Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wonky Challenged

Way back in 1996 I made a Delectable Mountains quilt for a wedding present. The perfect colour was a Debbie Mum print with Noah's Ark along each selvage edge. I cut off the borders and used the rest. I have a few miles of the border left. The Delectable Mountains were in rows which is kind of a favorite setting of mine. This will be how the these boats will float as well. In between the flotilla I will do pieced blocks. I have half square triangles (6") for some of the rows. But I want wonky. I am no perfectionist but actually trimming these to wonky has me slightly paralyzed! 8^{
How do you do wonky???
Then I'll be needing more pieced blocks because like most of my bright ideas this has grown from a baby quilt to a youth bed quilt to 2 bunk quilts. So I need some ideas for deliberately cutting wonky and then what shapes would be compatible for some of the other rows. The border print is 5" deep so I'm thinking 5" blocks. About 7 blocks per row, maybe 7 rows of blocks, 7 rows of border print.
How did 'winging it' for a wonky quilt get so wediculously wrinkled?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The fresh breath of Spring

I pulled down the winter curtains, whipped off the bedding and started the spring season off with a quick bang. These curtains are repurposed white damask cotton from my Aunt's German feather ticks. I removed the button openings and took out the side seams. It is one very long piece of gorgeous fabric. There are 2 in each set and I have a pink set and a lovely white with some thin coloured stripes. Lots of options but I've started with the white ones. They have a lovely weight to them. The pale green bedspread stopped me dead in my tracks at the thrift store. (Now I can join others with their wonderful stories of great finds for a few dollars.) The fresh breeze (aka Strong Wind) that blows on the prairies is already billowing them out and swirling throughout the house. Look out dust bunnies! I feel 'pumped'!
I do need to focus on my daughter's curtains. She brought me the sheer fabric she had bought and said "help"! I said %#*&*# (to myself) and they are going to be done this week or....well, they are just going to be done!
Tonight is Common Threads and a free night so I'm going to start making improvisational blocks for the 'Liberated Quilts' I want to do come fall. What with all the talking and "Oh, come see..." I figure these are something I can have as an ongoing easy free form project that won't suffer too much from the ADD syndrome.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sometimes I do know...

what I am doing!

I almost sent the newly acquired bedspread back post haste! It reminded me of the wine coloured 50's couch my mum had while I was growing up. But I thought I should not be hasty. I am not sure any of my curtains will work with it but it could be very cozy and rich in the bedroom for the winter.

Then on a whim I dragged it downstairs as I often use these quilted whole cloth spreads on the round table. Whoa! It matches the fruit in the big area rug. It is very close, if not right on, with the painted hutch. Definitely a keeper!

So that wraps up the winter decor. The plan has been documented and I can hit the winter season running when the snow returns.

The new leaf you hear turning will be spring and that will include a fresh decor and also some fresh resolutions to keep the Triple F formula front and centre and foremost.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So much for the plan!

The picture I went for was still there and will start the Spring off with a great look.

The little easel was cheaper than I remembered and cuter!
Then I went for a couple of fabrics from the LQS! WHY, why cannot I restrain myself! arghhh
Very friendly people: yes, my grandson is cute and the new baby is doing fine but I'm not sure that the new umbrella fabric will work! lol
So the orange swirl at the bottom is left from the aprons. I also have some fabric I dyed. Then I accumulated several more fabrics for the sunshine study where my dh has his stuff and the kids will sleep in their new bunkbeds which are in jeopardy if I don't quit buying the covering material! LOL

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On the road again!

This week I am scheduled for something every day but today! But I've now decided to go back to my daughter's little city and get some things I left behind.

I never got to the LQS yesterday to check out the orange fabric selection. This is risky but I'm hoping for only one or two fabrics! I have a plan for them.
A brief stop a Liquidation World turned up a picture that I 'must have'! There were a couple of strings of seaside trinkets that went with the seaside look of the picture. Then there was an easel and frame set up that could hold wonderfully the mixed media challenges I'm wanting to do and be able to display.

Last but not least was the grandson. I had a full car and it didn't work for him to come home with me. But his parents have an appointment in my town tomorrow so I could keep him overnight till that is done. As his mum says, he is always up for an adventure! I don't want to be playing favorites so here is the big brother and my fellow adventurer.

