Monday, February 18, 2013

Stuffed Hearts for Valentine's Day

(click to enlarge)
     One of my happiest memories is my aunt's arriving right after school every Valentine's Day with doilies, ribbons, glue, stickers and colors (crayon and paper). Clarice was a 2nd grade teacher and whenever I see doilies, I remember her!

      The Beadsprout meeting landed on Valentine's Day. What would I make to take? I quickly sewed up and stuffed some colorful heart-shaped fabrics. I unintentionally made them so small, using my Go machine, that it was difficult to imagine what to put in those pockets. The candy was too big and it was difficult to get the polyfil in, much less the lavender.  I included the candy in the wrapping.

      So I got out some tools and made Alexander Calder-like metal findings for the beaders to attach to earring posts. I packaged the earring findings that I first twisted into shapes and then hammered flat. I used an anvil this time, but in the past I have hammered onto concrete steps. My hostess surprised us with those gorgeous strawberry ice cream sodas...(strawberry syrup, light cream, soda, ice cream, whipped cream, and cherry).

      At home my Valentine had whipped up this lovely meal for the snowstorm! I had had a medical procedure in the morning, but finished the day very happy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Framing mini-quilts: an easy task

     People always wonder what I will do with my numerous 8" x 8" and 12" x 12" journal quilts. I stack them in little suitcases of similar size. Framing and big quilting suggestions abound. I just enjoy "leafing" through my portable exhibition to show friends; but Donna Jean's suggestion of sewing them to a pre-stretched inexpensive canvas caught my attention. I wanted to try it. Here is what I did:

     I bought the pre-stretched canvas on sale at Michael's. I selected a compatible fabric for attaching the quilt with a running stitch.  And I cut the fabric about two inches wider on all sides. I next centered the quilt on the frame cover, turned it over  and stitched a simple little running stitch all around. I want to be able to easily remove the quilt from the frame, yet make the piece secure enough to hang. 

     I set the canvas upside down onto the running stitches that I had just sewn. 

     Making sure all was centered carefully, I spread Aleene's Original Tacky glue all around to each EDGE of the canvas and over the stapled area, one side at a time. This glue dries relatively quickly and holds beautifully. It can be a messy task with fingers so I used a big wooden knitting needle. I smoothed all the edges, giving special attention to smart corners.

      My regret was that I cut the landscape quilts to fit the frame. Landscapes should not be cramped. I also forgot to finish embellishing them with hand stitching before framing. It can still happen, but I was too interested in the framing to slow down. If you click the photos to enlarge, you can almost see the frame supports for the quilts which can now hang easily with a little more importance and respect :*)  !

This is what I did during Boston's 2013 snowstorm, along with reading The Snow Child, a novel by Eowyn Ivey!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Medieval Quilt: a daughter's desire finished!

     Beware giving your children a choice of what quilt they would like you to make! Times have changed. Many of us still love traditional quilts with patterns to follow. Now that more painters and the art world have moved to quilts, the love of freedom to design one's own is liberating. It is sometimes tiresome to quilt another person's patterns.

Click to enlarge.
    Nevertheless, Donna Jean, good friend and mentor, just completed daughter Nicole's beautiful quilt (fragment above, with the book). Nicole, a college student, several years ago was intrigued by the possibilities in the book U is for Unicorn: Medieval designs for applique by Eileen Campbell. Who wouldn't be!

     I bought the book immediately on seeing it.  I remember young son Jim's looking in the local library for Beowulf in the Old English. Such designs might be something he would take to...a comforter or throw after a hard day at the office. I found this paperback book of designs at Amazon (probably "used-very good"). So beautiful, I wanted to possess it! I love applique and looking at the letters of the alphabet, the animals worked into the patterns. Although there is plenty to trace or to copy, there is also inspiration to make it your own. DJD survived and finished. D for Dragon could have motivated!