Friday, April 18, 2014

Fabric Strip Mats

I finished a lot of mats last night. I mentioned in my last post that I was trying to decide what to work on next, and I went with this idea. It helped to clear up things from my workroom and now I have some new hot mats, coasters and a floor mat. Another project tipped off my list.

While I was getting everything ready, I decided to also write up a tutorial for making them. They are very fast to do and inexpensive, so if you are stumped for gift giving, this might help. I used batik fabrics for these. My stash of batiks could stand some lightening up, but if you’re like me, they are so addictive. Amazing prints and colours, and it seems that no matter what prints and colours of batiks you put next to each other, they always seem to be harmonious.

A couple of pictures here for you and if you click on “My Tutorials” at the top of the page, you’ll find the link to the Fabric Strip Mat Tutorial there. I hope you will find this useful and as always, send me pictures if you create something from this tutorial. Enjoy.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Sheep is done!

My table mat is finished, and I’m so happy with it. It’s so cute and will look so good on the coffee table. Instead of using the same blue for the backing, I went with black. I quite liked that it gives it that time when the sun is almost down, that moment before it goes black with night. Might have to keep something garden related nearby to set the scene. Coffee table books on gardening, how to sheer sheep… ;o)))

Next I have a couple of options for night time stitching. Some of Cathy’s Christmas Stockings and I also have a few yards of a very thick cotton cording and a ton of batik fabric. The cording is very light weight, just thick, about an inch or a bit better. I’m going to tear strips of batik and wrap the cord with it. Then I’ll roll it into an oval shape and do a running type stitch to hold it together (on both sides) to make a floor mat. 

I’ve done with this smaller cord and have been able to fit it under the presser foot of the sewing machine. I used a zigzag stitch on both sides, and these became hot mats.  This cord is way to thick for this, so hand sewing it together it is.

Stay tuned…

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nicholas and Nico–Part 2

My Jester and Marotte parts are now painted and dressed up. I use Jo Sonja paints and the flesh tone for anyone who might be interested in trying it, is called “Skin Tone Base”. Jo Sonja and Matisse (Matisse is an Aussie brand of acrylic paint), are wonderful to work with. The paints come in tubes, and so nice and creamy. The Matisse are a stronger pigment with their colours. Here are links to the paints.     Jo Sonja    Matisse

The hands are really more Androgynous I think but maybe once this Jester is put together, it’ll lean more to the male look. The hands look so good, we should all have such good manicures.

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For the Marotte, the hat is decoupaged with the body fabric. The center area is painted and stippled on the bands with gold. I used two colours of bells for the ends of the hat, two are a burgundy colour, two are kind of a cross between yellow and gold. He has his earring and his stupid grin. If nothing else, even if you don’t like his grin, you at least will laugh about it, good or bad..

Not sure what the Jester is thinking about, perhaps “what are you laughing about, all you’ll ever be is a head on stick”….Surprised smile

In the Marotte’s defense, he never will be full bodied, so he does deserve some dressing up, after all what’s a Jester without his Marotte side kick.

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I’ve shown the back of the head just to show how the back is finished  with the metal button, the same kind of button I used on his shoes.

marottehead02smThe shoes are painted and a leather strap and button attached. A simple look as the rest of the Jester will have a fair bit of attention paid to him in the way of costuming. He won’t need a bunch of embellishing, the costuming that Linda designed is pretty impressive, so I don’t want to hide that.

Tomorrow I’ll begin working on the body and costuming. The part I enjoy the most.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nicholas and Nico

When I was working on the last class doll “Queen Emi” from Linda Hollerich’s class “Mastering the Soft Landing”, Linda asked if there were a type of doll I would be interested in making. Of course without hesitation I responded that if she would like the challenge, I would love to make a Jester. And this is what she created from that conversation. This is a available at Adele’s site, you can click on the picture to get there. As soon as I saw it, off I went and signed up.

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As you can see by the title of this post, I’ve chosen the names for my Jester and his Marotte buddy. The names just stuck in my head and naming your dolls can often be a problem because it has to be just right. I’ve done the clay parts.