I have also been doing some traveling with my thoughts. My biggest creative outlet has been my home as I change the decor thru the seasons. I quite enjoy making up vignettes and because I can never remember what I did things are always changing. It takes most of each season to accomplish what I want because I'm making quilts, or curtains, or pillows, placemats, etc..
But I am also changing and I have a very long list of creative things that I want to do that involved fibre arts and mixed media and not pillows, etc. I don't think I'm going to have time for all these deco projects. At least not in the same way as I have in the past. The house has always been an ongoing 'work in progress'. And I'm ready for it to be done, I think. This is because I never quite finish things and I'm always starting over every season. But I have a binder with a basic plan and colour swatches, themes, and to-do lists. I'm learning to stay focused. So...
As I go thru this year's seasons I'm going to be thinking 'quick tweaking' to the main focus as opposed to ever changing and evolving projects (fiddling). I'm also seeing the value of 'flinging' and if I edit a lot of the cheap options I've gathered over time and go with 'less is more' I can better find the 'good stuff', fiddle for a week and then be finished and on to my fun challenges.
So April 1st is when I begin Spring and I'll be really springing into action as I travel on the new Focused Highway. And I will be looking for that Fool guy who'd be wanting to trip me up!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Summing up Somedays

I'm having a hard time reconciling my calendar. We have had the warmest and shortest winter on record. People are out looking for pussy willows! I am so not ready for spring. But I guess I'll need to embrace it.

I'm happy with the ironing station! I see I can also get purple canvas baskets for the cubbies and that may just work with the celery green baskets. I put a big oil pastel in blue/periwinkles that I've had in the playroom before back up on the wall here at the computer desk. The whiteboard wasn't pretty so I put its contents on a sheet of paper and stuck it on the computer tower just above the monitor. Still where I can see it but not in my face and I'll just keep photocopying the chart every week. Then I grabbed a little bottle of craft paint and did my cork board. Whoa! Instant gratification for something like $2. I can make my valence anytime and add a bit of that celery colour with a fabric strip across the hemline. This room is shaping up with a light mix of pale blues (periwinkles) and greens. The feathered fabric is a challenge due for our quilt show.

I ordered a whole cloth quilted bed cover for the winter scheme for the master bedroom. There is no way I'm doing a whole cloth quilt but I'll do a lap quilt for folding at the foot of the bed. I found pretty close to ideal in Sophie. It looked like it was cranberry and the shams were available as well. It is shiny and satin like on one side and velvet on the reverse. But the colour number said aubergine. Isn't that an eggplant? I so badly wanted cranberry. I took a chance and ordered it from the catalogue. But we have a purple. I'm thinking, I'm thinking! Nice deep rich red/purple, not royal at all. It could work. I have a day or two to think about it.

Trouble is I am quite distracted and Spring has sprung. I may not be able to finish the winter decor. Time to unearth the fake white tulips everybody thinks are real.

So to sum up the week; not as much done as I'd hoped and the weekend was so/so.

Oh, I just remembered something else purple!

I hope I don't find anything else purple!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A third time for Friday

Who'd have thought it would take 3 days of Friday to get the vacuum put away!
I can see why directions are sometimes optional. Board A and B look the same on the diagram but when I got to step 3 and board B I found they were not so this is where mild swearing starts! 8^) Then I did go for pliers because there are 2 sizes of dowels. No swearing, I was too worried I'd not get them exchanged. Amazingly, it took all afternoon. Now I do have some extra parts left over and I can explain most of them. They are options I chose to disregard as I didn't want it attached to the wall. But the 4 screws rather haunt me because I recall seeing some holes that made no sense. oops! But it looks sturdy. I haven't actually stood on it and should the need arise that I have to, well, I hope there is some kind of flash back! LOL
Form rates higher on my priority list than function. So this must be pretty. I shall acquire more of the canvas baskets and I'll probably use them as my parts department. This will also be for leftovers from projects. I've seen some very creative uses made of leftovers. Serendipity's they'd be. I'll find a green towel to match the baskets and cover the heat resistant pad.
But it needs to function as well so the power bar needs to be positioned where I can see the light and know its on. I find hooking the ironing cord up keeps it out of the road so the shelf above with the hooks fills form and function. I could paint the shelf periwinkle though! I bought an iron holder to mount to the wall and I'm thinking ugly and hubby is thinking FIRE!!! So that may not happen. I'll try the board I have and if it is wide enough, then I'll get one cut that is the right length. I like the overhang because that gives toe room. I can pull the cupboard ahead a bit if I'm ironing those long lengths that need a place to go. Actually what would make it perfect would be a little drop leaf on the right end to set the iron on as you move the bigger lengths of fabric. I never know where to put it while I do that.
So, I'm kinda pleased with myself but appreciative of hubby's look of dismay when I say I have a quick, little job I need him to do. I am actually making a list of little fixes in here that'll probably end up being a whole day's worth of work. Ah, togetherness! 8^)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh no! Company's coming!

