Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Finger Puppets

I made up some little felt Halloween finger puppets for some little kiddies I know.  A nice hand sewing and embroidery to cure these dull drizzly days.

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, it looks like Halloween is going to be a particularly spooky night here ... wet, windy and wild ...

It'll soon be time to ignite the pumpkin:

Here's our messy pumpkin that no one was willing to touch!

blech ...

And now for something completely different.

I veered from my course of making continuous hexagons (continuous?!), and made some pentagons instead!  And once you start making pentagons ... well, you just can't stop. 

Except you cannot join penties the same as you can hexies and expect them to lie flat.  So you end up making these:

It's not perfectly round (lumpy stuffing job), and I know my stitches aren't supposed to show (according to all the instruction books I've read), but it's either my eyesight or just my sewing, but there they are for all the world to see.  The Great Ball of Pentagon is complete.

Have a Happy Halloween tonight, whether you're trick or treating, or maybe just dishing out the treats.  Enjoy!


Monday, October 29, 2012

University Bathroom Bag

My daughter attends university and requested I make her a bathroom bag with just enough space to carry her shampoo & soap.  Of course, being the mother that I am I'm questioning her about all the other things she needs to take to the bathroom (what about clothes!!  what about flip flops!!), don't you think a bigger bag would be better?!  But, no, she doesn't want to carry everything to the bathroom, just the bare necessities.  She's in residence and must run upstairs and down halls to the shared bathroom.  So I sigh and make her just what she wants. 

At first I was going to make it in these fabrics (I'd even made the hexie flower to go with it!):

And as pretty as they were together, I then came across a tiny strip of brown fabric for the top band and liked the contrast better:

I also thought about adding the hexie flower:

But decided it was too large (it's only 'stuck' to the bag in the above pic, not sewn on).  Now that I see the photo, I think it looks quite nice with the large hexie flower.  However, I wanted to have fabrics in the flower that were also in the bag, so this hexie wasn't up to snuff.  I still have a little bit of the brown fabric left and thought I could make a hexie with a few petals of brown, but time was against me, and the girl had to be taken back to her burrow before I could start.

So this is what will be swinging from her arm as she skips down the halls and up the stairs to the bathroom with nothing but shampoo and soap!


And the interior with a polka-dot pocket for the soap :)

AND she loved it, sew mission accomplished!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Around the Yard

Every time I look out the front window, I see this amazing burning bush.  It's brighter than any maple tree, and I LOVE it!  I wish it was this colour all the time, but this is its fall gown.

Such colour!!

From the back door I'm able to watch this beautiful birch tree through all the seasons (although it's one house over).  My parents had many birches on their property where I grew up.  The sound of their rattling leaves in the wind brings back long-ago summers.  And that brilliant yellow on a sunny fall day with the white trunks is special.  This photo doesn't do it justice, but the leaves were fairly glowing in the sun today.  Did I mention it was 22'C today?!

And with the unseasonal warmth, here are some little flowers budding again.  Haven't seen flowers on this since late summer.

This little spot in the backyard is a favourite spot for the mourning doves.  They're drawn to the soft pine needles warmed by the sun. 

And still more blooms coming up when they should be at their end.

Even my little potted begonia refuses to admit summer is over, although evidence of autumn is filling the pot alongside the blooms.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Couldn't Resist

After reading all about a certain vintage sheet hexie quilt top, and after seeing these little beauties, and when for some inexplicable reason I came home with this in my arms:

....the only logical thing left for me to do was to make some hexies.  So I played with one size of hexie:

(too big); and then another:

and decided on the smaller of the two to applique to this little bag I also made.  It's made from a thrifted, then felted pure wool sweater.  It's only for kids, but that's okay (for now).

Inside lined with fabric matching the hexie flower of course:

And despite the warnings of every blog post and book on hexies, I didn't heed them.  And I kept on making more hexies.  For no other reason than just to make them.  And now, of course, I cannot for the life of me stop.  sigh   

But! I discovered I can make hexies while reading a book, eating a meal, drinking a cuppa tea, and even watching several episodes of Battlestar Gallactica with my men (which is a whole other story).  I think I have happened upon the most ideal work suited to my timetable at the moment.  It's satisfying and fun and almost instant gratification.

While taking the above outdoor photos (in the drizzle!! grrr), this little treasure winked at me from my garden ... gosh I love this little rose X :)

And my pooch who spent a lot of time yesterday evening on the couch beside me, being my nice heated furry cushion on which to rest my arm while I stitched. 

Good boy Cody :)

Hope you all have a good ending to the rest of your week.  Welcome to my new followers, and thanks so much for leaving your comments!  Wendy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pick-Me-Up Projects

Every so often (like now) I hit a dry spot and can't decide what to work on next.  My sewing time is pretty much limited to evenings, and that's not my favourite time to sew.  I can't seem to get inspired in the evenings.  I share my sewing space with my family in our family room, and I feel crowded in that corner when everyone else is in the room with me.  My thoughts are crowded too, and I just can't relax and concentrate on sewing when my husband is flipping through six different TV channels to watch baseball, reality shows and such ... too much confusing background noise!

This evening I pulled out a few past projects trying to decide if I want to make more as a little "pick-me-up" project just to get me in motion again.

These little dolls are fun to work on ... and I can work on these during the day since it's portable embroidery.  I made these dolls from the book "Felt Wee Folk" by Salley Mavor.

Salley Mavor does some truly amazing work with felt and embroidery.  Her latest work with a bird collage is so inspiring, and something I might like to try myself (but to be honest, probably never will).  The detail she adds to these birds is stunning.  I tend to watch birds A LOT in my backyard and on my walks in the woods.  Salley really captures the birds' character in a way that often eludes other artists.  I love doing embroidery (especially on felt), and I could really lose myself in something like this.  I bought her wee folk book some years ago, and have had a lot of fun making these dolls to give as gifts to friends and family.  This one is yet to be completed with some hair and acorn cap:

I enjoy picking out the silk flower petals to match their little outfits.

