24 December 2007

23 December 2007

Work Space

Best Pre-Christmas Gift: there will be more work space for me and my crafting, complete with a Daylight Company lamp and tv set.

Before:



In between:

Old Year Resolution: check!

Remember that I had Old Year and New Year Resolutions? Just before Christmas, I managed to check the old year resolution off my list:







Organised into different sections: cooking & baking, travel, art & architecture, biographies, photography and quilting, family publications, poetry and alphabetised novels. Some books had to be relegated to the guest room, there just wasn't enough space.

Knitting - it's the new Punk!

If one of our biggest national Sunday papers is to be believed, knitting is the new punk. Furthermore, it's healthy as is lowers the knitter's blood pressure (obviously, they never screened knitters who drop stitches) ...

Therefore, I'm knitting a Chevron Scarf for my sweet little Paula:

12 December 2007

Required Reading



In previous years, this basket held a portion of the girls' gifts, this year I broke it out earlier (because I like baskets in general) and arranged our Christmas library in it.

8 December 2007

Total Lack of Focus



and it's not my fault ;-) I need to finish the Christmas mail and gift wrapping, we've baked six sheets of bisquits (with two more kinds to follow), shot the Christmas photo and finalised the German version of the Christmas Letter.

Also, with my husband taking a flat in the town where his new job is because it is too tedious a commute, I will be having more space for my art and craft things. Which causes me to drag my feet until I have my area set up in two weeks' time.

And then there was the small matter of a new books and two skeins of yarn.

6 December 2007

Christmas Decorations ...



are what is taking up most of my free time: the wreath, a garland decorated with baubles, little knick knacks here and there as well as the advent calendars filled with chocolates.

Happy Sankt Nikolaus!

5 December 2007

How to make a witch's hat

Paula needed a witch's hat for her Sankt Nikolaus party and dance at the local "turnverein". Saint Nicholas is a big deal here in Germany and a good occasion to bump any old Christmas party forward a bit.

She and "her posse" were to perform a dance involving witches cooking up some magical brew. And it was wrongly assumed that everyone had a witch's hat at home. Since we either do animals or princesses for Carnival and I neglected to send my friend to her local carnival store to procure one for me, I had to whip one up myself:









Took me about 90 minutes, didn't fit quite right but she can grow into it. I might add a shiney and wider brim.

3 December 2007

Slowly taking the Fear out of Basting

I had just unpacked my can of spray glue, when I came across this nifty One Way to Baste tutorial.

Given that my husband will move to a new location for work and taking a few pieces of furniture from our office / den, I will have more workspace and floor space. And I will trial this method on my MIL quilt first, then on the Friendly Dragon quilt.

29 November 2007

Resolutions

I have two:
"Old Year Resolution" - I am determined to organise my rather large bookshelf in the lounge. It hosts the majority of my "library" plus silver frames and vases. When we moved in, the packers simply shoved any and all books they could find onto the shelves as they took them out of the boxes and the books have remained in that disorder ever since.

Usually, I separate cook books from travel guides, biographies, and "coffee table books" and group each lot together. Then I alphabetise the rest. Sounds like a horrendous amount of work but actually isn't all that bad.

And I am planning to have that done by the end of the year, meaning ideally December 29 because we'll have guests from December 30 into the New Year.

"New Year Resolution" - a gratitude journal with minimum one entry per day. A few days ago, I bought Park Avenue, a magazine featuring interviews of celebrities. It came with a neat little black diary, which gave me the idea. My plan is to keep this in the drawer of my nightstand together with a pen and make my entry before I switch off the lights. So much to be grateful for ... I'd like to be able to look back on all those little things to stop them slipping from my consciousness.

28 November 2007

Fiddle-dee-dee

Instead of folding laundry last night, I attempted to mark the swirly lines with my aforementioned colour pencils, no dice! Apparently, they only really work on plain FLAT cotton. Oh well, so I wielded my needle and used thread to mark the lines. I'm quite pleased with the result, less so with the photo:

Chemical Solution

Also, I have sort of found a solution to my "attachment" and "bunching" issues with the dragon quilt: spray on glue from Prym. It should arrive on Friday ... yet another reason to dread continuing working on that quilt.

