Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday WOW–August 28

A change of pace today. . . no quilting!


Unfortunately, not a lot of any other arts, either.  Today, I cleaned!  It started with emptying the dishwasher and the next thing I knew I had scrubbed, dusted, vacuumed, filed, and straightened almost the day long!  This is a rare occurrence around here, and I don’t stop to question when the spirit moves me!

All is not lost, however.  To reward myself, I used the little bit of time left to work on this doll.


Here is what she looked like at the beginning of the day.


And by the end of the day, she is half dressed.  There is a jumper/vest to be made yet, but I have not decided on a fabric.  There are a couple of possibles but I haven’t dug through the whole stash yet.  Delving into the fabric stash is not a task to be taken lightly!

I am also digging through my list of names.  So far, she has not responded to any of them, but there are many more for us to choose from.  These things can’t be rushed!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Lantern Flower


This week’s flower goes by several names, but in Japanese it is called Hozuki.  It’s also a flower that I have actually seen in real life (although I can’t remember where!) and the red lantern-shaped “flower” is actually the outer husk of the plant’s fruit.  (Click on the picture to read more.)


Unlike most of the flowers in this book, which begin with circles or hexagons, this one begins with a square.


The square is then folded and stitched,


and folded and stitched again,


to make a pod-like structure which looks very pretty alone


or in a group.  By the time I reached the fifth flower, I was breezing through the steps. 


These will be very striking with long stems and some leaves appliqued behind them. 


The Summer garden is filling up quickly.  I think there is one more flower before we move on to Autumn.  I guess I need to start planning the layout and cutting leaves.  Soon, anyway.

I could make some kind of philosophical observation about the changing seasons, here, but that requires Deep Thinking and makes my head hurt.  Reading it might be painful as well, so I’ll spare you!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The *Other* Worktable

If you have been following my Wednesday WOW posts, you might think that all I am doing lately is quilting.  Not so!  And to prove it, here are some of the other projects I’ve been working on:


This is one of the two paperclay dolls I have been working on from an online class I took.  I started painting the skin today. 


This is the first head I made for that body.  It turned out to be too big, but I will make a body some day that will fit perfectly!


This is the other body from the same class.  Meet Noey and Buster.  Noey’s body is paperclay, but the head is polymer clay.  It was made in another online class!


Here’s a closer view of the head. . . .


and of the – erm – dog on her lap.  He’s needlefelted and is the result of one of our doll club projects a year or so ago.


This is the little paperclay dragon I’ve shown before.  Each time I am in the studio I add a little bit here and tweak a little bit there.  He still needs a tail, but is coming along nicely – if slowly!


And just to add a little variety, this is made of wood!  I started learning to carve wood a couple of years ago, but got distracted at some point and then lost interest.  I knew I would come back to it some day.  I do have a lot to learn yet, but there just might be some potential.  I don’t know what prompted me to start carving on this figure again.  I’m not promising to finish it yet, either!

Before you start marveling at how much work I get done, I should mention that I took the paperclay class two months ago!  And the polymer clay class was four months ago – and I still haven’t done the last lesson.  I think I got the first one finished because I was running out of room on the worktable!

By the way, all the classes I’ve been taking online have been from A for Artistic.  There’s an ongoing wealth of doll classes and an impressive list of teachers.  Even if you are not interested in taking a doll class, go for some great eye-candy!

So there you have it.  Quilting?  That has been pushed aside to one day a week!  No wonder it’s taking forever to get any done.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday WOW–August 21

I am a little late posting today.  Now that I think of it, I have felt like I was late all day!  Or maybe just sideways.

When we last saw our heroine (last Wednesday), she had just finished stitching these:


Photo from August 14

And at the end of today, we have these:


Yes, it’s the same blocks!  If you remember, I mentioned that I was going to check the measurements before continuing.  Well I did – and they were more than an inch off.  A whole inch!!!  So, I dug out the instructions and read them again.  Yup, it said to trim the blocks to 9 inches . . . twice! . . . and in bold type!  Oh dear.  Time to bring out the seam ripper.



Two hours later.  Yes, that was a LOT of trimming.  I don’t know why I have this problem with trimming half-square triangles.  I seem to always forget! 

So, while I did have to go back to square one, I also managed to get the rest of the quarter blocks sewn together.


And now I am finally ready to move on to the next step for this quilt.  I had hoped to get to some more paper piecing today, but that didn’t happen.

Definitely a sideways day!

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Harvest

We picked our first apples the other day.


Nice.  Apple pie, anyone?






Well, maybe not . . .


they are actually crabapples. 

I may need to preserve these for my dolls.  They are such perfect shapes!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Protea


Isn’t this an interesting flower?  It is found primarily in South Africa although apparently some can be found in Australia.  There are many different species of this sugarbush plant, but more than 90% of them are found in a small area of South Africa (according to Wiki.  Click on the picture to read more.)


The fabric flowers are very stylized, and I may have taken some liberties on color choice here!  Sateen ribbon is placed in tucks of fabric.


Then tucks go across the other direction.  I was half way through the second flower when I noticed I had skipped over two words . . . “then stitch.”  Such small words!


