Monday, May 26, 2008

Birthday Banner

Here is a picture of a recently completed project! I am proud to say that I started and finished this one and there are no pieces of it sitting on any shelf, anywhere. This banner idea is so great I can't believe it. I made one that says "Happy Birthday" on one side and is just colorful patterns on the other. This way we can use it for all sorts of celebrations without worrying about the message. But, I am sure that this will also make it into our family birthday traditions for this year. I have kept it from the girls as of now and am excited to show it to them when their special day arrives late in the summer.

The best part of the banner, in my opinion, is the dysfunctional family fabric. I admire the cartoon representation of what life sometimes is really like around here!

The tutorial for this banner is from See Mommy Sew. She has wonderfully clear directions and pictures to follow. However, I did modify it for my own work. I wound up making the felt letters first, and then had cut the triangles to fit. Mine wound up being 5 inches wide by 10 inches tall. I did go ahead and use pinking shears on the edges of the triangles too - I thought it really added to the retro feel of the fabrics that I chose.

I also have to thank Homemade by Jill for organizing some of her favorite "to try" projects into one place. So far I have snatched two of the ideas from her list and added them to mine!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

(Temporary) Sewing/Craft Room

I realize what a luxury this is. I really, really do. I tell myself every day how lucky I am. Here are some pictures of the newly cleaned and organized sewing/craft room. I will only have this room for about 8 years - after which time it will be swallowed up by our growing family. It will eventually need to be converted into another bathroom as we have three girls and only one shower in the house. They are all under age 3 at the moment, so it doesn't matter now, but when they are 13 it sure will! I wonder where I will put all this stuff when that time comes? Ah, well, I will think about that when the time comes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crazy-9 Patch Squares

After surfing multiple craft blogs for the past 3 months - and not being able to do much that inspired me due to school work - I finally began a new, modest project! Here is a picture of 9 Crazy-9 patch squares that I hope to quilt in the near future. The first order of business is to square off these squares, and then find a suitable color to border the squares with. I have the backing already picked out. I have never quilted anything on my machine, so this will be one big experiment, but at the moment I am feeling very optimistic. What I may do is divide up these nine squares into three sets of three and make three wall hangings - one for us, one for mom and another for someone else as a gift. This way I can try out the quilting process without getting in too over my head.

I found the tutorial for the crazy 9-patch block quilt from oh fransson! thru Homemade by Jill (see her link in the sidebar). I just love oh fransson's pictures and the applique she picked out - too perfect for little babies and toddlers. I will keep mine basic for now and try out this quilting thing first. Maybe then I will venture onto the applique process.

All of the fabrics in these blocks came from my stash. I am pretty happy with the squares, but I did so something wrong. I gather that since the tutorial calls for 9 fabrics, basically cut up into 9 shapes, that there shouldn't be any repeats on any of the squares. But, for mine, I do have one repeat on each square. I am not sure where I went wrong, but learning through mistakes is always effective. While I am not unhappy with the result, I know that it should have turned out differently. This will only serve to make me a more observant piecer in the future!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Seasonal Affective Knitting

I have recently realized something about myself - I am afflicted with seasonal affective kntting. There is something about this beautiful spring weather that changes my interest from knitting to other craft projects - namely things with fabric. I actually noticed this last spring/summer when I was pregnant, but I chalked it up to just that, being pregnant and all the affiliated zaniness that goes along with it. However, this spring it is happening again (and I am most definately NOT pregnant). I am drawn to patterns, color and fabric in the same way that yarn draws me in the fall and winter times. I suppose this is my way of saying that things have shifted here in a new direction to other forms of fiber art. I am sure that knitting will return when the leaves change color, but from here on out it seems there will be more fabric here than yarn.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rambling Rows

My youngest had to spend a night in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. There is nothing to worry about, thankfully. All tests came back normal. However, I wanted to post a picture of the blanket (afghan?) that was waiting for us when we arrived in her room. It is a gorgeous handknit blanket made by a kind soul with Project Linus. It beautifully utilizes the rambling rows pattern popularized by Elizabeth Zimmerman. My first encounter with this knitting style was at a seminar I attended in the winter of 2006 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I fell in love with it, but never had the opportunity to try it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Garage sale find

I could hardly believe my eyes this past weekend. While out at a garage sale I spied a line with 24 clothes pins. They were even decorated for Christmas with handpainted abstract trees. This is the perfect solution to my worry about how to display the socks for the advent calendar! I even put a few up by the mantle to see how it will look when complete - I am pretty pleased. Now I just have to finish off the last 10 socks. At least I have 6 months until they will be needed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Friend

Here is a new friend that has been hanging out on the mantle for the past two days. I read about this pattern, by Emily Martin, on-line at Inside a Black Apple and then watched a tutorial video at Quicker than you can peel an apple I downloaded the pattern and cut it out. Then I headed to my fabric stash for the pieces that I could put together for my very own doll. I am an instant fan. This doll is for a girl from the older girls' daycare whose birthday party is at the end of the month. I am looking forward to making one for each of my own girls! The best part was that she only took me about 2 hours to make. Instant craft gratification.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Silent Auction

The daycare that my twins attend, 2 (short) mornings a week, is having a silent auction this Friday night. I couldn't make up my mind what to make for it (do I knit, sew or craft something?), and settled on a piece of woven fabric art like the one below. I didn't manage to get a photo of it before it went off to the daycare today, but I will try to get one this Thursday; maybe of it up on display. I used three batik fabrics - the orange and green ones from the "3 Great Bags" post, with a blue one that I had in the stash. It is framed 4x6 in a brown wooden shadow box. It turned out remarkably well. I titled it "The Elements" as I felt the flame orange, green and blue all represented a few of the fundamental elements of life - fire, water and foliage. Hopefully someone, other than my husband, will bid on it :)

Speaking of fundamental elements of life I have just started reading, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. What an amazing book. I am sure that I will be blogging about it on the family blog shortly.

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UPDATE: My fabric art piece went for $35. There were two bidders and I even overheard other women commenting that they had wanted it. Pretty exciting! It is good to know what the upper end price for a piece like that might be.