Sunday, May 31, 2009

the kids

Madame Butterfly-

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Friday, May 29, 2009

hollie hobbie's tent

A quick project for a little friend inspired by Weekend Sewing-
The fabric screams 70's childhood, doesn't it? My friend, Kim, got this fabric when she inherited her grandmother's stash. Sadly, my hopes of getting her addicted to sewing have been dashed - for now.
Our girls were playing together a few weeks back and we got to talking about some of the large plastic toys we can't wait to purge. I'd recently found that Ellie and Trixie no longer want to play with the plastic playhouse behemoth that took up a lot of yard space. We found another family to love it and I promised something fun to replace it. What I had in mind were some fabric tents that would only take up space when they felt like playing with them.
Kim and I thought the same tactic might work with Tess, so I took some fabric home and got to work. This piece wasn't large enough to do the pattern as called for in Weekend Sewing (which is designed to accomodate a napping adult), but it worked just fine to house two preschoolers.

The modifications were simple and this easy version took about 20 minutes. I think the piece of yardage measured almost three yards long. I double folded hems on the raw edges and tucked 6 folded pieces of twill tape for loops into those seams - one at each corner and one in the middle of each seam. 2 more folded pieces of twill were placed in the center of the fabrics selvage edges. Those are the ones that have the twine attached to them to create the tent. The others were staked into the ground with wire hangers. I snipped the sides off with wire cutters (the part that already has a nice bend it) so that the prong lengths were even. Just slip them into the twill tape loop and push into the ground. The hardest part is finding spots that are the right height to anchor the twine. I think we'll be putting an eye hook into the side of the garage for the one I have in the works for Ellie and Trixie. I need to get busy on that because this one went home with Tess.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

subversive stitches

It's Thursday and I'm being thrifty in real life, just not here. Carol and I had some great finds yesterday (hoping for more today). We got so caught up in activity that I never got this posted.

Carol's in town to celebrate Jen's new book, Pretty in Plaid. We'll be heading to the Barnes & Noble on Clybourn for the Chicago signing this evening. I've done a little homage to Jen's favorite word in celebration of the new book. It's a bonus that the border compliments the book jacket. (Pattern from Subversive Cross Stitch)

When I finished, I really wanted to stitch one of my favorite words, but putting it up in my studio wasn't really appropriate with the kids and students down there on occassion. This will have to do. Plus, I can just fill in the blank with whatever's appropriate at the moment.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

dharma eco-bags

Long weekends totally throw me off. I keep thinking it's Monday - the day I meant to post these. That and I'm cleaning like crazy because Carol arrives tomorrow!!

Dharma Eco Bags - pattern by Serendipity Studios.
I'll be teaching this class in two weeks for those of you who are local.

This pattern is unlike any other tote I've put together. They're constructed like plastic grocery sacks with the same side pleating(which you can see a little better below). The handles open the same way as well. Pictured are the small size (good for a lunch which is why I put a coordinating napkin with the model), and the largest. It's HUGE. The medium is more of a standard plastic bag size. Both are lined.

Each tucks into the pocket on the front so they store very nicely. In fact, the pocket on the large size is roomy enough to tuck another folded down bag inside it.

No idea if I'll get around to posting tomorrow. I'll try to sneak one in between our thrifting and gabbing and me forcing her to go through my wardrobe to help purge stuff.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

tiny stitches

One of my goals this spring was to clear out unfinished projects. Actually, it was to finish up stuff before starting new stuff, but I didn't quite keep to the second part. Still, I have finished up some things that were started long ago.
Like this petit point:
It's about 3"x3". Started it before we had children (Glenn is 11). When I picked it up again, I remembered why I put it down. There are a million colors and the stitches are SOOO tiny. I could only work on it in natural light during the day. I plugged away at it for a few weeks when I went to quilting and finally crossed it off my list.
I had no idea what to do with it, so I put it in my pile of finished needlework that has to be turned into something or framed. As I was going through the pile, I spotted this one:

Just as small in size, but because it's done on aida cloth, it wasn't nearly as tedious to do - I don't know what year, but this one also predates the children.
I think I need to come up with a third and put them all in a small wall quilt. Any thoughts?
Also, the third would have to be done as a line drawing of a cottage done in split stitch or backstitch. Something fast and easy. I'd like it done before I have grandchildren.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

thrifty thursday

Recent finds:
I'm drawn to these tiny paper mache trays. No idea why. If I find enough of them, I think they'd look great together on a wall. The luncheon napkins get used by the girls and I during the day.
More buttons.

And wooden spools.
(Plus a cute little globe charm)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ironing day

The week is half gone. How did that happen?
I've definitely been working around here - either outside planting stuff (or sitting there looking at what I've planted and enjoying the warm weather) or in my studio.
This project was finished last week. New ironing board covers - three of them. The fabric was bought a few years ago and saved for something sewing related. As it turns out, it's perfect for the new direction I'm going in that room - neutral colors - whites, linen and black. The print has vintage patterns and advertisements on it.
This ironing board is the best one I've ever owned (from costco)- it's extra wide which is great for ironing fabric yardage or quilt tops and has a sleeve board for garment sewing. I'd made a new cover for it about a year ago, but one of the kids knocked the iron over (it was turned off) and the water in it ran out and bled the fabric dye all over. (Yes, I had prewashed and dried that fabric before using it for the project.) I also added more padding to the board with some quilt batting remnants this time.
This is the third board that got a cover. Jan passed this antique toy board on to us for the girls. After looking at it closely, I saw that it was padded well enough to really use it. I suppose back in the day, the toy ironing boards really did get used, not just as toys to be like mom, but to actually help with the chores. I also discovered that it's the perfect height to sit next to my sewing machine with the travel iron(not the one in the picture - that really is a toy) and use for pressing small blocks. Great for log cabin piecing where you have to press each piece before moving on to the next. The regular ironing board is across the room, not exactly an expidition to get up and get to it, but that gets old fast when you have to press every 30 seconds or so.
Jan, I promise the girls still play with it.

