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.

09 Mar

What Do You Think?

This is a low priority project that I’ve kept setting aside and I finally decided to just do. Ultimately, it should be a quilt for the guest bed we don’t have.

Funny aside: the extra bed we’ve previously had was on loan from the Army as you can borrow basic furniture when living overseas. They don’t loan furniture here in Hawai’i since it is part of the US. However, being stationed in Hawai’i is considered an overseas tour (technically one must go over a sea to get here) and we did what’s called a Consecutive Overseas Tour to get from Germany to here. Go figure.

Anyway, my intention above was to make scrappy mushrooms and piece them as a fairy ring into a scrappy, strippy background. Everything was to be from my stash. Looking at it now, I’m thinking that maybe the ‘shrooms get a little lost and I fully accept that I may have gone overboard on the scrappy background. My solution would be to continue piecing the background strips and then overdye the whole quilt top in a dark green to knock everything back a bit and even out the color. Then I’d add in the fairy ring. This is the same construction I was originally planning, just with the addition of a trip through a bucket of dye before adding the ‘shrooms. My concern with the dye is that the seams will hold more dye and call attention to themselves. I’d be doing a scrunchy type dyeing so complete uniformity is not necessary though.

Before I laid the strips out on my bed, I was concerned that I didn’t have enough strips to finish the top (now unfounded), so I went back to one of my first sketches. What if the ‘shrooms were in a line and the strips were only on one side? I’d have to go buy new fabric for the other side (white blanket in the photo), but maybe then I wouldn’t need to dye the strips — especially if I used them for only about 1/3 of the top instead of the half that it looks like here.

Does anyone have a preference or two cents to add?

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.

22 Feb

Fairytale Forest

I’ve been working on this piece on and off since I bought the beautiful hand-dyed background fabric from Dijanne Cevaal nearly a year ago. I kept adding more and more embroidery, but when I’d step back it still looked the same. Finally last week, I just decided I was done for now and stretched it on stretcher bars (like an artist’s canvas) to see how it looked. I’m not sure if it’s truly done, so I’ve set it aside for a while. I think it’s actually too big for what it is because it just begs to be looked at up close. I have not finished the back with anything, so I can still add more embroidery if I want, it will just be a bit harder at the edges where the frame is, and it may affect how taught the piece is (I wet it before stapling it to the stretcher bar frame so it would shrink up as it dried). I keep trying to maintain a balance between a richly encrusted surface with textural fabrics, embroidery and beads, and letting Dijanne’s work show through. A few people who saw it in progress suggested I add a fairy or two. I hesitated at first, but it really did want something to lead your eye about. I had fabric with soft green non-cutesy fairies on it so I added three. This is not a deep thinking, push the barriers of art kind of piece, so I think the fairies are perfectly in keeping with the sparkley yarns and magic toadstools.

Fairytale Forest © 2009  Kristin La Flamme
33″ x 33″