MAGPIE'S MUMBLINGS

A blog about my interests, which include crazy quilting and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

ATC swap

Today we had our monthly CQTeers meeting and now I can show the two atcs I made. The fish one is a piece of the material I used in my sewing case, along with some fish beads I had in my stash. I used Glossy Accents by Ranger to highlight the bubbles. The other one I made is the 'Bailey's Good or Baad?' one..all from recyled candy wrappers. The cool butterfly one is what Irene gave me in the swap.


We did the Valentine atc as a learning technique today, which was a lot of fun. The heart itself is done in thread embroidery on paper, with an embossed flower in the centre. I've always wanted to know how to use those pretty brass templates from the dollar store! We used a punch to do the nice edging and then applied glitter. Pretty isn't it!










Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Book review


I spent the day replacing the lining in a jean jacket, which really isn't all that exciting to show a picture of, so....another book review!
This is a book I took out of the library at least half a dozen times and then decided that I might as well have my own copy (before I wore theirs out). It covers in detail many different techniques useful whether you are interested in paper arts, handmade books, scrapbooking or collage. To quote from the back jacket of the book: "Pockets, Pullouts and Hiding Places shows you how to create 27 three-dimensional and interactive paper tools that are useful and visually appealing additions to all types of artwork, from books and art journals to greeting cards and scrapbook pages. These pockets, pullouts and hiding places can be used to conceal personal journaling, handwritten notes, a collection of quotes, special photographs, and all types of ephemera and memorabilia." I love this book!!
Stats: Pockets, Pullouts, and Hiding Places - by Jenn Mason - published by Quarry Books - c2005 - ISBN: 1-59253-150-4

Monday, January 29, 2007

And another UFO bites the dust


Yep, I finished another one! I made several of these mug holders for Christmas gifts but also wanted one for myself. I got lazy with mine and just used some scrap material I had, instead of using denim and doing the seminole insert. It will be great for carrying my coffee mug to meetings!
Today I had my yoga class and then undertook to work on one of my Christmas presents for next year. I know, I know...do try to contain your disgust. I also worked on a couple of atc's for our CQTeer meeting on Wednesday, which I will show after our meeting. I got something accomplished today, but my workroom is a huge mess!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Completed UFO




This is what I finished up yesterday out of my UFO box. I made several of these for Christmas gifts and didn't have time to complete my own. It's from a pattern called 'A Quilter's Necessary' copyrighted in 1993 by Cindy Blackburn. There are all sorts of pockets to store sewing needs in. I chose to load extra bobbins with different threads so that I could carry them with me, rather than carrying whole spools (you can see the holder on the right side). The black
'blobs' are felt needle holders. There's a ribbon to hold the scissors in place and they, in turn, are held in a pincushion. I chose to turn one of the pockets into a thimble holder (not that I use one, mind you, but there's hope). It's just above the scissors holder. There's room for a small cutting board and/or a plastic ruler; a couple of pens or pencils, rotary wheel and various other things I might need. It will be handy to carry to any workshops I happen to go to. The outside fabric is a Laurel Burch and I used a lime green on the inside to co-ordinate. However, when I finished it, I decided the lime was a bit much, so ended up using iron on appliques of some of the fish.
Made what I had expected to be a short stop at Fabricland this morning, only to be amazed at the number of people milling about. Turned out they had their members only 50% off sale. Well then. Who am I to not spend money when things are cheap?! Only problem was that their debit machines were down and they couldn't check you out unless you had cash. Do I ever carry cash? Not. So....my purchases are in bondage at the store until a) either the machines are working again or b) I go in with cash. Tomorrow is soon enough to figure that out. Suffice to say I will have 1" foam to pad my santa's body; lining for at least two jean coats; enough fleece to make a present for an upcoming birthday; and three different colors of sequin trim (which I didn't really need, but coveted); some thread and a pkg. of cheap plastic bobbins so I can add more colors of thread to my case. Not a bad haul!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Exciting mail!




Look at what I received in the mail today! I don't remember if I mentioned awhile ago that I had signed up to do an art swap thru the Artella site. This swap was somewhat different in that I send a parcel of art to someone and then in turn, I would receive a parcel from someone else entirely. Great fun! Not like the one on one swaps I'm used to doing. It's rather daunting to send something to someone when you only know their name and address and nothing else about them. My muse sent me this wonderful journal she had altered...just for me! I am amazed that she would know that I had been wanting to start an art journal AND that I had a love for butterflies too. I really shouldn't have been surprised though, after reading the comments on the Artella site from others who have taken part in this swap in other years and how they were always thrilled with what they received. Apparently (according to the email I received) my muse-ee in California was just as happy with what I sent to her. Who knew she made dolls and wanted to do altered books? The world works in mysterious ways! Thanks Karen for my wonderful journal!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My challenge for 2007...how about yours?

