Thursday, September 21, 2017

And now some Gourd Guys....

Yes last week I showed some Grungy Gourds and today I have some Gourd Guys... there seems to be a theme here... vegetables on parade perhaps?? As I've said before, I'm gaga over wreaths and I saw one on Instagram about a month ago that I just HAD to make...



Aren't they a hoot????  The idea came from  My Paper Crane... you can see her blog here.   And you can see more of these wreaths here on Instagram.  She gives instructions on how to paint the faces which you can see here and make the wreath here.

That said this is a very labor/time/$$ intensive wreath... but like I said before ... I HAD TO MAKE IT!!! And what follows is my experience and what I did and what I  would probably do differently if I made another...but right now I'm thinking this one will be it... but we'll see, we'll see.

I started with 4 bags of foam pumpkins from Michaels... 2 bags of "big" ones and 2 bags of  "small" ones.  She used a 16" wire wreath form... I had a 20" wire wreath form so mine is bigger and took more pumpkins.  You also need paint... black and white...  the craft stuff in the little plastic bottles ... and get 2 kinds of brushes ... a flat one and a small tapered one... and to speed up the painting process get  2 of each brush so you won't have to constantly clean them (ask me how I know).  You will need floral wire and a glue gun... and I hope yours in is better working order than mine was... I had to push the hot glue out all day long till I broke down and went back to Michaels and bought a new one.  And I almost forgot the noses are clipped from those fake spring of Christmas berries... this may be the only time I was happy they had Christmas stuff out so early. When you clip off the berry hold onto it...so it doesn't go shooting across the room and under the couch ... or wherever some of mine went to... those babies really fly...LOL

Okay you start by painting the faces... the way I went about this had me handling each pumpkin 5 times ... in retrospect I could have gotten it down to four times if I had done it in this order.

1.)  Start by painting the black mouth shape and the white eye shape... the eyes are going to take 2 coats of white.
2.)  When that dries you can go back and give the eye shape a second coat and add the teeth. I made the teeth with the wooden end of the paint brush  which seemed to speed the process along.
3.)  When that dries go back and do the  black part of the eye.
4.)  When that  dries add a little dot of white for the pupil...this adds so much to the faces.


Now onto wiring the pumpkins... take a length of floral wire... about 8"... fold back an inch or so at one end, twist it and shove it into the back of the pumpkin... apply a little hot  melt glue where you inserted it. When I got to this point I couldn't decide whether to wire all the pumpkins up a one time or wait till I decided where they were going to go on the wreath. I opted for waiting till I placed them and this did slow down the process.

As I started putting the pumpkins on the wire wreath form I wasn't happy with how much of the wire form was showing so I glued some silk leaves from a garland I got at Michaels to the form... they were black with orange glitter...oooooohhhh....I love glitter!!!  It took quite a while to get them all the pumpkins wired onto the form...and then I filled in here and there where I could glue little pumpkins.


I'm not convinced that a wire wreath form is the best base. I'm thinking a grapevine wreath that is kinda flat ...perhaps spray painted black... and then use black floral wire...might have been easier to use.  Also I contemplated cutting the backs off of the pumpkins so they would lay flatter but decided I was too far into the project to change things then. Flat back pumpkins would give you more surface to glue...just saying.

I finished the wreath off adding some sparkly ...orange glitter again...plastic feather-y kinda  garland I found at Micheals... (they should give me a kick-back here... I spent quite a bit there but they had  the best Halloween stuff in this area). .. I cut pieces off of the feather-y kinda garland and stuffed them in here and there.


Here are some close ups.. and yes I took the pictures with the wreath hanging on two different doors... the blond wood one is  an interior door and the white one is the back of my front door and that glass in the top of it is a bit distracting...









I ended up using about 32 pumpkins total... I had 4 left over and I suppose I could have squeezed them in but by 11 o'clock last night I had had enough of these gourdy guys and just wanted to clean up and call it a day.


