Monday, September 26, 2011

Chocolate Festival Quilt

The Chocolate Festival quilt is 99% complete. I have just a little hand quilting to add here and there to highlight the different parts of it. It will be a doorprize at the Chocolate Festival for the Soul which takes place at Krum First United Methodist Church this Saturday.

Many thanks to Debbie who has a long-arm quilting machine and for all the help with the appliques, etc.

I think it turned out well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Autumn Arrangement

Just a quick update. Tonight we're going to hear the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at the Bass Hall. Can't wait. They'll be playing The 1812 Overture as well as Holst's The Planets. Okay, the only way I know The Planets is from an Inspector Lewis PBS program from a few weeks ago. But what I heard of it sounded great.

Regarding the picture above, I made this today to use in staging photographs with an autumn feel. The height of the arrangement is around 1 inch - I think it's hard to tell from the photo. The pumpkin-looking vase is actually a bead that I painted with 2 colors of orange, a little brown for highlights ... or is it lowlights? .... and then a nice glossy finish. The flowers are all made from teeny punches of handpainted paper (handpainted it myself this morning).

All in all, I'm pleased. I think it will serve me well almost to Thanksgiving. Sometime in early November I'll switch to a Christmas themed arrangment.

Poinsettias? Or a tiny Christmas tree?

Monday, August 15, 2011

August Update

Sorry it's been so long. As usual, I've got more projects going than I can shake a stick at. Here are a few (in no particular order).

Nursery sheets for the church.

They asked me to make sheets for the nursery "cots", so I used some flannel I've had in my stash for several years. I'm not absolutely sure what project I had in mind when I bought this fabric, but I was glad I had it available for this project. I think they're cheerful.

Chocolate Bliss Quilt for the church.

Every year we have a Chocolate Festival at the church with proceeds going to missions. Since several of the ladies were interested in creating a sewing group, I thought this would be a fun project with which to start. I got the pattern here. So far the project is going well. The Festival is in October, but I'd like to have the quilt finished by the end of August. .... Reality check. It's mid August already! Oh well, with many hands working on the project, perhaps we won't be far off the mark.

Miniature paper "porcelain" pitchers.

I found the pattern and directions here for the miniature paper pitchers/watercans I make. Until recently, I was painting the pitcher with acrylics and doing a whitewash. I was pretty pleased with the result.

But I was looking at some of the Incredible vases and pitchers at Une Petite Folie ...

and it made me wonder if I could make my simple paper pitcher look more like porcelain. I used vintage plates as a starting point for my "porcelain" pitchers.

I've been experimenting (see picture below) ... the rooster needs to be smaller ... I want to print on both sides so that the interior has the same base color as the exterior (this involves some nit-picky concentration to get it right) ... I want to find the right finish for the project so that it has a porcelain sheen (the four on the left have clear nailpolish and the one on the right is just untouched paper). But, I think I'm on the right path.

And those are just some of the things I've been busy with.

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Improved Roses

Just a quick blurb. The roses in the previous post were made from tissue paper using something I'll call method one. Basically a long, skinny strip of tissue with one deeply scalloped edge that is wound around and glued to the wire base. The petals are shaped using tweezers and then I used a felt tip pen applied very carefully to the edges to give additonal definition.

The roses in this post were made with method two. I used a very small flower punch on lightweight paper to make the petals (they have to be cut apart which is a bit of a pain in the patoot.) Then using tweezers, I glue each individual petal to the base wire, overlapping as I go. Before it's completely dry, I shape the petals. After it's completely dry, I use watery acrylics to tint the petals. In this case, I used very pale pink, pale pink and pale yellow to get the realistic colors.

The vase is a metal bead I painted pale blue and then whitewashed.

I'm pretty pleased with the results. I'm still trying to decide if I want to carry this as a product in my shop. Although I enjoy making them, I'm not sure how I'd feel about putting this into production for sale. The jury is still out.

In the meantime, I think I'll work on yellow roses and a white vase next.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lovely roses

Just a quick look at what I've been doing this morning. I made a miniature paper pitcher with roses! It's a first for me and I'm pretty pleased with the results. I learned the technique for the roses here and got the tutorial (with pattern) for the pitcher here. Although I don't understand a word of the tutorials, the pictures are all you really need.

I painted the pitcher a soft blue, waited for it to dry and then did a very thin whitewash. For the roses, I started with pink tissue paper and then touched up the edges of the petals with a pink marker. I put a few grains of rice in the bottom of the pitcher to keep the roses in place.

It wasn't that difficult to make pitcher ... or the roses. It took a little time to get the hang of it on the first rose and then the others were much easier.

All in all, I'm pleased.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The UGLY

Only have a moment - busy busy busy. But I wanted to share a few pictures of the things I've been working on. The good, the bad AND the ugly.

First, an update on what I've been doing. I created a bunch of teensy embroidery designs for miniature pillows. I made the pillows with fringe around the edge, because it's easier to make them that way and I think they look more elegant with fringe. I've done way-doggies more designs than are pictured below. I'll be putting them in the shop real soon.

