Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Case of the Disappearing Day

I am always fascinated by people who seem to know exactly what time it is without any clocks in sight.  These people can wake up on time every morning without an alarm clock.  Sarge is one of those.  I am definitely not! 

Now, it seems I cannot even tell what day it is!  It just gets worse when the “routine” is interrupted.  Case in point – I seem to have lost Wednesday this week.  Actually, I’m not too sure about Thursday, either!  And don’t get me started on October!!!!


So, you’ve probably guessed I am trying to explain away this week’s WOW post.  I have two challenge projects that are due in November, so I thought I’d get started – on October 30!  One of them is a Christmas stocking for the local quilt guild.  I can’t show you what I did because I know at least one person from the guild reads this blog, but the challenge involved using that bauble fabric and a fabric to match the crayon.  Stretched my color sense a little bit, it did!


The other challenge is for doll club and involves using a specific pattern.  I cut out three of them.  Nothing to do with the challenge, but I wanted to see how different fabrics behave and this pattern is simple enough to work up quickly and still show any differences.


So far I have stuffed two and-a-half and you can already see some difference.  I haven’t decided how to dress them yet, but deadline time is getting close.

My goodness, if I am so adrift in time now, just imagine how bad I’ll be when we turn the clocks back this weekend!  Eeeks!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Littlest Dragon

I thought you might like to see how the little dragon turned out.


Is that cute or what?  Now to build an “environment” for him.  I think he needs a playmate.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Sea Holly

Sea Holly is one of the common names for the genus eryngium.  It looks a lot like thistle, but is not related to either thistle or holly!  Several types can be found in coastal areas, so it is easy to see where it got its name.
Here I have four flowers in the different stages of folding and stitching.  The smallest one is gathered on four sides and is ready for the last corner to be stitched.  I switched to button thread for gathering because there are a LOT of layers to go through! 
This is what it looks like with the gathering done.  I could have left it that way, but I decided I don’t like those “points” where the corners were.  It sits pretty high off the surface, too.  So, I did not cut the thread at this step, but used it to pull those points to the back by just tacking them near the center.
I used ribbon to make some “buds.”  I’m not sure about those yellow ones.  I may switch them out for more red ones, but they’ll stay for now.
While we are here on the design wall, let’s re-visit last week’s flower.
I was able to get some more flowers done and a few buds.  After some thought and a little more research, I think this is more likely meant to be a hollyhock (genus alcea) or at least a member of the same Family.  Which means that neither one of these flowers with “Holly” in the name have any relation to the holly I associate with the winter holidays.  Go figure!
Not that it matters what these flowers are called, of course!  The winter garden is beginning to take shape.  There’s still plenty of room for more.  I wonder where next week’s flower will take me?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday WOW–October 23

I have so many half-finished projects right now, I have trouble choosing what to work on.  So, what did I decide to do today?  Why start a new one, of course!


Not completely new, come to think of it. I had started cutting out the pieces a couple of weeks ago.  But really, there are so many other projects that could be finished in just a few hours. 


Nevertheless, this is what I felt like doing and the hours I spent on it today were not wasted.


Now this project is half finished, too!  Next steps are to construct the bag’s lining, and then join it to the bag.  It will get zippers and handles and go into the DONE category. 

But for now, my list of half-finished projects – UFOs, PHDs, PIGS, what-have-yous – has just grown by one!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Holly Hock

The first flower for Winter is the Holly Hock – and already I’m lost in the botanic files!  You see, my first assumption was that this flower was hollyhock.  If you do an internet search for holly hock (two words), this is what you get:File:Hollyhock - Kolkata 2011-02-25 1734.JPG
However, the flower I made today clearly has only four petals.  The main factor, though, is that it blooms in winter.  Hollyhock (genus Alcea) is a summer bloomer.File:Hollyflowers.jpg
So perhaps this is actually a variation of holly (genus Ilex) which is an evergreen.
Ah, but this is a pretend garden, and does it really matter?  Let’s get to the fabric version, which starts with a square.
Here you can see that I’ve gathered the corners and three of them have been rolled and tacked to the center.
This is what it looks like with all four corners rolled and the center fabric pushed to the front.  That’s a lot of fabric!
The center is now gathered and tucked.  Much better.  I don’t think it looks very flower-like, though.  So I tried things a little differently with the second one.
Yes, I like that one much better!  The center isn’t done in this photo, but it already looks more like a flower that would brighten a winter day.
Now there are two flowers.  But that is all I had time for today.  I know, it seems a shame to stop just as I figure things out.  There was a bit of a delay in getting started.
The last couple of weeks have been very busy and the bits of time I grabbed in the studio were rushed and left no time for clean-up.  So when I walked up to my worktable this afternoon, I was greeted with this:
I KNOW there’s a table under there!  Tidying up took quite awhile, especially when I kept getting side tracked!  There were some real treasures buried under there!  Maybe I’ll have time to show you some of them this week.
And I will make time to get some more holly hock flowers done, too!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday WOW–October 16

It seems like it has been quite awhile since on this project.


