Thursday, December 31, 2009

An End to 2009

Hardly seems possible for this year to be over already.  I've got to start writing 2010 now.  I wonder how many times the date will be written as '20010' before we all get our fingers retrained!!

Today is when all the news media - and others - are doing year in review stories.  Top sport stories, the top ten disasters, top 100 songs, best and worst of . . . whatever they can think of.  Some of which we'd prefer to forget!

So . . . . . . . .  Of course, I had to do some kind of year-in-review.  Don't worry.  I'm not choosing top, bottom, best, worst, or anything else.  Just pictures.

My Dolls:


1.  Yolanda 2. April-May 3. Carmen 4. Madame Rossignol 5. Seraphina 6. Natalie 7. Valentine swap 8. Fuscia 9. Aengus 10. altoid doll 11. Wonderland swap 12. Zenobia

Fabric postcards:


1. March 2. December 3. 4. November 5. October 6. July 7. April 8.  September 9.  February

and other Projects:


1. Quilt Guild challenge 2. Quilting Arts Rock 'n Roll challenge 3. Cafe Anniversary 4. calendar box 5. Ellie's Quilt Place BOM 6. Halloween wall hanging 7.  Stuffed hand UFO 8.  Pieces of Friendship swap 9. Quilts of Valor 10. Stack 'n Whack quilt 11.  Creative Boxmaking class 12.  Take It Further (TIF) book.

Just in case anyone wonders . . . .  This is NOT the kind of post you throw together at the last minute.  Just to have something to post?  Not!  I don't have an automated mosaic maker and then I looked all the links up individually.  Goal for next year . . . photo mosaic software!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday WOW - December 30


I'm about a third of the way through the December square.  And then the embroidery will all be done!  Yippee!  Now to decide what to do with these squares!  LOL!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday WOW - December 23


I'm thinking it might be time to do a little cleaning!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Mill on the Floss - a Wednesday WOW Story

OK.  No, this has nothing to do with George Eliot's novel or misguided love or floods or anything like that.  It just sounded catchy!  Because this post is about - er - floss.  The stitching kind.

PC150002I have a major collection of DMC cotton floss.  For many years my  free time was spent doing cross-stitch.  I was working and raising a family, and there was little time for hand work.  Cross stitch is something I can do in small blocks of time and I love the way the colors build up a picture.

PC140015 Up until recently, I stored my floss in two small parts cabinets, sorted by DMC number.  Finding colors specified in a pattern is really easy with this kind of system.  Although it gets a little messy, it has worked so far.


More recently, however, my embroidery work has been in the form of embellishments.  In some cases I have designed my own pattern and I hope to do more of that.  Which means I am choosing my threads by color.  Which is downright impossible to do in the current system!

So, I've been winding skeins of floss onto thread cards.  And storing them in this:


They are still sorted by DMC number at this point.  I still have some patterns I want to stitch.  But I can also see the colors easily and choose just what I need.

Now, winding threads is kind of mindless work.  Great for sitting in front of a TV show or video.  Or, even thinking!  Except for the tangling part, that is.  So I came up with a system using these two jam jars.  They are just the right size for a skein and the tangling is reduced by quite a bit.

PC150004Now, if I could just figure out what to do with all those little snaps!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stitching Fun!

I've been busily making Christmas postcards this past week or so.  Once they have reached their destinations, I will show you what I've been making.  We wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, would we?

But I can show you a little trick I tried with the edgings.  I have this cool little Bernina foot with a teeny hole in the piece in front of the needle.  You can see I have threaded something through it in this photo.


Bernina calls it an Embroidery foot, but I got it to attach wire to the edge of a doll skirt to give it shape.  Only a small wire fits through there, but this fits, too! 


By simply stitching a zigzag stitch, I attached two rounds of the Light Effects thread to the edge of each postcard.  You can see some of the sparkle here, although they look much more festive in 'real' life!


I used a heavier thread in the bobbin, so the back of the card looks neat, too. 


Isn't Christmas about pretty things and shining lights?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Goals . . . Good or Bad?

Well, it has been an interesting journey anyway!  Before we "analyze" the year, let's go over the past six weeks.

PB300001 1.  Christmas projects.   Done!

Well, almost.  I have mailed out packages (with finished projects inside!) and the Christmas cards are sitting here in front of me.  As far as being ready for Christmas goes I am way ahead of my usual timeline!  Comes from lowered expectations I guess.  LOL!  (BTW, the photo is of an idea that did not make it to completion!)


2.  Finish challenge pieces for quilt guild and doll club.   Done!

You have already seen the pictures of these projects.  The folded pillow top for guild was finished in plenty of time.  And the batik doll was a huge success.  I am very pleased with the way this goal came out.


uncut 3. Attach binding to finished quilts (3 so far, maybe more).  Best two out of three!

