Saturday, June 29, 2013

Embellish Your Life

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 I just bought a wonderful fiber embellishing kit from my daughter Diane's etsy shop, Russet Lodge Knits. The cost was $4.99, plus S&H. Here is what she has to say about the kit: "This embellishing kit has everything you need to make your needlework shine! It includes five yard skeins of various yarns including mohair, synthetic, wool, silk, and even some of my handspun. The kit also includes a selection of vintage buttons as well as various seed beads of different shapes and sizes. This kit is perfect for wool applique, embroidery, quilting, doll-making, and many other crafts. If you would like more of any of the materials or a custom set of colors or materials, please message me. I love custom work!" I recently learned about wool applique and fancy embellishing, and this kit is just the ticket. My latest trick is a wool felting kit, and I used some of Diane's handspun fibers to fancy up the felt. I love this embellishing kit. It has individually wrapped fibers, rather than other shops' method of twisting them all together. By wrapping them separately it minimizes tangles. I am eager to try laying the bulkier fibers on fabric, and zig-zagging the fibers to the base fabric. For my recent commission, Healing Prayer Flag," these fibers will beautify the wintery/watery elements, and as Diane promised, my needlework will shine!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Time savers for a gal who has a lot to do

1. Keep everything you need for a project in one see-through bag. (Yes, even the special notions, thread and tools you need.) Having everything together in one place means that when you are ready to work on that project no time is wasted hunting for anything. 2. Leave a hand-stitching project in an open basket, or attractive tote, where it is visible and ready to be picked up and worked on if only for a few minutes at a time. Take it with you! 3. Thread up a new needle before you stop stitching. Always having a needle threaded and ready to go invites you to stitch. 4. If you are hand sewing a large project, pin a little bell next to where your needle is. Now, when you have only a few minutes to stitch you won't waste any of them hunting for your needle. Instead, you will hear the bell and find your needle quickly, making the most of those few minutes. 5. If you are afraid to pick up your project for fear that you will become absorbed and lose track of time, set a kitchen-style timer for the 10 or 15 minutes you have to stitch. When the bell goes off you know it is time to stop. 6. Do not stop working on a project when you encounter a problem or make a mistake. Fix it or undo it before you put it down. You may never pick up a project again if you know that a problem is waiting for you. 7. Get rid of projects you know you will never finish. They rob you of energy and creativity, and they take up valuable space. So just release them for the next person to enjoy. Here is my current hand quilting project: A table runner for yours truly.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quilting Gateway Drug Warning

I visited my friend and neighbor Celia yesterday. The minute I walked in the door I spotted fabric on her dining table! Hey! Baby quilt project! Celia owns a little Brother sewing machine. She has a grandbaby due next month, and wants to make a pink baby quilt. She came back to my house to borrow a quilt book (Mary Hickey's Sweet and Simple Baby Quilts.) As she looked around my sewing loft, it became apparent that she is a beginning sewist, and has made only one simple tied quilt. I took her to the dark side, showing her how a rotary cutter works, and then, since I had a captive audience, I showed her my recent projects. She was overwhelmed, and doubtful of her abilities. I told her we can eat this elephant one bite at a time. First, go home and prewash/preshrink the fabric. I will help with the cut out. Together we can do this! So, as I was telling my sister about my latest (Hopeful) convert, and we talked about other quilters starting with baby quilts... I said sex (and a baby) is the gateway drug to quilting. Consider yourself warned. Hey! I just got the idea for my third cautionary tales quilt!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Curtains in the Backcountry

We have incredible views from our windows, and unlimited privacy. What luxury! The reason for curtains is to shade the rooms from bright summer sunlight and glare on the computer. My challenge was deciding on fabric colors for curtains before the walls are completed and painted. Once I quit angsting about that and decided that I can always make new curtains any time, it was a lot easier. I made simple flat curtains with loops to hang them from rods. I went with colors and elements in place; the little black wood stove, slate tiles, and corrugated metal wainscoting. For the dining area I went with the predominant outdoor color, green, and simple white curtains with wavy sequined stitching. Those white curtains have hung in Ainsley's house and then in Diane's house. They are still good! (My motto.) I used black and white African mud print fabric and Amy Butler wild chartreuse flowers for the first and most vital curtain. The side curtain is made with scraps of the two prints and ecru muslin. The last two photos are the project for "A Lovely Year of Finishes." This month is a Quilt of Valor project. Still ringing in my head are the words of a fellow quilter, who saw the blue and ecru checkered top and said, "only someone with a head injury would like that quilt." I can laugh about that now, but ouch! I told her that every veteran comes home wounded. A Lovely Year of Finishes

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Catch the Hatch!

This morning on our walk, Abby and I found things to be very happy about. I found the sweetest wild roses with their scent melting into the air, and Abby found a glove in the creek. It was fun for her to shake, and I liked the spray of water that she got all over me. Felt refreshing on a very warm summer day. I found pea pods and blooming choricero peppers in my garden, too. Yesterday I turned over a rock to check on a praying mantis egg case, and was delighted to catch the babies hatching. Each little prayer baby was about 1/4 inch long, and a camouflage tan color. A little while later they had scattered. I was lucky to catch the hatch! For this month's "Lovely Year of Finishes" goal, I am going to complete a Quilt of Valor project that I started at retreat in April. I want to machine applique yellow stars, and sew red rick rack on the top, and then machine quilt it. The quilt guild is presenting 23 quilts to veterans in Riggins later this month. Here is a photo of the top in progress: A Lovely Year of Finishes