Monday, April 24, 2006

Sarah has 'goo' and Mama has a brand new bag...

Well - it took us a few days, but we finally got around to making the 'goo' or 'slime' today. Sarah had a blast. It actually worked out better that she and I make it today after school (before her baby sister got home), as it was quite a mess. I can imagine that it would have been an even bigger mess with a three year old's hands in it. We did, however, save it in a jar - so that we can let Hannah play with it at some point. I think that Sarah thought that it was the 'coolest' stuff she'd ever seen. She wasn't happy when I finally told her that we had to go inside and she couldn't play with it any longer. I mean, honestly, we had to eat... ;-)

Sarah had her fun - and I had mine. I decided, on a whim - as I'm prone to do, that I wanted to make myself a simple little bag. So, I had some batik fabric that I love (it has the cutest little butterflies all over it) - and I decided to use it to make the bag. I used some of the fabric that I dyed for the lining. Luckily, I had some cotton batting already cut nearly to size, so I didn't have to open a new bag of batting (which I found on sale for 50% off at Hobby Lobby last week - YAY. I like to use the Hobb's Heirloom Premium cotton batting - at 50% off, I stocked up for a bit!!). It's nothing fancy, but since it's all that I've made in the last week, I thought that I'd share it.

Actually, my bag isn't all that I made in the last week. I forgot. I made a pendant/pin (haven't quite decided which it will be). It was an experiment. I painted (two colors of Lumiere paint) Timetex, zapped it with my heat gun (not sure if that is a good idea or not - it makes a nice effect, but it is kind of stinky) and then beaded it - and lined the back with felt. It's cute. I think that I'm going to add both a bale on the back and a pin back, so I can use it as either a pin or pendant - I think that I have some of those combination backs somewhere.

I really need to spend some time doing some spring cleaning ... how am I going to motivate myself? Any ideas on how to do that would be GREATLY appreciated (both by me and my husband). Oh well, tomorrow is another day .... as they say ....

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dye-Na-Flow quilted project...

Okay - so I wanted the try the Dye-Na-Flow that I bought, but I didn't really know what I wanted to do with it. I decided to wet a smallish piece of fabric and just 'drop' the paint/dye onto the fabric, creating a sort of tie-dyed effect. I was pleased with how it turned out.

Then I had to decide WHAT to do with that piece of fabric. I had been wanting, for some time now, to make a case for my Dell DJ (which they no longer make, by the way - but, I love mine!). I'm guessing that they quit making it because it couldn't really compete with the iPod - I do love my DJ though! Hope nothing happens to it, since I know can't replace it.

Now - back to the real sharing .... I thought that since I had a smaller piece of fabric, maybe this was my opportunity to make a carrying case for my DJ. I decided to keep it simple and just do a bit of quilting and close it off using a simple button and a string to wrap around the button. The case is a bit larger than the DJ itself, as I like to carry my ear buds with it, so I needed the extra room. This is what I came up with. I think that it came out pretty well - it is at least fun.

I'm thinking of attending an art show on Saturday. It is called Artisphere and is held in Greenville, SC. I spoke with one of the coordinators and she indicated that there would be some fiber artists displaying their work there, so I think that I'll try to make it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dye-Na-Flow, slime and UFOs

Today, while purchasing a gallon of glue (more on that later), I bought the Dye-Na-Flow Exciter set. I just knew that I had to have them .... and now that I do, I'm wondering how the heck I'm supposed to use them? It's times like this that I hate that I'm a 'lone' fabric 'artist' (not that I see myself as an artist, mind you -but, what else can I call myself? I don't really like fabric 'crafter' ... whatever - moving on....) - meaning that I have no one locally with whom to discuss fabric creations/techniques/ideas with. All that being said - and I know you know what is coming next - I need YOUR help! Tell me how YOU use Dye-Na-Flow!

Now - on to the glue. Sarah, my 5 1/2 year old, has this 'project' book that she's been reading and she has found several 'recipes' that she wants to make. Wait until you hear the yummy concoctions that we'll be preparing this weekend. We'll start with colored silly putty! And, for good measure, we'll make slime. Yes, slime! Doesn't it sound exciting? Actually, I think it will be lots of fun! I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever have occasion to purchase and entire gallon of glue. I guess we will be set for a while for glue! Luckily, with two girls that love making things - I'm sure we'll use it!

