Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sew and No-Sew Fabric Postcards

My friends are determined to age me, celebrating my birthday a month ahead, in some cases. Alice mailed Quilters Playtime: Games with Fabrics by Dianne S. Hire and I decided to send her a quilted postcard thank-you note. I had bought a used copy of Postcard Quilts by Caroline Reardon at the Quilter's Connection guild meeting and found videos and how-to's by Googling "fabric postcard quilts." I quickly made Alice a soft postcard, 4" x 6" using a pillowcasetechnique and a flannel padding. I was so excited I mailed it off without taking a photo. Truth is, at the time I felt it was sort of pitiful, but it is the thought that counts. The Post Office said it was thin enough and small enough to cost only postcard rates. Everything else I read said that for hand-canceling, one would pay a pinch more than regularpostage. I will post a picture Alice mails if and when the card arrives in Waco TX, so check back. Ahh! Here it is:
Yesterday, I made 5 fabric no-sew postcards, one for each person in our beading group who treated Nita and me to our July 20th birthdays early. All of us summer born know what happens to people in the summer!! This time I use a firmer stiffener, TimTex, in the center, w sticky on both sides. I bound the edges with fused strips of 3/4" x 7" strips cut to fit (do short sides first). Although it doesn't show up well in the photo, I used a non-bleeding gel pen to write with. The PO people liked the second cards better. I preferred the softie. I will attempt both kinds again. All fabric stores can show you the various stiffeners and explain the quilting possibilities and problems. I put self-adhesive first class stamps on these at 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" and rubbed the stamps in. The PO helper put a pretty hand-cancellation stamp on them. She said they would arrive! (and they did...the next day, in great shape)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Invisible Erika: a journal quilt

Last weekend, mid-afternoon, there was a lot of excitement when son phoned to say he couldn't find his daughter and would we come over to help look. All tried to remain calm and neighbors joined in the search. She was eventually found under a pile of comforters drawn back at the foot of her bed, dead asleep, deaf to he frantic callings of her name. She was so tired after out-of-town company had left, that she continued to sleep on into the evening. I believe we all slept hard as well.

The fabrics of this journal quilt suggest the numerous layers of covers that hid her, the bed and her quietness, as well as our energized nervous systems!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Laborers

Father's Day, Joe pruned the bushes and made frames for the girls' Jackson Pollock-like drip paintings, created in school on canvas. He said it was fun to be making frames again. (Hint hint) He wanted to go to Summer Shack for a family dinner and that was his reward. He braced the backs of the canvas and then put strips of lattice work on the sides.
I helped with the gardening and then threw together the three 12 1/2" blocks I had signed up to do for Katie's Project Hope nautical theme quilt, due in July. I hope to do more. Most people improve as they go along. I think I am getting messier and weirder in my handiwork. Maybe I need to retrieve my old A Type personality. Unfortunately I didn't "measure twice and cut once" and had to come up with a solution. The flags spell both "Play" and "Vote", and were the only words I could come up with from the flag scraps. I need to get back to work!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beading for Beth's Birthday

At beading Thursday, Nita showed a new "sapphire" necklace which reminded me of daughter-in-law Beth, whose birthday is this week. I immediately forgot all the thinking I had done about a gift she might prefer and ran immediately to the bead store. I bought some beads that turned different colors under different lights. That would not do. Back to another bead store where I found the stable "sapphire" string that stayed the same color. ( you can click on the necklace)

I got out my unused bead tray (I had boys, seldom wear necklaces, and barely know how to make them). I lined up the bigger beads, alternating 5 seed beads between them and started stringing on beading wire (6 lbs strength) until the length was 17 inches and the clasp would make 18 inches. I used a beading needle with a big hole in the middle to run the tiny wire through sterling silver crimpers, up through the clasp hole and back down through the crimper and into some beads. After pulling firmly I crimped with the crimper's funny hole first and then the round crimper hole to finish. I learned to leave the ends of the strings on until I was sure all held together, since the first necklace fell apart. But artists don't give up. I next performed extra security with an invisible knot and some clear fingernail polish and clipped the wire. The earrings, are just headpins and beads with the pin end wrapped around needle nose pliers and twisted to make a loop to attach to the earring findings, which I opened, inserted the loop and then closed off.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Weekend Wonder: Peter Cottontail

The journal quilt for this week commemorates our grandchildren's weekend "sleep over." A cute rabbit that my neighbor Sarah spotted eating her lettuce, eggplant and cucumber leaves, stayed around to meet Hannah and Erika. David, only one, was not here to see the rabbit before and after breakfast pancakes. The children stood quietly as bunny munched away. Bunny was not afraid. All was quiet.

