Thursday, October 31, 2013

Headless Halloween cat and new music blocks...

Doesn't Weasley's rear end look like a big PUMPKIN?  I was contemplating cutting out felt triangles to gently set on his fur for a picture when he got bored and pooper...

I have been prepping my pieces for two more music blocks...the fermata sign and tenor clef.

They are wreath-like block designs and will accompany the two blocks I previously made with the treble and bass clefs (Baltimore Rhapsody music quilt project) in a small quilt with the blocks set 2 x 2.  I know there are people out there who ordered my cello block, and they are looking for the tenor clef design to go with their quilt schemes.  Soon and very soon!

It wouldn't be a Halloween post without me complaining about making costumes for my family.  This year is compounded by Youmacon (Detroit's version of Comicon), happening this weekend.  

Riley's costumes will include "The Watchman" (graphic novel character, which will include the mask we are making below), "Mrs. Lovett" (twisted character from "Sweeney Todd," who makes tasty pies from people), and "Glados" (evil female computer character from the "Portal" computer game).  I miss the days of Tinkie Winkie, Dorothy, Disney princesses, and Harry Potter costumes! daughter is such a nerd...   :o)

Happy Halloween!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mmmm...Chocolate wedding cake...

We were remembering our wedding on our 20th anniversary last week and remembering that we only had one cake at the reception...chocolate, which totally bucks the trend, especially 20 years ago...more on that when I post the next "CONTENTMENT" block...

There is a saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"  Well, I love the method I use for prepping my hand applique, but I am not beyond tweaking when necessary.

I really like glue basting my little bits together and/or to backgrounds after using my trusty Elmer's glue stick to temporarily turn the little edges under.  When I used to use pins, snagging my applique thread on those pins used to make me completely mental.  

Swapping to glue basting instead of pinning was a natural step, since I already soak my block to remove the glue stick.

Roxanne's Glue Baste has always been my glue of choice for this step.  I love how fast things adhere, even immediately after doing the "dot-dot-not-a-lot" routine and smashing things together.

Where I wanted to tweak things is at the soak step.  It takes no time to dissolve the glue stick and get that out of the way.  The Roxanne's little glue dots take longer to dissolve.  I can usually see them through the background when everything is wet and I can monitor how much longer the soaking step has to take.

But I am impatient.

I decided to experiment with some Elmer's liquid school glue.  It is supposed to be VERY washable.  The biggest problem for me was the applicator.  The traditional twisty orange cap is very clumsy if you are looking to make tiny little glue drops.  

I ordered some empty glue applicator bottles with needle tips from the Internet.

Things don't stick together as well when the glue is wet, but seem to be fine once I allow time for some drying (but I am impatient...sigh).  The glue is thinner than the Roxanne's, probably to make it dissolve faster for preschool teachers who are dealing with a glue-in-the-hair situation.

The glue has that bluish look to it...kind of like looking at skim milk after you have been using 2%.

The empty bottles came in a bag of six, so I might try some regular Elmer's glue (which will also soak and wash away).

I love results, but I need to also love the process.  It never hurts to do a little experimenting and tweaking!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Friday, October 25, 2013

The "CONTENTMENT" quilt - Block #6, Steve's computer career...

My "CONTENTMENT" original story quilt project wouldn't be complete without depicting our careers.  My husband has a computer career.  This block shows my irrational fear that Steve's computer monitor will, someday, eat him alive.

I also think that if he could physically crawl through his monitor and "surf the web," he'd do it in a heartbeat.  Maybe I should have drawn swim trunks and flippers, or maybe a surf board...

I was studying my pictures of the Reconciliation Quilt last night.

It makes me think about other blocks for my story quilt...not just specific events and things that pertain to us as a couple and family, but events that have happened in the world since we met and married.  I would love to know the story behind each block in this antique quilt.

I should probably put a fabric "key" on the back of my quilt when it is finished.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The "CONTENTMENT" Quilt - Block 5, our first home...

OK, I did briefly mention this block in a previous post, but as I am trying to roll this out in an orderly fashion, here are the details:

This is block #5 in my "CONTENTMENT" quilt project, which is an original story quilt I am making to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  All the blocks finish at 10 inches.

