Friday, September 24, 2010

love shack

... so i really couldn't watch all those new fabrics spin around in the washer and dryer with out playing with them first... so i cut 2 inch strips off of each of the fat quarters and had a date night with my innocent crush ;-) i may pay for not pre-washing the fabrics first, oh well...
i have been really loving house blocks lately as i dive head first into quilting. for a while i felt like all this sewing was a detour from my ceramic work and painting that i had to take while my children were young.... but i'm beginning to realize that it has developed so naturally from my artistic interests all along. one of the reasons i love ceramic art is because of its functionality. i love the idea of people using, physically interacting with my artwork... that seems to give it so much of a life beyond the original creation of the piece.
i love that a quilt has such a physical presence, so many ways to experience it, places to use it... and of course people to love it... i love that it is something that can have such a long life, such a story to tell. i love to think of the generational aspect of a quilt's life. we have some quilts that have been in my husband's family and i love the connection i feel with his great aunt, whom i have never met. by studying her fabric choices and the stitches her hand's made i feel like i know her, perhaps in a more intimate way than i do my own great aunt....
i know that i am rambling, but i have wanted to express my defense of quilting and fabric arts. sometimes i hear a voice in the back of my head telling my that i am not really an artist... my friends from the art department that went on the get MFAs and show in galleries are 'really' artists and i am just wasting my degree. i know that is ridiculous, i just need to remind myself sometimes. seriously- anyone who has seen the quilts from gee's bend shown in a museum next to abstract expressionistic paintings cannot deny that they most certainly hold their own... and i personally would argue that they have a depth that i often find lacking in "professional" art.

but, back to these darling house blocks. isn't the image, the idea of a home...especially an imperfect one, such a comfort? i'm always drawn to them...
(if you click on the link under the picture you can see some close-ups... my computer isn't cooperating with me right now, so i can't post them directly)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm smiling today...

...As I think about my darling little ones...
....And how much fun we had this morning at the botanical garden together...

....Just us... No stroller, no diaper bag... Ok, I did have a little bag with my credit card, my phone, a sippy cup, and a pouch sling that was hardly used.

Here they are trotting along to the children's garden for storytime. I think this is one of my favorite pictures to date!

This little pile of fabric waiting to be washed is making me smile. I got a fat quarter selection of Anna Maria Horner's newest line of fabric- innocent crush... It wasn't supposed to be in stores until November but a shop (whipstitch) here got it in yesterday... And I am thrilled that I obsessively had them cut and hold the fabric for me b/c by the time I got there some of the fabrics had already sold out!

I am also smiling because I have two children exhaustedly napping and I am heading to the basement to work on a very special quilt for a couple who will be forming a new family as they wed in a couple of months...
Anything making you smile?
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