I've also been making sheet sets, bedpillows and quilts ... basically it's a mini bed-in-a-bag. I created embroidery designs based on traditional quilts and then embroidered the design onto the little quilt "blanks". Originally I planned to stitch the design in white thread on a patterned fabric ... gingham or a tiny print ... but after I did my test stitch-out using colored thread on white cotton, I decided I like that also. I think it looks fresh. So, I'll be offering it both ways - white with a colored quilting and patterns with white quilting.

Now for the good, bad and really, really ugly.
Recently I've been experimenting with making miniature lace tablecloths. Last year I crocheted 2 tablecloths (making up the pattern as I went) and it took me several hours for each. I certainly couldn't list these in my shop for a reasonable price, so I started looking for a way to produce something similar using my embroidery machine. Ah, a QUEST!

Anyway, I took a "free-standing lace (FSL)" online class in the hopes I could modify it for my miniatures. The short version of the class is this: you start with water-soluble-stabilizer, build a grid of stitches and then apply the design to that grid. Here's my result. Looks a lot like cheesecloth, huh? The scallop stitches around the edge fell out as soon as I rinsed the stabilizer out and the grid separated into just a bunch of loose stitches. On top of that, the design is completely lost in this mess. UGLY!

My next attempt was a quickie test. I used standard embroidery stitches on tulle. Although this looks better, the tulle is so fragile that just rinsing the stabilizer out makes it feel like it's going to tear. BAD!

This is my first semi-successful attempt and I'm pretty pleased with it as a starting point. It's the same design as ugly (above) but the stitches are modified slightly and they're applied to organza (plus stabilizer). After stitching it out, I clipped the organza very close to the scalloped edging, applied fray check (because organza frays easily), let it dry and then rinsed the stabilizer out. All in all, I'm pleased! I think it's pretty GOOD!

My next creative effort will be table runners and doilies. Then I think I'll move on to lacy hats and corsets. Another QUEST!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wintry Mix

Texas has been hit pretty hard with winter weather. Last week we were in the 70's (we had a lovely Saturday at the lake).

The last few days we haven't been able to get out of the teens. And since I live way out in the country, I can't even depend on the traffic to make the roads better. I haven't been out of the house for several days and DH has been working from the house (his estimated commute during this bad weather was 2+ hours each way).

And what have I been doing? I'm working on miniature stuff again. I'm hoping to re-open my shops soon, so I'm working on inventory.

I only have a couple of pictures for you, but I'm pretty pleased with my results so far. (Please ignore the peach rug -- I was just checking out the whole effect and didn't have the correct color on hand). I used tiny gingham ribbons (50 cents a roll on close-out at JoAnn's fabric) to decorate the sheets & pillow cases and then I digitized a design for my embroidery machine for the stitching on the pink gingham quilt (made from an upcycled shirt).

In this picture you can see the quilting stitches a little better. Boyz howdie do I need to spend some time with my camera instructions so I can get close-up shots.

I don't think I'll get cabin fever anytime soon since I have so many projects to keep me busy. On the other hand, I'm running low on flavored coffee creamer. This could be a problem!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Checking in

I've been silent for almost a month, so I thought I'd check in. I was soooo busy during the Christmas season that I didn't post any of my December projects, so I thought I'd post a couple of them now. I know you're probably ready ... ready ... READY for Christmas to be long gone, but please bear with me.

This is a bracelet I made for a niece who lives in New York. I bought a silver "blank" bracelet from Michaels and added crystals in 3 colors and real pearls. I like it so much I may make something similar for myself. And for those who are familiar with the Walk to Emmaus, this would lend itself very well to a De Colores bracelet. The long links make the crystals move a lot. It's kind of flirty and fun.

I also made some "crystal" ornaments. I bought a box of big plastic crystals from Target and then used small real crystals and beads from my stash to finish it off. These really sparkle on the tree.

I used different colors, shapes and varied the lengths.

This last picture shows how eclectic my tree is. I made the snowman about 12 years ago. He looks really happy to be sitting next to a pretty crystal ornament.

Ginger, aka Number 6, wanted a picture of the appliances after installation. Although I still haven't done that, I did take a picture of Mark & Andy making buckeyes (recipe from Aunt Ginger many years ago) and rum cake in my new-ish kitchen. We still have several projects to go including (but not limited to) new counters and new flooring. Those projects are next on the list. My new appliances are like jewelry for my kitchen. HA!

I ran across these cookies here and just had to share them. I am SO on a diet right now, therefore I won't be making and/or eating any of these lovelies, but I really enjoy looking at them in all their melted snowman glory.

Now for the final update. I've been looking for MONTHS for new bedding for the master bedroom. DH and I have different tastes ... I tend toward slightly girly and he tends toward very masculine and tailored. Trying to find a compromise has been difficult, but we finally did it. Last weekend we checked out Tuesday Morning and found a Ralph Lauren set in the right colors and we both loved it. These pictures show my olive sheets folded back onto the comforter, but you get the idea.

Although it's floral, it's paired with a glen plaid in corresponding colors, which makes it please both of us.

Love, love, love having new bedding.