Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Postcards To The Rescue

November 4, 2020

Jami Perkins, one of my quilting buddies, got us making fabric postcards when the shelter-in-place order first began. Two seasons later, we’re still restricting our activities, and the holidays are coming. Jami sent out Halloween cards to cheer us up. It sure worked for me. Since trick-or-treating was (rightly) discouraged, I got myself some candy corn and put the postcard in a prominent place. Thanks, Jami!

Luck and wisdom!

Grosgrain Ribbon + Shoelace = Comfortable, Adjustable Facemask

October 28, 2020

While I’m not usually one to fiddle with designs, I had an idea for an adjustable facemask with only one set of ties. When the coronavirus infection rate in my county went down enough to open up hair salons, I decided to celebrate by making a new mask with grosgrain ribbon loops and a shoelace. I had one extra-long lace from . . . well, who knows where it came from. I had it, that’s all, and when I cut it in half it made a perfect set of ties. I also had some orange grosgrain ribbon that matched an orange batik that looks quite cheery in mask form. Much to my delight, the design works. I can snug the shoelaces around my ears and tie the ends at the top of my head. It’s comfortable, easy to get on and off, and simple to adjust. If you are tired of elastic welts behind your ears, or tying strands of hair into the lower knot of the usual tied mask, try ribbon loops and shoelaces.

Luck and wisdom!

Bandannas – The Next Big Thing In Hostess Gifts

May 13, 2020

Speaking as one who has lots and lots of fabric to use up, I propose making bandannas the next big thing in hostess gifts. They’re easy to sew, and mighty useful. Even after the pandemic is over and we can go outside with bare faces, bandannas can be used as napkins, dresser scarves, gift wrapping, packing material, or a fashionable way to hide an unfortunate hair day. If we are wearing masks for the next two years, as some epidemiologists are hinting, I may just get to the end of my fabric stash.

Luck and wisdom!

Repurposing and My New Purse

November 6, 2019

I have been searching for the perfect purse most of my life. I’ve gone through quite a few that were wonderful, but when they wore out I couldn’t find a good replacement. I made my own purse once, with pockets and zippers and sides that stood up, but it was more trouble than I wanted to experience again. Just as I was despairing that the problem was insoluble, my Halloween handbag gave me the answer. It is square, which makes it easier to arrange zippered pouches inside. Why bother trying to make a bunch of interior pockets fit easily, or wrestle with thick stablizers, when I can repurpose my considerable collection of pouches?

A few years ago, I made a bunch of zippered pouches as gifts. Not all of them were suitable to give away, but I kept them for my own use. I have also received many lovely zippered pouches as gifts from friends and family. Not all of them were put into service immediately, and I’ve always felt bad about that. Now I have a use for more of them, so I’m happy (one more item on the annual “Things I’m Thankful For” list for the Thanksgiving discussion).

I made a few alterations to the pattern (The Bellinzona Cube by Pixeladies, although I couldn’t find a link to it on their homepage). Aside from enlarging it a smidge, I added pockets to all four sides. I also added a sewn-in strap with a clip for my keys to one pocket, and made one taller and narrower to corral my pens.

The best news is the pattern went together well, even with the changes I made. Now I will be able to experiment as my handbag needs evolve – and never again be forced to buy something that is almost but not quite right.

Luck and wisdom!

Painting on Silk – An Experiment

August 7, 2019

Betty Busby teaches how to paint on silk with any kind of acrylic paint. As long as it is liquidy enough, the results are fabulous. The experiments I’ve made with scarf-weight silks have all been great fun. Here is one I did recently. The blue and pinky-purple paints were very watery; the green paint was thick, almost straight from the bottle.

This week I experimented with raw silk. I like the heft, and the effect I get with applique or embroidery. Here is the first piece, my own study in (nearly) scarlet.

My last experiment was both painted and dyed. I spotted the silk with yellow dye first, then scrunched it and poured on the remaining red paint. When that was nearly dry, I add some spots of pink. As with the green in the first piece, I added very little water to the pink paint.

I think all of these experiments will eventually end up as a base for embroidery, probably landscapes. If you have a few squares of silk and some leftover acrylic paint, make your own experiments. Be sure to send pictures – I would love to see the results!

Luck and wisdom!

