto virus a couple of weeks back. Fortunately I had quite a few things backed up on a passport device, but just trying to adjust to the new programs while finding the old stuff has been a nearly full-time job. Anyway, I have been doing a little- very little- in the sewing room. One thing I’m enjoying is the online course Radiant Faces. This project is the girlie-girl made in Christy Tomlinson’s class. It has tons of texture and many layers of paint, paper, stamps. I made mine on canvas paper so that I can stitch the edges and then include it in a fabric book eventually. It was very relaxing to work on, and I needed relaxing after the computer fail.


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Another lesson in the class is taught by Tamara LaPorte. She showed how to make an “inner child” face. So this is my attempt. Tamara also uses a mixed media textured background. You can see my inner child is a little blue-eyed Catholic girl who loved cats and books- especially Nancy Drew mysteries. I read them all. I'm enjoying the different styles of each instructor.


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And lastly, I’ve been making a pillowcase dress for Little Dresses for Africa. Nancy’s Notions has a free pattern for making the dresses which you can see in the photo along with a corner of the dress. The rose trim is a luscious piece I bought at our guild’s recent quilt show. I don’t know where that’s going to be used, but just getting it out and gazing at it fondly will work until I find a project. Thought you might like to see it, too. It is soft, and just beautiful! So I’ve been out of the loop of late, but trying to creep my way back. I have been able to visit blogs and read e-mail, just not post or send. But now- back in business!