Friday, October 31, 2008


celebratebanner Yipee!  Wahoo!  Yoweee!  Other words to that effect!noisemaker

Today is the first anniversary of my blog.  This is also my 100th post!  Isn't this the most exciting thing that has ever happened?  Well, if it is - you need to get a life!  Sorry, but while this may be a big day for me - the rest of the world probably hasn't given it much thought.  One blog among millions.  BUT - I have readers!  More than two, in fact!  How cool is that?

So, we ought to pause - briefly - and reflect on what it means to have a blog that has survived a whole year.   One thing that it says is that I'm pretty stubborn!  I think I have things to say and pictures to share - and by golly, someone is going to see them!partycat

But it says even more.  I have actually found enjoyment in showing  off my work and throwing some random words out into the world to see what happens.  It really is an adventure.  And guess what?  Somebody answers!!

Oh my!  People are coming to see what I've done - and coming back for more.  That feels very nice.  I am making virtual friends and expanding my creativity.  You, dear readers, have been most supportive and have helped me step into the unknown.  I try to return the favor by following up on comments - or visiting your blogs and commenting.  It doesn't always work out even (I personally think I am getting the better part of the deal!) but I plan to continue working on that. 

celebratenowSo here we are!   The day I've been looking forward to!  It's been quite a week - coming up with something to post about daily.  And reading all your wonderful comments!  A special thanks to Paula and Judy, who knew I could do it and egged me on!

This is the Last Chance to sign up for the giveaway!  Just for my wonderful readers.  I will close the polls - so to speak - this evening - and tomorrow I will draw the lucky winner.  Stay tuned to this channel!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Parchment Paper, Where Art Thou?

I have a nice bundle of parchment paper.  And I use it - I really do!  Except . . . er, when I don't, that is.

PA270001 This, dear friends, is what my ironing board looks like these days.  Why?  Because I fused two pieces of paper together.  Just a quick job with the iron.  It won't take a minute.  Parchment paper?  Oh!  You mean that stuff that protects the iron and the board from fugitive dyes?  Yeah, that's the stuff!  The stuff I didn't use!

Good things come from all mistakes if we look for them.

(1) I have more of that paper and it will make a cool print on plain fabric.

(2) A couple passes with the iron set the inks so it does NOT come off onto Sarge's shirts!  Phew!

Wow!  This is post number 99.  So, I will take a day off so that post number 100 will be on Friday October 31, one year's worth of blogging.  I've done it!  Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway here

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Making of A Postcard

I have been working on postcards lately and I thought I would give you a blow-by-blow account of how it's done.  Mind you, I am not saying this is the RIGHT way to do it.  It is just how I do it - most of the time - and so far it has been working.

P9020007I usually start out with some scraps.  This is a bag that I keep next to my work table and as I work, scraps too big to throw away go here.  OK, make that ALL the scraps!  The idea is that when this bag is full I will make postcards.  Heh, heh.  Just don't ask how many bags I have like this!

Back to postcards.  I like to use muslin as a background (cuz I've got lots!) and cut a P9050008piece large enough for several postcards.  This piece is about 8" x 18", but 12" x 12" works nicely as well.  I lay the muslin on a piece of Timtex or Pelmet or Vilene.  Some type of heavy duty stabilizer - whatever you usually work with.

P9050009The next step is to gather up a collection of fiber scraps and threads,  ribbon, trim, and such.  Pull together a color scheme that you like, or pick something to fit a theme.  On this project my theme was Autumn.P9050010

Now, cut snippets, arrange scraps, layer threads, and generally  play with your collection.   You want to completely cover the muslin.  You are making a fabric collage and it can be as wild and crazy or as sedate as you like.  Don't obsess about making a "picture" as such.  There will be more to come.  When you are pleased with the layout, cover the whole piece with a layer of netting or chiffon.  I used a pale cream color here, but another color would make subtle changes in the over all piece.  Pin things in place, especially around the edges to keep shifting minimal.  Again, don't obsess - a little movement is going to occur and that is part of the fun!

P9050012 Carefully carry this piece to your sewing machine.  Set up for free motion embroidery and go to it!  As a precaution, I like to do a basting stitch all around the edges, but then it is all as the whim takes me.  I usually do multiple rounds with different threads and different stitch patterns.  This is where I have the most fun!

P9050013Once I have worn myself out with stitching, I cut the piece into 4" x 6" postcards.  The smaller pieces now look quite a bit different, don't they?  Now you can study each postcard and decide which way is up, what does it need for embellishments, etc.

