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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sewing Machine Cover

You can find patterns online for your sewing machine, but the ones I've seen don't allow for the clear slide-on table that I like to keep on my machine.  Plus I usually like to do my own thing.

I began by creating my own pattern. I roughly measured the height, width and depth of the machine and added a bit for seam allowances. I cut the blue fabric to the size and pinned it, WRONG sides together.  This blue fabric looks great the "right" way and the "wrong" way, so I made use of both on the sides and edges.

I quilted the front and back with my walking foot with the guide in a diagonal pattern. It looks really great.
I sewed all the pieces wrong sides together so I could stitch on a bias binding over the seams. I added in openings for my cords on the right hand side.



It sort of looks like a big covered toaster(!), but I am pleased with it.  On the left hand side I had to add in some inverted pleats to account for the slide-on table(that I didn't realize was much wider than the machine...how did I miss that?!)

I learned a lot along the way.  There are so many steps I didn't do in order that would have made it so much easier to stitch had I thought about them before I began stitching.  I have a new-found respect for people who  make patterns.  It takes a lot of brain power and time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Felted Art Quilt...for now

Just "finished" beading this needle felted piece. I started it out by playing with some gorgeous colors of wool...then onto adding fibers and finally beads and sequins. I'm thinking it will become the front of a book cover..maybe for a composition book???

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shifting gears

Had to throw in a little paper crafting this week. I have both sides of the art studio in a shambles.  One side has paper and journals spread about and the other with my sewing machine has the unfinished quilt I'm working on.  Here's a look at one page in a journal. I have so many papers and embellishments and haven't scrapbooked in so long that I must use up my stash. So I've got this 8" x 8" chipboard journal started....just creating pages with photos, embellies and wordage, so far.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

New (to me) fabric!

Took my sewing machine in to my local quilt store to have it looked at.  I broke a needle while sewing two days ago and it was making a weird clicking sound...see last post.  Well turns out it just needed oil! What? I oiled it twice before I took it in.  Oh, well, better safe than sorry, right?  So while I'm there I might as well pick out a few fat quarters.

 I love just about anything with text

 Love butterflies


 This plum is so rich looking..really love the green with it.

What will I make? Thinking about stitching up a few makeup bags.  It's beginning to look a lot like....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Take 5 Quilt finally finished!

Woo-Hoo, look at me! I've finished two quilts in one week.  That UFO pile is getting smaller. :-)


This was the very first quilt top that I pieced and I'm now finally finished with it.  It's a Take 5 Quilt that I started at a class at my local quilt store back at the beginning of the year.  My #2 son is using it on his bed as he has been begging for one since I made one for #3 son. I will make him one with colors he wants later, but at least I now only have one son (the #1) who is looking for his quilt. I'm actually glad they like what I make and that they don't look at the imperfections because there are plenty...let me tell ya!

What have I learned about  piecing and quilting since making this quilt?
  • I sure am glad the fabric was already cut as a kit. That way we got to learn piecing and not have to worry about cutting.  A BIG plus for a person like me who comes from paper crafting. Give me a paper trimmer and I'm fine...but ask me to use a rotary cutter and I'm all thumbs! I've gotten much better with a rotary cutter and an acrylic ruler, but at that time it was so confusing!
  • Whether a pattern lies on grain or not is vitally important to me. These pieces were already cut out for us in a kit as I previously stated. But the pattern is not on grain and so the stripes are wonky! UGH! I will definitely be taking a closer look at patterns next time. (If you couldn't tell..yes, it bothers me!)
  • As I went back to quilt this, I see how many mistakes I made in sewing.  It really takes a lot of practice to sew a straight line (insert googly-eyed emoticon). Since then, I've purchased a piecing foot with a 1/4" guide. What a difference it makes!  Plus I have learned to take my time and sew much straighter since then, too, but I won't even try it without my super-duper presser foot.
  • I need prints, especially large scale prints like these, to be straight on the border. The pattern is not straight on the border strips and next time I think I would take more time (and possibly more fabric) to ensure this rather anal person has the patterns lined up on the border.
  • I began the actual quilting of this months ago and as I went back in to quilt it more, I see the quilt wasn't smoothed out enough on the batting and there's some puckering. I would have taken out the stitches and redone it, but it was quilted quite a bit and I just let it go.  I am really trying to allow these first few quilts to be a learning practice for me.  I know I seem pretty concerned with details, and I am, but I have to allow time for the learning process. No one in my house will go through the quilt looking for things NOT done right.  They love what I make and appreciate the gift.  That's all I need right now.  Next time, I can make it better.

