Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Silk Quilt in progress... any words of wisdom?

I am working on a silk quilt for a friend who can't have most fabrics against her skin. I've always been a cotton-kind of gal so working with silk is TOTALLY new to me. We were able to get some recycled (we both like that idea) white bridal kimono silk--it's gorgeous! Hopefully, you can see some of the beautiful weaves in the silk. Then we picked up some grabbag packs of colored silk.

I'm using silk thread and a fine needle. Because it is a lightweight silk, I've stabilized it using a fusible sheerweight interfacing after trying many different kinds, weights, applications, etc. I'm satisfied with the "hand"--plenty soft and flexible but will stand up to usage.

Here is where I could use words of wisdom from anyone, especially any quilters who have worked on silk quilts. I've had a silk batt on order and it's ready for me to pick up. I would welcome any do's or don't's on quilting with a silk batt. I've heard it's fantastic but I'll admit that this project intimidates me more than any other I can think of.

I'm also trying to decide on what to use for the backing. I am concerned about lengths of silk holding up to use, especially the lightweight. I found a really nice feeling silky polyester but she can't have any polyester against her skin so that's out. Anyone have any suggestions... information on what NOT to do can be just as helpful too...

Update on the "Abby Hat"

Hello! I've had a number of people ask me how the contest went and how much the hat earned. We couldn't have it in the contest and in the Silent Auction so I entered the contest and won the Grand Prize! It is a VIP dinner to the Castle Falls restaurant--we haven't had the opportunity to try it but I've heard it is the most excellent German food around so we're looking forward to trying it.
I made a second Abby Hat. It's a smaller size and has a glitter leopard-print chiffon band. Both hats are posted for sale in my Etsy Store and all proceeds from their sale will go the the Abby Jones Medical Trust Fund. To check them out, go to http://richerlife.etsy.com. Hope everyone out there has a wonderful day!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Duck Week Hat for Abby...

OK, I've just plain had fun with this!

First, I crocheted a basic hat. The brim can be rolled or open or partially rolled. I haven't decided which way I like it best yet. It's pretty comfortable—more than I was expecting it to be.

My Duck Week t-shirt is orange and they are using a Dr. Sueuss theme so this one is "Horton Hears A Quack." It has blue flowers and white daisies.

I used a silky-feel orange fabric and serged it with royal blue. There are blue, white and orange daisies and it is couched down with royal blue sheer ribbon.

The Hats Off To Abby Hat contest is for most unique hat... I'm just going for fun. I may add some mini-signs that have "quack" on them just to add to the theme. I've had a couple people tell me they think my hat will win. Whether it does or not, I'm going to donate it to the Silent Auction to help raise money as long as I get to wear it in the contest.
Oh, did I mention the hat is crocheted plastic shopping bags! It's my
classy trashy hat.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Support Abby Jones and her family, please.

There is a precious little girl, Abby Jones, who is a walking smile and a walking miracle! You can read her story at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/abbyjones. She was born June 13, 2003, and within a year had undergone 3 heart surgeries and it was two years before she reached 20 pounds. She needs a kidney transplant among other things. The Jones family lives in Piedmont, Oklahoma and were blessed by the kids of the school system selecting Abby for their annual Duck Week fundraising program. The final "event" is being hosted by family and friends on Sunday, March 29th, 2009, 5 to 7 p.m., at Castle Falls (820 N MacArthur, Oklahoma City OK). Tickets are only $5 and include a baked potato bar with homemade chili and toppings, salad and desserts. There will be a silent auction with many items (some of them are really great! There is also a raffle for an opportunity to win an 8-day vacation and many other prizes--all put together by friends! There will be a a Hat Contest (optional) and music solos and more! Please come join the celebration of Abby's life and help us raise money to get the medical help she needs.

If you do not live in the Oklahoma City area, please check out Abby's story on the Caring Bridge (when it asks for the website name, enter "abbyjones") and pray for this wonderful child.

Do you believe in random acts of kindness?

If you do, I invite you to check out the Secret Angel Network: http://www.secretangelnetwork.com/.
This is their brief description of the network:
We are an online community of ordinary people who choose to do
extraordinary things. We believe that every day, we have an opportunity to bring
a little joy, love and happiness into this world. We do so by creating special
moments for people around us. We call these moments Do Unto Other moments or a
DUO. The term DUO fits well as both the agent and the recipient are really
receiving a blessing. We can help create these moments for family members,
friends or even strangers. We operate in secret so as to place the emphasis on
the recipient, not ourselves.
Receiving a DUO card is such a wonderful surprise and when you have the honor of giving one, it's even more fun to do it in secret.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bright & fun baby quilt

This was a baby quilt made for a friend's first child. The baby room was decorated tropical fish. I thought that the squiggly lines looked a little waves. The quilting in the outside border was a scroll that made waves.

