Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Tutorial and your help is needed!

The design team is at it again!  Jana is up with her uber fab  tutorial.
I have to tell you, Jana has to be one of the funniest people I have ever met.   I mean hilarious.   Go and read a few posts on her blog, and I know you will agree.  This quilt is fast, cute and oh so cuddly.  Read about it here.

Now I am going to need your help... Amanda, our fearless leader of the design team has us in Summer Camp.   She has us making a Glamp!   See awesome photo:
Hardware cover image smaller
Now I admit, this is pretty cool.  She sent me all the hardware and the kit.   When I say 'sent', I mean she mailed the team their Glamp packages.   The rest of the team got theirs.   The Glamp is due August 11th.   Guess what lonely Canadian doesn't have her Glamp package yet?   (I'll give you a hint, I am Canadian)  Did I mention it was due August 11th?

Amanda is having prizes, so if you want to participate you can order a Glamp kit here.

Don't worry if you can't participate, dear sweet Amanda is giving us prizes to give out.

 In the meantime, if you have any crazy ideas how I can totally make my Glamp beautiful via many, many embellishments, please leave a comment.   It would be so appreciated as I only have till August 11th, and don't even have my kit yet.  Have I mentioned that yet?

I guess that would be really embellishing if I had to actually make the whole Glamp including hardware?

 Do you think the team would notice if I mod podged fabric around a balloon and stuck a flashlight up the hole?   I would call it the 'Glampalloon'.  I just know my faithful followers would vote best all around Glamp, wouldn't they?  Well, I bet you would if I promised you fabric=)

There is also the option of just rolling fabric around a candle till it gets really thick and lighting the 'Glampandle'.   Now I may have to just light this in the tub or on a lake.

I could potentially glue squares on the front of my microwave and when I reheat my mashed potatoes, the 'Glamprowave' will light up.  

What about quilting some covers over the headlights on my car and calling it the 'Glampmobile'?

I guess we all better hope I get my package soon, before things get really ridiculous around here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quilting Arts Challenge

My friend Cheryl over at the Quilting Arts forum is having a challenge called 'Earth, Water, Fire and Air'.   It is pretty open ended and you just have to make a quilt.

I had this really wild piece of fabric I had dyed and just didn't know what to do with until this challenge came along.   I decided to thread paint my version of fire.   The fabric reminded me of all the forest fires that happen each summer here in Canada.   They literally devastate huge areas of land.   The fires are certainly not pretty little campfires, but huge and massive and angry and destructive.   The fabric reminded me of that.  

I didn't draw out a shape, but let my hand and machine do the drawing.   Please feel free to comment.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Fabric and Creating Fabric

As promised, I have a whole whack of new fabric to show you.   First off is the stuff I bought from Ikea.   Up until a month ago, I didn't even know they sold fabric there.   By chance, I had to go to the closest city that has an Ikea store last week.  I might add that it is a mere 6 hour drive each way.   I planned my route so that the first stop would be Ikea, you know in case the family started getting restless, I had my priorities right.

Onto the fabric, there are so many things I love about this fabric.   It is not a quilters cotton, but  a heavy cotton, like a jean type fabric.   I bought it for purses and bags and maybe a secret juried quilt!   I must confess, I also bought it so I could keep the selvage where it says 'made in Sweden'.   Come on, how many of us have something that says that on it?   Not me anyway.

This next picture should really have a lifesaving device on it.   I had started a rather large art quilt using all my hand dyed fabric for the background and alot of Amanda's Sugar and Spice for the 3D embellishing to go on the front.   As I didn't have a complete sketch drawn out, just bits and pieces, I had no plans for borders and binding and more embellishing.   Then panic hit.... I wasn't going to have enough fabric!   Trying to remain calm, I quickly buzzed an email to fellow Design Team member Julie of the Intrepid Thread and begged her if she had any scraps left from her new etsy store.   Might I add, she always has fabric on sale, and the new stuff, not the old odds and ends.   I  personally wonder if she may be just have sniffed one too many bolts of fabric... but the deals are the best!

