Monday, November 25, 2013

Hand Quilting: Beads and more Yoko English!

Natalie Chanin's hand applique work often includes beads.

I have tried using them here and there on small projects, but I have it in my mind to try and make a larger garment with them all over it.  Either a tank top or a skirt probably.  I have ordered some of the beads from her site and starting to play around with them a bit.

One of the tricks is finding a needle small enough to get them on there but also with a large enough eye to get the thick button craft thread through it.  A delicate balance for sure.

Jennifer from See How We Sew blog recently alerted me to a give away she hosted some time back for Yoko Saito's new book.  It's quite rare to run into a publication by her in English, so I'm excited to get a copy of it.  it's called House Warming Patchwork.  Looks like you can already order it online.

Not sure I can wait for Santa to get my own copy of it!  ;)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend fun: Polaroid

I took this photo around this time of year back in 2010 when my dad was visiting us and we took a trip to the California Academy of Sciences.  They have a Living Roof covered with all sorts of grasses.  Below the air vent windows you see here they have an indoor rain forest complete with butterflies that will on occasion land on you.

I got the wild hair to dig out some of my Polaroid Manipulation photos after downloading and watching the Timezero move about the end of film production and the last year of Polaroid. The movie also shows the hope of the future of the film and the 14 people who started the Impossible project to try and save it all...which of course they did.

Awesome movie, so easy to download for less than the cost of a pizza.  Highly recommend it.

There are lots of Polaroid manipulations out there, a process of using old Timezero film, heating up the developed image with either a blow dryer, or a heating pad, and smooshing the inks around with sculpting tools.  I went out of my way to create them for many years.  I keep saying I should do something with them all.  This movie inspired me to show them to the kids.  They really loved that.

I did too.

Hope your weekend has been as swell as mine.  I got some knitting done too on  the side of the soccer field. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hand Stitching

I've been playing around with another little swatch of fabric using hand stitching and Alabama Chanin jersey fabric.

Looks like they will have a sale on the web site on black friday.  Not sure what else I need, maybe I should look.  I think my knitting friend Sharon may be getting more into sewing.  She's making one of these small projects too.

Two colors of button craft thread on light fabrics gives it a little interest.  I think a larger piece like a table runner would be fun to do.  The light, white on white look, makes me think of snow.  I can see a little mini winter scene set up on here.  Mini lego houses and all.  

We are starting to look forward to Thanksgiving already.  Is it too soon to be doing that?  I hope not. 

I'm also still working on the hex quilt, but small amounts of time devoted to it here and there is making for progress at a snail's pace.  I'm still happy with the results so far.

In other news, I'm reading the twitter feed called "Today in 1963" which is pretty cool, a project by NPR Kat Chow.  Amazing what you can fit into 140 characters.  Today was an eventful albeit sad day with the anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.

On a happier note, I'll be visiting the SF Heath store sometime this weekend to see what's brewing on their annual sale.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time for Knitwear

Our older son had a soccer play off series this weekend and the little one was sporting a little congestion.  My solution to this was to pull out all the knitwear I could find for him.

This included a beanie out of Madelintosh in a yummy copper color, a scarf that I knit ages ago that is too short for me, and a Little Oak Cardi  - pattern by Alana Dakos

The socks are cheating, just from SmartWool.

Still though, this was one very wooly 5yr old.  It was early and cold, so was a lot more cooperative about it than usual.

I have been knitting up a storm today and made some progress on a gift for somebody special.  More about that in a couple weeks.

Hope you're all out there keeping warm too.

And by the way, have any of you tried making custom photo moleskin books?  I think they would be cool for holiday gifts, but I'm interested in a recommendation....anybody?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ceramics Love

In case you are looking for something to do on Saturday, there is an incredible ceramics show and sale in Palo Alto, California. 

Hosted by Orchard Valley Ceramics guild, Art in Clay Sale 2013.

It's a great way to pick up some affordable and unusually beautiful pieces. 

I'll be there before you will though, so good luck getting the best ones.  ;)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hexagon Progress: hand piecing

You've seen this quilt before, but it was a layout photo with pieces put next to each other, not sewn together.

The latest photo is a view of how the pieces look like sewn together.  Still using Oakshott fabrics.  I am not sure if their hand-made fabrics will continue to be available.  It looks like they may be cutting over to a machine-made process to create their colourshott fabrics.