There is still some cleaning up to be done that doesn’t show in the pictures, but I’m pretty much done and hopefully tomorrow I can get the painting done and then on to the costuming (my favourite part). One hand is clenched to hold the Marotte stick. I tried to make the hands masculine looking, but if I got to Androgynous, that’s okay too.

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I was planning to do the shoes the same as Linda’s, but my muse was having no part of that, so what they will look like (I hope) when they’re painted and a leather strap attached, is a moccasin type shoe.

You can always tell when your muse is poking you in the head. They try to tell you not to do something and if you aren’t going to listen, you will find yourself constantly fighting with what you’re doing, until you just simply give in and do what it is she’s trying to tell you.

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And here are Nicholas and Nico so far. I can’t do creepy Marotte’s, this is the closest I could get. One of the ladies in the class gave her Marotte some teeth. I had wondered about adding teeth while I was sculpting his head, so when I saw hers with teeth, I thanked her for the inspiration and got busy with dental work on mine. I’ll leave this all to dry for another day and tomorrow will get the paints out. And that’s it for now..

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Friday, April 4, 2014

The Sheep is in the Sunflowers - 2

Just a quick how are you for this week. Have been really absorbed in a new doll. The head, hands, feet and Marotte are all clay which sometimes feels like watching paint dry. Fortunately there are several parts that are clay, so while one dries for a day, I can work on other parts. It’s a great doll, love Jesters so much.

This weeks post though is about the needlework project I showed you last weekend. In between other things, this how far I am with this project. It’s very restful to work on, so what’s the hurry. But I hope to have it all done by this time next week. Tuesday is the next together with a group I belong to and that’s where I can enjoy some stitching time with some really fun chatty ladies.

The step I’m working on is obviously the circles meant to resemble wool locks. It didn’t specify in the instructions what colour to use, so I’ve used white around the circles and I’m going to use a light beige for the centers, in hopes that will give it a bit more of a wool locks feel.

For now, this is what I have to show you. So see you soon with pictures of my clay doll parts… Stay tuned.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beatrix Potter–The End

And this is the end, really… And like the others, so much fun to make. There’s something very calming when making these ornaments. At least to me there is. I kind of lose myself in the process and before I know it time has flown by without me.

Peter Rabbit

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The Squirrel Nutkin

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Pigling Bland 

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I also wanted to do something for my customers as a gesture of thanks, so I made up these Easter themed gift tags. Many years ago a local needlework shop closed it’s doors, that was a shame because it was such a great place to go and just be. When Dawn was closing, like all stores that close, they want to move the last of the inventory.

One of the things I bought was a cache of brass coloured charms. In that bag were some that I would not normally buy, but they came with the bulk of charms. They were crosses and cupids. I’ve kept them all this time and now I’m using them to add a touch to the gift tags. With each ornament they buy, they can choose a gift tag….The digital post card art, I found on Etsy, what a great source for everything. Here they are.

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And this is how all the ornaments look on the new stand I made for them. At the beginning of the year I posted that I needed a stand for other times in the year for the ornaments I might make, and from that came this. Very easy to do, add a little trim of boxwood vines and it makes a pretty display I think. Tuesday they are off to the shop.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Sheep is in the Sunflowers

This is a tablemat I’m working on in the evenings. I am not generally draw to a primitive style of art, but I’m smitten with Cathy’s designs. She does the kind of details I like and  each ornament I’ve done and now this, are well thought out.

Very relaxing stitching and so cute. Makes a nice mat for this time of year. Promises of sunflowers that are so bright and cheerful and all the lambs that we’ll probably be seeing very soon as we drive around to our local farms for produce.

This is another wonderful design from Cheswick Company. The picture below is her sample and clicking on it will take you to the e-pattern download on her Etsy site. She also has this available as a kit or a paper pattern if e-patterns aren’t your liking or if your supplies are hard to come by.

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This is where I’m at with mine. I changed the background colour because I have quite a bit of this particular colour of National Non Wovens and the black I have is just some cheaper brand I had to get last minute and I try not to use it for anything substantial for fear it won’t hold up. National Non Wovens are such good quality. I buy mine through Joggles. You can buy it from Barb by the piece, in sample packs and in yardage, so lots of options.

Although you can’t really see them in the picture very well, the centers of the sunflowers are filled with black seed beads.