So my Fall and Halloween decor is multiplying... however the Fall temps I so enjoyed have gone elsewhere ... it is 88 degrees here today... gotta crank up the AC again...ahhh the weather... it always gives me something to be crabby about...LOL

happy crafting...
carol fun 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bloggers Quilt Festival... Fall 2017 edition...



I was so happy to see that Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side was hosting another edition of the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I always see so many wonderful quilts in this event... so much inspiration! I looked back through my blog for this year and I had no hesitation in picking this quilt as the best one I've done this year....hey it is perhaps the best quilt I've done in a long time... LOL!!



Scrappy Happy Tulips

I love everything about this quilt... the chunkiness of the tulips. the scrappy fabrics, the bright colors and that lovely yellow border. The glamour shot was taken on my neighbor's porch... I like staging quilts there for pictures... she has a great railing.

And here is a pic of the whole quilt on my lawn...not as glamorous but it shows all the tulips...


This quilt will  look lovely on my full size bed this coming Spring. It will be so nice to have tulips as I don't plant any in my yard... they are my favorite flower but it turns out that they are also the favorite dining choice of the deer in the neighborhood.  I made the mistake of planting a lot of them the first year I lived here... it was a giant buffet... not doing that again...LOL!


The pattern for this tulip is from Lori Holt's Scrappy Project Planner.  The fabrics are all from Sandy Klop's American Jane collections... I LOVE LOVE LOVE her fabrics. They have a vintage vibe with bright clear colors.  I had so much fun sewing these blocks... sorting though my stash and finding just the right fabrics for each one. And it stretched me in that I didn't make every single stem and leaf combo green... the purist voice in me said "tulip leaves are green"... but the artist voice  said "hey girl,  blue red and yellow are perfectly acceptable leaf colors"... the artist voice is a lot of fun!!  I chose a Baptist fan quilt panto  and my long arm quilter Terry Finnerty did a lovely job ... I really like the variegated thread... such a pretty accent.

Here are a couple of my favorite blocks... 

My favorite flower is a yellow tulip... this is the purist take on the block ...notice green leaves and stem!


And here is the arty version... blue leaves...oooooohhhh.....aaaahhhh....LOL!


And I didn't have a lot of the aqua fabrics... I think they've only appeared in one American Jane collection.... notice the cat who is sewing in the middle square.... I love little details like that!


When I started this quilt I thought I'd make every tulip just one color... red, orange, yellow, blue, pink or green... and then one day I thought  "why not make a mixed color tulip?"... wish I had thought of it sooner as I LOVE how they turned out and wished I had made more..


Love the little chicks in the red square..



And this one has that cute tape measure print...


While I was taking these quilt pictures I accidentally got a nature shot in...



I know a cricket on the hearth means good luck and good health...do you think that hold true for a cricket on a quilt???  I hope it does!!

And here is one last picture of my Scrappy Happy Tulips... my dear son struggling to hold the whole quilt up above his head... he tried really hard but it was just more quilt than he could wrangle. He's a good son!!



I hope you enjoyed looking at my quilt post ... please go and look at all the other wonderful quilts that are part of the Bloggers Quilt Festival...you can find them here. And a big thanks to Amy for hosting this wonderful event.

happy quilting - 
carol fun 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Results of National Jelly Roll Day...

Well lunch was tasty...Chinese dim sum...and then I came home and put the pedal to the metal and made  some 50 some blocks... I thought I had cut out more but we all know how poor my math skills are.




This pile turned into this layout...



I want to make it square so I need 10 more blocks... which I can do using my stash ...but not tonight... I'm pooped... gonna go get some dinner and work on this again next week. Plans for tomorrow don't include sewing time...oh well...

It was fun to devote a day to just one project... I was very focused ... a rarity for me...LOL!

I'm sure I'll move the blocks around some more... it did turn out very very scrappy... but I think it is very very happy and I am too!

happy stitching-
carol fun


Its National Jelly Roll Day!!!!



