Encrusted CQ class project

Encrusted CQ class project

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Oh come, let us adore Him.......Christ, the Lord!

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  I wish you a creative, fulfilling, wonder-ful 2012.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

5 more sleeps til Christmas!

It's December 20, and yes, I am ready for Christmas.  It doesn't look like it will be a white Christmas here : (  

I have been doing a bit of piecing, for the 2012 swaps, RRs and challenges on the CQforNewbies group.  These three pieces will be ATCs (Artist Trading Cards, 2 1/2 x 3 1/2").  It's a good challenge to work on such a small scale.

In the middle photo, the fabric in the bottom centre is silver, the camera made it look purple....

We are doing a Celebrate Life challenge.  This is the 10" block I pieced for that:

We are choosing our own themes for this challenge, and mine is Laughter.  Each week for 6 weeks we will receive a challenge stitch to incorporate into our block.  I pieced a gray and black block to represent the difficult year I have had in 2011, and I plan to do the stitches in bright colours to represent the moments of joy and laughter which sustained me during the trials.  I am looking forward to challenging myself with some new stitches and stitch combinations beginning in January.

In March there will be a Spring is Sprung theme Round Robin.  Here is my basic 12"  block for that:

I love the happy colours of this block, and I plan to put some dragonfly beads on here, as well as lots of flowers and perhaps a bird in a nest.  

Tonight is Craft and Chat at the library, so I will be taking along these blocks to baste around the design area, and embroider on the ATCs.  I need to do some repair work on my denim CQ jacket as well, and I'll bring along the Aurora Borealis quilt in case I have time to do some hand quilting on that.  I'm always amazed at how much I can get done in three hours, when I have organized my work ahead of time and I'm away from the distractions of home.

Have a wonderful day, and do something creative this week!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Project Updates

I have been working on several projects in the last few weeks, and have a few update pictures to share.  I had fun with these wool felt Christmas trees, made from a kit I bought at Joggles last fall.  They have a slightly different kit this year, but with the same great value and clear directions.  They stand about 10" high.

Here's a closeup of one of the trunks, made from paper clay and painted with acrylic paint.  The snow is made from Snowtex, and sprinkled with diamond dust glitter.  I love the way these turned out!

Progress continues on the black/bright colours quilt, which I have now titled Aurora Borealis.  I have pieced the top, added plain black borders and black buttons, and I'm now hand quilting with rainbow metallic thread.  The quilting is to add interest and movement to the quilt, so it won't be very densely quilted.  

I am also knitting and crocheting hats and scarves for the Mustard Seed in Edmonton. They will need lots of warm clothing for homeless people when the weather gets cold (and it is not unusual to have -40 Celsius temperatures in this part of Alberta in winter.  That's 40 below in Fahrenheit, also know as "bloody cold"). I'm not that accomplished at either knitting or crochet, but I have found lots of easy free patterns on about.com.  I am using yarn that was donated by a lady from the local online garage sale on Facebook.  I like the idea of knitting warm clothing for people who truly need it, using yarn that has been sitting unused in someone's basement.  I may get some small scrap quilts done for the Mustard Seed as well.  I have several "crumb" quilts on the go, made from my smallest scraps and mostly hand pieced.  They are randomly pieced, no pattern, and a great way to use the bits that are usually thrown away.  

I'm off now to make some broccoli and cheese soup for dinner, and I hope to get some more quilting done on the Aurora Borealis project.  So nice to have a warm quilt on my lap as I stitch!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Orange RR Block

Yesterday, I received Toni's Round Robin block.  Here's the "naked" block:

The silky butterfly fabric in the bottom left corner was coming away from the seam, and was beginning to fray.  So the first order of business was to secure the fabric with clear thread.  Later I covered this seam with hand-dyed braid and added a few beads.

This is the block after my work:

And here are a few closeups:

Feather stitch with seed beads.

A small patch on one edge got a simple running stitch variation.

Three shades of orange embroidery floss - cretan stitch, cross stitch, french knots.

This block doesn't need to be mailed out until January, so I am way ahead of the game on this!  But I better get back to those wool felt Christmas trees......

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Fun website - check it out!

I spent a bit of time today playing with wordle.net   It's a really fun website that takes the text you enter and creates word clouds.  You can then customize the word art by changing the colours (look up hex colors in Google to find a chart of the hexadecimal colour codes - I found one I like at http://www.december.com/html/spec/color.html), layout, font, etc.

To give you an idea what these word clouds look like, here is the first one I created.  I entered the URL of this blog, and it made a wordle of all the words on the blog.  The more often the word is used, the bigger that word appears.

