Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wedding Stuff Prototypes

DD is getting married in May...I offered to make the ringbearer pillow and flower girl basket and since she likes stars, I said I would try to make them in star shapes...I finished the prototypes this evening...will have to see what DD thinks of them!

You have to imagine them in satin brocade...I just used some scrap material to see if the patterns would work out..so they are not even her colors..

First, I had to re-learn how to make a 5 pointed star out of paper for my pattern (yay Google!)...

The first ringbearer pillow I did was a flop..the points would not stay stuffed! and it was way too big..cut down the star pattern and made another one..this time I stitched each side of the star fabric to cotton batting..which when the seam allowance is poked into the points, makes them stay pointy..and the cotton batting seems to hold the polyfluff better..



This is the flowergirl basket..I only did one of these..and again, I think it may be a bit too big..On the real one, the outside will be satin brocade, the lining will be satin and I will probably use shiny rayon thread for the satin stitching. It does stand up on its own and I think its pretty cute! The bows should probably be bigger satin ribbon...and I think they may end up pink, as that is one of her colors...

Horsing Around...

A few weeks ago, one of the bloggers that I follow announced she had just gotten a new fabric line that she designed published..she had a little contest and I was chosen to recieve some of her very cute fabric to make a pillowcase...So...here is the pillowcase and if you guess that it's going to DGD, you would be guessing right! She has a LARGE collection of horsies..but so far, not a horsie pillowcase!



You can see the whole fabric line here. Isn't it just the cutest design?? It's supposed to be in Quilt Shops sometime in February in case you are interested in getting some for yourself..
I love the main panel! Have to see if DDIL would want me to make a wall hanging for DGD's room out of it:




Christmas Gifts and Cards

Here is one of the Christmas gifts I made this year..the number of folks that DH and I exchanged gifts with this year was cut down to just our kids..the rest of us donated to a charity and we had a marvelous Christmas Feast!

A little fleece pony that I made for my DGD:


And here are the Christmas Cards I made, I attached a Grany Star to the front of the card. The Grany Stars were all made with yarn and gold cording that came from MY Granny's stash that I inherited. All the materials for the cards were stuff I had on hand:





I put the following story inside of the cards..it's similar to one I read but that one was too long and not quite right for my purposes, so I wrote my own version:

The Christmas Star


One day there was great excitement among the stars in the heavens. God had called a meeting of all the stars to announce something 'Very Important'. Each of them polished their rays until they sparkled and made their way to the meeting room, from the biggest and brightest stars, to the littlest star.

God told them, "I am sending my beloved son to Earth to give comfort to all the people. I wish to announce his birth by sending a star before him. I am looking for a very special star."

Each of the stars, one by one, came before the Throne of God and told of their qualifications.

“I am the North Star," said Polaris. "I help guide the Men of Earth on their journeys over sea and land."

Sirius said "I am the brightest star. I shine on all the Men of Earth."

"I am the closest star to the Men of Earth" said Alpha Centauri.

The parade of stars before the Throne of God lasted for quite a while. Finally God asked, "Are there any more stars?" From the back corner of the room a little voice was heard. "Only me, Lord.'

The Littlest Star made its way to the front and kneeled before the Throne. "I am just a wee little star. I don't have any great qualifications, My Lord. My light is hidden behind the other brighter stars. But I would be honored to be chosen to announce Your Son. I humbly do Your Will the best I am able. Whatever You say I should be, I will be." The Littlest Star returned to the back corner.

The meeting room was still and quiet as the other stars thought about what the Littlest Star had said.

Then one by one the other stars approached the Throne. "Pick another, Dear Lord. I am not worthy of such a great honor." And one by one the stars returned to their places in Heaven.

Soon, only the Littlest Star was left. "Why did they all go?" the Littlest Star asked God.

'Because, " said God, "each of the others told of their abilities. You were the only one to have faith in my abilities. You will be the special star to show the Earth my glory."

And so God made the Littlest Star into a blaze of beautiful light, shining brightly over the town of Bethlehem. Below, the shepherds in the fields were amazed at the light and became afraid, until an angel of the Lord appeared and said "Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy. For unto us a Savior is born this night." The angel pointed to the bright beam of light and said "Lo, He is born in a stable in Bethlehem." And the shepherds gathered their flocks and went to see the newborn babe, guided by the light of the Littlest Star.

The Littlest Star, its job done, still shines humbly in the evening sky, its light hidden by the bigger and brighter stars. But it still remembers those wonderful hours when it got to be the most brilliant star in the heavens as a reward for having faith in God.

