Category Archives: Crafts

Creating: The Tote Project Part 1

It all started because of two things. One a little article I had read about using felt markers and alcohol to paint on tee shirts and two, I needed a new knitting bag. Well in reality,  I didn’t think I needed a new one. The pink, blue, yellow, white and lime green striped one I found at the dollar store, the one with the blue handles was working fine. It was hubs who didn’t like it. Not because it was getting dirty but he just didn’t like it.

So I decided to make a new knitting bag. This one would even have a pocket on the front with a zipper for all the little stuff knitters like and a top that also zipped just so there would be fewer accidental spilling of contents on the car floor or wherever I might be knitting.

But first I decided to take a little detour to decorate a tee-shirt. Had trouble with the tiny ribs of the fabric creating hazards for my pen work so decided that I’d give it a try on some plain cotton. I ventured forth into the most creative fun I had in years. Decided that it would be the perfect thing for the zipper pocket on the front of my knitting bag. And experimenting away I ended up with eight pockets and a Christmas gift project to make for my three daughters, my daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, my sister and best friend.

  • I began with loose sketches.
Chicadees

chickadees

Fox

Fox

20150215_144028

Giant Red Mushroom

Giant Red Mushroom

Poppies

Poppies

Elm Leaves

Elm Leaves

Geraniam

Geranium

Number eight was from a photograph of mine of a Hydrangea my daughter gave me. As I mentioned, my sketches are very informal, they are little more than little guide to what I hope to create.

Then I fearlessly jumped into paint with markers directly onto my fabrics. The actual work is of course done, but showing your the progress and results begins in my next post.

Until then keep creating, or reading, or listening to music, or painting. Just enjoy what you do,

Cheers,

Shez

 

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Filed under Art, Crafts, Creating, Learning, Painting, Random

Painting

Those of you who have been following this blog know I am a DIY enthusiast. My list of “can do” is long. It’s a passion, but not my fault. It’s genetic. Genes handed down from an inventor, a teacher of upholstery and cake decorating at college level, knitter, a quilter and a foundry pattern maker.

This time I am not talking about painting walls, or making wallpaper which involves paint, nor doing faux walls. I am talking about creating artwork.

Son, Paul*, is a partner in our business. His cubical at work is next to mine. He has been doing a lot of painting recently and is honing his craft. He told me he finds it very relaxing to go home and paint. He loves acrylic because it can be stopped and started at any time. He encouraged me to give it a try.

A trip to the local art store and five tubes of paint; red, blue, yellow, white and Payne’s Grey, plus the practice canvas boards Paul provided and I was set to begin. There was a scene I had passed several times at the end of summer when the fields are golden and some trees were beginning to show their soft colors before they fully color up. A dark sky with the sun peeking through added long shadows. I wanted to paint that but I did not want to get so tied down with details. It needed to be a free and relaxing creation.

Self imposed rules were to use only one 1″ brush borrowed from my watercolors. Do not wash the brush and be finished in 20 minutes. I did it in 30.

1" Brush 30 Minutes First Acrylic Painting

1″ Brush 30 Minutes
First Acrylic Painting

There are now 8 paintings in my stack. I learn something new with each one. This weekend I see the obsessive detail beginning to creep in again. Detail is not relaxing. It is not necessary. Omitting some detail leaves the viewer room to imagine. I have discovered a love  for landscape. That does seem to be when I relax and enjoy it the most.

*A word about Paul. At two years old his favorite TV show was not Sesame Street it was Bob Ross. His wife is an artist also. Paul teaches at his wife’s studio, Vine Gogh Artist Bar. You can view some of his work at the link.

Cheers to creating,

Shez

PS It is very scary to share the first painting. There are skills not yet developed. Hopefully you will see positive progress.

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Filed under Art, Crafts, Creating, Decorating, Random, The Great Outdoors

Doll Project

Doll pattern and fabric.

Doll pattern and fabric.

 

One thing I love to do is make doll patterns and dolls. It suddenly dawned on me that fox girl had not received her doll. I know she is more an animal person than a doll person and she has dozens of dolls, whole collections of Bratz, Barbies, Monster High, Disney Princes, all in multiple sizes plus lots of Polly Pockets, and miniature dolls that go with bugs and animals of all sizes. The one thing she didn’t need was yet another doll. But on the other hand she couldn’t be the only one of my girls not to have a soft, handmade doll. After the panic to get the fox dress done, nothing would do but I would burn the midnight oil to made a doll for her.