I spent the morning flinging some of my stuff. I have kicked the garbage can around the corner and out of site. Then I thought how hard can putting my new ironing station into action! I mean, if my Dh (dear hubby) can put it together without reading the directions and swearing only mildly... Surely a moderately competent and creative chick can do this. So I descended down into the depths of the basement and arrived breathless on the second story with a hammer and some kind of X tipped screw driver which are ALL the tools I apparently need. I thought about it but decided to forgo the box of band-aids. A little pause to check the 'puter and...

Yvonne over at Ink Spiller's Attic has nominated me for the Sunshine award and is sending bloggers by.

Uhm... welcome! 8^) Please excuse the mess! I'm making my very own version of an ironing station. I like to iron on a stable surface. I'd been using my folding craft table with an extra board and some heat resistant batting and a towel. Worked well and was in a good place. But I'm improving my play space, The Coop and Saucer Playroom. aka - old master bedroom

Now the craft table is busy and the substitute table too low. I found a stackable 9 cube organizer at the local hardware store. It fits between the 2 doorways, is the right height and has storage under it. It is only 12" deep which helps with traffic congestion but may need to have a wider board laid on top. Anyway, that is what I'm spending today's creative time doing because who knows when 'he who rules the roost' will be available for assembling this latest acquisition. I will be having a coffee break when all is done and because this is a place for chicks to hang out and clink cups and spill the overflow into their saucers, you are all very welcome to knock the lone rooster off a chair and hang around to see how I make out.

Now, where was I ?

Gently push 4 small dowels (K) into the holes in each of the fixed shelves (B) as shown.

B, which one of you long guys is a B.......

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I've decided it is going to be Friday today!

We have had all this and more this week.
Family day has turned into family week.
My son in law went to emergency Sunday afternoon and was told to take two and call back Monday morning. They kept him till this morning. So my daughter and the 2 grand kids have been staying. Lots of fun and lots of fiddling. But not a whole lot of finishing anything, especially in my playroom. 8~O So when I'm feeling a tad stretched I plug my vacuum in and groove to the beat of my own little world. I have absolute power over anything within range of the nozzle. I am blissfully unaware of anybody but those who position themselves low down and directly in my path. The phone rings away unheeded. Too bad telemarketers! I solve decorating conundrums and eliminate the superfluous. I bring order back to rooms, linen closets and toy boxes. Finding all the kitchen gadgets takes a few more days! LOL
But the exhaust from their car has dispelled. The home front is quiet except for the yelp when I stepped on the Lego! Super will be leftovers, a load is in the laundry, the child gate is disengaged from the playroom door and my vacuum is standing at the ready! I shall dance thru the rooms with my partner only occasionally stubbing his toe on the doorjambs and I shall be back tomorrow with a free Friday for a second go round!
What's that you said? Sorry I can't hear ya!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tangling with Texture

For the remainder of our Common Threads Art Nights we plan on exploring Texture. My page X page challenge was inspired by a little piece I saw over at Approachable Art's blog a few months ago. So I sewed 2 fabrics ,, right sides together. Turned them inside out and closed up the opening, then pleated it. One side was black, the other a black grey astrological fabric. I opened the pleats and spilled bleach down at the seams. Then I washed the little quilt and dried it.

The print fabric didn't change much in the bleaching. The opened pleats didn't really ruffle like I'd hoped and the tangles are ???.

