Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Spool Ornaments

I had a lovely Christmas with my son home from Portland, who thankfully timed it just right for the snow storms and got here and back with no trouble. My sister was here and my niece. We are a small family now, but we enjoyed ourselves just the same. I am leaving for Florida on Friday for my opening at the Marcos Island Center for the Arts (more about that in a later post) and so will start taking down the decorations soon. I don't want to come back to them on January 5.
One last look at some more of my sewing themed ornaments. This adorable teddy from 2002 was named "Thread Bear", also by Hallmark, I think. I never did put him on the tree, but he sits by the base with his buddy below.

He is from 2003. I was so excited by these cutie pies and couldn't wait to see the next year's, but alas, they never made anymore. Guess there's not a big call for this theme.

I found this thread family in a little gift shop. There are two more to the family, but they did get hung on the tree, while these smiley fellows sit at the base.

It's always sad to pack the decorations away. But it's fun to pull them out each year, like visiting old friends. When everything is put away, I usually do something very un-Christmasy, like pink or yellow flowers on the table with a blue and white tablecloth.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Studio Christmas Tree

This photo was inadvertently deleted when I made the post and if you know Blogger, you know that the last photo imported goes to the top. This is one of the Hallmark ornaments I write about below.

I love to decorate for Christmas, all through the house. I put up a big tree in the living room decorated with mostly silver, white and gold ornaments, very elegant, I think. In the family room/kitchen I put up a smaller tree that's just Santas, collected over the years, hand made, glass, wood, yarn, etc. But this very small tree in the hallway outside my studio is decorated with all sewing themed ornaments. Hallmark used to have a series of ornaments and I'd get one every year, but they haven't had any in a awhile. Or at least I haven't seen them.
Be sure to click on each image for a bigger view.

I made several of these little angels out of inexpensive thimbles. I also made the garland out of 1/4 inch satin ribbon and tiny white buttons.

I made quite a few of these spool ornaments.

I have several thimble characters. Here's Santa.

This is one of the Hallmark guys. Check out his adornments.

This guy is a cute as can be. He's holding a real threaded needle.

Hallmark had a series of Alice in Wonderland miniature ornaments, one a year. This was the first in the series. All the characters are sitting on a thimble.

The Mad Hatter sipping his tea.

Cheshire Cat with his mischievous grin.

The White Rabbit.

My tree topper. The angel was part of a set of silver ornaments from my big tree. I hot glued the child's sterling silver thimble on. They could use some polishing.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Card

I received this beautiful hand made Christmas card today from my friend, Andrea. She is a new member of my small weekly quilt group, the Scrapbag Quilt Artists. Andrea is a wonderful quilter, and beader, and potter and paper artist. Click on the photo to see it close up and all the detail. On the back the sentiment says, "May the joys of the season be a song in your heart".

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One more jacket

This year when I was at the IQA show in Houston I visited Star Hagenbring's booth. I was there last year, too , but did not succumb. She makes the most exquisite hand painted, silk jackets with prices to match. She also sells kits to make them yourself, still very expensive, but about a quarter of the price for a finished jacket. This year I gave in to temptation. In the kit you get all the necessary fabric, paints, thread and instructions. Now I know why her jackets are so expensive. They are very labor intensive. First you have to paint the circles, metallic gold on the black silk and black on the green silk/wool blend. Then you do LOTS of stitching. Assembling the jacket was rather easy. The lining is made of red silk dupioni, which forms the collar and turn-back cuffs. Then lots of top stitching. I'm pleased with the results.

The back.

Detail of stitching and painting on the front.

Stitching and painting on back. The black doesn't look very black here. That's it for garments for awhile.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Different View

A few people said that they'd like to see an upside down view, so here it is, with the facing done.
What do you think? See my last post if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Pieces

When I finish piecing a quilt I always make a little sample piece to try out different quilting designs and thread colors. I just slap down left over pieces of units onto a piece of batting and quilt away. It is a big mish-mash like this. I often save them and use them to experiment with other things later, such as seeing if I can sew through coke cans and plastic cups (I can) or to try different pens for writing on a quilt. As you can see this is a complete throw-away.