I am digressing, if you know Julie, she will turn the world upside down to get what you want.   Within an hour, and several emails, she had a bundle all packaged up and in the mail for me.   Not only that, look at the card that you get!  It is hand made and she wrote a lovely note inside.   What you didn't see is that the fabric was all wrapped in white tissue and neatly tied with purple ribbon.   There was no picture, because I was just about to explode when I got the fabric I was so excited.

A few days later, I received a package from Megan as I had  won some fabric over at Quiltstory.  This blog totally rocks.  It is upbeat, fun and oh so full of creativity and imagination.  I am sending back a cute little zippered pouch that I made, but don't tell=)

After all that excitement, I thought I better do some creating on my own.  

I had recently purchased some Setacolor paints.  These are the ones where you are supposed to be able to paint the fabric, lay objects on it and let dry in the sun.   I tried a small piece, didn't want to waste a whole yard of PFD fabric if it didn't work.  I was very skeptical and my only instructions were mix 1 part paint, 2 parts water, brush on, place objects on, and let dry in sun.  Seems a little too easy right?   
Well, keep your pants on, look at what happened!   It turned out exactly as it was supposed to.  I used some large washers I had in my studio and I painted on a textured piece of sidewalk.     I love the outcome.   Better get out the scissors and start cutting my PFD fabric in yards!

A few days ago, I happen to stumble across this site.  By using Sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol, I made this new fabric.

Can you totally see me using this in an art quilt?
I think I am all talked out about fabric, so better sign off.  (Correction:  I am never tired of talking about fabric, but I better get stitching with it=)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meet A Pellon Artist

This has been a very good summer.   I have some more news.

I am sure you have all heard of Pellon Inc.  They are the folks that make the superb batting we put in our quilts, the interfacing we sew with, the fusible webs we can't live without, and so much more.

I have been using their products for decades and adore them, like so many fellow quilters and seamstresses.

Now I have the pleasure of being one of their Project Artists.   I have done my teacup tutorial for them, as well as a fast and easy coaster tutorial.

I am currently working on a more advanced quilt project, and will let you know when I get that up.
I did promise you fabric pictures, and they are coming.   The mailman came today with two more lovely little packages, so I am working on a big post showing it all!  Stay tuned....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lola's Posies Broken Egg Quilt

It is hot!   What better way to celebrate the heat by looking at a totally fun summer quilt I made for Riley Blake Fabrics.   I used Lola's Posies and created this little masterpiece.   It was very fun and oh so cute.
For complete instructions, you can find it on Cutting Corners on the Riley Blake website.  Each egg is broken into 8 different pieces, and there are eggs in the top and bottom corners.   Go and check it out and feel free to leave a comment there=)
I have more exciting news to share, but a certain website is experiencing a glitch, so that will have to wait.

So let's smoosh some yucky news right in here.   Houston sent me a skinny email.   (translates to I didn't get into the biggest juried quilt show in the world..... again)   Realistically, I wasn't expecting to, and can't have too many good things happen at once, otherwise what would I strive for?   Insert a big LOL here.  

The best thing about hearing from Houston, is that they send their rejection letters by email.   So I hit 'delete' and pretended it never happened=)  Gotta love that 'delete' button.

Onto more good news, I read from one of my uber cool design team members that you can buy fabric at Ikea.   Coincidentally, I was in the neighbourhood of an Ikea store  a few days ago.   The fabric was amazing.  Now it is not a quilter's cotton, but more of a heavyweight cotton.   For bags or coats or table cloths.   And very inexpensive.   I will post pics of that later this week, but had to end on a good note.  Buying fabric is always a positive way to end a post!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Skirt Tutorial and News

It's Friday and that means that Johanna from our Design team has created a fantastic tutorial of how to make your own skirt.   How cool is that?   You create a pattern that fits you, not the 7 skinny models the store patterns were made for.  

When you are done reading how to make the skirt at The Quilted Fish, check out Johanna's blog.  She has really funky quilts on it.

