Tuesday, November 28, 2006

About Creativity

SharonB has made some very interesting comments about nurturing creativity on her blog.

I have a few thoughts. Although I don't keep a visual journal, I do save snippets of things or ideas I see. I always keep a spiral notebook around to write down steps to make a project or sketch an idea of something I see on TV, like on a quilting or craft show. I have several of these notebooks full of instructions and sketches. Before I had a digital camera, I would scan a color copy of everything I made, especially if it was a gift and wasn't going to be around for me to examine later.

I also tear pictures out of catalogs, magazines, etc. and mount them in a large spiral sketchbook. I have put so many of these pictures in a book, that I went back, numbered the pages, and created a table of contents for it. So then I know on what pages I will find ideas for fans, peacocks, kimonos, etc. The pictures in this spiral sketchbook can be a source of inspiration for me when I don't know what to do with myself. It's like a mini-trip to a museum, a jewelry store, or a textile show. Since these were things that inspired me at one time, they can still inspire me 5 years later, just like Sharon mentioned.

I do marvel at the organization of some of you ladies' work rooms. Although the materials I use are organized, I can never keep the horizontal surfaces clear. I have a long table to use to work on, but frequently end up laying things out on the ironing board or the floor because things with no home pile up on these "work surfaces". It may be because that's the room that hides the Christmas presents, holds all the things I made for the boutique, etc. but once those are over with, I have no excuse....

Happy Stitching....

Monday, November 27, 2006

Alive but not CQing

Hi there all. I haven't been CQ stitching for awhile - I've been making Christmas party invitations - and can you believe it, they have embroidery on them? Never again, stitching the same thing over and over gets old! Anyway, I thought I'd share this button. I came across a card full of Asian buttons that I put together some time ago. This is one of them - it is made of clay, I think. I need to see things like this to keep up my enthusiasm for finishing my CQ kimono - although I think that won't happen until after Christmas.

Has anyone ordered Carol Samples templates lately? I've asked for them for Christmas, but there hasn't been any response to my DH's emails asking about ordering them.

One of the things I do at my Christmas party is give out something handmade to everyone - a bracelet, an ornament, etc. It's the adult version of a goody-bag. So now that I'm finished with the invites, I need to start on the ornaments. I plan to make a dress on a hanger - about the size of a Barbie dress. I want to make them in all different colors and take advantage of scraps of fancy fabrics I have. That should be fun.
Hope you all are happy stitchin....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

SRE Nametag

Here is a picture of a nametag I made. This was my first foray into SRE, so I wanted to try lots of different effects. It was really fun to do and I think I invented a few flowers along the way!

It seems I've been busy with blogging, etc. and have sort of forgotten all about my Flickr account for a few months. I apologize to anyone who left me questions that I only recently answered. There's just too much to do and see and not enough time!

One thing I've noticed about blogging, is that seeing all the creative things people are doing is constantly satisfying my never-ending search for pictures of beautiful stitchery. I used to always be looking for books, hoping to find something with good pictures of creative stitchery that wasn't beginner-level and satisfied my need for eye candy. So I just want to thank you all out there for posting pix of your wonderful stitchery, (especially those pix that I can zoom in on, since my eyes are getting old - sigh) I think it is so great that we can share these images.
Happy Stitching.....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How to make the hat ornament

Here are directions on making the hat ornament pictured in my previous post:

Strong Cardboard for Brim
Fabric to cover crown and brim**
Felt for back of ornament
2 1/2 inch styrafoam ball
7-8" ribbon for hanging
~8" braid or trim to go around the crown
~14" trim to go around the brim
seed beads
decorative button
bias cut ribbon for bow

**You want to choose fabric that is not too too thin, or the texture of the styrafoam will show through it. But not too thick either, since it has to be gathered up tightly. I used silk.

For the Crown of the hat:
Cut the styrafoam ball in half. (A serrated edge works best for this)
Cut your fabric into a 5 1/4" circle (to cover the styrafoam).
Take a gathering stitch around this circle, about a quarter of an inch from the edge.
Place the half-ball inside it and gather up the circle. You will have to adjust the gathers to minimize folds in the fabric near the cut edge of the ball. I then take stitches back and forth across the back of the ball to make the fabric nice and taut (see pic below). This is key to getting a good final project.

You can see I've gathered the fabric and have started going around the circle and catching those areas that need a little tightening. I do this same thing on the circle that's gathered around the cardboard brim, in the directions below.

For the Brim of the hat:

Cut your cardboard into a 4 1/2" circle.
Cut your fabric into a 6 3/4" circle (to cover the cardboard).
Take a gathering stitch around this circle, about a quarter of an inch from the edge.
Place the cardboard circle inside it and gather up the circle. You will have to adjust the gathers to minimize folds in the fabric near the edge of the circle. I then take stitches back and forth across the back of the cardboard to make the fabric nice and taut. This makes the hat look very good when done.

Glue the covered half-ball onto the covered circle. (I used a glue gun)
Glue or stitch trim around the edge of the brim.
Glue braid around the edge of the crown - you need to use braid wide enough to hide the gap between the brim and the crown where the two meet.
I made 2 loops of beads on wire, like a bow.
Glue on feathers, beaded loops, bias ribbon and button.
Cut the felt into a 4 1/8" circle.
Sandwich the hanging ribbon between the back of the brim and the felt circle and glue.
You are done with your gorgeous hat!

P.S. I made about a dozen of these, so I made cardboard templates for all the circles I needed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Inspired by Christmas - Ornaments

Well, the Boutique's over, the company's gone, the Birthday celebration is over - in short, my weekend from H - E - double hockey-sticks is over with. Phew! It wasn't all bad - there were certainly fun parts to working with friends, talking with company, enjoying birthdays..... There was just not enough sleep and NO time to stitch.

I thought I'd share a few of the type of ornaments I make that we sell at our annual Boutique. All the monies from the Boutique go to local charities chosen by the women in my church, so it is a worthwhile cause.

This is a felt shoe made from a pattern in a Martha Stewart Christmas book. In the book, she uses punches to punch a lacy design along the top of the shoe. I don't know how she got all those fancy holes - maybe she punched through paper along with the felt? Anyway, I chose to finish the top edge using some organdy ribbon and a ribbon rose at the top on the inside.

This is probably the fastest and simplest ornament. Some of them have to be "simplified" so that non-crafters at workshops can help with the easy parts, like cutting out all the pieces.

I had fun making these purse ornaments - choosing the beads, the button and the trim for the top.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

SRE Angel ornament

Here is an angel ornament I embroidered with SRE. I am still busy with the boutique (this weekend it will be overwith - yay), birthdays and company coming. I know this isn't CQ, but if anyone else has some handmade Christmas ornaments they can point me to, I'd appreciate it.

Happy Stitching.....

Friday, November 03, 2006

CQ Seam

Here's another CQ seam on my kimono. Kind of a mutated feather stitch. I did a feather stitch to one side of the lower fabric, then thought it looked odd, so added another set of "V" shapes to the lower side, which ends up giving you these diamond shapes in the center....

Just a few more seams to go and then I will be finishing up this project. I will have to go back and add some beads after I seam it together - I left some beads off that might fall into the seamline.

Happy Stitching.....