The area where the two sets of tucks cross is quite a handful, especially when I was trying to hold it all together with pins!


By stitching the ribbon into the tucks, that intersection was a lot easier to handle.  Well, not really easy, but I was feeling a little less fumble-fingered – and pin pricked!  These flowers will be appliqued onto the background, but for now I basted the edges under.  Hopefully that will make the applique go smoother, too!


Here are the three flowers.  By this stage, those two little words don’t seem to make much of a difference.  Whew!


And the Summer garden is coming along nicely.  Lots of color!  There will be even more when I applique leaves in place, too.

I wonder where the flowers will take me next week.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday WOW–August 14

Today’s work was pretty simple . . . not very exciting.  That’s OK though.  Sometimes you don’t want exciting!


I’m working on a block-of-the-month quilt, and these blocks are destined to be background blocks.


The blocks with the green “stripe” will go together with the blocks that are dark blue.


Like this!  I got four of these done today.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but first I had to sew the quarter blocks, so I guess this really represents sixteen blocks.  Whatever.  Four done and eight to go.

The completed block is supposed to be 17.5 inches square.  Now that I think about it, I have not checked the measurements.  Hmmm.  I’d better do that before going any further.  I wouldn’t be happy to find after they are all done that I need to trim the smaller squares before putting them together.

No, that would not be good at all!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Campanula


Also called “Bellflower” this week’s flower is common across Europe, also found in North America.  There are many varieties, one of which is Canterbury Bells.  Now that is one I have heard of!


To get the bell shape I started with the hexagon.


A dart was stitched and then opened flat.  This time, there were precise measurements for the stitching points . . . those are the kind of instructions I like!


A couple of folds and then a gathering stitch across the top.  Stitching through all those layers of fabric was the hardest part of this flower!


The leaves were made simply by gathering a length of ribbon.


And a small pearl finished off each of the flowers.


Here they are all finished!  You may notice that one of them is “inside-out”.  Ahem.  Apparently my spatial visualization skills are not as good as they used to be!  But it serves as a bit of contrast to give interest.  Right!  That’s what I’ll tell anyone who asks.  LOL!


And here we have the summer panel so far.  Half way!  I hope you are enjoying this series.  I sure am!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Different Dragon

I’m still drawing dragons, but I am also dabbling with the idea of modeling dragons from clay. 


I recently took an online class for making doll bodies out of paperclay and thought I would try the same technique on dragons.  The clay is added in layers and allowed to dry before adding the next layer.


This makes it a very long process and really requires patience . . . something I am NOT noted for having, especially when it comes to crafting!


I seem to be learning, though.  This little guy is slowly emerging and I think he’s going to be pretty darn cute!

He needs a name.  Hmmm.  Something to think about while I wait for clay to dry!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday WOW–August 7

The summer is going fast.  The local schools start next week!  One of the ladies who comes to sew on Wednesdays is a teacher and today was her last day until next summer.  I’m sooo glad I don’t have kids in school anymore!  If I did, I would not be able to work on things like this:


This project continues to move along slowly.  I leave a trail of thread snips and paper shreds wherever I go these days!


I finished Princess Aurora of Sleeping Beauty today.  And I was able to get started on the next block.


One and a half eyes are done!  There are three sections for each eye – eyeball, lashes, and eyebrow.  Lots of seams on a teeny tiny piece!  If you are ambivalent about foundation paper piecing, these will drive you totally nuts!  I came close a few times today.  LOL!

But the eyes are what really makes these blocks worthwhile.  And, as I’ve mentioned before, once the eyes are done the rest goes together easily and quickly.  I’ve been told I have a lot of patience because I am making these. . . .

Being stubborn as a mule helps, too!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Framboise

This week’s flower had me confused on several levels.

First of all, the name sounds quite exotic, but I found that it is simply the French word for ‘raspberry!’  Scientifically, it encompasses the genus rubus, which consists of literally hundreds of species.  I had quite a time finding a picture of the flower that resembles today’s fabric version!


The center of the flower is represented by this piece of gathered ribbon.  As usually happens with my crafting I do not have the exact supply specified in the book, so my substitutions may or may not come out looking as the author intended!  But, I just run with it.


The center is stitched onto a circle and the circle is folded.  Another opportunity for confusion!  Most of the previous flowers have had precise measurements for folding, but not this one.  So I eyeballed it according to the drawing.


Actually, I think I did each of the three flowers differently!  I’m not even sure what is different, although I can see that the one on the left is markedly so.  Hmmm.

I tried for a couple of buds . . . which did not go very well at all, so no photos at this time!  I tried several ways of manipulating the ribbon to make a budlet like the picture in the book, but both of mine really look the worse for wear.  I will have to try again on a day when I am feeling refreshed and fearless!


Here is today’s results.  They don’t look half bad against that yellow background, do they?  I will need to add stems and leaves when it comes time to put the Summer piece together.

Speaking of putting together a piece . . .


“Botanic Gardens: Spring” is finished!  Er, almost.  I believe I need  some leaves in the lower left corner to balance a bit better.  But, the background has been quilted and all the leaves and flowers are stitched down.  I will leave it pinned to the ‘design wall’ as inspiration while working on Summer.