Susan Noonan 2009 inspired by ‘Heli, The Star of Bethlehem” by Harrison Woodard

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Making 'Terry Birds'

Terry Grant designed a pattern for some cute stuffed birds...the pattern was published in the Special Commemorative Edition of the International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene magazine that is in the bookstores right now...its a dilly of a price ($14.95!!) but I wanted the pattern for the birds, so I ponied up the bucks! There are a couple other cute patterns in the magazine that I might make too, so maybe it will amortize out..
The wings are supposed to be fused with heavy interfacing..but for my prototype bird I just used freezer paper!! I know the bird is not going to get washed, so it should be fairly safe! On the prototype bird, the beak did not turn out quite right..it's a bit off center (gives Mr Birdy a bit of personality!)..And I did not have any wire to make the armature for the legs that allows the bird to stand..so he just has a bit of fleece for wee feet peeking out at the bottom.

I ventured out early on Black Friday to get some wire and the brown floral tape to make the legs..then spent at least half an hour arguing with the wire but it finally was pliered into submission..and as you can see in the picture, the Blue Bird does stand - so..it must be close to right! If I end up making a few more of these - and I probably will  - I think I will build a jig for the feet.. The bird goes together pretty quickly after the legs are made and all the pieces cut out  - 'stash diving' and deciding on just which pieces of fabric to use can take up a bit of time though...'Oh look..that one is really cool..but this one is even cooler..no wait..THIS is the perfect combo'.

The standing bird was made as a present for my Mom, who loves fat birds (she is the reason I wanted to make this pattern) When I showed her the prototype..she thought the two birds together looked really cute..so they both are living on her kitchen counter!

I have some lovely batiks picked out for the next bird!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Midnight in the Pumpkin Patch




Here is a little doll quilt that I finished...I did the Fall Doll Quilt Swap on the forum as a Challenge (being a swap virgin...and not sure if I could meet the obligation of making and sending a doll quilt in the allotted time period)..I was pretty much right that it would be a bit too much while I am still working..if I did not have to burn some vacation time due to a policy change in the number of hours we can carry at work..I would still be in the applique stage and not done..'course if it had been simpler, that would have been better too!

But..it's done and I think it's pretty darned cute..WAY too involved though...It's an original design...I kind of went nuts with the number of green leaves and the tendrils..the original did not look THAT involved when I drew it! (deceptive, eh?)..If I had done it with fused applique instead of needle turn, that would have been faster as well..The tendrils, grooves on the pumpkins and the kitty's face are done with stem stitching..I managed to use up an entire skein of green embroidery thread!

The yellowy orange of the large pumpkin was the nastiest stuff to stitch thru (and of course, it had to be the biggest pumpkin!!) I was very glad when the quilting on that was finished! The others were softer hand dyes - no idea how or where I acquired the yellowy stuff though.. Batting is wool, which, with outline quilting, makes the elements seem a bit three dimensional. It's quilted with clear poly..slippery, tricky stuff to hand quilt with! But..I like the effect - it does not intrude on any of the colors.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Penrose Posey is DONE

Penrose Posey



started Feb 2005. Finished Sept 2009.

Its an interesting story behind how the Penrose came to be worked on. There was a discussion about using mathematical concepts as designs for quilts on one of the forums I belong to...one of the ladies posted a link to some mathematical quilts that she had found...I went and looked at the link and saw some really neat quilts. A group of us were working on the Giant Dahlia pattern at the time and I thought the Penrose Tile looked kind of like a different version of the dahlia.

I mentioned it to one of the ladies who promptly designed the two tiles in EQ5 (Penrose Tiles are made of just 2 shapes - a narrow dart and a fat kite) as an exercise to see if she could do it.

I meanwhile was doodling on a layout..and figured out what colors I wanted where - the medallion reminded me of a flower...

Of all the parts about quilting, I like cutting pieces the least (actually I detest it) so the lady that designed the tiles templates said she would do the cutting for me for a very reasonable fee! I sent the fabrics to her, she marked and cut out the tiles and shipped them back to me...all nice and neat little piles of kites and darts...

I sewed the penrose medallion together - I think it took just a weekend to do the hand stitching of the tiles, designed the vines, and appliqued the center to my background - this was the first time I had cut out the background on an applique - decided it would just be too much to quilt thru if that extra layer of fabric was still there... it was pretty nerve-wracking before I did it..but it turned out fine...

Eventually, I was finally able to track down the designer of the mathematical quilts on the above link! Her name is Pat Storey and she lives in England. Her mathematical quilts were published in a magazine...amazingly, I just happened to see the magazine (the store only had ONE copy!) and had to buy it!

There is a lot of info on the web about Sir Roger Penrose - an English mathematician...and his tiling designs.

It took 4.5 years to finish this quilt..the first time I started hand quilting it, I was using cotton batting..and it was a bear to get the gold metallic thread I decided to quilt with thru the cotton batting..ripped it all out and restarted with wool batting..much easier, but still a tricky business hand quilting with metallic thread..

