Sunday, March 28, 2010

Updating Etsy Store with Wool Scraps

The pile of wool was threatening to take over the spare room, so I decided to make some scrap bags to list for sale on Etsy.  There are so many things a person can make with felted wool. I have a flickr set devoted to things I have made with wool--check it out!  

I have divided it up into 8 scrap bags. Each gallon bag is stuffed full of wool that has been felted by me here at home. These will be listed soon. See my Etsy button on the side of the blog for a link to the store.

The rest of the day will be devoted to laundry and cooking a ham I picked up at the grocery store last night.  Hope your weekend was a good one!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flickr Favorites

Here are some photos from Flickr I would like to share with you.  All of them are my favorites for different reasons. Many of them provide inspiration in my efforts to create.

This flag made by Morna Crites-Moore sewn with wool is something I want to make using fabrics from my own stash. I love the button details that embellish this penny rug.

Morna has many other wonderful creations which she shares on Flickr and her web site. This penny rug is on my to-do list, as well.

The quilting on this bricks quilt made by Kate of KateQwiltz is so cool. I am using a similar quilting pattern on the bricks quilt I am making using Momo's Oddysea fabric line.

I love the colors in this quilt as well as the simple pattern.  It was shared by Jodi of Pleasant Home. I am pretty sure I can make this slightly wonky.

Is this not the prettiest collection of canning jars ever?  I love the way the light makes these glow.  This is by Amy at A Common Place Life. She has an interesting blog and some lovely photos.

I did some sewing today and watched the heartwarming movie, The Blind Side. No pictures of my own to post, though. Maybe tomorrow!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Compaq Covered

Here is the finished laptop sleeve for the Compaq laptop.  I added an outside pocket to the design for storage of little things like flashdrives. This turned out slightly looser than I expected. I am thinking of shrinking it in the wash for a tighter fit.

This color palette is not what I would normally choose, but I am pleased at how it turned out. The yellow is so spring-like and a good shot of color after a dreary winter is a good thing.

Just one more week at school before SPRING BREAK!  Lord, just let me hold on til then!

Happy weekend, people!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Laptop Case

I stopped at the fabric store on the way home looking for some pre-quilted fabric to make a new laptop case. I was not impressed by the selection so I chose 2 coordinating prints and decided to quilt them myself.
The main print will be the branches and yellow blossoms print. This one I quilted with spiral swirls. This used a lot of thread. I have used 4 bobbins so far on this half yard length and still need to do a little more. (But Survivor came on and I had to stop.)

The lining and flap will be the yellow print with dots in shades of black, gray and white. This is quilted with a stippling pattern. I am loving these yellow, black and gray tones together.
I went ahead and quilted more of these fabrics than I am going to need, just in case. I figure that whatever is left over I can use to make zipper pouches or a handbag.
After Survivor goes off I am back to the sewing machine.

Updated:  I have made a couple laptop sleeves before using this free pattern. Here is the one I made for my Dell Mini. Here is the one I made for my cousin's Mac.

I Love Techmology!

My sister passed on her old laptop to me which I have worked on for a couple of days cleaning off old files and setting it up with my programs and stuff.  I had to set up my home network (again) and even figured out how to bridge the disconnect between 2 different operating systems in order to make my printer work with both laptops. Since this laptop has a great deal of file storage capacity, I am going to use it with Office 2007 and to load my photos to Flikcr and my blog.  I will also take it to work occasionally to do reports for the admin at my school.
Then yesterday my Dell Mini came back home. It had some newly installed hardware and the original programs installed again.  I needed to set it up again with email, but I have decided against installing Office 2007 again. I think that program is so large that it caused more problems than benefits. So I think that the small computer will be my travel model, used mostly for surfing the Internet, email and Skype (maybe.)

Of course I have the Ipod, which is in all practical senses a tiny, tiny computer.  I stacked the techmology (spelling is intentional) in a pile like turtles basking in the sun. I crack myself up!
On a work related note, my favorite IT tech of all time came to my room today and installed the new cable for the printer, so that now we can print with our thin clients.  It took him all of five minutes to make me very happy!

