Monday, April 28, 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers

We've had some wet cold days lately.  I am surprized the flowers don't just stay in the ground sometimes.  But, they are tougher than I am, as I snuggle in my favorite chair bundled up with my cup of tea close to hand.   The sun broke through the clouds overhead and the tulips responded.


One of the ladies at my Friday group mentioned that one of our members is still struggling with shaking her bronchial infection and has been home in bed for the last 5 weeks.  So, I went home and being inspired by my garden's tulips, I made this postcard for her.  It is paper pieced with scraps and measures 5"X7".    The middle layer is fusible stiff vilene interfacing, quilted clear monopoly thread and then you fuse on the backing fabric (white so you can use pigma pen to write your message and address) and using zigzag stitch and polyester thread, stitch the outside edges.  Really easy.

We as a Nation, tend to celebrate everyday and call it National _ _ _ day.   So, today being Blueberry pie day, I made a pie.   Blueberry just happens to be  my favorite.
A few years ago, I bought the lattice pie cutter along with a metal pie saver ring to go on top to prevent over browning.  I use these tools everytime I make a pie and love them. 
Next month, May 13th, we will celebrate Apple pie day.  Love that, too.  You can bet I will be making a pie.   ;o) 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Earth Day

Please enjoy my pictures as these were taken in protected gardens where gardeners take special care of the plants and grounds, one day we may not have this luxury....

Today I want to comment about something we should all feel passionate about and that's saving our Earth.  I remember back when Earth Day was a special day to recognize our Earth and its need to be saved from pollutants and the mountains of trash we produce everyday.  Some how over the last decade or two we've lost the interest in saving our Earth, thinking that maybe recycling is enough.  That's our pathetic solution, just to recycle or reuse/re purpose something whether it's an item of clothing or using a jam jar for a handful of nails in the garage.  Don't get me wrong, I recycle and have actively recycled for 35 years, since recycling was started in the area I live in.  But, somehow it has become OK to buy a crate of plastic bottled water because in the end the bottle will be recycled.  Over the course we have lost the 3rd part of the system and that is REDUCING.   

BBC showed a special report on the region in Indonesia near textile plants and the effects on the local community of dumping in the river near homes that use the water on a daily basis.  It was appalling. It literally made me sick to my stomach to see these poor people being subjected to using polluted water to drink, cook and  bathe with which had sewage and dye from the textile industry dumping into the same water.  Local fish and game were certainly affected by the pollution.  One fisherman no longer catches fish as they are all dead, the oxygen being depleted from the water, but he "fishes" for plastic to sell at the recycling plant.   They reported that there are federal sanctions on dumping in place, but their government does not take action against it forcing some local families to take their own futile actions trying to stop dumping by plugging up the drainage pipes from the textile plants.  In turn, this does no good for them as they are unblocked and continue to carry on their processing.  Batiks are big industry and we all love them, but at what price?  When will enough be enough?  What is it going to take to make anyone realize what is truly going on?   I watched in horror this morning as the news reported as a matter of factly, the oil slick surrounding the ferry disaster near South Korea.  Hundreds of students and people lost their lives in this disaster and now the oil slick is being swept across the yellow sea and out to the ocean.   The Malaysia flight 370 disaster in March is still lost and early on they investigated the southern area off China and discovered a "large oil slick", but later was ruled out as the site of that disaster, just another oil slick.   Satellites have reported back with debris in several areas off the Australian coast and Indian Ocean, some were ruled out as whale carcasses, but others just debris not related to an airplane disaster.  How much debris is floating in our seas? 

