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.

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.

06 Mar

Pre-Swap Swappiness

Deborah found a cute mushroom swap she thought I’d like. I convinced her that she should participate too (mwahaha!). To add to the fun, we decided to do a little private swap as well. I sent her a mushroom man, mushroom chocolates, and a pincushion, of course.

She sent me a beautiful mixed media mushroom and a wonderful package of cool papers, tags, ribbon, cards and vintage hankies — all in red and white! I’m liking this swap thing.

Mixed Media Mushroom by Deborah Boschert (photo by Deborah too)

Oh, and speaking of swaps, I sent Anika a pincushion, since she asked so nicely and is a fellow islander, and she returned the favor with this cute watercolor which is now hanging in my daughter’s room with her fairy collection.

“Tapio” by Anika Nui (photo by Anika too)

Remember the wonderful ribbons Nic sent? I returned that favor with chocolate covered macadamia nuts (which her hubby nearly absconded with) and a silky, spotty, sequined, and beaded Bali-inspired ‘shroom.

I’m enjoying all this creative art sharing. I can’t wait to see which mushrooms I receive in my official mushroom swap package.

17 Oct

The After

Remember the before?

Here’s my studio “after:”

I’m not calling it done, but it has plateaued to the point where it is functional and I’ve been spending my mornings there. The table is a new addition since our belongings that were in storage arrived. It’s a vintage Saarinen table that belonged to my parents and even though I’ve parted with nearly all of my college and graphic designer reference, inspiration, and tools, have purged my collection of California pottery, and I plan to garage sale a good deal of furniture and stuff that doesn’t work in this house, I just can’t part with this table. It’s too short for lots of cutting but I don’t care — it’s bigger than the even shorter dresser I was cutting on before the storage stuff arrived. Margaret of Resurrection Fern found my table’s daughter and made magic with it. Too bad Canada and Hawaii are an ocean apart because I’m tempted to try and convince her that the mushroom stool really belongs at my house!

Opposite the sewing and cutting side of the room is this side. I had set up the dresser as my cutting area, but when I couldn’t find any studs in the wall on which to hang the box of drawers, I moved them here (where they are working just fine) and brought in the pedestal table to cut on. The green paper collage is my son’s work. The rest of the wall is pretty much filled with my collection of mushroomy fun.

The wall between these two is mostly one long window and will eventually have some sort of sleeping arrangement in front of it. Whether that’s the white sleeper sofa currently downstairs, or a new fold-out foam thing has yet to be determined. The fourth wall is the closet with it’s mirrored sliding doors. They may be covered with a batting “curtain” for a design wall, but as long as I’m making garments and small stuff I’m not going to worry about that yet.