Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Slow Stitching - sky, trees and ground fabric collage for my houses

I have been working on my fabric collage which will be the background onto which I will be hand stitching my little houses.  I did some research on fabric collages in hopes of finding a way to finish the edges of my fabric pieces in order for them to be solid and secure so this base would be strong enough to hold the houses once this piece is incorporated into a quilt.  I did not want to use fusible webbing because generally it creates stiffness and would make the handstitching of the houses more difficult.  I found this video tutorial called Edge Colouring Applique from Fourth and Sixth Designs which is a technique they developed to finish off their applique designs for their Full Bloom Block of Month quilt in 2014.  It was exactly what I was looking for!!!!!  I started with my brown strip.  I simply used this method to join my scraps to each other.  I had trouble with my tension when I used reverse and so it is a little wonky but I did not want to start over so I have decided to use as it is.  Its wonkiness will add to the texture of the background.  I did the green layer next and this time I chose to stitch all my scraps to each other using a single line of  straight stitch before I used this technique to "colour" the edges of my scraps.  This worked better.  I also changed sewing machines and used my Bernina 830 which worked much better.  The tension was good in both forward and reverse and gave me a good result with this technique.  I am really happy with how the green layer worked out.  As you can see the blue layer is a single piece of fabric which perfectly simulated a sky which is what I was looking for!!!! 

Check the images below for a close up of the stitching which I used to secure the edges of my pieces.  I simply laid my scraps over each other and the back and forth stitching of the technique securely attaches them to each other and also blends in the line of straight stitching I used to create the green collage.  This technique is a bit like free motion stitching and requires developing a rhythm to get it to go well.  Free motion stitching is also a technique they recommend for this "edge colouring" but I was not ready for a steep learning curve so I used this one that uses regular straight stitch instead. 


 Here is a portion of the finished piece with the three layers of the fabric collage attached in the same way as the scraps pieces were attached for the brown and green strips.  The blue is the sky, the green is the landscape/horizon line and the brown strip is the dirt/road in the foreground.  I expect this will not be used literally in that the houses will likely overlap all three layers.  They have yet to be invented.  That is work for another day. 
The first photo below is the finished fabric collage and then the bottom one has the bottom edge straightened in that it would be best to have the houses all sitting straight to the edge of the collage and perpendicular to it as well.  I would prefer not to have my houses looking like their are off kilter. 

So I will be working up pieces of houses next and will get back to slow stitching when they are ready to go.  I will be doing slow stitching in the day or evening for the summer to allow me to get a morning walk in every day.  Therese

Monday, April 27, 2020

A birthday card with bright colours, decorative paper and a large elaborate greeting (digital)

My oldest grand daughter will be 13 this month and I made her this card.  She is growing up and is now taller than I am.  She is a crafty person and loves making all sorts of things.  She is currently doing a lot of hand sewing  - little stuffies and badges mostly.  Her large card features a fun pennant piece of scrapbook paper which I cut into two pieces and mounted the other piece with the orange and yellow polka dots pattern showing.  My sister has made a donation to me of some of her beautiful double sided paper!!!!!!  I created a fun embellishment to cover the joint using a border punch (SU).  It punches a scalloped edge and eyelet holes.  I trimmed out the middle section between some of the holes and laced some blue satin ribbon through.  I mounted my background to a green card and then added my embellishment with double sided tape.  I added three little chevrons on the right hand side which I punched from a scrap because the punch faces upward and I wanted them facing downward.  Glued them in place using glue stick.  I printed the greeting large and watercoloured it to coordinate with the background.  I added some glitter using a clear glitter pen.  She loves glitter!!  I ran my tracing wheel along each edge before I mounted it to my card front using 3D foam tape.  The "Happy Birthday" greeting is from Craft Starters.  They have some fun images.  I downloaded some Kawaii images and printed them off to include in the card!!  


Slow stitched trees are all done!!