Lucky she wanted bright colors, isn't it?

This is one of the few baby quilts I've made that wasn't flannel.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A new "sign" for my board...

For many years I had bulletin board with signs—different sayings that help me keep focused, on track, make me laugh... things that helped me get through. I don't always have a physical board going these days but I still see many of the signs in my mind.

Well, today I went to church and heard some powerful teaching and preaching and
I have to share this with you. Three points just really hit home for me
today—one think to think on and two visuals to help me focus:
1) God has forgiven my sins of the past. If I can't get past my past, then it is
my own voice I'm listening to, not the voice/word of God... just get over it.

2) God wants to give us grace abudantly... Romans 5:17: "For if, by the trespass
of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who
receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign
in life through the one man, Jesus Christ."
Each day he will give us the grace we need in abundance, all we need and more. If we need a bucket of grace, he will give us a bushel; if we need a truck-load, he will give us a houseful. We just have to be open to receive it. Matthew 6:34 "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself..."
3) John 10:28-29 "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, Who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." Here is the visual reminder that's going up on my board:
I write my name on a number 10 envelope [I can drop it, tear it, burn it, shred it...you get the picture].
Now I put that in a manilla envelope, seal it and write "Jesus" on it... "no one can snatch them out of my hand." Now I am protected... it's sealed, "I" won't fall out. Even better, it was a bubble-wrap envelope, symbolizing the protection I get when I am in Jesus.
Next step, I stopped by the Post Office and picked up one of the Express Mail envelopes. I put the manilla envelope inside the express envelope and wrote "God" on the outside... "No one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." ... I am on the express line to God, and it's a Tyvek envelope—no one can tear it; I am safe enclosed in Him.
I never thought I would be witnessing in the blog but I just have to share this because it spoke so strongly to my heart... thank you, Pastor Tommy for these great words!
God bless all who took the time to read this message.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kids in "Little House" dress & pinafore sets

These are my oh-so-beautiful great-granddaughters. I made "Little House" dress and pinafore sets for them. The dresses were all gingham and both dresses and pinafores used some old traditional patterns from that time.
This year I will be working to complete dresses and bonnets for the two older girls to wear to the Oklahoma Land Run programs (see list of UFO's) and I am anxious to see how they are going to like them. I really enjoy using period patterns and often juxtapose the very traditional patterns with contemporary fabrics. That's what the girls are used to... My only concern is how them will like the more drab fabrics/colors that were available to them for daily wear dresses... I'll keep you posted on how they are coming along.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh, I found a new site!

This is SheezKrafty...and She Writes! This site features re-purposed jewelry and these two young ladies do some beautiful work. But it's not their jewelry that really caught my eye most—I absolutely fell in love with the Switchplates... these are just two of them.
Check out their site at http://sheezkrafty.blogspot.com/

One of my works in progress...

This is the "Fractured Rainbows" quilt that I am making for our daughter Tammy. I've had the blocks made and sewn together for quite a while but it took a lot of time to find the right border fabric. I had two different ones and Tammy and I both agree that the rainbow of dots is the one to finish it off... now it's ready to put together then quilt. All I have to do is find the time and finish the projects that are above it on the "gotta get this done" list.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I want to brag on Carolina Elizabeth...

This is a closeup of the top pendant of a necklace that Carolina Elizabeth made for me.

This is hand-painted and the colors and detail just amaze me every time I am priviledged to wear it (not to mention the compliments).

Now that you've seen that, let me show you the necklace...

The silver bezzels were made by Carolina as well as the S-hook closure.

The lower pendant is a forget-me-not... this has been my favorite flower since I was a child growing up in Alaska (FYI, it's the state flower) and it is part of the logo she designed for me for my RicherLife greeting cards.

Let me put the exquisite detail of this necklace in proportion for you.

That is my thumb you see in this photo. Now you can appreciate the detail that you see in the first photo! If you would like to see more of her work, check out her blog: http://carolinaelizabeth-art.blogspot.com/

(this photo is larger than actual size)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Christmas 2008: I made aprons, more aprons and still more aprons!

