Friday, December 26, 2008

Look at all those reindeer.

These have nothing to do with fabric, unless you count the ribbons on their necks, but I wanted to post what I had been working on the past week and a half.
My husband and I worked together to make 11 sets of Reindeer to hand out this year at Christmas. Each set has two reindeer, one small one and one larger one.

We both took turns cutting out the reindeer on the band saw and sanding them. Then I stained them all and added the eyes, nose, and the bows and bells on their necks. They were a lot of fun to make. We handed out 7 to my family members, gave one set to our neighbors, kept one set for us, and made two extra just in case any of their antlers broke before they reached their destination.
While we were making them we had a couple antler casualties and had to remake a few, so we wanted to make sure we had a spare set just in case any deer broke an antler during our travels. Luckily they all made it safely to their destinations, but now we have two extra sets. Not sure what to do with those. Guess we will save them for next Christmas. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Puppies can't sew...

...and neither can I with a little puppy around. :) Santa came early for me this year and brought me a mini dachshund for Christmas. I got him on Wednesday and he is the tiniest little thing. He makes my cats look like giants now. I didn't realize how big my kitties really were till I got this little fellow. We named him Dean. Dean, the doxie. :)

He is just like a little baby, waking up at all hours of the night, wanting to be snuggled. I think he is still missing his litter mates and hope that he soon will sleep throught he night. I thought for sure my sleepless nights were over now that my youngest child is 5 years old. But here they come again. Hopefully they won't last as long as they did with my children.

I haven't been able to do much sewing in the mornings with the puppy around, he is just too cute for me to sit at my sewing machine. Plus I worry about him getting into things, so I have been spending most of my time with the puppy.

When the kids get home from school, they take him from me which gives me a couple hours to do some things, I would rather sew, but kids say they want clean clothes, so I suppose I should do that instead of play on the machine. It is a good thing I have finished my Christmas sewing, because I am having a good time playing with Dean. I do have a few Christmas projects I am still working on, but they are for me, so there is no rush or stress to get them done before christmas. Instead I will sit back and enjoy playing with Dean, my new puppy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

IFQ ATC Round 11

I signed up for 4 sets of ATCs for round 11 of the IFQ Alphabet ATC swap. I was assigned the letters "Y", "F" and the numbers Zero, and One. For "Y" I did an all Yellow card

For the number 1 I did "One lone snowflake". I picked up these fancy snowflake brads on sale and knew they would go perfect with some of the projects I am working on.

Zero was the hardest to come up with. I didn't want to send out a blank ATC with Zero stuff on it. I was stumped on this one for a while. I finally settled on a pure white card. It has ZERO color on it. I did some feather and meandering quilting with some white thread on some white muslin. Then I added some white ribbon and added a white satin stitch on the edge. It is hard to see the stitching in this photo, but it is there. :)

For "F" I did F is for Frog. I had lots of frog fabric scraps that were just the right size for these little ATCs. I added some iron on Gems and googley eyes to bring some personality to the frongs.

Again, I am dissatisfied with my scanner, it just won't scan objects well unless they are flat. The stuff up front is clear, but then the stuff in the back is blurry. I wish I could get it all of it to come in clear like I could with my old scanner. Bah, why do things have to break and the new things you get to replace them never work as well as the old ones. Ah well...
The picture posting deadline for this swap was yesterday, so I should find out soon who I will send my ATCs to. Can't wait to see what I get in return. That is the fun of the Alphabet ATC swap. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Candy Canes

For me, Candy Canes are one of the major symbols of Christmas. So I decided to put some in postcard and ATC form. This postcard was made for my Fabricards group. I punched out some candy canes with my Sizzix then used the leftover waste fabric for the border. I hate to throw stuff away even if it is a small bit and I can usually find a use for even the smallest scrap of fabric. :)

This little bitty ATC was made for ART4Mail's Christmas ATC swap. It has red and green holly and Candy Canes. Just a little sampling of some of the things that get me in the Christmas Spirit.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Trees

I made a couple different Christmas tree postcards this week for some different swaps I am in. One I did on my embroidery machine. I like this design because it has fringe incorporated on the edges of the tree rows. After I finished embroidering the design, I added some sparkly gem ornaments and did some freehand quilting around the tree and finished it off with a green zig Zag border.