I have finally finished stitching my little trees to the bases.  I have added two rows of running stitch to all of them using yellow floss.  It frames them nicely, echoes the star and securely achours them to the squares.  Once I finished the stitching I trimmed all the squares to 6" and they will be used as an accent column in a future quilt.  I will have work on what sort of colour scheme will work and then get some fabric together.  For now it is on hold in the cabinet and I am working on my next slow stitching project.  It will be little houses!!!!!!!  I am currently working on the substrate for the houses which involves fabric collage and a new thread colouring technique. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Jazzed up a reusable bag for a birthday gift

I jazzed up a reusable bag with music fabric and some accent pieces to package my oldest grand daugter's birthday gift. I simply created a strip of fabric using a piece of music note fabric from my stash and a few small strips of coordinating fabric and stitched it to the bag about 3" from the bottom which conveniently covered the words.  I did have to open the side seam to accomplish that but it was a relatively easy project and I think it will nicely package her birthday gift.      Therese

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Rainbow quilt top featuring my heart rainbow squares

I managed to get my rainbow quilt top made up today.  It features my little rainbow heart slow stitched squares which are in a column between the blue strips.  Without the strips they blended right in and were not very noticeable.  Very happy with the way it turned out.  I have a bit of trimming to do at the bottom and then it will be finding batting and a backing. 


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Birthday card featuring a vase of flowers (digital), decorative paper and a font greeting

I made this large card for my sister whose birthday is coming up!!  I used a piece of scrapbook paper with brown on the left and blue polka dots on the right with stripes in between.  I trimmed it and adhered to an ivory card base.  The flower and vase image is one I have recently downloaded from Creating Paper Hugs.  I laser printed it onto white cardstock, trimmed it out of the letter sized sheet and watercoloured it to coordinate with my background.  Once it was dry I ran my pattern tracing wheel on all four edges before adhering it to my card front using 3D foam tape.  I found this little laser printed font greeting which I layered onto brown before adding to my card.  Voila!!  It is fun to be back to making cards!!! 


Thursday, April 16, 2020

Finished the little heart & star quilt top

I have finished the little quilt top I mentioned the other day!!  I had enough the wrinkly gray fabric to create a binding.  I cut it 2.5" wide and folded & ironed it in half.  I stitched a single edge to the front of my quilted top and then folded it over the edge and then folded in another quarter inch and pinned it over the stitch line.  My corners are soft and rounded.  Not sure what exactly I did wrong but I will investigate and see what I need to do differently for next time.  For this time around they are soft and rounded and that will be fine.  I used dark thread on the top and stitched in the ditch from the front.  I did have a few places where I missed the fabric on the back - less than last time - so I will have to be more careful with my next one though I am considering not stitching in the ditch and actually stitching on the front edge which should guarantee that I do not miss the backing.  It is trial and error!!  Proficiency comes with experience and repetition!! 
This quilt finished at 36" x 46".  I used a cotton polyester fabric as a batting and a gray with soft stripes sheet on the back.  Glad to have given this little quilt a chance to bless another person in the world.  It will be headed to the Linus Project when things get back to "normal".           Therese

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Slow Stitching - Trees

 I have been working on my slow stitching tree project for the last few weeks getting the little tree squares stitched to larger squares.  I have used blue floss for all the stitching in order to have the trees remain the focal points.  It has been fun to find stitches in my books which I have not done before that will overlap the edge of the square  - cretan, fern, closed fern, etc.  I have also used blanket stitch and a variety of combinations as well including fern, stab, daisy, etc. 
I am feeling like there is not enough stitching to keep these little squares attached to the larger one so more stitching will definitely be added.  Not yet inspired as to what exactly that will be so I will sleep on it and see what I can come up with tomorrow.          Therese

Birthday card featuring a watercoloured coffee cup, some hand stitching and embossed velvet paper

