30 Apr

Just for Katja


I’m ammending this post to include the Whiplash button because Whip-up is cool, and they would like to see everyone’s favorite hand-crafts and share the goodness. My fave is the owl softie. It’s funky looking and I love the quilt too. Besides, What’s not to like about crafts based on kids’ drawings?

Yesterday was a Katja-centered sewing day. She’s been hounding me for months to make a Snow White dress for her favorite stuffed animal Doglass. At the begining of last winter I made a “warm suit” for Doglass (basically footie pajamas made from blue fleece). So today I finally capitulated. Here’s the result:

Doglass as Snow White

A few months ago, I was inspired by a Martha Stewart Kids (winter 2005) article about making soft toys from kids’ drawings. I knew immediately what drawing needed to become a softie:
original Drawing by Katja!

All I needed was an appropriate fabic. While shopping for clown costume fabrics two weeks ago, I came across the perfect psychodelic fur (no relation to the band — I think). So, here’s the finished owl in three dimentional form, followed by the owl with it’s quilt, and the owl with Katja, who was very proud to have designed her own softie.

Furry Owl

Furry Owl with Katja's Owlz Quilt

Katja with her Furry Owl

27 Apr

Odds and Ends

The Fliegenpilz forest section is done, but the completion of the quilt is on hold while I figure out what to do next. I had envisioned a vertical row, five hexagons wide, on one side as more stacked logs, and possibly a swath of free-form hexagon undergrowth and Fliegenpilze below, but now I’m not so sure. I’ll set it aside and make some hexagons before deciding anything final. It may end up being two quilts.

Fliegenpilz in progress

A while ago, my sister asked for a shade for her mud room door. I finally made it although I’m not too sure how happy I am with it. I’ve learned that although I greatly admire other artists’ work with sheer fabrics, I’m not a big a big fan of working with sheers myself! Erin, if you’re looking at this, its on it’s way to you, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t like it–I’ll understand 🙂

Erin's Window Shade

Just for fun, I’m participating in a Trading card swap, but this one is Round Robin style. I’ve finished my backgrounds. They are silk I marbled myself last summer. I fused the silk to Timtex and then added some satin stitch lines in rayon threads. One will stay with me and the others will go to the two other participants. They’ll each send me a background, and then we’ll all add a bit and pass them on again. I think this makes the swap more personal.

ATC Backgrounds

And finally, I had bought a Japanese craft magazine a month or so ago, and then found some fabric I absolutely loved. The two came together a few weeks ago as this bag which I think is absolutely adorable! By the way, is it just me or is anyone else mad about handmade purses and bags these days?

Moulin Rouge Sac

24 Apr

What’s Going On Here

OK, Spring has sprung and I can’t resist posting photos of my garden. I usually only get one good year from a garden: we move in the first year and start planning and planting; the next summer we reap the benefits of a young garden; the third summer we move out. We moved into this house a year ago last September and so last summer looked pretty good. Then half the garden was dug up to remove a tree (THE tree–it’s a small garden). So part of the garden was started over. I’m quite happy with how it’s looking and hope to still be here next summer to finally watch a garden start to mature.

Garden 1

Garden 2

Saturday was one of our neighbor’s birthday. She opted for a clown party, so Thursday we shopped for a pattern and fabric (got to go to the fabric store’s secret cellar for out of season fabrics for the fun Fasching stuff). I spent Friday sewing the cutest pants ever with a big waist, striped pockets and a tie that worked as suspenders. I used the leftover fabric, plus cool circle fabric from Dorothee to make a jumper for my daughter. I was going to save the circle fabric, but Katja had wanted it for herself pretty much from the moment I opened Dorothee’s package.

Kids dressed up

And finally, I have been working on the next forest quilt. I am really having fun with this one. Having labored over the blocks in the winter forest (Traumwald) quilt, I really like the freedom of knowing what I’m doing on this one. I straightened out the seams and that’s speeding up the process. I’m able to work more easily mixing up the fabrics in each block. I can totally see the benefits and fun in working the same basic block over and over, becoming more fluent each time. Now I’ll have to come up with more forest variations so I can keep working on this.

Fliegenpilz in progress

My theme for this one is the Fliegenpilz, or Amanita muscara (Fly Agaric). It is the ubiquitous cute red mushroom that is a good luck symbol and graces many greeting cards and Christmas trees as well as all things cute and garden gnome-y. Germans love them, although I doubt it’s overtly because of their hallucinogenic properties. There are Fliegenpilz images everywhere and I see them as very German. Now that I’ve learned more about them, my interest is even more piqued, even though they seem less quintisentially German now. Here’s a cute fabric that I HAD to buy last November. I don’t have much, and the background color is wrong, so I think I’ll use it on the back.

Fliegenpilz fabric

22 Apr

Another Quilt Done

I’m devoting this year to making a sort of a series of quilts based on my impressions of Germany. So far it’s pretty much landscapes, as I am impressed by the differences between the areas in Germany in which I’ve lived and Southern California where I grew up. This one revealed itself to me while driving home from an aquaintance’s house this winter. I had wanted to do something with free-form sliced up blocks, and the forest I drove through that day looked exactly like what I had in mind construction-wise. When deciding how to quilt this, I got a wild hair and dove into quilting a castle.