While I was sewing on the binding I broke a needle. There was a big crashing sound. So I changed the needle, but the sound was still there. So I cleaned the machine. Still here.  So I re-threaded everything.  No luck. Now I will be taking it in so Steve can adjust it.  It must be out of whack and I'm terrified to sew with it making noises.  So more sewing is delayed for a few days.  :-(

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quilt time again!

Oh, I so love it when I get a stretch of time to finish up things that have been waiting in the wings.  Such was the fate of my UFO's...a few quilts that had not been finished.  But I'm happy to say that I've finished one today!

This one is part of the Bread and Butter Society that I've been taking part in at my local quilt store. It is not large enough to go on a bed so this will be a snuggle quilt for TV watching.
 I have one more to finish the quilting on and then I do have a third that has yet to be pieced!

Oh, I can't wait to have them all done!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

This is for all the lonely blogs....

Dear blog,
I'm so sorry I haven't posted anything to you lately.  I really have been thinking of you weekly if not daily. I have the best intentions to post much more than I have been lately, but I have been working on my online classes and have to work with deadlines. I have students expecting course materials from me.  I promise that I am almost finished with the new classes I am teaching fall semester.  Then I will have so much more time to devote to you.  Yes, I know that once I'm finished with fall classes I will quickly move onto creating new Spring 2012 classes, but I really will post more...really!

Much love!
Shirley

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September is National Sewing Month



I'm working on a few quilts.  Trying to get finished before I start on something new.  But you know how that is...that new thing is so enticing!  This one is part of Bread and Butter Society...a class I am taking at my local quilt shop, Bernina Sewing Centre. The shop is getting a new website soon and I for one am totally excited!

We will never forget!

Since 9/11/2001 and the terrorism we as a country have endured, I've become much more patriotic.  We have flown a flag for 10 years from the roof of our house.  I cry every time I hear Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA".  I will not forget where I was and how I felt when I saw what happened in NYC, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania that horrible day.  I thank God for the brave men and women who fight for our country to keep us safe so we can enjoy our freedoms and the life we have.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sneak Peek!


Just thought I'd give a little peek at something I'm working on for an upcoming online class titled, "Alter THIS! The Next Chapter". It begins October 6th and is the second in a series of altered book classes I'm teaching at My Creative Classroom.  No, you don't need to have taken the first class to take this.  All you really need is an old book, some glue and a bit of junk to create art.  Check out this link for course description and registration info.

Hope to "see" you in class!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gotta see this movie

My hubby and I went to the movies yesterday and saw one of the best films I've seen in a long time. You've got to see "The Help"
Funny, moving,  historical, deep...everything I love in a movie.  Folks clapped at the end...how long has it been since people clapped for a movie?  Just go...you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finishing that UFO

I am finally getting to finish that quilt I started back in March.  Why did it take me so long?  Well, I got side-tracked by taking loads of classes at my local quilt shop, starting and finishing a second quilt before I finished the first, and working on creating new classes for My Creative Classroom. Oh yeah, a few vacations were thrown into the mix, too. 

But I am happy to say that I've got a good portion of this one quilted.  Just got to keep going till it's done. I will certainly post photos along the way.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tulip Fabric Book Page

Finally finished the Tulip page for Fat Book #2, a collaborative fabric book with my online friends at Trading Fabric Post Cards.  Yes, I realize this is not a post card, but we have various swaps in our group and you can sign up for whatever you want to do.

