Monday, May 30, 2016

Pretty Things...

An old Reader's Digest book became an altered journal on my recent quilting retreat last month. Following instructions in a DVD by Nellie Wortman, I combined lace, fabric, paper, beads, inks and more to make this shabby-chic project. As Nellie notes in her class, the book makes viewers want to open it and investigate all that lovely goodness peaking out of the sides and bottom. The cover itself is layered with corrugated cardboard, packing papers, and a transparency stitched to frayed muslin and trimmed with lace and flowers.

Even the spine became decorative with gathered fabric and pearls. And the fancy glass beads accent the binding thread. Almost anything goes in making these books, and it's very freeing and fun to think of ways to combine materials in a pleasing way.

I love vintage images of ladies in hats. This one is printed on cotton and covered with sheer curtain fabric. My version of the project is a faith journal, and I had a book of quotes to add to the pages. This one says, "Be strong and let our hearts take courage, all you who hope in the Lord." - Psalm 31: 24.

Each of the pages is made from watercolor paper and distressed with ink, applied tissue and other papers, and pen. This quote says, "Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!" - Psalm 90: 12

 An old brooch centered on a folded flower made from muslin strips accents these pages. I also got some practice free-motion writing, using the machine needle as a pen. Another vintage photo of a woman in a wonderful hat. And a quote from Elizabeth Ann Seton- "I Will Sustain You".

Ruth Rae wrote an article in Somerset Sew, Winter 2011, in which she outlined ways to make "Scrap Cards" using bits and pieces of materials. I employed her idea to make small fabric vignettes which I then glued to several of the pages. These were a lot of creative fun, and once started, the ideas just flowed for combining things like clothing labels, cheesecloth, and machine and hand stitches.

For this image, I stitched a transparency of palm trees to a rectangle of fabric paper that is just full of texture.

And this is another Ruth Rae-inspired scrap card. Laces, ribbon, and words all stitched to a background of sheet music and then glued to the journal page.

 At last- a home for this hand stitched heart. I picked it up off the freebie table at our guild many years ago. I'd come across it every now and again and ask myself, "What am I ever going to do with this?" I came close to purging it from the stash, but I'm so glad I just couldn't do it. It's just right in this book.  One other quote I added to the book has a great reminder- it says, "The future lies before you like a field of driven snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show." I'm sure there will be another of these books in my project plans. It was so satisfying to make, and it makes me want to pick it up and investigate it almost daily!

Speaking of pretty things, Jack and I came across this lovely shop while bike riding in Cedar Key, Florida last week. It's called Island Thyme Antiques. Doesn't Leslie the proprietor have a creative flair for display? Her shop carries all sorts of coastal gifts, antiques, and jewelry.

And there are nautical-themed prints galore. Worth a visit!

Friday, May 20, 2016

It's Twins!

My goodness, I'm not sure what happened, but I've not posted on the blog in more than a month! It's not because I'm not sewing or crafting though. Just life happening day by day I guess. Anyway, these two quilts got their start in an "orphan block" exchange at our Country Roads Quilters group. Members brought in blocks and projects they'd started but had no desire to complete. The projects were heaped on tables and we were allowed to "shop" in order to choose one or more projects we wanted to complete. The blocks for this Drunkard's Path quilt caught my eye right away, so I adopted them. Some blocks were pieced already, while the parts to sew others were in the bag. I just had to finish some blocks, and then assemble the quilt. The interesting part of the story is that these blocks were pieced by The Old Sewing Machine Man, Johnny Johnston. His wife Debra brought them to the swap. But there's more to the story.

About three years ago, the guild held the same swap activity and I got these Drunkard's Path blocks as well. These were pieced by Debra herself and given up for the orphan block swap. Again, I just had to piece some more blocks and then assemble them into the quilt. This quilt was underway when I spotted her husband's blocks and felt the draw to complete them both. I began to refer to these two quilts as "The Johnston Family Twins." Once I finished the tops, both went back to Debra for long-arm quilting. Then back to me for binding. We had the big reveal at a recent meeting, so both Debra and I presented these quilts. They will be donation quilts, but I'd kind of like to keep them together if possible, so we're not yet sure where they will go. But it was fun to complete the two projects that were started by a married couple.

Here's a close-up of the swirl pattern Debra chose to complement both quilts. And below is a photo of the backs where I pieced in the extra blocks from each project. Isn't that little pin doll cute? I bought her years ago at a quilt show and she goes on every quilt retreat and works hard to help out around the sewing room. She'll photo-bomb pictures every now and then, so you'll see her pretty face again.

One thing I did that kept me away from the blog was to take a trip for several days to Amelia Island, Florida, for a quilt retreat. A quilting friend from Pennsylvania joined me and we both enjoyed discovering this fascinating community. There is a wonderful art gallery with a large display inside, and even a decorative outside. The free-form mosaic designs cover the building and walls. I'll show photos of the projects we worked on in another post. The weather was lovely, and we thoroughly enjoyed the beach, the retreat, and the town. We also went on a river cruise that took us to Cumberland Island where we could see some of the wild horses that inhabit the island. It's worth a visit if you get to Florida! I'm thinking a return retreat is in order.