All of the board covers have a drawstring in them so they can come off for laundering.
I'm hoping I'll have more pictures of my space to show you soon. I've been working on it for ages and I just kept moving things around because it wasn't working yet. I think I've got a good arrangement now, but it needs paint, some design walls and possibly new curtains. Soon.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

the kids - ellie's recital

Hard to see, but she's there - playing "London Bridge" with all her heart.
She took a huge bow at the end and was so pleased with herself.

I think she liked the bouquet as much as she liked performing.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

thrifty skirt

Didn't get to post yesterday, but this one fits the "thrifty thursday" bill.
One of the women from my quilting group gave this away recently. It's a great vintage pillowcase, but it had seen better days.
I cut it just below that rip, added some fabric and chenille ric rac, made a casing for elastic and viola! A skirt for Trixie.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

peter and friends

Another practice piece doll quilt:
I played a little with different ways to make four patches and some fussy cutting.
Leftovers were used for the back and binding.

The free motion quilting was done using the tissue paper method. I sketched a typical Beatrix Potter vine (the ones she often used to frame things) and placed them vertically on the quilt. I now see the benefit of continuous line designs. This one had too many starts and stops in it to make it a good option for a larger quilt.

Still loving that lawn...
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Friday, May 8, 2009

in progress

I should be putting projects I've finished on here, but this picture has a background that thrills me to no end. My lawn!!! It's green and soft and full. All that work last spring - watering the seeds, turning into old lady MacGyver yelling at the kids to stay away from it - it paid off! Not much shows around the quilt, but trust me, it's there. I've been doing handwork out in the yard just to enjoy it. This might be the year I go from an inside sort of girl - to an outdoor girl.
The quilt - it's another doll quilt from Prairie Children and their Quilts. I really am planning to do every single one in the book. I wasn't kidding about it being an obsession.
The twist here is that I'm hand quilting it. I know, I swore I'd never do it again. However, since I've been going to the quilting group on Tuesdays, my interest has been peaked. I see all these women hand quilting week after week and I started thinking, "Maybe teaching myself was part of the problem. I'll bet it'd be a lot easier if I asked for a lesson." That's exactly what I did last Tuesday. Jan showed me how she did it. Elaine said not to watch her because she doesn't follow any rules(yet she turns out beautiful work constantly). Turns out Carmel was hand quilting for the first time(I'd have never known it). I think I'll pick a new spot each week to sit and observe. Before long I should be on my way.
Just watching Jan for a few minutes made a world of difference. What I've learned: It's okay to ditch the hoop, I need a good thimble(I've yet to find one that was comfortable to work with - right now I use those little stick on leather pads), the key to rocking the needle for me was to push the fabric on top down with another finger(I'm sure that makes no sense without a video - sorry).
This one is half done! It's hard to see because I'm quilting in the ditch.
Also in progress: My studio and my quilt.
This is a possible layout of fabric for the backing.

I've yet to put pictures of the studio up because it kept evolving. By evolving I mean that I kept taking over more space in the basement until I finally moved the kids out of the back part completely and claimed it all as my own. As I finish it up, I'll post pictures. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of the month. Carol is coming to visit and I want it in order for her.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

dan the dog

I promised Glenn I'd post this for him. He's been eyeing the projects in the Softies book for some time now. After seeing all the pieces involved in this one, he asked if he could use my machine to speed up the process (all his previous projects have been accomplished by hand sewing or with glue).
I'd be lying to say I wasn't nervous. I've had several women sew their own fingers in class, so the thought of a trip to the ER with him worried me a bit. Turns out I was completely off base. He had great control over the foot pedal and took the details nice and slow. (Let's hope he handles the gas pedal of the car the same way in 4 or 5 years.)
He edgestitched every bit of the face. (I put an open toe embroidery foot on the machine to give him greater visibility.) Because he was using felt, I thought he'd just edgestitch the body too, but he informed me that he wanted it to look neat and have "all that stuff" on the inside. A lesson in clipping curves followed.
There's even a personalized collar he made with more felt and a button, but that seems to have gone missing somewhere in his bedding.

I've been wanting the tree in that book. I think I might commision it.
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thrifty thursday

Recently our town had its "spring cleaning" day. That means you can put pretty much anything out on trash pickup day and it'll get hauled away without the need for extra stickers on it.
Chris calls it "The Great Crap Exchange" because we all check out each other's junk piles. In fact, the entire week stuff is put out on the curb and people from all over come through with pickups to garbage pick. (Poppy can attest to this phenomenon - I know it happens in her town too.)
I was restrained this year. Stray chairs seem to follow me home. This year it was just one. After a serious bath, this color came through.
It's a little rickety for me, but seats a hedgehog just fine(he came from a local garden center). It may hold a pot as the season progresses.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

crosses mourning quilt

I'm seeing a connection with the weather and blogging here - if it's nice I want to work in the yard and can ignore the computer for days. If it's rainy and crummy I want to hole up inside sewing and can ignore the computer for days. Seems the blog suffers no matter what the weather.
Plenty's been done around here, but I've yet to stop and take photos. Here's a little project that was given as a gift before I could take a picture and post it. It's from the time I started blogging when my addiction to doll quilts - specifically all the quilts in this book - began.
It's about 24 X 24. Machine pieced and quilted.

With any luck I'll get around to taking those pictures this week and put some fresh stuff up. There's another doll quilt in the works from that same book. The addiction continues.
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