Sometimes, I will leave a postcard at this level.  P9090002But not very  often!  For half of these, I put fusible web on a cat fabric and then carefully trimmed out three of the kitties.  A piece of tatting just begged to be included on one of them.  There are small fish bone buttons that I also added.  One of the fabrics has "Meow" printed on it and I also used my sewing machine's alphabet function to stitch the word here and there.

P9090001 We are almost done!  But the cards need a backing.  I have made myself a master sheet with three postcards printed on it.  The postcard back says "Postcard" (Postal Service wants that) and my blog address down the center.  I put a sheet of printable fabric in the copier and run off just the number of backs I need at the moment.  The printable fabric is iron-on, so when I iron them onto the postcards, the heat also sets the ink.  If you print on an inkjet, it doesn't need to be heat set, but I also use a sheet of parchment to protect my iron plate.

The last step is to zigzag around the edge of each card  You can get  creative with thread here, too.  A variegated will give you stripes!  Be sure to stitch around at least twice so that the edge is nice and neat.  OR, you could use a single round of a wider zigzag - or buttonhole - or hand stitching.  Whatever sounds like fun at the time!

P9160005So there you have it.  As I said, this is just one way and I'm sure there are lots of methods for making fabric postcards.  I try to have fun with mine.  The real fun is to find someone to swap with!  And I hope the recipients enjoy the end product.

Gotta go now.  More postcards to make!

This is post number 98.  The excitement is building!  Don't forget to sign up for the celebration giveaway by going here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween is A-Comin'

Although I don't usually "celebrate" Halloween, I am fascinated by all the decorations and spooky things that crop up this time of year.  We don't need to get into why I don't join in - that would involve Deep Thinking! - but I will show you what I have done this year.

 witchypoo Last month I showed you the witches my doll club created from water bottles.  My little Witchy Poo has been finished up and embellished.  She actually looks fairly benevolent.  Maybe not a Good Witch, but not totally Evil either.  Sort of a SoSo Witch?

PA150012 She also serves as my October challenge piece for Stitchin' Fingers Cloth Doll group.  Each month, one of the members posts a theme and we can create as simple or elaborate a doll as we like and share the pictures with the group.  Nothing complicated or stressful.  Just a good excuse to show what you have done and get some feedback.  Love the feedback!

Speaking of feedback.  Be sure to leave a comment here to be entered into my Blogiversary Giveaway.  This is post number 97!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


What do you do when the biggest dictionaries have not kept up with the language yet? 

I've been looking around for how to spell the term meaning "blog anniversary."  One can find it spelled all kinds of ways out on the 'net: 




So how's one to know which is correct?

Actually, just the word "Blog" can be hard to find in the dictionaries.  Cambridge and Oxford don't have it yet, although there is a reference (apparently) in the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang.  At least Miriam-Webster can tell you what a blog is, along with blogger and blogging!

But I did find somewhere that could answer my question.  The Urban Dictionary.  However, the site's Terms of Service include this quote:

The Company cannot control all Content posted by third parties to the Website, and does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content.

Hardly the same cachet as Oxford and Webster, is it?  But it's what we've got for now.  And the verdict is . . . blogiversary! For the record, Blogoversary is an on-line service to help you remember this important date.  I tell ya'.  These folks think of everything!

This is post number 96.  Gettin' there!  If you haven't signed up for my giveaway, go here to do so.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October TIF

Take It Further Challenge number ten!  This one is about where you create art.  Sharon's quote:

This month the challenge is to  think about your textile work space. How do you feel about this space? What role does it play in your life?

She suggested that we take this opportunity to share pictures of our workspace.  Since mine didn't look too messy that day, I took photos right away!  If you don't think this is very neat - you ought to see it on an average day! 

  PA040006 PA040007

This room has pretty much become the center of my life.  I spend a lot of time in here, plus there are things here to represent the important things in my life.  Reminders of my family and friends are all around me.  Especially Sarge.  He has worked wonders in a cement floored basement - added lots of light, hauled furniture up and down, built shelves and tables, stacked and re-stacked books, even painted some of the pipes magenta - a color he hates!  He knows how to make me happy!

And that is what this month's theme is about.  My workspace makes me happy!  On a "blue" day I can just sit in the middle of all my "Stuff" and feel better.  On a good day, there is music and off-key singing going on!  (Good times for Sarge to work outdoors!)  So I decided to make a piece that includes bits and pieces of Things I Love.

October TIFOne thing I really love is color!  All sorts of color!  I have a few favorites, but there really is not a single color that I don't like.  So, that meant they all have to be in this piece!  I started with rainbow solids and then selected additional fabrics that illustrate some of my favorite things - or, in some cases, a fabric that I just really like. 