Wow, busy. All that quilting may have been a bit misguided, but I had to try it, and once I jumped in, it was too late to turn back. Besides, what’s the point if can’t take chances, right?

Märchenwald detail

Since German trees are all catalogued, I added numbers to a few of mine. This one is marked with my son’s age this year:

Märchenwald detail 2

Here’s the back so you can see most of the castle. It is based mostly on my favorite castle, Burg Eltz (not near my house, but inland from the intersection of the Rhein and Mosel rivers). Mainly due to it’s location, the castle has never been destroyed (as many were, thanks to Napoleon and others) and so it is quite authentic. I love the way it has grown over the centuries with many additions in a variety of architectural styles.

Märchenwald Back

Märchenwald back detail

It’s not going to win any machine quilting awards, but it was fun to do and I enjoyed the exploration. I will quilt trees again — they were very satisfying. I was going to name it Zwischen Mauer und Leimen because that’s where I found the inspiration, but there’s no castle there. Right now, I’m calling it Märchenwald, which means Fairy Tale Forest, but maybe I’ll change it to Traumwald, meaning dream forest since I’m pretty sure the region in which the Grimm brothers lived is also refered to as the Märchenwald. I’m entertaining input.

16 Apr

Stuff I Like

I like weekends and holidays. I like them for the usual reasons, but I also like them because it usually means TS&WGH is home, and he distracts the kids so I can sew all day! Since Deborah says she’s checking my blog daily for log progress, here’s what I did Friday:
Stacked Logs, etc.

And here’s what I did today. I’ll let you guys connect the dots:

Winter Forest Back

And along the way, I realized that I really like the little clip thing on my machine. normally it holds a card that shows all the fancy stitches, but I now see that it has great potential to hold other inspiration, instructions, or whatever…

Cool Clip Thing

16 Apr


I’m not much for church and religion, but give me a tradition, rite, ritual, or anything combining family and food and I’m all over it! So we happily fill our house with fertility symbols (colored eggs) at easter time and the holy spirit (candles) at Christmas and scare away bad spirits at Halloween or Fasching with silly costumes.

This year I decided that since I had made hot cross bun pin cushions, I should try the real thing. Yum! Here’s the kids enjoying a simple Easter breakfast of fresh buns and boiled eggs. I think this will become a family tradition.

Kids at breakfast

15 Apr


We dyed eggs yesterday (Good Friday). Zavi was invited to a friend’s house to color eggs, and I boiled some eggs for Katja so she wouldn’t feel left out. Lucky for her, two neighbor friends came home from vacation and were anxious to play, so they joined us. I wasn’t in the mood for a big production and so kept it pretty simple. Here’s our homage to this year’s Martha Stewart Kids:

Andrew's Eggs

Andrew’s eggs.

Jenny's eggs

Jenny’s eggs.

Katja's eggs

Katja’s eggs.

Zavi’s eggs were plain but much more deeply colored. He dyed green and yellow eggs and brought home a red one for his sister 🙂

13 Apr

Discharge Project

Somewhere along the way, I decided I wanted a border of “stacked logs” for my current quilt, and I would achieve it by discharging fabric. I have had about 2 yards of black fabric (made especially for discharge) for a few years now and I was very excited at the prospects of finally using it. When the discharge paste came in the mail I couldn’t wait to try it out. I gathered up a bunch of stuff that might make good log patterns:

Stamping Tools

I’m quite tickled with my use of weather stripping tape to make a stamp. I tried all my mark-making tools on a scrap of the black, but they just didn’t have the drama of the tie-dyied sample, so I stamped over some of the areas. Still not what I was looking for, so I pulled out a scrap of a favorite brown fabric and voilá, the contrast I was hoping for:

Test Fabrics

Today, I gathered up several possible fabrics and started stamping away:

Stamping with Discharge Paste

My first attempt ended up being a bit heavy-handed so I used a handy fabric stamp pad and added “logs” back in. I think it helped a lot and I’ll probably even add some more detail with a black pen as well.
Stamping after discharging

Here’s the fruits of today’s labors. They are in the wash now; and when they’re out I’ll see what I’ve really ended up with. Then it’s off to the design wall to unite them with the rest of my forest.

Four Discharged Fabrics

I really like the bottom one, but, of course, it’s the smallest bit of fabric. I think I can get more of the original fabric, but then that would kind of defeat the quilty purpose of using the fabrics in my stash. One would think that with a stash like mine I could surely find enough fabrics to make a fine quilt. Most likely, I’ll get them all up on the design wall and find a way to piece them together and it will end up looking lovely .

UPDATE: Arghhh, the stamping washed out even though I had ironed it (I probably should have let it “cure”). What to do, what to do? If I redo the stamping, I’ll definitely cut first and stamp later so I don’t have to do so much. I’ll try paint too, since I have brown fabric paint here. Maybe a little darker. Yea, and I’ll probably go to the craft shop and see if they have more of that fave brown fabric.