 I made this card for DH birthday later this week.  I found some brown velvet paper in a box of serendipity supplies when I was making this heart in support of front line workers who are out there every day during this health crisis.  I embossed it with a coffee bean border from Pink Cat Studio which belongs to a set I bought a while back.  I simply laid the rubber stamp on the velvet surface of the paper and passed it through my Big Shot with very little pressure. Worked really well!  I adhered this little piece of embossed paper to a piece of mottled watercolour paper which I had stamped with a script stamp (SU) in brown.  I added a strip of red cardstock which I border punched with a ribbon/eyelet punch (SU).  I added stitching by hand using ivory and gold floss using the holes in the border.  I tied another short end to the left hand side before adhering it over where the two paper join.  I adhered this large layer to a dark brown card front.  For my focal image I chose a large coffee cup (Stamp Barn) which I stamped and gold embossed.  I watercoloured the cup and added a bit of colour to the background to make it less stark.  I used my distress tool on the edge and then smudged it with a brown stamp pad to help it stand out from the background.  I mounted this large image to my card front using 3D foam tape and then trimmed and layered a small font greeting with brown which I tucked under its bottom edge and adhered in place with double sided tape.   Therese

Another quilt top

I found this quilt top in my stash when I was sorting through fabric on the weekend. It was square and fortunately I had cut pieces and scraps of the same fabrics as well. I added a strip of the colourful fabric at the top and then a narrow piece of the wrinkly gray fabric and then at the bottom I added a narrow strip of the colourful fabric and then another of the wrinkly gray fabric.   Using the scraps I created pieces that were 3.5" wide and then arranged them into piles so I could evenly distribute the colours and textures into the border that I needed to add all the way around to get the quilt top to be about 35" x 45".  I stitched the border pieces to each other and then added a length of the border to each side which worked out really well.  I think the quilt looks reasonably balanced the large white areas are pretty much centered.  I will now have to find some batting and a backer.  I will also investigate if I have enough fabric left to actually create a binding for it.  It would be really nice if it coordinated.  If not, I will see if I can find a piece of dark green which would work very well for the binding.  Very happy to be able to give this little quilt top another chance!!!!!!!!  Therese

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Exchange cards with embossed backgrounds, die cut leaves and laser printed digital greetings

I have made up these two cards for my partners in this month's Card Exchange.  I started with larger envelopes and made ivory cards to fit inside.  I cut two quarter sheets of brown cardstock and embossed them using two different embossing folders - TH swirls, SU wood grain.  I had to trimmed each of them into two pieces to make them long enough for my cards so I chose long greetings from my stash that would bridge the gap.  
For the first card, the greeting is from Beccy's Place.  It is a free digital which I sized and laser printed.  To coordinate with my card elements I colourwashed it a bit with watercolour in green and brown and then watercoloured the flower in a warm yellow.  I adhered my two pieces of brown background to my card leaving the gap in the top section and mounted my greeting over it using double sided tape on each end.  I dug through my little stash of leaf die cuts (TH) and found these that worked with my greeting.  I applied glue on the back and tucked them behind before pressing them down.
For the second card, I used a laser printed font thank you greeting from my stash.  I trimmed both long edges with deckle decorative scissors and then ran my pattern tracing wheel on each edge.  I applied double sided tape on the ends and the middle and adhered it over the gap that was created when I adhered the trimmed background to my large ivory card.  I embossed two of the same leaf die cuts (TH) one in green and one in muted tones (Hammered Botanicals background) with the Swiss Dots embossing folder.  I applied glue to the back of the fronds before applying them to the card front.  I tucked the green one behind the greeting and overlapped the muted one over it.  These sketches are a little CAS for me but I like them.               Therese

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Face masks

I decided I would experiment with some patterns for making face masks for going out in public.  I went on line to see what I could find for instructions.  I found this pattern at USA Today which is very similar to many I have seen on line with very clear and reasonable instructions so I decided to go ahead with this one.  For my first one I used a very soft tight weave fabric from a man's shirt and added a layer of flannel inside instead of the fusible interfacing which I do not have on hand.  I also made ties because there was no 1/4" elastic in my stash.  I found this other tutorial  on the Joann Fabric website which can be downloaded as a PDF which explains how to make ties.  I simply made the ties and substituted them into the original instructions.  I found that with flannel inside it made the sewing of the pleats on the sides quite thick.  I made the ties on the this one 18" and they are ample.  