On other good news, my quilt 'Bye Gram, I Love You' that was in the Sacred Threads exhibit is now on it's way home.  The show has ended and they have posted 34 of the 173 quilts on their website.  Can you guess where this is leading?   Yep, mine was chosen as one of the quilts to highlight this year's juried show.  It is the 10th one down on the page.

I will tell you, when I sat in my grandmother's chair stitching those 500 buttons onto the quilt, I never imagined that it would have such an adventurous life.   I am both thrilled and  amazed that it has struck such a cord with so many people in the quilting community.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Studio and Some Tips

I have had several people email me and ask to see what my studio looks like.   Therefore this post is dedicated to my studio.   Let me first put in a disclaimer, I did not clean it.   I am working on a couple of projects and did not want to put stuff away, only to have to haul it back out a few hours later when I resumed work on it.  Plus, if your studios are always neat, then really, well REALLY?

I also thought I would suggest some tips or things that work for me.   These are just my ideas, nothing out of a book, no surfing for  the perfect studio, but what works best for moi.

1.  Figure out if you use all sides of your cutting table... I used to have mine in the middle of my room, then realized I never used the other side of it, so I backed it against the window.  

2.  Don't clutter  your cutting table on the sides, this is so you have room to drape fabric over the sides for cutting.   Please do not use my cutting table as an example=)

3.  Always keep a sketch pad nearby to jot down ideas or notes as you never know when they crop up.
4.  Use the space under your sewing table and cutting table for storage, it is just wasted space otherwise.  And come on, we all have excess fabric to store.   I get those clear plastic stacking drawers that are on wheels.  Just make sure they will fit under it.  Don't ask me how I know this.  

5.  Keep scissors near your cutting table, not just fabric ones, but paper ones too.   When you need them, and you will, they are available.   I have a little stand I keep my pencils/pens, all my scissors, scotch tape, tape measure and sticky notes on.

6.  Get a design wall.   Seriously, you have no idea what a great perspective it is when you are in your studio, walking by it, or walking in it, to see your work on it.   Mine costs under $20.  It is 1" thick white styrofoam I purchased at my home building store.  I would highly recommend covering it with batting.   I used the cheapest white batting out there.   I have tried the super expensive sticky quilt wall, as well as the backs of table cloths and flannel.   The batting is great, most of my blocks stick, and when the quilt top gets too heavy I have some white pins on the side of the wall that I stick in to hold up the top.

7.  In my closets, okay I have two,  I keep fabric that I don't use often or don't need to see constantly.  For example, my flannel is in there, fabric  I use for backings, and my non cotton  fabrics.   I have them categorized in there, so I know which shelf they are on.   In the second  closet, is my ongoing stash of embellishments.  My yarns, fabrics for kids' costumes, and embroidery thread.  A girl can never have too many embellishments... especially a gal who has to 3D embellish every quilt.

8.  A while ago, I got some old shelving that was once used to store embroidery floss, a store was closing and getting rid of their stash.   I keep my needles,  extra rotary cutters, blades and spare note pads in there.  I also keep my paints and shiva paintstiks and polymer clay on top of the shelves.   (Yep, more embellishing stuff)

9.   On my large fabric shelving unit, I keep my cottons.   They are arranged by colour.  I did this a few years ago and love it.  Okay, now I have on 2 shelves, other fabric in front of the colours, but the colours are back there and I know they are there.   Those fabrics in the forefront are the latest lines and fabrics that I simply must do something with.   Okay, and you probably see the pieces of Tuck tape hanging off the outer edge of one of the shelves and the roll beside it?   Yes, I am thrifty.  (go ahead and think cheap too)  I use this stuff when I put down my backing on the floor.   This tape is the best I can find for letting me pull the backing super tight and not moving while I lay down the batting and then pin the top to it.   I reuse it for a couple of times and when it is too covered in thread, throw it out.   If you have never used it before, go to the hardware store and get some, it is amazing!

10.   Over by the window, I keep a table with my serger and old sewing machine on it.  Confession, I only had 2 sewing machines up until 2 months ago.  I know many that have 3 or more.   I didn't.  I had a 14 year old Janome that works great and my 12 year old serger.   The only reason I bought the Janome Horizon is because I wanted more space under the machine when I free motion quilted.   And honestly, so far the new machine has lots of little quirks that my old machine doesn't have.  Don't get me wrong, I do love it and haven't tried the zillion stitches or different threads through it, and it does do fmq beautifully, but it isn't perfect.

