Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kool Aid for Grown Ups

Last week or so I read about someone using Kool Aid to dye wool in the crock pot.  I thought what a fun idea to do with a lot of this stark white lace I have laying around the house.  So I went to the store and for $1 got 8 packages of dye fun.  You have to watch what you buy because now some of the colors are "invisible."  In other words, it makes clear colored Kool Aid.  What fun is that?

Here's my results:

Three plates of some pretty colors.  Let's take it one at a time.

On this plate:  left hand side is orange.  Made a nice peachy color.  On the upper part of the plate is a mixture of grape and tropical punch.  Wouldn't you think that grape would give you a fabulous color?  After all, grape Kool Aid turns your mouth and tongue a bright purple and stains your clothes very nicely.  For dyeing lace -- UGH!  It was the ugliest color you ever saw.  Even mud looked better (g).  So an overdye with tropical punch and this is a much nicer color.

This plate is cherry.  The darker lace at the bottom was a hideous avacado green lace which I overdyed with the cherry.  It's looking much nicer now.  The other lace in the center that's kind of funny colored -- the jury's still out on that one.

And last but not least:  ice blue raspberry and lemon lime.  Both give a very pastel color.  I dyed rick rack, some perle 8 cotton (white) and various laces that I grabbed from a big bag my mom found at an estate sale.

I should mention this only works with natural fibers (cotton, silk, wool, etc.).  I tested a couple of nylon laces and the color washed out completely with a very small amount of water.  Even though this is dyed in the crock pot with some vinegar, there is still a lot of rinsing to get the color to stop running.  I don't know if it is totally colorfast now, but I would only trust it on something that is not going to get washed (like my crazy quilts). 

Friday, April 09, 2010


Yep, I won a blog drawing.  Look at these two great books that I won.  The drawing was held here: She Brews.  She is in the Wisconsin area and also does shows like I do -- only a lot more shows.  I don't know how she does it, as I know how much work is involved in getting ready, set up and then actually doing the show.  Check out her blog for her great fabric collages (scroll down) and -- she paints!  I love people who are able to paint, since that's something I have never been able to do.  If you drop by, be sure and leave a comment.  It's hard to blog and not know if anyone is reading or if you're just talking to yourself (LOL).  You guys are great about leaving me comments and I appreciate each and every one.

Anyway, these booklets are great!  I've already picked out 3 projects I want to do and that was only a quick scan through them.  Yep, that's just what I needed -- more projects!  But some of these are so cute I just can't resist.

Our weather here has finally decided that winter is over (YAY!).  I actually have daffodils blooming -- the first time in 3 years that I've got to see them.  Usually the bud forms then a hard freeze or even snow and ice comes along and that's it for spring flowers.  It's beautiful here right now -- all the trees and spring flowers are in bloom.  Hope you all are enjoying some nice weather also.  Can't wait for this weekend -- I think I will stay outside the whole time. 

Have a nice weekend everyone -- and I'll see you sometime next week.

Friday, April 02, 2010

April ???

Sorry to be away so long.  I don't know how it happened and I do apologize.  I know how aggravating it is to find a blog you like, pictures you like to look at and eagerly wait for new things, only to have the same old, same old everytime you visit the blog.  I have lots of blogs I visit and I am so thankful there are lots of people that manage to blog every day -- or at least 2 or 3 times a week.  I want to be like them, really I do, but just can't seem to get it together.

I have a full time job.  I have a house and big yard (almost an acre) to take care of alone.  I have craft shows to prepare for and family events to celebrate.  I know everyone else has the same obligations, or even more, but sometimes time just seems to slip through my fingers.

And then I have this:  my sweet Madeline.  I haul out the lap top, get all the cords connected, go grab myself something to drink and come back and find this:

It's like she's telling me -- no computer time, pet me, hold me, love me, pay attention to me instead.  So what can I do?  Yeah, I'm a push over. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh No! Not THAT Time of Year

What do you mean I lose an hour of sleep? 

