Sunday, January 30, 2011

As Easy as ABC

April wanted to see the progress on the panel ABC book that I am working up for Dylan. This is not the replica of an interactive alphabet book that I sewed for April when she was little. For that one I have to recreate the pattern from photos of her book since I no longer have the commercial pattern and cannot find it on the web. So... I need to get cracking on that... the current version for Dylan will be MUCH easier to sew. Nowadays there's this product called fusible web which was not around 25+ years ago when sewing April's book. It was such a pain in the patoot to make that I never made one for Bryan (appliquéing now is easy peasy, not so much back then) and subsequently more than likely tossed the horrid pattern!
This book is made from a panel (and I almost had to beg to buy the only panel left in the store!) the reason for purchasing was the owl. I have machine embroidered the letters and edges and plan to add hand embroidery before finishing. The pages will be bound back to back with binding made from coordinating fabric and I'm not sure exactly how the pages will be bound together, but I'm sure I'll come up with something!
Here are the first four pages and once I found a cool presser foot that works great with the machine appliqué process (who knew what great stuff came with my machine!?), I plan to do some more outlining with my machine on these pages....
This is the "O" page which enticed me to beg for the panel in the first place:
Currently I am working on the "U" page so it should be finished soon.......

Friday, January 28, 2011

Button Fairies

Another swap finished! Over at Fiber Artist Traders (FAT) on Yahoo Charmion is hosting a Button Fairy swap. It took me a week or two to create what was in my head, but I think these 3 came close to what I had envisioned when I signed up. In a week I will have my recipients' names and the fairies will be leaving Faerie Acres to their new homes. Hope they like it there! I made an extra one and haven't decided what to do with her yet. Hmm........
The three for trading:
And a close up; I stamped, colored, cut out and jeweled up the face; fused left over Christmas organza, stitched, and jeweled the wings; wired buttons for the body and added fibers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Free Motion Frenzy

..... and a beanstalk! Over my creative funk and getting down to business. Funky Holiday business, that is. Over at Funky Mixed Media the swap theme for Feb. is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. I created a felt, fabric, and wire 3-D beanstalk to represent Jack and the Beanstalk. My page:
I started practicing free motion quilt stitching this week. Why? Because I have the free motion capacity on my sewing machine and I just wanted to! In the current issue of Quilting Arts magazine there is an article which discusses quilting using free motion so I thought now is a great time to learn how to do it. I used the scraps from the PDCC challenge for the first practice piece. Lesson learned on this piece: don't use fabric pieces that aren't totally secured to backing, they get in the way! (stitched with black quilting thread)
Lesson 2 on the blue hand dyed fabric: keep both hands on the fabric or you get weird jogs in the stitching......ha! It's still better than the first, but I've got a long way to go. (stitched with variegated blue quilting thread)
This is actually the same piece (with flash, I just couldn't use the whole photo as the flash created shadows although the color of the fabric is more true) close up:
I got tired of swirls so I copied a stitch from my machine on this yellow piece with rayon thread. Egyptian looking square swirls. Lesson learned: hesitate when making corners or they don't look like sharp corners:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PDCC #65

* Thank you ladies at The Play Date Café for choosing my journal as Cream on Our Coffee this week!*
This past week I've been sort of in a "creative funk." I still make myself go upstairs and work on something, anything each day and just keep powering through! I needed grey fabric to work on this week Play Date Café's challenge so Cheri and I trooped to the fabric store yesterday and played with our fabric purchases in the afternoon. I had been working on beanstalks for our next swap over at Funky Mixed Media, but priorities! That's not due yet and this challenge needed to be posted TODAY! I created a journal with an appliquéd flap with some Moda charm squares and grey batik fabric. I played off the circles and lines while incorporating the blanket stitch I just learned to use on my sewing machine. I quilted and appliquéd with rayon thread. The front of my 5 X 7 (appr.) journal:
A bird's-eye view to show the two signatures; I used Basic Grey's "Oh Baby Boy! line for the folios and my favorite pamphlet stitch with ribbon to sew them in. I usually place tabs on the right edge of the pages, but since the flap closes over the right side, I place them on the top of the pages instead.
One of the pages with buttons:
The back when closed which shows more buttons, appliqué, and ribbons:

Monday, January 17, 2011

PDCC #64

In between sewing sequins, beads, and felt for Dylan's stocking I worked on my submission to The Play Date Café's challenge #64 with Julie Ranae's colors teal, grey, and tan.
This small wall hanging (appr. 12" square) is titled "Oh, Snap!". The background is grey and tan fabric cut in curves and then woven together. The pieces were stitched together with teal thread and a decorative machine stitch.
The flowers are recycled wool fabric, the teal is from a thrift store jacket and the grey is from a jacket I had made years ago when I worked in the fabric store. The flower centers are snaps and the stems are a zipper. I added silver/grey sheer ribbon for leaves and the finished edges of the piece. Grass is again the teal felt and I literally dropped the buttons onto the piece and sewed them down where they landed.
I was inspired by Cheri's hangers and made a decorative hanger to finish the piece. It was good to create in the midst of mindlessly sewing sequins!


