Monday, November 30, 2009

A Cozy Quilter's Christmas...

This is a stitched and scrapped wall hanging made for a sample at the store last Christmas that I now am able to bring home and hang up.  (We had a few more patterns this fall to sell, so I took the sample back to the store until the patterns sold.)  But now it's hanging on a door and I'm very pleased to have it up!

The pattern is from Crapapple Hill and was originally for a pillow, but I didn't want to do all that hand stitchin' and hand quiltin' and have someone sittin' on it!  LOL  I did it as a wall hanging for a 12-inch hanger.

This was my first time using crayons to color in motifs in a stitchery, but it won't be the last!.  It was very easy to do!  I recommend Crayola Crayons.  After coloring what I wanted, I layered the colored area with 2 paper towels and pressed with a hot iron until no more color came off.  I did this before stitching.  I know some people do it after stitching.  Of course, don't do this if you transfer you embroidery design with the blue water-removerable, disappearing pen (the heat of the iron will make it impossible to remove the disappearing pen completely and ruin your day!).  I like to transfer with a brown Pigma pen, so it worked fine.

The scrappy stars and top border were all red and neutral in the pattern, but I like the sparkle of adding green as well.  Striped binding is my favorite! 

It was my first experience with Weeks embroidery floss (a lovely varigated one for the writing - everything else was DMC), and I nearly died when I was gently spritzing away my blue quilting lines and the words just started to run a bit on my background...YIKES!!  Fast action on my part (and a little bit of white Crayola crayon) "stopped the bleeding" and my blood pressure returned to normal.  I had no idea that the Weeks floss was so prone to running.

For those of you experienced in using Weeks floss, does soaking the skein in vinegar or Retayne help to make it colorfast??  My heart won't take another experience like this one!!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh, you beautiful doll...

My very best friend, Ola, is a wonderful quilter and doll-maker.  With her permission, I just have to share some of her beautiful babies with you.  As her mother before her, Ola takes great care in crafting her dolls with careful attention to every detail.

Ola made some samples for The Quilting Season quilt shop (Saline, Michigan) using some Australian patterns, but now drafts her own patterns and adds lovely little personal touches (I LOVE their hair!!).

She recently made several to sell at a local craft show, but the Michigan economy is so bad at the moment that craft vendors are not doing as well as they should.

Their feet and shoes are awesome! 

I hope everyone is enjoying a cozy Thanksgiving holiday...I know I am!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Off the carpet and stitched to a background...

Well, Mr. BOP if off my dirty basement carpet and properly stitched onto a piece of background fabric.  He is block #9 from the Civil War Bride Quilt, and the seventh block (of 20) that I've finished.  He is blind, as I am giving the whole subject of faces some thought before embroidering any more.  I'm not that happy with the eye I gave the peacock.  The Bird of Paradise is a fantasy bird, and apparently lives in an oak tree with crabapples (I guess I should have made acorns instead!).  LOL

There are people who think patterns should be strictly followed, and then there are people like me who go a little "rogue" from time to time.  I followed Lurline's wonderful example of changing the body shape of this bird.  I ended up adding the berries to cover up some imperfections in my applique.  Hiding mistakes is a GREAT excuse to deviate from the pattern!!...(little giggle).

Thanksgiving is this week and Steve's parents will be here for a lovely, long visit.  I may or may not get any stitching done on my ostrich block, which is ready to stitch.  Then, I'm going to take a break from birds and get back to urns, flowers, and leaves, leaves, leaves...sigh.

Thanksgiving will just be the start to the whole insane holiday season for me.  My church music job gets REALLY busy until Christmas.  I also have a whole lot of Christmas sewing to do (finishing gifts, ornament exchange, etc.).  I hope to post some of these items as I finish.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, November 16, 2009

More birds on the brain...

While working on my peacock, I couldn't wait to pull fabrics and start on the tail feathers of the Bird of Paradise (BOP).  I am so loving this Civil War Bride Quilt!  I figured Mr. BOP needed to be bold and regal as compared to the peacock, who looks like he's been sipping umbrella drinks on some beach in the Caribbean.  I can't wait to get  Mr. BOP off my basement carpet and perched on his tree on the background fabric.  I love the bold purple, red, gold and black fabrics.  I think these colors will definitely pull the focus away from the peacock and back to the quilt's name sake!

Thanks to Lurline (visit her blog here), I decided to streamline Mr. BOP's body as well, after her beautiful example.  I didn't feel like the original body matched the stunning, regal shape of the tail feathers. 

Some lesser birds (don't tell THEM that...) have also been occupying my mind in the past couple of weeks.  These ostriches are glue-basted as well and ready to go (I changed their feet), along with some lovely pale pink blossoms.

Once Mr. BOP and his ostrich backup singers are stitched down, I'm going to work on the two remaining urn blocks, as well as an additional original one (I'm hoping to put the urn blocks on the four corners).

If there were just 3-4 more hours in a day, all devoted to sewing...sigh.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Now there's a peacock in the neighborhood!

This is block #7 of the Civil War Bride Quilt, my 6th block finished.  I thought I would never get all of the 63 leaves done!  But I have no one to blame but myself because I re-drew this block.  I found many pictures and drawings of peacocks on the Internet and tried to make him look like out "pet peacock" from my childhood (a run-away from the Birmingham, Alabama Zoo, which was connected to our property by some woods).

The bright colors are true to an actual male peacock.  Fortunately, my dark background helps to tone him down a bit...I couldn't resist using lots of bright lime greens.

I'm working on the Bird of Paradise now, which is supposed to be the dominant birdy diva in this quilt.  I think this quilt top will end of being "the battle of the birds!"

Six blocks down, 14 to go (unless I add another 5 to make the layout 5 x 5)...

Am I nuts to consider expanding this quilt?!?

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, November 2, 2009

The groom has appeared...

Hi!  I'm back!  I finally got to do a little sewing, for a change!  This is an original groom I drafted to go into my Civil War Bride Quilt.  He's the fifth block I've finished, so I'm officially done with one quarter of the blocks (oh yeah, then there are the borders....).

Here he is with his sweetie:

I may re-do him, as I was hoping they would look better together...I'm thinking his block is too sparse.  It looks like SHE uses "Miracle Grow" and HE does not.  (She should dump him for a better provider!!)

I have not been doing enough personal sewing lately...that makes me a little grumpy.  I did manage to make Riley a Halloween costume (she was Prof. Umbridge from the Harry Potter books/movie #5). 

I also had to design and make a couple of items for the shop's Holiday Dash, which is coming up in a couple of weeks.  This year, the Holiday Dash quilt is a Christmas row style quilt, so I needed to come up with small projects using our block in case our stash dashers wanted to complete something smaller with their set of collected patterns.  I made a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g wall hanging (12 x 56 - that's CRAZY long, but we wanted to show customers they could make a SLICE of a row quilt!).  I also made a more normal sized table topper (that's my rug you see on the corners!).

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)