Here is a closer picture..the gold thread is a little hard to make out..but it does sparkle in person.
The vines were made with a Clover bias maker..I used Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It to keep them in place..the tile buds and leaves had the seam allowances glued under as well (that was before I had learned to do needleturn!).
It feels good to get one of my really long outstanding UFO's done!
(but I still haven't made my Giant Dahlia yet!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Landscape Friends Round Robin Progress

These are the Landscape Friends Round Robin pieces that I have worked on:

Kim's:
Kim's was round 1 for me..I added the dogwood blossoms which were made of felt rickrack, clear beads, florescent green thread and shaded with aquarelle crayons. I also did the seam treatments on the sun.




Ami's:
Ami's was round two for me. I added the fence, the flowers on the fence and the ruts in the road.




Kathi's:
Kathi's is round 3 for me. I went kinda wild with adding seam treatments on this one..knowing that I was the last one and did not have to leave some for a next person...I added the antique tatted lace and braid, the starfish, the oyster stitching, the shells embroidery and the real oyster shell in the sand area. I added the blue fish, a dophin and the coral by 'broidere pierce'..added some beaded and fiber seam treatments in the ocean part.
Can't wait to see what MINE will look like when the ladies get done with it!

Autumn in Turtle Valley Finished

I quilted and quilted yesterday...and finished the quilting on 'Autumn in Turtle Valley'..today I put a hanging sleeve and a label on it..so it is truly DONE!

The design of the quilt was from a pattern by Kathie Alyce - I took a class from her called 'Down the River, Down the Road' at Road to California. I decided I liked the look of the inset trees she did on a different pattern, so I added the tree...I took the piece with me to retreat and Ellen encouraged me to actually be brave and CUT the top to put the tree in...Nyla gave me the border fabric (It's a Patrick Lose fabric)...and Sharon let me hunt thru her scrap bag for the fall colored batiks for the leaves...Thank you, my friends!





Here is a detail shot of the top of the tree:





Here is a detail shot of the river with the quilted outlines of the turtles:


Monday, March 23, 2009

How I Spent National Quilting Day

On Saturday, which was National Quilting Day, a group of my crafty friends got together to work on quilting (and knitting) projects..we had lots of fun..lots of good food and got a bunch done! We did not know it was National Quilting Day when we set the date..it just worked out really well!
Three of us are quilters and one prefers knitting..she does really nice knitting!
This was a mystery quilt from Road to California's Lakeside Mystery that got sewn together into the center of the top..it needs borders and then will get sent out to be quilted..I love how my friend put the calla lily in the black diamond (a 'design opportunity' as the teacher said)...I think this may be my favorite mystery quilt ever! It is so vibrant!
These are paperpieced arcs that another friend is working on... She took a Judy Neimyer class recently and learned how to do the curved arcs..I think they are turning out really beautiful.

This is one of the things I was working on...I am adding dogwood blossoms to the tree..This is a base that is being passed around in a Round Robin. I bought some felt ric-rac at the Coastal Shop Hop the prior weekend and its turning out quite nicely for the dogwood blossoms...I snip off two sets of two 'bumps' of the ric-rac, dab red Aquarelle crayon to make the pink, then the felt pieces are attached using crystal beads and lime green rayon thread...I need to do the other side of the tree and maybe add a few leaves..
The lady that is currently working on my base (the Tuscan Landscape) has put a vine with hundreds of silk ribbon roses on it coming out of one of the pots! It looks gorgeous!

I also added more seam treatments and some beads to 'Autumn in Turtle Valley' but it does not look that different yet! But..its getting there...I hope to get done with it by the end of the next month..

Sunday, March 22, 2009

and the answer is: Mulberry Trees!


We have identification of the mystery trees thanks to the guys on the Forestry forum...they are mulberry trees! Will have to see if we want to keep all of them as they can be invasive and the female trees which have the berries are kinda messy..BUT the fruit IS tasty! I remember a friend having a mulberry tree when I was growing up and we would come home with purple fingers and lips and drips all over our playclothes when the fruit was ripe.
I wonder if I should raise a couple of silkworms!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Autumn in Turtle Valley

Here's the progress so far..if you click on the picture it will open up bigger. I still need to stem stitch all the green leaves, add a bit more embroidery and some beads (clear ones in the river for bubbles)..not sure what else..maybe a bird in the sky...one of my GF's thinks I should accentuate the turtles in the green batik, but I am not sure what would look right...then I need to figure out how to quilt this!

Volunteer 'Trees' Are Blooming

There are little flowering buds on several of the volunteer 'trees'...I still do not know what these are...I was able to pull up one of the little ones without much effort... I am thinking I will have to take a branch to a nursery and see if they can tell me...Even if it is a weed, it's a nice looking weed..and unless it's poisonous, I think we might just let them grow...