This past Christmas (2008) I made aprons... lots of aprons! I've been collecting a wide range of old apron patterns and it is so nice that they are back in style. These four began with the same basic pattern but each one was customized to fite the person they were made for. I made many other styles but for just a basic pattern that goes together quickly, I like this best.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Lap Quilt for Joyce

This was my first adventure into the stained glass quilting technique. I learned a lot while I was making this and was pretty pleased with the results. When I actually worked with the "leading," I decided that this has to have fairly large pieces to work around. When I used smaller pieces, the sense of proportion didn't seem right to me. I did try using 1/8" leading and, while it helped some, I still prefer to just stick with larger pieces.

This was also a practice piece for my free-motion quilting in the sashing and borders—I used the outline of a poinsettia. I could definitely tell the difference between the beginning and end of the quilting on the quality of that design! This was a lap quilt with six poinsettia blocks in varing shades of pink and red. The sashing, borders and back were a variety of poinsettia fabrics. I also used these same blocks to make a couple of table-toppers (about 24" square).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Christening Gown gift

Last summer I made a christening/baby dedication gown as a gift for family friends. These photos aren't very good to show the work but the best that my camera will do. We are going to get some professional photos taken and I am going to submit them to Sew Beautiful magazine.
I used The Old Fashioned Baby's T-Yoke Christening Gown pattern to start (http://www.oldfashionedbaby.com/shop/item.asp?itemid=257). The fabric is a beautiful white cotton (the photo showing the monogram is what it really looks like). When I started, I was going to make a "basic, no-frills" gown and it just seemed to get away from me. My motto is "if a thing is worth doing, it's worth overdoing" and I lived up to it with this gown. I have no idea how much hand stitching I had done before I started keeping track of it. I was "just going to do a monogram." Right. I kept track of 250 hours of handwork and quit tracking after that (it was almost done by then) so I figure it was at the very least 300 hours, probably more like 350.
All of the seams (each side of all the lace, etc) have hand embroidery done in a white rayon that has some elegant shine to it. The embroidery along the seams is all feather stitch; the monogram was done in padded satin stitch. I found a font I liked for the R and printed it out and then used a light box to transfer it to the fabric.

I designed the lace diamonds down the center panel and embroidered small bullion rose bouquets in the center of each of the diamonds. I have the two bands of lace around the bottom as shown in the original pattern. I found some beautiful soft 4"-wide cotton netting lace that I used as the main part of the bottom ruffle—it was so full that I thought I would never finish stitching around the hem!
I tatted a narrow lace that is around the neckline--I liked it because it was softer around baby's face than the purchased lace was. I trimmed the finished edge of the netting lace to about 1" wide and used that around the sleeve edge and each of the sleeves had some embroidery down the center length too.
The gown has a slip of fine cotton batiste with just a touch of embroidery on it (a small bouquet) and one lace diamond in the center of the skirt. When I get better pictures, I will post them... I'm very proud of this accomplishment and it meant a lot to me to be able to gift these very precious friends with this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Dance! I get to take a UFO off my list!

I have so many different projects that are in process, waiting to be started or still just noodling around in my mind for just exactly what I want to do... and then find time to do it/them!

Well I finished one! This is my great-granddaughter Madison's birthday gift—a lunch tote. Madison will be 5 years old and loves to go with Mom and baby sister Kennadie to have lunch with big sister Mackenzie. They take their lunch with them so she will begin using it now and then will be able to take her lunch to "all-day kindergarten" next year.

Because Maddie is only 5, I made a couple of alterations to the lunch totes that I usually make. The top on my lunch totes usually look more like the first photo and have a tie closure. To make it easier for Maddie, I added a "collar" around the top with a drawstring and barrel closure. If the top is opened up all the way, it can be folded down inside the tote (the way it was for the photo).

The second major change I made was to add a hidden pocket with a snap closure for lunch/milk money, etc. It is in the outside pocket. The inside is lined with pockets also—there are skinny ones to hold silverware (I've included a small fork, knife and spoon set in her bag) and wider ones to hold the matching napkin(s) and whatever is desired. I make at least two napkins for the bags so you don't have to wash the same one each day.

I also include a plastic lace placemat and coaster. For Maddie, I made an extra find that I'm including--a plastic cupcake carrier (protects the frosting). Maddie, 'kenzie and Momma (Anna) like to make cupcakes together so I thought this would be very fitting.