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I love how she does the leaves using two colours. I hope to have this very soon, so stay tuned for the finished piece. In the meantime, do check out Cathy’s designs. I do not get paid to promote her… ;o~  I just like her work and like to pass along links to those whose work I think others would enjoy too.

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Just two more ornaments to make and I’ll be showing those in a couple of days as well. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tailors of Gloucester

I looked up on Google what a group of mice should be called. Along with other options, I decided I liked the idea of “A Mischief of Mice”. That seems to suit them doesn’t it. Well here they are discussing the newest book on the shelves, “The Tailor”.

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When they realized I was taking pictures, they quickly spun around so I could see them all face front.

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And of course, they needed individual shots as well for the family album and such.

This first guy is so fat. I used a felt from my bear making stash that I’ve had for years. It’s a real wool felt so a bit stretchy compared to the National Non Woven I generally use. However, he’s a very adorable little chubby mouse and I think part of it has to do with late night searches in the kitchen that may have rewarded him for his efforts.

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I love them all, so cute….best not to make any of them a favourite, at least not in earshot… Cathy at Cheswick Company just has such a great eye for designing these ornaments. All the little touches bring each one to life.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring has arrived

If you’re still watching those pretty white flakes fall and the trees bending sideways in the wind, fear not. There is hope for you yet. Spring has arrived on the West Coast of Canada and what’s not to like.

The trees all along our street are in almost full bloom.

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The Pieris shrubs are in bloom and I saw some Mason bees flying around, so they are hatching out and there is plenty of food for them.

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The daffodils along our driveway are starting to open and show how well they survived our weird winter weather. Not anything like most of you have had, but weird none the less.

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Our Kale plants are amazing. They were covered more than once in heavy wet sloppy snow and then froze several times and still here they are. It’s such a healthy veggie to enjoy in soups and salads. Cooks down like spinach, or chopped up and put into salads. Don’t use the stems, a bit tough….

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Crocus, what’s not to love about these simple but pretty flowers. A splash of colour in a dark corner…

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Now as I’m walking around deciding what to show you, this little guy decides he must follow me to see if perhaps he can help…

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After a couple of minutes of look at me, look at me….I carried on. I turned to see if he was following and this is who I saw next.

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A few little pats on the head and into the house to say hello to this one. Did I mention, none of them live here. They just visit all the time. I think there are a total of 8 visitors throughout the week. We have three we feed, two of those have been coming since they were probably less than a year old and they are both about 10 now. Their owners know where they hang out, so it’s all good. The rest just check to see if there are left overs…

This little guy lives next door, but you’d never know it. He spends most of the day here, but doesn’t have overnight privileges. He is a feral cat and by far, the most cuddly cat we’ve ever had visit. I suspect he’s working us…..

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

More of Beatrix Potter

Good grief these ornaments seem to be taking forever. I’ve got to nail my workroom door shut and unplug for a few days to get caught up, but I’m so interested in this whole Malaysian plane mystery and hoping that everyone on board is safe regardless of who what why when and where this will all be figured out.

I could have shed tears right along with that young Australian wife and mother that Piers Morgan spoke to. It was agonizing to watch her trying to grasp what has happened, and I think Piers was feeling it too. Regardless of how I sometimes view Piers, I give him credit for being honestly compassionate with that young woman. I guess like all things we’ll have answers to some degree in time, but would just be so happy for those families if this has a good ending for them all. I will keep only positive thoughts, I just can’t go to that other place.

A few more of the ornaments are done. Rounding the corner now. At my current snails pace I’m just about done. I have four little Tailors cut out and stuffed, so cute. I think those will be my favourite. After that, I have two other Beatrix Potter designs to do and that’s it. Then onto a doll I’ve sketched out. She’s all ready to go, fabric, embellishments, my directions are all written up, now it’s time to bring her to life…

Here is Tom Kitten (again these three sets are done in different colours) Don’t you just love what to me looks like his jammies…;o)

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Then we have Mr. Todd

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And finish for today with Jemima Puddleduck. For Jemima, I used Minky fabric. The instructions suggest Mohair like I used for the lamb in the last post, but the Minky (when you see it IRL is actually a good choice as well).

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