Monday, April 30, 2007

Card City

An astonishing crop of cards today (and a few other things, too). I got three cards from the Earth Day swap - the leaf and the butterfly/flower ones in addition to the obvious one. The World on the Back of a Turtle card is from Theresa, the Butterfly is from Ellen and the Aspen Leaf is from Sophie. In addition, there was a belated card from the International Women's Day swap from Sophie and a Circles card from Sue. And lanterns - these are from Desiree and include extras (I am going to have SO many lanterns - what will I do - would that all my problems were of this nature, LOL).

And finally, the blacks on the left both came in the both (thanks to Judy and Jane), but the blocks on the right are something I actually made - these are for my African block swap with Karol Ann, and are the first that I've made for the swap. Just wanted something which would be fairly simple to do and would show off large bits of the African fabrics. I did also do some work on the Jacob's ladder blocks, but as I was strip piecing, I don't have any finished ones to show yet...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Missing in action (Wednesday?)

Just realised that I forgot to post pictures of these cards, and a load of lantern blocks that I received last week - I think it must have been Wednesday, as that's the day that seems to be missing from the blog. Hmm. Also, all the work I did Wednesday - spring card preparation and edging the sky cards - I won't bother with all those pictures just now, though - the goodies are enough!

Anyway. The leaf & flower card is for the spring is here swap on FAI, and is from Debbie in New Zealand; the fish are for the Open Theme swap on EuroQuilt and are from Flo in Germany. As for the lantern blocks, my brain is going a bit soft tonight (no jokes about it not being just tonight, please!) but I think they are from Pat
and Vanessa. Lots of extras from both of these ladies, which is really sweet of them. I have a feeling I might have received some black scraps from Grace on this day, too, but I could be wrong - I definitely got some from her, so here's a big thank you to Grace...

Rectangles galore

Lots of little rectangles, today :) On the left, is the cutting that I did in between satin stitching around the edges of the cards on the right - I don't mind satin stitching, but I don't usually do 16 cards at once, so it was a little boring - hence the getting up and doing some cutting in between. The cutting is for the rest of the Jacob's Ladder blocks, which are now sitting in a nice stack next to the machine, ready to be worked on, if necessary, in those ten minutes when I don't even feel like setting up the iron. And the spring cards are done and going out tomorrow in the post - they are for two different swaps, so that's two more things to cross off my list. I still have too many swaps in May, but it's getting better...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spring windowsills

Well, might not look like much progress today, but I managed to get all the windows stitched down (each card is quilted around each of the four windows) and vases and flower stems on all the cards. Which means that tonight I can begin to put the flower sequins and beads on. Hurrah! There are lots of cards this time, because they are for two different swaps, and of course I am making extra to send as birthday cards, swap independently and/or sell in my esty shop, as usual.

The oriental lantern blocks are from Julie in Australia, and I should just say that the one on the left is not too small (which it kind of looks like in the photo) - it's just folded at the bottom and I couldn't get it to lay flat to take the photo. Great colour combos - such a variety of these blocks - it just goes to show how many oriental fabrics are out there!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mail call! (and a little work)

Two cards in the post today - the one on the left is for the Spring swap with my dyeing group, and is from Cobi; the one on the right is another in the circles swap with BQLPC, and is from Wendy. Both great cards - the planets is a very clever interpretation of the circles theme...

And some more lanterns - an extra from Pat K and two from Chris. Love that orange fabric!

And finally, some black squares from Ann O - and some stuff that I worked on, though not much - it was a busy day, so I only had time to get the frames on the spring postcards. Five of them are sewed down around the windows, the others are simply bonded at this stage. Hopefully tomorrow I will get the rest of the windows stitched, and then the vases and flower stems on, which will mean I can add the sequins and beads in the evening which watching Dr Who and the Joseph programme... Ah, the exciting life I lead!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hurrah for postcards!

I love postcards. You probably figured this out. I can't believe I used to be skeptical about them. But I adore them. Anyway, today's post brought me two new ones - both for the circles swap (you may have worked that out). The one on the left is from Janet, who was also inspired to use Suffolk Puffs; the one on the right is from Anne, who went with a mathematical theme. It's just as well that I got some postcards today, as I didn't do anything else sewing related. I did, however, go down and pick some asparagus at our local pick your own (first of the year, hurrah). And did a bunch of other errands - oh well, Thursday is usually a non-sewing day anyway. Maybe I'll do some work tonight while watching House and Shark. Or maybe I'll just veg...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A cloud in the sky...

Got these two great squishies in the post today - well, I guess the post card is not so squishie, but you know what I mean. The card is from Amy, and is sort of part of the Earth Day Swap - I say sort of, because although we are both in the swap, we are in different groups - but we each liked the other's card, so swapped anyway. That's postcard addicts for you... The other squishie was of course, more lanterns - great fabrics here, very different from one another and from most of the other fabrics I have so far, which is brilliant - that was the idea, after all. Also a lovely little fridge magnet as a hostess gift, made from postage stamps - very clever. Thanks to Hilda, who made both the blocks and the magnet!

