Wednesday, 19 June 2013

June Sewing, Or, Why Can't I Get Anything Done?

I have been sewing a lot this month. I mean, by my standards, ie, hardly at all. But nothing is moving forward in any grand way, and this is bothering me.

I don't feel the need to set goals, or create deadlines, or anything like that. This is not about time management. It's simply about time, and how there isn't enough of it. Remember being about 10 years old and not having enough to do? Sounding good right around now...

First off, I decided my logs needed some geese.

Magpie Geese on a log
Ha ha! Doncha just love Google?!

But seriously, folks...

Got about... erm... a lot more to make of these, and plan to get a bit more colourful and maybe even improv-y, if I can figure out how.

Then a little movement on my house:

The ribbon trim and the chairs, in case you were wondering.

I am also hand-stitching a chair onto the sunny side of the house, and at the rate it's going, should be finished right around 2014. If the stars align.

And a couple of zippies, because they make me happy. One is a gift for a colleague - I just love the contrast in fabrics.

The other I just had to make to prove that I could. It's the Pomegranate Quilts Zippy Bag. I think I'm in lurve.

Here's to a fruitful few weeks where great strides will be made! Barriers will be broken! Creativity will soar! Okay? Got it?

Linking up with Live a Colorful Life and Crazy Mom Quilts - go check 'em out!

*Goosey photo credit to AD Trounson of the Australia Museum.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Book Tuesday!

I have this problem with fiction: at a certain point in the book I begin to think that the characters exist in real life. Maybe I believe this most when I fall in love with the characters; the families, the friendships, the loss and redemption.

Here is a book all about a character whom I adore, and sincerely wished were real. (I secretly think he is.)

In "Clay's Quilt" by Silas House, we meet Clay Sizemore, a young man, a miner in the Appalachians: he drinks too much and gets wild, he loves nature, he is totally committed to his family, everything he does is done with great passion. His family story is also intense - his mother Anneth was the town's wildest child, killed when Clay is just four years old. There are actual quilts being stitched in this book, but they play a minor role. The real quilt of the title is the life that Clay creates by piecing together all the different elements of his history, family and hopes.

One thread of this book follows Clay's efforts to learn who his mother was. It is an essential part of his journey to discovering who he is, at his core; his mother gains some dimensionality when we hear from those who knew and loved Anneth when she was alive.

This book describes a part of the world I know nothing about, the hills of Kentucky, but I just drank it in: the close knit families, the place of religion and of nature in daily life, the alcohol, drugs and violence, the amazing music. I love to just open the pages at random and sink back into this place that Silas House created. His words don't leap off the page, they just gently seep into your bones, in a different rhythm to the words you're used to. This world House paints is so rich, I want to start saying "Hidy" to my friends in the morning, and to go clogging on Friday night in a smokey honky-tonk...

On a scale of 1 - 5 yards*, I give this book a 5 YARD RATING.

Pain, loss, redemption, religion, joy, love and crazy dancing - this book's got it all. Beautiful.
If you try it, leave a comment and tell me what you thought!

*Of course yards. I'm a quilter. How else would I measure anything?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

End Of Year Beanbags

My 2nd grader wanted me to make some beanbags / rice bags for her teacher as an end of year gift. She picked out the fabric and I got to work.

If you sew, even a little bit, you can figure these out for yourselves. But for those of you liking a little direction, here is a tutorialito* on how to sew 2 squares together and call it a gift.

Cut pairs of squares - these are 6":

With right sides facing each other, sew around 3 edges about 1/4" from the edge, twice, to give them a little extra strength. Trim the bottom corners if you feel like it:

Fold over about 1/2" at the open edge and iron it down:

Turn it right side out (the folded down bit is now on the inside):

Pour in enough rice so that the bag is about 1/3rd full when it's standing up, or a teeny bit more.

While the bag is upright, pin across the rice to stop it from pouring out when you sew the opening closed:

Sew a narrow rectangle across the top, about 1/2", and remove the pins:

Tie the ends into knots and bury the threads.

Ta-dah! Super speedy little gifts!

Okay, now the small print :)

You want to watch out for two things when you sew this up:
1. the weight of the rice can make the package hard to control as you try to sew a neat line, and
2. the corners might need need a little prodding from a tapestry needle (or awl of choice) to get the fabric moving under the foot.

But don't let that get in your way!
Just go do it!

These rice bags can be juggled, balanced, warmed up in the microwave on cold-hand days, or just piled on a table for some eye candy.

Or worn as decorative head-gear.

*thanks Sew Hungry, for the lexicon!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced, Live a Colorful Life, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

And The Winner Is.... (Drumroll Please...)


Congratulations to Comment Leaver #3 - that's Archie the Wonder Dog!
Fabric will be winging its way to you this week - all the way from Israel!
Just be in touch and let me know where I can mail your yummy pile of text!
Thanks everyone for your great book suggestions, and for celebrating my Blogiversary with me!
(And thanks to my son for being a fabulous hand model and official number picker outer.)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Building a Home

Here comes a story of a little house, about 12" tall, that has - so far - taken several hours of eye-straining work. I can't say how many because I lost track. And  it's not even finished yet. But check out the details.

This will be a gift for a very special friend. The last time I saw her, we met for coffee right after my phenomenal afternoon in Liberty's, so I was on a bit of a fabric high, and also totally thrilled to see my friend.

So my very first piece was the cafe table. The construction was a bit convoluted, on account of me making it up as I went along, but it definitely began with a small oval of card, with white cotton fused to each side, which would help form the shape of the table.

The fabric for the tablecloth - Liberty's! - was cunningly cut on the bias to hang beautifully, which worked not at all. I eventually forced it into place by sheer will and determination. This whole cardboard-lined piece was sewn by machine to the backing fabric following the lines of the table top, and then I hand overcast the edge of the slippery fabric to slow fraying.

Do not try this at home. Really.

I created the flowers for the sunny-side window using lime green fabric with the thready bits from the selvedge showing, and some hand-cut red flowers.

The moon-side window has a Liberty's curtain (swoon!), and beneath the curtain, a window ledge of books.

I am waiting for the house to tell me what it needs next. Friendly suggestions are very much welcomed!

PS Looking for the Texty Giveaway? It's here!

Linking up with Quilt Story and Live a Colorful Life and Confessions of a Fabric Addict - go check 'em out!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Blogiversary! Woo-Hoo!

Hey folks, this is a very exciting moment! I've been blogging a year!

Here's what I've learned:
I like blogging!
I want to sew and blog more than I do.
The main and most important thing that has happened this year, is that I have met a wonderful quilty community across the globe and made new friends. Thank you all!!

Now onto the good stuff - it's Giveaway Time!

A special day deserves a special celebration, and I just want to share some stash goodness and give someone else a happy day too! Which is where you come in.

I have this obsession with mild habit of making little stash collections. Purples-with-maroons. Greys. Light greys. (Two totally different categories, duh.) Stuff to match my Midtown Miami. Text.

Drumroll, please - I have this yummy, juicy, stack of texty fabric, and it's all gonna be wrapped up and sent to one lucky reader! Each piece was cut randomly, ranging from smallish to almost a quarter yardish.

To enter this Giveaway - and why wouldn't you?! It's all text, all the time, baby! - just leave a comment and share some text of your own: tell me the title of a book you love.

The Giveaway is until Friday 7 June, so get your comment in now!