Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Projects On My Cutting Table

This week's sewing projects: A Turnover Quilt and a Table TopperEver thankful for God's healing . . . I am back to work on sewing projects again. I had the opportunity to sew with a friend the other day. The picture shows a couple of the current projects that I am working on.

The strips you see on the left are made of leftovers from those Leaf Quilt blocks. I cut enough strips to make three or four of what I'm calling the leaf quilts. There is actually only the one quilt that has those embroidered leaves. Another one has more simple embroidery, and the rest don't have any embroidery on them. The blocks for all the quilts are completed. They are just sitting here waiting to be sewn into quilt tops now. I figured these extra leftover strips would make a nice size Table Topper. My friend suggested that I do some applique sunflowers on it. The colors certainly lend themselves well to that suggestion. I need to either draw up some sunflower shapes to create my own applique, locate a pattern in one of my many quilting books or magazines (or on-line), or check through my many machine embroidery designs to see if I have something that would be appropriate.

After getting the strips sewn into these three long pieces I also thought it would work well to cut some fabric as inserts between the three pieced sections. The fabric inserts could have some machine embroidery on that portion of the table runner. I still need to look through my stuff to find an appropriate embroidery for that. So I am placing the decision on hold for the moment until I make time to go on my search for sunflower designs or patterns. I'll post images as this project progresses.

The other blocks on the right side of this photo show the start on my Pink and Brown Turnover Quilt. I purchased a turnover package at a local quilt shop. Turnovers are pre-cut fabric triangles. They are cut from a 6" square that is then cut in half on the diagonal. The package contained two each of forty different fabric triangles. The predominant colors are browns, pinks, reds and tans. When I got them home I decided to cut some of my own fabric to go with them. I found some dark brown and tan prints from my stash that I cut into 6" squares. I then further cut the squares in half to form my own turnovers. These triangles were randomly sewn together with the fabrics from the purchased turnover package.

The next step is to clip off the 'dog ears' that result from sewing them together. What you see is a square made from two different fabric triangles. I'll lay the blocks out to arrange the colors in a random, but pleasing pattern, then sew the blocks together. Afterwards, I plan to add some extra borders to make the quilt a bit larger. It should end up being a good lap-sized quilt for watching TV.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Memories On The Shelf

Memories . . . of high school, yearbooks, long ago friends I haven't seen in a long time.I was on Facebook this evening and happened to hear from someone I knew way back in highschool. There have been a few recently who I've 'met' again on-line. When I saw the message from this particular Facebook query I had to go grab my old highschool yearbook to help me remember her from the name. Once I saw the old school picture I could see the resemblance to her Facebook image and I remembered right off having known her.

Isn't that fun to run across someone you haven't seen for (many, many) years and have all kinds of old memories re-materialize in your brain? I took a little time to flip through that old yearbook . . . to reminisce just a tiny bit. Boy does time fly! So long ago . . .

The painted doll on the shelf with my old yearbooks is one I made many years ago, too. Back then, when the kids were young, I sewed and painted these cloth dolls to sell at craft shows. It was my part-time, side job, that I did after coming home from my full-time job. Ha, ha . . . that was back when I had so much more energy! I've mellowed a bit since then. Still enjoy sewing and painting after all these years. Need to dip my brushes a bit more often, though. It has been awhile since I painted anything.

Today I worked on one of my websites for most of the late morning and afternoon. I accomplished some good work, but haven't uploaded the pages yet. I still need to tweak them some more. I spent some frustrating time yesterday and a while today trying to work out some glitches with my Photoshop Elements 6 program. I was attempting to input text blocks into a layer on some photographs but the program was glitching up on me. It would not accept the commands like it was supposed to do.

I resorted to un-installing, re-booting then re-installing the program. Still couldn't get it to work right. I sent an inquiry to Adobe to get a service response on it. Spent an hour or so looking on-line at other's requests for assistance on the same issue at various sites. All the suggestions offered were things I had already tried. No luck there, so I put it off till today.

Mid-morning my response back from Adobe was basically that it was an out of service program and the service person suggested that I update to the newer version. Uuugghhh! That doesn't help me. At this time I don't have any interest in updating. The program worked just fine a few days ago! What the h . . . ?

I re-booted my computer again today after my anti-virus program quit running - telling me I had 51 minor tracking cookies that it would delete for me. Maybe something there was interfering?? After I re-booted, it worked just fine . . . then it quit so I re-booted again. Then it worked again, well enough for me to get the projects done that I was working on. Aaauuuugggghhh! Technology. Got to love it when you want to hate it!!!

