Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy haunting!

12Oct31boo It’s done! I may add to it later on, but it’s complete and hanging on the wall (with masking tape so that I could take a picture of it). If I was do take all the stitches out and do it again, I’d do it differently. Learn as you go. But I like the way it turned out.

It’s been raining just about every night for the past two weeks, and cold! Very unusual for this time of year here, so I don’t know if we’ll get the usual 100-plus kids at our door tonight. We’ll hoist the pumpkins and see who salutes. The annual community Hallowe’en party might set a new record in attendance tonight! Happy Hallowe’en!

Until next time,

Monday, October 29, 2012

Between one holiday and the next

12Oct29MR1 I got to drive home from work tonight by the light of a great big silvery full moon! Amazing, really, when you think that we’ve had rain just about every night for the past two weeks. It’s beautiful and clear tonight.

I was going through some of the stacks and bags of fabric, patterns, magazines, etc. around my sewing area last week and I uncovered these mug rugs – again. Christmas presents for a co-worker that I started earlier this year, like January, and never finished. I had 12Oct29MR2 nothing better to do, so I finished the applique. Just have to cut some batting and find a piece of backing. Too bad that I’ve decided to make her something else for Christmas this year. But she’ll get these as well because they go with the two I gave her last Christmas!

And this caught my eye the other day while I was nosing about in one of our second hand stores. I recognized it immediately because I used to have quite a collection of iron-on transfer patterns when I was a teenager – a shoebox full of 12Oct29vogart1 them. I just know these roosters will come in handy at some point.

Unlike this creepy lass! In keeping with the season, I’ve noticed a few eight-legged monsters creeping onto Blog pages this week. So far, this is the creepiest. Do you have Black Widows where you live? We come across them here all the time. I spotted this young lady a couple of weeks ago in the foyer of a public building. Don’t usually see them in the open like that, and she’s a pretty good size. Glad I didn’t have to deal with her. I try and approach life with a “live and let live” policy, but with Widows, it’s “not in my house”. If they’re outside or in somebody else’s house, they’re fine. But if they’re even touching my house… My partner told me that he had one in his workshop (attached garage) one time that was so big, he 12Oct29widow felt compelled to name it. He called it “Shelob” and let it stay for a few days before he finally did it in. Neither of us like killing anything bigger than a mosquito, but if the alternative is millions of tiny little Black Widow babies, they’ve got to go. Hope this is the closest you get to a Widow!

Until next time,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Finding time

12Oct27jack Here’s a little craft felt piece that I’ve been trying to get to for weeks. It’s just from a random Hallowe’en image that I found on the internet. I finally got it put together last night. It isn’t stitched yet. This is such a busy time of the year for everyone – it’s hard to juggle the time so that I can have more than 10 minutes to sew.

12Oct27ginger So I do what I can and try to take advantage of what time I have. It’s Saturday morning and I have to finish this up quickly because I have to get to work. Maybe I’ll get it done tomorrow morning.

And there’s Ginger practicing her best Hallowe’en face! Actually, Rusty and Ginger get locked in the basement on Hallowe’en night. No, it’s a basement, not a dungeon! Their part of the basement has two rooms, including the guest bedroom with a nice, comfy queen-sized bed and a window so they can watch the excitement if they want to. Don’t want my indoor kitties running off into the night while we’re handing out candy. I think they prefer the basement.

Until next time,

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Freestyle Free Motion Quilting

12Oct20finish For the past few days, I’ve been working on October’s Free Motion Quilting Challenge at SewCalGal's. This month’s challenge was by Teri Lucas who had us do a rather complex freehand design. It was tough. Her challenge involved a lot of echo-ing, which I still haven’t gotten the hang of, and those little nautilus shells 12Oct20shells were a real puzzle! I did several practice runs and they all looked dismal. It didn’t help that my darn thread kept breaking. I picked up this spool of Coats and Clark all purpose thread, polyester covered polyester, on sale at Fabricland a month ago. Never had a problem with C&C before, but this stuff was awful. I changed my needle, I played with the tension. It got better, but it still kept breaking. When I did my final sample, I switched to Gutermann polyester (also from Fabricland, also on sale) and it didn’t break once.