For this swap, each participant creates an 8" x 8" page of fabric using the flower theme. I've begun receiving the others' pages and everyone has such a different style. It's so neat to see the various fabrics, stitching, and embellishments that each has created.  For mine, I started by spraying the blue background with Glimmer Mist, free-hand drawing the tulip with colored pencils, then thread sketching with various shades of thread.  I think for my first thread sketching project it's pretty darn good. Add to that the fact that I can't draw, and I'm proud of my page.  Let's hope the other gals like it, too. :D

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Butterfly Post Card

Another post card for the swap.
 Yes, it's not a great photo and it looks a little wonky, but I've already sent it off in the mail so I can't re-do it.  I stamped the butterflies on canvas (cotton duck cloth) with Staz-On Ink by Tsukineko.

On another note.  I hate computers...well, I guess it's a love-hate relationship.  My laptop died on Thursday, so I took it in to Best Buy to see if the Geek Squad could rescue it.  (Luckily I had backed-up all my very important stuff for work and my photos just two days prior!) They still have it, but said that I probably need a new one since it was 3-1/2 years old as laptops usually only last 3-4 years.  Since when did things that expensive have such a short lifespan??

Well, needless to say, I had to purchase a new one.  OK, so that's just the way it goes, right? I had them load up the necessary Microsoft stuff and retrieved it that evening.  But, when I tried to start the darn thing up the next morning it wouldn't load Windows.  UGH! I didn't freak out, as would be my normal response, which I was very glad about(I must be growing up!??).  Knew it must be a bad apple and, of course, they started all over again and gave me a brand new one...  Here's to another great 3-1/2 years of computing!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fall semester begins soon!

It's that time again.  Time for another school year.  Ah, new clothes and supplies are always exciting! So as you send your kids off to school, make sure you continue your learning, too.  My Creative Classroom is an online arts and crafts learning center. Our interactive and in-depth courses are instructor-led and filled with wonderful projects and techniques to help you get the most out of your supplies.

We've got over 100 classes scheduled for the fall semester which begins September 6th...some brand new classes and always your returning favorites. In the coming weeks we will be introducing our four new instructors(!) and opening the courses for registration.  Some are already open now, so head on over to the Course List and take a peek.

I've personally will be teaching two brand new classes and several returning favorites this fall. Click the ONLINE CLASSES tab at the top of the blog to see what I'm offering.

"See" you in class!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

thread sketching

My first feeble attempts at thread sketching. I colored the canvas cloth with Glimmer Mist, hand colored the tulip with colored pencils, and then free motion stitched. I actually like it a lot.

  
This is for a page I am making for the swap group.  There are ten of us...each making a page for each others books with the flower theme. I have a few more steps to do before I can send them out.  I will post when it's all finished.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Christmas in July

Christmas in July? Yep. At My Creative Classroom where I teach online classes next week is "Christmas in July" week. We've got a full week of Christmas and gift giving classes prepared for you. Whether you're a Cricut nut, into Spellbinders, a paper crafter, or a rubber stamp lover there's a Christmas and gift themed class for you. Go check it out HERE.

And to get you thinking all things Christmas, here's what I'm making today. It will be part of a background for a Christmas card in "Christmas Card Boot Camp" that I'm teaching with Jeri' Parks and Linda Dotterer.

Paper Quilt

Quilt detail
Maybe I'll "see" ya in class?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

what I did on my summer vacation....

Here's what I did this past weekend:
We had a blast! We went with my DH and DS#3, my sister, her DH and DD. We stayed in Copperhill, Tennessee in a little house on a lake with gorgeous views! We went rafting on the Upper and Middle Ocoee River with Ocoee Adventure Center. You must look up our guide, Mark, for a great safe, but wild ride!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Things are getting sketchy!

I think I've finally finished this piece with the sunflowers. I'm lovin' the black pompoms!


