Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quiet But Busy..

I know my blog has been awfully quiet this past week. My husband has been gone hunting this week (the first time in a couple years), so my mom came out for a girls only weekend! We had lots of fun creating a "movie house" in my studio with candy, popcorn, and pillows. We of course are eager to have Daddy back home, but it was a very fun distraction!

I've also been working on a quilt & two pillows for Kiddo's school fundraiser. I had a great time making these and I hope that they find a special home. I would love more than anything for it to find its way to her teacher, but we shall see..

There is my Kiddo's sweet, colorful hand print. To see her little hand in her finger painting always brings up a ton of emotions for me; I'm literally swept off my feet sometimes. I'm so proud she accepts her difference with grace and beauty. I love to see her shine and hope that amazing confidence is something that stays with her always. What makes us different from other people can be sometimes hard to accept, but she embraces her little hand without any qualms. Love my sweet girl..

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bed Fit For A Queen.. Or At Least A Doll..

Kiddo's 4th birthday is just around the corner. I can't believe it. It seems like yesterday she was a sweet little bundle of joy in my arms, and now she's my creative companion most days. We have our ups and downs, but she has won me over heart & soul. For her big occasion, I have it on good authority that she will be receiving her first American Girl doll. And a doll needs accessories, right? 

I'm working on a completely decked out doll bed right now - custom mattress, fitted sheet, comforter, pillow.. 

Isa is not a traditional little girl. She is a solid mix of feminine and tomboy with a WHOLE LOT of boho chic. I'm doing my best to meet her style needs, but she may end up being my toughest client!
I can't wait to show you (and my darling birthday girl) the finished bed! Now if those kiddos would give me time to work on it...


Saturday, February 18, 2012

From Sweet To The Not So Sweet

To say I have ADD when it comes to creating is probably an understatement. I used to struggle with it, but whenever I try to narrow it in I'm always unhappy. So ADD it is! 

This weekend is no different. Kiddo turns four in a couple weeks and has requested a Strawberry Shortcake themed party (I think she made this request the day after her 3rd birthday party..sighs) I designed the invite this evening. I left out the specific details..but you get the gist. Thank heavens for Photoshop! Now I need to finish her gifts and get moving on the favors for her friends..

And then on to the not so sweet... It's my latest piece of art,"Before The Luck Ran Out". I tried to make it just a sweet Irish/St.Patrick's day work, but it just didn't end that way. I really wrestled with adding the little glass whiskey bottle. Ah, well I know it won't appeal to everyone...but that's what makes it art and not a trendy commercial, right?
If you are so inclined.. I have placed it for sale in my Etsy shop..

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Top O' The Morning!

Well it is after Valentine's Day, right? I've already started to decorate our mantle for St. Patrick's Day! For the longest time I thought I was part Irish.. well it turns out I'm part Scotch Irish which is different? I don't know.. I do know that I like to partake of dark beer and See's chocolate potatoes..

The vinyl came from a local Utah store, The Wood Connection. It was a year or two ago that I bought it and I just now found the time to have some fun with it.. So I'm not sure if they still sell it or not, but they love holiday motifs and probably have it or something similar for sale.

Do you like my little shamrock glass? I made it this week and just added it to my Etsy shop..

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How To Soothe The Soul

This past week we had a sudden death in our family on my husband's side. It was a shock that I think we are still reeling from. I am quite the emotional sponge - I stopped reading and listening to the news back when I was pregnant with our second daughter. It's very hard for me to disengage my emotions and carry on. However, when my husband rushed to his hometown with our eldest daughter, the house was TOO quiet at night. I decided that "working" may be the best for me.. so I completed my quilt for Project Quilting. Our theme was a tool prompt, and we had to incorporate 4 pieces of inspiration.

I present "And Sew It Begins.." I depicted the sewing machine and scissors in a literal format. I crocheted on the bottom of the machine (my third tool) and lots of free motion stitching (my fourth tool). It's a cheery little piece. I'm debating if I want to display it my studio as a reminder that art is a great way to work through my emotions.

