Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Organization Rocks!

Well, I intended to show the horrifying "before" pics of my quilting space, but it appears I've lost them. However, I can say that, after spending weeks cleaning and organizing, it's a thrill to be in that room now!

Here's the basic organizing scheme: small scraps in plastic bins, sorted by color; fat quarters in storage boxes; anything between a small scrap and a fat quarter rolled and tied and standing in a storage box; anything larger than a fat quarter made into a "mini bolt" (find out how to make your own mini bolts here!):

I've always folded and stacked my fabric on the shelves, and that was a huge pain because every time I pulled a piece out, everything on top of it got a little more disorganized. Now I can slide a "mini bolt" out and back in with no problem, plus I STILL get to see (most) of what I have available.

At some point I will move all that fabric into a closed-shelving system to protect it from sun damage, but for now I'm inspired by it, and it's not in direct sunlight so it should be ok for a little while.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Canning Count

Peaches are in season here in Central Texas, so it's time for some canning! This year I made spiced peaches for the first time (instead of peach preserves), and bread and butter pickles (which are AMAZING). I also made some chow chow (I think it's also called "picalilli") which I've actually never eaten before and I'm hoping tastes good :-)

This season's can count (to date):

Spiced Peaches: 4 & 1/2 quarts; Bread & Butter Pickles: 2 & 1/2 quarts:

 Chow chow: 5 pints:

Still to come: more spiced peaches, peach preserves, and apple butter. Oh, and more bread & butter pickles, since we either gave them all away or ate them :-)

On the quilting front, I have way too many projects 1/2 done, so I need to finish those up. I'm also finally repurposing those paper towels I use to clean up when painting; I'll try to post more on this (and maybe a tutorial?) in the near future:

Oh, and Happy (early) Summer. We're definitely feeling the heat here in Central Texas, where we just experienced our first 100+ temperature day. I'm sure there are many more to come before Fall arrives sometime in October!

Friday, May 18, 2012

She's Here!

Our first girl grandbaby has arrived! We have two wonderful grandsons, ages 12 and 11, so it's been a while since we've had a tiny one around. Her name is Cali, and she's gorgeous! She was born Wednesday, 5/16, at 9:22 pm, is 19" long, and weighs 7 lb. 1 oz. I feel the urge to make pink ruffly things coming on . . .

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope all the mothers out there have a wonderful day. We celebrated with my mom earlier this week--she has the fortune/misfortune of having a birthday on May 9, so it frequently overlaps with Mother's Day. Today we took my partner's mother to lunch. Now the rest of the day is mine to play!

As usual, I've been too busy to blog, but here are a few of the things I've been working on. I used some of the painted fabric I talked about last time to make journals, and listed them on Etsy:

The rest of the time . . . well, who knows where it went! The creative ideas are flying so quickly through my head I can barely grab onto them, but I'm having a hard time executing on anything besides these small journals. I'm going to try to get into a better routine next week so I won't have excuses for not starting some of the bigger projects I want to work on.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Blogging Dilemma

Where do people find time to take gorgeous pics of their work, post them on their blogs, and write blog posts? More and more frequently, I’m faced with a choice: talk about working on my blog, or do some actual work.

Of course, there’s a slight possibility that too much of my time is sucked up by Facebook.
At any rate, I’ve been happily tucked away in my studio painting fabric and paper. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it!

painted fabric001 

painted fabric004 copy 
painted fabric006 
painted fabric011 copy 
painted paper007 
painted paper002 
Guess how much I love my leaves thermofax stencil?

Back to work now!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Best Soup I’ve Ever Made!

Ok, I don’t usually post recipes on my blog, but I’m so proud of myself. I decided to make soup today, and somehow it turned out to be the best I’ve ever made—and maybe the best soup I’ve ever eaten. So, I thought I would post this for all my friends and cyber friends. Bon appétit!

Sausage, Chard & Bean Soup

2 T. oil (I used oil infused with cayenne pepper for a little bite)
2 small onions, chopped
2-4 carrots, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1-2 links sausage (probably 4-6 oz.) (I used smoked link sausage; the smoky flavor is REALLY nice in this, so if your sausage is not smoked, you might want to add a little liquid smoke)
2 t. dried Italian herbs
1/2 t. fennel seeds
4 c. stock (I used 2 c. vegetable & 2 c. chicken)
a big bunch of Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
2 cans of navy beans, drained and rinsed

Saute the onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil. Add the sausage and spices and continue to sauté until sausage is cooked and vegetables are soft. Add stock, Swiss chard, and beans, and simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors are blended.

I served mine with cornbread, and we ate it for lunch AND dinner. YUUUMMMMY!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Me and Thou and A Can of Spray Paint

I don’t know why, but for some reason gorgeous Central Texas weather makes me want to haul out the spray paint. I’m almost out of canvas anyway, and since Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, I decided to go with that theme.