I also bought a few more dyes today. Hopefully, I'll find some time to dye some more fabrics this weekend, as well. I have 6 yards of fabric waiting to be dyed. I am not dyeing nearly the volume as some people, but I'm just starting. Tommy has given me some wonderful tips - I hope to use some of them this weekend.

I still have two quilts to do the quilting on. I need to work on that this weekend as well. Actually, I have 3 - I have a crazy quilt that I did some time ago, featuring a picture of my daughter. I'll have to take a picture of it and post it sometime.

It's sad, really, that I have so many unfinished projects. Certainly, I am not the only one, right? Please tell me that you, too, have MANY unfinished projects!! It might be easier to complete projects if I didn't stay on here reading so many blogs! I have a few that I simply MUST read each day, lest my day feel incomplete! Speaking of ... I have a couple more to go before bedtime!

Monday, April 17, 2006

School lunches and a tribute to my 10 year anniversary

Today was a good day. :-)

The best part of the day was that I took off at lunchtime to go to the primary school to have lunch with my daughter, Sarah. It always takes me back to my childhood when I have lunch with her. I mean, how often do you - as an adult - eat off of 'trays', sit at long tables on tiny seats and drink chocolate milk from a carton? Well, for me, it is now several times a month. I like to go and have lunch with her when I can (which, is only on Mondays - as the rest of the week I work an hour away - luckily, I work from home on Mondays). Sometimes, I even eat breakfast at her school with her - in fact, I will be doing that on Thursday. We'll be having pancake pups. I'm sure you're wondering to yourself what a pancake pup is ... well, it is a sausage wrapped with a pancake on a stick (think corndog - only with sausage and pancakes). You don't see stuff like that on Food Network ..... ;-) It should be fun, though! I know it means a lot to her when I'm able to go - so I want to go as often as I can!

And, the tribute to my 10 year anniversary part ... My 10 year anniversary was last November. To celebrate, Michael - my husband, took me back to the same bed and breakfast where we honeymooned. We've been there several times since we married - it is our intent to stay in every room they have before it is all said and done. But, I digress.... back to the tribute. While we were there, we went to a quilt shop and I bought some wonderful black and white fabric, as well as some funky red fabric. I decided yesterday to combine that with some of the black hand-dyed fabric that I did, to create a small wall sized quilt. The quilt, because I used fabrics from that trip (mostly), is meant to commemorate our 10 year anniversary. All I have left to do is to decide if I'm going to block the quilt and attach a sleeve. I may not block it and just be 'okay' with the slight non-squareness. That is a discussion that I'll save to have with myself on another day ;-)

Tomorrow should make for an interesting day at work. I get to take a CPR class all morning. I'm happy to be taking the class (and on my company's dime), but I know that I'll be swamped in the afternoon - having been away all morning. Guess I better get the Venti Mocha from Starbuck's tomorrow - I'm going to need the extra energy! I really need to learn to go to bed prior to 12:30 am!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Face The Music and Easter egg hunt

I have finished my first all fused piece! It's small - only 13X13, but it's nice. I like it. It is supposed to be a face (not a 'perfect' face, but a somewhat 'fluid' face). The fluidity of the face reminded me of music - hence the title Face The Music. It's all fused and I used Melody's 'escape hatch' method for the center piece. Then there is some beading to accentuate certain parts of the piece. With the exception of the background (which is a plum velvet commercial fabric), the other fabrics are fabrics that I dyed myself.

I think that it turned out pretty well. I think that I'll hang it up in my sewing room. I love the colors, so I hope to be inspired by it as I am in there!

Here is the detail of the center (main) piece.

On another note, today we had an Easter egg hunt at church. My girls had a great time! This is a picture of them from the egg hunt today. As you can see, even before we found any eggs, Sarah (my oldest) had already stained her t-shirt. Luckily, it all came out.

Speaking of stains, I have one that I can't get rid of on one of Hannah's (my baby) shirts. Since it was stained at school, I have no idea what the stain is - but, so far, I haven't had any luck. I think that I've treated it no fewer than 12 times - still no luck. I bought some stuff today that I hope will work.

I guess I better go 'confer' with the Easter bunny to see what might be left for my kiddos tonight ;-)

Friday, April 14, 2006

A quilt from days gone by....

I was cleaning up my daughter's room and I found this quilt. It is a quilt that I made some time ago for her. I thought that I'd share it here. I still love the colors and the simplicity of this quilt. My applique work left something to be desired, but I remember being very excited when I finished this quilt... and finding it today, I have to say that - while I *hope* that I've gotten better (who knows, I sure don't) - I'm still quite proud! ;-)

What Flower Am I ..... hmmmmm........ well......