I love making pine trees, apple trees, ANY kind of tree.  It's fun digging through the green tone-on-tones until I find just the right ones (you can tell I live 40 miles from a Canadian border crossing...we all have "funny money" in our pockets around here...they have pretty pennies...).

Our house doesn't really look like this, but that is the beauty of folk can lie and have things totally out of proportion (apple size, butt size...).  The blocks are meant to be representations.  This block celebrates the year we bought our first house together.

This is just a house doodle...more folk art exaggeration and inherent dishonesty, snicker-snicker (right up there with body size, amount of hair, hair color, etc).  

I enjoyed collecting architectural fabrics when I was making "All Around the Town," and had plenty left for future fabric play.  I really love making house and building blocks.  We all tend to over-collect fabric, don't we?  I choose to call it "forming my palette."  That makes it sound more artsy and less hoard-ish...

We celebrated our 20th anniversary last night in the most romantic way...we attended a very important, very controversial local school board meeting (oh, the things we do for our kids and future students...).  That's OK, it has all been said at this point and we have the next 20 years to re-say it all over again.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, October 21, 2013

OOPS! The grill wasn't quite finished...

As I was adding embroidery to the next finished block today, I realized I had not quite finished the grill on the "teamwork" block from the "Contentment Quilt" before posting it.

The wheels should have come off, without the proper bracing, LOL!  Now, the block really is finished...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The "CONTENTMENT" Quilt - block 4, teamwork...

It's fun to present another block for my original "Contentment Quilt," which is an original project to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary (October 23).

This one features my husband and his grilling skill...when he grills it is so helpful and it means that the meal was a group effort...thus more time to sew, right??  I really appreciate his willingness to help out.

He likes the hat...makes him look like he has more hair...

Our anniversary is in four days, so obviously, this project won't be finished for this year's celebration.  But, I will work on it through the whole 20th year.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

All "Song of Spring" blocks are finished...and the sale is OVER!


I finished the last two blocks of Lori Smith's "Song of Spring," and it was fun to pin them up and just look at them.

Each block finishes at 6 inches.  I am thinking about a swag border...

I have been so busy that I seem to do all my stitching in the car while waiting for my daughter or during meetings.  Thank goodness these blocks are quick and small...they make me feel like I am getting something accomplished.

Thanks to everyone who came to our sale!  Mary, Ola, and I worked very hard to get ready for it, so it was nice to have people show up and take stuff away!!

It was a good thing Mary had such a big basement...the weather was hit and miss.  The bins we had outside on tables contained fabric yardage in baggies.  Every time it started to rain, we would jump up and put lids on bins.

I caught Mary with the camera...I think Ola hid when I pulled it out and started taking pictures.  Then it got busy...

We had bins of loose fabric inside, along with all the books, patterns, scrapbook stuff, craft stuff, etc.  Here is half of the garage. Then Mary had her attached basement filled with a gallery of her finished quilts...I was so busy checking people out that I didn't make it in there until the 2-day sale was over.

If you want to have a stash reduction sale, do it with is so much more fun!  We each used a different colored sticker dot as we priced our stuff to keep things separated and Mary found a great garage sale "app" to help us check people out.

It was a lot of work but certainly worth it!  It was fun to get to meet people, although it was a bit of a feeding frenzy on the first day.  I was working too hard to socialize!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Blocks 8, 9, and close to finished!

 Three more completed 6 inch hand applique blocks for Lori Smith's "Songs of Spring" quilt...woo-hoo!

 I now have 10 of the 12 blocks finished.  Leaves, leaves, leaves...

I have the last two prepped and ready to work on if our quilter's garage sale gets slow and boring over the next 2 days.  And I can also daydream about how to set the blocks and what kind of outer border to make up to go with it.  I am thinking of a simple swag.

This has been a great stuff-in-a-baggie-and-go project.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Details about garage sale and a challenge...

Our big QUILTER-CRAFTER GARAGE SALE sale starts in 3 days.  If you are local to southeast lower Michigan, I hope you will consider coming to shop what Ola, Mary and I have culled from our stashes (comment or email and I will give you details).  As our husbands point out, we are practically giving it away.

No matter where you are, if you are "hindered by your hoard," I hope you will consider holding a sale, or at least "a purge," yourself.  