Love that it's not perfect and has that "sketchy" look to it. I try very hard to be imperfect...even though it's not my nature. Really!
The back even looks cool. So glad I used black thread instead of one that coordinated with the back fabric!
Have you created anything lately?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bugs fabric post card swap

LinkAnother card for the swap. For this post card I hand-stamped images onto muslin. The ink was a little light so I darkened it with a Pitt pen. I just love batik fabrics. That black print fabric for the edging was from some old capri pants that didn't fit anymore. (They shrunk in the dryer...really!)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Needle felting and metallic thread

I'm taking up another craft...What?...another one? Yes, I'm a sucker for beautiful things and I just can't help myself! (But I have to limit my crafting at some point...or do I?)

Needle felting is such an easy and portable craft. That's one reason I like it. You don't really have to think or design. What you plan may not happen as you place your roving/threads/fibers down and felt away. I took my supplies out to the porch yesterday and sat there just creating. It was a much-needed relaxing time. It was a beautiful day and I just wanted to play.

I used this 100% wool roving from Wistyria Editions. These colors are part of the #858 Wild Flowers assortment. I have two other assortment collections, too, and am just enamored with the fluffy feel and wonderful colors.

So here's what I made. Yep, part of the swap...this time fabric ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) and not post cards.

I just love these cards! Besides the wonderful color and the portable-ness of needle felting, I've used fuchsia metallic thread! It is such a great addition to the softness of the base of craft felt and wool roving.

Series of 4 ATC's


What are you creating today?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Green Yellow and Orange Fabric Post Card

My "creative juices" weren't flowing too well today. It took me pulling out most of my fabric to decide on a project for my "Green, Yellow, and Orange" post card for the swap.
Let's go through the process.
First I chose this fabric. But it doesn't have any yellow or orange, you say....yes, I do realize that. It's coming. Cut to 4" x 6" post card size. I added a layer of tear-away stabilizer to the back and began free-motion stitching over the light and dark green areas.
Next, I hand cut a few quasi-flower shapes and stitched them in place.
Then it's time to add the orange...
Add a thick stabilizer, the post card image for the mailing side and satin stitch this sucker. I usually satin stitch two or three times around the perimeter to get it looking as thick as I like it.
And voila...it's a post card!
Off it goes to it's recipient...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Fabric Post Cards

Here are two more post cards for our swap at Trading Fabric Post Cards. Come join us...it's fun! It certainly gets me creating more often...which is definitely my goal!

The first is "Message in a Bottle". I had so much 3-D stuff on here I had to mail it in bubble wrap and a regular manila envelope!
  • 7gypsies glass bottle
  • variegated thread
  • hand dyed fabric
  • Angelina Fibers
  • colored threads
  • real sea shells
  • micro beads
The Chinese fortune reads: "There is no wisdom greater than kindness." I collect fortunes from Fortune Cookies. :-)
This next one is for the "Middle Initial" swap. You were to make a post card for the middle initial of the recipient of your card.
  • freehand cutting of the "M"
  • flower shaped sequins
  • beading

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Florida Fabric Post Card

Another fabric post card off to it's new destination for the Trading Fabric Post Cards swap. For this swap you create a post card of the state where you live. I had to add Lake Okeechobee and "The Keys"! Probably only a Floridian would know to include those! ;-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Zentangle Fabric Post Card


It's nice to be the butt of your own jokes. HUH? Yes, I said it. I had to laugh at myself as I stitched this Zentangle post card to send off for the swap. I was never a doodler...I'm very left-brained, so I'm not good at Zentangle. Then, throw in the fact that I'm not too good at free motion stitching(yet!) and that's why the laughter. Here's my attempt at a fabric Zentangle post card. It is off "across the pond"...going to the UK tomorrow as I send it to it's recipient. She should get a kick out of this one...!

I must say, though, that I do like the black thread on the red batik fabric...OK, so there's one good thing about it! LOL! And my satin stitch is getting better... ;-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First quilt finished

I love not having this as a UFO (unfinished object)! It is actually the second quilt top I've pieced but the first that is actually finished..quilted and bound! YIPPEE. Colors were requested by my #3 son and he is happy to finally have it on his bed!