I've been spending some time doing some catch-up on my favourite sites this afternoon and realize that a number of people have posted their goals and plans for this year. Since I'm between projects at this very moment (after having cleaned my workroom this morning) I think I just might give this a whirl. I'm assured that putting your plans in writing is a good thing and will encourage getting things done. We'll see! (Wish me luck).

1. I have a box (actually a Rubbermaid tote, of the largish sort) full of UFO's. Opening the lid induces all sorts of guilt. I don't like feeling guilty...so...I plan to finish at least half of the things lurking in there this year. It would be a noble goal to finish them all, but I'm not THAT dedicated!! Just to give you a hint of the projects in there...a half-done hairpin lace shawl that I just know will be absolutely gorgeous (started in a class); my prototype for the sewing case I made several friends for Christmas and meant to be finished so I can have one too; a head and partially designed body for a totally beaded doll; a wooden cigar box (to be made into a purse...maybe); the pattern, beads, etc. for making a bead-knitted half-doll; two balls of Lambs Pride wool to be knitted into socks; a bag full of 'cat stuff' to be made into a cat-themed crazy quilt; 'bits' of a wedding dress/bridesmaids dresses to be made into another CQ for a friend; and who knows what else.

2. I have a wonderful shelf of craft books. No surprise there, but have I made anything from most of said books? No. So...I would like to make/try at least one technique from each of my books, utilizing stash I already have.

3. I have a huge shelving unit full of recycled denim. I want to make something out of it...things that are useful and decorative. I want to make a long denim coat, similar in style to the CQ ones I already do.

4. I want to make another art doll.

5. I want to learn to do collage art, which, in turn, will lead to my being able to try at least some of the techniques for altering paper that I have downloaded over the past year or so. I have a whole file drawer full of 'ideas' and so want to play with them.

6. Above all I want to reduce my stash without having to buy anything unless absolutely necessary.

There, that's my list. How about you? Do you have a plan in place?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

TAST - Cretan Stitch


This week Sharon of www.inaminuteago.com has chosen the cretan stitch as our challenge. It is one of my more favourite stitches and is what I used to do all the seams in the wallhanging I'm working on.
Today I'm working hard on finishing the hand stitching on the piece with plans in place to do the backing, etc. tomorrow. Hope it comes to pass!
For more info on TAST, go to http://inaminuteago.com/blog/index.php/take-a-stitch-tuesday-challenge/ or follow the link in my sidebar.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm getting there!




Things are progressing on my wallhanging (they'd better since it has to be in the mail the end of this week!!). Today I did a little detail to the left of the large pink ribbon...just some stem stitch, beads, and a heart-shaped button. Pretty simple.
The other picture shows more...I did three areas surrounding the simple rose. To the right are some flowers that look somewhat like cosmos, done in some variagated nylon thread, with some pearl cotton to do the leaves and stems. To the left of the rose are just some free-form flowers done with ribbon and some absolutely horrible-to-work-with 'stuff' that insists on fluffing up and doesn't want to form into anything concrete. Ok...so they're fluffy flowers! The area sort-of between and above the fluffly flowers and the cosmos has some more silk ribbon flowers and a pearl button. Some of the flowers are done with the loop stitch and some were spider web roses. Tomorrow I hope to finish the stitching.....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Recharged




Camera is recharged, so here are pictures of the progress over the past couple of days. All four corners are done now with the vine-y treatment to the right on one of these pictures. To the left of the vine I did three flowers using organza ribbon. Above that you can see a rose done in outline stitch with a button centre.
The other picture shows another vine type treatment in the mid-left, with mother of pearl buttons as 'flowers'. To the right you can see some more flowers (on the shiny piece of fabric) done mostly with beads and some embroidered leaves. To the right and slightly below you can see some more flowers, again done with stem stitch and using sequins as the flowers. As always, click on the pictures to get them to enlarge so you can see the detail.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oops...