26 November 2007

Such a fiddler

I am! I found a few spots on my Turning Twenty quilt where more of the white thread was showing than I would have liked. So I added more beads. And at the rate I am going, I have to un-declare it done, because I just know I will add beading to the center.

Ages ago, I bought cheap-oh coloured pencils at our local Aldi in Didsbury, Manchester. They smell funny but they are just GREAT for marking fabric. I guess it is because they are a bit soft ... but the yellow works really well on dark fabrics. And I will probably add a swirly design picking up on the lines pre-determined by the earlier bits of beading.

So the TT saga continues.

Future Gifts - yet another addition to my list of UFOS

UFO - redefined as unstarted fabric object. Oh well ... I was going through some of the links I added a few weeks back and decided I was going to drop those. But I wanted to hold onto the Rice Heat Therapy Bag Tutorial over on Sew Mama Sew. One day I will turn them into a gift for my god-daugher, for whom I also plan on doing a Chinese Coin quilt from some of that Kaffe Fassett extravaganza I purchased when I was bored time before last.

Can you see a pattern: links or ebay ... I'm bored.

24 November 2007

Christmas Preparations

are full and well underway. I also remembered to order gifts for myself ... such as a Daylight Company lamp for my soon to be set-up craft area:

and a new bigger cutting mat.

I'm more than halfway through my Christmas correspondence:

but need to take a photo of the girls to include in the cards.

My Advent wreath is done as well:

Before: the new trend appears to be needles and leaves ...


and I think I'm getting a bit sick of this "design" that I had for about five years. I may try something new next year.


And my little helpers were manufacturing gifts.

23 November 2007

Snug as a bug in a rug

Last year I made my hubby lug most of my potted plants into our garage, where he then had to construct a contraption holding a plant light set by a timer. I then constantly forgot watering so that he had to do that too ...

This year I went and bought bubble wrap and red gift wrapping bows et voilĂ :



I hear it's all the rage amongst plants this year.

19 November 2007

Patterns galore

I'm drooling: Robert Kaufman's Quilt Patterns, I especially like Color Theory and Kasuri Gesiki.

Quilt Retreat Bad Herrenalb 2008

I am currently trying to book myself into the Quilt Retreat in Bad Herrenalb, Black Forrest, in October 2008. It has limited places still available. And I have a plan for a quilt based on a San Francisco street map. I spent one semester attending SFSU in 1992 and this would be a nice way of remembering ...

13 November 2007

All in a day's work

After doing the math, then cutting too many squares, I set off to iron them into individual prairie points just in time for the UFO sewing evening at my local quilt shop.


Before ...


... and afffer - I was slightly tipsy.

12 November 2007

I did the math and something stupid

Calling all Readers for Help!

It would seem that my iron is now full of the gluey gunk from ironing Vlieseline (German version of wonderunder, it appears) ... sigh and I need to find a way to remove it. Any ideas?

Also, I have done measurements and maths and found that I need to do a staggering 158 prairie points for the Dragon Quilt. Man, it'd better be appreciated!

Which leads me pretty directly to my next challenge: the backing will be fleece. And that is prone to wrinkling ... I plan on making a frame of sorts for the fleece in order to stabilise it. Then I remembered reading something about starch to stabilise stretchy fabrics. Has anyone ever tried that? I'm mainly worried about getting it washed out again after ...

And I think I must make something else for my other godchild just to level the playing field.

i LOVE frogs

and simply must do this one one day: The Purl Frog and pattern.

It reminds me of a climbing frog toy I used to have as a child - now I'm wondering where that has gotten too, must ask Mum.

And while I was at it, I found the perfect pattern to make napkins for my best friend. I gave her a table runner and cushions last year and got some extra fabric ... and this is the perfect simple tutorial.

11 November 2007

Collecting Avent Ideas

Check out these tutorials:
Advent Calendar with white-and-red felt envelopes.

and this one:

from the MollyChicken blog.

I think if I ever do one it will be the second one, seems less fiddly-repetitive and more fun with all the possibilities for embellishment.