Now I DO have texture!

We had a demo on beading last night and I'm wondering what I could add to this guy to 'enhance' him. The pleats kinda lay down and look less than stellar if I don't keep the nail brush in his sight as a reminder to 'perk up'!

This was quite fun and I need to push the technique a bit to see if I could get it more to my liking.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Technique of the Month

This month the TOM was to paint some fabric with metallic paints. Could be for the purpose of disguising ugly fabric or enhancing any fabric.
A few years ago I took two different dye classes. One was actually dyeing fabric while the other was painting fabric. Now darned if I remember which ones I have here but the first was kinda ugly to me so I wet it and then applied a metallic paint with a bit of fabric medium. I used a foam roller with sections missing. The folds leave gaps and I should have repositioned and added another metallic. This was a fat quarter of white muslin originally.

Then the second piece seemed pretty good to me so I found a stencil to which I applied the metallic paint. Again, a fat quarter.

Aha, this is how you get those layered effects!

Now this is what I learned.

1) I should get more foam rollers as that would have been better to roll in the paint and then on the stencil. Less would have gotten down in the grooves and the stencil would have been clearer when pressed onto the fabric.

2) The bigger the stencil the less mess.

3) Anything with fabric needs to be done in the basement. The mixed media counter area is too small and I am sure glad my sewing table came clean. yikes!

4) This is a lot of fun. I had a bit of a time crunch and lots is happening here in the coop. I will definitely be designating some long summer days to DYE for!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

BOM is Marching On

I am obviously going to have to work faster. The rain and the sun have deleted the snow and it is only March! For sure winter is fading fast and March is on the move.

This is block 6.

This is an alternate block. I was so tempted to pull in some of that mauve but I stuck to the main theme. This block is different already because it has more yellow and has less brights. A resting place for the eye, no doubt. I have 2 blocks with a solid yellow and I must be sure to incorporate some more of it in the next blocks.

The BOM has been completed. I now have 7 blocks and no idea what I'll be doing with them. But I really do like them. My dearie has even commented that they are 'better' than usual. Ah, spoken like the good Ukrainian he is! lol

Friday, March 12, 2010


Well, I'm back to home deco for Friday.

The downstairs hall is our main entrance from the front veranda. I am so glad that I eliminated the tiny side entrance that brought everyone into a small landing that went down to the basement or up into the kitchen. When we sided the house we closed it over. Now everyone comes in the front door.

The entrance hall is actually fairly big. The stairway is partially open and one of the small windows lets light in. No closet but I have some coat hooks. My mum's old cedar chest acts as a bench seat and until I get around to refinishing it I cover it with a quilt, toss a couple of pillows on it and I'm good to go. Actually even refinished the quilt will still add some softness to the hallway. The opposing stairway wall has a long chest high bookcase with a mirror over it to bounce more light around.

I have a collaged wall quilt for the winter season. So the cranberry will be the accent here with a variety of the greens. I'm thinking a square in a square block but in a rectangular format.

That is the plan but the actual job for today is to quickly fling 27 things out of my dresser drawer and then tackle the CC's, the BOM, the TOM and the page x page art quilt that are due by Monday.
So this bird is flinging herself off the roost and into action!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Aprons away, my boys! Aprons away...

Lots of water for kids to play in. Of course men are BIG kids when it comes to water. Never met a man who didn't like to trench and direct rivulets of spring run off. We woke to water dripping off the frozen eaves troughs as the rain fell. So the snow will be fading away much quicker than I'll be ready for.
But the kids can get on with their cooking class because I have delivered the 25 aprons. I was one hour ahead of schedule. Yay! These aprons are reversible with a bias binding on all the edges. It seems easier for me to apply the binding than do hems. So I do the short top piece by feeding all the tops into a long prefolded bias strip in the style of chain piecing. Then I cut lengths to do the rounded bottoms. Long strips of the bias (about 8') are folded in half, then 12" from that centre fold is where I pin it to right top and 12" from that centre I pin it to the left top. I pin one apron side in place. Then I begin to sew from the end of one tie to that pinned apron edge and on up the apron side, around the neck band bias strip, down to that other top pin, down the other apron side and down to the end of the tie. I think there is about 12' of bias binding per apron. Whoa, times 25 aprons! Good thing I don't do math! 8^)
I found the edge foot a great asset. I sat to sew the aprons but stood for all the joining of the bias strips. The bias tool is helpful but two pins in the ironing board surface work just as well. I lay the iron flat and pull the bias with the folded in edges thru with one hand and guide the flat strips with the other. Steam really makes it a sweat shop and I lift the iron every once and a while to prevent over heating the surface. But it works slick. I finish the binding by pressing them in half, folded edges together and I'm ready to apply them to the apron.
Now I have a couple more things jumping up and down on this week's list and they aren't even for dear daughter! vbsigh I can't believe it is the middle of this month already. sheesh!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What if, I was WIPPING...

