Sunday, June 29, 2008

Burlap is Itchy

This week I used some scraps of burlap I had left over from sewing burlap party favor sacks. Let me tell you this: I really love the look of burlap, but boy, is it itchy. It sheds like my Lab, too.

At any rate, I'm calling this "Inuit" because it reminds me of some of the folk art created by native Alaskans. (Or, perhaps I'm thinking of winter during this hot, humid summer spell!) I used upholstery fabric for the background, basic black cotton for the rectangle, and natural shells and beads as accents. I used perle cotton to attach the burlap strips and create the edge, reminiscent of the sacks I made earlier in the week. It's not a smooth finished edge, but I like the wonky look in this case. Upholstery fabric is on the back, too, without any batting in between the layers.

One tip: be sure to shake out your clothes well after working with burlap; it's worse than getting rid of stray, loose hair after a haircut!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Amending and Experimenting

In last week's journal quilt, I used up scraps from my "Tropical Bubbles" challenge piece. The background is pieced from leftover sections of fabric. The spirals were cut from purple tulle circles I had originally intended to use as the backdrop to the bubbles. I had decided that the tulle was too subtle for the bubbles, but I like the more wispy look it has here as spirals. This is also the first time I didn't put a backing fabric on a piece. Instead, I used some leftover fleece. Intellectually it's a good choice: it's easy to stitch through and it won't fray. However, it's a lot thicker than the batting I'm used to and things don't adhere / bond to it easily. It also hangs differently -- not good or bad, just different. The back does look nice though with the spiral stitching on it.

My "waiting" journal quilt, while expressing how I felt, didn't sit that well with me upon review; it needed something more. So I decided to amend it with a bit of experimentation. I decided to use Modge Podge to adhere some clocks images that I'd printed out on tracing paper. This is only the second time I can recall using Modge Podge; the last (and first) time was while doing a project with my daughter's Girl Scout troop. Needless to say, I wasn't sure how it would work out on paper over fabric. I must say that it worked better than I expected, though I didn't do that much. The little clock circles have, thus far, stayed put -- no crinkling or loose edges. I did notice, however, a bit of a red bleed. I don't know if that's from the printer ink or the tickets. Any thoughts on that? At any rate, while still not brilliant, I now like the piece better.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Where Has My Day Gone?

I was a very busy last week and left on Friday morning to attend a fun family weekend-long wedding in Indiana. As a result, I'm just now getting around to posting last week's journal quilt.

Although I know my days were full, I simply couldn't account for all the hours I spent. When I really thought about it, I realized that a lot of my time was spent waiting for various things: in line at the supermarket, on hold with the phone company ... you get the idea. So, my journal quilt is a reflection of my week. It's made from tickets I collected while running my errands, along with "waiting" painted boldly over it all to represent how that dominated all I seemed to do. I'm sure you all know how I feel.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Found Object Challenge

Yesterday, Natalya and I shared the results of our found object challenge. The last time we were together, we each brought an object to be incorporated in our next piece; surprisingly, we each brought a bottle cap! Natalya's was a medium size blue cap and mine was a clear 8 oz. water bottle cap. (Sorry, but once again I forgot to take a "before" picture.)

I tried to flatten out the caps by driving over them but, believe it or not, they wouldn't smoosh! I hammered them flat instead. Unfortunately, this caused my little cap to split into two pieces: the round cap top and the threads (which ended up as an elliptical shape post-hammering). It wasn't a total loss because the shapes were interesting enough to use as stamps on a piece of Mickey Lawler Skye Dye fabric I had in my stash. The muted purple, green, and pinkish orange in the Skye Dye guided me in my color choice. This piece of fabric became my focal fabric, as well as the back of my piece.

I gathered some greens, purples, and oranges to make a background. With that finished, I covered the three cap pieces with batting and the painted fabric and created my "bubbles". (I added three more bubbles made out of batting alone because I felt the design needed more circles.) Finally, on Natalya's suggestion, I added some hand stitching to give it a bit more fun and punch. I'm not sure if this is finished yet, but it's close enough to share.

I think this is a fun, summer piece; nothing earth-shattering, but I enjoyed doing it and I love the colors. Natalya's, of course, is a sophisticated, flowing piece. Just click on her name to get to her blog and see it. It's lovely and very peaceful. It's amazing how differently our two pieces always end up ... but that's a lot of the fun of these challenges.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Plastic Daisies

I made a quick journal this week because, like so many others, I've entered June madness. Schedules are crazy as dance recitals, end-of-year school festivities and, let's face it -- spring fever, come into full force. This week's journal is made from a scrap of old fabric, flowers cut from a plastic bag, and stems and leaves cut from discontinued upholstery fabric. I think it's a bit of folk art inspired by coloring with my nine year old.

Enjoy the weekend! It's a real summer-like day here.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Instead of doing her chores and taking out the trash, my daughter decided to play with it instead .... the garbage bags, I mean. She created this ensemble out of two kitchen size garbage bags. I must admit that I think it's very clever. It's also a clear indication that she's got more style than I do; I certainly never would have thought of this. I suppose I should take this as evidence I should listen to her when she says, "Maybe you want to change what you're wearing". Perhaps some day she'll make me an outfit that looks this good...


Back (with shrug):

Back (under shrug):

In another part of the house, I played with the border treatment to a piece of muslin I had used to clean my brushes, then stenciled all over. This is where I've been experimenting with spools as stencils. There's more still to do with this piece, but I thought I'd give you a quick peek.