For my next attempt, I decided to use quilting cotton and a single layer of white cotton for the inside layer.  I dug through my crafting supplies and found twill tape which was way quicker than making ties.  I used 14" for these ties which is enough for tying the mask into place over your ears and below your chin to the back of your head.  Very adjustable!!  It was easier to stitch the pleats on this one as well.  In the end, any protection is better than none.  I will be sending this one to my Mom this week along with instructions. She is a very experienced sewer and may be inspired to make some for the others in her building who might need them.   


Saturday, April 04, 2020

My second flannel quilt is finished

I have worked on this quilt for a couple of days and have now finished it!!  I have given it a green polyester/cotton backing and used a white polyester/cotton fabric as batting on the inside.  Due to a flaw in the green fabric I was unable to use my usual binding method of self binding because there was no extra that could be left.  I trimmed my quilt, batting and backing to the edge of the quilt and then investigated the process of using a sewn on binding.  My sister uses this method all the time and has found a good tutorial for it which you can find here at Craftsy.  I cut my binding 2.5" wide from my backing fabric scrap and used a quarter inch seam to attach it to my quilt before folding it over and stitching it from the front using the "stitch in the ditch" method.  She indicates that meticulous pinning brings more success in capturing the edge of the binding on the back side of the quilt.  I certainly agree.  I had about 5-6 areas on the back of the quilt where I failed to secure the binding.  
I handstitched them using a needle and thread to ensure a continuous line of stitches on the binding.  I will have to consider my options for next time.  This method provides a double layer of fabric on the binding which was not a problem with this fabric as it was a bit on the light side.  I am wondering if only one layer of the binding could be stitched to the front and then folded over and then stitched in the same manner.  I am also considering stitching on the binding instead of in the ditch on the front which would likely gain me better capture of the binding edge on the back of the quilt.  
This method yields a much narrower binding but still very neat and acceptable. My finished quilt measures 36" x 45" and has been ironed and folded.  It has joined the other two in waiting to find its way to its final home through the Linus Project.                       Therese

Christmas cards featuring a large Merry Christmas greeting, ribbon and glittery gift wrap backgrounds

Another set of Christmas cards for my stash using the same glittery pine cone gift wrap as I used for my last set.  These ones feature a large greeting I downloaded from Mom Junction which I sized, laser printed onto white cardstock and added a black line all the way around to give it some depth.  I watercoloured the  greeting and holly and then added some clear glitter in the stars and dots around the top, on the berries and all the way around the edges.  I added a strip of double sided tape on the right hand side and added short lengths of  coordinating ribbon then flagging their ends.  I mounted the trimmed backgrounds - glittery pine cone gift wrap which came wrapped around one of our gifts this past season - to red card fronts and then mounted the greetings to them using 3D foam tape.  As you can see I made a few angled a bit and two square and even.  I did these cards more assembly line style.  I did each step for all of them one at a time.  Trimmed all the images, added a black line to all of them, watercoloured them and then added ribbon to all of the greetings.  I glued all the backgrounds to the front and then mounted all the greetings to them.  It was easier to make them all the same when using this method of assembly.  Happy with these and they are headed for the bucket when they are finished being pressed.        Therese

Friday, April 03, 2020

Stained glass art in support of essential workers

 Wanting art that was a bit more interactive and would really work with the sun in the front window I decided to see if I could make some stained glass art.  After a bit of research I found a few places with tutorials on how to make stained glass art with tissue paper and wax crayons.  The wax crayon ones reminded me of the melting wax technique I have done in the past for decorative paper.  I decided to use bond paper instead of cardstock which I have used in the past which would make the art more transparent.

To really simulate stained glass I decided to add some lines using a large permanent marker.  I just made a pattern of lines.  I plugged my griddle in and set it on low, added a layer of foil and then laid my sheet decorated bond paper over it.  To decorate the sheet I simply coloured in the pieces using wax crayons which melt immediately when they are in contact with the warm surface below.  It is totally fun!!!!!
As you can see from the stained glass sheet on the right the wax dissolved to some degree the permanent marker in the lines and ran into the spaces.  I just went with it and kept filling in the spaces until I was done.  I think it looks pretty interesting and the running of the colour gives it a bit of an antique  feeling.  To remove it, I simply lifted a corner and placed it on newspaper until it solidified which only takes a few minutes.
I made up these four though it was a conscious decision to not spend all day at it which I could easily have done!!!!!!  We did not need that many pieces of art.  I made the second heart with a thicker outline and only put blue all the way around which really helped to make the heart stand out.

