Saturday, December 31, 2011

A fun and funky gift

I decided to give each of my daughters a cooking apron adorned with a drawing turned into a thermofax screen.  These were very well-received by the girls and so easy to make.
The first two images were drawings made from old photos, and the third image was created from a drawing made by one of my youngest daughter's friends in honor of her 21st birthday.
The oldest, on a swing at her grandparents' house (age 4)

Daughter #2, bucket on her head (age 2)

The youngest (right) with her friend

After burning the screen, paper is removed, edges taped.
The taped screen can be stabilized inside a frame or simple stabilized on the edge by hand.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The gift(s) of art

All my husband and I wanted as holiday gifts from our children was some of their art.  We are so fortunate to have 3 children who happen to be multi-talented artists.  In addition to some crazy and silly gifts, we got some great art!
Two tiny companion paintings from our second daughter.
She remembered that I was excited about my first spotting of a Painted Bunting 
in the garden this year!

These are 3x4 inches each, gouache, framed.

Among other things, my oldest daughter made each family member a magical Hogwarts-esque wand!
Here is mine!

My youngest, who is minoring in photography @SUNY Purchase,
took these silver gelatin photographs, developed them, matted and framed them.

Here she is, with her head  inside a rusted old Chevy on our friends' property,
with her Hasselblad.

Among other things, I was gifted with this fantastic wig.
I wore it all day long!  
I wouldn't mind having white hair if it would ever turn white!
I admit that this wig had a lot of room at the top.  I think I looked like a cross between
Marge Simpson and Marie Antoinette.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Table

One of my beloved activities around the holidays is preparing a beautiful holiday table.  I try to do something different every year.  This year, I created 5 small bouquets in my new bird vases.  As always, the best part of any celebration are the faces you gaze upon around the table!

Once again, I'm thankful that I worked at a florist in college!

We enjoyed these little bouquets throughout our holiday mealtimes.
Along with them I placed a few of my favorite glass pieces, beach glass,
and pottery shards, and my mother's crystal candle holders.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Texas "Air Shark"

Living with a guy who invents things for a living is never a dull experience.  Sometimes he brings things home that really shake things up.  For the dog.  Take the "Texas Air Shark", as a friend aptly named it:
The dog must be thinking, "Oh, you have GOT to be kidding.  First, the squirrels.
Next, that monster that sneaks around in the pool (the polaris).  Now this?"
Our dog is fearless.  So what if this thing is 10 times bigger?!
Yeah, that's it.  Come a little closer.  Go ahead:  Make my day!
She moves in for the "kill".
It is a shark-schnauzer-smackdown!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Funky Day of the Dead Wallhanging

This is a prototype for a class proposal.  I had fun making it and thought I would share it with you.
I did a LOT of hand-stitching and embellishing on this, and just a little machine-work at the end.  It was fun!  You probably know by now how much I adore skeletons.  The quilt back "panel" and stitched sleeve on the previous post was created for this quilt (dimensions 16"w by 20"long).
all the fabrics were fused prior to cutting.
I used the Go! cutter to do the wavy black and white ric rac.

The babies, buffaloes, hippos, sushi, and plates (I can't explain this combo) were glued on.

Worry dolls were hand-stitched, as were the buttons.  Free-motion on the black felt.

The lotteria card...well, keep your fingers crossed on this. 
The heart is glued on!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quilt "Sleeveology" (or, how to make a hanging sleeve for a quilt

It has been my experience that people are freaked out by the prospect of making a hanging sleeve for a quilt.  No matter that the quilt has taken weeks/months to construct using exquisitely tiny pieces. Never mind that multiple layers of dye and paint were used to create the cloth that the quilt was made from.  Nope.  It is always the quilt sleeve that seems to be the last straw.  Perhaps this will help.
See, making a sleeve is not difficult.
How wide is the quilt?  That is how wide your piece of cloth should be for the sleeve.  It is best to use a high thread count cloth to make a sleeve.  Sleeves take a lot of abuse when they are in a show, especially if the quilt is going to travel.  How well you construct your sleeve will reflect how nicely the quilt will hang.
Cut the cloth the width of your quilt by 9 inches.

My quilt is 16 inches.  I cheated and cut my sleeve "tube" about an inch shorter than the actual width.  This is acceptable, but not much shorter than this.
On each end of what will be the sleeve, fold one-half inch (wrong sides together), fold again, 
and press.  This creates the finished edge of the sleeve.  Do it at both ends.