When I finished the piecing for my Salsa City quilt, for some reason I decided to sew those little scraps together for practicing quilting and auditioning threads. I couldn't have spent more than a half hour sewing them together, not really paying any heed to the finished product, just trying to fill up the space into some sort of rectangle. After I quilted it, I realized that I rather liked the piece. I thought it gave the illusion of looking down an alley. I measures about 10 1/2 x 13. I needed a small piece for an upcoming exhibit and thought that perhaps I could use this . I also thought that I could do better and make one with an even better "down the alley" look. I thought I whip one up in no time. WRONG!

I spent all day Saturday, part of Sunday and Monday to come up with this. Of course I was not working with left over units, but had to start piecing units from scratch. Much ripping out and making over. This is the finished piece. Ignore the fuzzy edges at the top. I still have to face it. And I am leaving the irregular edge at the top. What do you think? Do you like the first one that I put together in no time, or the last one that I slaved over? This one is about 11 x 14. Remember that you can click on each picture for a bigger view.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The postcard I posted this morning bothered me.  Those too pale and too big mountains in the back were just not right.  I looked through my stash for just the right shade of blue/gray that would be a transition between the dark purple and pale gray.  I couldn't find anything so I colored a piece with colored pencils. It was a bit challenging fitting it into a finished piece, but I got it to work. I think this looks so much better, don't you?
And it really is perfectly square.  It's just my bad photography techniques that make it look askew.  I know, I know I should use a tripod.  The photo from this morning was also washed out because I used the flash.  This picture is without the flash and these are the true colors.

Another AC

I did finish this one last night, but too late to post it here. This one was based on a composite of wildflower/mountain shots from my son. I'm not crazy about the mountains in the far background. I usually do them in a darker blue/gray and then my "snow" stitching really shows up. I'm not sure what I'll call this one. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Art Concentrated

My son lives in the Pacific Northwest and sends me wonderful pictures when he is out hiking. He know that I like pictures with flowers in the foreground and mountains or hills in the background. It was the inspiration for this postcard which had to be in the landscape orientation.

I can't believe how long it took me to make this little post card, or Art Concentrated, as we call them in Fiber Revolution. I need to make two of them to send for a FR show, where they will be mounted on watercolor paper and framed in black shadow boxes. I had hoped to get them both made today and here it is almost 4:00. I first fused down the four background pieces after auditioning many colors. Then I stitched the evergreens in the far background, then the leaves and grass in the foreground. The big lupines were fused, pinked pieces of dupioni silk, that were heavily over stitched . Smaller lupines were just stitched onto the green. I think I might try another one in the portrait orientation, but not today. I'm calling this one "Lakeside Lupines"

Now to see if I can start another one, something different. If I finish it I'll post it tomorrow,

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Man for All Seasons

I wish I had some fabulous new art to share or pictures to show, but I don't. I have been busy sewing, but nothing finished to show yet. But I had the most delightful day today. I went to NYC to see A Man for All Seasons starring Frank Langella. It has to be one of the best plays I have ever seen on Broadway. It was riveting and his performance was astounding. If he doesn't win the Tony for best actor in a play this year I will be shocked. He plays Sir Thomas Moore, Chancellor to King Henry VIII and the play deals with the whole story of the King's wanting to divorce his first wife to marry Anne Boleyn. We all know the tale. But this is the story behind the story of how Moore held firm to his beliefs and ultimately gave his life. There wasn't a dry eye in the house at the end.
It is serendipitous that I am currently watching The Tudors on NetFlicks, the Showtime trashy version of the tale and recently read "The Constant Princess", also an abysmal narrative of Catherine of Aragon's life, Henry's first wife, the one he needed to divorce to marry Anne. Oh my, so much Henry VIII at one time.
As I said, today was splendid, spent with two dear friends, Nike and Liz. We had a delicious lunch at the Blue Fin, a very nice restaurant. Life is good.