Since she had spent hours sitting in my lap “helping” and watching while I did all the drawings for my book, I thought it was time Lexi came to life. It was a huge gamble that she wouldn’t care, but for me I love to make dolls and this was a great excuse to make another one.

So I dug out my pattern, the fabric and I was off and running. Sweet Hubs was just shaking his head in disbelief that I would take on such a project with so little time available and I only had ten days to do it. That is ten days that were all fill to overflowing with work, housework, decorating, cookie making parties, dinners, guests, etc. Oh and let’s not forget a daily photo blog commitment plus and occasional post here and wanting to keep up with all of your blogs.

Parts growing.

Parts growing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even think about taking many progress photos. So you will see in the next photo that I did get the parts cut, sewn, stuffed and mostly together.

A doll in progress.

The headless doll is nearly ready for her head.

And she needed a bit more stuffing before the head was attached.

Doll has her head attached.

Head attached.

The next three steps are to add her face and give her a haircut and make underwear before the next photo.

The doll has a face and underwear.

Meet Lexi. I hope you recognize her from my blog icon.

Here is Lexi waiting for her new clothes.

The doll is named Lexi and she is finished.

Lexi is finished.

Now to make a dress and shoes for her. If only I had been able to take Monday off work, but I couldn’t and I realized that Lexi would likely not have shoes.

The doll has a dress that matches the young girl's dress.

Lexi in her Fox dress.

No shoes but a dress just like the girl’s dress. And in case you are wondering, while managing to applique a fox on a child’s dress was time-consuming and tedious, the smaller the applique the harder they are to do. To say this doll dress took hours would be accurate.

Wish I could tell you that my granddaughter loved it all, but that would be stretching the truth. Oh, she was sweet and gracious and would never hurt my feelings intentionally. She did not like the denim because it was shiny with silver threads, she doesn’t like dolls nearly as much a foxes. She knows it’s special, but I could tell it’s not really her thing, now. I had a ton of fun making it. Maybe she’ll let me borrow it.

Little girl with doll.

My sweet granddaughter with Lexi on New Year’s eve.

Little Granddaughter’s pajamas just happened to coordinate with Lexi’s new dress. The new black boots were too small.

My Christmas present was a NEW SEWING & EMBROIDERY machine!!! So some new clothes for Lexi was a great way to try it out. It’s my first computerized sewing machine and it takes a bit of a learning curve, but I LOVE it!! No excuses now not to get some projects finished up.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. Thank you dear friends for sharing yourselves with me through this past year. It is wonderful to have friends all over the world.

Cheers to new friendships,

Shez

 

 

 

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Filed under Children, Crafts, Do It Yourself, Holiday, Random, Sewing

The Fox Girl’s Dress

My youngest granddaughter is in love with foxes. All kinds of foxes, fox books, fox photos, fox YouTube videos and fox toys. She lives and breathes foxes. In October my lovely daughter-in-law  sent me a message, “wouldn’t Greta love this dress? Could you make it for her for Christmas?” There was a photo attached of a little girl’s dress with a fox applique. My reply, “Absolutely! I’m on it.”

Finding the time was a challenge plus there were no patterns. So right after Thanksgiving I dashed to the store and bought fabric. Since my granddaughter loves blue, I decided on a blue sparkle denim for the dress, orange fleece with black velveteen for legs and white fur for the face, tummy and tip of the tail.

I sketched a rough drawing of a fox on my computer and printed it, jiggly lines and all. Shaped it up with felt pen, created pattern pieces and plunged in. Here are some of the photos of the process.

A sketch of a fox.

Jiggly rough sketch.

I told you it was rough, you probably didn’t think this rough, but this is where I started.

Pattern pieces were created from the sketch.

Fox smoothed out and pattern pieces for the three fabrics were created.

It’s quite amazing how smoothing the lines with felt pen and then making a pattern piece for each color shows there is promise in this fox.

Fabric pieces for the dress and the fox applique.

Here are the fabrics I chose to make this little dress.

You can see this fox will be fuzzy and soft and close to the right colors of a red fox.

wFoxDress-AppliquedThe fox appliqued onto the dress piece.

Blue denim dress with a red fox applique.

