Saturday, January 23, 2016

Does it Spark Joy?

That's the key question posed by author Marie Kondo in her best-selling book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Perhaps there's no group more aware of the need for tidying up than quilters and crafters! And the supplies found in a sewing room surely spark joy. But there were 44 people ahead of me on the waiting list to borrow this book from the library, so it looks as if tidy is something lots of us aspire to. Anyhow, the answer to sparking joy is yes when it comes to small journal quilts. I love taking bits and pieces of fabrics and trims and combining them to create whatever comes out of my imagination at the moment. So with the inspiration challenge of "orange" put out by the Fiber Arts Bee I belong to, this little doodle-style flower is the result. One thing I like about journal quilts is the opportunity to try out new methods on a small scale. I tried a beaded edge on this one. I'm unlikely to bead the edge of a large quilt, but this was a small enough investment of time to make me willing to give it a try.

I've been following some of the ideas in the tidying up book when it comes to discarding unnecessary items that just take up space. Case in point is this giant binder containing notes, handouts, and samples from the instructional workshop for my once-new machine. But why, oh why, would I still need this? If I haven't figured out how to use the machine by now, I'm in trouble. The author suggests that it's quite easy to look up online how to use or care for pretty much any item. And really, when I consider the last time I looked at this... why, I can't recall when that was. So out it went. However....

Inside that giant binder were a few pretty fiber tidbits that I just couldn't part with yet. So I added some more tidbits I'm fond of, and made another small journal quilt. It commemorates the machine with samples of stitches, and gave me a chance to try out some heavy-weight thread. This is waaaay smaller to store than the binder, and sparks more joy, too!

Even the back of the quilt is a scrap of some decorator fabric I picked up on the freebie table at guild. And speaking of tidbits, I found a repurposing store that had some of the glittery bits shown above for just pennies. The good news is that, after some tidying up, I donated more items than I purchased! So I'm making progress, especially in the sewing room. There's a lot of good advice in that book.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

How to Deal with a Layer Cake...

Not the edible kind- I know what to do with those munch, munch). This layer cake is the kind that is made from 10" fabric squares in assorted prints from the same fabric line. The set I bought had these assorted blues, and I'm unable to recall the name of the fabric line. But the quilt pattern is one by CrazyOldLadies quilts titled "Liliana". I've named my version "Blue Hibiscus." The rick rack isn't really as wobbly as it looks in the photo, and the quilt also lies a little flatter than it appears. Someday my picture taking skills will improve, but meantime here we are. *sigh*

The pattern calls for a stack-slash-shuffle approach with the 10" squares, rejoining them into an overall random scrappy design. It was quite easy as there are few seams to align. Figuring out the best way to attach the rick rack was the challenge. I finally settled on free-motion stitching, following the zigs and zags. The fabrics produce a bit of a tropical feel I think.

I wish you could see "my" ring up close- it's a Superbowl ring (size- extra large)! It's just stunning. Husband Jack and I attended an open house at a horse facility nearby over the weekend, and happened to meet Fred Stokes, retired NFL player for the Washington Redskins. "Big Play Stokes" was part of the 1992 Superbowl XXVI team. He and his family now live near Orlando where he runs a food enterprise and travels as a motivational speaker. Fred's mission (as stated on his website and autobiography) is to "positively enhance the life of every person who comes across his path" with his "down to earth personality and his uncanny ability to connect with people". He fulfills it, and we really enjoyed meeting him and his wife Regina. To think we went to see the horses, and wound up sporting that ring. By the way, Fred notes there is a time limit measured in seconds for how long people get to wear the ring!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ahead of the Game...

Happy New Year! Wanting to continue to explore new avenues of art, I signed up for Lenna's Creative Swap for 2016. This swap is closed now, but you can see the details there along with links for her many previous swaps. This is the first swap Lenna has conducted after a break, and she chose collage as our focus. Thirty of so of us will make three 5" collages on watercolor paper Lenna sent us, and using bits she included combined with our own supplies. They aren't due till the end of January, but look- I completed mine already! It was such an absorbing endeavor that I just kept pawing though all the paper and ephemera, grouping the pieces and letting ideas "percolate". I challenged myself to use only black and white for one of the small collages, and this is the result. It includes the out-of-control, swirling playing cards image plus security envelope, lace, fabric elements, shell, and of course the quote about our "plans," which can also swirl out of control at times!

Next, these "old world" images kind of came together. I love the vintage look. I also tried to incorporate some texture and dimension in each collage by using fabric, flowers, or beads. Doing these became an exercise in building collage confidence. I'm not experienced at it, so it's a good stretch.

Between fabric scraps and bits of paper I just can't toss, my sewing room gets wild and wooly at times. It's a lot like those swirling playing cards above. Maybe that's why I was drawn to that image. The Williston Peanuts is from their business card and I've held onto it for awhile just because I like the font, the color, the graphic. Apparently it was just waiting to be combined with images and papers to create this piece.

I was having so much fun (and had so many bits and pieces strewn around) that I decided to make a fourth collage for Lenna as hostess of the swap. I learned a bit about adhesives in making these. Attaching the citrus mesh over top of this collage took some ingenuity, but it's pretty secure. Glossy accents, Uhu Gluestick, and my small Xyron that turns paper into stickers all came in handy! I'll mail these off in the coming week and look forward to seeing what others have come up with.