In my opinion the best & worst thing about life, is that it goes on. The sun comes up, the children need to be fed, and our lives continue.. The loss of Darlene is deeply felt in our home and we wish peace to all who knew and loved her..

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Putty In My Hands

Wah! I'm still fighting with my Yudu original machine & Cardshop.. Hopefully in the next week I can report back all my findings...

In the meantime, I was able to screen print these for Kiddo's Valentine party at school! In one container, there is home made Kool-Aid play dough and the other one is chock full of chocolate.

Why the green paint instead of traditional red or pink?? Well green is Kiddo's favorite color and her request!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for our Valentine card to you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paulie the Peacock..and yes the Yudu post is coming..

I know what you were thinking. My blog didn't have enough craziness to it and I should add one more area of crafty art. Awesome! Me too! 

And I know some of you have heard about this Yudu tutorial coming.. and it is. It's totally not sponsored by anyone and I'm a bit pokey with it right now because I want this to be comprehensive and really helpful. I thought I had all my ducks in a row, but then I had some late night discoveries.. OK, I promise the tutorial is coming, but for now can I show you some fun & successful screen printed projects??

This is Paulie the Peacock. He is my own little drawn creation and he is screen printed on my Yudu. I have a  little crush on him. Which one is your favorite? I love him bare on muslin, but he was also sooo much fun to paint as well.

Later this week, you will be able to buy him in my Etsy store. I will have him available as a DIY sewing kit - boxed with front & back fabric, and you can choose to paint him or not. He will also be sold as a ready made softie. I think he would be a super fun project for kiddos to paint. He's like a giant coloring book just waiting for some colorful feathers.

Here is the backside of the painted Paulie. I loved this fabric's colors and peacockiness (is that a word, it should be..)

And here is bare Paulie's back.. Mmm.. love me some Moda fabric!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Creating From The Heart

This is my latest piece of soldered art. I'm so ever thankful to Lauri Grimshaw-Cox for her class that I took last month. I'm no longer sad when I see my soldering supplies, in fact I've dedicated a portion of my studio for it. There are so many things I want to create! I love shadowboxes and little assemblages; you better believe the next one is going to include some quilting..

Even though I'm so happily married, I do remember the sting of Valentine's Day from years ago. I still have mixed feelings about the day... I think this piece of art reflects that for me. Our hearts are fragile and hidden away..

I hope this piece inspires you! And well if you are so inclined to want to purchase it, I have it up for sale in my Etsy store..

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine Sweaters For The Girls

I have been wanting to make the girls special Valentine clothes. It dawned on me after I made my homework for Jenny Doh's class, that my little crochet heart applique would be adorable on a shirt! 

There are NO plain shirts at Target, my favorite place to shop with the girls. Not a single plain white, pink, or red shirt in sight.. I couldn't believe it. I ended up getting a matching set of dark pink cardigans. This is actually a better idea since we are still getting snow in Utah.

OK, are you ready to see how it's done? Here we go..

*This project involves basic machine sewing and crochet stitches*

What do you need?
*5" square of fabric (the heart applique)
* item of clothing to decorate
*pearl cotton, size 5, in coordinating color
*embroidery needle
*size 1 crochet needle (don't be afraid!)
*lightweight fusible stabilizer
*fusible fleece
This starch technique is not mine - I read about it on Piece N Quilt, an awesome site & tutorial worthy of your time. You basically want to oversaturate your fabric square with starch and lots of ironing. Hop on over to the site to get the full details. This will prevent your fabric from unraveling. Yes, you can use fusible webbing if you prefer, but I think this is just as effective and quicker.