I used scraps of the same fabrics, cut into "snippets", to create a collage for the center piece.  And lots of free motion stitching - using my Bernina Stitch Regulator, of course!  Once the blades and centerpiece were assembled, I used gold thread to do some machine embroidery. 

Then I hauled out my beads and charms and selected things that represent my favorite things.  Things like Music and Art and Cats and Dogs and Dolls. 

PA240012Things like Creating and Masquerades and Piggies!

PA240017  Things like my Sewing Machine and Chocolate and other Sweets!!

Oh, I really had fun with this one!  I just let my emotions take over.  If the Principles of Composition were living beings, they would all have headaches now! 

There you have it.  Don't forget to leave me a comment - and go here to enter the Blogiversay Giveaway!  This is post number 95 - counting down to 100!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blogiversary Coming Soon

I've been thinking about this one-year on the blogging whirligig thing. It seems that it is customary to celebrate the milestone - and the most common way to celebrate is by having a Giveaway!

Well, I may resist being conventional and all that. But I kind of like the idea of a Giveaway. So, how about if I plan to give away some goodies on October 31?

Hmmm. What could I give away? There are a few ideas floating around. I have some Dotee dolls and I have some postcards. And I have a few journals that are actually presentable. Yeah, that sounds good.

So, here is the deal:

Leave a comment on this post between now and October 31. I will choose one randomly and announce the winner November 1st.

And the winner will get their choice of one of the journals I've made.

all journalsThese are all journals - or notebooks, whatever - that I have made in the two classes taken from Sue Bleiweiss. I have found some styles more useful than others, but someone else may have a different idea and need a style that I haven't done much with. That is why I will let you choose. And just think! One day when I am rich and famous, you can say you have a Lizzie Original! (Er, that's a joke, people!)

Besides. I love comments. This is as good a way as any to beg people to leave me a comment, huh?

P.S. This is post number 94!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In This Week's Mail

I just love getting goodies in the mail, don't you?!

PA210011 From a postcard swap on Stitchin" Fingers.  The theme was Halloween and this is from Wilma in the Netherlands.  She said they don't celebrate Halloween over there, but she loves the colors and the spooky decorations.  And I love the postcard!  You should see the wonderful hand stitching in person!PA210008

And also in this week's mail . . .

PA210005  An ATC (Artist's Trading Card) and goodies from Dakota.  Some glass buttons, an amazing thread flower, and tatted butterflies on silk. 

PA210006What a wonderful week it's been.  Thank you so much, ladies!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goal Review #7

 j0379893 My goodness, this year is flying by!  Sometimes I wonder what I have to show for it.  But then, it comes time for a review and I can see that I've been keeping busy - and actually accomplishing some things!

Previously, I've plunged right into the goals themselves.  It has been a few months since I stated (or re-stated) the target statement.  As the year slides towards an end this might be a good time to look at that.

Target:  Develop my creativity and identify areas for further exploration.

So, how am I doing?

Goal 1: Use my "stash" and develop my creativity. P9160005

I'm feeling pretty good about this 0ne.  Sure, I'm still buying  fabric (!), but I'm using up quite a bit of stash.  And I am trying out different ideas.  My studio journal is almost filled up with inspirations, along with notes on how I could do some of these things myself.  I've been doing some simple quilt designs using Quilt Wizard which is kind of a baby Electric Quilt.  You'll be seeing some of that before long.

previewGoal 2: Take It Further challenge.

Still struggling with the timelines, but managing to keep up most of the time.  I seem to have more trouble finding time to do hand work, so those pieces that call for embroidery are always late!  I'm working on it!  October's is coming along nicely so far.

Goal 3: Make Dolls.fall dolls

Alright!  I have some really cool ideas for dolls that are clamoring  to be let out of my brain.  The ideas were a bit slow coming for awhile there.  You have seen 51yiIm-jQiL__SS500_the Bob Hope and Witchy Poo and I hope that this next period will have lots of eye candy!  I bought Ray Slater's new doll  book and really love the way she has manipulated the fabric.  Gotta try that!

Goal 4: Classes and groups.

My membership is Stitchin' Fingers has resulted in several swaps.  I just received a postcard from the Netherlands!  I feel like I am making a lot of new friends - even if I never meet them face to journals-Oct face.  We can still exchange ideas and encouragement.  To keep from spending my whole life on the internet, I joined the local quilt guild last month, too.  I'm enjoying the More Journals class with Sue B and definitely feel like things are being accomplished.  Oh yeah.  One of these days I will get back to the Hatmaking class.  Yes I will.