You Are A Lily

You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.
People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.
You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.
Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.

New hand dyed fabrics and new quilt

I did a few more hand dyes today. I needed some dark colors (i.e. black, dark plum, and navy). I like how they turned out, though it seems that it is much more (at least at my inexperienced hand) difficult to get consistent coverage with a darker color. I will try a few things differently next time.

The reason that I needed a dark fabric is because I had an idea for a small wall hanging (It's 16X16), and in my 'mind' the background would be a dark color.

This is the fused top. I haven't done anything else with it - maybe I'll get a chance to work on the quilting this weekend (though, I'm still recovering from my disappointments with my other quilt, which - by the way - I haven't done anything else with).

I haven't gotten any suggestions from you guys about some 'educational' media with regard to machine quilting. But, I'm still interested - so, if you know of something - let me know! :)

I'm not sure what we'll be up to tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to a day off. My girls have already mentioned that they want to make 'something' tomorrow. I think that I might pull my other sewing machine out and help Sarah make a simple skirt. I know that she is only 5 1/2, but she already LOVES to sew. I think that she just loves to create. Should be fun!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I need suggestions......

Okay - I sat down and started my quilting and while it isn't TERRIBLE, it certainly isn't great! I really need to take a machine quilting class - but, in lieu of that - does anyone have any suggestions for books on machine quilting or DVDs or anything like that? Hopefully, at some point I can get to a class - but, so far I haven't found one that fits my schedule.

Obviously, I realize that the more I practice, the better I'll get at it. It's driving me crazy. I really WANT to be good at it - honestly, I do..... lol. Maybe I should be at the sewing machine practicing, rather than on here asking for advice?? lol. But, I admit, I'm a book junky - so I'd love to buy a book on machine quilting - so, the phone lines are open now - let me know YOUR suggestions..... ;-)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I cleaned my sewing room.....

surely that is a good sign?? I suppose it is really more accurate to say that I 'straightened up' my sewing room. Honestly, I could barely get in there. It was a mess. That's what happens, I guess, when you work out of two rooms - one ends up looking like a landfill? Wait, that doesn't totally make sense, given that both of my rooms look (well, looked - now the sewing room isn't so bad - I even vacuumed up all the thread!) so terrible.

I went in there to quilt my wall hanging, but decided that it was far too messy in there to be very creative! Only problem, now, is that I'm too tired to quilt. But, now it looks so pretty that I want to do something in there ..... Therein lies the conundrum, I suppose. At least I have room in there, now, to put the quilt on the sewing table, without it being on top of something else! ;-)

Why, you may ask, do I have a blender on my sewing table? Well, it is because I also use that table to make handmade papers. Not that I've made any in a while, but where else would that blender be - but, in the way of my sewing? Certainly, that makes sense - right?

As you can see - my sewing area is quite small. This is why I use two rooms. My cutting table and ironing surface (as well as much of my fabrics) are in my bonus room - just a few steps away from my sewing room. It makes it very convenient (not as convenient as if it were all in the same room - but, at least it isn't too far) - though, I do tend to drag bits of thread and fabric down the hall as I go from room to room. I do, for small pressing, have a small table top ironing surface that I use in my sewing room.

I've thought many times about moving it all into the bonus room, with the intent to use the smaller room for my scrapbooking (which I currently do in my bonus room), but then I'm reminded of why I put my sewing machines in the smaller room in the first place - two curious little girls - and that room has a door that I can lock! ;-) And, when I come to that realization - I leave it all as it is.

I'm currently only using my embroidery machine, but I have another sewing machine that I actually prefer. I'm thinking of dragging it out - and taking my embroidery machine in to get it serviced. For normal sewing, I really love my basic machine. Maybe if I kept the embroidery machine, my regular machine and my serger all OUT - it would inspire me to keep that room tidy? Nah, I doubt it.

I feel my courage coming on...

I've basted my quilt... yay! Baby steps .... ya know? I've got lots of ideas of HOW to quilt it - I guess we'll see how well I can implement them.

I do appreciate all of the encouraging e-mails that you guys have sent and I think that has helped me decide to 'just do it'.