Foundation paper piecing once again.  It seems to be habit forming!


And it really makes a mess of things!


There must be a way to do this without accumulating piles of scraps that are too small to use for anything.  I haven’t found it yet.


But the end result is soooo worth it!  One more eye and this “princess” will be ready to join the others.  I am really enjoying this project.  I wonder what paper pattern I can find for after this one is finished?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Serendipity Sunday - Waratah

This is a flower my Australian readers are sure to recognize. 
In fact, I understand it is the State flower of New South Wales.  It’s definitely a colorful bloom!
To make a fabric version required making pleats.
It’s easier to see the pleats – both horizontal and vertical – in this photo of the back.  Each pleat is stitched on the back to hold the shape.
Then the finished shape is stitched and the stitching serves as a guide for applique.  I matched the thread on the other pieces – this one was so the stitching can be seen in my photos.
I’m not ready to applique the flowers onto my base fabric yet, but for this one I tacked the edges under so we can see the finished shape. 
Just as a small side trip:  this looks an awful lot like something I saw at the zoo in Omaha.
I don’t know what kind of tree this is, although I’m pretty sure it is NOT waratah.  But, doesn’t it look a lot like my pleated fabric version?
Back to today’s project.  Here are three blooms folded, pressed, and pinned.  I have two more ready to press and, of course, will have stems and leaves to cut eventually.
Here is the very crowded Autumn garden.  It’s a good thing this is the last flower in this season!  I need to get busy and finish Summer and then come up with a pleasing arrangement for this one.
Next time I will start with the Winter garden.  Not that I’m anxious for winter itself to arrive.  I can wait for that!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wednesday WOW–October 9

If all goes according to plan, I am enjoying a couple of days in Omaha, and this post will actually appear on October 9!  If all goes according to plan . . . .
I thought I would show you what I’ve left on my worktable ready to work on when I return.
I seem to always have multiple projects going at once.  Partly due to a very scattered thought process!  But also partly to a dislike for waiting for things to dry!  The only way to keep from fussing with paint or clay before it is ready is to start working on something else!
Little Norbert, for example.  I’ve been working on him for months!  Each layer of clay needs to dry overnight before moving on to the next detail or layer.  And he had to be fitted to his little “cage” at each stage to make sure I could still get him in there!  AT LAST, he is ready to paint!  Green, I think, with perhaps some yellow gold.
And this piece has been waiting patiently to get started on the clay.  It will need to move forward because I’m scheduled to make the head in a class starting next week.  Hurry!
And then there is sewing this bag.  All the pieces are cut and most of the notions are gathered.  I don’t expect the actual sewing will take very long.  The trick will be to START!
Oh dear!  That looks like a lot of work.  I’d better get lots of rest in Omaha!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–China Aster

This ornamental flower is native to China – hence the name – but is cultivated as a garden annual nearly world-wide.  And a very pretty flower it is!
The fabric version begins as a circle, but this time in a single layer.  A triangle of another color – also a single layer - is centered on the circle.
The circle is then folded into a tuck over the triangle’s raw edges.
All three tucks were blind stitched to achieve this shape.  Ignore that extra crease – this shot was taken before pressing!
The outer edge is gathered as in making a yoyo (or suffolk puff, as it is known in some areas) with fiberfil stuffed in before pulling the gathers tight.
Here are four finished flowers.  The plaid one only has the tucks partially stitched which resulted in a less tidy ball.  Not better or worse than the others – just different!
The fun part of today’s stitching was this little dragonfly.  The body and wings are turned and stuffed which can be challenging.  Happily, I have experience in turning tiny doll fingers so this was reasonably easy for me!  I do think he’s cute and I believe he will need some friends in this garden.
The leaves have quite a bit left to do, but that will have to wait until the garden is full.
Well, it’s pretty full now, isn’t it?  But there is one more flower before we move into the next season.  Yes, the little dragonfly will definitely need some company.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wednesday WOW–October 2

After a short interruption, I was able to get back to one of my paper piecing projects today.


Working in assembly line fashion is very different from the way my princess project progresses.


I think I prefer doing each step only once, but I must admit there is a certain satisfaction in seeing all the blocks lined up ready to go.  It’s nice to see some signs of order in the universe!


And when the last seam is sewn, there are 36 perfect pieces all alike!  This is what one block will look like when they are stitched together.  The next step is basting them all to the hexie templates.  I did the last set while riding in the car.

Time for another road trip!