This is my rant today, I am sticking up for the Earth.  Everyone needs to recycle, reuse/re purpose and REDUCE in order for it to really matter.  Be an advocate for stopping the use of plastic carrier bags.  Please visit today to make your own bags, or create your own pod and get your friends to make some.  Organize give away days in your community to make people aware of the dangers of waste in our waterways.  Start using products that have been recycled like the Dream Green batting made from plastic bottles.  This is just one SMALL way to take action, but it is a start.  Reduce your waste by composting if you have the means.   Sell back your old clothing to the rag and bone man or give to your charity shop.  They take nearly everything as long as it is still in working order, not stained or excessively worn/torn. On the other hand, if you do have some textiles not good enough to donate, make something yourself, I am in the process of making rag rugs from old torn jeans.  Search the internet for further inspiration on re purposing your items.  Or see the link above on the  morsbags.   Let's make everyday a "Happy" Earth Day! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Interesting Threads

The last few weeks I've been able to catch up on the thread university courses sent to me from Superior Threads. go here The projects are simple for the most part and the threads are wonderful to work with and learn about.  If it weren't for these courses, I would probably never purchase these threads for quilting and sewing.  However, this bag project used silk thread which I do purchase quite often. 
Quilted using silk threads.  It was easy to sew and the finish is just beautiful.  I like to use silk thread for applique, slip stitching and binding as it is fine, strong and doesn't show as much as cotton thread.  There are many positive features using silk thread, but one of the best features is that it doesn't shed fibers so it is virtually lint free in the machine. 

The next project was this candle mat using Razzle Dazzle and Glitter threads.  Please don't pay attention to my disjointed star mistake, oops.  I measured my lines wrong.  But, the metallic threads were suprizingly easy to use and gives the mat a nice look.  The edges were hand sewn together using embroidery floss and blanket stitch. 
The Razzle Dazzle thread is very thick and used in the bobbin. 
The Glitter thread is thinner and used as top thread in the machine.   Gold color and is subtle, but I'm not sure I like this side as much. 

This next one is also a metallic thread and used stiff pelon interlining.   Cotton varigated threads to finish the edges.  My sewing on this could have been better, it was a late night.  This "bowl" can be shaped.  The pattern has 5 darts you sew in to give it shaping. 
Learning how to use these different threads has sparked my interest into experimenting with thread painting and I will be making some samples in the future.   Possibly adding some of these threads to my ongoing UFO's.  I think they add more depth, texture and interest to quilting and general sewing.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Marching on

Our weather is getting better and better.  It hasn't been a hard winter like some have been experiencing, so I won't complain.  It doesn't look like I've accomplished much from the few posts I've written, but I assure you, my sewing machine is smoking from all the recent work it's been through.  So, the most recent project I've completed is this little bag.  No, it's not for a kindle, ipad, or any other gadget (I simply don't own these things anyway), it's a little purse with a simple zip and a pocket on the back side. 

The zip attachment was easy and you must choose a contrasting color to show off the zipper instead of hiding it.  The back side shows the contrasting pocket.  The strap I added is long enough to cross over the body or over one shoulder.  You could also tie the strap half way down and carry it. 

The next project finished was this easy pillowcase using Nite Lite thread.  It glows in the dark.  I also used glow in the dark spider web design fabric for this Halloween inspired project.
Sue's City Windows is now finished with a label and a rod pocket.  Wow, two things I don't often add, but know I should. Sue is my sister-in-law and wanted a quilt to hang over her sofa in her living room.  I am hoping she will be pleased with the result.   DH is secretly hoping she doesn't like it and will send it back to us.  Yeah, he's a sweetie.  This is a pattern I have done before which hangs in my dining room now. Since Sue wanted it to hang over her sofa, I had to change it up a bit and make it wider and shorter in length.  So, it hangs like a landscape as shown below.  By the way, it is laying on a bed and that's why it looks a little wonky.  I would say it is about 1/3 the size of my original. 
Yes, some of these fabrics were from the Kaffe Fassett line used in "Color My World", but this one has a purple coloration to it.  Where CMW has more red colors.  The free motion quilting in both quilts is my own design depicting a tree of life and the bible verse from John 3:16 "written" in quilting stitches filling the trunk of the tree.  Outside of the tree design, I did a meander design in clear polyester thread.

When I started this blog on 12 November 2007, I posted a picture of "Color My World" which I completed March 2000 and entered it in a contemporary competition which to my delight and surprise won a design award.  After 14 years, I still really love this quilt.  I personally can't say that about everything I create.
There is so much more to do in my sewing room with a list of new starts and my ongoing UFO basket.  The only question is what to do next?  Shall I just close my eyes and pick one at random?