Goal 5: Review.

Oh boy, I know I wouldn't be doing nearly as well without these reviews!  And now there is just one more 6-week review, followed by a look back over the whole year.  Can you believe it?  Next review scheduled for November 18 - or thereabouts.

OK, that takes care of one obligation.  Now it's time for play!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

10 Posts in 10 Days?

I was just checking my records and yesterday's post was my 90th! I put up my very first post on October 31 last year. So . . .

in ten days I will have a blogiversary - one year! And . . .
in ten more posts (nine, now) I will have 100 posts!

Both are reasons to celebrate.

But, what are the chances they will occur at the same time? Can I do ten posts in ten days?

Ha ha ha, chortle, giggle, guffaw, snort! ROFL!!

What do you think?

Monday, October 20, 2008

This Little Piggie . . .

. . . is a Finished UFO!! (UFO=UnFinished Object)

PA190029Along with his somewhat larger pal . . .


These porcine buddies are from a McCall's pattern that I cut outMcCalls many, many years ago.   Exactly how long is lost in the mists of time (or my mind!).  I would have guessed late 70's or early 80's, but the pattern is copyright 1992.  My goodness time flies!

One of the groups I have joined on Stitchin' Fingers is called "UFOs Uncovered".  We try to encourage each other to dig through that pile of long ago projects and pull out our enthusiasm and get that aardvaark* completed!!

*An aardvaark is a term I picked up from a former co-worker, meaning any project or equipment that has been giving you fits and resisting your efforts to fix, finish, or install.   Better than the words some of the other co-workers use!







I did not manage to get these done for the first month, but looking good for the second go 'round.  This pair is now ready to join my Piggie collection and I am ready to pull out another forgotten project.  This is almost like a Treasure Hunt - except for the fact that there was usually a reason why I didn't finish the piece in the first place - and I'm sure to discover what it was shortly!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finished TIF for, um, August

OK, so August was awhile ago!  But, this was all done by hand, so it counts as "slow cloth" - right?

For this month's Challenge theme, Sharon said:

"I my chaotic and hectic life I often admire people who are able to maintain balance in their lives. What is balance to you? Do you maintain a balanced life? How do you balance aspects of your life? That is the challenge this month - balance."

I do admit that my first thought was, "Balance?  What is that?"  But I have thought quite a lot about this topic since August first.  That is the idea behind this challenge, ya know?  Of course, one of the first things I did was Google Life Balance.  That led me down the path to lots of web sites, discussions, theories, and strategies.  This is obviously a big thing for lots of people!

It's also a complicated issue.  In fact, I've come to the conclusion that Balance is something we work for all our lives.  It is not a target or goal - it is the process of Life.  Pretty deep, huh?  While I learned a lot of interesting things - and helpful ideas - how does one turn that into a piece of textile art?

So, I settled on the concept from Debbie Lessin's "Life Is A Balancing Act".  You can see some of Debbie's articles (including the following quote) here.  She approaches the idea very logically and refers to the struggle this way:

"We are balancing the wheel of our lives. The balance wheel encompasses the following aspects of your life:
 Work
 Play
 Mind
 Body
 Spirit
 Space
 Relationships
 Money"

Now, there is an image I can work with!  So, after all that discussion (and time!) the finished piece is really pretty simple.  A balance wheel!

PA170005One thing I like about this piece is that it really doesn't matter which way is Up.  It can turn any way and be the right way!  Ha!  Balance!!!

PA170007 This is all embroidered on linen with various threads.  The wheel itself was embroidered on a separate piece, wrapped around a used CD, and appliqued in place.  preview

Now!  I am working on October's challenge and then I will be caught up again!  Only two more months.  Hmm.  Wonder what's next.  Anyway, here is a Sneak Preview.  Some handwork involved in this one, but hopefully it will go faster!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fusible Web Revisited

Remember this?  (Refresh your memory here.)


Well, a couple of people asked me to reveal the name of this product.  So, in the interest of saving others some of the troubles I've had, I'll tell all.  It was my previous favorite Wonder-Under by Pellon.

Now, I first encountered problems with this a couple of years ago.  I did some searches on the internet and came across a bulletin board - hosted by Pellon, I think - where there was a lot of discussion about the release failing on Wonder-Under.   A company representative explained what they thought was going on and said they hoped to have it fixed soon. 

Since then I think I have tried every fusible product on the market!  Not all created equal - I'm sure you all know that!  I've been really happy with HTCW TransWeb, but lately I've not been able to get it locally.  Bummer.  I want something light, that doesn't gum up my sewing machine needle too much, and has a paper backing for small applique pieces. 

