April 2009

  • How to Make a Simple Weaving Loom and Basic Weaving Techniques: part 1

    I hadn't even finished the first piece of weaving on my new table loom before I began thinking about a weaving project that anyone could weave without owning a traditional loom or any weaving tools. I also wanted the project to be a "work in progress" that could be left on the "loom" as wall art.

     

    And here it is...

  • Beautiful Surprises!

    A lovely box sent by Royal Post from the UK arrived on my doorstep today. A totally unexpected surprise sent to me by Joan.

     

    I have always been a child at heart, but when that box appeared, I swear I was as excited as a ten year-old on Christmas morning!

    Just opening the shipping box was a treat in itself! As I pulled open the box flaps to see the delightful packages nestled inside, I was enveloped in the most delicious fragrance imaginable.

  • A Week of Contrasts

     

    Trilliums are blooming!

    We just returned from spending a few days in central Oregon along the John Day River looking for basalt flows containing pockets filled with zeolites. As you can readily see from this photo of the river, there is very little in that part of Oregon except...

  • MEME!

    My friend Chris tagged me recently, so I must answer 15 questions about myself. Chris did say I could change the rules (if you read Chris's blog Prisim Trail! you already know Chris has never followed a rule in her life)! So, instead of writing out my answers, I am answering in pictures and that way, if you really don't care where I am going on my next vacation, you might still enjoy the photos!

    Chris just returned from Hawaii and has posted a series of beautiful photos of her trip. Start here!

    Chris also changed the "tag eight people" rule and only tagged one person! I like that change. I am tagging Liz, who just returned from a fabulous trip to Cairo and probably has all the time in the world to do this! Well, maybe not, but she is a wonderful photographer and I am hoping she will follow my lead and answer in pictures. Be sure to join Liz on her Cairo adventure. Bon voyage!

    So, here we go! QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

    1. What is your current obsession? I have two right now and both will result in tutorials this year.

    Gourd crafts

    Weaving

    2. Which item from your closet are you wearing most lately?

    3.What's for dinner?

    Posole! Pork and hominy stew flavored with oregano, cumin, crushed red chili and onion.

    4. What was the last thing you bought? A re-blooming lilac. Seriously, it blooms from May to frost! But it hasn't arrived yet, so no picture.

    5. What is your favorite vacation spot? Olympic National Park:

    Rain forests

    Beaches

    6. What is your favorite movie? "MOONSTRUCK" and "LOVE ACTUALLY"

    7. What are you reading right now?

    8. What four words would you use to describe yourself?

    "I believe in magic!"

    9. What will be the first Spring thing you do?

    Sit on my patio, drink tea, and eat cookies.

    10. What was the best thing you ate or drank in the past year?

    This photo is as close as I can get to a Cornish Game Hen with a ginger, curry, apricot, cranberry glaze.

    11. What flower are you most anxious to see this Spring?

    California Poppies!

    12. What is your current "guilty pleasure"? BACON - always has been and always will be!

    13. What are you most happy doing? It's a tie!

    Christmas

    Photography trips.

    14. What has had the greatest influence on who you are today?

    Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    15. Care to share some wisdom?

    "There are two ways to live your life.

    One is as though nothing is a miracle.

    The other is as though everything is a miracle."

    Albert Einstein

  • Rachel came to visit!

     

    Do you happen to remember my little mashmallow men?

    Check this out! Rachel made this "gingerbread" apron just for me! She downloaded the marshmallow men photo from my post, traced it perfectly and embroidered it onto the apron! Just look at those perfect little stitches!

  • In my Easter bonnet...

    ...and poppies all around...

    Happy Easter everyone!

  • Gingerbread and Easter Eggs!

    I just found these Gingerbread Easter House kits by King Arthur Flour. For those of you that didn't get your gingerbread house made during the winter holidays, consider this a second chance! You can order kits here - but hurry!

    And now one of my favorite parts of Easter - EASTER EGGS!

  • "Green" is Beautiful

    This is a vintage quilt top rescued from my great grandmother Grammie's steamer trunk years ago.

    I know nothing about vintage fabrics, so I am not sure when she made this. I do not remember her working on this while I was growing up, and I don't see any scraps left from dresses she made for me, so I am thinking this was put together before WWII.

    The pattern is called Double Wedding Ring - visit that link for the romantic story of how it came to be.

    Just look at all these cool fabrics! "So why have you waited so long to finish this quilt?" you may be asking.