The children left out a carrot which disappeared and I frequently saw him under my flowers inside our fence. He seems too little to be out alone. Farley, our dog, spotted him much earlier, we now realize, and regularly checks sites where sighted. Leaves are still disappearing but bunny is more circumspect. I have not spotted him today. Just checked. Neighbor Lloyd has put a cello playing frog in his garden as a scarecrow. I do hope the dots call up cottontails rather than snow and I find a carrot appropriate to the quilt.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Diving Into the Ocean of Craft

Crafts are like the ocean...an unfathomable source of creative expression and pleasure. MANY people do not understand one's not sticking to just one area of crafting. On rare occasions one meets another with a similar drive. A month or so ago Susan walked through a room where Katie had many quilters starting to put together another quilt for Project Hope, this time an ocean theme. Susan, a sewer and crocheter, among other talents, had not quilted, but the next time we met, she had figured out how to do her first nine-patch block. Today at a mixed craft group she showed us the boat block and her plans for a fish block. Click the photo above to see. Next week she'll do needlepoint.
I continue to listen to and learn from podcasts downloaded from craftypod.com. Easy to download, they enrich crafting time and dog walking with business, skill and creative ideas, some as wild as a Church of Craft. The Internet is exploding with easy instruction. Susan probably didn't take a class but perhaps found a book at the library, or Internet sites such as Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache or quilting.about.com and added her own touches. Hats off to people who dive in, daring explorers of the ocean of craft.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Making Music at Beading

Thursday is beading day. Nancy and Nita made necklaces, I put together five sets of earrings, and the other Linda worked on her charity quilt. Two of us were on the road. Nita's necklace looked good on me and my birthday is coming up! She found these beads in Belmont; strung them on a strong but flexible wire; put little stones between the big ones; added clasps, stringing the wire through crimpers, the clasp circle and back through the crimper to hide the end of the wire in the bead. After testing, she will crimp (squeeze the little crimper "beads" with the proper tool) and cut off the beading wire to a length to hide it in a bead at both ends of the necklace. I saw something similar but not so pretty or perfect for moi as this in Tiffany's window.

At each of our plates, Nita, placed her fifth grade granddaughter's new CD. How neat that Emma can write songs and sing so thoughtfully at her age. Emma rocks!
Of course, I may have to make a bird like this out of heavy clay. Just love robin redbreasts toting campanula! And there were baby birds in a house outside of Nita's front door, sweet mouths wide open.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Crazy Weekend: A Journal Quilt

Only a crazy quilt could capture this weekend: After a lovely MFA group reunion Thursday, Friday came with a memorable graduation party (a roasted pig plus), micro hot fudge sundae, convertible top down and afibs; Saturday and Sunday with two ballet recitals, babysitting grandson for one, the Quilters Connection show, the English car show at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum on the lawn with talk of tornados on the airwaves (rare for here), dinner with family both nights, trees down all over town, and the beautiful colors that appear after a strong summer storm.

I made a crazy journal quilt to stand for the quilt show and the extremes. The flowers stand for the granddaughters' ballet performances. Raindrops and vibrations are in the different brown patterns, and of course you see the fallen trees along with the beautiful colors and sunshine that followed. I didn't include the new bunny eating lettuce in the garden outside my window or the novelty ballerina fabrics...just symbols. Sometimes or often, less is more. However, I need to bead it. The beads would stand for the glitter of the shows the granddaughters were in and all the drops of rain.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Synergy of Art

Yesterday, I felt I went around the world. I had attended a festive museum group reunion down by the ocean and afterwards gathered arts and crafts to play some more. It is rewarding to stay connected with committed people and art and to create.

(click to enlarge this photo)

After the reunion I went into Hingham to find a needlepoint cow that I had seen at The Monday Club. Although I can paint needlepoint canvases, the proprietor was so helpful teaching me new stitches that I purchased her goods for a new project.

On my way to the car I stopped in at the yarn store, a shop that imports Peruvian wools and the cheese shop for sarsaparilla and a panini, strengthifying should the predicted thunderstorms start. Synergistically, I saw in a window, art by children, model clay figures, looking at paintings, something the reunion group specializes in.

I had to go by the fabric store to pick up a novelty fabric for a Father's Day portrait (cars) and found two 18" bendable stuffed muslin dolls with wire armature for the grandchildren to think about to fashion to their own creations. They have their American Girls Dolls. I wonder what they can create the same size.

The heavens held their downpour until I hit my driveway!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Smile: a journal quilt

Nat King Cole sang a song SMILE. I have lots of reasons to do so this week, regardless. But this week's smile is about a simple repair. And it gives me the opportunity to talk about smiles in portraits. I don't like them. I know some famous artists have painted people with their mouths open, but I say one should save the big smiles for the casual photographs. I want a portrait to capture a thoughtful mood.

In this journal quilt you can spot the new wheels, the fibrillating hearts, the emotions of a wonderful weekend watching grandchildren's faces light up with smiles when they saw the roof of the car rise up into the air and fold down...and the dog's excitement as his ears flapped in the wind.