I love Pellon's other products.  The craft weight interfacing is great!  But apparently they haven't solved the release paper issue.  Or - there is an awful lot of old product still going out the door!

By the way, Suze left me a comment saying I can remove the paper backing before applying heat and the web will work just fine.  I finally had a chance to try it and it was great!  Now, why didn't I think of that?  Thanks so much, Suze.  Yes, I have almost a yard left of the stuff!  I'm too tight to just throw it out and now I feel all "green" to know I won't have to!

With that resolved, I can get back to making journals!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MORE Journals!

I mentioned earlier that I am taking another on-line class.  I swear - this is starting to look like an addiction!  Don't I have enough on my plate?  Apparently the answer is No, because I am enjoying myself immensely!

I am taking "More Journal Making for Fiber Artists" from Sue Bleiweiss.  This is the end of week 2 and I finally finished my second journal.  Which means I am up to date and on schedule!  Cause for celebration, huh?

Lesson 1 CoverHere is the first journal:

The design is a tri-fold, which I don't believe I've ever seen before.  The signatures (groups of pages all sewn in as a single unit) are attached using a simple binding, although I had to make it difficult by choosing to use ribbon instead of thread!  Seems I just can't follow instructions exactly as written!  So, what else is new?

Lesson 1


Here you can see the trifold design.    You can also see the ribbon in the center of this signature.   I glued the wider ribbon, along with two pieces of the binding ribbon, onto the back of the journal so it is a permanent part of the book.  One just grabs the ends and ties a bow to hold the book closed.  I like the multicolored stripe fabric and how it works with the three colors of the ribbons.

Lesson 1 InsideHere is the inside of one of the three areas.  I used a sunflower fabric that I have had for awhile.  Of course I did not notice that it was upside down until after I had finished binding all three sections of the book!  Sheesh!  I may decide to re-bind this one some day - or not!  Using ribbon to bind is not exactly easy!

SO!  On to week two.  I like the way this one turned out better.  I just wish the pictures Lesson 2 Coverwere clearer.  Got to study up some more on this camera business.

Anyhoo.  Here is Journal Number 2.  This one is smaller - 5" x 6" - and would fit inside my tote bag quite easily.    The covers are gift wrap that I covered with pink tissue paper and ModPodge.  I like the idea of hot pink money! 

coptic bindingThe binding on this book is called coptic binding.  It looks complicated, but once you've gone through the process a few times it is fairly simple.  The trickiest part is getting the tension just right.  Too loose and everything flops about and refuses to  line up; too tight and the book won't open flat!  I think mine may be just a little tight, but it does open at least!

I had a bit more fun with the pages/signatures on this one, too.  I had a sample page of money-themed postcards and I glued them onto the signature covers.  I also played around in my word processor and printed up some lined pages with various money type clipart:  stacks of bills, coins, and piggy banks.  Oh yes - piggies!  Sadly, I got some of them upside down, too.  I'm seeing a trend here.  inside cover PA080020





Well.  This has been a long one.  Friday we will get Lesson 3.  Can't wait to see what Sue has in store for us this time!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Order from Chaos?

Here is my September Take It Further piece:


Sharon gave us the topic LISTS for this month.  She had several things to say about lists, but I particularly liked this statement:

"There is a something in a list that makes us feel secure. They almost substitute for a plan as the present a direction to work in and we feel we know where we are going with something."

As I thought about how I use lists - and believe me, I USE lists!! - one line of thinking led me to ask Why?  I mean, some types of lists are pretty obvious and universally utilized.  Grocery lists, Christmas card lists, that sort of thing.  But someone like me . . . well, let's just say I go way beyond those!  So, Sharon's remark about security sounds like it is getting close.

listlistSo I sat down to capture my thoughts.  I started writing down the kinds of lists I find in my files, in my day planner, on my table tops, etc.  I wrote . . . a List List!

I won't bore you with the rest of the thinking process.  Sarge claims there isn't one anyway, but we ignore those kind of remarks!  What I decided is that my lists are an attempt to bring Order to the Chaos of my life. 



I started by stitching down some torn fabric pieces to a background and free motion stitched using several different threads.  Here is what the back looks like.  Now THERE is a picture of Chaos!

detailThen I scanned my list and printed it onto fabric and stitched it to Chaos as if it were emerging from the whirlwind.  I had a great time with my new Bernina Stitch Regulator!  Uh, kinda went nuts, you know?

Well, there it is.  Not too late, either!  Of course, I am still working on the August TIF and now I need to start on October's.  Work, work, work.  It's just never done! ;-)