Monday, April 5, 2021

signs of spring

Hi friends.  The temperature has finally gotten warm enough for the flowers to start blooming. Other than a few puffy yellow things, these beauties are opening.



Thanks for stopping by.  Have a blessed week.




Monday, March 8, 2021

rag quilt

 And just like that, it's March already.  About 2 weeks ago, I was talking to my son and he wanted to know what we were going to give his sister for her birthday.  I told him I was planning on making her a flannel rag quilt.  His response was, "in two weeks?"  Well, that kind of threw me.  I thought I had more time.  So I had to get going on it.  I went down to my fabric stash and pulled out two bins of flannel fabric.  I decided to make the blocks 6" finished, so I needed to cut them 7".  I wanted to make the quilt 12 blocks wide and 12 blocks high, and because it's a rag quilt, I needed double the number of squares, so a total of 288.  I was putting batting in, so that meant 144 6" squares of batting.  I can cut pretty fast with my rotary cutter, so away I went.  I think I had all the block cut by the end of the day.  


 

The next step is making little sandwiches of fabric and batting.  You put the fabric wrong sides together with the batting in the middle.  I pinned once along each edge, so I could sew from corner to corner.  





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used almost all solids, except for one print, and made each sandwich the same on each side, so when I put the blocks together, I didn't have to be concerned about the back side layout.  I counted how many I had of each color and punched 1" squares of colored paper and lay them out on a 12" grid.  Once I was satisfied, I stuck them down with a temporary adhesive, so I had something to follow.  


That made it easy to put all the blocks in rows and start sewing.  I tend to sew in couples or groups, so I took one row, sewed pairs of two squares together all across.  Then I sewed those groups together, until I had the row completed.  I continued in that manner until I had 12 rows.  Then I did the same thing with sewing the rows together -- two at a time, then grouping.  The seam allowance is 1/2", because those get clipped and frayed. 

You can see how it looks as I started to clip the seam allowances.  You just have to be careful that you don't cut into the stitching.  I used my applique scissors, because they are razor sharp, and you are clipping through four layers of fabric.  Your fingers and hands get pretty tired and stressed.  I had to take a lot of breaks. 

Once all the seams are clipped, then you wash and tumble dry the quilt.  That cause the clipped seams to fray and get a nice fuzzy look.  


Here's the finished quilt.  It took me six days from start to finish.  I broke one needle on my sewing machine and donated blood about five times, because I had some aggressive pins.  But I got it done in time for her birthday.  



I'm setting this post on a delayed publish, because I don't want her to see it, just in case she checks my blog. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

a big M

 Hi friends.  How time flies.  I've been working on something a little different this week.  A few years ago, I picked up a big letter M.  It's 12" across and 12" high.  I think it's made of wood, because it's pretty heavy.  But it's covered in vinyl.  Unfortunately, it was PINK, and I don't do pink.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do to it, so while I procrastinated, it sat.  

One day I decided to try and paint it, using acrylic paints.  I used blue, but it really didn't cover well, so it sat some more.  

I finally decided that I was really going to do something.  I tried painting over it with brown, but that didn't work either.  Finally, I decided to cover it, so I tore up some old music and proceeded to decoupage it with the music.  I already liked it better, but still, I wasn't what I wanted.  

So I got out my gelatos, and scribbled just a little with blue and turquoise.  Then I grabbed my watered down gesso and a paint brush.  The gesso smooths out the gelatos, but, because it's diluted, it doesn't completely cover whatever is underneath.  This is exactly what I wanted.  

But it was still too plain.  So I pulled out one of my favorite stamp sets, Petal Prints from Stampin' Up and stamped one image randomly all over the letter with ultramarine stazon ink.  Now, I was really liking it.  

But I decided to go one step further and add some flowers.  Daisies and butterflies.  I played around with them for awhile and decided on a layout, but it was late, and I was too tired to do leaves, so I just left it on the table.  When I came down the next morning, the flowers were all rearranged, in a nice neat pattern up and down the legs of the M.  Someone was in trouble!  And since I hadn't bothered to photograph the layout, I had to go through that process all over again.  Then I glued the flowers and butterflies down, and realized that I had forgotten the leaves.  So I cheated.  I punched leaves and sponged the edges.  Once I decided where I wanted to put them, I glued them on right over the top of the flowers.  Then I stamped a few more flowers and cut them out and glued them on top.  Not quite the way it should have been done, but I was not going to try and peel off the first ones.  I probably would have messed up everything, and I had already spent too much time to mess it up, so I just fixed it the easy way.  You can't tell by looking at it anyway, so it's all good.  I gave it two coats of decoupage finish and it's done. 

And I have to say that I really LOVE how it turned out.  


Thanks so much for taking time to stop by for a visit. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Christmas snowflakes

 Hi friends.  One of my favorite crafts is crocheting.  Little stuff mostly - no yarn - only crochet threads.  Back in January of 2017, I posted about crochet motifs I was making into a shawl (actually two shawls - one white, and one multi-colored).  

Neither shawl is finished, but I found out that a single motif makes a great snowflake ornament for the Christmas tree.  So I've also been making a lot of those.  

Last year I gave some to family and friends for their trees.  This year I decided to make a bunch and give them away.  

After crocheting the motifs, they need to be stiffened with a glue/water solution and stretched, so they look nice on the tree.  I made a couple of cardboard mats for that.  Several layers of corrugated cardboard taped together.  Then I traced circles the size I needed, divided by eight, and poked a hole at each point so I could pin the snowflakes on it to dry.  Then I wrapped the cardboard with plastic wrap, so the snowflakes won't stick to it.  I'm using brass quilting pins, because they don't rust, but I wish I could find brass T-pins instead.  They would be much easier to work with.  I suppose I could cut off part of the pin.  I may have to try that, and see how it works. 



