Friday, March 26, 2010

Crafty Stuff - Christmas Ornaments

I have been busy organizing and cleaning out 17 years of stuff from my sewing and craft room.  Where did it all come from?  lol  It is a huge job but occasionally it provides some fun diversions like this one!

Through the years I have picked up clear glass Christmas balls with the intention of making this craft.  In face, I had picked up four packages of them in various sizes and shapes which had disappeared into the sewing room, all but forgotten. 

Having rounded up all the packages during the big cleanup project, I decided to sit down and make them.  DD is in the move in/move out/ move in phase of her life - enjoying her independance but then coming home to live again when money is tight - so I decided to make these ornaments for her when she moves out again.  She'll get them for Christmas this year.








I went googling for instructions and found a great tutorial over at Crafts-for-all-Seasons.  Check it out and see how easy it is. 

This is a great craft to do with kids as well since it is basically foolproof and you get these wonderful results! 

As you can see from the number of photos I have uploaded, I love the way these Christmas ornaments turn out!  I only used a few colours of acrylic craft paint:  red, purple, green, white, gold and silver.  In most cases I used three colours for a ball.  Basically, all you do is remove the top and then pour a little of two or three colours of paint in the top and let it slide down the side.  Then you hold a bit of paper towel over the hole and shake the ball a bit to spread the paint.  Don't shake it long enough to blend all the paint colours though.  Set it upside down in a paper cup and let it drain and dry for a couple days.  Put the top back on and you are done.

BAS (Build a Seam) Challenge - Week 51 - Wheatear Stitch

This week I would like to challenge everyone to try Wheatear Stitch.  This was a new one on me but I think it has definite possibilities.  Those little straight stitches out to the side just cry to be embellished further, don't they?  lol

I am including a photo tutorial below for anyone else who is not familiar with the Wheatear Stitch and how it is done.  Have fun!

Bring your needle up to the left of where you want the center of your line of stitching to be.  Make a straight stitch  down and to the center, bringing your needle back up to the right of where you started.

Make another straight stitch from the top right to meet the first straight stitch at the bottom.  You have now formed a V with the two straight stitches.  Bring your needle up again below the point of the V.
Slide your needle under the two straight stitches without catching the fabric.
Put your needle down at the same spot again, after passing under the straight stitches.  This forms sort of a detached chain stitch whose top end has been caught by the straight stitches.  Bring your needle up to the left and above to be in position for the second stitch.


You can see the first stitch clearly here, with the two staight stitches and attached chain. You continue on in this manner, making the two straight stitches each time, followed by the chain, as seen below.


I think this is fairly clear - hope so anyway!  Continue on and you end up with a line of Wheatear stitch.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EAC 2010 ATC Swap

Over the last couple days I have received six Artist Trading Cards (aka ATCs) in the mail for the six I sent in for the 2010 Embroidery Association of Canada ATC Swap.  I couldn't wait to take pictures of the ones I received and show them off here!
This first one came from Judith Best, who belongs to the Quinte Needlearts Guild in Ontario.  It is Sashiko-Hirasan-Kuzushi.
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This next one is by T.K.Torme of Vancouver, British Columbia.  The tiny cross stitch on this is delightful.


This colourful piece of art was made by Deb Blackmore, also of Ontario.  This is just as textural as it looks, all these fibers are held in place by the metallic threads.
Bonnie Cook from Norfolk's Own Needlearts Guild made this lovely bouquet of flowers, above.

The fifth one, above, was stitched by Sandra Jupp of Simcoe County Embroidery Guild in Ontario.  It is lovely counted thread work embellished with beads for added sparkle.
Last, but by no means least, the sixth ATC I received is lovely silk ribbon embroidery and was created by Liz Wilken in Ontario.