And here's a screenshot of one where I changed the colours and layout, and removed some of the words.

I think this web tool could have lots of applications for mixed media art.  I'd love to hear how YOU would use these word clouds in your art.  Leave a comment!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Monday Musings

Another week has begun, and I am trying to get back into the swing of things after being in pain all weekend.  At this point I think I pulled a muscle/s in my abdomen.  It only hurts when I cough, or sneeze, or laugh....or inhale.  I can avoid a lot of things, but I'm rather fond of inhaling, and seem to spend half my life doing it!  Anyway, the pain is down about 50%, so I am slowly catching up on household chores.

This week I will be sorting out more fabric, lace etc for sale on the Vegreville Online Garage Sale (Facebook group).  And I am working on some items for Christmas gifts.  And today I hope to get the Christmas decorations out of storage and start slowly decorating.  This year I hope to take my time with decorating, really savouring the time and reflecting on the birth of Jesus and all the implications of His coming.

So, it's back to the chores for me, and I'll post some pictures of my creative projects later in the week.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Progress in the Studio

Another week has flown by, and it's time for a studio update!

Things are really coming together.  The Staples work table is now skirted, providing lots of hidden storage.

The computer table is an old, ugly, cheapie piece.  It's only staying until the Christmas decorations come down, as my other work table (our former dining table) will soon hold our Christmas tree in the living room.  For now, the ugly computer table provides a surface for painting and gluing.

I still have a number of boxes and bins of projects and supplies to sort through and put away, but I am really happy to be seeing progress.

15 Minute Day

I have declared today another 15-minute day.  I have lots of small tasks to accomplish, and a long list of cleaning chores in the kitchen, so I've written a to-do list, I've set my timer and will work at each task for 15 minutes without getting sidetracked.  When the timer rings, I change tasks.  Even the dreaded ironing pile is not so bad when tackled 15 minutes at a time.

So, while my dog follows me from room to room to find a place for  12 1/2 minute naps, I will be working steadily at getting the house in order.  I want to get things put away and cleaned up before I pull out the Christmas decorations.  I love decorating for Christmas, so this is a real motivator to get the boring stuff done!

I have one outside decoration up - I embellished these ice skates a couple of weeks ago, and since we have snow, they seemed appropriate.  The glittery foliage was purchased at Michaels and the "presents" are cleaning sponges wrapped with fabric and glued with Mod Podge.  So far they are holding up well to the elements and I love the way this looks!

Well, it's time to go upstairs and reset the timer.  Hope you have a productive day, and don't forget to do something creative!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A new round robin block

The CQ group I belong to has started another round robin - this one is an Orange colour study.  I've never worked with orange before, especially all orange.  This is my basic block, which was mailed to a  lady in Wisconsin today.  The ladies in this group are so talented, I'm sure they can make something lovely out of it.  But I'm still intimidated by orange, and I can't picture how peach, tangerine, rust and pumpkin orange will somehow work together as one cohesive block.  Maybe they will have to entirely cover the fabric with stitching and buttons!

I have some orange buttons, beads and threads ready to add to the blocks I will receive to work on.  I'm going to do my very best to do lovely work, even if I am kinda scared of orange.  I'll post photos as I receive blocks and work on them.

Christmas is coming......

I don't mind that for retailers the Christmas season begins November 1.  I enjoy hearing Christmas carols for weeks on end.  I love the decorations and gift ideas, and the special foods.  But folks, is this for real?!!

I guess nothing screams "celebrate the birth of the Saviour" like sour apple marshmallow Santas......

And let's not even talk about those colours.  Go ahead, click on the photo to see a larger size, because you wouldn't want to miss this taste treat.....  <facepalm>

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Today as I tackle some long-neglected housekeeping, I am taking short breaks to read my favourite blog ivoryblushroses.blogspot.com  from her first post in 2007, right up until present.  I have been following Lisa's blog for at least a couple of years, but today, as a treat, I am starting at the beginning.

One of the features of her blog that I'd like to "borrow and adapt" (which sounds so much nicer than thievery) is one of the sidebars on the right hand side of her blog.  She has a list of words she likes - words like incandescent, luminous, ethereal.  In one of her early posts she describes her bedroom as a sanctuary.  As I was stripping the bed, decluttering and dusting in our bedroom this morning, I knew that I want our bedroom to be a sanctuary.  So with that theme word in mind, it is easier to decide what to keep, what to get rid of, and what to store away.  It's a small room, and we have a king-sized bed, so space is at a premium. Every magazine picked up off the floor, every bit of dust removed, makes more lovely, clean open space.