12Oct20practice If nothing else, this year-long challenge is giving me more experience with types of thread in combination with styles of free motion quilting. But, believe it or not, my curves are getting better, I don’t get lost quite so much, and even if I haven’t come close to mastering them, my repertoire of FMQ designs has grown. Whether it’s a good idea or not, I approach FMQ-ing with much less hesitation than I ever did before starting SewCalGal’s Challenge. So, thank you Darlene for organizing this great challenge, and thank you Teri for making me work to get this month’s sample done.

Go here for Teri’s tutorial and scroll down to the bottom of the page for more lovely results of the October challenge.

Until next time,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin bush

12Oct15punks Not wool. Craft felt. I had a pile of craft felt that made its intentions known to me last week. I’ve seen so many beautiful quilts, bags and wall hangings made out of wool in various blogs that I wished to make something similar. I have no wool, but I have lots of felt that I bought last year when the grandchildren were planning to visit. That visit got cancelled, and the felt abandoned. I haven’t worked with felt in probably 50 or so years, but I began to see possibilities for it recently.

And with Hallowe’en coming up, I thought I’d sew together some really simple pumpkin sachets – two pieces of felt with a smaller piece of batting in between. Two eyes, a nose and a mouth and a drop of scented oil on the batting. Stitched together with a loop for hanging, and voila! I made little pumpkins for several friends who received them today. The Cat and Zombie Ghost are for co-workers. 12Oct15all Some rather fiddly work, but it was fun. But I found out that it’s not easy to iron fusible web to craft felt, and that you need a lot of patience (and fingernails) to finally separate the web from the paper because the felt likes to separate in layers if you don’t get it just right. But it’s all good and makes for a little bit of holiday fun.

Until next time,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Of mice and cats

12Oct14mouse Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? Abducted by aliens, decked out in green.

Ooops, too much time spent watching X-Files reruns. I never saw it when it originally played on TV, but my (retired) partner subscribes to a channel that plays old movies and TV series. And he loves it.

12Oct14star1 That’s not to say that I haven’t been sewing. I made Rusty and Ginger their first prototype catnip mouse last week – without the catnip. I made it from some scraps of canvas because Ginger has eaten every single cloth toy I’ve given her. And I stuffed it with a wad of flannelette, just in case they were able to chew it open and get at the stuffing. For the tail, I used a piece of cotton butcher’s cord. Well, the first ear was gone within a minute and became an accessory toy. And Rusty had eaten the tail within five minutes (and passed it intact the following day). But they still love their stuffed-canvas-with-one-ear toy. It 12Oct14star2 still flies across the kitchen floor just fine!

I also finished the paper-pieced mariner’s star that has been sitting around for many months. Advice around blogland is that you don’t put unfinished projects away, because out of sight is out of mind. Eventually someone in the house will get so tired of looking at them that you’ll either finish them or you’ll throw them out the door.

I didn’t have any idea of what to do with the centre, so I tried out some different fabric. Hard to choose because I don’t really know what I eventually want to do 12Oct14star3 with this, if anything. If you look at it closely, you’ll see that I won’t be getting all of my points if/when I sew a background to it. The pattern is beautiful; I should have been more careful. The paper-pieced pattern is called Mariner’s Watch by Nancy Rink and I found the star pattern in the April/May 2011 issue of Quilt.

I had to applique the circle in the centre, so I placed some different fabric underneath to see the effect before I actually sewed it on. Even after I cut out the fabric I’d chosen, I had second thoughts. But it’s done now.

I’m working on some Halloweeny stuff at the moment, which you’ll see later.

12Oct14star4 We’ll have a New Moon tomorrow (Monday) at 22 Libra. That’s more exciting for me, personally, that usual because it’s happening less than a degree away from my Sun’s natal placement (natal meaning “at birth”). The New Moon is exact just after 5 am Pacific Daylight Time. For the next month you may find that your best intentions to get your work done is a bit “loosey-goosey” as Jupiter squares Venus – a lovely aspect for starting all sorts of new projects and finishing none, which Jupiter trining the New Moon (Sun conjunct Moon) means that won’t really bother you because you’ll be enjoying whatever you do. Mars trine Uranus at the same time gives energy to some unusual projects.

Until next time,