Coastal Shop Hop

Yesterday, a group of us went on a 'creative crafting' shop hop - usually we just go to quilt shops on the big So Cal Quilter's Run..but this one had a bit of a different flair..there were a couple of quilt shops, a couple of bead shops, a couple of gifty type stores, a couple of yarn shops and one that had scrapbooking supplies too..

Most of the day we were hugging the coastline and it was quite overcast as it usually is at the coast in the spring...it was nice hopping weather! Not too cold, not too hot..and not too bright...

Starry Night Hollow...a very interesting Quilt Shop..in a house! The gardens around the house were so pretty, I asked if I could snap some shots...

Notice the gate in the picture..it has a quilt attached to the gate!


The poppies are starting to really bloom out around the freeways - these two shots were taken thru the car window as we were going down a freeway ramp (which is why they are a bit blurry):


I think there is some blue lupine mixed in there too...


At one of the shops...I found wool roving in a vast array of colors..the lady asked me what I was going to make with the wool and I said I wanted to try making some felted animals - she said 'I have just the book for you!' and indeed, it had to come home with me:

if you follow the link to Amazon, you can see more of the pictures inside the book..the animals are sooooo cute!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

First Picnic of the Season

DH and I ate our dinner out in the back yard today..kind of a picnic of sorts! We had little hot dogs with mustard, diet soda and steamed broccoli... The back yard is very green and trees are starting to leaf out.. the lemon tree is full of blossoms (and lemons!):


We are trying to figure out what this tree/plant is..its a 'volunteer' along with about 20 more of them in the back yard..they lost their leaves during the winter and are the first of the trees(?) to leaf out..right now they are about 15 feet high...so I don't think they are weeds (I hope not anyway)! Our best guess is some sort of oak..but if anyone knows for sure, please let me know...

They are directly under where the birds sit in the trees...
Neighbor's horse is enjoying the fresh air and has munched all of the grass he can reach from his stall...

The moonrise over the trees:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Arizona Retreat 2009 - Part 2

We had a grand time at there retreat..I worked on my string blocks for the Hearts Garden Quilt (its been in a few posts!)

Here are some sample blocks..


I THINK I am done with all of the blocks I need for the back and hopefully I can start working on putting the quilt together now..I need to design a quilting pattern and start tracing it, get some sashing strips cut (need to figure out if I have enough of the green fabric for the sashing left over), and lay out the back so I know which block goes where..

I also worked on the batik landscape that I made in a class at Road To California in 2008...I wanted to add a tree to the landscape..and that involved cutting the landscape..I have been putting off doing this for MONTHS! But..one of the ladies at the retreat encouraged me to 'just do it'...and so I did...another of the ladies gave me a wonderful strip of fabric for the border, and another let me dig thru her bag of scraps, looking for fall colored batiks to make leaves for the tree...I appliqued most of the leaves on the trip home. I have been working on embroidering on the seams as well...

Some of the fun stuff we did:
  • learned how to make cathedral windows blocks
  • one of the ladies taught a class on how to maintain your Featherweight sewing machine - she brought one that she auctioned off and another of the retreaters went home with a real treasure!
  • Patrick Lose, a fabric and pattern designer that lives in Arizona, came to be our guest speaker...you can read about his take on the retreat on his blog...
  • we had 'Secret Sisters' again this year...that was a blast again.. My SS gave me lots of wonderful goodies - including an organizer basket that I have wanted for a long time and lots of material and my very favorite tea (Stash Chai Spice)...I gave my SS (not the same person) batiks, a pink pincushion, a glass nail file, dark chocolates and a laser leveler (she said when she got home that she had to carefully explain to her DH that No, the leveler was NOT going to live in the garage, but in the 'forbidden room'!) In case you are wondering what possible use it could have for quilting, its used to square up large quilts...
  • Went shopping several times at the 3 Dudes Quilt Shop across the street
Here is what my workstation looked like..before the madness and flurry of activity started! It looked considerably less neat as time wore on!

Arizona Retreat 2009 - Part 1

Well..I am FINALLY getting around to starting to post about the retreat..it was a couple of weeks ago now!

I went with another lady that lives a couple of hours north of me..its much easier packing when you don't have to worry about overweight bags, seperating out the liquids and just how much you can haul around! I took way too much, as usual, but I did find a use for most of it! Fortunately I took a couple of extra tote bags..judging from prior years experiences..I knew I would need them..and indeed, they came back stuffed to the brim!!


On the way over, we did not stop much..but did see some cool cactuses and wildflowers in bloom..I posted on the forum as we were driving that we had seen them and Sophie asked if I was going to blog about them, so..when the driver needed a break, we stopped at a rest stop and I went running around, looking very 'tourist-y', snapping pictures of cactuses, wildflowers and trees! We got a few more shots on the way home...


















































































And, Old Glory, flying beautiful in the breeze!