Sunday, September 29, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Vanda


The Vanda is a member of the orchid family and grows mostly in Asia.  I consider all orchids to be the ultimate exotic.  Since I have a very brown thumb (I can kill even the hardiest house plant!) I tend to stay far away from orchids.  I’m afraid just breathing on them will cause damage!  LOL!


I started today with an octagon, but from then on, the process was quite different from any of the other flowers. 


As you can see, these examples each turned out a bit different.  Once I figured out the instructions, though, they went together pretty quickly.  I should mention here, that these complex forms are the buds!


This is one of the flowers – something I didn’t realize until after I cut all the petals fr9om green fabric!  I will have to cut some from the purple before sewing things down permanently.  I can use the green for leaves in some other area.


Here’s a close-up of the flower center.  It was probably the easiest part of the whole exercise!


Here is my autumn garden so far.  I’m glad I chose to pin the pieces on for now.  This week’s flower is not quite what I wanted – green flowers and blue stems don’t quite work for autumn.

Come to think of it – today was pretty much how my whole week has been . . . not quite what I wanted!  But tomorrow starts a new – and better – week!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So Excited!


I received my copy of this book the other day.  This is a great book – full of tips, tricks, and ideas . . . but the book alone is not what has me excited.

I’m in the book! 


See me in the upper right?  OK, no.  Not ME, of course, but my design.  Well, it’s only one design – out of probably a hundred.  And there’s a grand total of one sentence telling about my design.  So, maybe not that exciting after all.

Nevertheless, it’s something.  I’m actually listed as a “designer.”  And the best thing of all? (Well, other than getting a copy of this great book and resource tool, that is.)

They spelled my name right!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Pompom Dahlia


Now here is a flower I am familiar with!  Dahlias rank pretty high on my list of favorites and the pompoms are the best in my opinion.  (I snagged this photo from, by the way.)  Come to think of it, these balls of color would look pretty good in the front garden next to the roses.  Hmmmm.


But moving on . . . this flower begins with the same octagon as the Mandarin last week.


In fact, it is almost exactly the same flower, but without any batting to bulk it up.  There is one difference, however, that makes these unique.


This photo doesn’t show it very clearly, but the individual petals are stitched open near the center.  That makes for greater exposure of the contrasting color, especially when the outer edge is gathered.


I flattened the spheres a bit for pinning them to the background, but they can be “fluffed” out to a rounder form when they are permanently stitched down.


Here are the dahlia and mandarin side by side so you can see the difference. 


The autumn garden is now about half done.  There’s still a lot of space to fill.  I’m really enjoying this book.  I hope you are too.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday WOW–September 18

I started out today all ready to re-stitch the seams that had gone wrong last week.  Thank goodness, I decided to check after just a few blocks.  They had the same problem!  Some were even worse!!!

Not a great way to start out, but at least I have the whole day to figure out what’s going on.  Following the trusty TNT Rule (thread, needle, tension), I put in a new needle, inspected and rethreaded both top and bottom and tried adjusting tension.  No improvement.  While checking the bobbin (again!) I noticed a little lint in the bottom.  Hmmm. I wonder how long it’s been since I cleaned this machine.

Now, one clue would be that I had to get out the manual to find how to remove the plate and access the bobbin race.  Uh oh.


Oops!  I guess it’s been awhile.  That may not look like a very large ball of lint, but it has been gathered up and compressed, so – yeah – that’s a lot of lint!

I guess I need to change TNT to CTNT – clean, thread, needle tension!


After that exercise, everything is back to normal and I finally got past that first seam!!


I’m now at the halfway point on these blocks.  Not as far as I would like to be, but considering the bumps in the road – so to speak – not bad at all!

I think I’ll go clean my other sewing machine now!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Mandarin


This picture is of a mandarin orange blossom.  However, the book’s author refers to Mandarin as blooming in late summer or fall.  I’m pretty sure all citrus trees bloom in the spring, so this is not the right flower.  My internet searches did not turn up any other option, however, so I’m going with this for my color guidance. 


The starting shape is an octagon and a piece of batting is basted to half the pieces before they are stitched together.


Fold the points to the center . . .


and some manipulating and stitching results in something I’ve encountered before in this series.  But, it’s not done yet!


