As a courtesy to me and the universe, please speak to me before you copy or transcribe anything from this blog for profit- my work may be unpublished but it is of value to me, and if you are using my ideas to profit, hey, I want my cut of it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stippling Along

Where has the summer gone? I have to say that this has been the first true summer in a long time in Calgary. Warm days and nights, barely any rain, after the deluge in June. It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to the early sunrises and the temperatures are falling in the evenings. And yesterday, true to form, there were strong winds, as if to rattle the leaves off trees. In our part of the country, the predominant tree is the poplar, which go golden and shed very quickly. No doubt, I have seen patches of gold amongst the trees and it won't be long now that they will blossom gold and shed. Time to programme my daylight alarm clock as I am sure I will find it difficult to wake up without the sunlight.

I have been quilting more since my last post. I was struck by a tree quilt I saw posted on my wanderings and have pinned it on Pinterest and I wanted to attempt a quilt to see if I could do it. My friend Stephanie just had a little baby girl and so I made one for her. Fortuitously, I had picked the right colour (brown, with the pink heart) and when I saw she had green curtains, I picked green for the binding. She loved the quilt and I hope baby Gabrielle loves it too. It is backed with a fleecy baby blanket I got from Ikea. Making the free form lines of the " bark" on the "tree" was relatively easy and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I did break three needles in a row when quilting this but I figured it was just me pulling and tugging impatiently and once I became aware of this, I stopped breaking needles. The heart is appliqued on and embroidered the name and dates in a chainstitch.

I also was inspired to make my very own Hudson Bay blanket quilt. To actually buy a wool one would cost an arm and a leg. I wanted to practice more free motion quilting so I bravely cut into my kona snow and went with a large off white expanse with just the iconic stripes, although the blue is not quite right as it needed to be more navy. I really love the look. And my free motion quilting is still a little stilted but I am learning. My stippling is very stilted and I can't seem to make the "Twosies" and "threesies". I need to practice plenty more times. Since this blanket is for me, I really don't care if the quilting is off. I still have to bind it but managed to FMQ in a day. The biggest thing I learnt from this is to check the directionality of the print of the backing before pinning everything together since I discovered it is upside down after I started quilting. Ack!! I think I shall bind it with some gray fabric so it doesn't distract from the starkness of the off white. I have recently been inspired by first nations teepees and may attempt more quilts with very graphic images and more solid colours. I think I am slowly venturing into what is known as modern quilting!

I am pleased that I am using my new sewing machine more and am using it for what I got it for- free motion quilting. I have questioned my choice from time to time as I do think the new machine is a little advanced, with all the fancy stitches that I will most likely  never use but I may surprise myself and attempt to work with these fancy stitches after all. Now, let's hope the stipes are colourfast as I took a chance and did not prewash the fabric before sewing them all together.  In hindsight, all that white is begging to be stained any colour and not all the fabrics were quilting cottons since I have a perchant for shopping in the discount section. I am going to tack some colour catchers to the quilt when it goes for it's first wash, just in case.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer doings

I know it has been ages since I posted. Call me lazy. I have not been paper crafting much lately. My obsession with quilting has deepened and I recently bought a new sewing machine so that I can free motion quilt.  I am not convinced I like it any more than the old machine, which incidentally isn't all that old to begin with. The new machine, a Husqvarna Sapphine 835 does seem to have lovely features like needle down and up as well as the reverse button so I can sew forwards and backwards with a touch of the button but more importantly, I can free motion quilt (FMQ) with ease since it has a FMQ setting which the old machine did not.

So, I am finally done hand quilting the Pink Quilt. I was lucky enough to have a lovely spot to take my pictures- was out by Millarville at a friend's place and she had a lovely yard with a rail fence.

The handstitching was a long haul process. Am so glad I know can FMQ from now on.

I had also put together another quilt using some oriental fabrics squares I had picked up from Pat Borecky. I need to find the lady and buy many more since I am in love with the quilt and want to make another one to keep for myself.

The other quilt is a baby quilt I but together using Tim and Beck's Bungle Jungle charm pack. I did it to practice my FMQ and alls I have to say is I surely need the practice!

My mistake was quilting so closely and so the quilt is somewhat stiff. Maybe it would have been better if I had used a fleece backing but I only wanted to add one variable at a time to my FMQ journey. I want to set myself up for success since I wasn't having much luck with FMQ, even on the new machine.

 One step at a time, right?
Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

In progress

My pink and brown quilt in progress. Outer border attached- check. Backing and batting attached-check. I am in the process of hand quilting the quilt. Sigh. It is going to take forever since I am also quilting words in some of the blocks. I really need to get started on learning how to machine quilt. I have everything except the extension table.