The pattern is Fab Five by Abbey Lane Quilts. I added an extra row of the irregular triangle shapes and two borders so it would fit on his twin sized bed.

The backing is a great red batik. I used black thread in the top and bobbin to quilt it, so you can see where I've outlined each line and angle. It's hard to see in this photo, but it's super cool!Now onto the rest of my UFO's!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Apron Fabric Post Card

Here's another post card for my swap group, Trading Fabric Post Cards. This one is, obviously, with an Apron theme. The base is actually a salmon colored batik...not as orange-y as it's showing up here. The little tea pot, cup, and goodies are cut from cardstock-weight glitter paper and are adhered with foam squares for dimension. Off it goes in the mail to its recipient!! Hopefully, it will be in tact when it gets there.

I love receiving goodies in the mail. You must try it. I know it's "old school" to use snail mail, but it sure is fun! Remember when that was the way you communicated with your friends?? Writing letters? Seems so long ago. I think kids these days are missing out on some very wonderful things with the "too-much technology" that's going on now. What do you think?

:D

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"

I love this postcard. It is one that I didn't want to send off to the swap...but I did. (Check out our swap group).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April Showers Fabric Post Card

Here's my latest fabric postcard for a swap. The topic is "April Showers". It's with the Yahoo group "Trading Fabric Post Cards". Come join us. You sign up for only the ones you want to do. There are topics listed in the database and you just add your name to the list of the postcards you want to make. You usually have at least a month to complete and send off your postcard. It's so fun to be a part of a group. As the post cards come in you get to see everyone's different artistic "take" on a topic. We also trade fabric ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) and Fat Books. Our definition of a Fat Book is a larger fabric page with semi-specific instructions. 10-12 people sign up and we make that many pages...trade them and collect all the other 10 pages and add them to a fabric book with the binding of your choice.

Here's the page I made for my first Fat Book. We have 12 participants, each creating a different month of the year. When they all get to me I will have a 12-page Fat Book wonderfully created by other gals all across the US, Canada, and the UK. When they all come in I'll share the completed book. Only a few more pages and I'll have them all. Can't wait!

I signed up for the next Fat Book, too. That one will be with a theme of flowers. I chose tulips. My mom tells me that my grandfather had tulips growing in his garden. Although I don't remember it, they remind me of my grandfather. So every time I see tulips, I think of grandpa.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fabric-Covered Composition Book

I took another class at my local quilt shop on Sunday. Do I really need a fabric-covered composition book? No, it's not necessarily about the project. But this pattern from Indygo Junction is a cutie and definitely easy to follow. The reason I take classes is to glean valuable sewing info from the instructors. Melody, who taught the class and is the store owner, is an award winning garment seamstress. Guess what? She always adjusts the patterns and adds her little tweaks of goodness. For this class she added in needle felting, bobbin stitching, and decorative sewing. You can't get that from a regular pattern. Plus you get to ask all those burning questions you have as you sew. I got to ask about types of wool roving to use, where to get it, what else would work, etc. We got to use the Bernina Needle Punch Tool and a Clover Needle Felting Tool (yes, I had to purchase the felting tool and large mat! I have big plans for it!)

Here's the closed book front. We made crazy patch fabric and did some decorative stitching with bobbin stitching:

We felted the front center piece and added free motion stitching:

There's an inside pocket for pens(the pattern has a little pocket for biz cards, too)

The back has some decorative stitches with regular thread. I'm so loving that diagonal striped fabric. It made is so easy to add the stitches.
I can't say enough about shopping at your local "Mom & Pop" shops. They have put in so much time and energy(not to mention money) to have a great store for you. Do you want the quilt stores to go the route of scrapbooking stores? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, they are basically all gone...the "Joanne's" and "Michael's" may last, but you've got to put your money into local shops and restaurants if you want them to stay.

:D