Yes, I still have one more binding to put on.  It is for a keeper quilt, though, so there is no real deadline.  I need to clear the workspace of Christmas projects first anyway.  The two quilts that were bound went to QOV last month.  See pictures here.


4. Practice free-motion quilting.  Nothing yet.

Actually I am all set to start on this project.  Got my fabric sandwiches, my laptop loaded with videos, and the Quilting Arts e-book printed out.  What else do I need?  Oh yeah.  Time!


photoscreen 5. Learn to use some PhotoShop features.  In Progress.

I have been working through the book "Photoshop Elements for Dummies".  I haven't kept track of how many sessions I've had, but I am almost through Chapter 5.  The trouble is that the first part is all about navigating in the program and organizing files.  I can't DO anything yet!  Well I'll keep plugging along.

pinbaste 6.  Christmas projects.  In Progress.

This version of the goal is for the at-home things.  Decorations, baking, and so on.  I have laid out some plans and there are supplies gathered.  Nothing to show at this point, though.  Hey!  I've still got TWO WEEKS!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There you have it, folks.  Not terrific, but not awful either.  In fact, when I look over the past year's worth of goal reviews, I'm seeing just a tiny bit more of "terrific" than of "awful".  Enough so that I think we can call it a successful year.  I did get a lot accomplished and I hope you enjoyed watching it come together.  For the statistically inclined:  Out of 47 goals, 22 were completed (eventually!) and two are still in progress (OK, four counting this month).  Only four goals dropped off the radar completely.  Woohoo!

I am now thinking about how to approach next year.  Things will be a bit different.  Firstly because I can never do the same thing twice in a row!!  But mainly because of a shift in my long-term plans.  I need to give it some more thought and then I'll let you know what is coming up in 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday WOW - December 9


Really messy, isn't it?   Christmas is looming . . . who has time to clean up?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

'Tis the Season

At least I am starting to feel a little bit Christmas-ish!  I was doodling in my photo-editing software and came up with this:


I used three pieces I got from TenTwo Studios.  Each year Lisa posts some free "printables" as a Holiday gift to her customers.  I love looking at the collection she provides!  If you do any type of artwork and are not familiar with this web site you need to go take a look!  Most of her offerings are perfect for ATCs or postcards as well as other mixed media work.  There are collage pages for any theme you can imagine. She also publishes the Monthly Muse newsletter which is crammed with inspiration!

I have been working rather sporadically the past few days, so this is really the only "finish" I have to show right now.  I am postponing my scheduled Goals posting, too.  I'll get my head on straight and be back soon!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday WOW - December 2


A little Christmas project going on here.  How can it possibly be December already?!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Things I've Forgotten

I've been a bit distracted and absent minded lately.  OK, that's pretty normal for me - but this has been more than usual!  What with working on challenges and planning for the holidays and the "project from hell" (more on that below), I have not posted pictures of some of the other things I've been doing. 

Two Creative Studios BOM

You might have noticed the badge for this.  Over there on the right side of my blog.  I joined the 2 Creative Studios ning group that Sue Bleiweiss and Terri Stegmiller host.  We are in the third month of Terri's Block of the Month.  Here is a picture of my first two blocks ... third block to come soon.


I'm a Winner!

Part of the fun over at Two Creative Studios is that they are giving away prizes - and I won!  HOW could I forget to post about that? Here's my loot:


Think of the fun I can have with that fabric!  And Sue makes these amazing notebooks with lovely paper inside.  This is almost too pretty to make marks in.  But I bet I will get over that!


Bookmark Swap

This swap was over quite awhile ago and I teased you with WOW pictures, but never showed off the finished products.  Arrgh!  Well, here they are.  The theme was Art Deco meets Art Nouveau.  These are the ones I sent out:


And here is my set from swap partners Jannice, Edwina, and Peggy: PB280001

Postcard Swap

I've been trying to get into a postcard swap about every month.  November's theme was open, so I did a Fall scene.  We have enjoyed watching the squirrels dash around scooping up walnuts this year.


And this is the one I received from my partner Doreen.  She used an embellisher and some stitching to make this lovely card.


Traveling Pages


Another new thing you may have noticed on my blog is the badge for Story of the Traveling Pages.  I joined a group who will be making and swapping pages for a fabric book.  There are fourteen members, so this will be a yearlong project beginning in January.  My theme is "Doors" and I can't wait to see what the talented ladies in this group do for me.  If you click on the badge, it will take you to the blog we have set up.

Why Is This So Hard?

"This" is a very nice pattern from a well-known designer who has a reputation for easy, well-written patterns.  It is definitely NOT the designer's fault I am having a horrible time with it. 


I started the project as a gift for someone for Christmas.  It may still get there, but I'm doubtful.  I had to scrimp and patch to have enough batting and interfacing for this and then nothing fused like it's supposed to.  I have ripped and re-stitched just about every seam.  I've walked away several times.  I think the only reason it hasn't gone to the UFO closet is because that is full already!  My original idea was to make several of these this year.  Since I had to cut out 53 total pieces for just one, THAT IS SO NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!