These aprons are taking way too much of my time and my 'assistant' is not available. The standing at the table is very do-able but I'm thinking the edge foot will make a nicer finish as I attach all the binding to the apron . That will best be done on the sewing machine that is down in the cabinet.

The focus for the week is my daughter's quilts. As her wedding quilt isn't quite ready I offered her this Karla Alexander quilt. The stack, slice, shuffle then sew concept is great for breaking out of the matchy matchy formula for fabrics and colour that I began quilting with. It also is super for keeping the WOW factor up as the blocks begin to go up on the design wall. I am MQing it and then I need to decide on a colour for the binding.

I did take about 5 different pictures. It is a dreary day, the blocks look blurry to me. But it is pretty vibrant with limes, periwinkles, and some teals. hmm, I wonder if the colour should be a light, a medium or a dark???

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I need to rerun last week's focus again this week. So it is DD and aprons for the kids cooking class. I shoulda thought about the fabric a bit more. In the rush I forgot that I lay the aprons on horizontally The suns are laying on their ears but the moons are up and paying attention. So some loss and some gain. I was a tad awake as I considered that I'd chopped about 5 metres of fabric into 2" diagonal strips for the binding. What if... but I've made these before. It's okay!
I am off to make arepas with my DD and grand kids. I try to spend one day a week with them. I think I'll make them some aprons too! An apron for an 8 week old. Too cute!
I keep thinking the playroom is perfect but putting the taller drop leaf craft table over the end of the drop leaf sewing cabinet is 'perfecter'! Two sewing machines is heaven.
Cutting high is great. Fiddling high is even better. Ironing high is delightful so now I need to get that tweaked. I saw a 36" x 36" cubical that would be perfect and have nine 12" storage cubes. I have to actually try sewing high. The extension cords don't thrill me but that is a major electrical upgrade for this old house that could happen someday.
I'm off for an uplifting day!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Flinging Friday

My focus this week was my DD and just when I was ready to roll Thursday morning she called asking for me for the day. So Thursday I flung myself into family. And that's okay. But Friday I was ready to leap into action after I spent my usual coffee time doing my 'puter chores. The monitor on my computer crashed, died, and generally fizzled. The blank screen was the proverbial last straw in a rather blank week so I 'de-stressed'! For me that is vacuum at full throttle and 'look out dust bunnies. I particularly attacked the bunnies in our bedroom. I FLUNG! Rather satisfying, I must say. Rather dissatisfying that I only got the closet done. LOL But Fridays are my regular housecleaning day and it was really good to make those happy noises.
Now I need to look at all my photos because the new monitor is showing very different colours than my old dinosaur showed. But the screen is like, doubled! Whoa!
I totally pleased with my new books. Colour Mastery at first glance isn't too revelatory because I have learned to use a colour wheel, but the suggested colour journal/workbook will help me plan my seasonal decor projects. The Journal Spilling has me quite excited because it is loaded with basic pictures and techniques. I am very new to mixed media and directions like, "on your coloured background ..." sends me into a panic. Just like "quilt as desired" stresses new quilters. I also found a Somerset Workshop magazine featuring 4 artists with about 5 projects each. So I'm quite confident I can get a real start instead of just making messes.
I also have been tweaking the playroom. I want to sew standing up. In and up constantly is not only time consuming but in my hurry I am not sitting properly and my hip lets me know it is not thrilled with the quick twists. I should have tweaked to this sooner because when I'm in the kitchen I don't sit to do anything. I am a stander!
So not a lot accomplished but I shall be flinging myself into next week with abandon and watching to see where the plans fall...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Whipping along

I think I may have been too hasty in designing these place mats. The colours need to be yellow and cranberry. I found some FQ's. The shapes for the winter season are squares and rectangles. They need to be kinda traditional. Perhaps the shapes are too big? The darker strip could liven things up? That light is too blah? Hmm, I wonder what is right!!!