On the other card I did an applique version of a Christmas tree, added some beaded garland and silver ornaments. I thought a nice shiny gold border would go well with this one to pick up the gold accents in the background fabric. It was fun picking out little ornaments for this small trees.

My kids did most of the decorating of our real tree, so these little ones were all mine to play with.
For some reason though, when I go in the living room I keep finding my cat, Sheen, in the Christmas tree. I'm not sure what the attraction is for him. My other cat could care less about the tree, but Sheen seems to think it is his personal climbing toy...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crazy for Christmas

These Crazy Quilt Christmas cards were made for a Fabricards swap. I made one for each swap partner and one for me. I always have to make an extra for me. ;) These cards look much brighter and the beads are much sparklier in person. I really like the look and feel of them.

I am not sure I am liking my new scanner. I can't get it to scan the images like I want. Parts of them keep coming out blurry, and not as bright as I am use to. My old one was a scanner/printer in one and the scanner was working fine. But then one day the printer part, which has been acting up for over a year, finally decided to go crazy, it kept asking me to take out the cartridge and put it back in. But no matter how many times I did that, and no matter what cartridge I put in there, It kept asking me to remove the cartridge and put it back in. Well I would have been fine just keeping it as a scanner, but as long as I kept getting that cartridge error, I couldn't do anything else with it, I couldn't even use the scanner. So I broke down and got a new scanner/printer. But this new one doesn't scan three dimensional items well. For instance, when I scan these postcards in, the beads come out clear, but other parts are blurry. I think the scanner is focusing on the items in the front and not caring about the stuff in the back. Also, I can't use that nifty trick Janet taught me to get a black background. When I leave the lid up to scan, I just get a fuzzy gray background with a greyed edge image, instead of a nice crisp background. Most frustrating.

Ah well, Maybe I will go back to using my camera. On a happier note though, I am really liking this crazy quilting stuff. I think I am now ready to try it on a bigger project, I just have to decide which project to choose...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cotton Field

This card was originally made for the "Landscape" postcard swap for ArtsNtheMail. I'm still fairly new to this particular style and I still think I need more practice. I just don't feel that mine ever seem up to par with the ones I receive.

This particular one is my version of the cotton fields around here. When the cotton fields are in bloom, it looks like snow to me and every time the kids and I drive by a cotton field I say, "Wow, look at all that cotton, looks like snow." I think my kids are tired of hearing that. They either go, "Ugggh" or "yeah yeah, looks like snow" before I can finish my sentence.

We don't usually get snow in this part of the world. We did get a big ice storm 5 years ago though. I remember that because it was the first winter in my new house. The ice was so heavy on the trees that it broke hundreds of branches in the neighborhood yanking out power lines as they fell. We were without out power for a couple days. For some reason though, my part of the neighborhood got power back first. A couple blocks down the road still had to wait a couple more days.

Here are some pictures of the Ice Storm of Jan 2004. Even though the clean up took some time, I really enjoyed everything encased in ice. It was very pretty.
My Birch Tree Another side of my Birch Tree
Walking around the Neighborhood My son at the Park
Trees around the Neighborhood
More Trees around the Neighborhood

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blocks for the Quilt Guild

Today was the Swamp Fox Quilters Christmas guild meeting. It was a potluck lunch with regular meeting news and show and tell. There was also a quilt block raffle. A couple of months ago, we all had the opportunity to pay $2 for a fat quarter and a fat 1/8th and had to take those two pieces of fabric and turn them into a 12 inch block. We turned the blocks back in at the meeting today. For every block you turned in, you got your name put in the pot to win 12 of the blocks. There were 48 blocks, so there were enough blocks for four winners. I made two blocks for the raffle. I couldn't resist getting my name in the pot two times to better my odds of winning some Christmas themed blocks. Unfortunately I didn't win any, but it was still fun to participate.

The first block I made was Star of Virgina from the Quilters Cache site.

The second one was Star and Pinwheels also from the Quilters Cache.