I wanted to work on making some badges for my websites. This is one of them that I came up with. I'm not sure what I think of it yet. Something about the balance of the piece just doesn't sit quite right to me. Not sure if I'll use it for long since it is an older doll anyway, and not a recent one. I should put this doll up for sale on-line.

She's got kind of a funny story. I made her and sold her once upon a time during a craft show years ago. A fellow came by my booth and said his wife also made dolls. He wanted to buy it for her since he thought she would like it. Later on I went to attend a doll class at a local sewing store. I thought it would be fun to get together with others to make dolls since I mostly just did that on my own. Thought it would be fun to meet some other dollmakers.

The gal who was teaching the class was the gal whose husband came to my booth several years prior. This gal, Cathe, a talented artist herself, convinced me I should go talk to the store owners. She and the others working in the store thought I should be working there. That's how I got my job at J&R Vacuum and Sewing. A few years later Cathe was down-sizing stuff in their house. That's when this doll came back to live with me again. Way back when I painted those dolls I had originally kept just one of the many dolls I painted for myself. So now I've got two. Perhaps it's time to release her back out into the universe again. I'll put her up on my Etsy shop, or E-bay, later this week.

Here is further evidence that my Photoshop program is working correctly - for the moment anyway - ha, ha. This image is going up on my Vintage Trailer blog. You'll have to go there for more info on it. Look for it after tomorrow. It's getting late and time for bed. Nearly midnight . . .

One more thing to add: If you want to place my badge on your blog or website, copy and paste this via your dashboard/layout.

Sew Artfully Minded (dot) com

[ a href="http://sewartfullyminded.com/" target="_blank" ] [img src="http://www.sewartfullyminded.com/images/hpdtbadge-125.jpg" alt="Sew Artfully Minded (dot) com" width="125" height="125" / ]

Okay, I had to change the <> brackets to [] brackets in the code above. Got to figure out how other designers showcase the code as a copy and paste feature without it just showing the image. Come on some of you knowledgeable code wizards, tell me secret. Otherwise I need to go hunting for more information tomorrow. This is going to bug me till I find out now. Curious minds want to know!

Please, leave me a comment to let me know.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On My Desk - Yucky

Here's what is on my desk today: Iced tea, hot tea, over-the-counter sinus medication and a box of Kleenex tissues. Have you guessed how I'm feeling? Yucky! I went to the doctor on Friday and got on an antibiotic. I've been sleeping and resting alot in an effort to get over this illness.

One may wonder about both the hot and cold drinks . . . depends upon the moment. There are times hot feels better on my throat and times cold feels better to cool me down when I'm overheated. Half the time that cup of hot tea cools down quite a bit before I get a chance to drink much of it. Then it just becomes iced tea anyway. I usually have an iced drink with me when I'm at home. It's usually tea or water, sometimes fruit juice.

Okay, since I've been sick lately I haven't done much in the way of sewing or anything. Dear hubby says I should just stay in bed and get more rest. I told him the other day it doesn't take that much energy to push buttons on a computer. So I've been playing some on-line facebook games and checking out blogs here and there. It's a bit overcast, breezy and rainy today. At least I'm not missing one of those fabulous sunny days today.

I am also interested in working more on my websites. I have been pitifully slow to update them. But that is a big 'To Do' on my list. I want to devote some time to that the next few days. So, not too much to report around here . . . just wanted to drop in and say 'Hi' and let you know I'll return to posting better stuff soon.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scrap Therapy Beaded Tote Bag

Yey, it's finished! I finally got my new beaded tote bag completed late on Monday night. It always feels good to get another project wrapped up. I will be using it as a shopping and all-purpose carry bag when I'm out and about. At least for a little while anyway. I want to make another one in brighter spring colors so I can set this one aside to use later this autumn.

The tote bag was a class offered at a local sewing store. It is part of the Scrap Therapy series taking place at Bismarck Sewing & Quilting. It was a two-part class, but there was quite a bit of stenciling and sewing required to finish. It took me longer than I originally anticipated to complete the project. The second one should go faster. I plan to do another one with some machine embroidery instead of the stenciling you see on this bag. The bag is large; approximately 12" x 16" not including the straps.

Here is a closer view of one side. If you click onto the photo you will see a larger image. You can see I chose to do some free-motion stitching around the stenciled leaf area to enhance that feature further. That was not called for in the pattern. It basically instructed to just 'quilt as desired' but I went a bit further to embellish it.