11.  I have my new Janome on the table that it came with and another table behind it so my quilts will lay out and not pull when quilting them.  I am getting leg extensions so that second table is the same level as the table the machine sits on.   I am also going to get a small table on wheels that I can put to the left of where I sit, so the quilt can hang over that too.

12.  I have 2 old dressers, and in one I keep my serger thread, glue gun, glue, zippers, etc.  In the other I keep my sketch pads, entry forms, rejection letters  (that drawer is full=) and samples.

That is my studio!  Feel free to tell me what you think, except to comment on the messiness=)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Adorable 9 patch

Hey Peeps!

Our design team is back with another tutorial.   This time Sally is up with a sweet 9 patch quilt.  Simple, yet very effective with the gorgeous white background, emphasizing the new 'modern' quilt era.   This is one of those quilts that you get a 'oohhh, I like that' from.    Yet only you know how easy it was to assemble.


Go and check it out here.   Okay, you have to go and check out Sally's blog... tell me those birds are not the cutest things ever?   The ones hanging on the string.   I could put them up in my living room, or give them away as a housewarming gift, or ......   okay, enough... just go and check it out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Little Good News

My quilt 'Bye Gram, I Love You'  is on it's way back from Virginia after being in the Sacred Threads juried show.    Today I received a lovely 'thick' envelope from AQS (American Quilter's Society) telling me that my Gram quilt and Whimsical Wonder were juried into the Des Moines Iowa quilt show in late September.  

I had earmarked these two quilts to show in a museum here for the month of August and then at our local quilt show, but I guess they wanted to travel a bit more.   Both were also in London in May for the Canadian Quilt Show.   I do have another two that can go to the museum for that art show.

Here are the two quilts going to Des Moines.

That's enough excitement for one day=)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dyeing Fabric

Warm weather means dyeing fabric.   I love to dye my fabric for my quilts.   It is so much fun experimenting with colours, techniques and fabrics.  

In order for me to enjoy the process, I don't keep any notes.   I realize that I most likely will be unable to create an exact colour.   I also know if I had to stop and write down measurements, cut samples and maintain some type of ledger, it would exhaust the fun right out of it.

Each time is a new adventure for me, and I love that.   These pieces are done by adding colour at each end of the dye bath container and seeing how they interact or meet in the middle.   The blue/pink is the last of my PFD cotton (desparately waiting for next shipment) and the yellow/red was an old pale yellow tablecloth that I dyed.  

I am going to do some more using this process, but I also have ordered some fun Setacolor paints  that use the sun to show shapes placed on them during the dye process.  

Next up, my studio.  I have had several requests to show you that, so stay tuned.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day! and a Tutorial


Canadian Flag

What a great day we had in Canada today.   Celebrations at our local beach, the future King and Queen in our country.... and an awesome tutorial from Julie!

Look at this table runner she has made for my fellow Americans who will have their own celebration on July 4th.


It is quick and easy and oh so cute!  Go and check it out.

Okay, I just have to tell you a little about Julie.  She started out with a blog... then she decided to open up an etsy store.  And oh my goodness, if you like the newest fabric out there and want it fast at extremely good prices,,, run to her etsy store.  Seriously, the girl is always having a sale... and on tons of stuff.  It really is crazy, but let's not tell her=)

And be sure to check out her 'Coming Soon' section of the store.   Trust me when I say, this girl has fantastic taste in getting the hottest fabric lines in for you to buy.  

In the meantime, if you read her blog, she is always offering some coupon to get her fabrics even cheaper.  She also just released a newsletter and it had 3 free projects in them!  I know, she is a little extreme in the generosity department.    But we won't tell her about that either, let's just get what we can out of her in the meantime=)

On a personal quilting note, I had some good, no make that super duper news  this week, but it is too early to tell.  As soon as I can, I will=)