Saturday, July 30, 2011

Children Cross Stitch and Bead: Moving time is here

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     Keeping the grandchildren busy will be interesting. For the moment, they are at the pool and diving off the board. I had picked up a cross stitch sampler kit for Hannah and a purse of glass beads for Erika. Both were busy and content for hours. Last night I showed Hannah a book of samplers made by little girls and the kit says cross stitch goes back to Egyptian times. I suggested she do one letter to see if she should wait a year until she is 8. But she found it easier than I did. Erika whipped out a lot of rings and bracelets, but stepped on her needle. She wasn't crazy about needles before this and is less so now!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fabric Bookmark: birthday follow-up

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    The birthday week is past. How wonderful that Trilla sent me a box of very appropriate cards that made writing thank you notes fun.
     I wanted to insert a little favor into the envelopes and thought of making this quickie bookmark from a heavy fabric. I printed a quotation on fabric that I typed on the computer and ran fabric ironed on freezer paper through the computer to print. I used a blanket stitch on my Baby Locke machine to sew the quotation on and frayed the edges of the bookmark...pulled the strings out. I have recently been using the silliest bookmarks and needed this!
      This quotation is inspired by all the fine new recent friendship connections: Trilla and Alice, Susan and Natalie, Ann and Linda, Andrea and Donna Jean. Also, I'm thinking of the new friendships the children will make in their new town as well as reunions (old fiends) I will be attending in the Fall. Joe put the cards in the mail today so they should arrive tomorrow or Thursday.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Myopia mealtime: a lovely day

   This morning, graphic weather reports suggested rain and lightening, and a cancellation of the polo match at Myopia. After two 100 degree days I was not too excited about sitting in the sun for 5 hours at an outdoor gathering and polo match. And last night we had picked up Stilton and Brie, crackers and wine, grapes, cherries and an apricot almond tart as well as two green chairs to sit by our car on the edge of the polo field.

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     However, optimistic Joe went to the attic for our seldom used (these days) picnic baskets and I found in one, outdoor gear collected/created for one of my TV segments on The Good Day show, back in the 80s.  I had appliqued a tablecloth with what I think is called Ripstop nylon. Not only was this lightweight waterproof "tablecloth," all set, folded up neatly in a little bag of the same color, but a Swiss Army knife was also there with its wine opener and other helpers. How handy this is to have and I am ready for more picnics. I wanted to share my find with you. Granted, it was not as fancy as the champagne buckets and real flowers at other tables.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Posting and Play in the heat

   Today I went up to Andrea's studio to trade smarts. I showed her some blog tricks and she gave me a tutorial in simple silkscreening. She told me about Kerr Grabowski's fabulous DVD, Adventures in Surface Design, which I have just watched and highly recommend.

    Andrea also dyes her own fabrics. I caught her here, proud especially of the snow-dyed! She cuts her strips first, before dyeing, for more interesting textures. Both Andrea and Kerr suggest you can use simple methods to get subtle results...curtain sheers on wood stretchers or embroidery hoops, duct tape, water based paints and transparent base extenders, chalk and cards or squeegees, newsprint and masking tape for stencils, found plastic for texture rubbing. So much to learn, so little time!

    P. S.  I should add, Andrea uses Pro Chemical dyes she orders from Fall River. For silk screening, she uses PROfab Opague Paints which are water soluble. She has made her own printable fabrics with Bubble Jet 2000, and irons white fabric to freezer paper to run through the printer (makes it slightly smaller than the 8 1/2" x 11" cut freezer paper). For fabrics to dye without prior washing, she orders ready to dye Timeless Treasures Tonga B8700 PFD and Hoffman's 1377 PFD. I added this paragraph for reference!
P.P.S. I just printed directly on plain fabric backed by freezer paper.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heart and Flower Die Cuts with Grands

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     My flower and heart dies arrived for my new Accuquilt machine. I wanted to cut out some hearts and flowers for the children to make something.
     First, I WonderUnder-fused the backs of fabrics from my birthday quilt and rolled those through the die cutting machine. I cut the bigger hearts in half and took the flower stems, petals, flowers and circles in a plastic bag to the children's house when we went to Friday supper. Hannah and Erika placed the cut-outs on a 1/4 yard of quilted yellow fabric which I had halved, one section to each girl. The children made their placements, pinned them and I returned home to iron and stitch the hearts and flowers on.
     Erika just wanted to hug hers as it was, but I stitched a bias tape around the edges. Hannah wanted to turn hers into a purse for craft projects. I slipped some new scissors in since she was frustrated that hers were not sharp enough to cut the fleece she was using to make a quilt at home.  I bound Hannah's with grosgrain ribbon I had fused. My sewing is NOT professional, but sometimes you want to find results fast. I must slow down! (two blogs in 24 hours is not slowing down). Oh, I also bought a Fiskars scissor sharpener. Did not know about those.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Busy Beads