I finished Dylan's stocking last night! I am no longer lost in the sequins as they are all applied to the stocking (all fifty bazillion of them!).
Here is a close-up of the cuff with the personalized embroidery and quite a few sequins:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lost in Sequins

My Herrschner's order arrived early last week and I have been buried in sequins and felt since then working on Dylan's personalized stocking. I'm on piece #54 out of around 70 pieces so I'm almost finished. It's all hand work and I can sit for hours on end sewing the sequins and beads, stuffing the pieces, and then appliqueing them to the stocking. There's a certain zen to the process, not much thinking involved. After creating the last few original pieces I needed a break. I'm also working on an owl quilt (also for Dylan) and the new color theme for The Play Date Cafe's weekly challenge. Here's what the stocking looks like right now:

I just need to finish a couple more presents and a little stocking and it's finished. Piece of cake!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Evie's Pinafore

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cheri's daughter gave birth on January 1st. I created a pink pinafore for little Evie Marie and soon this lovely will be winging its way via post to North Carolina. It began as my second pinafore in Ruth Rae's Poetry Pinafore class at the now defunct Art Fiber Fest (I hope Teesha reinstates this fab retreat!) a couple of summers ago. Like many of my projects it languished in the corner of my studio with other UFOs. I pulled it out and finished it for Evie. I used hand-dyed muslin for the base and had already stitched the alphabet at the hem of one side and "Pretty in Pink" on the other. I added some bling, ribbons, and free motion stitched Evie's full name and date of birth to finish.

Close up of the wool felt heart with fibers, burnt organza, silk leaves and some bling:

The other side (really, there is no front nor back):

Evie's name:

and a cute little wool felt heart from the scraps:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Play Date Café Challenge #63

Having just finished a Ruth Rae inspired poetry pinafore for Cheri's new granddaughter, Evie, I decided to create one for the newest The Play Date Café Challenge. The color are grass green, gold, and silver.
My "Hope" pinafore is made from hand-dyed muslin, stamped , and embellished with some Michael's bling. The leaves are wool felt layered with book text and organza. I sewed beads around the neckline and scattered around the pinafore. The front is machine free motion stitched with Hope
The front bottom border is the alphabet. Gold and silver chains hang from the flower bling.
On the back I wrote the Emily Dickinson poem which reads: "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops at all." All "i"s are dotted with gold or silver seed beads.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mini Art Quilts

This post is per Cheri's request since she is out of state with her new granddaughter. I recently finished a couple of mini art quilts inspired by The Uncommon Quilter by Jeanne Williamson. Some are almost exactly what she had done in the book and some are my own take using her ideas as a springboard.
"Sinus Rhythm" is an onion bag heart and machine stitching:
"Lace Redux" started out the same as Jeanne's, but I was not feeling the painting part so after rubbing the lace design onto muslin with a crayon I embroidered french knots and some X's and then added matching buttons:
"Je Suis" is another of my versions from the book. It is dedicated to Karen who sent me "schmutz" from her trip to France and I used the pamphlets on this piece:
I used rayon thread to stitch "Skittles" (a rainbow of flavors!) after patching the black/white dotted fabrics:
"Forsythia" is an almost exact copy from the book with stitched branches and painted buds:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Two in one day?

Well, I had to make sure to post that I received Honorable Mention over at the Play Date Café for their challenge #62! Yahoo! Once I saw that their were over 100, yes, that's correct OVER 100 entries, I figured there was no chance to win, but............ I did and I'm very excited and proud to display the Cream in Our Coffee badge. There it is on the right ----------->
My winning contribution is down below, so check it out. Thank you, ladies at the Café.

Swap Pages

Many thanks for the kind and encouraging comments you left on my previous post! Over at Penney-Jane Mixed Media I am hosting a year-long Funky Holiday Swap for 4X4 pages. April hosted last year and honestly, it's been my favorite swap ever. As soon as I compile all the pages for the 2010 version I will post a pic to show you just how funky this swap is! There are no Valentine's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving pages........... we celebrate things like Talk Like Pirate Day and Crossword Puzzle Week over at PJMM! This year's swap starts out with the January page of National Bird Day and since I really liked the owl quiltie I worked up for PDCC challenge #62 I decided to make the design smaller and go with it for this Funky Holiday. And could I just make the four to swap? NO..........I want one of everyone's pages so I made 8.
All eight roosting together:

Here is a close-up of my favorite color combination (of course the fabric is Moda, need you ask?)..... I might have to keep this one for myself (unless April cries foul and begs me to send it to her):

If you are inclined and want to play along with this or any other swap I'd love to have you join my yahoo group! Just email me at and I will send you an invitation to the group..............the more the merrier! Come on over and play.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Play Date Cafe Challenge

I finally worked up an entry for the Play Date Cafe's Challenge (#62), hopefully I can figure out how to get it linked correctly to be entered to win (keep your fingers crossed!). Each week the design team over a PDC issues a challenge revolving around a specific color palette. Most of the entries involve paper and cardstock, but mine is all fabric! Here is the color palette for Challenge #62:

I interpreted it with a simple nine patch block as a background and appliqued an owl with button eyes to the center. I machine stitched a branch and hand quilted the leaves in the pink corner squares. I think it turned out cute. Now that I've accomplished one of their challenges, I think I will make some more blocks to turn into a book........ stay tuned!