At the guild meeting in November, when the president of the guild stepped out of the room for a moment, we all quickly decided to each make a 6 inch block and give it to her at this special December meeting today. She has been president for two years in a row and has done a terrific job. So to show our appreciation and thanks we wanted to surprise her with a stack of 6 inch quilt blocks from everyone in the guild. We decided to all stick with fall colors for the block since those are the presidents favorite colors. For my block, I used some neutral browns. The pattern I used was a paper piecing pattern. I have done some paper piecing once before and it wasn't too difficult, but most of the patterns I use are simple enough for me to just rotary cut, which I enjoy. I could have rotary cut all the pieces for this one, but I wasn't in the mood to figure out the math for all the small pieces, so I just printed out the paper pattern and sewed it together.

The block I made is called Hourglass and again, I got the pattern from Quilters Cache. Can you tell it is one of my favorite places to go for quilt blocks? :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Some Christmas Postcards

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to teach a mini class on making fabric Postcards. I knew some of the ladies were not very good with a sewing machine, matter of fact, most of them said they were not crafty at all. So I decided to demonstrate something that wasn't to scary yet had a nice look to it. So I decided on a 6 patch quilted postcard. I omitted the piecing on these and used wonder under to place the squares next to each other. Then to hide the raw edges, I did a close zig zag stitch around all the squares. Some fancy quilting stitches were added and then the back was put on. Then the card was finished off with a zig zag stitch around the four edges. This photo is of some of the cards I made for that class. I sent these to some of my group ladies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Checked Inches

Every now and then an idea I come up with fits two different postcard swaps. That is what has happened with this card. This time the idea fit perfect for my PAW swap for Fabricards and my Checked theme swap for ArtsNtheMail. But before I went ahead and made enough of these cards for both groups, I double checked to make sure I didn't have duplicate partners for each swap. I wouldn't want to send someone the same card twice. The "checked" themed card was suppose to be made using a grid, and the the word I chose for the PAW was "Inch". Since I put one square of fabric on each square of the card it was perfect for this swap.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Beading

I spent the days before Thanksgiving working on my Holiday QTC's for Fabricards. I used the same idea for each card, but each one turned out slightly different mainly because of the layout of the red fabric. These were fun to make. I made a total of 5, but forgot to take a photo of the 5th one before I put it in the envelope to mail out. Of course I made one for myself. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Notebook Holder

I finished the notebook holder I was working on over the weekend by following the tutorial posted on Janet's tutorial blog. I loved the step by step "how to" she did by using photos. It made making mine very easy. I always learn best with visual instructions.

I added a simple embroidered frog design on the front and now my son wants to claim the notebook holder as his own. Since it is quite simple to make them, I suppose he can have this one. After all, I am already the owner of a very special notebook holder made by Janet herself. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two more ATCs

I finished up two ATCs the other day. One for my Postcard Pizzazz group. The theme for this one was landscape. I had actually received all mine from the group before I even made mine. It was a good thing because two of the ladies wrapped their ATCs in some extra scrap fabrics. Well it was just enough scraps to make my landscapes with. One was the lovely brick fabric, the other was the white flowers in the grass. I used my own blue for the sky. Then added some machine stitching over all of it. My first thought when I saw the brick fabric was to make a landscape scene that resembled the wall in the movie Stardust. But as I made it and looked at it, it appears to me to be more of a cobblestone walkway, which is still nice.

The next one was for a one to one swap with one of the members of Fabricards and is titled "Hen House". I had fun putting this one together. This card is the size of a baseball card, so you can imagine how small the chicken parts are. It was a nice fun challenge for me. Again I machined stitched over the pieces to make sure they stayed on and to give it some dimension. I drew the eyes on with a fine point pen and trying to get them both look the same without screwing them up was harder than I thought. She looks like she may have one lazy eye, but I didn't want to keep drawing over them for fear of turning them into two big black blobs. I do like the over all effect though, she seems to have her own personality with those eyes. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something Other Than Postcards...

I have finally made something other than postcards. I was having so much fun making them I almost forgot there were other things out there to make. Like the last few UFO's on my list, some holiday bags, the quilt ideas I have rolling around in my head and I also want to make some of those fancy notebook holders that Jan posted instructions for on her blog. Maybe I should make a craft schedule: postcards on Monday, quilts on Tuesday, bags on Wednesday.... Nah that would stifle my creativity. :) I'll just continue to go with the flow, but make sure I take time to work on a more variety of projects.

