Saturday, August 28, 2010

Inspiration strikes

So I have been taking these Taste of Jewelry classes at the Sawtooth center here in the city.  I have made two beautiful sterling silver rings.  Last Friday a couple of hours before the second class I decided that if I was going to keep making jewelry I was going to need a  jewelry bag to store them in.  That resulted in the butterfly girl jewelry bag, the first project that I posted on  Lucky Duck Dreams.  The first ring on top was made out of a beaded silver wire.  I'm holding the second ring I made.  On the outside I stamped the words "butterfly girl" (that's me). Inside I stamped my first name and the year 2010.

So yesterday I went to a class and learned to make glass beads.  I used an oxygen with propane torch and melted glass rods at 1200 degrees.  If you look closely at the picture you can see where I used a second color on some of the beads.  I made the purple bead for my sister and put it on black stretchy cord.  The green one is for me of course. It was wild fun and I will have to do it again.

So on my way home I was kicking my self that I had forgotten my art class journal.  It's where I write down all of the materials and tools we used , and the steps it took .  Someday I will use what I have learned to make my own jewelry.  I also forgot my butterfly girl jewelry bag to put my glass beads in. I needed to put my journal and jewelry bag together so I would have them ready for class. 

Then inspiration struck!  I had some canvas and when I got home I dug out some really old (ancient!) acrylic fabric paints.  While a  few were completely dried out, most were still good.  I cut a rectangle of canvas and painted an abstract design.  Then I pulled out some fleece scraps.  I saved all of these long thin 60 in strips I had trimmed off of different colors of fleece.  I choose a large dark pink, two short yellow, two short purple and two short light pink strips.  Then I went to bed because it was midnight and I was tired.  I was up early the morning about 6am anxious to continue working on the bag.  I scrunched the fleece strips into roses, cut some leaves from leftover spring green fleece, and after sewing down topped each with a matching button. 

 I had this one long thin black strip of fleece that some how worked its way into my name.  I added a handle and a little rick rack/ribbon trim and now I have a beautiful arty personalized satchel to carry my supplies to my classes.

I have had a lot of inspirations over the years, but until I had an organized space to work in, most of those inspirations went unfulfilled.  Its amazing to have an idea and be able to have the materials and tools at hand to create it.

Keep dreaming...Colleen (aka lucky duck)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quilt Treasures

One of the best things about setting up my craft/quilt studio this summer has been the rediscovery of the treasures I have collected over the last 20 years.  One afternoon I opened THE trunk. 
The trunk is one of those dark blue with brass fittings college trunks.  And yes I did take it to college where I live on 9th floor of Morrison Dorm at UNC.  I don't think college students buy trunks anymore, I haven't seen any in the stores for years. Now the trunk had been opened a few times over the past few years or so, but mostly to stuff ( in a gentle way) things in.  I decided to sort them one afternoon.  I found the first quilt blocks I ever made (ugh! not showing you those).  There were also some great UFO quilt tops waiting to be finished. 

This cat head wall hanging was an exploration of black, white and gray fabrics.  I always wanted to finish this for my sister - maybe I still will. 

The blocks with the fancy Hoffman turquoise metallic print was from a Q-xchg swap (I found a lot of blocks from exchanges-it was a great way to learn!)  We were all given a selection of coordinating fabrics and had to make a 12 inch block.  I would love to set these on point to make a wall hanging. 

This third one was my first real attempt at a watercolor quilt.  I wanted to make it as a baby quilt for someone at work.  I was still in my disorganized/health recovery phase of my life so I never finished it.  I love buying charm square packs on ebay in different sizes and color themes.  This uses 4 inch squares.  I have a coordinating deep red tone on tone fabric for a border and a pretty large blue  flannel for the back.  I love how in watercolor quilts you can actually use the back side of fabric to get a lighter color shade yet still have the effect of the print.


Inside this treasure trunk was a treasure of vintage quilt blocks and tops.  I love old fabrics!  It is so much fun to tramp through flea markets and antique stores and uncovering these gems.  I decided to pick my favorites and use them to decorate my new studio.

I loved the candy colors of the 1940's and the traditional pieced patterns.  I also love the other dark colors and patterns of the turn of the century patterns.  Here are some closer views.

I found these wonderful 12 x 12 green metal frames at AC Moore's on sale.  I backed them with muslin.  I wish they had some larger square frames as I have some lovely pieced stars that are quite large and would look lovely hung.  I wonder what other ways I could hang them?  Well sewing calls!
Keep Dreaming...Colleen

Friday, August 20, 2010

first project!!

     So this is not my first ever project but rather my first time posting the directions to an original project.  It is to make a jewelry bag.  My neighbor and I are taking a series of jewelry making classes and I thought we could use a special bag to store the results. Since setting up my studio the creativity can not be turned off! (Maybe because it is not being funneled into grad school anymore?) So here goes.

Butterfly Girl Jewelry Bag
 (one of my new design names = girls who are spreading their wings and flying- right Denise?)


  *2 strips 13 x 5.5 inches cut from coordinating fabrics 
     (I used muslin for the bag lining.)

 *16-18 inch piece of 1/2 inch ribbon

  *scraps of fleece



Step 1 - Put strips right sides together and sew all the way around leaving a two inch opening about three inches from one of the short ends.

Step 2 - Turn and press, making sure the opening's edges are pressed to the inside.  You do not need to sew the opening closed as this will be taken care of in the last step.

Step 3 - On the short ends sew all the way across 5/8 inches from the edge.  This will create the tunnel for ribbon later on.

Step 4 - Choose a scrap of fleece, fold in half and free cut out symmetrical butterfly wings on the fold.  Keep it under three inches wide.  For those who are cutting-handicapped, draw a pattern first.  From a coordinating fleece scrap cut an elongated butterfly body. 