Hello all you hungry quilters... it is National Jelly Roll Day... the fabric kinda jelly roll...not the bakery kind, although I could really go for a slice of a pumpkin cream cheese jelly roll...just saying.

I've been thinking about this for a week or so and decided what my plan of action would be...

First this is the jelly roll I've selected from my stash...



Spring - a - ling by American Jane



As for the pattern, I'm using...


Two Step from Missouri Star Quilt Company

I've been wanting to start this quilt for a while so National Jelly Roll Day has given me the perfect excuse, justification, reason to play with this pattern. 

Now the pattern calls for 56 plain 5"  squares, and I'm not capable of doing plain squares so I'm using  charm squares from the many many many charm packs of American Jane fabrics that I've collected.



I rarely use the lights from a collection as I usually pick just one to use for the background. Now I'm glad I've done that as I have a wide assortment to use... love the novelty ones...zipper  and letters and punctuation marks and adorable little chicks...along with polka dots and flowers...some cute stuff here. 

I've opened the jelly roll and realized that there are some light strips I don't want to use in this quilt, so I've cut some additional strips from my stash making a hybrid jelly roll. It is good to have stash, isn't it? 

Now I've sewn some of the strips together and sliced them up and make one block to be sure this is going to work...



and it does!!!! Happy happy little blocks!

You can see the video tutorial for this quilt here.

Okay, I'm off to a lunch engagement but I'm going to hurry back to sew more blocks... I'll update later today when I have more than one measly block to show.

Start your sewing machine and show the world what you are creating today!

happy stitching -
carol fun 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Grungy gourds....

Well, I'm popping in mid-week to share my latest quilt top. All the popular kids are making Cluck Cluck Sew's Pumpkins patterns and I wanted to join in the fun. You can see the pattern here.  I've seen a lot of great versions of this pattern on Instagram...which you can view here... but being the kind of person who doesn't follow directions well, I went off on my own path.

First, I decided to use only Moda Grunge fabrics... I LOVE LOVE LOVE Grunge and there were some gorgeous oranges, greens and golds, not to mention the new ones with polka dots. Second, I decided I didn't want to make the pumpkins with all the squares... I'm lazy... I figured big pieces of Grunge would be fine. And third, although I had plenty of FQs I also had some charm squares and layer cakes of Grunge I wanted to incorporate into this quilt... stir all this up and this is what you get...



the colors are more vibrant in real life... check out my pic on IG which you can see here. Well I am totally in love with this top. It was quick... I started less than a week ago and I didn't work on it every day... I think I put about 3 sessions into this.

I started off with these two blocks which used some charm squares... they weren't going to be big enough so I inserted the little sashing strips....





And while I liked these two I didn't LOVE them...so I moved onto doing blocks with strips...








Now I liked these a lot...particularly with that little strip in each as I thought it tied them to the charm square blocks... but these took more time...and I'm lazy ...so I then switched back to making the rest of the blocks from one piece of Grunge...and oh these just make me happy happy happy!!!


Deep rust...

Mustard-y gold... and this shows how fickle my phone is with pictures... this is the same background fabric but it looks gray here when it is definitely taupe...



White...oh I LOVE white pumpkins!!!


And pale green...


which reminds me of this gourd I bought the other day at the grocery store...


Please ignore the dying marigolds that need to be dead-headed...bad gardener...

Anyway I am very very happy with this quilt.  I think I may quilt this top myself as I'd like to use it this season and my long arm gal is backed up... not sure how I'll quilt it but it has to be easy and quick... I don't have the attention span for anything complicated.

And the icing on the cake for this quilt top is the comment that Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew left on my IG post.... OMG... I'm absolutely thrilled that the designer of the pattern liked my interpretation of her design...you can see the comment here.

Hope your week is going well. I heard from my friend in Florida and she is back in her home...no damage... how wonderful is that??? Now she doesn't have power yet, but keeping her fingers crossed that it comes back soon.

happy stitching -
carol fun

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A serious case of startitis on Slow Stitching Sunday...