The leaves along the upper portion of the bag and the swirls on the large and small flying geese are all stenciled. There are four large flying geese on each side, and eight small flying geese on each of the narrow ends of the bag. The pattern showed instructions to use a specialty ruler called a 'Wing Clipper' to make the flying geese. It was the first time for me to make them this different way. It was actually pretty quick and easy with the ruler. Now I want to make up some quilts with flying geese blocks. Those quilt rulers can be pretty spendy so I feel I need to use it for more than just this one project to gain from my investment in buying it. Flying geese will need to be landing here in my studio soon so I can feel I got my money's worth - that I got good use of this new tool!

Here is another view of the bag from the other side. The flying geese vary from the typical flying geese one usually sees on quilts for a couple reasons. For one, the geese are made using a darker fabric for the geese rather than the typical lighter fabric. Secondly the corner triangles are made from 2" squares pieced into nine-patches. These are sewn and cut to form the corners. It is supposed to look scrappy. I like that part. I have lots of fabric to select from my stash to use for a scrappy, yet coordinated, look.

There are lots of pockets in this bag. You will find two large outer pockets on either side and six inside pockets with plenty of room in the middle to carry things.

Initially I thought the wooden beads that are incorporated into the bag handles would press hard into my shoulder. That is not the case. At least not yet. I have only carried a few things around in it so far. I will have to judge if that is the case one day when I end up toting around a heavier load. There are also a couple wooden beads on either end to cinch in and gather in some of the width of the bag. It also adds a decorative accent to the narrow ends of the bag.

All in all, I'm pleased with how this bag turned out. There were a few variations I made in construction compared to what was shown in the pattern instructions. When I make the second one I already know a few things I will be doing a bit differently to simplify construction. My sewing friend took the class with me. I was the slow poke compared to her, but that meant I got to benefit from some of her comments as she worked ahead of me. We both liked the pattern, but both of us agreed there are a few things we will be changing when we make another bag.

It's a fun project. I love my bag! If you find a quilt shop that has this Scrap Therapy bag project you might want to take the class so you can make one, too.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Scrapbooking with Samantha

Original drawing of proposed floorplan for the scrapbook room.It has been a while since we started this project. My hubby and I helped to get our son's new wife, Samantha, set up with her own scrapbooking room. It is a case where we all pitched in to help get it put together for her. This included contributing excess furnishings from our house, helping to acquire some supplies purchased from a local hardware store, drilling holes and hanging storage shelves on the walls, re-purposing furniture, using items she already had on hand, etc. This is the layout I drew as the proposal for arranging the room. It isn't quite finished as I still have some curtains to sew as well as re-cover an ottoman with new fabric she selected. Yep, I'm a slow-poke about getting that done. But Samantha is already working on pages for a scrapbook. So the room has already been put to good use. She says she loves her new room. I know she will enjoy it even more when I get it in gear and finish up with some sewing for her.

First time I went to try out Samantha's new scrapbook room.Samantha invited me over to do some scrapbooking with her one day. These are a few photos my son took of us that day. It was fun. I haven't been doing much with scrapbooking so this was a great opportunity to indulge in the hobby. I toted over several bags of stuff, but being the slow-poke that I am I only got one page 'mostly' done. Ha, ha! Of course I had to show that one page off when I got home, and to my sewing friend when we saw each other on the next sewing day! I just know there has to be some tricks of the trade to learn to be more of a speedy scrapper. I'll let you know what some of them are just as soon as I figure that one out myself! Ha, ha . . . it might be not spending so much time looking at the scrapbooking magazine as I am in this and the next photos. :)

Lots of room for Samantha to spread out her scrapbook pages.You can see Samantha has lots of room to spread out her papers and all the embellishments when she scraps. We modified a table (the old ear piercing table that was being thrown out long ago when I managed a Claire's store - it has a nice big drawer with dividers to hold all kinds of embellishments) and an old TV stand to make one extra-large table to work upon. She and her husband sanded and painted it. Then she covered it with clear plastic so paint, glue and other spills could be easily wiped up.

Josh and Samantha made the paper storage unit.In the far corner is Samantha's paper storage unit. She and her hubby made this using a set of wire grids, plastic tie straps and wood from the hardware store. Next time I go there I'll see about taking a better close up of it. If I had more room here at home where I scrapbook, I would make one to use myself. It's a pretty nifty unit with lots of 12"x12" paper storage while using only a little floor space.

One fun thing to share: Samantha has started her own blog. You can access it here to see more of her scrapbooking adventures.

And aren't the pink tulips fabulous!?! Oh, so glad it's spring!