So, there you go.  With this rambling, picture-heavy post, I should be all caught up.  I wonder what I've forgotten?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday WOW - November 25


I have been busy, but mostly on Christmas projects.  I can't show very much of those just yet.  I don't want to spoil any surprises! 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Folded Fabric Pillow


I made this pillow for a challenge in the local quilt guild.  At the beginning of the year, we swapped a fat quarter and were challenged to use it to make a pillow or pillowcase.  The fabric I received is the center orange.

When I brought my fabric home, I immediately pulled several coordinating fabrics from my stash.  I was amazed at how well things went together!

Several months later I took a class on folding fabric - and I knew what my pillow was going to look like!


I used a folding method from Fantastic Fabric Folding by Rebecca Wat as the center square and at each of the four corners.  Around the center, I stitched a form of log cabin along with folded squares.  The center edge of each square was curled back and blind stitched into place.  Similar to the cathedral window block.


Around the edges, a long strip was folded and curled back in the same fashion.  I then added a simple flange and backing.  These last two techniques were from Tucks & Textures Two by Jennie Rayment.

This project was pretty easy to do.  I was amazed at how neatly the little pinwheel shape formed . . . just the way the book said!  There is an awful lot of hand stitching though.  Not good for a last minute project!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday WOW - November 18


One quilt bound and the second ready for the handwork part of binding.  These two are going to Quilts of Valor this week.  You have seen the tops before - here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Peek at Our Batiks

My doll club had a challenge this year.  We exchanged 1/8 yard pieces of batik fabric and challenged each other to make a doll using all twelve fabrics!

Here is what my doll looks like:


Meet Yolanda . . . or Yoyolanda, as I like to call her!  As I pondered how to use 12 different fabrics, I thought of using yo-yos.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  I took a head from my "basket of heads" and re-worked the eyes a bit and then started looking for a body pattern.  I found one by Sherry Goshon in Soft Dolls & Animals magazine (Heather in Aug/Sep 2003 issue) and it suited that head perfectly!


From there Yolanda pretty much built herself!  She did not want a lot of bling, and she told me exactly how to make her "real" yo-yo (two shank buttons wired together with perle cotton wound around the center). 

As happy as I am with Yolanda, I was blown away by the dolls made by my fellow club members!  People, we have to have the most talented doll makers in the country right here!  In my humble 0pinion, of course.


These are just some of the finished dolls.  They are all wonderful!  I think we did an outstanding job of choosing batik fabrics, too.  The colors really complemented each other and make for an outstanding collection!

Good job, ladies!  What's next?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday WOW - November 11


Today I actually started on Christmas projects!  It's not even December yet! 


Before we start celebrating, though, I must emphasize - it's just a START!  But, oh my.  It does feel good!

Friday, November 6, 2009

What is it with Me and Finishes?

I have a terrible time with getting projects finished.  I really don't know what the problem is.  My cupboards are full of projects that are almost done . . . and quite a few that are not even close!

I know that I am easily distracted (can you say short attention span?), but I wonder if something else is at work here.  So, I am going to start studying why projects are left undone.  As well as try to finish some of them!

Creative Box Making from March 2009

P4030002  I took this class from Sue Bleiweiss last spring and did pretty well for the first four (out of five) lessons.  As I look back at the calendar and this blog, I noticed I was involved in several swaps in April.  Then I took a quilting class in May, we had water come into the basement, . . . and it appears that life began to get in the way.   P4030003

I'm thinking, too, that the Lesson 4 box was not exactly my style (see above and right).  It is a game box and I can't think of a reason to make another one.  We are just not big gamers at our house.

Which is a shame, because I really love the boxes in Lesson 5!  And this week I finally completed that lesson.  A seven month recess - not bad!


PA300008The first container was a teapot - for holding tea, of course!  No, not the liquid stuff - tea bags!  Deviating somewhat from Sue's directions, I dribbled fabric paint onto a plate and then scrunched used Shout Color Catchers around in it to come up with a background for motifs cut from a tea box.   I am already using it to store the collection of tea bags near my worktable.



For the last box, I made a pyramid container.  I needed to make a collage piece for postcard backgrounds and just increased the size to include this.  The box is about 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide at the bottom.



PA300017 When you look on the bottom, you can see that I used a "reject" doll arm in the collage.  Interesting idea.  I will have to do that again sometime!



And the box is just right to hold thumbtacks or paperclips or perhaps coins. 

So how come I waited so long to make these?  And why wasn't I working on the challenge due next month?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday WOW - November 4


What a mess!  This is what creativity looks like!  Yes, that is a doll over there on the left.  I think you are going to like her!