The blue denim dress with one fox appliqued onto it.

Since I couldn’t find a black or orange or white tee-shirt with 3/4 length or long sleeves in a size six and the only simple tee was in hot pink, I added bright pink facings, and appliqued pink flowers with orange centers by the foxes feet. On the bodice I added a bright pink butterfly with a fuzzy orange body. I also found a three pack of leggings any one of them would be adorable with the dress. I was set for Christmas.

I was sure she would love it. But then I knew she also needed a hand-made doll wearing the matching dress, something I had done for each of my daughters and my oldest granddaughter. It was one week before Christmas. It is year-end at work. The pressure was on. My priorities shifted, no Facebook, no blogging, just make the doll and dress, in the evenings, after dinner.

Once I knew I had to do it, I wouldn’t sleep if I didn’t get started. As it turned out, I didn’t sleep, much.

Cheers,

Shez

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Filed under Children, Crafts, Decorating, Do It Yourself, Family, Sewing

Valentine Card

Hi, what better time than today to send some wishes your way. I have always separated my love of graphics from my photography. But ever since I took this photo I have thought it should be a Valentine. So I let my creative side free. I hope the results bring a smile to your face.

Blowing Wishes Your Way

Happy Valentine Day.

Shez

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Filed under Crafts, Family, Holiday, Photography, The Great Outdoors

The Quilt…the End

So many of you commented on my quilt disaster and I was so surprised at all the helpful suggestions for “fixing” it. We do think alike (like all great minds hehehe) and I had considered all of them. I would not have run into the problem if I had not cut the first few blocks incorrectly or had I used wider strips of white between each block. The wider white would have made for a much better use of pattern, but…taking it all apart to accomplish that? No. thank you.

So I took stock of what I had to work with. A chunk of the sage green that was badly faded, some small pieces, and my own stubbornness determination. Why is stubborn a bad quality but determination is a good quality?

I took stock of what I had to work with. I reminded myself this quilt was repurposed and would look used, because even the badly faded pieces had to be used. It went against the grain, but I had already searched to find fabric that was in the same tones. It had proven impossible from the beginning when the fabric first went up as curtains.

These are the only scraps left.

After much piecing and using tiny scraps to make a big enough chunk to cut a single triangle I ended up with the above small pile of scraps. Not one piece large enough to cut a single triangle, and not enough of any one pattern to cut the four required for a single block. I had used every piece I could find and managed to create eight more blocks. Several of them containing faded pieces with not so faded pieces and one block that actually contains two different patterns of similar colors. But I had no white to do the strip between the final row. (The above photo was taken after every thing was put totally together.)

The Saving Grace, one long narrow scrap

I found I had one very long and narrow strip of the fabric. A strip of very faded blues. But it was the piece I could use in place of buying more white.

The faded blocks with the striped strip inserted

It looks a bit rough, but I kept telling myself it is not about perfection it is about creating a soft, comfy quilt that was supposed to look used. So I plugged on.

This is not looking too good.

Pinned and ready for top stitching on the last block

A little discouraged I had to push on. This is the final top stitching with everything pinned and ready.After pressing it looks better

Perfect lighting, clear and accurate colors.

This photo shows the sage, pear green and the two shades of blue. The lighting for this picture was perfect for a clear representation of the color. The only photo with true colors.

Close up of block with very faded piece.

If I could have cut four pieces of the same fade, it would have simply appeared to be yet another complementary color. But oh well, it is repurposed. Push on.

Embroidery thread for tying.

Digging through my case of embroidery thread I came up with three compatible colors.

Blue, Sage and Pear Green

The colors worked perfectly. My plan was a small “X” in the center of where each strip of white crossed.

Laid out on the backing fleece with pins in place for tying .

After pining every spot where a quilting “X” was to be stitched, the quilt rolled to have access stitch and then tie from the center out.

Backside with sage binding all around and small knots with ends at each tie style quilting

I was so happy to find the perfect shade of sage quilt binding for the edging. The plain white back of the quilt looks finished by the addition of the sage color and the small ties of the various colors.

Ta Duhhh

You can see from this photo that if I had cut the bottom of the curtains and added bands of white, I would have had not much in the way of stripe patterns to work with and the blocks would have been plain sage. That was the reason I aborted the plan to use part of the curtains. The top stripe of the curtain is also the very wide sage stripe.