I also got some doggie stamps and made the greyhound card. It is chasing an envelope. I am just editing this to say the greyhound doggie stamp is from

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Work in Progress

So, these are a few of the things I have been working on lately. I was in a Pennant Swap with some crafty friends. Of course, I left it to the last minute and my muse was slow in coming. I have seen the work of my swapmates and they are a supercreative bunch so I can't wait to see what I get back from them.I just hope that they like my efforts as much as I like theirs.

I also went back to a quilt I started before Christmas- the pink quilt. It was a fat quarter pack I had picked up and it was mostly from the Moda line Aviary and I thought it would go together nicely but much to my horror, I didn't much like the combination together because it was too busy. I decided I was going to separate out the blocks with a brown border, except I kinda ran out of brown border. As you can see from the picture, I kinda have some of the border in. Went back to the quilt store but found out they have run out of the colour. Lesson learnt- always make sure you have enough material to execute your design!! I still have enough to finish the inner borders but may need to look to a different colour for the outer border. My flash isn't working so well- either that or the quilt looks a lot more pink to me in real life. All in all, I am not in love with this quilt but maybe that comes later as I work on it. Maybe I will have the courage to machine quilt this one. So far, I have been handquilting my quilts. But I did pick up a darning foot and am fast running out of excuses to start machine quilting. Even if it is just random filler loops. I apologize for the formatting- I am having issues with Blogger and it is driving me crazy.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer doings

Sigh. Summer has come and gone. The days are getting shorter, and we've already experienced frost, although this past September has been spectacularly warm. I've had to finally concede and turn on my furnace since it has been 14oC indoors on a couple of occasions.

I've had two wonderful produce from my non existent garden this year- rhubarb and golden raspberries. The rhubarb, I turned into rhubarb syrup to make a drink called Foxy Lady. You basically stew your rhubarb in water and sugar then strain out the pulp. The syrup you mix with some lemon juice, and stir in club soda or sprite or seven up. I used the reserved pulp to make rhubarb cupcakes, which were tangy like lemon cake but had a funny grey colour (I had mixed rhubarb pulp with white cake mix). Next time, I tint the cake mix- lesson learnt.

The golden raspberries were such a novelty since I had never seen them before. They were pale, like bleached out raspberries and was not as tart. In fact, they reminded me of biting into little peaches...they had a nectary quality about them although were not cloyingly sweet. Apparently they don't keep too well, so they aren't something you'd find in the store. Had I not noticed some ripe rasperries on the tarmac in the back alley, I would not have known the raspberries were ripe and ready as they looked albino.

I have also been working on cards and miscellaneous ATCs for a small group swap. The stamped image is from Magenta. I went crazy with my H2O paints by Luminarte, which are basically mica based water colour paint.

I also finished a baby quilt. I am well pleased with the result as I had attempted a whirlygig pattern and they turned out lovely. I hand quilted it as well. Much easier than attempting to machine quilt, the bane of my existence. I hope the recipients will like it since I do Love how it turned out and could see making a full sized lap quilt with this pattern. My saddest thing is I could not place my custom label on the back since I had used a fleecy backing and I cannot iron on my label onto it so I left it off. Sigh.

I have also been gripped by Hexie fever. What is that, you ask? it is a nasty virulent fever that once it takes grip, gives you delusions of grandeur as you dream about feverishly creating the hexies. So, it is a more traditional form of patchwork. It is also known as English Paper Piecing or Grandmother's Flower Garden. You cut millions of millions of templates and tack or baste the material to it. Then you hand sew, (yes, hand sew) the patterns together. I started with the flower pattern and as I started sewing everything together, my dream of making a queen sized quilt dwindled down to maybe making a small cushion. I am going to aim for a lovely lap quilt size but am resigned to the idea that it may take several years of this to get to it. I will need to make hundreds of hexie flowers, not to mention the white hexies that separate the flowers.Never mind, though. It is a portable hobby and it will help me hone my patience and persistence. Hah!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The wonderful dresses, at last.

I finally found the time and had the inclination to photograph and upload the pictures from my Dressform swap. Our hostess Deb, was the most fabulous hostess ever. She really put in a lot of effort to ensure we loved our returns. More importantly, Deb had the strength to return all the fabulous dressforms to us as well. I had seen the display of the dressforms in her fantabulous Ikea curio cabinet and I honestly don't know if I would have been able to return all the lovelies. Hats off to Deb.