I forgot to re-charge the batteries in the camera...so...no pictures today! Sorry.
Instead, I will do another book review of one of my absolute favourite books about Crazy Quilting. This is one of two books I would highly recommend for anyone wanting to start into crazy quilting and for anyone who is experienced as well. This book is very well illustrated and tells you step-by-step how to construct a block. The author also gives you a nice selection of embroidery stitches, silk embroidery, painting, dyeing and finishing techniques. There is also a section showing you ideas for embellishment and lots of colour pictures throughout. A very valuable resource to have in your library, for sure. Stats: 'The Magic of Crazy Quilting' by J. Marsha Michler, published by Krause Publications, ISBN # 0-87341-622-8

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

TAST

This week the 'homework' consisted of the Detached Chain Stitch and here are my efforts. There are so many ways to use this versatile stitch. As always, thanks to SharonB of www.inaminuteago.com and anyone wanting more information about the TAST challenge can check out the link in my sidebar.

I continue to work on my wallhanging, but today is just doing more of the same as I showed you yesterday in the corners.

Monday, January 15, 2007

And more....




Today I haven't managed to get too much done. However, I did a combination button and straight stitch/lazy dazy in fine pearl cotton in the centre of one of the pictures. The other picture shows a corner I'm still working on. The original idea came from 'Motifs for Crazy Quilting' by J. Marsh Michler. I'm using variagated embroidery floss and multi-coloured beads. I think I will work the same 'idea' in each of the corners, only varying the layout to fit in the areas I have.
I also did the little clump of flowers to the right of the corner treatment in the picture (idea from another book I have called 'Ribbon Embroidery for Crazy Quilters', put out by the American School of Needlework). It's done with silk ribbon leaves and the flowers are padded straight stitches also in silk ribbon. Stems are good 'ol stem stitch using embroidery floss! Enjoy.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

More.....


Today I did a bit of ribbon embroidery and surrounded it with a circle of pre-strung beads and added a lonely teardrop bead at the bottom (sorry the picture is sideways).
The other section I worked on is in the middle of the other close-up. Some odd beads I had and then some single strand embroidery floss fly stitches to pull it together.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Progress and my best helper




I'm not sure in which order these pictures will show on your screen, but here goes. One picture shows a large-ish pink ribbon flower and to the right of that a clump of flower and leaf shaped sequins held on with pearl and silver beads. I'm still working on that part.
Another picture shows two more areas I worked on today. The top flower clump is done with french knotted silk ribbon and stem stitch. Below that is a three-some of lace flowers held down with pearl beads. The flowers originated in a piece of trim I had.
The last picture of my work shows a nosegay made from tiny ribbon roses, and various threads in both french knots and fly stitches. I used sewing thread again for most of the fly stitches.
And last, but certainly not least, is my kitty companion...Cosmo. He watches me quite closely to make certain I'm doing it right!






Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reporting again...




Today I've had more time to play on my wallhanging. One of the pictures (click on it to enlarge) shows a rose (to the left of the appliqued ribbon) which I did using one strand of sewing thread and stem stitch. There's even a droplet of dew! Thanks to Pam Kellogg of http://kittyandmedesigns.blogspot.com for the pattern. To the right of the ribbon you can see the section I am working on right now, which I will show finished tomorrow.
The other picture shows a close-up (in the middle) of another area I did today. The idea for this came from an article in the CQNewsletter (http://CQMagOnline.com) and is a pattern created by Shirlee Fassell. The flowers are assorted pink beads and the leaves, etc. are a combination of stem stitch using fine pearl cotton and a semi-long & short stitch using embroidery floss. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Progress Being Made!


I don't know how well you can see the detail on this, but here's my progress so far. I think if you click on the picture, it will enlarge...I hope!
The clump of flowers on the right is made with small yo-yo's and beads..leaves are also beads.
The three little flowers on the left are done with a single strand of metallic thread in the same way as people are doing the embroidery on paper. Picking out the waste tissue paper was fun!! The small pink ribbon on the upper left is done with embroidery floss cross stitch on waste canvas, which was then removed. I then highlighted the flowers which were already in the fabric with some pearl beads and did a single straight stitch (couched down) in each of the leaves to give a hint of green to them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

TAST

This week the challenge on TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesdays) is the buttonhole stitch. Since I'm still working on my donation piece, I haven't time to do any extra actual stitching, so I spent a few minutes drawing up some ideas of stitch cominations. Anyone interested in learning more can go to: http://inaminuteago.com/blog/index.php/take-a-stitch-tuesday-challenge/

I actually got some more done on my wallhanging and will post an updated picture tomorrow.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Book review...'cause I got nothin'