I've never had a 'class' on quilting - everything I know (which, might actually fit in a thimble... even though I've 'done' a few quilts) I've just kind of 'taught' myself. I'm sure that nothing I do is the way it is supposed to be done (much like my knitting... lol), but it works for me, I guess. I'll never be a great quilter - nor will I ever win any awards - but, I am (usually) happy with what I do (even if it does take me FOREVER to do it - out of fear of screwing it up). I don't know what I'm scared of - it's not life and death. It's just fabric - but, oh, how I LOVE fabric!! I can't stand to think that I've messed it all up. If I'm doing something really small - I don't mind - but, if it is bigger than say 15X15, I freak out. God help me if I ever decide to do an actual bed quilt (well, I've done a twin sized - but, it was more utilitarian than anything)! I'll literally go insane.

Back to work for me .... just needed a momentary diversion! :-)

Spring Break...

Well - today was the first day of spring break for my daughter, Sarah. I'm fortunate enough to work from home on Mondays, so she was able to stay home with me today. It makes for some ... ummmm..... interesting conference calls, having her here - but, it makes for a FABULOUS day overall. I wish that I could be home with my girls everyday! It's the days that I am home with them (today it was just Sarah - as Hannah did have school) that I realize how much I miss being home.

I had a very interesting (Sarah thought) and clever (I thought) way to keep her busy while I was doing my work today. I had a bunch of seed beads that had gotten mixed up - so, I gave them to her and had her sort them by color. She enjoyed it AND I got my beads sorted - win/win! ;-)

Speaking of beads, I took out one of my bead boxes today and I realized how much I LOVE (yes, LOVE) color. The beads are so beautiful in the box. Maybe I'm just ready for the colors of summer? Whatever it is, I was so inspired by the colors of the beads, that I took out my camera and took a picture.

Both Sarah's outfit (I had nothing to do with it, I swear - I let my girls choose their own clothes - regardless of how mismatched they are. I figure it is their way to be themselves!) today and the bead box have me yearning to make something COLORFUL. I think that first things first, I'm going to make Sarah and Hannah (my other daughter) skirts - but, after that..... what? I have no idea. But, I'm looking forward to finding out.

It will be back to the office tomorrow.... that's always a drag, but at least I'm off on Friday. We're having a big FAMILY day (we'll all be home) and I can't wait. I think that Sarah, Hannah and I will probably do something 'crafty' and maybe we'll all (my husband included) make popcorn and watch movies. It's going to be fun....... can't wait!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fabric Postcard

Well - I didn't find TOO much time this weekend, but I refused to go to bed without doing SOMETHING. So, I decided to make a fabric postcard. I love the summery colors of this postcard. I'm trying to decide who I'm going to mail it to. I have such a problem parting with them, so I have to decide quickly and get it into the mail (it's not like I need to keep more STUFF around here).

This is my postcard:

Hopefully, I'll find some productive time this week - I doubt it with tax day looming and also with getting ready for Easter - but, who knows!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Looks like summer is here.....

... At least by looking at the latest hand dyed fabric that I did. I am in LOVE with these colors. Normally, I prefer darker/richer colors - but, perhaps because it is getting warm here, these colors are talking to me. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but I wanted to experiment with these colors.

I particularly love the green! It's beautiful. I'm not sure that the pictures do the fabric justice, but they really are quite lovely.

Here is the picture:

In other news, or rather - there is no news.... lol - I still haven't quilted the wall hanging that I did with the last batch of hand dyes. I'm still working myself up to it. And, additionally, trying to find the time to do it.

I've got some ATCs that I need to work on. They are for swaps that are required this month - and I haven't even started (well, I've kind of started, but only barely).

Hopefully, I'll have something NEW to post about this weekend. Well, I guess I've posted something new with the fabric - but, I dyed it sometime last week - and am only now able to post about it. Hopefully, I'll work on something this weekend that I can post about.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Today's 'creation'

Okay - so, I'm still waiting to find the confidence to quilt my newly pieced quilt top. We'll see how that goes. Thanks to all who sent me 'inspiring' and 'encouraging' comments! They are much appreciated!

So, while I am waiting to be confident enough to do the quilting - I wanted to make something for a shadow box, so that I could take it in to my office and have it there. You know - something other than gray walls to look at! And, I also wanted to use the fabrics that I dyed in this piece. I wanted it to be chaotic (because my life at work is chaotic), but also controlled (hence, the framing). At least THAT chaos I can control - goodness knows I can't control any of the chaos at work.

