Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday WOW – February 29

Happy Leap Day!  I guess Spring is almost here.  Most places look for the first robin (they can be found year round here) or balmy weather (we’ve had an unusually mild winter), but in Kansas you know Spring is here when you have tornados!  Not close to me, thank goodness, but a definite sign of Spring!


So, here is my “worktable” today.  Another Wednesday at the local quilt shop.  This photo was about half way through the day and you can see the pile of strips is dwindling. . .


And the pile of completed 9-patch blocks is growing!  Still some to go, but it’s amazing how much you can get done when you focus on the sewing!  Along with the talking, laughing, and eating, that is.

So, how was your day?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Scatter

Today’s technique is mini marbles, also called micro beads.  These beads do not have holes, so they are attached using glue.  I remember using some mixed into a varnish on paper crafts a few years ago. 


I did some free-motion stitching to make an indentation in the fabric to hold the beads.  Then laid down a line of glue and sprinkled beads, very similar to the way one applies glitter.


The directions say to heat set after the glue has dried, so the beads will not fall off.  However, I found that beads are continuously falling off, even after multiple applications of heat. 


I have to say that I don’t think I like this technique very much.  It occurred to me that this is the first time in working through this book that I haven’t enjoyed experimenting.  Oh yeah – some things have not worked out exactly as planned, but I always have fun and will probably try again some day.  Not with the micro beads, though.  Those things are tiny, but they are very annoying.  Especially when I find them in places I didn’t want them!

P2260005This is the back side of the page with foiling and glitter.  Those techniques I will definitely try again!

And how cool is it that I’ve worked through two-thirds of the book before finding something I don’t like?  Says a lot about how good this book is!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday WOW – February 22

Today was a really nice day all around!  The weather has been so mild and just enjoyable to be out and about.  And I was able to go to the quilt shop and sew all day.  The first time in quite a long time!


This project has been waiting patiently for me to come back to it.


Nine-patch blocks in pastel colors!  Since these fabric strips have been shut up in the project box, today was like opening a gift package!  Such pretty colors gleaned from my stash months ago.  Added to a day with enjoyable people – fellow quilters – and I’m feeling good about this day’s work.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Supreme Sunday

Today I started working from the third – and last – section of the book, called “Hard Embellishments.”

Today’s technique is beading.  And it’s no surprise that I LOVE to do beadwork!  I could happily spend days on end with my bead stash, although I would probably not be able to move after just a couple of hours!  LOL!

The book describes several beading stitches.  Let’s see if I can remember what they are called.


This one is a three-bead freeform cluster.  The middle bead sits on top of the first and last bead and it makes a nice texture.


The letter ‘L’ is done using a couching stitch.  Each line is strung as one length and then tacked to the background.  The ‘O’ is bugle stitch. 


The ‘V’ is outlined using a back- stitch.  This is the stitch I use the most and I think it gives me more control of where the beads land.  The ‘E’ is made up of a variety of stacked stitch.  There are many more ways to do this stitch simply by changing up the kind of bead used.


In this (blurry) photo, you can sort of see the height of the stacked stitches.


Here, there are two examples.  The upper section is a single stitch along the ends of an embroidered feather stitch.  Below that is a picot edge stitch.


And then a couple of fringes.  The larger set has alternate fringe ending in a novelty bead.


And here is the full page.  In case you’re wondering, the background fabric is the one I tested ways to discharge the dye.  You can read about that here.

Wow!  That sure was fun.  I will need to do some work to finish this particular piece, but the beads definitely are an improvement!  We are approaching the end of this book.  Don’t worry, though, there are several techniques to try yet so stay tuned.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why We Don’t Buy Pecans in the Shell

Or, at least we won’t be in the future!


See that?  Pecans, oh boy.  And by shelling and preparing/roasting them myself, I can be sure they are pretty healthy.  Please notice, however, that there are not many big pieces there in that little bowl.  Hmmm, roasting might not be the way to go.

Oh, and that tiny bowl?  (OK, not tiny, just feels that way!)  That is the result of one and a half hours of work!!  But that’s not all I got from my labors.


I also got a huge mess to clean up!  Notice the debris on the towel outside my plastic bag?  That is what the whole side of the kitchen looked like!  I even found stuff in my hair!


Plus, I got a bona fide injury!  Really.  See the spots of real blood on the towel?  Those shells are really sharp!

Before everyone sends me their favorite tip on shelling pecans, I also spent some time researching on line (after the fact,of course).  I learned that there are such things as paper pecans and that a lot of the more modern varieties are easier to shell.  There are fancy schmancy nutcrackers, too, that seem to be made for those slippery little hummers.  And some web sites recommend dipping the nuts in boiling water to loosen them up.  I also learned that there are lots of places that will shell your pecans for you!  Oh sure.  Now you tell me!

