Thursday, September 27, 2007

Merry Christmas .... I mean Merry Stockings

I was SO excited this morning to receive an e-mail from who have posted an item about the history of Christmas tree skirts on their blog and used one of my photos!
I'm also eager to finish off my latest Christmas tree skirt designs - but has been delayed due to being cruelly forced to live in the city this week ... and I forgetting to bring in vital sewing equipment ....... scissors ...... pins ...... you know the basics!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Watercolor note cards

Believe it or not I did actually spend a short stint at Winchester School of Art - being 19 and being more focused on my current beau and with my usual unwillingness to compete against my peers .... I left and headed to work at IBM instead. (Which on some mysterious path led me to Aaron and to live here in the US.) I often toy with the idea of perhaps going back to art school .... but spending 4 years and a great expense to achieve I am not sure what ..... that idea hasn't actually materialized yet. However I do really enjoy picking up a paint brush now and again .... and so last Christmas my mother gave me some water color paints and inspired by an artist (Mary Barnes) we saw in Maine this year ....... I began experimenting. The word experiment is key here ....... so give my artistic flair a moment or two to grow on you. (Detailed pictures can be found on flickr.)

I spent some time just playing with the paint and the different brushes to see what they might do. My first piece I call "pink tint" ...... I cut up the brush strokes and made a little patchwork out of them - added some sewn details and some magazine flowers. It is not a work of art that will ever be purchased by the Met - but it has inspired me to perhaps take that course in collage I've always wanted to attend at Parsons .......
The second is based on our back garden - basically a sunny green bed of weeds and flowers (soon I shall attack it) ....... I quite liked this picture .....
.... but ever thinking of finding something crafty to make ....I thought this picture might look rather nice cut up and made into note cards. I've called the images "Summer Meadow" I think they look rather sweet.
With the success of these little note cards I decided to try this again with another dodgy sheet that I had been playing on (with hand cut foam shapes) ....
..... these note cards are called "Hearts" ..... I thought long and hard about that title for the group!
I'm actually quite pleased with these - they are now wrapped up in little bags and look scarily professional ..... a nice little gift for someone I think. Of course I will post them on etsy soon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bernie and just one or two half baked oven mitts ....

I finally made a decision to get a new sewing machine (thank you Jennie for all your advice) - I love him - he is called Bernie (for Bernina) and so far he is behaving himself very well and being very polite ... although it seems that producing straight lines is down to the skill of the user and can not be blamed on the machine.

So all enthused I went to a machine quilting course on Sunday at the City Quilter (which was really a bit slow for me and I think in future I'll be looking for intensive 1:1's with Jennie instead) ...... and armed with a knowledge of the walking foot and darning foot .... and trying not to be too nervous that I can't even do a straight line or a small curve ......I decided to find a little project that would help me practice ...... and I found "the oven mitt" in Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects .... a project that apparently everyone in the world has made! ... just google oven mitt!

Anyway .... having got over the fact that I am not unique or inventive ... I made my first oven mitts .... I can't do straight lines ....... but they look quite sweet from a distance (I think photography might be everything - although flickr does insist on cropping everything off into a square).
I then tried some pretty flowers (programmed decorative stitch on Bernie).... some free hand swiggles .... and some more straight lines .... the mitts have certainly helped me get more comfortable with Bernie ... but now I have 6 half baked (ha ha) oven mitts ...... so beware if it is your birthday soon!!