Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Still heading for the borders...

The second border for "Contentment" is done!  This is the left border...it just needs to be dunked into water to soak out the glues.  

And I am very close to being done with the third border, the right border.  It is a mirror image in design to the left border, but with different fabrics.  My husband was off yesterday and volunteered to be my third and fourth hands to snap a couple of "wild animal pics" of me actually taking stitches.

Just a few more vines and leaves, a little embroidery and then this border with take a bath with the other one.

The bottom border has been finished, lonely and waiting for a few weeks for some company. Once I soak the glue out of the side borders, I will trim all to size and attach them to the body of the quilt.  I am so excited!

The top border contains wedding rings and more flowers and fruit.

We put almost 5000 miles on the car in December and early January...I hauled these borders around with me, but did not have the time or energy to make a single stitch.  Bummer, but they are well-traveled!
I took Riley to Michigan, drove to the opposite end of Alabama, then we went to Pennsylvania to see Steve's Dad and family after Christmas. While there, we drove to New York City to see a Broadway musical (Riley's Christmas present).  We saw Josh Groban in "Natasha and Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812." It was SOOOOO great!  I predict it will win awards!  We sat on the stage and were in the middle of all the action, sometimes just inches away from the performers...even Josh!  I even had a strange, impromptu, spotlit interaction with one of the cute leads! WOW! I'm in love!

I was sick all through the holidays with Bronchitis...were you?  I keep running into people that had the same thing I did.  Antibiotics, breathing treatments...I am still not quite right.  Not a good start to this weird new year!

While in Michigan, I experienced polar vortex and a snowstorm...it has been in the high 60's, low 70's here lately in NW Alabama. This is weirdly warm, even for the south.  There was snow in central Alabama a little over a week ago.  There were things I wanted to do outside while the poisonous snakes were safely snoozing...not sure I trust their sleeping habits right now.  I bet they are awake or just dozing.  I expect to see the daffodils pushing up any day now.  We are still in a terrible rain deficit.

I want to spend more time in my quilt cave this year and lose weight.  Seeing how the kitchen and the quilt cave are miles apart in this big house, that just might work!  I also decided that it is time to be less sad and more happy.

That is easier than it sounds.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stuck in Funky Town...

As most of you now know, the quilting world lost a bright star on Sunday, January 8.  Sue Garman was a brilliant quilter, designer and teacher.  Her boundless enthusiasm about quilting was infectious and contagious, and she touched thousands through her blog here and her pattern website here.  She was very kind, generous and helpful to me, even though I never met her in person.

I first "met her" through obtaining permission to enter this quilt based on her quilt wall hanging pattern, "All Around the Town," in an AQS show several years ago. I seem to always twist and turn other people's patterns to make them my own, and she encouraged that behavior!

She was most gracious and thrilled about my little changes and additions.  She even asked if she could post my quilt on her blog...I was so honored and excited!

She was tickled about my addition of a "red neck" house, complete with outhouse and a truck up on blocks in the yard, and other little touches in other sections inspired by my family and friends!

My daughter drew the horse to add to my quilt.

My bestie Ola's family golf tradition...

Judy E's flower garden pink flamingo pair...

Our orange kitty, Mr. Weasely...

The black stop border with every address I had ever lived hand-quilted into it...

Tiny quilts hanging in a quilt show...

I have been working on blocks for her amazing "Afternoon Delight" quilt lately.  Here are a few of my favorites...

The almost 7-inch blocks are not only beautifully designed and drafted, but incredibly fun and healing to stitch. She was designing and stitching right up to her early passing.  If you are not familiar with her patterns or her, I urge you to visit her site and her blog. She will be missed!  

Sue Garman, quilt on!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Christmas ornament tutorial...a pudgy lamb...

Christmas is upon us!  This post is a poor attempt at me keeping a promise to share a tutorial on how I made this fuzzy little Christmas lamb ornament...oh, so long ago in the late 1980's.

Peg Margo, this one is for you...sorry it took so long!

The original idea came from a craft leaflet that I hoped I had hung onto, but my search through the last of the packed moving boxes last week was futile.  Doh!

I tried to wing it and re-create what I did 30 years ago.  I learned from making this one, but had no time to make another one that would reflect those lessons learned.
So I will be constantly telling you what I have told my daughter through the years..."do as I say, not as I do."

I will list all materials that are needed concisely at the end of the post.  I still had the larger of the two template circles that I made all those years ago, funny enough.  I guessed on the smaller one...and I guessed wrong (it should have been a little smaller...).