I would like to send a big thank you to the ladies who made these beautiful ATCs - I will treasure them.  I love that EAC does this swap every year!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Using Easter Egg dyes for Lace

Well, all the packages of easter egg dye that I had are in the mail and arriving at their destinations.  Thank you to everyone who left a comment to enter the giveaway - I had enough dye to send to most of you.  For those who signed up too late, the dyes will soon be on sale for Easter and after Easter they are a real bargain! 
I thought I would share a photo of a lace motif I dyed using the easter egg dyes.  As you can see, they are bright!  lol  Sometimes, though, this is just what you need for a project like this one - my honking orange bag.
Also, thought it might be useful to share how I used these.  Basically I just followed the directions on the package, dissolving the dye tablet in water and vinegar as directed.  When the lace was the colour I wanted I took it out and rinsed it until the water ran clear.  Let it dry then set the dye by ironing the lace and that's all there is to it!  Very easy and fun!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Blog is Carbon Neutral

Thank you to Wendy at Stitchduchess Crazy and Sane Quilting World for pointing the way to this!  `My Blog is Carbon Neutral`started in Germany by the `Make it Green`people.  The goal is to reduce carbon emissions.  How can you help?  Blog about their mission, put their button on your blog, and email them a link.  They plant a tree for your blog and you have just neutralized your blog`s carbon footprint for 50 years.  Your tree will be planted by `The Arbour Day Foundation`in spring of this year.  Be good to our mother earth!  Go to http://www.kaufda.de/umwelt/carbon-neutral/how-you-can-join/ for more information and then do your part!  Thanks!

Another Wedge of my Christmas Tree Skirt!

I recently received a wonderful treat in the mail - another wedge of my big work in progress!  This is the second wedge of my dresdan plate style Christmas tree skirt that Leslie has done for me - isn't it gorgeous!?  That little girl with the shovel is my favourite winter silkie of all time - I think the little one must live in Canada!  lol  I was really excited to see all the cross stitch Leslie did using the waste canvas technique.  With the ballerina, the Christmas tree and the Nutcracker the theme for this wedge is obvious.  I love nutcrackers and have happy memories of taking the kids to see The Nutcracker at Christmas time when they were little.

Here is a closer look at some of the cross stitch Leslie did - the Christmas tree and the nutcracker.  There is a lot of work here!  I love the way the silkie is trimmed out using a stitched seam treatment - a nice change from the trims usually used.  I noticed how the seam treatments are all the same colours - ties it together nicely!

Here is a photo of the nutcracker and the ballerina.  I love the way Leslie added the ribbon to the ballerina!

One last photo - shows the ballerinas ribbon nicely and also shows some of the embroidered fabric that I used piecing the block originally.  I love to find embroidered pieces on my travels to the thrift stores and incorporate them into my piecing. 

Thank you Leslie for all your wonderful stitching - I will treasure this always!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BAS - Week 50 - Fly Stitch & Fern Stitch

This week I have decided to feature both Fern Stitch and Fly Stitch since they look so similar.  The main difference is in how they are constructed.  The first series of photos below are Fly Stitch.  Many thanks to Betty Pilsbury, whose little `shoulder-shoulder-belly button` mantra helps in making these stitches!


Fly stitch is a close relative of feather stitch.  You start by coming up at the left shoulder and take your needle down at the right shoulder, bringing it up in the center below the two, making sure that the loop of thread is under the point of your needle so that it forms a "V" (think shoulder-shoulder-belly button).

Then you form a vertical straight stitch, taking your needle down directly below and bringing it up in position to start the next stitch.


This second stitch is taken the same way (shoulder-shoulder-belly button). The lower point of the `V`is at the base of the straight stitch portion of the previous fly stitch.



This is how a vertical line of fly stitch appears.

To make a horizontal line of fly stitch, you begin the same way (shoulder-shoulder-belly button).


In this example, the straight stitch at the bottom is very tiny.  Note that you bring your needle up again back at the right shoulder to begin your next stitch.


Shoulder-shoulder-belly button again, making the small straight stitch at the bottom and coming back up at the right shoulder to begin the next stitch.


Here is the completed horizontal line of fly stitch.



Although it is very similar in appearance, the fern stitch is made of three separate straight stitches.  Bring your needle up at the left shoulder and down at the belly button.  Bring the needle back up at the right shoulder.


The first two straight stitches have formed the `V`.  Now bring your needle up directly below where you went down at the point of the `V`to form the third straight stitch.

These three straight stitches have formed the `Y`shape of the fern stitch.



Bring your needle back up at the left shoulder and down at the belly button, then back up at the right shoulder again to form the second fern stitch.

Carry on in the same manner to form a vertical line of fern stitch.  You can see in this picture the green lines of stitching are fly stitch and the varigated row of stitches being worked are fern stitch.  Both of these stitches are good for foliage and I am using them here to form the basis for a floral motif.

