06 Sep

Is it That Time of Year Already?

We’re less than a week away from my son’s birthday (12 — yikes!) which is my signal that not only do I need to think about a few gifts and a party for him, but I need to think about the birthdays and holidays that will now follow in quick succession.

Sewing Calendar

And just to drive home the point that it’s time to think about those handmade gifts, this calendar showed up in the mail. It’s the 2011 Sewing Calendar and it’s chock full of sewing projects from all over blogland. There are wonderful, and very accessible projects in here — and I’m not just saying that because November 10 — 13 are dedicated to my Mod Log Table Runners!

Fliegenpilz Table Runner

What you might also notice is that the calendar shows a table runner I have not yet shared here. I was thinking Christmas red and green reinterpreted, so now seems as good a time as any to share it and maybe spark someone else to create a light, mushroomy, holiday.

Fliegenpilz Table Runner

Of course, if one is more inspired by say, the Three Kings, then there’s another version conjured up to use those bits and pieces of cloth painted, foiled, rubbed, etc. in the excitement of the newest issue of one’s favorite art quilt magazine(s).

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Table Runner

I call this one “Gold Frankincense and Myrrh.”

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Table Runner

I have two copies of the Sewing Calendar, and while I’m keeping one for myself, I’d love to share the other with someone ready for some pre-holiday project planning (who am I kidding, we’re not ready to actually start the projects yet, are we?). So, leave a comment and maybe even tell me if you’re planning on making some handmade gifts this year or if you’ve got a plan or list already and I’ll randomly choose a winner to receive the 2011 Sewing Calendar. Make your comment by midnight Hawaii time September 10th (Friday) and I’ll announce the winner as soon as I recover from the birthday party on the 12th.

Cheers

19 Jun

I’m Still Here (sort of)

I’m starting to feel bad about all my vacation photo posts on what’s intended to be an art and craft blog. With all the beaches and adventures in paradise, you’d think I don’t make art anymore. Lucky for me, I still do. I just haven’t been very communicative of late. Nothing dramatic, just an introspective period.

I can say a few things though. First, thank you all very much for voting on my Tiki Toile fabric at Spoonflower. It didn’t even make it into the Top 10, but it was fun to play anyway. I received my sample fat quarter too. The background triangles are a lot lighter than they appeared onscreen, so I’ll be adjusting that some day, but I’m ecstatic about the drawings. Overall, I love this fabric. I laid awake one night wondering if I should make living room or bedroom curtains in Tiki Toile…

I have been working a LOT on a series of art quilts that I hope to enter into a show that is one of my “big goals.” I can’t share the work yet, nor am I sure I’d want to since it’s still in progress and bound to evolve along the way. But, that’s where I’m spending a lot of my time when I’m not off traveling somewhere.

Speaking of traveling and fabric, we saw this adorable vintage mushroom fabric at an antique shop on the Big Island and it had to come home with me.

I’ve got some challenge pieces to post about too, but I’ll save them for another day. Only 10 days(ish) until the next Twelve by Twelve reveal! And, a Keep It Simple Stupid challenge from Dijanne that I loved working on, even though I was a very bad participant (being uncommunicative and all).

15 Dec

Christmas Decor

I’ve got lots of fun, interesting, creative projects lined up, but no energy to actually work on any of them.

So, I will distract you with a little holiday decorating. Little, because I have no energy to go all out, plus it’s hard to get motivated in a tropical clime. That said, come on in:

I made this at the end of last season from a vine wreath who’s original silver baubles had broken and tarnished, a spool of red and white polka dotted ribbon, some craft moss, some of my large collection of little mushrooms, and a pair of toile birds I made using Spool’s simple and elegant tutorial.

Inside, we brought out our Schwibbogen for it’s European charm.

The snowflakes have since moved from the window to hanging from the ceiling above the tree. Very blizzard-like! For the tree, I decided to go for all blue and white to force the winter mood.

The kids were kinda bummed at first that they couldn’t put whatever they wanted on the tree. When we were done though, they admitted that it looked great and was a nice change from our usual red-dominated trees.

We did allow a small bit of red, because Katja said she knew the mushrooms made me happy. I couldn’t argue with that.

26 Oct

Some Crafty Stuff

Sometimes the crafty community just blows me away. First it’s just that there’s so much totally cool stuff out there, but then there’s the connections and generosity too. I’m not very demonstrative, so you won’t see me jumping into lots of swaps or give-aways, so that makes random generosity even more amazing.

All I did was comment on Art Spirit’s Flickr photo that I loved her little mushroom pins and look what she sent me! How cool is that?!

In other crafty news, I wanted to try making my own machine embroidery for a patch, so I used a scrap of the fabric I made with my kids’ drawings as a base, and gave it a whirl.

I thought it turned out so well I had to make something out of it. Now it’s a little voodoo daddy pin cushion.

15 Jun

Weekend Fun

I was debating whether or not to post about our activities of the last few days. They’ve been all kinds of fun for us, but maybe not that interesting to the rest of the world. In a nutshell:

• my son finished up a fantastic four day space/science camp and shot off the rocket he made;
• we went to see my blog friend Robin and watch her son play hockey since they were on “our” island;
• the next day we went to the water park with one of my friends from waaaaaaaay back when and her family since they too were on “our” island (in two weeks we get to go to theirs!).

Then, yesterday I spent most of the day making these:

Now there’s something for an artsy-craftsy blog.