I hope your techmology is working for you today!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The First Weekend of Spring

It was a beautiful weekend here. I got a lot done, even though I have a cold that is trying to develop into a sinus infection.  Just a tip for all you readers, when you go to the doctor's office for a checkup, don't touch the magazines (or anything else.) Sanitze like crazy! Or else you might come out of the doctor's office with an unwanted illness.  

Here is one of the finished Easter Egg Wallhangings. This one has blue egg and is trimmed with an Easter border print. It is backed with a scrap of vintage sheeting and bound with the same white as the background.  My aunt saw it just as I was finishing it and expressed her desire that it come live at her house. So be it.

I made these bird nest pins this weekend.  They are inspired by the ones made by Betz White.  I am thinking these might be fun to make in a larger size using larger felt beads. The larger ones would not be for wearing as pins, but rather to decorate a shelf. These are made with felted wool sweaters and wool beads by Handbehg. 
This is my first blog post on my new-to-me computer.

Thanks, little honey, I love it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Scrappy Easter Eggs

To start out I cut a piece of Warm and Natural batting to a comfortable size. By comfortable, I mean two things: small enough to manuever under the sewing machine and narrow enough to be covered using my torn strips.

I went through my fabric stash and pulled out fabrics that looked "Eastery" to me. I ripped off strips of these fabrics and stuffed them into my scrap bag.

Using the batting as a foundation, I strip pieced the scraps in color combinations that pleased me. After making a few different panels of strips, I found a good sized egg pattern using Google images.

I cut out the eggs using my rotary cutter following the outline of the egg pattern. I ended up with quite a few striped eggs.

Then I went through my ribbon and trim stash and pulled out some coordinating colors to use for embellishment.  It was easy to tack these trims down using the sewing machine--the hardest part was changing the thread so many times to match colors.

I tore the background fabric to the size I wanted--to be able to get three eggs in a column and pinned the eggs in place.  Using a zig-zag stitch I appliqued the eggs in place. The layer of batting under them gives them a more sculptural look.

I got a cute striped Easter fabric at Joanne's this weekend. It makes a great border for these panels. I chose to sew one with the vines closest to the center and the other with the jelly beans closest to the center.

To finish these up I will add batting and a backing and do some echo quilting around the shapes of the eggs. Of course, I will add a hanging mechanism and bind it off. I have some cute jelly bean fabric for the binding.

Have a great weekend!  I am predicting mine will be spent feeling sick, as I already have the sniffles and sore throat.  Boo!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Green Day!

Here is a work in progress. It is the next panel for my ticker tape quilt. The first panel features a medium blue solid for the background and used red and blue scraps. This one is a sea of green.

I prefer to lay out the trimmed scraps and pin them in place before starting to sew them down. I fussy cut some of the scraps to feature the print.  I am amazed by how many shades of green there are here.

After I get a few more of these panels done, I will assemble them into a quilt. This follows the quilt as you go method, so there will be a few seams to cover when I join the panels.

Here is my finished Love Is In the Air Rail Fence quilt.  It shrank a good bit in the dryer, but is still a generous lap sized cover. I will go ahead and use it even though Valentine's Day was some time ago and Easter is coming on quickly!

Coffee Cozies

Here is the finished wallhanging.  It is a keeper!

These are some coffee cozies I made to donate to my niece's school for a fundraiser. My aunt got this great coffee fabric when we went shopping this past weekend in Richmond while waiting for the dogs to be finished at the groomers.

I used ponytail holders for the elastic closures and vintage buttons from my stash.

I have a bit more fabric left and will probably make some more. I have heard these also come in handy for those of us who like to eat ice cream straight from the pint carton.

They are not too hard to make.  The tricky part is getting the design to be right way up when all the sewing is finished.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Toad Chokers and the Coming of Spring

UPDATE:   I spent an hour on the phone Friday with the Dell Customer Service Tech and finally got an authorization to send the computer back.  I also bought an additional year's warranty for a very reasonable price to ensure that once the computer comes back to me after the original warranty expires, I will still be able to get it worked on if need be.  Today-- March 17, I was finally able to get the Dell shipped back via Fed-Ex. Had to make a special trip to the Fed-ex store. Will attempt to wait patiently for it to come back.  I miss you cherry red, Dell Mini 9!


It was not that great a day yesterday.

My beloved Dell Mini died. DIED.

