Some of My Craftings

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Had a Cold.

Yes, I've been away you see because I have had the nasty headcold thing that has been going around. I am starting to feel better and went in to work today for several hours.

Now while I as sniffling away at home I took out a book that will ultimately find its way to my church's library. I've never read anything by this author before, but I was desperate for something to occupy my time because my head was just to fuzzy to let me hand sew. I absolutely loved it! It was by Jennifer Chiaverini and called "An Elm Creek Quilts Sampler."  The book is three novels in one that are about the Elm Creek Quilters of Pennsylvania's idyllic Elm Creek Manor. Book 1 is The Quilter's Apprentice: Master quilter Sylvia Compson shares the secrets of her creative gifts with her young assistant, Sarah McClure. During their lessons, the intricate, varied threads of Sylvia's life begin to emerge. It is the story of a young wife living through the hardships and agonies of the World War II home front; of a family torn apart by jealously and betrayal; of misunderstanding, loss, and a tragedy that can never be undone. As the bond between them deepens, Sarah resolves to help Sylvia free herself from remembered sorrows and restore her life -- and her home, Elm Creek Manor -- to its former glory. In turn, Sylvia helps Sarah confront her own troubled past. Out of their shared triumph is born a lifelong friendship and a fledgling business called Elm Creek Quilts.

Book 2 is Round Robin: To celebrate the beginning of Elm Creek Quilts, Sarah, Sylvia, and their circle of friends name themselves the Elm Creek Quilters. As a gift to Sylvia, the others have begun a round robin -- a quilt created by sewing concentric patchwork to a central block as it is passed around a sewing circle. As each woman makes her creative contribution, she adds her story to the history of Elm Creek Manor. Resplendent in green, blue, and gold, the quilt serves as a symbol of the complex, lasting ties that unify mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. As they stitch together the sometimes harmonious -- often discordant -- scraps of their crazy-quilt lives, the Elm Creek Quilters learn that friendship is a most precious gift and that even in the darkest of times, love illuminates the way home.

Book 3 is The Cross-Country Quilters: Five women arrive at Elm Creek Manor, hoping to find in their quilting lessons an escape from the problems they have left at home. This far-flung group becomes fast friends who pledge to complete a "challenge quilt" -- symbolic of each woman's personal goals -- in one year's time. Although the Cross-Country Quilters share a common creative goal, as the year goes by, their bonds are tested by the demands of daily life. But despite differences in age, race, and background, the friends' love for quilting and affection for one another unite them in a patchwork of caring and acceptance. The quilt they make reminds them of an everlasting truth -- friends may be separated by great distance, yet the strength of their bond can transcend any obstacle.

The only thing that could have made these books better if there was a cat or two living at Elm Creek Manor!!!!

I have been so inspired by these books (and learned that you don't need a sewing machine to make a quilt) that I am going to start on a new project - one hand-pieced quilt block at a time and make a quilt. I've picked out the quilt I want to try and here is the first block I've ordered.  When it arrives I will take it to the quilt shop I visit here in Williamsburg, Iowa (The Woolen Needle) and have the gals there help me pick out fabric. They will also help me get started too! The entire quilt is called "By Wisdom a House is Built" and available through Indygo Junction on their "folk quilt blocks of the month page! Wish me luck!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why I Wish I Could Knit!!

Aren't these chicks adorable!!!!! I came across them while looking at a journal entry at The Perl Bee . Definitely makes me feel like spring is here!

I can't really draw/sketch birds so of course I'm always "drawn" to patterns that feature them!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vintage Lace and Wool Kitties

Well, I've finally listed a bit of my vintage lace for auction on eBay! So if you are interested, please take a visit! I've also listed some of my finished kitty items, too. Next I am working on a trio of vintage muslin and lace faith, hope and charity pillows. 

I think spring may be right around the corner here in my little section of  the Midwest. The sun is out and it is 47 degrees! No wind, too! I've also seen some daffodils coming up! Can't wait for everything to turn green.  Hope spring is approaching in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Apples on Our Minds!