The quilt is still quite small, but it's the start of something interesting.  

I'm having fun taking the project around with me - working on it mostly during soccer games, piano lessons, and tennis practice.

Some of the parents look at me like I'm a little crazy for sewing on the go, and others of them come over and ask me what I'm making.

Without a lot of time to do creative work in the evenings a take-along project is probably the only thing to get any of my attention these days.  

If you have a solution to finding more time in the day I'd love to hear it.  I'm probably not the only one on planet Earth that would embrace a 25 hour day.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Knitting with a friend

I ran into this old photo that my sister took two years ago of me knitting a sock while holding her darling baby.  

Quite moments are generally few and far between for me but this photo proves that they do in fact occur. 

This baby now talks to me on the phone, and chases after the big kids, keeping up with them very well.

It's magical to watch them grow, but all the same - they were so very cute as babies.

Here's hoping we all find a quite moment or two this week.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

More Chalkboard Fun: How to track your weekend schedule

Weekends have been starting to get away from me a bit with both boys in a lot of soccer & tennis along with other fun things on our plate.

In my last trip to PaperSource I found an affordable/small chalkboard and a pack of chalkboard pens called Bistro Chalk Markers.

The pens only come off when you use water.

When you combine that with regular white chalk (my favorite is Sargent Art dustless chalk), it gives you a constant area and something that you can easily wipe away. 

During the week I can glance over to remind myself what's coming up on the weekend and it gives us all something to look forward to.

I also ran into this cool tutorial on how to make files that look like chalkboards through photoshop on Foolishfire.  Cute tutorial. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Handmade Books: Listmaker's List of Lists

In my last post about bookbinding, I did some calligraphy on the outside cover.

I took another stab at it, pun intended, and sewed up another coptic style book based on what I learned in Jody Alexander's bookbinding class on Creativebug.

This time instead of using plain paper from the art store, I used paper from PaperSource.  I like this better than the first try and would like to make some more of these.

I'm using this book to make my to-do lists for all sorts of things.  It makes me feel better to make lists of things when it gets really busy and it seems like there is not enough time in the day to get it all done.  I found a poem about list making by Shel Silverstein that was pretty funny.  

I couldn't help but decorate it a little bit, so below is what the inside cover looks like.  I call it the Listmaker's List of Lists.  What a mouthful.

The gradient paper was made on my own personal printer from a file freely available for download at Mr. Printables.  Sweet colors.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Calligraphy Tutorial: Chalkboard Lettering

I have been getting fancy with addressing letters and put together a simple tutorial on how to make your calligraphy look like hand written chalk board letters.  

This technique can also be applied to fabric, but use Pigma Pens for permanent letters of quilt cotton.  Lots of sizes are available.  I like .05 size a lot.

Here are a few simple steps.  If you try it, let me know how it went for you.

1)  Write out the letters using handwriting on a dark piece of paper.

I used dark navy blue paper that I got from PaperSource and a white pen that I also got from there.  The specific pen I used is the uni-ball signo broad pigment ink in UM-153, white.  It is easy to control and did not cost a lot.

Some of the letters had some curly starts and stops.  Those are not very hard to make, but it's good to practice on a scratch piece of paper

2)  Put a second line to the right of your letters only when your pen stroke is going down.  Don't do this if you pen is moving up towards the top of the paper.  See the example of the letter H below.  In the second photo, you can see a lot of letters with the 2nd lines added.

3)  Fill in ink between the lines.  Use light small strokes of the pen.  Go slowly, don't rush or you'll end up with extra ink on there and it will get messy

4)  At this point you can drop it in the mail and the person will eventually get it. 

I conducted a test and addressed a letter with non-fancy writing and another with fancy writing.  The one with fancy writing took an extra 3 days to get there.  I think it may have been because the automatic postal system could not recognize the address and a person may have had to read it in order for it to get to the right postal delivery person.  Just an interesting data point for you.

5)  Making it look like a chalk board for digital use:  If you want your photo to take on that chalk board look, just snap a picture of it on your phone and put it in black and white.  On iPhone, you can go into your photos, choose 'edit' then choose 'tonal' filter.  You can also try the 'mono' filter to see which one you like better.

6)  Putting text on top such as the "Easy Calligraphy Tutoral" text above:  If this is something you also want to add for a blog post or for a Pinterest tutoral pin, you can download an app called "Over".  It looks like this app is made for iOS.

Good luck!