fluffy twirly scrappy skirt tutorial.... finally

i forgot all about doing this tutorial for y'all! i have had the lovely pictures just waiting... and i think i had notes on exact measurements as well.... but, as this particular project was done during the flooded basement/ studio upheaval period of time, that i still remember with dread... well, those measurements are long gone. so instead you get to make this a couture garment-- made to measure ;-) which is best b/c my sizing isn't standard anyway...
the best fabric for this super gathered skirt is a light weight fabric such as cotton voile. i used anna maria horner's little folks. if you do a search for supplies on and look for voile you should find some you like. i have made this skirt a variety of ways... but the basic idea is to decide on exactly how fluffy and long you to want it... get a skirt that you can measure to start your figuring.
*you will decide the length from the bottom of the waist band... add extra in for your seam and hem allowance (i used a hemming foot to make a narrow rolled hem, so only added about an inch for hem allowance)... i made a lining and let it hang about an inch longer to add interest.
for the skirt on anna(the skirt in the tutorial process pictures is actually a different one from the one on anna- sorry for the confusion- the one in the tutorial is a newborn size gift i made later) i cut my "scraps" 8 inches long and between 4" and 6.5" wide to add variety. i used 13 different pieces. this is an area where you can really personalize this skirt. you can use one fabric for the whole thing, alternate between two or three prints, or use a wide variety like i did...
*place your "scraps" in the order you like best and then sew them together to get your top layer panel. then cut a lining/under skirt the same width and if you choose, an inch longer. the finished width of the scrappy panel of anna's skirt was 59"... made a VERY fluffy skirt!
*pin the two layers together, both front sides facing up, and sew two long gathering stitches across the top edge. i do this by placing the fabric with the edge at the edge of the foot and making one line of stitches with the needle in the far rt. position and the putting the fabric back where it started and doing another line with the needle in the far lft. position.
* next cut a rectangle of fabric for the waist band. the width of this rectangle will be determined by the width of elastic you choose and the length should be long enough get the skirt on can measure your baby at the widest spot (her big ole diapered bottom) and probably add about 4-6 inches to that to make it easy to fit over said bottom as you pull the skirt up. the waist band piece on anna's skirt was ~ 27" long.
* lay the waist band fabric over the skirt panel(s) with right sides facing each other. gather the skirt fabric so the the edges of the skirt meet the edges of the waist panel.
*fuss with the gathered fabric until it is evenly distributed along the waist band and pin it together.
* sew the waist band to the skirt.
* press that seam open and the fold the waist fabric over toward the inside of the skirt to make a channel for the elastic... again the width of this channel will depend on the width of your chosen elastic.
* pin fabric so that the edge is folded under and extends just beyond the previously sewn joining seam. (don't know if that wording makes sense... study the picture?)
*sew with the front side facing up so that you can make a neatly hidden seam right along the joining of the skirt and waist band. i go slowly and check the underside frequently to be sure the folded fabric on the underside will be caught in the stitching.
* run the elastic through the waist band channel.
* now you will fold the long panel in half with right (front) side facing inward to close up the side of the skirt.
* sew the waist band closed catching both ends of the elastic in the stitching.
*sew the the top layer closed separately from the bottom layer. this is very tricky to do neatly and completely. all i can say is- try the best you can and know that i am not a professional pattern designer! there may not be a correct way to do this ;-)
* once each layer is sewn closed, all you have to do is hem the bottom of both layers! i highly recommend a hem foot!
ta da!!
once again-- this skirt is different from the one anna is wearing at the very top of the post. it was a newborn size that i made as a gift. it is significantly less fluffy... and as i mentioned before, i lost the measurements... sorry!
i also want to add a note about the waist band fabric. i did anna's with two layers of voile. i scrunches up a lot and i would have preferred it if it had been quilting weight, or voile lined with quilting weight... i have since made a skirt out of old jeans and i made the waist band channel for elastic out of quilting weight with a lightweight interfacing ironed on to help it keep its shape.

*** ok--- please post pictures (or links to them ) in the comments if you actually use this tutorial... it may be poorly done, but i did try and would love the reward of seeing other creations! ;-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

tucked in

i did get his quilt finished for his 3rd birthday! he has been sleeping under it since then... hurray!here's our little fellow puckering up... duck in hand, in his red big boy bed... and don't forget to note the quilt... you know, the one i made out of 300 squares and hand sewed all the quilting (through denim backing even!)... and no, it did not turn me off to quilting, or even hand quilting... i'm slowly making my way through a queen size now... but i can tell you-- no more denim backs for hand quilted pieces!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Girl band

On a whim (and based on an idea my sewing buddy had) I whipped up this little head band for Anna today.

She was so generous to sit still while I photographed it... I could tell she was excited to be posing for a picture ;)

All I did was cut a piece of elastic to fit around her head, then I cut a strip of fabric about 4-5 inches longer... Mine was a bit wider than 2 inches b/c that is what worked with my width of elastic. However, you can make it whatever width you would like...
I folded the fabric and sewed a tube... Turned it right side out, ran the elastic through it, then pinned each end of elastic to each end of the tube of fabric. Next I stretched the tube long as I sewed a long wide zig zag stitch down the center. After that all I had to do was connect the ends... And of course embellish if that is your taste;) I put a felt circle with a couple of buttons layered on top to hidden my closure. Finally, baby fine hair out of fine looking baby face!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 13, 2010

ok ok... i'll update

i realized that i hadn't uploaded pictures from my camera in a while... i guess it had been four months! here are some pictures from the big three and thirty bash we had for our is rather rare that we are all in a picture frame together... hoping for everyone to be looking at the camera and smiling is an awful lot to ask ;-)
elisha definitely enjoy being king for the day... his crown was a big hit... and so was the cake...
what our birthday cake lacks in beauty and cuteness, it makes up for in tastiness. the day will come when elisha will ask for a cake that looks like ___ , but until that day comes we will all be enjoying a cream cheese pound cake to celebrate !
it was such a wonderful evening... so many friends, good bbq, above mentioned pound cake, bubbles, and for the older birthday boy- pbr and horse shoes. it was a big kick-off... getting used to summer nights...
... andrew and i just sat outside after putting the kids to bed. we enjoyed some blue bell homemade vanilla with cut up peaches... it was a bit chilly out to be eating ice cream... my my we are rounding the curve in the season circle...

my sister has been giving me a hard time about updating my blog.... so here's to you sis ;-)