Step 5 - Position butterfly wings on right side of the bag below stitched line and sew1/4 inch all the way around.  (Make sure back is not folded in half!)  Lay butterfly body on top and sew 1/4 inch around.
Step 6 - Fold bag in half, right sides (outside of bag) together.  Starting at stitched line, sew side edges closed with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving top open.
Step 7 - Turn bag right side out.  Using sharp snips, carefully cut a vertical slit in the lining 1/2 long at the end of each flap in the bags opening.

Step 8 - Using your handy dandy threading tool (or a safety pin) thread ribbon through all holes.  Match up ends and knot together.  Pull ribbon and push fabric to create gathered closure.

*Place 6-8 small baggies for storing jewelry inside.  These help keep jewelry organized and tangle free.  It also helps to prevent tarnish on silver jewelry.

Believe it or not this idea came to me driving home from work today. And only about an hour to make two finished and one incomplete (my demo pieces).  The fleece butterflies were inspired by fleece flowers I saw in a book somewhere.  You cut out a flower shape, layer with a circle center and sew 1/4 inch around the inside of the circle.  Then top with a button.  I can only imagine what else I can use that technique with.  Gotta love fleece!  I love having a working studio!

Keep Dreaming...Colleen

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grandma's House Treasures

My Jacobus, PA grandma died a number of years ago. She had lived with Alzheimer's for a decade in a special wing at a nursing home.  When she went to the nursing home the family cleaned out her home of more then 45 years.  She never threw anything away.  We found toys from her six children, clippings of weddings and funerals, letters, and in the basement old ketchup bottles from when people made their own ketchup.  I was just getting into sewing and quilting and so looked for fabric, sewing items, and other miscellaneous trinkets.  Some of the things I acquired included all of the buttons I recently sorted into old assorted Kerr, Mason, and Ball canning jars.
In a previous post I mentioned fabric sample cards -
 well my grandpa also brought home button sample cards.  I found about 16 full with some doubles and some that had many of the buttons already cut off.   I left the full cards as they are and removed the buttons from the  cut up cards(they were all double anyway).
I was good at finding odds and ends in small tins and nooks and crannies of various drawers.  Treasures like old jewelry, game pieces, a Kennedy button, cracker jack toys, and  these stylish belt buckles
I loved finding special handmade items like these Sun Bonnet Sue needle cases and miscellaneous crocheted items .

Also a vintage fabric apron that is back in style today. 
 I recently found a great pattern for one at Stash Manicure.
In my hunting I found some items of historical significance including this armband and pin from World War II.  My grandfather was an air raid warden before he went into the army.

And from a later era are these head bands and peace belt-guess what decade?
I especially love these very small belts from my mother's nurse uniform when she was a student at Polytechnic.  She had such a tiny waist!
These are just some of the treasures I found when we cleaned out my grandma's home.  What was the most meaningful to a then young beginning quilter were 13 quilt blocks made by my grandma.  They were simply appliqued cat and dog blocks, outlined and detailed with embroidery.  She made quilts for the second generation of grandkids using these blocks.  What I love is the fabrics she used-from those sample cards for the cats and dogs and old pieced sheets for the background.  She was a true scrap quilter.
Keep dreaming,
:o) Colleen

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fabric stash dilemma

So I unloaded bins and the shelf in my closet and put my entire stash on my new cutting table. 
But then I was left with the dilemma of how to fold and better store all of this fabric.  So I did a little research and found Polar Notions mini bolt boards.
This seemed the perfect solution but on my budget it was not an option.  Then someone online suggested using comic boards.  So I went to my local comic book store and picked up a pack of 100 for around $7.  They come in slightly different sizes and are archival quality with either one or both sides coated.
First I like to fold fabric in half twice based on the longer width.  If the fabric more then 2 yards you may need to fold additional times to get it into a manageable length.
I then fold over about 3 inches of fabric and slide the board into the fold of the fabric.
Then fold the board over and over until you have all of the fabric wrapped securely.
Polar Notions sells a clip to hold the fabric in place.  I didn't use anything.  I really like how well in holds the fabric and how neat it makes the shelves. 

Now all I have to do is finish the rest of my stash...sigh*

Keep Dreaming...:o) Colleen

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Remembering the past

I read a blog post the other day at Retro-Fabulous talking about discovering the quilters in our family. It brought back my first memories of quilt making. My Grandmother who lived in Jacobus, PA made me a quilt when I was 3 years old about 1972. It was not made with all 100% cotton material but from mostly polyester blends. (shown with back folded to front)

Don't you just love those 60's/70's fabrics? I love this quilt because it is heavy, warm and I like to snuggle with it on vacation or camping. What is neat is where my Grandma got the fabrics. My Grandfather was a buyer for Parr's Department Store in York, PA. He traveled ironically to places like Winston-Salem(near where I live now) and brought back all of the fabric sample cards. If you don't know what a sample card is check these out.

She made all of her quilts using fabric from these sample cards. She would cut up sheets for sashing on later quilts where she used the plaid fabrics to applique cats and dogs on white backgrounds. I would post a picture but with the reno I cant get to the last of her blocks I have tucked away. Later when I was ten or eleven she made me another quilt using all of the plaid shirt material cards.

I also still use this quilt today and usually have it under my comforter in the winter. One other experience that I remember happened when I was about 9 or 10. My great aunt Mildred had asked my Mom and her siblings(she is one of six) to come to her apartment in Jacobus, PA . I remember in her second bedroom she had quilts in very traditional patterns spread out on the bed. My mother got to choose one to keep as did her siblings.

Well I have to get back to work on cleaning out and organizing the craft/quilt studio.

Keep dreaming...