By gathering the outer edge and adding some stuffing, these flowers are like little squished balls.  My versions don’t show as much of the center as the book samples, but they are pretty striking anyway.  The string of buds are simply pieces of gathered ribbon. 

The way the buds are lined up as if budding from a long branch also makes me think that this is not based on the mandarin orange tree.  If any of you out there have traveled in Japan during the autumn and know what a mandarin flower really looks like, I’d love to hear from you.


For now, though, the Autumn garden is beginning to take shape just a little.  And behind the scenes, I have decided on a general layout for the Summer piece.  I’ll be preparing leaves and background in the next few days.  There isn’t anything to show just yet, but I think I’m going to like it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday WOW–September 11

Started on something new – erm, current and new.  Uh.  Let me explain.


I’ve been working on this quilt since May, but one step at a time.  That’s because it is a Block-of-the-Month program.  I’ve wanted to keep up-to-date on this project, but today did not go well.

This morning I got all the fabrics cut – that took all morning.  Then I had to prep the foundation papers, match up the first two patches, and – finally – started stitching after lunch.


Some how, somewhere in 36 seams, my bobbin thread apparently “jumped the track.”  From the top, everything looked OK, but as you can see on that piece in the center above, all was not running flatly – er, smoothly.


Notice the ripples?  The stitches (which are shortened to begin with), started pulling up.  It’s actually a nice gentle gather – if I was trying to do a gather.  More than half need to be ripped out and re-sewn.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the stitch length got smaller as it goes along, so ripping out the seams is no quick and easy task.  Sigh.

If anyone asks for me, I’ll be spending some quality time with my seam ripper.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Calceolaria

This one is completely new to me!  A South American plant, it is also known as Lady’s Purse, slipper flower, or slipperwort.  Also, the fabric version really looks a lot like the real thing!

As with so many of the flowers in this book, I start with a circle.


Then proceed with a little folding and a little stitching.


Before you know it, there is a Lady’s Purse.


Doesn’t it look just like a purse?  All it needs are handles!


The leaves gave me a bit of trouble, but that’s probably because I am not using silk ribbon.  The cheapo, organza type has a completely different look and feel.


By the way, that is really three shades of green!  Sometimes the camera has it’s own ideas about color no matter what I do!


Well, here it is – the first flower of Autumn.  In the US, the calendar says we are approaching autumn, but the weather is saying something else!  It’s HOT!  But I can think about cooler evenings while I work on these flowers.

I wonder what flower will be next.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday WOW–September 4

Back at the local quilt shop and more paper piecing.


I have one thing to say about foundation paper piecing . . . .



It is really, really messy!  Not to mention time consuming.  I started this particular block several weeks ago, and it still took me all of today to finish it.

Did I mention it makes a mess?  Yes, it does!


But, you know, it is really worth it!  This is Ariel, the Little Mermaid.  She’s the fourth Disney Princess I have  done.  I’m still undecided as to how many of these I will make.  I suppose I will keep going until I’m sick of princesses!

But that hasn’t happened yet.  Now to decide who to piece next . . . Snow White?  Tinkerbell?  Jasmine (Alladin)?  So many choices!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Rose Hortensia

I’m a bit confused about this week’s flower.  As near as I can tell, hortensia is another name for the hydrangea bush.  Nearly all the web pages I found that used that term, however, were in french so I may have missed something. 


Rose hortensia or hortensia rose also seems to refer to this lush pink color as well.  The hydrangea shrub originated in Asia, so I assume this is the correct flower for today.


This one begins with the ubiquitous circle, but this time with a smaller circle appliqued to the center.


Then a gathering line is made through a folded edge.  It is rather difficult to explain just how this is done, and just as difficult to illustrate!


It’s easier to understand from a finished piece.  The one on the left is from the back and you can see the gathered fold.  On the right you can see that the appliqued circle is “puffed” up in the center.


The fun part, however, was making a “garden fairy” to nestle among the flowers.  This is a classic type of chinese adornment, although usually made with silk ribbon.  What I had was chiffon!


Another fairy will join this one eventually, but these do take quite awhile to do.


The Summer garden is now full.  Over the next few weeks, I will come up with a final layout and add leaves and ornaments as appropriate.  Leaves and stems will help a lot to make this a pleasing composition.  Definitely needs more green!

Next week I will turn my attention to Autumn.  I love the colors of autumn so I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next.