Occasionally, I'll pick up a little item at an auction that I think will make a cute votive holder and then attempt to create a penny rug that picks up the theme or idea of the votive holder. Recently, I designed, made and sold this little penny rug on eBay. I had some really nice wool that I over-dyed with it coming out a lovely denim blue with some mottling.  I was so surpised when I clicked on The Quilted Crow's website this morning and glanced at their "new items" and saw this pattern for an adorable penny rug! It's called "Apple Cobbler" by Lisa Bongean for Primitive Gatherings. I just love it. I'm thinking this would be a great fall project! I'd like to think that creative crafters think alike! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What I'm Working On

I've had quite a few gals asking about "Sunny" the little cat that is in my blog title picture. Yes, she is my own design and yes, someday I will make a pattern of her for sale (but I've never done that before and need advice!).  However, I did come up with a little tuxedo kitty idea for St. Patty's day ... Her name is Clover and she is a Cat Tales original design and will be listed on eBay when I've finished stitching her up.  I'm also still working with some of my vintage lace and vintage seed sacks! Here is a picture of a little ornie that needs to be finished. The little kitty picture will be made into a hang tag for the pillow. I will artsy up the edges and put in a gromet and then attach it to the pillow (maybe with some hemp twine or a quilt pin -- not sure yet)! 

Hope you are all have a fun and crafty day! (P.S. stay tuned ... as soon as I can manage a photo, you will be introduced to another one of my kitties!).

Love to Cook? Love Free Recipes?

Just found this in my email this morning! Gooseberry Patch is starting a Facebook page and they are offering chapters (free) of their brand new Circle of Friends Cookbook.  When they reach a certain number of "fans", if you've signed up, you will recieve the cookbook chapter for free. As the number of fans grows, you can "win" even more free chapters! Scroll down their page until you see the "join our circle of friends" logo, click and your on your way to "free" yummy recipes! Here is the link to their facebook page where you can sign up - Gooseberry Patch Facebook GIveaway.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Birthdays and Knitting

My daughter Molly's birthday was this past Sunday. She lives in Oregon now and visitng with her in person is not easy but we connect alot via phone, Facebook and our blogs.  According to her this was one of her best birthdays ever and it seems that it wasn't so much the "presents" as the "presence" of friends and family wishing her the best. However, she did get the set of knitting needles she wanted from me and her dad. Molly is the one who decided I needed a hobby and is the main reason I am stitching.  She is quite the seamtress, too! (She is employed by the Oregon Shakespeare Theatre in their costume department).  Here is some knitting humor I sent her the other day! Hope they make you smile, too! If you would like some tips on living simply, take a moment and visit her blog at Just Simply.

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Vintage Workshop - Now on eBay!

I just love to browse through The Vintage Workshop's online store! They have wonderful things there - clip art for paper crafts, scrapbooking, wearable art, and patterns for needle arts and sewing. NOW, you can purchase some of their finished goods and other catalog items for discounts at the eBay store - thevintageworkshop913.  It's almost too much of a temptation for me!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Freebie Online Magazine for All You Crafty Girls

The latest online issue of Creative Time Magazine is available. It's a neat little publication you can sign up for and receive free! Isn't that great in this economy!

Stitchin' Away With Another Artist Who Shares

I just finished a little bunny pillow based on a freebie pattern by Robin Lueschen at Bird in the Hand Primitives. She is another fantastic artist who loves to share her talent. This little bunny is named Buford. I'm hoping she will made a companion pattern, named Beulah Bunny! Be sure to stop by her blog today!

Also, last night I finished a little whimsy cat that I drew upages ago! He is lightly stuffed and has a happy tail! I think I'll call him "Pokey." He will be up for sale on my eBay site. There have been some inquiries about selling some of that fantastic vintage lace I won at an auction a while back.  I think I will be bundling some up for sale soon (it's so hard to part with!).

P.S. Have you hugged your cat today?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Penny Rugs - To Floss or Thread???

Crafters use a variety of threads when sewing penny rugs and other folk arty crafts.  There are many choices available: embroidery floss, wool sewing thread, and DMC perle cotton thread, for example.  When I started making woolies, I used embroidery floss. Then the wonderful ladies at The Woolen Needle told me that they use either No. 8 DMC perle cotton thread or Valdani Threads (Valdani Threads are the premium threads for heirloom crafters!). 

My personal choice is DMC perle cotton thread (No.8).  In fact, here are some colors I just ordered from because my supply was getting low.   For some of my work I do use colored threads, but my main stay colors are black and DMC No. 642 (shown in the first photo, left). No. 642 is a great "blending" color and my choice when I prefer not to use black thread for my backstitching. I have a hard time finding DMC colors at local crafting stores, so I buy mine online at JoAnn.COM. They offer over 85 differ colors!

This weekend I finished a little spring pattern of my own design using some re-cycled wool and DMC No. 8 perle cotton. What do you think? :)