I've also made an "art smock" for Maddie (the beginning smock matches big sister's). The main fabric has all kinds of art and drawing supplies on it. The smock has a snap closure in the back. To make it "Maddie's," I put a big "kangaroo" pocket across the front. I divided the pocket into four, made pleats at the bottom to take up the fullness and I put elastic in the top of the pocket—that way it can hold a lot of art/craft/project supplies for the family "make-it" sessions.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my lastest project—I know I sure feel good about getting it done!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Grandchildren's quilts: #2 Victoria's "Sue's Heart for 9-patches"

Christmas 2003 (Continued): The concept for Victoria's quilt began in "P.S. I Love You," a delightful quilt book. I love the reproduction feedsack fabrics—they always seem so bright and cheerful. I used a couple of white-on-white fabrics for the background fabric. Each 9-patch used one of the white fabrics and one of the reproduction 20's fabrics and were strip pieced. I used the fusible interfacing technique to create the heart appliquest. I made hearts in a big range of sizes with all kinds of pink fabrics. The largest one was centered on the top border and then floated across the top and down the two side borders, gradually decreasing in size as they got closer to the bottom (the last ones were about 1").
Across the bottom of the quilt, I used the 20s fabrics to applique three traditional Sunbonnet Sues and two Overall Sam figures. I was able to find some classic Sue & Sam patterns from the 20s--I just wish the photo showed those too.
The quilting is meandering done by my friend and professional long-arm quilter, Kathy Moran. She did echo quilting around the hearts and Sue and Sam in the borders.
Victoria liked her quilt and that was the most important thing to me—but it sure is nice to feel good about what you create, isn't it?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Grandchildren's quilts: #1 George's "No Flies On Me"

Christmas , 2003: I made quilts for the grandkids that year. Unfortunately I did not get photos of all of them.
This is George with his "No Flies On Me" quilt. The pattern is "Plaid Pigs" by Nancy Barrett, a great quilt designer and teacher from OKC. I am not into plaid or pigs or country but there was just something about this quilt that I fell in love with when I saw the sample. I was lucky enough to take a class at Oklahoma Quiltworks with Nancy for this quilt.

I pieced the quilt per directions using the "window method" of fusible applique with a satin stitch to finish the appliqued pigs.

I wanted this one to be a cross between a quilt and a comforter so I used a hi-loft polyester bat. It really gave a lot of dimension to the quilting so I was pleased with the results

Personally, I really like the way the quilting ended up... I used six strands of embroidery floss, cut 24" so I got about 18" of quilting from the length. I made "flight paths" for flies around the pigs--but never "landed" on them (hence "No Flies on Me"). Using this strategy, it was OK to cross quilting lines but I stayed in the block and block border for each one. Towards the end of the floss length, I stitched on an oval black bead. Then I did two Turkey stitches on either side of the bead to make dimensional wings on the flies. For most of them, I used black floss but for a few of the blocks, I used dark brown and a couple I used a medium brown floss. All the flies beads were black.
Because it is family tradition that toes=piggies, socks=piggie blankets and shoes/slippers=piggie houses, I had to play with that part of the quilt too. So part of the borders had footprints walking around the blanket and part of the quilting said "piggy blanket"—too bad you can't see that in the photo
... and of course, we tickled the piggies before they went under the piggy blanket! That was the most fun!

More of my past projects...

November, 2002: These two photos were taken at the Cowboy Christmas in Fort Worth TX. Bill and I spent three days trying to sell my fabric patch purses--very unsuccessfully!

We were supposed to have a booth that had a country Christmas feel to it but I certainly didn't have the money to create and build the normal display booth—and I didn't have the lead time. After much work and brainstorming, I finally came up with an idea... boxes... and more boxes... and still more boxes! I could buy cheap ones on clearance at the local box factory... they were light weight... they were collapsible so we could take them in a van. The picture in my mind of making them still makes me laugh! I took country Christmas fabric and put a fusible backing on it. My tried-and-true friend Pam came over and we spent hours ironing boxes! Some of them just have the sides covered with fabric. We also cut out some Christmas shapes and ironed those to other boxes... we stenciled... we painted. That must have looked pretty funny but the funniest was when Bill and I started assembling our "booth." No one could figure out what we were doing. We were sitting literally buried in the boxes we had put together (we put together almost 100 boxes) then we started arranging them. All the other booth owners decided we were selling pre-decorated boxes—we were laughing so hard we couldn't correct them. Finally we put out the purses. That show was a total flop--we only sold 3 purses—not enough to pay for food much less motel costs! But when we were packing up, we sold almost half the boxes to the other booth owners... and a few to show customers. We sold enough boxes to pay for the booth space.