So - this is the result. I love it - It deviates from my sketch somewhat, but not in a bad way. Where it is different, I think it is better. :-)

In addition to creating the fabric piece that is framed, I also stamped and painted the mat to coordinate (I think) perfectly! I love it. Perhaps no one else will like it, but I - personally - love it! You can't tell from the picture, really, but the center 'piece' is mounted dimensionally - such that it stands away from the background. It's obvious in person, but difficult to show in a picture. It certainly adds additional depth that I couldn't have gotten by just matting it in a normal frame.

Anyway - I'm supposed to be working from home today - so I should actually go do some work ;-)

It grew.....

Well - I slept on it and finally decided how to finish the quilt top piecing. I decided to add some additional borders. I really loved the purple fabric, so I wanted to include more of it. I think that it turned out nicely! The top now measures approximately 26" X 28". I like it... BUT, I'm scared to quilt it. I enjoy creating the tops of quilts, but I loathe quilting. I WANT to quilt, I WANT to quilt well - but, I'm not very good at it, so I worry that I'm going to screw up a quilt top that I love. So, I'll probably sit here and look at this top for a week before I decide to go for it. Realistically, I know that unless I practice it, I'll never be good at quilting - and, maybe I'm not as bad at it as I think I am - who knows. But, to be honest - it scares the crap out of me. There, I said it - I'm afraid of quilting..... So, shoot me! LOL

Anyway - here is the finished top:

I bought some more fabric dyes today. I can't find that many colors locally - but, I'm happy that I can at least find the Procion MX Dyes locally, so I won't complain too much. I found a fuschia and a green that I'm very excited to try. Hopefully, they will turn out the way I want them to.

With the first batch that I did, I used the microwave version of dyeing, using Melody's instructions. I think that this time, I'm going to skip the microwave and allow the colors to 'sit' longer before rinsing and washing them out. We'll see how that turns out.

I'm thinking that I might make myself a nice summer-y purse using some of the hand dyed fabrics that I did. Normally, not the type of purse that I would use - but, I think I might give it a try. We'll see ..... I'm due a new purse! ;-)

Today was a lazy day - I worked on the quilt top this morning before Church. I rarely do anything before Church, but for some reason (I guess the time change), I felt like doing something this morning. It was fun - it was nice to get something done that early. Usually, I only get anything creative done in the evenings. After Church, the family went out to eat - as always that was nice and also a challenge (I mean, really, isn't going out to eat with a 5 y/o and an 3 y/o ALWAYS a challenge??). We had a good time and it put me in town, so I was able to pick up a few more dyes ... Now to find the time dye more fabric.

Well - Grey's Anatomy is coming on - so, I have to go see what is going on with McDreamy! ;-)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Using my hand dyed fabrics

So, I started a piece today using the fabrics that I dyed earlier in the day. It is to be a small wall hanging. I'm not sure where to go now...... so, I'm stopping for the night. I'll decide what else (if anything) to do to it tomorrow - in the way of embellishments, etc. I know that a lot of people come up with a 'plan' before they create. I do sometimes, but not always. Sometimes, I just start sewing, stamping, or whatever ...... and go from there. Today was one of those times. I hope that, at the end of my reckless abandon with my fabrics, I'm happy with what I come up with! So far - so good :-) It (currently - who knows what tomorrow holds.... lol) measures around 17"X16".

Anyway - here is a picture of my 'work in progress' - using the fabrics that I dyed! I'd love to hear your comments!

My first attempt at dyeing fabric....

Okay - I've been SO inspired by the many wonderfully talented ladies who hand dye their own fabric. I decided that I wanted to try it myself. Now, I'm relatively pleased with my first attempt and I have certainly taken away some lessons from it.

First of all, I decided to use Melody's microwave way of dyeing fabric. Seemed easy enough. I used the general idea of how to do it and basically just 'winged' it with regard to the amount of soda ash and dye powders I deposited in the 'bucket'. I used more soda ash with some and less with others - obviously, with varied results (not a bad thing, however - I like the contrast). I'm definitely looking forward to experimenting more.

So, anyway - here are my results - I used 4 colors of dye (orange, purple, turquoise and cobalt blue) - all of my favorite colors. The only color that I wish that I had, but didn't is something pink.

The fabric on top is what I did with the TINY bit of turquoise and purple dye I had left over. It's not very vibrant, but I like it! The others are obvious, as to which dyes I used. You will notice, however, that I did put a TINY bit of purple in with my turquoise dye, so there is a little bit of purple on the turquoise piece (this happened by accident - I actually 'splashed' a bit of purple onto the turquoise fabric - and decided to add a little more.... lol).

It was a nice experiment. Now, I have to decide what to do with the fabric. ........ hmmmmmm