Yep, I got nothin', unless you count shopping for groceries and my hubby's appointment at the doctor. So...another book review!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who knits. There's not a whole lot of excess 'writing' in this book, but a huge amount of very clear pictures - all in color. The chapter titles include: Introduction to Knitting; Basic Techniques; Basic Stitch Patterns; Correcting Mistakes; Learning To Read Written Instructions; Finishing Details; and more. There are a few knitting projects included, but this book is much more valuable as a resource. Specs: published by Wiley Publishing Inc., C2006, ISBN # 0-7645-9640-3

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Catching up

Sorry about the no-post yesterday. We were in the city spending time with our kids. #2 son took us shopping and I was able to purchase the exact type of winter boots I wanted and in the very first store we went to, which was an amazing feat (no pun intended) for me. Of course the purchase might be a moot point if we don't end up getting any snow!

Progress on the wallhanging has been good, but nothing worth showing at this point. I did end up doing the second row of cretan stitch in ivory over the pink stitches and like the effect much better. I've also stem stitched around the pink ribbon on the upper right side.

I've found a good site if you're interested in paper arts of the altered sort: http://www.altered-book.com There are some really good tutorials available here which I have downloaded and will be trying out as I get time.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Progress report

Moving right along on the seams on my wallhanging. Cretan stitch is one of my absolute favourites and works up fast. This morning I'm testing out my idea to overlay the pink stitches with another row of ivory, just to tone down the pink-ness a little. I want the embellishments to be in the forefront so I'm thinking a little less pink might be better. We'll see after I test a bit.

In my normal way of doing CQ each seam would be a different treatment, but in the interest of my time constraints I have to forego that and concentrate on the embellishing instead. Kind of feels like I'm copping out!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Take A Stitch Tuesday...Herringbone




I spent some time last night sketching out some combinations using the Herringbone stitch which is the first challenge on Take A Stitch Tuesday (www.inaminuteago.com) . I should be actually stitching the ideas, but right now I'm pressed for time, at least until I get the donation piece done for Breast Cancer. I think Sharon will forgive me!
Another interesting question I came across at Studio Friday. How would you fill in the blank in this statement: "Proud artist of ____________"? There are two words in that statement that scare me...proud and artist. Me, an artist? Me, proud of something I've done? Wasn't I always taught that pride goeth before a fall? I admit I am trying very hard to overcome the label of 'craftsperson' and move over to 'artist', but it's awfully hard. I'm my own toughest critic and there hasn't been an article I have made that I haven't wanted to change in some way. There's always something 'wrong' with my efforts and therefore I feel I come up short. So, having said all that, I don't know that I could fill in the blank. How would you do on the same question?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Argh!

I know about paragraphs, really I do! Blogger seems to take it upon him(her)self to remove said paragraph function from selected posts...not all, just some. I write the same way all the time, so what's up?


Anyway....don't forget to vote in my poll at the end of the last post!

Progress, a Christmas present, and a poll




Two pictures today. One is of my progress on my wallhanging. I've appliqued the pink ribbon and started my seams using cretan stitch and two strands of pink embroidery floss. I will overlay the pink with another row of ivory, also in cretan stitch...or at least such is my plan!
The other picture is of the cover of one of the books I got for Christmas. I love this book!! I was planning to write my own review of the book, but instead I will quote from the back cover: "Join 15 artists as they explore a rainbow of color schemes in a remarkable art journal collaboration. Using all kinds of media, each artist contributed a journal cover in her chosen palette and a page -- or more--in the journals as they traveled from studio to studio throughout the United States.....these one-of-a-kind works are filled with page after page of techniques and mediums, including stamping, painting, sketching, fabric art, metalwork, transfers and layered texturing". There is enough inspiration in this book to last a life-time. Specs are: 'True Colors - A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals' , published by Stampington & Company, c2003, ISBN# 0-9717296-3-8.
Poll question is this: Would you like me to continue to review some of my favourite books here on a semi-regular basis (not every day)?? Please leave a comment and let me know! B'sides, I want to know how many people are reading this!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2007 is a great year for you and all you hold dear.


The picture today is the beginning of my donation wallhanging and explains why I had so much 'stuff' spread all over my work table you saw in my previous post. I'll be showing my progress on this piece as I go along.

SharonB started the 'Take a Stitch Tuesdays' today (I know, it isn't Tuesday here...yet, but it is where she is!). This is going to be a fun challenge and I hope to participate as much as I can. If you're interested in finding out more, follow the link to inaminuteago in my side bar.