I had to work late for Parent-Teacher Conferences.

It started to pour down rain as I walked through the dark school campus to get to my car.

It continued to rain--toad choker style all the way home.

Then I saw these. Occasionally, along the roadway, awake from hibernation

to herald the arrival of another SPRING!

There is nothing a toad likes more than a warm spring toad-choking rain!

(Unless it's a lady toad)

I love toads--I had one as a pet for a long time.

Sooo, I took a personal day today so I could enjoy a nice relaxing three day weekend.

Before the relaxing can begin, I need to call Dell and get directions for sending my dead Mini back to them.

That's right-- it was still under warranty-- for 14 more days! Take that dead hard drive!

Meanwhile I will keep limping along with only my backup desktop (not portable) and my Ipod for my computer needs.

It's rough, people!
Hope some happy signs of spring are headed your way soon!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Three Flowers Wallhanging

I started this today after seeing a great wallhanging done by Sheree on FLickr.  I chose 2 fat quarters of a swirly fiesta print in two colorways, purple and red. Freehand, I cut some circles from the red print and some petal shapes from the purple.
I played around with the arrangement of the red and purple pieces until I liked the way the flowers looked. The one in the center is my favorite!
I used a leftover strip-pieced section discarded from another project for the grass at the bottom of a sky blue field. The leaves and stems are hand cut from a deep mottled green cotton.  I tacked them all down with some scraps of Steam-a-Seam to hold them in place until I could stitch them. 

I used Sulky Blendables in 12 weight for the decorative stitching and the free motion quilting of the applique pieces.  It is hard going, even though I am using the recommended needle in the machine. I figure if I keep at it, eventually I will figure it out! (In the meantime, I have ordered the book Sulky Secrets to Successful Embroidery hopes of getting some useful help.)

I will finish this up with some echo quilting around the shapes of the flowers. For the backing I have chosen a section of a vintage navy floral sheet from my scrap pile. Since the blue background fabric is a fat quarter, it will finish up at around 18x22.

Happy Creating!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Marching Into Spring

It makes me so happy to create something beautiful! 
I finished up one of the Shamrock Wallhangings I started. (Haven't managed to take a good picture of it and it already went to school.)  The second one I decided not to finish because the contrast between the green solid fabric was not enough with the pieced background.  I was just going to throw it out, but I did not.

I wanted to make a wallhanging celebrating the coming of spring (which some days feels like it won't be coming at all.) I needed some fabric that would suggest blue skies and I picked up some today at the little fabric store on my way home from work. (The selection is limited, but I was lucky today to find what I needed.)

I cut the yard of background fabric into fat quarters and decided that would be a good dimension for my completed wall hanging.  Then I got the idea that I could use part of the discarded green wallhanging for the ground.  I got out my rotary cutter and hacked away.  I ended up with 2 good sized pieces that can be used for grass at the bottom of the scene I was to create.  These pieces were already quilted because I went ahead and did all the work on that wallhanging except for the binding.

Then I decided that I could further use the leftover pieces of the discarded project and freehand cut out leaves for the flowers I planned to make.

The rest of the fabric for the flowers came straight from my scrap bag.  The pink and cream print was a scrap that was already fused to some fleece and was left over from my cousin's laptop case.  I cut all the parts of the flowers freehand--no patterns or freezer paper this time!
The fact that some of these pieces already contain batting gives those areas of the wallhanging a more defined texture. In the picture above you can see I added some loopy red petals around the edge of this flower using some free motion quilting.

Some of the quilting is done with only the batting and the front, but without the backing. That is to hide some of the stitches and to make a cleaner, neater backing. Once I got the applique part done, I could go ahead and assemble my quilty sandwich.

I used free motion quilting to echo the shapes of the flowers and to create a shape in the top left corner that suggests a cloud or the orb of the sun. The quilting thread is the same color as the background fabric to provide only a subtle contrast.

This is backed and bound with a leaf print and I even included folded triangle corners on the back for hanging. 


Here's hoping Spring finds its way to you soon!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quilted Garments, AKA Wearable Art

It takes a great deal of self confidence to wear some of these outfits, but think of the hours it took to craft them!

Floral Quilts

Gardens crafted from fabric,
inspired by nature's glory!