9 November 2007

Self-Portrait



A kid at my daughter's kindergarten drew this self portrait and I think it's brilliant.

Last Minute Gifts

When I grew up, my mum always said that hand-made gifts were a lot more valuable than store-bought (my mother-in-law is of the opposite conviction and what does that tell you?). I love making things for other people - obviously! So the



is right up my alley. I have also ordered those two gems:




They will become part of my "advent calendar" that I am making for my husband and myself: we both get a gift per Advent Sunday.

4 November 2007

Turning Twenty Done!







Nothing like finishing one quilt only to avoid working on another one ...

I love that it's wrinkly and looking "old and used". And I'mn pleased with my embellishments. I will reshoot the top photo because it is awfully blurry.

3 November 2007

Christmas Count-Down



We started on crafting Christmas gifts, among them these window garlands.

May I mention that the list of which gifts to get for whom is complete and that the first batch has been ordered along with a pile of cards? I am even more frighteningly organised than I was last year. Talk about OCD!

2 November 2007

Done!



All done, embroidered and bound. Off to the framer on Friday, hopefully, depending on when the washing machine repairman shows up.

1 November 2007

Finishing an UFO

I started this little thing (for the lack of a better word) about five years ago.



The binding is raw silk, part of the loot I made on ebay about three years ago ... and I will take this little piece off to the framer to have it framed. Only thing I need to find is a spot to hang it, probably the guest room.

31 October 2007

June, July, August, September ... December!

Not long till Christmas and looking around my desk with the long list of Christmas shopping as well as blogland with instructions for gorgeous things, I am trying to get into the swing of things.

Have a look at this expertly done Mitten Ornament Tutorial. I might try to do a few of those and I'm pretty sure you could emulate that into a sock pattern as well.

29 October 2007

Paying it Forward (PIF)

This should be interesting! As some know, I cannot resist things made by Kristin LaFlamme ... and when she offered a PIF, I had to open my mouth saying, I want one too ... She then asked me under the terms and conditions of her PIF whether I just wanted a fiber post card or whether I'd want the post card and PIF three items.

So, here it goes: I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

25 October 2007

Links Land

Because I was bored - a common state around here these days - I clicked through my links and found that they needed to be updated. Here are a few new ones that will eventually find their way to a more permanent home:

(moved links to more permanent home ...)

Quilt Scrapbook


What a marvelous idea! I considered making small scrap quilts or postcards from scraps stemming from quilts for special people. But I might as well turn them into a collage. Thanks, GraceeWhite!

quilt scrapbook2
Originally uploaded by graceewhite

24 October 2007

Vlieseline has arrived ...

and I am dreading it! On second thought, I could always divert myself with starting the prairie points ... all the measuring up and fretting that will take!

23 October 2007

All dots present

and vlieseline ordered ... we are making good progress here!



The fuzziness is awful but you can see the creature with all its spots.

Meanwhile I have made plans for a birthday quilt for my mother-in-law who turns 75 next February. I'll use one of my many Bassetti panels - see UFOs No 10 - and a jewel coloured fleece blanket. Easy and quick enough. With maximum effect hopefully, as my housewife sister-in-law will no doubt purchase a gift (insert evil grin here).

Done: one Lion with refurbished ears and highlights



Iaio aka Lion has successfully gone through ear reconstruction surgery and as a reward had his head of hair fixed.



He now comes with highlights ;-)



And this will hopefully be the temporary end to posts involving him.

21 October 2007

How to fix a lion's ears:

My younger daughter loves chewing her lion's ears, which makes them disappear, which makes her cry. I have therefore been enlisted to fix them. For the second time. This lion has already had a new suit made and new ears. All that remains of said ears is the fabric I used on the front. The terry-cloth of the original ears has been chewed off. They are literally hanging by a thread.



I've been putting off this project - much as the repeat fixing of Entie, the Duck - for weeks, under much protest. Now I've settled on Anchor embroidery thread and crocheted two ears that will be affixed to the fabric from last year's surgery.