Reasons to do this:
My tastes have definitely changed since 1983...even since 5 years ago!  If you aren't going to use it, why store it?  Why not sell it, swap it, or simply hand it off to someone else who finds it exciting?  

You may just be hoarding a piece that may not interest YOU, but may help SOMEONE ELSE finish a UFO.  Have you ever been working on a project only to find you need a little more of a certain fabric?  I get a lot of emails from people looking for something. Go ahead, give it up!

Don't you hate slogging through your stash trying to find what you need?  It really slows me down.  If you keep moving a fabric, book or pattern, repeatedly, not using it, to find something ELSE, give it up!

Maybe you bought a book to make one project, or worked from a pattern that is fabulous and still all together and in good shape.  As long as it is still usable, why not give it new life?  

Encourage a friend(s) to do it with you!  Then you aren't alone in the endeavor.  The 3 of us each have a different set of colored sticky "dots" to keep everything straight.  We have been encouraging to each other, kept each other from beating ourselves up for having all this stuff, and we will get to hang out together the days of the sale.

Due to financial reasons, some quilters and crafters have been forced to stop doing what they love.  I don't call my blog Fabric Therapy for nothing - I play with fabric because it makes me feel good.  I could have just taken all this stuff to the curb and moved on, but hopefully some of it will allow people to keep working with their hands.

I always kid my husband that if I get hit by a bus, my quilting friends will come and make it all disappear for him.  By keeping my stash current, no one will have to deal with "the junk."  (thank you Paula of born2quilt for emailing the quilter's last will and testament from Bonnie Hunter - that was a hoot!)

If you don't want to do a sale, there are so many things to do with the STUFF.

  • Pick some friends who like "scrappy" and do a scrappy swap.  If there are 8 of you, set up 8 bags (include yourself!).  Roughly divide each unwanted fabric into 8 pieces, and stuff  the bags.  Then get together and have a "bag party."  Even "uglies" look great in scrap quilts!  Chunks or strips, I LOVE scraps and others do also.
  • Donate fabric to a group making quilts for charitable reasons (quilts of valor, women's shelters, binkie patrol, hurricanes, fires, etc.).  Contact local churches or guilds to find such groups.
  • Have a book/pattern swap with friends.
  • Your local library might be interested in your quilt books.  If they don't want to shelve them, maybe they hold periodic book sales to raise funds for new books.
  • Some books are just out of date.  Recycling may be the only answer.  At least it would keep them out of the landfill.
  • Our little sewing group once did a UFO swap a while back.  It was fun!  I didn't complete the project, but I used the fabric in something else.
  • It's OK to re-purpose UFO's into another project, especially scrappy projects.

  • ALL of us have bought "amazing gadgets" and rulers that we don't use, or at least, don't use any more.  I say, another reason to party with your friends and swap tools or have a group challenge, using the tools.

I have not moved in almost 20 years, so it was a good exercise to go through and TOUCH EVERYTHING in the quilt cave.  It took a little while, but it was so worth it.  

I feel rejuvenated and I have a sense of direction again...and everything has a home.  Clutter will ALWAYS be clutter if you don't have a place to store things.

How many times have we re-purchased what we bought before only because we couldn't find it in our stash?!?

And here comes the hard part...haven't we all made purchases that made us feel good at the time, but then later we wonder what we were thinking?  It is difficult to admit, but there are times it just feels good to buy fabric...or a book/ a pick-me-up.

I find I do that when I am frustrated with lack of sewing time, mad, sad, etc.  What is it about colorful cotton that just feels so good to collect?  I'll leave that one to the experts...

I can't say enough how good it feels to have a work space that hums instead of screeching and screaming...

I challenge you to come to terms with your stash.  You can do it slowly, over time, if it is overwhelming.  Reach out to friends for help and support.  I still have a lot of stuff...but it is stuff I will use, God willing.  

I still add to my stash, but I am trying to be smarter about what I choose to buy (I will remember this as I shop Ola and Mary's stuff on Friday, LOL!).  

However you choose to do it (a sale, donations, sharing, the dump), your creative spirit will be freed and quilting will be a joy!  You may think I am weird to encourage you to come shop our sale while encouraging you to purge your stash.  Just collect what you will use and get rid of the rest!!

Happy stitching,
Teresa  :o)