    This is my birthday week and it has started off colorfully. Joe and I drove Hannah up to see the wonderful John Marin* show at the Portland Museum of Art.
      On the drive, I was able to bead almost all the cherries atop my 12" x 12" birthday quilt. I have a few to go. And at beading a few days before, I was able to add the berries on the bird's tree as well as suggest rather pitiful water coming from the hose.
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      I have the children's going-away parties to journal about, as well as events scheduled for this week. Maybe tomorrow or the next day I can post what the kids and I made after my Accuquilt heart and flower dies arrived. Stay tuned. Share the fun art/crafting.
     *I am enjoying reading the catalog/monograph John Marin: Modernism at Mid-Century

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Counting 72: a birthday Journal quilt

   On July 20th I will have my 72nd birthday. How can that be when I feel an enriched 22. To emphasize the years past to myself and my grandchildren, I cut out 72 birthday icons, either cakes or ice cream and put them to a 12" x 12" journal quilt. 
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    I alway make a soft card for the girls for their birthdays. Five-year-old Erika said if I gave this to a boy he would throw it away, but a girl would like it. Beth said it was her favorite because of the colors. I thought it a total failure, but I wanted to do it. Joe said it needs some black. I am going to sew red beads on the cherries tomorrow at beading and embellish some more. It needs black and white to absorb color.
    Four different fabrics are in the piece. I ironed Wonder Under to the back of the cake and ice cream fabric and cut them out as I listened to the news. I ironed them to the 9-patch block, squares of which I cut out with my new Accuquilt. The yellow fusible binding fabric fills the back of the quilt. I made fusible binding with that same yellow fabric which I both ironed/fused on and sewed after overlaying some maroon tulle. I am returning to do some more sewing atop the block in yellow. I tried to slow down, to be more careful. However, I wish I had used the yellow tulle that I had forgotten about rather than the maroon which I quickly grabbed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Birthday fun: Cutting up!

   At my advanced age I behave mischievously. I went on-line to order a birthday present for myself. The Accuquilt arrived quickly yesterday (from the JoAnne's sale), during the meeting of my beading group. This morning before breakfast I had to try it out; and before my cereal and coffee, I had created two more blocks for the Project Hope quilt. I was so into speed, it will be obvious, both design-wise and stitching. But what fun.
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    I was so inspired by how fast the activity went, I ordered two more dies (Round Flower and Hearts 2", 3" and 4"), one which would cut hearts and another for flowers, stems and leaves. I chose a couple of small (5" x 10" no. 55110) cutting mats to fit them as well. That should keep me busy making kits for the granddaughters and surprises for my friends. I never got over the clever idea of the assembly line when we studied Henry Ford in elementary school.
      By the way, I set up my flannel board to put the little pieces on so I would know the order in which to sew. No more hopping up and down except to iron. Another step in becoming a quilter.
       P.S.  In response to Sherron's question, I added the following: "You put a die on the bed of the roller. Add about six pieces of fabric over each die shape. Put a cutting board atop the fabric and roll the the three through. Your pieces will be cut for you. FAST. You would have loved it when you made the heart quilts for your granddaughters. There are videos of the process at the Accuquilt site and elsewhere."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Brave Robin: a July Journal Quilt

    April showers bring May flowers, but in July, Joe's watering plants encouraged a guest who likes to play in the sprinklers.
     A long weekend prompted Joe to purchase some more plants and to keep his earlier efforts alive. Every morn he waters the hanging gardens and other hopefuls; and every morning this skinny robin pads right up to be sprayed. Today Robin Redbreast brought a friend who was not so bold. The sparrows are equally interested to run through the rain but they keep their distance.
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   This is my fifth journal quilt on the theme of this case, beginning the day. I found the bird print and the batik that looked like sprayed water at JoAnne's. I fused the square to the batik and then machine-blanket-quilted around three sides with a zigzag at the top. What to do for the hose, I wondered, late at night. I looked in a drawer and found some yellow piping which I first basted in place and then machine stitched. Next, I cut close to the stitching so I probably should find some fray stopper for greater security. For the hose nozzle, I again used three widths of zig zagging. I sew with gray thread and use Sharpie permanent markers to blend on both sides. For the binding I fused on strips of fabric and then secured with stitching.
     I probably should get out some of my bead drops to sprinkle over the piece for water. Where as I spend only two hours on my 8" x 8" journal quilts, these 12" x 12" pieces are bigger and seem more serious. I haven't decided how much time to spend on something due every fortnight.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pillow passion: a holiday find

    Today is Monday again, and I don't like to go more than a week without a blog posting. I have a journal quilt half-finished and could complete it if I miss the fireworks. Not wanting to, here is my filler! And a good one it is.
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     After a July 3rd lunch with the children we passed a store in the Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill where at Anthropologie I saw the prettiest pillow...a big 22" x 22"-er. What drew me in was a richly painted landscape. It was a regular cover to a pillow, but the design was a lush oil or acrylic painterly scene over an ordinary floral fabric of static design. You could see only parts of the everyday printed "canvas" but there was the amusing effect that someone had just come along and painted on the pillow. The pillow's other side presented a still life. The grandchildren were very entertained, and Joe who also liked it purchased the art for me. I love it. Hannah and Erika, who spent the night with us after a swim, said they wanted to paint their pillows!

      Of course the pillow is way too big, but it has pride of place in the center of the big dark green sofa. Two paintings in one and inspiration. I wonder who the artist is.