Lion also needs to have his hair fixed, which I will just mend using embroidery thread and needle. One of the bonusses of this project was that I had to hunt for my crocheting and embroidery needles that I had not seen since about three moves ago. And I found them!!!

20 October 2007

Courage, she muttered ...



I have started sort of assembling the Friendly Dragon in order to see what's what. This is the dragon on its background. It seems much darker in the photo than in real life.



So far, I'm pleased with the results ... or rather, I was until I realised that I had apparently forgotten some of the creature's dots.



I'll finish those tonight. Then the plan is to steam-iron every part to within an inch of its life to safely remove the pins and paper. I'll use bondaweb to actually assemble the whole thing. Once that's done, I'll machine-quilt it all to its background. Once the whole thing is lined, I'll hand-quilt around the dragon.

The backing of the quilt will be a light blue fleece blanket with a dark blue frame for stability. The frame I still need to construct. Lots of machine-sewing in my near future!

17 October 2007

Like I'm not distracted enough

I think I found a suitable pattern for all my Kaffe Fassett fabric: A Chinese Coin Quilt like this one: Taken from MaryQuilts.com
This graphic originates from Maryquilts.com and when you click on it, this is where you will be taken.

16 October 2007

Changed my mind again ...

So, here I am beading this flower to go onto my Turning Twenty quilt, that I already used during a quick nap yesterday and found it to be very comfy and just-warm-enough. The flower in and of itself is coming along nicely but I had second thoughts about it going with the quilt, so I unfolded it and looked at the whole thing and decided: naw!



I have now decided to apply leaves lightly adorned with beads. The leaves are made from left-overs of the fabrics used in the quilt. I may even venture into my laundry room to fiddle with bondaweb or similar to help with the fraying. Also, for the embroidery, I may indulge in some thread other than the one pictured because I'm looking for something more chunky.

What will become of the half-finished flower? I do not know!

13 October 2007

Fretting and choking slightly

So, here it is: I'm making quite good headway prepping the individual pieces of what will become Harrison's Friendly Dragon. Most spots are finished, the head and body. Tonight I will finish the other leg and flames



Making good headway also means that I am nearing an impasse. I dread having to decide how to mount this onto its background. I fear that it will not line up properly and that the fabric will bunch and wrinkle. In short: I'm having all sorts of nightmares ... so much so that I think I'll rather move onto the spikey binding aka "prairie points".

Notice how today there are two posts labeled "random ramblings" ... oooops!

Treading water ...

I do not know what it is but whenever I go away on holiday, it really very much disrupts my quilting. Remember how I went away in late August? Well, I'm only now getting back onto the horse. It is ridiculous!



And instead of working on what I am supposed to be working, I'm embellishing, which is nice and fun and all, but will not get my project finished by late November.



What is she doing, you wonder? Above photo shows one area where I trimmed too much and now the seams are unravelling. So - much in the same way as here - I am fixing by adding encrustations:



Only that so far, I am much happier with my earlier attempt. That bloom - yes, that is what it is - will have to become a lot more bloom-like. Maybe by adding foilage? Stay tuned to find out.

27 September 2007

Proud Owner of 80 4 inch Kaffe squares

all paid for and awaiting shipment. Now I need to wait for the other auction and go through my stash looking for the other Kaffe fabrics I bought last year. Then I can decide on a size. It might be a warming winter quilt for myself ...

Cleaning up

Because I am bored, I am weeding out my nav bar and a few of those links will have to go: Artist Quilters' Sites:
Amy Climer, Lynne Heller, Karen Kamenetzky, Susan Carlson, Patty Hawkins, Barbara Watler, Eleanor McCain, Debra Danko, Jane Sassaman, Jeanne Raffer Beck, Paula Nadelstern, Mary Manahan

I'm bored so I eBay


and purchase Kaffe Fassett fabrics. There are 40 squares, 2 per design, sized 4 inches, in the pack. I'm bidding on a second pack of the same and on this one as well:


More Kaffe fabric ... I think I will just maschine them together as squares and simply quilt them. The sizing will depend entirely on how many of those packs I'm getting so keep your fingers crossed.

Maybe I should automatically file this post under "UFOs" ... ;-)