And one final squishie today - more black fabric - lots of it this time (I wish I'd had some of these before the lantern swap; they'd have made great backgrounds for that - don't worry though, I have an idea to make mini lantern postcards when I have some spare time, ha ha). These fabrics are all from Freida, to whom I sent some bits of silk and a tie in return (though to be fair, she would have sent the black anyway, generous woman that she is) as she is making a tie quilt. More power to her!

Now on to stuff I actually worked on myself, instead of just admiring other people's work (although I really enjoy doing that) - these are some postcards (surprise, surprise) for the theme "sky", due to mail out in early May. I had an idea I wanted to do a cloudy sky, but it was surprising how complicated it turned out to be to turn this into a reality. The other day when I was melting Tyvek (as one does) I got the idea that it might work as the clouds, so I started with that. But it was a little stark, so I decided to try what had originally been my idea for clouds - cotton wool (cliched, I know, but sometimes cliches are there for a reason). So I added some cotton wool to the tyvek clouds - better, but still not quite right. So the next step was to add a little angelina over the top (when in doubt, add angelina - that's my new motto) - much better, it softened up the cards a little and gave the sort of effect I was looking for. At the last minute, I decided a little sun peeping out from behind the clouds couldn't hurt, so added some Angelina suns.

The cards still need to be satin stitched, but I decided to take a break and do a couple sample blocks for the May Block Lotto on about - I can't show them yet because it's not public until (you guessed it) May, but I did work on them, hence the lack of postcard edging. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, April 23, 2007

A little bit of that sewing thang

Didn't do much today - just these four blocks - the final two lanterns (which would have been done ages ago with the others, if I could actually count) and two more Jacob's Ladder blocks. Nothing too exciting, but I only had about an hour to play today, so I didn't want to get stuck into another group of postcards, or I wouldn't be able to stop to go to the post office (to mail those circle cards, yippee!) or pick the kids up from school, or any of those other vital things.

I do still feel fairly virtuous though, as I finally managed to ride my bike to yoga (decent weather, hoorah) and home again - I have decided I really need a new bike - granted this one was free, which is great, but it's stuck in second gear, which is not so good for hills (which, luckily, there aren't that many of around here) and it's a bit battered - advantage of that being no one likely to try to steal it, even with a very basic bike lock. DH has promised I can get a new one "for my birthday", once we get the planned bike shed built this spring/early summer (said birthday is November, so this is cool). But I digress. Got this little squishie in the post today from Grace to add to my black mock-sashing collection. Quilters are cool, aren't they!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not so sunny day

Did quite a bit today - firstly, finished off the circles postcards so that they can go in the post tomorrow. I am VERY pleased with them, so if they only survive the post, I'll be thrilled. I have individual photos of all of them, which I am not going to post here, but I will put them up in my flickr album so if you want to see any in detail you can. 8 of them (including one to myself) will go off to participants in the swap, one blue one will go off to Annie in Australia, who is going to send me one of her little birds in exchange (hoorah!). The other two, will go on etsy, so if you really want one, they should be up tonight or tomorrow.

And on the left, is a prototype card for the spring theme I am swapping with two different groups - my original ideas for this proved not to be very practical, so I decided to approach it from a different angle (I really wanted to do something with windows) and came up with this - the idea is looking out the window to a real view of spring - maybe a flowering cherry tree is right outside your window or something. And then there is a vase on the windowsill to add some depth and further interest (I have used beads to hold the sequins down this time. Lesson learned.) There is a thin layer of fused angelina behind the window frame, also to add some depth and soften the outside a little. I'm very happy with this, and will go ahead with this model for the rest of the cards. I've done a number of sheets of angelina today in preparation. Whew.

I also spent some time sunprinting with the kids. Unfortunately, we kind of lost the sun, but we made the best of it. You can see the kids' sunprinting on my main blog. I also wanted to do some sunprinting on a piece for a complex cloth round robin I am doing with my surface embellishment group. In the end, I couldn't get the piece to dry in the lack of sun we had once we started the project, so I stuck it under a lamp for a while, then attacked it with the iron. I think it came out fairly well. It's not what I'd want for a finished piece, but it's not finished - two other people will work on it before it goes back to the owner. That's the piece on the left. The one on the right is from my stack of "must do something else with this" pieces - you know, the ones that aren't very interesting after being dyed - in this instance, the black pattern was fine, but all the background dye washed out (probably too old) so it was boring. I painted the stripes, then added rubber bands and stones for some texture, and now I have a useable piece of fabric. Yippee!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Postcards, postcards everywhere

Today's work entirely consisted of postcards - first, I finished off the other six Earth Day cards - one for myself, one to possibly swap with a friend in the other group from this swap (it was divided into two groups) and the other four are now listed in my etsy shop, so perhaps they will find a new, interesting home somewhere. (Have now communicated with both of my etsy buyers and it seems paypal was struggling a little, so we have sorted it out I think - hoorah, I have officially sold things!)