    The reason is this thin gauze fabric that was used for the background. It is still in excellent condition, but any batting I use will show through the thin gauze, and I am pretty sure the gauze as it is now wouldn't hold up to much wear and tear. Before completing the quilt with batting and backing, I feel that a liner of some kind will be needed to stablize the gauze. But how do I do this and what fabric should I use?

    Just look at the perfect hand stitching. This 6' x 6' quilt top must have taken hours and hours and hours. I just have to save it. Some of you are experienced quilters or know experienced quilters and I would really appreciate any advice you can share.

    I am thrilled to see how many quilters are making quilts from fabrics already in their possession, whether it be old cotton or flannel shirts, velvet skirts, or even old "vintage" sheets. And think what a great picnic quilt could be made from denim clothing headed for the trash bin. Every little piece in my great grandmother's quilt came from a well-used piece of clothing that finally wore out.

    Brooke has a lovely blog called Inchmark, where she recently shared this picture of her gorgeous family heirloom quilt made in 1948. A perfect example of "green beauty". Like Brooke, I love the choices of patterns and colors in the fabrics against the white.

    Now check this out! Eydie from Shebrews allowed me to use her photo of her quilt journal cover, made using embroidery and something called a "cutter quilt", (a quilt that has seen better days, but still has life left in it here and there)! If I ever find an old worn-out quilt or quilt top to rescue, I am making several of these. Isn't it beautiful? Go to her post to see the close-up version.

    Quilts are not the only handmade treasures that can be given new life! I fell in love with this heart "pressie" I found recently on Nini Makes. She saved the hand embroidery from a "thrifted" cloth that was stained and otherwise unusable.

    What a beautiful way to give new life to a piece of embroidery that required so much skill and love to make. I totally fell in love with these "Nini Makes hearts" several months ago, and now she has inspired me to seek out and save thrifted embroideries and make little hearts from them. One of these days I will have a Valentine "seasonal tree" covered with Joan's inspired hearts!

    Yummy Quilt! I want to cuddle up in this with a book and a cup of tea right this minute! Can you believe it was made from a recycled "vintage" sheet? Diane shows us how to make this simple quilt on a recent post for CraftStylish. A couple of old sheets, an old thrifted blanket and a little yarn, and you have all you need to create this warm, comfy bit of luxury.

    And speaking of "vintage" sheets -

    Liz, who writes a fascinating blog from Mackinac Island called The Quilted Turtle, made these Amy Butler wide leg lounge pants using a lovely - you guessed it - "vintage" sheet. Can you imagine how fabulously soft and snuggly these feel?

    While you are visiting, be sure to check out her winter adventures and beautiful winter photography of island life.

    Just so you know... I TOO have a recycled "vintage" sheet of my own! Anyway, I'm assuming it is "vintage" since I have had it since the 60's! Actually I have two large pieces which have served me well over the years. I use them as pressing cloths when I am making new clothes, or as covers for trays of rising bread dough when baking French bread. (I'm not quite as clever as Diane and Liz. Still in the "box" when it comes to using old sheets! But I will get there!)

    I will leave you with one last treasure -

    Another family heirloom of sorts. Diane and I made this quilt about 25 years ago for my grandmother, Gwennie, using fabrics in her favorite colors. When our Gwennie passed on, my mother returned the quilt to me and someday it will go to Diane.

    I am sharing this quilt so that you can see that special machines and quilting skills are not needed to create a beautiful quilt. A quilt top can be made from sewing together simple squares, (and if they are cut from old shirts, skirts or blue jeans, so much the better).

    The batting, backing and top portions of Gwennie's quilt are simply hand-tied with yarn. (Here's a great video tutorial for a much simpler method than we used!) The quilt has been in constant use for 25 years and is still in perfect shape.

    So... next time you are out thrifting and you find a worn out garment made of the most gorgeous fabric - rescue it and start a quilt stash! You don't have to make a massive queen size bed quilt. Make a small lap quilt for cool evenings when you are curled up reading a good book or make a "picnic quilt" to take on your next trip to the park. A tiny "diaper changing quilt" out of old sheets would be perfect to carry along in the diaper bag. Use your stash to make journal covers, or even patchwork kitchen towels like these I found on Sew, Mama, Sew.

    "Green" really can be beautiful! I hope you will share with me what beautiful green projects you create from your thrifted "stash".