To display them I simply taped them to the front window.  Two each on the side panels where they really look great.  They will be wonderful when the sun shines through.

I encourage you to make art to display in your windows in support of those who are putting themselves in harm's way to keep us safe.

Get the kids involved and make it an art day!!  With very little prompting the kids will come up with art that is meaningful in every way once they know what the cause is!!                Therese

Serendipity hearts in support of essential workers

Having seen other art in the neighbourhood I was encouraged to follow my inclination and make some art as well.  
I decided to make up a large sheet (11"x17") of red and gold serendipity collage.  It took several hours to get it made and overnight for it to dry completely.  So this morning I made a heart template from an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper and cut two hearts from my sheet.  I laid them back to back and added a thread hanger and hung it in the front window above the blind.  That is where the snowflake goes at Christmas and the hook remains there all year round.  Perfect place for this little bit of art to support our essential workers and let everyone know that we are all in this together.   


Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Cute little quote patches for my grocery shopping bags

I went grocery shopping this morning and decided that the grocery bags should be washed.  They needed it as well.  I have been wanting to add little patches to them since I acquired them second hand and with a bit of time on my hands I decided that today was the day!!! 


I ran across some little quote tags from a swap when I was looking for coordinating fabric and I remembered that a while back I had my sister inkjet print some for me onto fusible cotton.  I even remembered where they were so after finding the perfect fabrics for my little tags I got started.  I made them 1.5" x 4", ironed on the trimmed quotes and then folded over a little bit on each side so I could stitch them to the bags.  I stitched them on with white thread which highlights the stitching which I like.  After getting them all stitched on I thought they still needed a bit of something so I added faux stitching with a fine tip Sharpie marker all the way around the quotes.  That was definitely better!!!!!!!!!  I am very happy with my little project and love my embellished bags!!!             Therese

A few all occasion cards featuring stamped backgrounds, die cut elements and ribbon & brads

I am trading handmade cards for seeds!!!!!!!  I was really happy to be able to make a trade with my friend as getting seeds locally might be a challenge during this time of isolation.  She put them in her mailbox and picked them up and left the cards in their place.  
The top two cards were made with backgrounds from my stash which were debossed with a circle Nestibilities and stamped with the Worn background (SU) and green ink while masking the center of the circle.  I found the serendipity circles in my stash and they very nicely fit in the debossed circles on the backgrounds.  I added a watercoloured cross on one and a glittered butterfly on the other.  Layered them opposite in colour - lavender on green and green on purple.  

For the next two cards I used some clear embossed resist backgrounds which I made in preparation for this class in January.   After clear embossing I watercoloured the backgrounds with coordinating ink which provided nice contrast and highlighted the resist.  I layered them onto coordinating card fronts and then cut brown leaves (TH) for the brown one and blue wildflowers (TH) for the blue one.  I added a ribbon held in place on one end with a coordinating star brad on the brown one and mounted the blue ribbon all the way across and added the silver star brad to the right side.  I mounted the elements to the card fronts using white glue in a fine tip applicator and tucked them under the ribbon before pressing them into place.  
These are mostly all occasion cards which can be used for a variety of occasions from birthdays to sympathy.            Therese

All occasion card featuring a dragonfly, some pearly and clear dimensional paint and a little gold cording

 For this all occasion card I started with a dragonfly digital image from CLKER which I laser printed onto white cardstock and trimmed out of the letter sized sheet.  I watercoloured the sky and then the dragonfly using pearly paint so it would shimmer.  I tied the tiny gold to the right of the image and then layered it onto a green/gold metallic paper.  I left a bit of a border on the bottom which I trimmed with wavy scissors.  I paper pierced the wavy edge and then added a line of scoring above it using my Score tool.  I mounted my focal element to the front of a speckled navy card. I added clear dimensional paint to the wings of the dragonfly and left it to dry overnight.  It has turned out wonderfully!!         Therese