Making some soft toys is another possibility.  I made these little guys from patterns by Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls.  I have a little girl in my care that loves to cuddle with soft toys in the crook of her neck, and I thought I could maybe make another rabbit for her or a "wee" from Hillary's patterns.  Easy patterns that are quick to whip up!

I made the above little elephant when my kids were too old for soft toys, and for some reason they named him "Hypothermia" (?!).  He's from a book that Hillary contributed to. 

I think I'm leaning towards the rabbit.  In some soft, pretty cotton.  The shape of the rabbit is perfect for the crook of a small child's neck.  I really just want to SEW!!  ANYthing!!  And it's bugging me that I'm stalled for ideas and trapped without time, but perhaps a quick little pick-me-up project like this will get the gears in my mind clicking again :D


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Home Alone

A rare moment for me ... home alone.  My husband and son have gone to a trailer show (camper trailers), and I told them I'd rather stay at home to sew.  I've been admiring a self-portrait quilt by Pretty By Hand and find the concept really inspiring.  What a great idea to incorporate the things that are "you" into a quilt!  This will stay only in my mind for a while yet, but right now I want to do some quick little projects that I can finish and admire (and post!) within a short time.  I've also admired the practice you see all over the blogs of framing bits of pretty fabric in an embroidery hoop.  So I decided to combine the two ideas, and made up a small embroidery hoop with little trinkets that belonged to my mother.

I started this little project with just the fabric, which is a sample piece my mom wove on her loom.  But then I thought it would look nice with the skeleton key on it, and, well, one thing led to another, and I added all this other stuff as well.  A small name bracelet from her girlfriends when she was young:

A pin from her younger days when she cycled with the Canadian Youth Hostel (she and my dad met through this cycling group):

A locket she gave to me when I was a child (which her mother gave her) and has tiny photos of her parents in it:

And a few buttons that were in her button jar, and which I specifically remember being in her button jar even when I was a child!  Favourite coat buttons, a suit button, and a button from a dress.  Buttons hold such strong sentiments for me.  Mom used to tip her buttons out onto a a tray for my sisters and I to look at and admire when we were young ... I loved sifting through those buttons as they were all such pretty little treasures ... they even had a distinctive smell!

So that's what I did this morning, and I think I'll hang it up in my sewing corner.  The little extra piece that I had to cut off the end of the sample fabric is the perfect size for a small coaster to set by my sewing machine for my cup of tea.  Cheers!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Rocking Basket

I finally finished the liner for my rocking basket ... it only took, what?, two weeks?!

But it's done, and I'm pretty happy with it.  I first had the ties quite long and tied them in a bow, but .... too fussy.  So I cut them and just had this overlap cross on the sides instead.  Found two cute buttons in my button jar.

What I'm not happy with is the painted strawberries and daisies on the basket ... they're clashing with my polk-a-dots!  I need to paint the whole basket.  My husband, who does woodworking and has made some beautiful furniture for our home, is always aghast when I say I'm going to paint some wooden piece.  "Don't paint it!!", he'll exclaim.  He hates to see wood grain hidden under a coat of paint.  But seriously, this is just a basket made of pine, and I think I'll just give it a quick sand and paint it.  Maybe the same shade of green as the buttons.  I want to tack down the overlapping edges of the liner, but was waiting until I made up my mind about painting/not painting.  I think it'll look fresh if it's painted, and will show off the lining better :)

On another note, my son brought home an amazing sculpture today from high school that he made in welding class.  He has his own garden complete with pond (and fish!), and this will find a place somewhere there. 

I'm so pleased that he designed and made this completely on his own.  It's a great blue heron, which are common here, but are still a delight to see (except when they gobble up his fish!). 


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Tin Love

I have a soft spot for old tins.  I have a small (very small) collection, but each one is special to me.

Some have been passed down to me.  Others I have picked up at flea markets and thrift stores.  I like to use them for my small sewing notions (needles, threads, buttons, etc.).

I just love this little tin (flea market find) because of the picture on the lid:

It's entitled "The New Pony" and since I also have a soft spot for horses and ponies, I couldn't pass it up!  And look!  It's the perfect size for my spools of thread :)

I'm waiting for just the right thing to store in this little tin (below) which I found in my dad's workshop while clearing out his house.  I had to bend the lid a bit to get it to open and close again, but otherwise it's in fairly good shape.  Dad had all kinds of fancy little tobacco tins from England (he's a Yorkshire man), and I suppose they were from his father who smoked all his life.  Unfortunately, they were so abused and beyond cleaning/repairing from holding bits of metal and greasy gears, that I decided not to keep any except for this one:

Even the undersides of lids hold surprises:

My mom had a "Wonder Fruit Cake" tin just like the two below where she kept her embroidery floss.  The lower tin was my great aunt's whose entire house was a shrine to early farming life in Ontario.  I always loved Mom's "embroidery" tin with its fancy scroll pattern and the intense colours, so I was thrilled to come across this same tin of my aunt's.  Then while at the thrift store recently, I found another fruit cake tin in a slightly smaller size!!  Scooped it up without even thinking about it. 

This destinctive tin (below) holds all my needles for the machine and for hand sewing.  I love the raised textured pattern.

And finally, this is actually a lid from a tin (again from my great aunt) ... now how pretty is that ... I so love the silouette of this little maiden ... like a storybook heroine, and just to decorate the lid of a tin of oatmeal! 


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