Now, with the right side facing out, fold the length of the sleeve and, at the FOLDED edge,
stitch a 1/2 inch seam using the basting stitch (longest stitch length possible on your machine).
This creates a "tuck" which assists in the quilt hanging properly without puckering backward.

Here is the basted "tuck".

Now, I am folding the length right sides together, and stitching the edges to create the

Whew, something must be wrong with my tension.  Look at that gather in the seam!

Anyway, it is stitched. Now, I will turn the sleeve right side out.

Here I go....

Once it is turned right side out, roll the sleeve so that the tuck is directly over the seam.
Press with the iron to hold the sleeve in this position.

Oops.  My basting stitch is coming loose!  Too soon!

Okay, now I am placing my newly created sleeve on the quilt back.  I am placing it one inch from the top edge of the quilt back. I want to position it evenly between edges.  Pin in place.
Now, whip stitch this baby into place, top and bottom, and I recommend stitching downthe inner edge of the tube that fits against the quilt back.
You want to take care to go through enough of the quilt back that you have a good grip without penetrating through to the surface of the quilt.  I usually stop every 4 to 5 stitches and take a lock-stitch.
I don't want this thing to come off.  I have had it happen, people.  I got a quilt back after traveling for about a year and a half and I was horrified to see that a third of it was loose.  Ugh!

Now, I only use cotton thread on my quilt sleeves.  Those babies aren't going anywhere!!

Okay, I cheated and sewed this one on with the machine because I'm putting this panel on the back of a quilt that needs extra "support".  More on that later, but here you can see that the sleeve is, indeed, securely on the back.  Once the sleeve is stitched into place I removed the basting stitch that created the tuck.  See how the tuck has created a space for the rod to slide through?
If that tuck was not in place, the quilt would draw back around the hanging rod.  It really makes a difference.  Trust me:  I have struggled to hang plenty of quilts that do not have this tuck.  They simply do not hang as well without it, and often it is difficult to get a hanging device through the sleeve because there isn't enough room.

So, wasn't that easy?  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.  Also, I demonstrated this in a segment on Series 700 of Quilting Arts TV, if you want another source!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Making a Quilted Pillow and Cloth Gift Bag

The San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild  had a holiday gathering and, for those who wished to participate, a "pillow exchange".  I haven't made a pillow for ages so I was looking forward to it.  I should have stepped this out from the beginning, so forgive me for not thinking ahead.
I had a pieced top that I wasn't sure what to do with (it was an experiment) so I decided to quilt it to use for the pillow.  Rather than putting a backing on it, I decided to quilt the top using only a low-loft batting.  My thinking was that it would be softer and more pliable this way.
After quilting the top, I measured it for the pillow form and cut the length I needed.  Because I planned to fold one edge over, envelope-style, I took this into account.  I fussy-cut the exposed end and satin-stitched the exposed edge. The inside edge was folded over just enough to hide the edge, then stitched into place before the sides were sewn together.
Once I determined the needed length to accommodate the pillow size I folded the right sides together and pinned.  Before stitching, I finished the opening edges.  Once the sides were stitched together I trimmed the corners closely, then turned it right side out.
Just turned right-side out.  You can see that I created a "flap" for the finished edge.
The buttonholes are asymmetrical, and I had to custom create the holes because of the huge
diameter of the buttons!  

I like the wavy, lacy effect of the double satin-stitched edge.  I decided to 
do two layers of the satin stitch so it was nice and thick.


Detail of button and flap

Inside of flap

I created a cloth "bag" which is actually another pillow cover!

A sale tag, which I had previously monoprinted and inked

I used double-sided tape to stick one of my MOO cards on the reverse side of the sale tag.

I like this card:  it is a detail of a collaborative acrylic painting

The pillow is "wrapped", then tied with a length of sari silk yarn.

Hint:  this is a fun and easy way to utilize a few "UFO"s you might have laying around.  I had such a good time making this I think I will make a few more!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Walk In The Woods & "Tree Poses"

On the day after Thanksgiving my family took a walk in the woods close to my in-laws' home in north-central Iowa.  The weather was cool, but not wet, so we struck out for a long walk.

See the flood line?

some sort of mushroom and moss

Getting a few shots

We embellished the mushroom with a few walnuts

hollow trunks make good drums

used walnut

We meet some riders along the trail 
Tree Pose #1

Tree Pose #2

Tree Pose #3