First, my heart just aches for all of those who are in the path of Hurricane Irma. People haven't even begun to come back from Hurricane Harvey and we are onto another epic disaster, and I've heard a third hurricane, Jose, it waiting in the wings. I've made some donations to charity and said prayers, lots and lots and lots of prayers. I have a very dear friend who lives in a mobile home in Bradenton, FL. She sold her home here in the Midwest and just moved down there about 2 months ago to be a permanent resident of Florida. She's done a bunch of home improvement projects that are still shiny and new, and as of last night she was staying in a local shelter with her cat. She is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I believe she'll be safe and I hope her home doesn't take too much damage.

And while I've been glued to the weather channel I've been stitching away... not finishing anything of consequence but bouncing around like the proverbial "BB in a box car" that my dear Father described me as.

Last Monday I went outside on my patio and painted some more linen... first was this piece...


This started as a piece of 36 count white Wichelt Endinburgh  linen... I'm going to do all nine of the Blackbird Designs, Loose Feathers series, For the Birds. I'm going to do them as a 3 by 3 grid with a small border in between each one. I figure I can replicate border designs from other BBD pieces.

I painted this using Rit dyes in Apple Green, Royal Blue and Tan... I diluted them a lot. When I painted this piece I thought I was going to stitch on the side I painted, but after it dried I found that the dye had gone all the way through the linen (unlike the linen I painted previously) and I liked the "back" even better than the front.

Here is a bigger pic of the whole piece of linen...


I know it looks a bit blotchy now but I think that once I get the designs stitched on it, it will be more subtle and just provide an interesting background. As far as I can tell each chart uses the same palette of Weeks threads...blues in Deep Sea, Jay Bird and Blue Jeans... greens in Caper and Loden... tans in Cocoa, Flat Fish and Pamlico.  This piece of linen is about 21" square.  I couldn't wait to put a couple of stitches in... that was about one night's work.


And while I had made mess on the patio I painted some more Halloween-y type linen. This linen started as 32 ct. white Charles Craft linen. It is much stiffer than the Wichelt brand. I assume it has a coating of some kind of sizing. It takes the dye fine on the one side but doesn't penetrate to the back side completely.

I painted this piece with the chart in front of me trying to get  the proper proportions to match up with the design. I didn't measure anything...which I could have if I had thought of it beforehand... I just winged it... but I think it is going to work out pretty well. I'm hoping that the haunted house ends up where the green begins.



Again I had to put some stitches in to see what it would look like...that is about 2 nights of work...and I'm quite happy with the results. However I don't think I'll be able to get this finished before this Halloween,  as I then bounced over to work on this...


Prairie Schooler Autumn from Prairie Seasons No. 80.. this is almost done. I'm making the barn redder than the chart called for and I substituted the orange cause I didn't have the one called for. Don't know why this pic is blurry ... it looked fine on my phone. Oh well, I may be able to knock this one out tonight.  I have plans to display it with some of my many many many pumpkins.

And bouncing back to the Halloween stitching... since I don't think I can finish the entire PS Trick or Treat piece I thought perhaps I could do some of the motifs as little pin pillows...and this is the first one I stitched.



He is less than 2" square and come on...he is too stinking CUTE!!!  I'm going to do the pumpkin head kid and the witch... scroll back up and look at the chart...they are at the bottom. And if I have time I'd like to stitch the Trick or Treat words from the bottom of the chart and stuff it as a long pillow. I have lots of plans...lots of plans...just need the time.

Well I have dinner prepped and ready to put into the oven... a chicken alfredo casserole made with low carb pasta.. roasted asparagus, a salad,  dinner rolls, watermelon and angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert.  They should go home full...