Yep, if the observant among you noticed one of Karen Kay Buckley's "Perfect Circles," you would be correct.  In fact, you can make this critter any size, with any material, and actually any species.  I want to explore this some time with a spotted body to make a cow, for instance...

So I recommend a 3-  to 3.5-inch circle template for the body and a 1.5-inch circle for the head.  I used a 1.75-inch circle for the head, and wished I had made it smaller.

For each ornament, you need TWO large circles of cardboard for the body and ONE small circle for the head.

Next, I cut out scrap batting about 1/2 inch bigger all the way around.

I then clipped about 1/2 inch deep all the way around.

Being very careful not to burn myself, I centered the cardboard circle in the center of the batting circle.  I applied hot glue half to 2/3 around at the very edge of the cardboard.  The clipped sections were quickly folded over onto the glue and held.  Then I glued the remaining edge and pressed the remaining clipped batting sections into place.

I repeated this with the second large body circle and the small head circle.

Do you see that writing is faintly visible through one of my body circles?  Don't do that.  I should have made sure that the writing side of my recycled cardboard would be to the inside of the ornament.

It doesn't matter with this ornament, but if you were using a thinner body fabric, that faint writing might show...

OK...now we will do the same thing again with the outer body fabric.  The batting just gives some pudge to the ornament.

For my original ornament, I just used sheepy fabric I found in the fake fur department.  Because I live in the middle of freakin' nowhere, I ordered some 'Minky Sherpa Cuddle, Ivory' from Fabric.com.  The material substrate is actually thinner and easier to work with than what I used years ago, but the shedding edges are a little more annoying.

Again, see my little clipped sections?

Once both body pieces are covered, you need to add legs before gluing the sections together...oh...and a loop of thin ribbon or heavy thread for a hanger.  I forgot that.  Now, I have to go back with a needle and thread and stitch and pull something through the edges for hanging...

I still had 3-inch craft cinnamon sticks, so I used them for legs, just like I did originally.  You can also use craft sticks, heavy ribbon with a knot or bead on the end...or leave them legless...whatever you would like (they are less likely to run away or wander off if you leave them legless).

I put the curly seam of the 2 cinnamon sticks to the front so that they have the appearance of having all 4 legs...then, I glued the two body pieces together with a generous amount of hot glue. 

At this point you can stop here with a walking snowball ornament or continue.

Using felt, cover the head circle just as you did with the two body circles.  I thought I was ordering plain ol' felt from Fabric.com, but ended up with something called 'Plush Felt, Vanilla."  I would have preferred felt, but this was OK.  It was thicker and more hairy than felt, probably more realistic, but the texture made applying make-up later a little more challenging.

Let's make some ears!  The shape is below.  On the rounded end, they are about the size of a nickel with a tab attached...sort of the shape of a hot air balloon.

I put a little dot of hot glue on the tab ends of the ear pieces and pinched together to make the folded ears.  

Next I cut a small, football-shaped piece of the sherpa body stuff that would fit on the top part of the head, like bangs.  I applied the bangs, which hang over the head piece a scant amount on top and each side, with a little glue.  Then I attached the ears to the head piece, right where the bangs stop on either side.

Glue the head to the body.  Mine is almost in the center, but you can glue the head where you like, cocked at any angle you like.

Now it is time to make the blind see and accessorize this beast!  I just happened to have these little plastic craft balls, but you can use buttons, circles of black felt, beads, googly eyes, tiny black pom poms...whatever you have.

I put the bow on top of the head in my original ornament.  I chose to tuck it under the chin on this one.  Feel free to bling him out however you want!

Using a black Sharpie marker, I drew hoof-like little shapes at the bottoms of the cinnamon sticks.  You don't have to use perfectly shaped cinnamon sticks...I chose these because they twisted a bit and looked like fun.

I also snipped a couple of plastic holly leaves from an old sprig and glued them on top of the bangs with a tiny ribbon rose.  You can use jingle bells, beads, buttons, jewelry findings...whatever floats your boat.

And of course, to pile on the cuteness you can apply some blush with a Q-tip.

Ta da!!

Ingredient List:
     template plastic or "Perfect Circles"
     recycled corrugated cardboard scraps
     batting scraps
     fake fur, fake sheep, Minky, or fabric
     cinnamon sticks or craft sticks
     black Sharpie marker
     3/8 or 1/2 inch ribbon
     skinny ribbon or heavy thread for hanger
     craft eyes and findings for embellishment
     hot glue gun
     make-up and Q-tip

Tutorial provided, promise kept, mic drop...

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)