I also did the quilting on four more of the circles cards - only two blue ones left to do, and then of course the backings and the edges. And I worked on the background for the mini string squares for the open theme swap with EuroQuilt - not sure what else I am going to do to these, though I'm thinking maybe buttons. I dunno, will have to have a rummage around in my stuff drawers and see what inspires me.

And finally, two more things to show - first, another collection of black bits from my friend Lesley (thanks!) and some flying geese. The flying geese I didn't really work on today, other than to cut them to size - they are pieces I've been hand piecing in the evenings watching telly. They will be for the Arts in the Mail swap "Begins with G" (Geese. I'm going with a loose interpretation), which isn't due until later this summer - July, I think, but at least June, so not for a while. Just gives me something to do at night if I don't feel like trying to work out what stitch I'm supposed to be working on for Take A Stitch Tuesday.

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Header

Just added a new header to my blog - something I've been meaning to do for ages and finally got the chance to sit down and sort out. I knew where I could find the tutorial on changing the source code - on Brenda's blog - but what I didn't have was the time to sit down and create an image, and so on. Finally, I've done it! The image I have used is a piece of discharge dyeing which I particularly like, in case you wondered. Unfortunately, I only had a small bit of the fabric, so I can't do any more. Oh well.

Now off to try to create new banners for my other blogs - yippee, a new toy!


Well, I finished some of the Earth Day cards - enough to mail, anyway. I have 5 more that want finishing - all that's left to do is attach the back and do the satin stitching, so it won't be TOO hard to do. But these have now gone out in the post to their intended recipients for the swap, so I can tick that off my list.

The other thing I worked on today was quilting my circles postcards - having been reminded by receiving a circle card in the post today (left) that I should finish mine up soon. So, here are four of them, cut to size and quilted onto pelmet vilene - I still have to add the backing and satin stitch them, and of course, there are 6 or 7 more waiting to be done. Mailout date on that one is the end of April, so it's not really a panic. The one on the left is from Heather, and is a bit more colourful than the photo, though it is quite a grey card. I really like it and it's VERY different from mine, which is always nice.

The other thing I did today was to attach some lace to some tyvek and try to melt it (the tyvek) - the result is the piece you see on the right here. The other two are plain tyvek, painted with acrylic paints and melted (with an iron, I don't have a heat gun). This is for a technique swap on my surface embellishment group, and I am sort of medium happy with the results. Frankly, I think this is a technique that will need a little more practice, but as the swap needs to be in the US at the end of April, I think this will do for the moment. I will play more later. (Resisting the urge to say, when I have more time, because when is that?)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Black squares & string squares

So, many thanks again to all of you who are sending me black scraps - here's some more of what I am doing with them - I think the effect is showing really well now. I have 63 blocks I am going to sash (they are 8 inch blocks, I'll be setting them 7x9), and will probably soon take a break from working on them to get some other stuff done, but I did want to do a few to make sure the idea was viable. Eventually, the quilt might be a picnic blanket - we could use a bigger one, and that would be fun to have. Will have to think about how to back it - not crazy on the idea of quilting through a waterproof material, but maybe something thicker than your average backing fabric would be an idea. Suggestions gratefully received.

The other thing I worked on today (besides making more progress on the Earth Day cards, which I hope to finish tomorrow but which I didn't photograph today) was some more of the small string squares, which are going to become postcards like the ones featured yesterday. This photo shows three stages of these squares - the far right is a pair of squares ready to be sewn together, the middle is once they have been sewn the first time, and the left is once they have been sewn the second time. I'm aware I'm missing the step where I sliced them apart again, but hey, no one's perfect! They will then get a black border/frame and be ready for mounting to card or vilene, a little quilting and maybe a button or two before going on their merry way.

Some good news, I hope, on the etsy front - I have had several orders for postcards from my etsy shop (hurrah!) but no payments yet, so I hope this is because the folks are busy rather than anything else - I confess I'm not entirely sure how the invoicing system on etsy works from the buyer's side - they should hopefully either get a system generated email or a screen or something with a link to paypal, and so on. Just to be on the safe side, I have emailed invoices today (as it's been a day or two) - if you are one of my buyers and are reading this, I'm not trying to be pushy, I'm just trying to work out how the whole thing works - I knoe pretty well by now how eBay works, but this is a whole new world to me :) Oh, and if you are reading this and you bought something from me - thanks!

Anyway. On to other (more important?) things - today's mail call. The best of it was this card on the left, from Sally, for the FAI Spring card swap (must really get those spring theme cards done) - it's gorgeous and very spring-like. The colour isn't quite right - the wall behind the card is actually a turquoisey blue - someday I will master my digital camera, I promise. :) The fabric on the right is what Annie sent me in exchange for a packet of 3" charm squares, from my swap offer a few weeks ago. And the photos below are some more black scraps, thanks to Irene and Angelika. Hoorah! Some of them may be a bit too colourful, but if they don't get used for this, they will for something else...