This weekend is the fiasco known as Daylight Savings Time for those of us who live in the States that insist on this madness.  You lose an hour of your weekend (and I am convinced, it's the start of "Fast Time" where you are actually losing an hour a day).  I don't know about the rest of you, but my weekends are sacred to me and the fact that I have to lose an hour of it just sends me into a rant the likes of which you would not believe.  Why don't we get to lose an hour of work time?  If that were the case, I'm sure this idiotic practice would soon be abolished.

Anyone ever harbor the thought about NOT changing your clock and continuing on in regular time?  I swear each year that I'm going to do it, but then I don't.  I just find myself rushing around even more then usual.  And don't tell me that it gives you an hour of daylight at the end of the day -- it's spring and summer people.  The days are naturally longer anyway -- you don't need to fool with the clock (and Mother Nature).

And by the way, the box in the above picture is about 8x8 inches in size (g).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What we did during the Olympics

Madeline and I have been watching the Olympics.  Well, I've been watching and she's been acting like she is IN the Olympics.  Lots of running, jumping, flipping, flying  -- she's easily entertained, at times.

A friend talked me into trying locker hooking.  You can use up your old fabric and make a nice rug.  No counting, no designing, no new supplies -- just some rug canvas, a locker hook needle, old fabric and a ball of cotton yarn.  I had everything but the needle.  There's plenty of videos out there on You Tube if you want to try it yourself.  Like I need another hobby -- well, we won't go there.

So I gave it a try last night while waiting for the ice dancing.  This is something pretty fun, pretty mindless to do while watching TV and pretty entertaining for Madeline.  She's such a help.

Oh what?  You're back?  No, I wasn't doing anything.  Just laying here waiting on you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fantasy Landscape

In my group, CQForNewbies, we had a Round Robin where the theme was Fantasy Landscapes.  The last block for me to work on was Janet's (Janet who painted the alien in the last post) and her theme was Alien World. I had a lot of fun with this block (gee, imagine that). 

The person before me, Beth, did the space ship, so that left the aliens up to me.  I chose to base my aliens on the Onkali race from the Octavia Butler novels.  The Onkali have three "sexes" -- male, female and ooloi.  This is an adult ooloi and a child ooloi.  Ooloi are the genetic masters of the Universe.  The tentacles are sensory organs which are used to heal genetically.  The eyeballs were my own touch.  It is fitting there is a spaceship leaving the Ooloi behind.  This is the life mission of the Onkali -- find other words and soak up all the new genetic material.  Onkali have no world of their own -- they travel the galaxy finding new worlds and new genetic knowledge.

I added lots of sparkle to the various seams and plants on Janet's world.  There are stars and thread work in the sky.  I don't know if it will show up in the photograph, but does in person.

This was a very fun project and I hope Janet is happy with her alien world.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New Block

Now don't faint from getting two posts from me in one week (LOL).  On one of the lists I belong to, we have a challenge to do a large crazy quilt, close to 60 inches, with our slogan being C-Q in 2-0-1-2 -- the year it needs to be finished.  I decided my Fantasy Quilt blocks would work for this challenge and hopefully the challenge would spur me on to actually working on this project.

To that end, I commissioned my friend Janet to paint an alien for me.  I asked that he not be cartoonish and that he seem like a real person, like one of "my people" and I wanted him to hiding in the forest.  I think she did a fantastic job.  In this photograph (which doesn't show true color, since we have not had any sunshine for weeks on end) you cannot see the pale green highlights and shading that makes him so life like.

I very highly recommend Janet's work.  My piece was painted on black silk.  The painting does not change the hand of the fabric at all.  I am also lucky enough to have a second piece from Janet, a beautiful owl.

If you look at the upper left hand corner of the block, this is my first attempt at a Judith Baker Montano fan swirl.  Not too bad for a first try.  I have both the DVD and her newest book Montano Montage.  The directions that helped me the most were in the book.  I later tried to do one of her pieced mitered angle blocks and completely blew it!  I guess I need more practice with them.