January 2003: My sister Gale and I developed a line of strip-quilting templates for strip piecing Easy 2 C Templates; this was our debut showing of the line at the 2003 January Quilt show.

All three quilts in the top photo use the Braid template. You can see the large hanging red, white & blue quilt "Colors & Textures of America." The two samples folded to the side are the same template, just different fabric placement... the blue & yellow is known as the Friendship Star; the multiple-color one is a Pinwheel Star. Gale still uses the Braid Template teaching at her local quilt shop (among other lessons)—she made the most beautiful Braid Quilt using golden yellow batiks. It was so beautiful in fact that some jerk stole the sample quilt! What a loss.

The second photo shows some of the block samples from the other square/half-square template sets. Many of these samples were made by Gale.

All said... I do better making than I do selling, or at least selling my own products!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do I have talented friends, or what???

I have many friends who are unbelievable and add so many gifts to my life and my heart. Right now I would like share the artistry of two of them with you.

This is Patti Bray of PR Bray Designs, who I am so fortunate to count among my friends. Her talents fill me with wonder and (when I'm not walking my love walk) a little envy at times.

These are ceramic tiles, painted by Patti for a backsplash. She works a lot with dimensional tiles and creates a wide range of textures.

In addition to her work with clays and tiles, she does beautiful sketching and so very many other creative outlets.

If you have a few minutes, stop by her website and check out some of her work... this link opens to my personal favorite–her set of seasons (the ladies--each one is 3 separate tiles with some elements overlapping): http://prbraydesigns.com/sculpt_4.html

The next artist I would like to introduce you to is Carolina Elizabeth. There is just no end to this girl's talent! She paints, glasswork, sculpts, sews, metalwork/silversmithing, jewelry beading, sketches... and more! She has a blog http://carolinaelizabeth-art.blogspot.com/ that features her work and the artwork of others. Try to check her March 2 post to see some of her beautiful paintings. Please be sure to note the size of the pitcher--it is sitting next to a dime in the smaller photo. I am so lucky to own one of her incredible painted creations--a butterfly in a pendant of silver--my heart does a happy dance every time I get to wear it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Going back in time...

I thought I would take a few minutes to post some of the things I have made in the past...

Of course, one of my pride and joys was the wedding dress I made for my daughter Josalyn back in 1991. The base layer was traditional satin, a layer of tulle and a layer of lace... the tulle and the lace were both iridescent. She had an outdoor wedding and the sun shining on her just made her glow.

The umbrella in the photo is a photographer's prop—she carried a traditional bouquet. She did not have a traditional veil but had a hairpiece. She had the top half of her hair in a twist/bun. We put a satin scrunchee around it and the scrunchee had some of her lace attached which served as her veil.

In 1996, my sister Gale and I made a wall hanging quilt to celebrate our parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

Each family member drew around their hand and signed both their full name and the name that they usually go by. It was mad as a surprise but getting Mom & Dad to let us draw around their hands without explaining why was probably the most challenging part of the project.

Mom & Dad were in red with the center heart having their wedding information. Going around the quilt counter-clockwise from there in were the families of the five children—it worked out great for the colors. We wrote the names in dimensional paint using a lightbox so that it was "their" handwriting. We "quilted" it using heart-shaped studs and for the married girls, we used large star studs on the ring finger. It's a good family memento now that both Mom and Dad have passed away.

In 2005, I entered in a quilting competition for the first time... and won second place for hand-quilted wallhangings. This was a birthday present for Billiam and is a non-traditional size (I call it a recliner quilt). He wanted it "wide enough to go from arm to arm [of my overstuffed recliner] and long enough to go from my chin to wrap around under my feet" and that's what he got... 36" wide X 78" long.

Every stitch was done by hand—I still don't believe that I even put on the borders by hand! The quilting goes down the middle of each half-hexagon making Y's on the backing. The border is quilted with fall-color variegated thread maple leaves—the first time I'd done any hand quilting that was not straight lines.

Well, that's a couple of my past projects... hope you enjoyed looking at them.