Thursday, December 29, 2011

WIP Wednesday--still working on Christmas here!

Yeap, that's right. I'm still working on Christmas gifts. My parents are driving here from Saskatchewan and that has given me a little bit of extra time to work on my Dad's and Sister-in-Law's gifts. Good thing too because my package of felt that I had ordered went MIA for a week and is the main material in my Dad's gift! But it did eventually arrive safe and sound.

Here is what I've been working on doing with it:

It's a little hard to see, but I think you can see the turtle I embroidered on the 1/8" thick felt with my sewing machine. I wish I had of had some of the thicker Aurifil threads that I just learned exist. Oh well, I'm really happy with how the turtle turned out and know my Dad will appreciate it. 

The lettering is much easier to see. I used my AccuQuilt Studio with my AccuCut alphabet dies and cut the same shape out of both the grey and the orange felt. I really like the look of the orange felt inserted where I've removed the grey felt. Next time though I'm going to go with a thinner felt, the grey became really difficult to cut. I did some random stitching over the letters to hold them in rather than trying to glue them like I originally had planned (the glue I was going to use isn't safe for me to use while breastfeeding). I tried to give it a watery, wavy feel. Not quite sure I achieved that, but I think it looks cool. It's time to sew the rest of the pieces together to finish off the laptop bag before they arrive tomorrow.

I was really surprised how easy the felt was to work with, even though it's so thick. The felt was ordered from a Canadian source, just a few kilometers from where we live ( Yay! I love buying from local suppliers, feels like I'm keeping jobs in my community.

 I had no issues with using my rotary cutter and one of my quilting rulers. I found it a lot easier to cut than I do quilting cottons. I can think of another project around a year ago where my husband probably would have been a lot happier if we had done that. Oh well, we have the knowledge to try the rotary cutter first now! 

And for that other Christmas project for my Sister-in-Law:

I think it's looking a lot better thanks to everyone's advice. I'm really surprised at how much I'm enjoying it. This style of snowmen really isn't my cup of tea, but I'm not totally hating the project. I'm really enjoying the process and seeing the simple line drawing come to life. There will be more hand embroidery projects in my future I think. If you're wondering why I set out to do something that I don't like, it's because my Sister-in-Law will love it. And by love it, I mean LOVE IT. 

I had a couple finishes this week. A pair of lounge pants made in interlock with a gambling print for my Uncle P. (Which my Mom loves because they say "hit me" on them.) I also finished my daughters Christmas stocking. Just in time too! I finished it the morning of the 25th before she woke up.

I can't wait to show you what I made for my Mom, but she actually reads my blog. So you'll have to wait to see it until after I give it to her.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It really is Christmas in the USA today

We don't watch a lot of TV around here, so I quite often don't hear about the news until it shows up in my husband's MacLeans. But this piece of super exciting news did make it's way into my bubble:

The Mercury and Air Toxics Rule Released by the EPA
You can read a brief little bit here:

Or watch President Obama here:

Maybe this is happening now because of the upcoming election and the pressure Obama has had from voters who helped put him in the office the first time around. However, cleaner air for Americans is a really, really good thing. I'm really thankful for them, that someone in power is stepping up and staying enough is enough. . . and not unselfishly wondering when we'll do the same thing here in Canada. But still, a big hooray for Americans! 

And a Merry Christmas to anyone celebrating this week. We are and today's the day to me!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I think I killed it! And not in a good way either

I've always had a lot of respect for anyone who does beautiful hand work. Now I have even more respect!

I really do think I killed it. . . so much for simply reading the instructions and following along. I was only doing a back stitch and it's such a small table-topper, I really didn't expect to have so many issues from the onset.

Do you see what happened to the thread? Yikes! Clearly I'm not doing something right.

Thanks to my Mom, I have an embroidery machine and digitizing software. I think it will be a lot less of a headache trying to complete this in time for Christmas if I just digitize it and do it on the machine. (I've already digitized half of it.)

But, I'm not giving up! I'm going to figure out how to do this by hand at some point, because I really do think it will look better done by hand. Any tips for me?

PS. I really is a lovely pattern! I ordered it from the Sew Sisters Quilt Shop (based out of Toronto).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Play Dough :oD

I don't know if you were like me and liked to eat play dough as a kid or not. Oh how I loved to make things with my play dough! It was almost as good as playing at the water table. Because of my lovely habit of eating play dough, my mom used to make the play dough for my entire kindergarten class. I guess she realized it was a lot easier to make it from something that couldn't hurt me than have the constant battle of telling me not to eat it. 

I'm not sure at what age you start to introduce play dough, maybe at 18 months? 2 years? Gosh, I have absolutely no clue! Anyway, I'm ready for when the time comes, whenever that may be. Forget the over priced store bought kind made with nasty chemicals, I have the recipe [insert evil laugh here]. And, I'm going to share it with you. [okay so maybe the evil laugh doesn't fit after all]

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons alum or cream of tarter

2 tablespoons of oil
2 cups boiling water
Your choice of colourant--food colouring, jello powder, or kool-aid.
(Some people add 1 tsp of cinnamon)

1) Mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl.
2) Mix your wet ingredients together and then pour into the dry ingredients bowl.
3) Stir until you can't, then knead until smooth.

Store in an air tight container, ziplock bags work great.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is it stealing?

I really want to do some really cool FMQ on my Asian Bargello. I'm picturing two really cool koi fish circling around each other. Now, I'm not particularly skilled in terms of drawing. What I see in my head doesn't come out on paper. To compensate for this, I've mostly stuck to abstract art in the past (my perfectionism doesn't get in the way there). So I "borrowed" an image from a google images search to use as a starting point. I've edited the photo I "borrowed" a little, but not significantly. However, I'm also sure that it will look different once I've stitched it in to the quilt.

But is it stealling? I'm not selling this quilt or profiting from it in any way. I just really appreciated the quality fish Koyosan drew and wanted to use that as a launching point for my creative indevors.

This is Koyosan's awesome fish:
This is how I've changed it somewhat to use as a guideline while I'm FMQ:

Picture the above as the primary the quilting on this quilt:

I'll have to add some other background quilting to cover the needs of the batting. I'm cosidering different wave options, but don't want to detract from the fish.

But, I'm on the fence. I can't decide if I'm abusing my googling and CorelDraw (yes, I prefer to use Corel products for graphic manipulation) skills and plagerizing (or whatever the artist equivilant of that is) Koyosan. Or if I'm just being inspired by the excellent work Koyasan has done. I'd like to consider it a spark, but I'm not sure if I'm just making excuses.

Anyway, check out what everyone else is working on here: