Monday, December 15, 2014

Wall Hanging Next Step

This is my idea in progress for using my rust-dyed fabrics (post below). This project is barely half done, but I've already learned one thing for certain -- I don't like working with muslin! There hasn't been much time to work on this, but at least you know I haven't been totally lazy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December's Group Mini-Quilt

This 15" square mini-quilt started with a Bessie Pease Gutmann print fabric. I added batik and Aunt Grace borders, a batik binding, and secured it with lavender buttons and glass beads (hard to see). All done for December! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wall-Hanging Started

This is the first step in creating a wall-hanging that uses my rust-dyed fabrics. I stopped looking for images and joined the pieces together. I learned that a super thin machine needle is the way to avoid resistance while sewing through rust-dyed fabrics. Soon I'll go to the next step, but this is enough sewing for today. In spite of not trying, I'm still seeing new images! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Rust-Dyed Piece

I just keep dyeing these pieces without a clue how I might use them. I'm having fun, so I guess that's enough for now!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Latest Weaving

This piece is on my loom, but will come off today. I experimented with a new yarn needling technique and sort of like it, but my hands can't continue doing it. So this woven piece will become something else, perhaps a doll?

UPDATE: This is off the loom and looking pretty nice as a table topper, so it may not go any further! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Onamori continued

The white birch bark pieces described in the last post were brushed with the Sanskrit character representing the monastery's guardian and sealed with vermillion ink. They are now ready to be enclosed in embroidered silk pouches in preparation for the empowerment ceremony before being given to contributors.


My son (an Aikido instructor and Buddhist priest) is building a monastery near Madison, WI (last photo) with the help of volunteers from his Aikido school. I'm excited about the hand-made gifts for his contributors. They are called "Onamori" -- an embroidered silk pouch from Japan that is sealed shut and never to be opened. Inside will be placed a piece of white birch bark harvested from the monastery's property (second photo). Each one will have a Sanskrit character hand-brushed onto it representing the monastery's guardian figure. These protective amulets will be empowered in a ceremony before given to contributors. I wish I was there to take part in their creation!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hand-Made Paper

Three new sheets made yesterday which my daughter may use to make a book. The pink one is embedded with dried parsley. The second yellow sheet has glitter, and the third sheet is infused with lavender buds. I had to scrape some buds off because I added way too many, but my kitchen smelled great!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A New Hanger

We have a lot of wild grapevines in our area. I harvested some while walking, and this new hangar for one of my weavings is the result. I think it's a nice touch!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Need Suggestions

These are my two best rust-dyed fabrics so far, they're waiting for a project. Wondering what "something special" can I do with them.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fabric Rusting Continued

This is how it looks after removing the plastic bag. Fabric rusting has occurred, and it looks like something from a butcher shop! Now I need to completely unwrap and remove the rusty objects, do a fabric salt-water soak to stop the rusting process, and finally wash the fabric. End of process reveal later!

Friday, November 14, 2014

We Have Rust Dyed Fabric

These rusty bird feeder results aren't as good as my first rust dyeing attempt, but I think the fabric I used here might be a polyester blend. This process works best with 100% cotton or silk, so I will try again today with different fabric. I just searched our basement for rusty things and found some REALLY cool ones that should give me interesting designs. Wish me luck! 

In the meantime here is the rest of the process from yesterday's post using the rusty bird feeder. The first two photos show the bird feeder brought indoors and being unwrapped. The fabric looks very rust stained. 

Once unwrapped, it was rinsed in a salt water solution to stop the process, then washed in my washing machine. I will use this piece for something, but am hoping for less monotone and more drama using a 100% cotton fabric. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Have Rust, Will Dye

Step 1 -- wrap and tie vinegar-soaked fabric around a rusty object. In this case, it's a hanging bird feeder. 
Step 2 --tightly seal in plastic to keep the fabric from drying out. 
Step 3 -- check back in 24 hours for the results. 
That will be tomorrow's post, although the fabric is already showing great rusty color! 

A Shameless Plug

I'm not affiliated with (because she is all grown up) nor do I have a financial interest in (because she doesn't live here anymore) -- but my daughter has written a novel inspired by the NJ Pine Barrens with the e-book making it's debut on Amazon. If you enjoy historical novels with something for everyone, you can read a synopsis and grab the digital and paper back versions at the link that follows. You will not be sorry, so says her mother.

The Truth and the Life

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Next Group Mini-Quilt

This little quilt is for my Facebook swap group. November's theme is stars, and my partner likes rusty browns. I got in touch with "Kathyinozarks" for her hand-dyed fabrics in those colors (two posts below), and this 15" square quilt is the result. The pattern is called "Pinwheel Star," and the quilt is secured with beads and buttons. I had fun doing a little "back art" piecing too!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Can you see it too?

I cropped this area from my rust-dyed piece below because I suddenly saw another face. I see "ET" here (maybe a bit on the grumpy side). Look at the entire image, can you see it? If not, I might be living in another world. ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rust Dyeing

My first attempt at this has been so much fun! I like the surprise of not knowing how something will turn out until it's done. I soaked cotton fabric in vinegar, then wrapped it around rusty bottle caps, rusty nails, and some steel wool. After 24 hours in a warm place, I unwrapped it and had neat rust-colored patterns on the cotton.The first photo is my favorite larger section of the finished piece. The second is a close-up of a smaller area that reminds me of a space-creaturish face, and I love it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gorgeous Fabrics

These hand-dyed fabrics were a trade with Kathyinozarks (her blog is on my sidebar with those I follow). I need them to make a mini-quilt for a Facebook group swap for someone who likes "rusty brown" colors. I saw these in Kathy's Etsy shop and was willing to buy them, but she generously suggested trading instead. They are absolutely beautiful, and it will be hard to cut into them!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Christmas Stocking

This came about by helping a friend make a stocking with Christmas colored stripes. It's one of those lined things that has to be turned and stuffed into itself to hide the raw edges. Very tricky! Closing it up and making the top (which will be embroidered with her grand-daughter's name) is now in her hands. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Easy to Grow Plants

I recently brought this basket of plants indoors at our bay place, and they are doing well. There are green and purple Shamrocks with small pink trumpet-shaped flowers, and a Rabbit's Foot Fern. The second photo shows the main attraction of the fern -- furry rhizomes hanging over the side of the pot that are covered with hairs that look like a rabbit's foot! 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Vintage Update

These vintage pieces were hand-embroidered by my 95 year old mother when she was young, but she never used them. I added borders and backing, and since she doesn't want them back, I'm deciding where I can put them in my home. They are a family treasure!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Backyard Photo

South Jersey fall weather has been spectacular this year in spite of having mostly oak trees around us. This treehouse was built by my husband and our boys about 30 years ago, then brought down to the ground for our toddler daughter in the 1980s. In a foggy moment or two I've wondered if I might somehow use it for sewing and crafting space. I never seem to have enough of that space!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Handmade Paper Sheets

Junk paper reinvented with the addition of things from nature, including lavender buds, dried violet petals and clover. These will probably become note cards, or I may cut some into strips for weaving. Who knows? Only thing I'm sure of is it's fun to do this! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

An Awesome Group

I joined a Facebook group for making and swapping Mini-Quilts. I received my swap partner's quilt yesterday, it's about 16" square. At first glance I thought Sunbonnet Sue was machine-embroidered, but then on closer inspection I realized it was done by hand! I asked my partner to be sure, and she did indeed stitch Sue by hand. If you enlarge the photo, you may see the incredible amount of work and difficulty that went into this. The backing fabric is delightful too, and everything about this little quilt is perfectly color coordinated. I love it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

I Spy Quilt

I just finished this 36" x 36" lap quilt for a special little someone for the holidays. It has squares of just about every fabric I've used in recent years, so it's a bit of a memory quilt for me, but for her it will just be a busy quilt. I backed and bound it with "Teddy's Playhouse" by Fabri-Quilt, Inc. I can't wait to play I Spy with her! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back to Felting

I just finished this 3"x2" wee vessel. It was wet-felted on a tennis ball, allowed to dry (a warm oven helps), needle-felted for shape, then beaded. It's an easy and relaxing process!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Soap Day

They look like vanilla cupcakes with a dollop of mint green icing, but they smell like chocolate. It's only possible with soap-making! Now begins 4-6 weeks of curing before we can enjoy using it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Managerie Grows

Our condo neighbor's wall has taken on a new 3 foot critter, a whimsical sea turtle named Seamus. Like the fish above him, Seamus is crafted of beer bottle caps along with other assorted brew container parts. If you enlarge the photo, you can see the green shell is made of flattened Seagrams Ginger Ale cans. All of this is mounted on a hand-carved wooden form, as is the turtle's head. Seamus is obviously an Irish Sea turtle with his Leprechaun Seagrams hat atop red hair. Our neighbor has amassed boxes of beer bottle caps saved by local establishments that now number upwards of 7,000. Next up, a sea horse! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Beaded Spirit Doll Finished

A few posts below I showed only the finished face of the start of this beaded Spirit Doll. I didn't have a theme yet, but I decided to get back to making something with an American Indian feeling. This fabric reminded me of the full moon American Indian doll series I did a few years ago. Packs of wolves howling outside Indian villages in the deep snows of January gave that month's full moon the name of "Full Wolf Moon".

My 9" doll is embellished with glass beads and beadlettes, mohair scraps for hair, and the face rests on fringed wool felt. The long beaded head adornment is made of 3 handmade beads (Gene, do you recognize them?) and some black and white painted glass beadlettes. Spirit Doll p
ositive energy comes from the sage inside with the stuffing and the crystal holding the beaded adornment on the head. Weight of river rocks in the base keep it standing. This second photo shows the back, a cotton print of birch trees that I really like. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Little Things

This delicate little woodlands sprite is made of Merino wool roving that I wet-felted into cloth. She's stuffed with lavender buds, embellished with a hand-made and painted clay face, and finished off with Czech glass seed beads. She smells heavenly and is in my Etsy shop waiting to be adopted. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

For Now, Just the Face

I like to finish the face of a new Spirit Doll before I decide on other things. Somehow the rest comes more easily that way. Beading this face took a whole day, so I need to sleep on it now!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Handmade Paper

These three sheets of handmade paper are my latest. They are made one sheet at a time from junk mail, and I'm always tired after three sheets! The one on top has swamp-grass seeds as inclusions. The middle sheet has bits of red yarn, and the bottom sheet is plain. I don't have a plan for these, but I've seen actual "paintings" done with handmade paper, and I may try something like that. Ambitious hopes!