Sorry about the pics; the harsh light outside really bleached them out, and I had too much paint on my hands to mess with the camera much :-)


A cold front is headed our way and it's supposed to be in the 20s in the morning, so it's back to indoor activities! At least I got a little Vitamin D :-)

Oh, and thanks so much for the comments on my poppy-seed heads piece! I'm definitely going to work on darkening those up a little, and maybe adding some shadows.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Opinions Please?

This is a piece that has just sort of come together a little at a time. I think I'm almost finished with it, except now I'm reevaluating whether I like the poppy-seed heads. I like the stitching for the stems, so I'm considering taking the heads off (these are made of wool) and just stitching the outlines of poppy-seed heads in their place. What do you think?

I guess I sort of think the current heads are a little cartoon-like. I would love to have your feedback!

Hey Again, Valentine!

I know it seems like Valentine’s Day is a long way off, but it’s not!
Remember the stencil-painted & stamped fabric from the other day? It’s now a composition notebook cover:

And a couple of business card holders:

Here’s another comp notebook cover for Valentine’s Day:

This one has a strip-pieced heart that I made into a free-standing applique, then stitched to the cover.

I’m trying to become more efficient in how I make these items for my Etsy shop. Right now it’s taking a very long time to create anything, and I think my wage rate works out to about $2/hr.

The good news is, I’m having fun! But now it’s time to get back to work.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hey, Valentine!

Ok, it may seem a little early to be thinking about Valentine’s Day, but I’m working on a few “sweet” things for the Etsy shop. I thought I would share a tutorial with you on a quick and easy way to make your own sweet fabric.

This is a somewhat messy project, so wear gloves if you don’t like paint on your hands. You may get a few smears and spots and drips on your fabric, but that’s the look I was going for. If you want a cleaner effect, try applying the paint with a stencil brush, or use screenprinting techniques.

You’ll need the following supplies:

1. a stencil (mine is a cheap, store-bought stencil)

    2. tacky spray (make sure it’s temporary adhesive, NOT permanent)
    3. white paint (I like the heavy-body paint in a tube, since it’s less likely to run under the edges of the stencil)

      4. a squeegee or a plastic card (you know, a credit card or that ugly old driver’s license you sanded the numbers off of, or that newfangled, plastic room key you “forgot” to give back when you checked out of the hotel)
      5. rubber or foam stamps
      6. a foam brush or sponge

        To get started, make sure your fabric is smooth; iron if necessary.
        Spray the back of the stencil with adhesive and smooth it onto the fabric.

        Run a bead of paint along the edge of your card, then scrape it across the stencil.

        Reposition the stencil and repeat the previous step until you’re happy with the number of stencil prints on the fabric.

        Apply paint to the stamps with a foam brush or sponge, and stamp the fabric randomly or with a pattern of your choice.

        Keep going until you’re happy with your fabric.

        Embellish your fabric even more with fabric pens, foil, fibers, and thread.

        Oh, and don’t forget to use the leftover paint in your art journal.

        or on your “serendipity fabric.”

        Have fun! I’m off to use my “new” fabric in a project.

        Addendum: It occurred to me in the middle of the night that people might wonder whether the heavy-bodied acrylic changes the hand of the fabric. The answer is, absolutely. But I don't really find this to be a problem. Unless I'm making a garment or bed-quilt, it doesn't really matter to me what the hand of the fabric is. I've never had a problem getting a machine needle through painted fabric--and I've stitched paint on canvas. Of course, if you're hand-quilting painted fabric, you'll definitely want to use fabric paints, which will likely be thinner. Just make sure you're stencil is adhered well to the fabric, or go for the "blurry-edged" look!

        Wednesday, January 4, 2012

        New Mexico

        Due to a series of miscommunications and interesting events, we were able to finally take a vacation over Christmas. Last time we took a vacation to Arkansas, there were deadly floods in that state. This time, we went to New Mexico, which just happened to get hit with a freak blizzard. I’m not even going to try to analyze that.

        Anyway, here are some pics from our lovely vacation:

        Roswell, and our 14-yr. old dog Maxine. She loved the snow several years ago in Colorado, and she loved it even more this time. She was like a puppy again!

        The grandson making his first snow angel (coming from Central Texas, we don't see much snow):

        Santa Fe Plaza on Christmas Eve:

        Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis Assisi:

        The grandson caught making a snowball:

        Embroidered boots spied while window-shopping (I know y’all will appreciate these!):

         My son & grandson ready for snowboarding:

        And finally, a walk through the neighborhood near our motel:

        I feel refreshed & recharged, and ready for great things in 2012!

        I hope everyone had a lovely holiday and that 2012 will be a wonderful year for you.