I do like to make place mats and table runners. They are great projects; quick, motivating, samples for new techniques and practical. I think I need some help to fill up my idea file for my own deco vignettes as well as gifts for those special occasions. Ha! I guess I could make these the back and start again on the fronts! 8^)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If at first...

Last year I made aprons for a cooking class for young kids. It was kind of a sweatshop, assembly line process and frankly if my dear hubby hadn't been prodding and helping, I'd never have made the deadline as I seriously underestimated the time involved. He hasn't been a supervisor for nothing! We made 32 aprons including all the bias tape. This year they want 25 but I only have 2 weeks. So I whipped into the city to get the material today. The body of the aprons will be the blue bali-like fabrics. I'm just making it with the fabric, no room for error. Then I'll trim them with the orange. This is a poor colour reproduction.
When I went to get thread from my sewing machine dealer. Another lady was at the counter picking up some accessories and we were all chatting about her project and an upcoming demo. Somehow I left with her package as well as my own. Double drat; now I have to run all the way back in to the far side of the city. This will make toast of my day as I have an hair cut, a neighbourly visit, the city trip and then a meeting in the evening which is also a good hour to the west.
I've kept from gnashing my teeth with the arrival of an e-mail from the bookstore that my 2 new books are in. Shipping is horrendous so it actually pays my gas and a coffee break to go and pick them up rather than have them shipped. They are in another corner of the city so this'll be a big loop. I suspect that any free time between my arrival home and my evening departure will be perusing my new books. 8^)

Monday, March 1, 2010

re: Freshing


Yes, I'm back from a refreshing time away. Of course coming home means some catching up with laundry, to-do lists, e-mails and what not. But a good time was had by all, etc., etc.!

I never took my camera but the weather was wonderfully warm, the scenery smashing, and the fellowship with friends fulfilling.

It does seem that during this annual trip, we leave in winter and return with spring beginning to start its trickle into the year. I'm not sure I'm ready as I still have many things I want to accomplish without the grass demanding to be cut!

This week I think I'll focus on my dear daughter. (dd) She has patiently been waiting for her wedding quilt among various and sundry other things. To get to some of her things I'll be encountering numerous stacks and piles to practice my flinging on.

Tonight is our Common Threads Quilt Group night with basic quilting as the focus. Quilt as you go is the topic. Below is an old quilt I strip pieced in long sections using the quilt as you go method. The backing and batting are cut in 7 foot lengths about 14 inches wide. Then beginning in the middle of the batting I began to sew and flip random width strips of fabric. This is done thru the batting and backing. I positioned the first strip on the diagonal, placed another strip on top, right sides facing and sewed an 1/4 inch seam. The walking or even feed foot is well suited for this job. I flipped that strip open and placed the next piece of fabric to face down (right sides together) and continued. When I finished the length I went back to that first strip and worked my way to the opposite end. When I had enough sections completed I squared up all the edges. I then made long strips that I folded in half. The raw edges of these folded strips are aligned with the raw edges of two sections and a seam joins them together. The sections are opened and the folded edge of the long strip is hand or machine sewn over the raw edges. The choice to have the strip on the front or the back is just personal preference. When all the sections are joined the final binding can be done around the outside of the quilt. This is a great quick quilt. It is also a cool technique for place mats.

Blue is probably not my favorite colour but I made this for my Mum hoping she'd be happy with it. But she had her heart set on a red and white quilt that had memories from her childhood. So this kept them warm while I cranked up my enthusiasm for a quilt made with one block from two fabrics. Maybe next Valentine's Day I'll show that one.

But I do like this technique and I should do more with it. If it were done with squares of batting and backing the look is quite different.

If I can get DD's quilts done then perhaps I can make some quick quilts with this technique for the 2 grand children. See how patient she has been! 8^)