So, for this week`s Build a Seam (BAS) Challenge, we`ll look at these two stitches and experiment with either or both of them.  Have fun!



My entry for Design a Notecard Contest

The Embroidery Association of Canada (EAC) is holding a contest called Design a Notecard.  The entries will be on display at the EAC National Seminar in Saskatchewan and the winners will be photographed and used for a set of Notecards to be sold by EAC.  This is my entry.  Sorry about the photo - the colour is pretty washed out on it. 
The background fabric is a pale yellow silk and the fan is pieced of blue and purple silks.  I used pearl cotton for all the seam treatments on the fan blades as well as for appliquing the fan to the background, using buttonhole stitch.  The gold lace at the top of the fan is a purchased trim.  At the base of the fan I appliqued a black faux leather quarter circle.  To this faux leather I attached a cameo trim selvaged from some thrift store jewelry, attaching it with gold seed beads like a cabachon.  I added some dangly bits of beads and a little cluster of assorted gold beads.  I am fairly pleased with how it turned out, thanks to advice from my friend Leslie who talked me through several revisions.   So, now it is ready to mail off and will actually arrive in time at its destination which is a bonus since I am the Queen of Procrastination!  lol

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Little Giveaway - Some Fun for Lace Dyeing

I have way more packages of Easter Egg dyes than I need.  These are a fun way to dye lace - you get very bright vivid colours and it is very easy to do.  So, if you would like to give it a try the first five comments on this post will get a package.  Please leave your email address in your post - I will contact you then for your snail mail address.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And yet another great giveaway!

Doesn't this look scrumptious?!  If you run on over to Nicki Lee's Raviolee Dreams you will find this great giveaway in celebration of Nicki Lee's brand new Etsy shop. Congratulations to Nicki Lee on this new adventure she is taking - you are going to love all her beautiful hand dyed lace!

Well, I think I am spending too much time cruising around on the internet looking at these goodies and not enough time stitching!  lol So, I'll get back to my needle and thread now and my next post will be something I'm stitching!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another wonderful giveaway to check out!

Run on over to Sew Fantastic and check out the wonderful giveaway she is having of 25 Kona fat quarters!  It would be like winning a rainbow - lol!  She will be drawing a name on Sunday, March 14th so don't waste any time in getting over there and getting your name in. 

This really gets me in the mood to have another giveaway - I'm going to have to put my thinking cap on about that!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Debbie's Spider & Web II Round Robin Block

Well, Debbie's block is finally heading home to her in this round robin.  We had a couple hiccups and I ended up having the block back to do some "round robin angel" stitching on.  If you are not familiar with the term, CQI makes use of round robin angels, folks who stand in the wings and pick up the slack and finish up stitching for anyone when life gets in the way.  It helps to keep the round robins ticking over and is another way we have of making sure everyone gets their block back finished at the end of the round robin.  So, above you can see the completed block and below you can see a few details of what I did this go around.

For this motif, I hand-dyed some lace using Adirondack Alcohol Inks and then added several premade flowers in the center.  The seam below the motif was a double herringbone stitch done in two colours of perle cotton with trios of detached chain stitch on one colour of the herringbone.

I picked up a couple of these little beaded bees at the bead store last year at the CQI retreat in Breckenridge and finally got around to using one here on Debbie's block. 


I made this spider web using Kreinik blending filament and braid.  The spider was made with a couple of silver beads.  I am really starting to like the way these fat butted spiders turn out!  lol

Well, you can see a few more seam treatments I did in this picture as well as the small applique butterfly and the larger purple one.  The purple one was made with two matching pieces of butterfly fabric.  You cut down the center of each butterfly and then pin the wings right sides together and stitch around each one.  Then you turn them right side out again and attach them to the block in the center and use the beads for the body to cover up any of the mechanics of it that are showing.  So, you end up with a butterfly whose wings are separate from the background fabric - very three dimensional.  This is a technique I learned from Janet and I just love it.  The antennae are embroidered on the background fabric.

Well, this is the end of my little pile of "angel stitching" I have been working on for about the last month.  Now I can get back to a few of my own things that have been waiting, like my AAQI quilt.