Friday, November 30, 2012

4th Birthday Portrait Quilt

   Traditionally, I make a small quilt birthday card for my grandchildren to go with their gifts. Since David's birthday is near Christmas, I use materials I find on hand since time is crowded.

    I found a sketch I had made of David using a marker. It looks as if I may have traced over a photograph which I had enlarged. I made two copies on my copy machine and scanned them to fit a size 8 1/2' x 11" sheet of paper. Of course I used a printable fabric, not paper, of that size to print the line drawing.

     Next, I ironed Wonder Under to the back so I could laminate the fabric with the drawing onto a background. Mistake #1. I had wanted to embroider the lines with black thread but this is not easy to do once fabric has been laminated. I learned that other people use invisible ink for their embroidery lines. Mistake #2. I had used up the Cars fabric, our theme this year. In a hurry I settled for Batman and numbers. Later I found Cars fragments which I laminated, cut out and stitched around. Mistake #3. You can see through the white fabric, but it shows how colorful David is. Mistake #4. It was late. I forgot to change the thread for the binding. It looked messy so I further messed it up more with puff paints. I was distracted listening to Tom Wolfe's new book Back to Blood. But I think the card is lively and cute. I dried it on the radiator and added a cupcake.

      I love it when David says, "For me, LinLin?" I say, "Yes:" and he adds, "Oh thank you, LinLin! My quilt," and hugs it. Most of the time, to get done all I want to do, I can't worry about "perfect."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Grounded Thanksgiving: three stitch crafts

      Colds clobber and cause one to miss Thanksgiving food and togetherness. Driving for groceries wiped us out and so would a drive to NJ and NYC. However, there is no place like home and one can catch up on crafting.

      I took Hannah's web and turned it into a doll quilt, trying to teach myself embroidery writing without any planning ahead. I made Chrissy's birthday present, a portable sewing kit, using a quilted floral fabric. For my journal quilt, I marked the election.
      Hannah had given me that square with her embroidered web (second photo) and I made a back for it. I ran across a note from her saying she would like to make another quilt with me after our first one. I left a corner for her to embroider on my side. So far it says, "read, draw, sew, Hannah's web." I need to learn the proper stitch and write it out ahead, but I am allergic to planning.

       Instructions for the portable sewing kit are at my blog for June 10, 2012. Using this double-sided quilted fabric from JoAnn's makes the crafting even easier! Up high on this blog in the Search area, by the blogger symbol, type in "portable sewing kit."

       Half of my friends and family are Democrats and half are Republicans and we love each other. Shown here are the flag "Bark for Barack," the bandaid for universal health care, and the caught FOX which I felt was destructive by distortions. The confettied flags are a quilted cushion for our country that will need one. Click to enlarge photos.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Material Mavens Reveal Day: 12 x 12 Travel Quilts

      If you were given the theme "travel," what quilt would you make. Yesterday, at the Material Maven blog, our international 12 x 12  quilt group revealed trips down the Nile, Japanese memories in Sashiko, an anniversary gondola ride in Venice, jaunts over Europe and North America as well as trips of the spirit. It is always fun to view the art, the surface techniques and experiments. I hope you can visit the site. Material Mavens

      I always want to have a visual so I am adding my already posted Shake and Fall. I added size 8 orange and red embroidery thread to depict the flight of the harbinger to our earthquake, felt by the Beadsprouts in Waterville Valley the night of the third debate. Click to enlarge. But don't forget to visit MM's site for grander efforts!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Leftover Clay: Bake some Beads

     Can entertaining children also be productive for the adult? When the grandchildren were here last week, we got out the "pasta" machine and the Sculpey III polymer clay. They loved conditioning the clay by rolling it through the Atlas pasta machine that I received for Christmas 30 years ago. I made pasta once, and now I have made beads twice! After the children went to bed, I took the leftover clay to try to make some beads. Of course, I needed more clay, but I was able to create enough for one pair of earrings and a necklace.
Baked polymer clay beads  (click to enlarge)

      I have a copy of the KLUTZ The Incredible Clay Book which is no longer available. Through Amazon, you can buy the book used, minus the clay, and purchase the Sculpey at a craft store. I recommend a variety package.  I have the pasta maker, a thin clay cutting tool and the package I bought. There are other useful tools, but these put you on your way.

      To see how I made the strained "millefiori" beads, there is this terrific YouTube video by Donna Kato.  Kato has also published some handsome instructive books.

      After creating the beads, I used a toothpick to make a hole. I strung them on a wire, made hooks on the end of the wire to hang from oven racks, and baked them for about 10 minutes in an unused oven. Use a vent and do not sniff! They become hard and lightweight. Then at my beading group, I made earrings, or added other beads to string a necklace. Maybe now I will get serious. There are firmer clays for more professional results. I have worn the earrings twice and the necklace once. Not bad for leftovers. I have wanted to do this for 40, finally!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Arts/Crafts: Before and After the Frankenstorm

Chelsea Market carvings

El Quiote supplied the sparklers! 
    Last week, in NYC celebrating Joe's 75th birthday, the grandchildren were a big draw. He and I also went to Neue Gallery, the super Andy Warhol show at the Met, the Morgan Library, Chelsea Market, and I, the City Quilter thrice. We enjoyed El Quixote in Chelsea that is mentioned regularly in Just Kids, the book for Cambridge Art's book club. It is fun when a book you are reading covers the ground you are visiting. Things are different in that Lower Manhattan now, but the marathon was canceled and electricity has, thankfully, returned to son's place!
    This week, the evacuees, that same little family, are here in Boston, with other son Bill's working out of the Boston office. The children enjoyed Halloween on our street. What do you do with three children, ages 8, 6 and 3 for days (weeks?) when school like their electricity is OUT in NJ:

Live Pumpkin, Fireman and Goldfish

      So far, Hannah's picked up the ukulele fast. I hope to capture her on my new free Apps: Video Star and VideoFX Live. Check them out! (Fast and Easy) Both girls made headbands using ribbons. David and I played kazoo/piano duet train songs. Erika learned to knit.Today all three worked with  polymer clay that wore me out with the pasta maker's being used by the three to condition the clay. But I made myself some beads for a necklace! Joe took them swimming;  and tonight, while they were visiting old friends, I set out the sewing machines for projects tomorrow. Watching Hannah on the uke, I decided it is time for her to take her Hello Kitty Janome sewing machine home. She is finally ready to figure out what to do to solve problems that arise. You might know I gave it to her when she was four.With a twisted ankle I will skip the quilt show in NH. Next. the election! Click photos to enlarge.