I had this wall art made at a sign shop in town - one of the verses of It is Well with my Soul.

This verse may seem a bit odd to display ("why do you have Satan's name in your bedroom?"), but it has been an enormous comfort in the last couple of years, when it seemed that the enemy of my soul was trying to steal all my joy and hope.  To be reminded each night as I go to bed, and each morning as I wake up that "Christ has regarded my helpless estate and has shed His own blood for my soul"!  I've been so aware of my helplessness in just day-to-day living, and even more - my salvation - but I don't have to pretend I'm capable, or try to do better!  Christ sees and knows my helpless estate, and had a plan all along.  So in making our bedroom more of a sanctuary, this art reminds of Christ, my Sanctuary.

It's time to go back to the housework, and I wonder what other Words will come to me as a I clean?  Look for a list of my favourite words on this blog, soon!

Monday, 21 November 2011

The studio organization continues

Today we made some real progress on setting up my studio!  My husband did a major paperwork sort/purge and has set up his desk downstairs.  As I type this, the filing cabinet is coming downstairs, with his bookshelf to follow.  While he is at work this week, I will continue arranging my furniture and organizing art supplies.  I got this fabric for $5./meter, which will be made into table skirts for the two work tables.  The skirts will velcro on to the tables, and cover up all the items that will be stored underneath.

Great fabric, yes?  And for the first time in this home, my wooden scissors got hung up.  I just love them!

This weekend's craft sale was well attended.....by people who wanted to "borrow" ideas for Christmas decorations and gifts to make.  I wouldn't have minded this so much if more people had been buying.  All the vendors said sales were way down this year.  I am not convinced that this is the way to market my art.  I did have time at the sale to figure out how to finish one of my quilts, and on Sunday purchased the background and backing fabric, batting and quilting thread.  More on that in a future post.

My Etsy shop is in Vacation Mode for a few days, while I rearrange and restock.  It will reopen on Friday. Right now, I'm off to help move a bookshelf downstairs.  Thanks again for stopping by!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

More craft sale preparations

I am finishing lots of craft sale items this week - including this square canvas, which just makes me smile:

I think I may use this as my Facebook profile picture!

I have one Christmas stocking finished and three more "in process".  Here's the finished one:

And here are a couple of close ups:

The square beads on the red fabric have a lovely aged patina, I wasn't able to capture it in the photograph, but they are quite pretty.  They're Miyuki cube beads.  Japanese beads are so lovely to look at and great to work with.  The "string" of pearly and metallic beads is strung on thin wire, which will support the weight of the beads better, and will last longer than thread.  I hope these Christmas stockings will be family heirlooms, so they need to last for many years.

The toe of the stocking features some hand-dyed rayon lace.  I found a small square of this (white) lace at a thrift store, and I love the way it takes dye.  I used diluted Setacolor transparent paint.  The back of the stocking is recycled fabric from a thrift store dress.  It wouldn't photograph well, but it's a lovely black "crushed velvet" with a green sparkle in it.  Understated with a bit of bling.

On today's to-do list - finish 6 wool felt Christmas trees.  This last link will take you to a tutorial on how to make these.  I am ready to trim and cut the dowels, then glue them in and continue.  I love the way the decorated trees look, so I think they'll be really nice when they're all assembled.

So it's back to work (play) for me!  Thanks again for stopping by.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

One week 'til the Craft Sale

I am doing the final countdown as I prepare for a Christmas Craft Sale next Saturday (November 19, 10 am - 4 pm at the Vegreville Social Centre).  Today's post features pictures of some of the goodies I will have for sale.

Mixed media on canvas:

Square Christmas ornaments (you will politely not notice the pins still in the bottom, I will be finishing them this weekend : )

A round "CD" ornament - side one....

 And side two...

Some 100 pc embellishment bags - see my August 25 posts on how to use these.  They are a thrift-a-licious bargain at just $10!!  This one is Christmas colours :

And this one is in Rachel Ashwell shabby chic colours - pinks, greens and ivory.

And I unearthed some UFO's - unfinished objects.  These are miscellaneous CQ squares that haven't been used in a project yet.  I'll probably offer these for $10 each, 3 for $25.  They would be perfect to add to a quilt, or to embellish a plain tote bag, or whatever else you can dream up.

I'll also be bringing the items from my Etsy store.  I'll have items from $5. to $200 - hope to see you there!

It's back to the stitching and painting and gluing....and I need to make price tags .....oh, I'll need some change......pack up the tablecloths and business cards..... <shuffles away mumbling to self>

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A month of changes

In the days since my last post, I've made a few life-changes, trying to move towards better health and better productivity.  A diagnosis of high-blood pressure has me on medication, hopefully temporarily.  In order to eliminate the need for meds, I am walking more and eating healthier and less.  Diet and exercise, it's not exciting or new, but the only way to lose weight safely and permanently.  I'm down 10.8 lbs so far, in just under a month.