We need to carry water around just about everywhere. Quite a while ago I had admired Kathey’s tutorial at Pink Chalk Studio but more in an abstract way (although I did purchase some insulating batting for eventual water bottle carrier making). This weekend it gelled for me and I decided that the carriers would incorporate some of the details from a little bag in Japanese craft magazine too. Plus, they’d look great in re-purposed BDU fabric.

I dug around my closet o’ crafty and fabric-y goodness looking for “stuff,” and pulled out some coordinating fabrics and binding leftovers, a collection of patches — military and otherwise, fun woven ribbon (the woodland ribbon is from Nic, and the flame ribbon was bought to embellish the hand towels in our hot rod half-bath), more of the fat red ric-rac from the mushroom quilt, clasps from two unused necklace-type key chains, twill tape, vinyl coated fabric (from the sandwich wraps), two sliding fastener thingies bought years ago only because they were cheap and seemed useful, cotton cording, and a leather cord.

In short, I quilted the BDU fabric to one layer of insulating batting and one layer of regular batting, then embellished with ribbon and patches. I made the straps with ribbon sewn to twill tape for her’s and ribbon sewn to folded over fabric for his. Added the fasteners and sewed the straps to the body. Then, I sewed up the sides and added the bottom circle (pre-quilted to one layer of insulating batting). Next, I made tubes of slightly smaller dimensions out of the vinyl coated fabric and sewed on their circle bottoms (not too much fuss sewing that as the troublesome shinier side was to the inside) then slipped them into their respective outer bodies. Now the carriers are lined all nice and tidy-like. I finished the short ends of two rectangles (one for each carrier) of coordinating fabric and folded over one long end on each to make a casing. That went into the tubes, right sides facing inward, raw edges matching. As per the Japanese magazine, I sewed binding over the raw edges to finish everything off. Lastly, I threaded the cording through the casings and added the cinch-thingies to snug and un-snug the top. That “poof” on top allows the plastic loop that holds the cap onto the bottle to stick out, and also allows for easy access to the water without pulling the bottle out of the carrier to drink.

The kids tested them out today and although the vinyl fabric doesn’t seem to stop wetness very much, the carriers got overall high marks.

27 Mar

Fliegenpilz III (The Latest Mushroom Quilt)

You know when you can’t decide on something and then you ask for someone’s opinion and then are disappointed if they don’t give the answer you wanted and so “poof” you have your answer?

I was hoping that would happen with my mushroom quilt. But, no. It didn’t. Everyone’s help was equally appealing. After much internal debate with me, myself and I, we decided that, although the Fairy Ring was conceptually awesome, the row of mushrooms better showcased the ‘shrooms, and looked a bit more modern. I resigned myself to buying more fabric and took the plunge to actually purchase backing fabric too (it totally cracked me up that the burgundy with green polka dots that was just perfect ended up being a Kaffe Fasset print!).

I did use a strip to separate the mushrooms from the strips — jumbo red ric-rac! It has the necessary contrast, and just the right whimsy to compliment the mushrooms. I mean really, when you are working with wonky polka dot mushrooms, you can’t take yourself too seriously

I almost convinced myself that I should overdye the strippy side just out of curiosity, but I wimped out and cut a bunch of the strips thinner instead. There was a lot of cutting and re-sewing and cutting and re-sewing. There are some sections that I don’t think are as successful as they could be, but it’s destined to be a utilitarian quilt and at some point, I just wanted it done. I kinda wished the near solid was the larger half, but it was the perfect color (and had groovy flowers on it that picked up on the quilt’s whimsy without being too cute) and the shop had a very limited amount. It’s a print from a Christmas kitty collection a year or two ago, so I didn’t feel like going on a quest for more.

The Fairy Ring still lives, but you can’t really see it in the photos. I quilted an arc about six inches wide with red thread where I had intended the ring to be on the original quilt layout. Inside the ring, I quilted free form circles in green and outside the ring I echoed the strips with parallel lines, also in green. It’s subtle, but it’s there in spirit.

I tried a couple of gadgets on this quilt. A column in the latest Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine made light fun of wearing a toilet paper tube as a necklace to facilitate sewing the binding on a quilt. Sure, it looks ridiculous, but man if it isn’t incredibly helpful! Speaking of binding, this is the first quilt I’ve made with rounded corners. For a softer look, it’s great. I think I make pretty good corners, but I sure didn’t miss them this time around. I also used my new (as of Christmas) laser level square both when I blocked the quilt (before binding) and when I squared up the quilt to be bound. How did I ever live without this? Thank you Nadine for turning me on to this indispensable hardware store find!

17 Mar

Sonya’s Mushroom Swap

I don’t participate in many swaps, but this one looked too fun to pass up. Sonya asked everyone to make five 3-D mushrooms and send them to her. She (and a few helpers) then mixed them all up and sent each participant a box with five assorted ‘shrooms. It’s been great fun to see all the creations via the Flickr group, and to finally get my own box in the mail.

I sent out this:

And received these in return:

From left to right they are: Bolete (and the mushroom notebook at the far right) from Rane, “Emmaline” from Cathy Gaubert, Toadstool from Vanessa, Sluggy Mushroom from feathergirl36, and a mischievous looking blue ‘shroom from Theresa.

The kids and I were so excited to open the box and see which five we got. Now, they (the mushrooms, not the kids) are happily ensconced in my collection. Here’s the mushroom room Chez la Flamme (click to check it out closer):

… and zoom in closer on the insanity (also clickable):

There’s a few more on a vertical shelf on the wall to the left, but I’ve posted that before.