Have a good weekend.  We're set for more snow (continued grey skies) starting tonight and going through most of the weekend.  That means I should be able to make more progress on these blocks.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Blank Space on Blocks #3

Time now for the last installment of what to put on those big blank spots on your blocks.  Offering No. 1:

Another feather stitch spray, this time done with perle cotton and using a small chain stitch on the ends of some of the sprays and a little bead on other ends.  Fills up some space nicely and lets you use beads (always a good thing).  If you notice, I always try to use contrasting colors in my embroidery threads so that the stitching shows up against the background of the block.  You're going to all the trouble of doing this embroider, you want it to show up and not blend in.

Offering No. 2:

A small piece of lace that is beaded.  This is fairly wide lace, about 4 inches I believe, but a little piece like this adds a lot of interest to an oddly shaped patch.

And last but not least:

A lace rose motif that has been painted, and then the center beaded.  Long tendril type vines and leaves have been added to fill up the space.

I hope these examples have helped some of you with filling up the patches you need to do on your swaps, etc. 

Once again, thank you all for your comments and for visiting.  Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll have some pics of what I did over the weekend -- when I actually worked on stuff for ME.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blank Space on Blocks #2

Hello everyone.  Here's Part 2 of how to fill up those blank spaces on your blocks.  Of course, the best way to not have big blank spots is to keep your pieces small. That means lots of trimming as you are piecing your block.  But sometimes that doesn't always work, and besides, it can be fun to showcase your embroidery skills or a special bit of lace or tatting.  So today's examples feature silk ribbon embroidery.

Two silk ribbon spiderweb roses, complete with leaves and pearl buttons.  This is a nice treatment for a smallish patch.  There are several tutorials on the web for the spiderweb silk ribbon rose and this is very easy to do.

The next example is a flowing vine.  The vine is made with regular floss, leaves are silk ribbon.  Lots of little beads to add some sparkle.  This is a good treatment for a long, skinny type area.  Lightly sketch the vine with a chalk pencil or disappearing marker.  Remember not to use an iron when you have used one of these markers, as heat can sometimes set the ink and it will not come out.  Again, if some of your patches are made of fabrics other then cotton, be sure and test the markers on the seam allowance.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blank Space on Blocks

The next few series of posts will be to help members of my group, CQForNewbies, work on their Red Color Study Round Robin blocks.

The question I get asked the most is how to fill up the bigger spaces (or patches) on a block.  I'm going to post a few examples here for the newbies.  I'm going to try and show as many different techniques as I can, but please remember,  I'm limited to my own blocks or the few blocks I have from Round Robin's I've been in myself.

This example is done with metallic threads in a swirl design and metal embellishments (from jewelry) added.  On my block, this is a vertical treatment, but would also be good for a horizontal one also.  You can lightly mark your block with chalk or a disappearing pen.  Just be sure to NEVER iron over the disappearing pen while it is still visible on the block (this will set the ink and it will not go away).  Also, always check to make sure the ink will actually disappear (use it in the seam allowance).  On some of the fancy fabrics, it can take a long time to disappear and on others, it will not disappear.

The second example is a lace motif covering a patch.  The lace has feather stitching for accent and is also beaded.  The lace is part of a doily that has been tea dyed and sewn into place.

Hope this helps some of you -- there will be more examples later.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Come into the garden, Maud

For the black bat, Night, has flown,
Come into the garden,  Maud,
I am here at the gate alone

(Lord  Alfred Tennyson)

My first finish for 2010 -- Maud's Garden. The beginning lines of this poem have always "spoke" to me.   I started on this last Fall.  Thanks to a blizzard, the holiday days off from work and lots of determination (in between bouts of shoveling snow), Maud is finished, and is now hanging in my living room.

This piece is all collaged fabrics on top of a black batting base.  (Note to self: do not sew on top of batting again -- it's messy and will drive you crazy).  A variety of fabrics were used, everything from cotton to velvet.  The fairy, the moon with the owl, and the little fairy house were made by using rubber stamps on fabric and adding fabric paint and colored pencils. The rest of the images are appliqued from my huge stash of novelty fabrics.  This is all raw edge applique.  Hundreds of beads and charms complete the piece.  Lots of stitchery -- even my first attemps at bouillion knots.

It is backed and bound in black.  Most importantly, IT IS FINISHED!