These burp cloths I made for my Mom's friend who is having a baby next month. I used the pattern from Embroidery Library, but I unstitched the back part of the diaper and lifted the back flap before I did the embroidery. That way I could close it back up and cover the not so pretty back of the embroidery design. I also changed the edging technique. I made it more like a quilt binding instead of trying to catch the front and the back of the edging with one pass through the sewing machine. I always seem to screw that up by either missing the back all together or sewing too far from the seam and then weaving to get to close to the edge, making the back look sloppy. So I finish it on the front first, turn it to the back and attach it with an invisible hand to close it up. It takes a little longer but looks 100% better than what would come out if I did it the other way.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall Colors

My postcards lately have been full of fall colors. Probably because autumn is my favorite season. I love the cool weather, the long sleeves, the changing colors, and most of all the pumpkins. This card is my "Pumpkin Patch" postcard for Fabricards. I embroidered the design on my machine, then I fussy cut some fall fabric to line the sides with. Again I used a fabric edging, but I added loose zig zag on top of it.

Next is the card I did for the Fabricards Monthly Challenge for October. The theme was "Nine" We could do anything we wanted as long as it was related to the number nine. I choose to do 9 squares each filled with 9 french knots. This didn't have to be a fall theme, but since I am in the mood of playing with fall fabrics, I chose to use them for this card as well. My card did not win the challenge this month, but it was fun to enter and watch the voting. To see the winner, you can go to the Fabricards group home page. The winner always gets a their card posted as the home page photo for the month.

This card was also made for Fabricards. The theme was leaves. For this card, I embroidered the leaves onto some fancy designed felt that I picked up at the craft store. It almost feels as if it is an embossed design on the felt. The felt is a deep brown, but it is showing up as black on my computer. I decided to add some pumpkins to go with the swirly leaves. The pumpkin fabric also serves as the edging. I folded over 1/4 of an inch of the pumpkin fabric to the back of the card and then sewed a single line around the whole card to hold it in place.

Another card made for a Fabricard swap, this leaf card was for the Pick-A-Word swap. Leaf was not the word I chose though. Instead, I picked the word "Echo". Still with autumn on the brain, I embroidered a falling leaf onto some swirly orange fabric and then "echo" quilted around it. This leaf has a red edging, with green center. The ones I sent out had just the opposite.

I finished up these cards this evening. They are for the Art 4 Mail Harvest Soup swap. I punched out some orange pumpkins and put them inside the mixing bowl. Then added some fussy cut leaves and such to the inside and bottom of the bowl. Again I used the fancy brown felt. I like the look of it and think it makes a perfect fall colored background. Still into the fabric edging, I decided to use that again on this card. But this time I used a blanket stitch on the inside edge to give it a different look. I made six of these. Four for my group, one for me and one for my mother. This is the one I kept for myself. Mainly because of the pumpkin on the front. It is the only one out of the six with a pumpkin sitting out of the bowl. The strip of fabric I was fussy cutting from had only one pumpkin on it, and it wasn't even a whole one. But I couldn't bear to throw it away, so I found a spot for it on this card. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Harvest Time

I really like how this card turned out. I guess you could call the center design "Orange" work since I only used the one thread color for it. For the binding I fussy cut some harvest fabric then folded it over and sealed it on with a straight stitch. These were mailed out to the ArtsNtheMail group. I have to make another set for my Art4Mail group. I wanted to do something a little different for those cards though since the actual theme for the Art4Mail group is called "Harvest Soup". I was envisioning a bowl of some sort on those cards. A bowl full of pumpkins. We shall see if the image I have in my head comes out as nice on the card. I'll post photos once they are finished.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Autumn Postcards