Spreading the Joy of Quilting

May 1, 2019

100 kits in the boxes – we went through at least half

My guild was offered a booth at a local historical event – Sheep Shearing Days – and I volunteered to staff it. I knew we would be in the kids crafts section, so we brought kits of felt and cotton squares, with embroidery floss to stitch them together. I figured parents would haul their young ‘uns up and say, “Try this!” I was wrong. It was the kids who came up, eyes sparkling, waiting for me to ask, “Would you like to sew?” Not all of them knew how to keep the thread in the needle as they stitched, but all of them loved the feeling of fabric against their fingers. Will any of these children – boys and girls – become quilters in the future? Who can say. All I know is there are at least 50 families in the area that have a new appreciation for quilting. Not bad for an afternoon outreach event.

These blocks really drew in the visitors!

Luck and wisdom!

Story Boards and Story Scrolls

December 19, 2018

Here is a quick(ish) project for those of you who tell stories to young – or at least young at heart – audiences and want a different visual aid. Story boards can be made in minutes with scraps and glue. Story scrolls take a little longer, but use more scraps.

My friend and co-author Ann Anastasio and I made some Sunbonnet Sue story boards for a program we wrote ages ago. I recently unearthed the collection, which includes Sunbonnet Sue in the Odyssey (above), and Sunbonnet Sue on Safari (below). We cut simple shapes, glued them on poster board, embellished with puff paint and hot-glued binding strips around the edge.

For the last Challenge Group project, I made some scrolls from scraps. The assignment was to do something on the theme of A Winter Tale. I went more literal than Shakespearan, and made a set of scrolls. A long scrap of fabric within reach set the dimensions for the scroll. I layered batting and fabric scraps on the wrong side, machine-quilted everything together, and zig-zagged the raw edges. Leftover pieces of a dowel became the spindles, with flat buttons and a pyramid bead hot-glued on each end for finials. I looped one end of the scrolls around each completed dowel, sewed it in place, then attached a ribbon on the back.

I have no idea what sort of tale I might tell to fill a long winter evening, but it will definitely include space aliens.

Luck and wisdom!

Pour Art

September 26, 2018

I haven’t been able to do anything in the sewing room, what with a gimpy foot and all. Even handwork is out of the question since I have to keep the puffy little thing elevated (at the moment it looks like a watermelon), which keeps me at an odd angle on the couch, which means more beads fall on the floor than get captured by my needle. The only thing I have to look at is older work, such as this small canvas.

My art critique group held a play date where we all made two pieces by pouring paint over canvas. For once, I choose a restrained color scheme, and the results were much better than anything I’ve ever tried with paint.

The small canvas looks like an architectural detail to me, while the piece above reminds me of a satellite image, or perhaps a riverscape. I’m not sure what I will do with either canvas. For the moment, I’m reveling in the knowledge that less really can be more.

Luck and wisdom!

Felt Patches with Buttons

April 25, 2018

I unearthed more felt in my studio. I have no idea when – or why – I bought it. Still, it’s in my possession so I figure I should turn it into a project. My other felt patches worked pretty well, so I decided to go smaller and use up some of my button collection with this latest experiment.

This is a great project to sew while watching TV. If you have a bunch of precut squares and leftover floss, you can keep your fingers occupied through many a binge-watching session. I had a supply of 2” strips, so I cut the first felt square 2 ½ inches, the second 3 inches.

These little patches can be attached to tote bags, pillows, quilts, dog collars, baseball hats, whatever you have around that cries out for embellishment. If you decide to make some, send me a picture of where they end up. We could start our little journey of the traveling patches.

Luck and wisdom!

Leftovers

March 7, 2018

I had some green felt left over from the project with ribbon roses, and some hand-dyed purple cotton thread, so I decided to resurrect my purplework project. Purplework is like redwork, just in purple. I thought I had sketched some patterns a long time ago, but I couldn’t find them. “Self,” I said, “wing it.”

Target or alien spaceship?

To be honest, I did use Helen Stubbings’ Simply Redwork for inspiration. The motif in the picture above is the whole reason I bought the book.

These flowers are from her book too. Once I finished them, I took out some other embroidery books and played.

Sea creature or alien spaceship?

I’m not sure what I was thinking with this one. I might add beads, or I might turn the pointy motif into a tiny sea creature by adding legs and antennae.

This last piece definitely needs more beads. I started with a paisley motif, but stopped partway through because I liked the idea of hanging flowers. Now I’m not so sure. The great thing about this project is everything was left over, so even if I’m not entirely pleased with the result I’ve learned something for the next time.

Luck and wisdom!