Thursday, March 19, 2015

End of the rainbow

In my last post, I showed the photos I created based on the theme of color and composed of only crating tools.  I thought I was finished with my rainbow of crafting tools, but there were still two colors that I wanted to work with.  The first color was "turquoise".

I started with the embroidery hoop, and worked my way around from there.  There are pens, pins, tins,  some stitch markers and yarn.  Shades ranged from aqua to teal, but I settled on calling it turquoise.

I thought I was done with the rainbow, and technically I was, but I wanted to see what I could do with the color "black".
 For this color, I couldn't help but notice it was much more "tools" than "supplies".  I don't work much with black.  A couple of interesting items in this group:

  • The pair of black rulers connected by hinges in the center of the photo is a "parallel ruler" that was part of my dad's set of drafting tools when he was in college.  
  • The safety scissors were from my youth
  • The film camera is not the one I currently use, but I had to include a camera because it is one of the most important "tools" in my creative pursuits.
Now it is time to get back to crafting with fabric, rather than crafting photos.  This rainbow challenge was a lot of fun, and  I ended up with a colorful collage of photos that I'm thinking of framing for my sewing room.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Finding my rainbow

For the past week I have been participating in a rainbow color challenge on Instagram issued by the fun and fabulous Paul and Lianne at Swirly Designs.  The challenge was to put together a photo showing the tools and supplies you use in your crafting, based on a color of the day.

The challenge color for Day 1 was "red".   My first thought was that the only supplies I needed as a quilter was fabric.  On a whim, I took out the stack of red fabrics from the stash, snapped a quick pic and posted it.

I did not expect to participate any more than that, but as I looked around my sewing room, my orange Fiskars scissor handles, and the spools of Aurifil thread were just asking to become part of a photo for the next day's "orange" challenge.  I threw in a few colored pencils, some fabric of course, and the manual for Electric Quilt and took this photo:

Tape measures and Olfa rotary cutting tools were just begging to become the stars of the next day's "yellow" challenge.  I also included some flathead pins, a magnetic clip, an Omnigrip ruler and my favorite sunflower pin cushion  that was made by my daughter when she was a Girl Scout.

Next, it was day 4 of the challenge and the color was "green".  I could not ignore my huge green cutting mat, and the can of Magic Spray sizing.  I poked around in my knitting supplies and came up with the giant pair of size 17 knitting needles, as well as a smaller pair and a crochet hook.  Green fabrics and threads, along with buttons and a few spearmint hard candies also made the shot.

By the time"blue" challenge came around, it dawned on me that a quilt block would have to be included, so I started my color collection with a blue and white LeMoyne Star block.  I added some batik strips, blue painter's tape, a mini iron, and some marking tools.  I also included my seam rippers and wondered how I ended up with 4 of them.

For the "purple" challenge, I included 3 pairs of scissors, my MP3 player, my stapler, and the first doily I ever crocheted.

While hunting for colored items through the week, I kept coming across things that I could have used for  the first day's photo for "red".  I decided to have a do-over and take another shot at it.  I included bias tape, the traditional tomato pin cushion, embroidery floss, a stitch counter,  a bunch of buttons and the most common item in any quilting room:  a pile of scraps.

The official challenge came to an end, but I had one more color I wanted to create with, and that was "pink". I couldn't decide between a Ballerina pink or a Magenta pink so I combined them both.  I didn't even remember I had a pink tomato pin cushion until I was looking around for the other colors and there it was.  The "pink" photo also included some beads, embroidery floss,  a pair of pink clothespins and, naturally, a pink eraser.

At the start, I did not expect to be a daily participant in the challenge, but I found it was really a lot of fun. Throughout the day I became more color aware of everything around me from my toothbrush, to the dishwashing liquid to the lid on a jar of pickles.  I also got a lot of enjoyment composing the chosen elements into a pleasing photo.

Looking at the photos posted by the other crafters, it was interesting to see what crossover items we had in common even though our respective crafts varied from sewing, to clay artists, to jewelry makers and scrapbookers. Just about everyone included at least one photo with a Sharpie pen.   If you want to see the colorful photos that Paul and Lianne came up with, you can find them at their blog .

Now, about that first photo at the top of this post.  My son made me this wooden sign when he was in about 3rd grade.  Even as a kid, he knew that a quilter's world is filled with color.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finishing up with February

It's time to tally up my progress in February's "Drop and Give Me Twenty" challenge, but before I do, here is one last project I finished this month:

Even though the Christmas season is long past, I have continued to use the mug rug that I made with Christmas fabrics so it was time to create something new.  I looked around my sewing room and found this little 5 inch square of sashiko quilting:

I created this little sample at a quilt guild meeting last fall when we had a speaker who taught us all about sashiko, and we all got a kit to try it out.  By the end of the meeting I had this little flower done.  I thought it would make a great little mug rug with a little quilting and binding.

I layered it with thin batting and a piece of blue and white fabric, then outline quilted around the flower shape:

Then I trimmed away just the batting:

Next I trimmed the backing fabric to an even one inch all around, and used the iron to press a half inch fold:

I turned the folded backing up onto the front of the mug rug and sewed along the edge:

When I reached the corners, I first folded in the corners at a 45 degree angle:

When the last side was folded and sewn, I had a new little mug rug!

The best part was when I took it to the kitchen and realized that my mugs were a perfect match!

It was a  complete coincidence that I have navy and white mugs with little 5 pointed flowers on them!

Being the last day of February, it is time to look back and the month and see how I did in the "Drop and Give Me Twenty" challenge.  My goal was to sew at least 20 minutes every day in February.  I started off great and logged in well over the 20 minutes a day for the first half of the month, but then I got side-lined with a miserable cold that turned into bronchitis so I did little to no sewing during the last part of the month and turned to knitting instead.

On the plus side, 20 minutes a day for 28 days is equal to 9 hours and 20 minutes, which I most definitely achieved this month, but only because I was an overachiever at the beginning.  Also on the plus side, I reached my original commitment goal which was to start and complete the first 5 steps of my guild's Mystery BOM and I made that happen.

In addition, this month I also:
  •  resurrected a project from 2009  and re-purposed it into a Quilt for Kids donation, and a table runner
  • dug out a miniature cheater quilt  and got it quilted and bound
  • turned an orphan sashiko sample into a mug rug.
  • finished knitting a prayer shawl, and almost finished crocheting a second one.
What I didn't get to do was spend one of the weeks in February practicing/playing with Free Motion Quilting.  I just didn't feel healthy enough to immerse myself in that.

It has been great fun to visit the Facebook page for the "Drop and Give Me 20" challenge and to be inspired by all the progress being made by the other 50-plus participants.  Overall, I'm going to call it a success.
Thank you, Beth Helfter for being our hostess/cheerleader.  I look forward to next year.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday with Toby

Toby has been "hounding"  me to write up a post that was just about him, so here goes:

Here he is just hanging out with a friend.

Keeping a watchful eye on the weather.

While the rest of us have grown weary of all the snow, Toby loves nothing more than to be outside in it, repeatedly burying and digging up his tennis ball.

 When things get dull, he is a great source of entertainment, 

especially when he is being goofy.

However, he balances his silly behavior with moments of regal dignity.

Toby recently celebrated his 6th birthday, and we are so glad to have him as part of our family.

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