Thank goodness we don’t have pecan trees (although we did have a couple years ago and I sent bags of “fresh” pecans to friends and family – for which I now apologize!).  What we have is Walnut trees. 

I won’t be cracking those either.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday WOW – February 15

A very wet, foggy/misty day today.


Just the right kind of day to do some quilting!  Understand, however, that I do not go unsupervised!


I don’t think this is how one explores their inner Wolf!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Starry Sunday

Today was all about sparkle!


To be more specific . . . glitter!  This is really a quick and easy way to add some shine to fabric.  I used Beacon’s 3 in 1 glue to “paint” an area of fabric and then poured some extra fine glitter on it.  When I poured the glitter off, it left a nice thin layer behind.


I used some yellow and some red to emphasize portions of the flowers.  I get a fine glitter made for candle-making from Rustic Essentials but you could use regular craft glitter or cosmetic glitter. 


The really fine stuff seems to work best.  I usually mix it with a little varnish and paint it on, but this time I did the painting with glue first.


Of course, with the really fine stuff, you are going to get glitter on yourself!  In fact, just opening the container tends to disperse glitter all around me!   I swear.  It’s not safe to leave me alone with glue and glitter!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday WOW – February 8

I’m bouncing around doing a lot of unrelated projects and some days I feel like nothing is getting done.  I need to focus!


So this is what I worked on today.  It’s for the backing of the Comfort & Joy quilt.  I’ve had the blocks done for months – they’re mostly orphans from the quilt – and this weekend I calculated how many I need and how to piece the backing.  If I really put my mind to it I could have had the backing done in a day.

But, alas, I’m doing a lot of spinning of wheels, so this is as far as it goes for now.  Maybe next week.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Something a Little Different

Lately I’ve been exploring more paper arts, including journaling techniques.  Strathmore is offering some free on-line classes and I signed up for one called “Doodles Unleashed” taught by Traci Bautista.


We spent the first couple of weeks exploring ways to make interesting backgrounds and trying different mark making tools.


I enjoyed playing with watercolors and really like the effect of “salting” the wet drawing to get a mottled look.


Then we layered doodles and more paint, and more doodles!  I’m not sure about this as a whole piece, but I can foresee cutting it up for collage later.  I really like the two leaves at lower left.


This is from the last lesson and I am pretty happy with it.  Of course, I love drawing faces . . . and I love purple!  So how could I not love this?


Then, while waiting for paint to dry (ho hum!) I watched a different video about carving your own stamps.  So I got busy and produced this pelican stamp.  I’ve been thinking about using the pelican in some art work anyway, and there was all that blue paint left over!

It’s good to take a break from fabric and stretch some of my other skills.  And it sure is fun to make a big ole mess!  LOL!!!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Spiffy Sunday

When I looked at today’s “lesson” I had lots of ideas pop into my head.


I remembered that I have a book about fabric flowers and wouldn’t it be fun to combine a couple of techniques for this week!  So I went looking for that book.


He brought along a few friends!

Apparently this is a topic that warrants more attention, huh?  I thought about taking a little detour and devoting a couple of Sundays to fabric flowers.  Then I realized it would be a pretty big detour.  And the trouble with detours is you can lose sight of the regular road – and get lost!  So, no.  We’ll come  back to these another time.

So, I followed the directions in the Fabric Embellishing book and resisted the temptation of distractions.   Well, I followed the directions in my own way, of course. 


And this is what I ended up with.


I threw a few beads at the larger flower, but I’m not sure if I’m completely finished there.  As a nod to SharonB and her take a stitch challenges, I used the feather stitch to attach the leaves.


I like the smaller buds much better.  They seem to have more balance and character.

So I’ll continue following the book through to the end.  There are enough chapters left to take us to June, I think.  My goodness, that is a lot of embellishing!!

Friday, February 3, 2012


I told you I would show you the dragon stitchery when I finished it.  Well, here he is:


I’m so happy with the way he turned out.  You can just see some of the glittery threads in the photo.  They really make this piece!


I stitched it as a cover for this box.  It was originally a Whitman Sampler.  But what to do with it when the chocolates are all (long) gone?


Well, I’m using it for my silk ribbon embroidery stash!  I’m already inspired to do some SRE stitching, so I guess this dragon is doing a good job!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday – um – Just Wednesday

I had everything all planned.  I was going to show you the tiny carriage I’m working on.  And talk about how I think I might finish it and accessorize.  Yup.  I had it all planned in my head.  And then . . . .

I left the camera downstairs!  And I’m upstairs.  And it’s been a really long day.  Besides, my feet hurt!  I don’t want to go down after the camera.


Pretty lazy, I know.  But, here is a picture from last week.


And next week I will have a for-real worktable shot.  I promise!