The weather here has been gorgeous the last week, we are suppose to get the remnants of Irma Tuesday through Friday... rainy days should give me more stitching time as I won't have to water my garden. Oh, I'll post some garden pictures later this week. I re-did my window boxes with mums and ornamental cabbages and kale... I really like the look...and I have several gorgeous dahlias as big as a salad plate. I'm on the hunt for more dahlia tubers for next year.

I'll link up with Kathy's Quilts today and Super Mom - No Cape on Monday. Keep all of those in the path of hurricanes in your prayers.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Getting things ready on Slow Sunday Stitching...

This week has been a productive one where cross stitch is concerned... and I can't believe I have stuff almost ready for Halloween... yeah me!!

First, I finished my Lizzie Kate Boo Club before my self-imposed deadline of September 1 and here is is in all its glory...



It is a very good thing that I couldn't get all 12 little vignettes on this piece of linen ... I now have enough fabric left to leave a border of the linen showing when I frame it...and I held it up to the spot where I want to hang it and if it was much bigger it wouldn't fit there...yikes!!

Top half close-up ...



Bottom half close-up ...



I did change the thread color on Ghost to the Weeks Tomato so I could repeat that orange... it looked more balanced to my eye.  I do love the Frankenstein... he's too cute!! Now to get this to the framer this week so I can hang it October 1.

I really love the way the linen looks on this piece and I showed it on a FB Lizzie Kate group. Several people asked how I painted it and here's the explanation I posted.

OK - here's how I painted the linen. I laid the linen on a piece of cardboard... the linen was dry... I used liquid Rit dye in the bottles and diluted it slightly as it is pretty intense direct from the bottle. I used a paint brush and applied the dye directly to the linen taking care not to overlap areas too much so I would get any brown splotches where colors might merge. I used Hyacinth, Apple Green, Tangerine and Lemon Yellow. After I painted the whole thing I drizzled a little of the Hyacinth here and there for little and sometimes big drops. Since I started with dry fabric the dye didn't seem to spread as quickly as I suspect it would have it the linen was wet. Painting was really easy...nothing that requires talent... just slop it on. The hard part was waiting for it to dry. After it was dry I ironed it with a hot steam iron to "set" it to some extent. Now the back of this piece is not as intense with color... it is not a reversible piece of linen... it has a definite front and back. I did paint a smaller piece of linen as a trial run... after it dried and iron it I wet it to see if the dye would run... I got just a little bit of residual dye. I hope this explains it. It isn't a complicated procedure. I will be doing it again...soon... I have a Prairie Schooler Halloween piece calling my name.

In fact I hope to paint some more linen tomorrow... the  rain has stopped and it is a glorious day here...sunny and 70's and that's the forecast for tomorrow. I want to paint the linen outside on my patio potting table as I don't want to take the chance of spilling dye and messing up my Corian kitchen counters.   I ordered the chart Prairie Schooler Trick or Treat which you can see here...and I'd love to start it.  Realistically I probably can't get it done by this Halloween but it will be fun to  work on during this Fall season.


In the meantime I finished stitching this little Halloween piece...


This is stitched on the scrap piece of linen I played with before I painted the big piece... it only measures 3.5 wide by 2.25" tall... I'll probably turn it into a little pillow to tuck into my Halloween decor.

I was ambitious this morning and put away all of my Summer decor and got out my Fall stuff... at the moment I have the quilts put in their places and lots of the pumpkins placed where I want them. I want to work on my 3 tier tray ... I have some cross stitch I'm going to mount  and then see what arrangement I can come up with.  To set the mood I lit a Spiced Pumpkin Yankee Candle...now if I could just have a piece of Frisch's pumpkin pie... makes my mouth water...LOL

I'll link up with Kathy's Quilts today and Super Mom - No Cape on Monday. Hope you are enjoying this 3 day weekend. It doesn't seem like Sunday to me since I'm not doing dinner for the family today...we are doing it tomorrow...and then I'll be mixed up on my days the rest of the week...oh well..it is worth it for the holiday.

happy stitching-
carol fun