New Coordinating Sheets

I bought new coordinating sheets, added the pear green throw. The only thing left to add is turning the mis-cut triangles from the beginning into blocks for two throw pillows and a short wide painting for the wall just above the bed. Sort of a “headboard” that is above the pillows but finishes off the wall. Also a small upholstered chair for the corner. A perfect guest room for one.

Ancient Puppy checks out his new bed.

This throw pillow is close but not exactly right. The color of the quilt is not accurate. Night time with incandescent lighting and a flash are to blame. I love the quilt in the room. It looks quite nice with its obvious fading and the softness of the colors.

In the years we have lived here my children played musical bedrooms, so as they traded rooms nearly every possible color combination had been used in here. Since the room was so dark one daughter choose orange and it failed to liven up the room, so did pink, hot pink, light blue, pale yellow or lavender.

The sage green in particular and the white of the current bedding add life, lightness, and calm to this room. It was a success to actually surmount the challenges and still get it finished by the end of January. The camera dates don’t lie.

So all’s well that end’s well and I’m a happy camper.

Cheers,

Shez

PS From here on out, I will not be able to do much posting at all. Beginning tomorrow, (it was supposed to be beginning tonight) my evenings have to be devoted to completing the art work for my book. I will be posting those at ShezBogs. I will also continue my photo a day posts at ShezPhoto, but will be choosing from photos processed on the weekends and from some of my favorites. Even some that are archived and shot before digital.

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Filed under Crafts, Decorating, Do It Yourself, Life's Contradictions, Random, Sewing

The Quilt…Meets Disaster

Last Friday I got home from work a bit early and was happy that the work on the quilt was going well. All the pieces sewn together and ready to put the borders on it. Even from the back it was pretty, well sort of pretty if you happen to like to look a lots of seams with raw edges. I was just folding it up when

The Back of the Quilt

Sweet Hubs came in to see if I was about ready for bed. I was, but I was just about to take the quilt to see how it would look on the bed. We carried it into the guest room and we laid it out on the bed.

Oh, NOOOoooo-o-o-o.

The quilt is not long enough. It’s not quite long enough to be a blanket and I don’t want to hide it under a bedspread. I was discouraged. It was late. I was tired. Sweet Hubs looked at the room.

“That’s all the fabric, right?”

“Yes.”

“Can you fix it?” he wanted to know.

“I don’t know how, but I’ll think on it. Maybe I can take  it apart and add occasional white squares through out. That way I could come up with enough blocks to do another row. Then with the borders in place, it should work. It will be okay if the sheet folds over the top edge and the pillow in a matching pillow case shows. I can add a couple of pretty throw pillows and it look nice.”

As he helped me fold it back up he said, “Take it all apart? After all that work?” I nodded. “Only fabric is in the curtains, right?” We both stopped and looked at the curtains. “But they look so nice,” Sweet Hubs murmured.

I nodded and began to wonder if I could cut enough off the bottom of them to make eight additional squares. Then buy more white fabric to add a wide white piece at the bottom of each curtain. We headed off to bed with me “thinking on it.” And him saying, “You’ll come up with something. I know you.”

I had worked long and hard that evening. I was determined to finish it by Sunday. Goldilocks and Hans were coming Saturday afternoon to spend the night with us. It was going to be a short weekend with lots of housework to do.

Got my pajamas on and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and I was greeted by

Overflowing Dirty Clothes Hamper

Laundry ala Mode. Add to my Saturday list five or six loads of laundry, that piled up because dirty clothes multiply when you aren’t looking. Why is it dirty clothes accumulate faster than rabbits? Or it was because we looked after grandkids the previous weekend also and that was actually two weeks worth of laundry.  At this point I was too tired and also discouraged, dejected and in despair. And still no quilt in sight.

The weekends of January are quickly coming to a close. I will leave you here. If there is a rest of the story, you will see it here on another odd day. If there is not I will buy a white coverlet and have a really pretty (and very time-consuming) throw. Either way you will get a post of before and after of the guest room.

Cheers!

Shez

PS The did floors get mopped, the bathrooms cleaned, the laundry was washed, dried, folded and put away and we had fun with Hans and Goldilocks. Plus lots of time watching and hoping for snow.

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Filed under Crafts, Decorating, Family, Humor, Life's Contradictions, Sewing