After lots of starching & ironing, I freehand cut two hearts out (one for each of my girls).
Here are my two heart appliques. I was thrilled to find a scrap Valentine fabric with green hearts - green is Kiddo's all time favorite color!
Next I spray and pin basted the fabric heart on top of the cardigan.
Then cut a small piece of lightweight fusible stabilizer - large enough to cover the size of the applique, but not too much bigger. Place the adhesive side of the stabilizer to the backside of the cardigan, right behind where the applique is going. Iron, iron, iron..
Most likely whatever clothing item you are sewing the applique to, will be a stretchy material - this stabilizer will cut down the curse words you say while you sew.. Don't bypass this step, it is important..

Now with a fairly small zigzag, sew the heart down. You don't want it so small that it doesn't catch the fabric well, but you don't want it too large either. I used a size 3 on my machine and that was pretty close to perfect. I did use white thread, but monofilament is my favorite...
Take a length of the pearl cotton thread and thread it on the embroidery needle. Then complete a backstitch outline of the heart. You want the stitch length to be about 1/4" long. If you make the stitches too much smaller, you will fight with your crochet needle later. You also don't want to make the stitches too much larger or it will be loose on the fabric. It's not imperative that they are absolutely the same size, just as close to 1/4" as possible.
 Here it is all stitched up.. Now time for the fun!

 Using the same pearl cotton thread, at the bottom of the heart begin crocheting single stitches through the 1/4" backstitch. For some of my stitches I was actually able to fit two single stitches in. This part doesn't matter.. The important part is to single crochet all around the perimeter, using the backstitches as a base.
Here it is all done. I think it looks pretty adorable just like that! But I continued on to make it a bit more ruffly..If you want to stop there, just sew in your tails and iron a small piece of fusible fleece on the back of the cardigan, covering your stabilizer and stitches.

If you want to continue..
Slip stitch into your first single stitch; you will be creating a picot edge.
In every single stitch, you will: 
slip stitch, double crochet, slip stitch.. all the way around. 
It gives it a little bumpy ruffle.
Once you reach the last stitch, slip stitch into the first and sew in your tails.
Iron on a small piece of fusible fleece and you're done!

I hope you love it! It's a fun technique that you could use a lot of different ways. Wouldn't this be fun on a set of tea towels or pillow case?

If you make some, please let me know! I would love to see it..
And if you need clarification on any steps, just let me know..

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Learning From Jenny

A few weeks ago, I saw Jenny Doh post about her publishing class. I told myself I couldn't afford another class that month. Then I reminded myself that I've had one book deal fall through  and had yet to finalize the two that are under review.. I wondered if there was something that I was missing.

There was..

I remember when I first presented my super secret book idea to the first publisher. I was excited, I had a book outline, I had project instructions.. I didn't have completed samples, I didn't have evidence of it on my blog. It was a secret! I couldn't share it online. What if someone saw it and ran with the idea before I could? What if someone could get it published before I could? What if the publisher thought there would be no reason to create a book of projects that I had already shown the world? What if, what if, what if?? And so I didn't share on my blog. And so I didn't  show evidence of an art that I'm passionate about. And so the book deal was dropped. Maybe the publisher was concerned that I didn't have enough experience. How could they know if I didn't give them reason to believe?

I accept that my worse fears may still come true, but I also believe that unless I take that chance, my art is without purpose. I truly want to inspire others and help break ground on a new genre of mixed media. I hope you will take that journey with me.

So what is at the heart of this secret. my super cool book idea? Well I've become passionate about mixing the art of crochet with quilting and sewing projects. I have researched and developed methods of incorporating the two art forms. Below is a picture of my homework assignment from the fabulous Jenny. It is a quilt square with an appliqued heart and crocheted trim. The crochet is done actually on the quilt square! 

Do you like it? Do you want to learn more? I sure hope so.. This week I'll show to create this project as an adorable Valentine shirt! I hope my tutorial will be something you want to make. I hope you DO make it and show me.. I hope I can get you excited about this...

Whew.. see that wasn't so hard. It's amazing to me that I thought I had truly learned the lesson to create with my hand open. To share, share, share.. And last night I realized my fingers were still slightly clenched.. Thank you Jenny Doh for helping me relax and enjoy this crazy journey..


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