I wanted my living room to be covered in fall themed postcards, and the best way I knew how to do that was to sign up for the ArtsNtheMail Autumn swap twice. :) I ended up making all my cards different this time. Similar, yet different. Usually I make 3 or 4 of the same card and then swap those and get 3 or 4 totally different ones and I always make one to keep for myself. It usually isn't hard trying to pick which one I want for me, because they are all the same. But this time they were different and I had a hard time picking one. I ended up just closing my eyes and choosing. The one I saved for myself is pictured on the left. Below is the a shot of all the cards I made. I had such a good time making these, I ended up making two extra instead of one. (One for me, and one I sent to my mother.) She got it on Halloween day while I was there visiting her. It was nice to be there when she got it. Funny thing was though, the stamp was never canceled. The card didn't even go through any machines. Which it should have because I only put a $.27 stamp on there. Oh well, one can never understand the mysteries at the post office.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Wahoo!! It's Finally Halloween. I am excited. Probably more so than the kids. I don't usually sew clothes, but once I year I break out the costume patterns and whip up some fun costumes for the kids. It's the only clothing I do like to sew, mainly because it is fun and doesn't have to look perfect. Ever since I discovered quilting over 10 years ago, I have been in love with it and would rather sew a quilt any day over a skirt or shirt or pair of pants. So here is my once a year "clothes" that I have created. I did 8 costumes this year. Four for my children and four for some friends.
These first four are my children. We have a Gnome on a mushroom, A Mummy, a Patchwork turtle, and a Tree. I sure had a good time making all of these. The mummy was probably the easiest. I just cut a ton of 3 inch muslin strips and wrapped them around my son, using safety pins to hold them on. Every year, my husband's work has a Halloween party a couple days before Halloween. At that party they have a costume contest which is split up into different age groups and prizes are awarded for best girl and boy costume in each age group. Each of my kids won for their category! I was very surprised at that and my kids were all super excited to be winners. It was the Mummy's first time ever winning. I was especially happy for him. :)

These four were made for friends. Since they live out of town, I had my daughter, son and neighbor try them on to make sure they would fit and so I could have a photo of them before I mailed them out. The first one is the witch costume I mentioned in a previous post, second is Cousin Itt from the Adam's Family. Then there is Cleopatra. The photo for Cleopatra was more of a first fitting. Later I added some gems and a fancy brooch to the costume, but forgot to take another picture of it before I mailed it out. Last is suppose to be a wolf. The pattern I had was a generic body suit where you add different items to turn it into the animal you want. My neighbor is modeling it and she said it looked more like a cat than a wolf, her mom said it looked more like a mouse... Ah well, It is suppose to be a wolf. There is a nice long gray tail but you can't see it too well in the photo. Also in the photo, I still had to hem the legs. They were quite long, but I wanted to make sure they weren't too short so I started them out long. Better to be too long at first, than too short. :)
Tonight we go out trick-or-treating to show them all off. For some reason I always last longer than the kids. Maybe as they get older, and I get older that might change, We shall see... :) HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

V is for Violet

This card was made for the "Letter V" postcard swap for ArtsNtheMail. I chose to do V is for Violet. Again I have used french knots to surround the borders of the card. I think I am addicted to these little knots. They always feel so nice when I rub my fingers over them. This time I decide to do a fabric edging instead of a satin stitch edging. It gives the card a whole different feel.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Black and Orange

I saw this orange and black fabric at the store awhile ago and was automatically drawn to it. But, since I am on a fabric diet, I refrained from buying it. Later on in the month though, I had to make a witch costume for Halloween and the person who wanted the costume had specific color requests for the costume: the dress had to be black, orange, purple, and green. Well, I knew exactly where to go to get the orange and black. :) And since I always buy a little extra material for my projects, (in case I screw up) I had plenty left over to make these post cards. These cards were made for the ArtsNtheMail Black and Orange swap. From the beginning, I had envisioned embellishing the black squares with some orange something or other, but wasn't quite sure how I wanted to do it. Then I decided hand work was the way to go. I alternated between rows of Daisy flowers with a bead center and a row of clustered french knots. I love the way it turned out. The best part is running my fingers over the top and feeling the texture of the thread. I hope the ladies who receive them like them as much as me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

IFQ ATC Round 10

These sets of ATCs were made for round 10 of the IFQ ATC Alphabet swap. I was assigned the letters E and K and the numbers 8 and 9.
I chose to make E is for Easter Egg, K is for Keyhole, 8 pink flowers, and 9 planets. It is hard to see in the photo, but I quilted some leaves on the pink flowers with some light pink thread, and for the Keyhole I used a new technique of modge podging the image onto my fabric. I just received a V is for Vampira card from another postcard swap that was done this way and I loved it, so I thought I would try it out myself.