Most of the snowflakes are white or off white, but I have made some light blue ones and some yellow ones.  I guess the yellow ones would be stars instead of snowflakes.  I made a couple with some odd colors of crochet thread - a pink one and a dark green one.  I ended up painting them with some metallic acrylic paint, but didn't take pictures of those.  



I made little pockets for the ornaments, and included a little thank you note.  I needed something to put them in, so I covered a cardboard box with wrapping paper, added a handle and some decorations.  Today I coerced my husband to go with me to the hospital to take them to some of the deserving folks out on the front lines working with Covid-19 patients. During this year, I've barely been out of the house, so this was a new experience for me.  When I went inside the hospital, they took my temperature, and then they had to figure out what to do with the ornaments or how to distribute them.  I think I made 145, which is really just a drop in a bucket, compared to how many medical personnel work in even one hospital, but I hope they are an encouragement to those who receive them. 



Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit today.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas this year in spite of things being abnormal.  God bless. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

more round boxes

 Hi friends.  Can you tell I like making these little boxes?  I made one for a contest that required a pumpkin.  So... I made the pumpkin... a pumpkin box actually.  

And a better view of the cover.  

I used some silk leaves, which I cut down a bit so they fit better.  I went outside and picked up a few sticks to use as a handle.  They were really dry, so I hope it doesn't break.  But I guess it would be easy enough to replace if it did.  

This next box was a special request by my cousin.  She really liked the floral one I made, so this is pretty similar.  I used a different flower stamp, and the flower on the cover is paper, whereas the other one was silk.  

And here is the cover.  I punched and die cut some different sized flowers, and cut the petal separations deeper.  Then I sponged all the edges with candied apple distress ink.  I turned them over and used a stylus and a thick foam mat to give them more shape and dimension.  Then I glued all the layers together, added some leaves, and glued the flower onto the cover.  

I remembered that I had some decoupage medium (hmmm... actually I have four jars) that would work to give this a nice smooth finish.  Although I didn't check, I'm pretty sure that all the jars have been opened, so hopefully, they are still all usable.  The one I used just needed to be stirred a bit before use.  I normally use matte mod podge, but I only have a little bit left, and I've been procrastinating going shopping for more.  Plus, sometimes it leaves the surface a bit sticky.  I think that may have something to do with the humidity.  I've really been trying to use up what I have instead of buying more.  A while back, I was watching a video, and the girl used a 1:1 mix of water and white glue as a finish.  I absolutely would do that, but I've also used almost all of my white school glue, because I ran out of tacky glue, which is really my favorite for putting this type of project together.  I like it because it's not so runny and dries with less bubbling.  But I found if I use a very thin layer of white glue, that works quite well, too.  

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit.  I always appreciate that. 




Thursday, September 17, 2020

and one more...

I really loved the look of the last box I made, but thought a few more details would make it even better.  The last two boxes went to the neighbors, since both of the kids had birthdays.  So I made another. 


If you want details on how I made this, please check my previous two posts.  

Thank you so much for taking time to stop by today.  Be blessed. 


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Can't make just one

Hi friends.  You probably know by now that I can't make just one.  I've made a number of these little boxes over the past few years.  Well, I figured that I really needed to make one for the boys.  Yeah.  No flowers or pretties on it.  How about WOOD?  Well, yes, I would if I weren't afraid to use some of those woodworking machines.  So what's the next best thing?  Faux wood, of course.

I use faux wood techniques quite often in cardmaking, so why not on a box.  The basic technique to create faux wood is to drag ink pads down the paper, repeating with several colors - mostly working in browns, but other colors work as well.  

Recently, I discovered a variation from my friend Ann on Split Coast Stampers.  What I like about this technique is the color is smoother than simply dragging the ink onto the paper.  

Please refer to my last post for more details on the basic construction of the box.  

I used a 4"x12" piece of barely banana card stock and smaller pieces for the cover and bottom.  Start by scoring lines every half inch across the card stock.  You can vary the width between score lines if you want.  The next step can be done on either side of the paper.  I prefer to use the bumpy side, because the ridges pick up the darker inks and give board delineations.  The other side portrays those lines as the color of your light card stock.  Either way works.  Put some white glue (I'm using Elmer's school glue) on the paper and use an old gift card to spread it all over the paper.  Then let it dry.  I'm pretty sure you could speed up the drying with a heat gun, but the heat will bubble the glue, so I prefer to just let it air dry.  

Once the glue is dry, drag your ink down the card stock in the same direction as your score lines.  I used distress inks: antique linen, tea dye, vintage photo, and early espresso.  The two lighter colors, you can use a heavy hand when dragging, but you want to go lighter on the vintage photo, and much less with the early espresso.  I also will lightly swipe the edge of the darkest color randomly to add a bit more detail for wood grain.  

Once that was dry, I measured and trimmed the ends to meet without overlapping.  Then I attached the strip around the box, cut wedges along the bottom and glued those to the bottom.  Circles were cut from the faux wood for the bottom and cover of the box.  

I painted the edge of the cover brown to blend in with the wood.  Everything was given a coat of Matte Mod Podge.  


 I see in the photo that I managed to get the seam right in the front, so you can see how that works.  It shows less on the wood grain than it did on the previous box, but I do like the flat seam better than overlapping.

This box went together much faster than the previous box, because there was no stamping required.  Other than drying time, the faux wood is a very quick technique.

Thank you so much for taking time to stop by today.  Have a wonderful day.