Our home now has flooring in the basement!  As soon as the baseboards get installed (possibly on Monday), DH will begin moving his office stuff downstairs.  In the meantime, I have been emptying out my art/sewing supplies from the studio and doing a big purge/sort/organize.  It took me about 12 hours of ironing (over 6 or 7 days) to press all the fabric I am keeping.  Most of my fabric is smaller pieces, which are now sorted by colour.  Most of these fabrics are stored in this three-drawer dresser:

The overflow is stored in these plastic bins.  The biggest bin is the Pink Fabrics, I have a good variety now and don't need to buy any more pink for awhile.  In fact, after sorting out the fabrics I won't use, I feel like I have more now, and I don't think I'll need to buy anything over the winter!

My embroidery floss is sorted by colour in these two two-drawer stacking drawers, which are on top of the fabric dresser.  You'll notice I am labelling everything.  This is crucial for me - when I am creating, I need to find things NOW, and I need all the help I can get when it's time to tidy up and put things away.

For a couple of years, I've kept my buttons and beads together, sorted by colour, in 5 plastic bead boxes (about $2. each at the dollar store).  Here's the inside of one of the boxes:

I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much lace I have at the moment..... This is a three drawer dresser, and the entire top drawer is full of white and ivory lace, most of it vintage.  Time to get lace packs listed in my store . The other drawers contain coloured lace, ribbons and "silk" flowers.  On top you can see a mug with scissors and seam rippers, and a box of sewing thread.

I have almost half of the studio organized and tidy now.  When the office gear is moved, I'll set up a couple of tables for lots of work surface.  I'll make skirts for the tables so I can store more Rubbermaid bins underneath without the visual clutter.

As for creative projects - I am working on oodles of things for a Christmas craft fair that is in 10 days.  I just decided to get a table at the fair yesterday, so I'm kicking it into high gear to finish enough stock for that.  The dining room, where I am currently working (and storing the unsorted items from the studio) is a shambles, but lots is happening there, art-wise.  More to come on those projects soon........ I'm off to paint and glue and stitch!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

October Update

I just realized it has been nearly a month since my last post!  So, here's an update on my life in the last few weeks:  I have been working on a lot of CQ and other creative projects (even finishing a few).  The studio still needs a major decluttering and reorganizing.  I am dealing with a few health issues, and working hard to lose a substantial amount of weight.  In July our hot water tank leaked all over the basement, destroying all the flooring.  Thankfully, this is being covered by insurance, but it has been a slow process to get repairs done.  The flooring has been chosen and ordered, so I am hoping to have a usable basement by Christmas.  Meanwhile, the contents of the basement (those that we didn't haul directly to the dumpster - clutter that should have been dealt with ages ago) are in the dining room upstairs.  So, we did some major decluttering but things don't look any better yet.  After the flooring is installed downstairs, DH plans to move his office area downstairs, which means I will have the studio area all to myself!  I'll move my office/paperwork stuff downstairs as well, so we can hang out there together on the days he's home. Which all means I will have more room in the studio for my creative stuff, which is very much needed!  I am making plans now for the kind of storage bins I'll need and how I'll arrange the room.  As much as I want to dive in there right now and rip the room apart, I need to stop and plan it out.  I still have a huge volume of supplies, and an average size room to fit it into.  I'm hoping to end up with a smooth work-flow from when the textiles come in the door, to cutting and sewing, finishing, photography and posting on Etsy.  After a summer of garage sales, I have more supplies than ever, and more unfinished projects than ever, and I want to spend this fall/winter getting things completed and listed. If I'm REALLY brave, I'll post "Before" photos of the studio.

Speaking of garage sales, I went to a great one this week.  This was one of the very last of the season in our town, and the last I will be going to this year (I have enough, already!!).  I spent very little for a large amount of beads, lace, water-colour pencils and more!  Here are a few pictures to show you the deals:

For 50 cents I got this sweet vintage embroidery booklet:

This is a medium sized Ziplok bag of lace, again - 50 cents!

And this is a sample of what's inside - Venise lace pieces, crocheted cotton lace yardage and some bits of beaded older lace.  So yummy!

That's just a sneak peek at the kinds of things I'll be posting in my Etsy shop over the winter.  And here's a couple of pix of my latest work - collage on framed canvas.  Enjoy!

I'll be back again soon with a progress report and more pictures!