First off, Deb's wicked hula creation. She created this lovely hula girl, meticulously making her lei from numerous punched flowers. She also flocked the "coconut shell" bra as well as hand made her grass skirt, patiently inserting the beads at the top of the grass skirt. Deb Moon is amazingly creative and patient! When I parted the grass skirt, lets say she is anatomically correct ;) with a little cowrie shell and pearl. I laughed hysterically by this time, I had had the dress forms for months and only discovered this when I was placing the lovely dress form into a shadow box for display.

Next up is Claudia's mysterious moon goddess dress form. I love the simplicity of the dress form. The is a delicate placement of the rhinestone jewels on the hem of the skirt.
The hanging bead in the heart cutout adds to the piece as it dangles freely for the moon to gaze on.

I was lucky enough to also receive the lovely work from my friend Susan (Suji). I know it is rather macabre, the head, and the bloodied knife. But I love how it all came out. I love that the neck is bloodied. Susan pays such attention to detail and she also has a great sense of humour. The hair is great and the dyed muslin is very appropriate as it lends a soft and dusty air to the dress form. Art doesn't have to just be pretty. It can also be thought provoking and this is why I love this piece.

I also received a return from Paulette. Her work is stunning. She had done themes for her dresses and attached price tags to all of them. The dress I received was a lovely hot little number. Red happens to be my favourite colour and the dress is also glittery. I would never be brave enough to pull this dress off but I love it nevertheless. Did you notice the little glam purse that matches the dress?

On the back, there is a quote. "When in doubt, wear red". My favourite part is the lovely tramp stamp that you barely see peeking out at the base of the dress. Paulette, I love your attention to detail.

Dena is an amazing artist. Her creativity knows know bounds. When I saw her dress form, I was hoping I would be the lucky recipient of it. I love nuns and I love how she created this masterpiece. And the quote by Mother Theresa is apt and beautiful. Dena carefully layered the dress form with torn vintage print and coloured it delicately as well. I love my dress form more than you will ever know, Dena.

Lara is a good friend of Dena's. I was blown away by her work. I called it the Iron Maiden dress. All silver and black, it is dark, brooding and futuristic. And it resonates with me. Lara is a trifter and the dress form came wrapped up in a vintage doily. Lara also decorated the back of the dress form with a cool velvet sticker which continues on the theme. Her other work were just as stunning and also vastly different.

Last, and certainly not least, I received a return from Lolita Sue. Her dress is vintage and gorgeous. From the fabric ribbon rose, to the bejewelled flourishes, she shows me that brown does not equal drab. The velvet ribbon hem and the hints of green highlight the loveliness of the dress form in a way only Susie can illustrate.

I feel very lucky to be part of the dress from swap. My friends honour me with their best work and am indeed blessed.

I purchased shadow boxes and will proudly be putting my received artwork on display.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Busy beaver

I was reminded gently by Nancy that I hadn't posted anything on my blog recently. Yes, I *have* been lazy. I received back the dress forms from the swap I participated in. They are super fantastic and I will try and post them on my blog. I think I was waiting for permission from the owners of the dress forms to share their work. Meanwhile, I shall post some card samples I had made for my dear friend who is getting married later this year. Since it is a fall wedding, I went with some earth tones. Specifically, I used Stampin' Up!'s Cajun craze as a base and a vanilla or ivory for the contrast. I have since changed my mind and want to use Curious metallic cryogen white, which has a very subtle shimmer as it has mica impregnated in the paper. tracking down those babies has proven harder that I thought as they are selling at 1$ a piece and I am convinced I can get them cheaper if I buy them in bulk.
Without further ado, here are the samples.

Clean and simple. The tree is from the set very Versatile (Stampin' Up!).
The bride and groom liked this card but it was more suited to the usual card size and not the long card, which is what they wanted.

I love leaves! This set is from Stampin' Up! Not sure where the set is so cannot verify the name just yet but I have hoards of leaves stamps. I really like clean and simple as well and this card embodies that.

I had to do it. I am in possession of a Stampin'Up!Owl Punch and I had to make a pair of owls although i told the bride and groom that no way was I making 240 fiddly owls (especially with the veil!!) as much as I loved them. The branch stamp is from Amuse Art Stamps.

I saw a really cute card made with this punch from Martha Stewart on the Memory Box website and thought it would make a whimsical wedding card.

I liked the sentiment but the groom wanted no sentiments. Stamp set is French Foliage (Stampin'Up!)

I really like this card. It is a bit more contemporary than the traditional card. The birds were from a Chinese set by Kodomo Design. Not sure where the set is to verify name of the set right now- the set had a stylized chinese pagoda scene typically seen on blue wedgewood china plates- very cute!!

I believe the bride and groom finally settled on a variation of this card. Silly me, I didn't take a picture of the other card. It has leaves just in the bottom left corner and the cream isn't as pronounced since I used off white instead of the poison ivory I used in this card.