Jacks’ Portrait

I finally found the courage to venture into the world of art quilts. After a lot of procrastination, such as tiding the workspace a few times, dusting the sewing machine a bunch of times…I just sort of dived in without the due attention that it merited. I wanted to start with a portrait quilt of one of my dogs,  however, I didn’t choose the best photo for either, I just picked a photo randomly without the notion of which pose etc. might be the best for a textile rendering….. Lesson number 1 has been learnt. Jack´s pose in this photo is not the best, it has a lot of depth, which makes it harder to portray.

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I actually began the Portrait of my other dog Oscar first, because he´s a shaggy brown dog and so I thought it would be easier, but then I put him aside and started Jack because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was going to portray a totally white short-haired dog, and I always like to get the difficult stuff over with first.

This is a quick summary of how I did it. I took the photo, enlarged it to an A4 (page size) and then using a lightbox traced the major outlines and shadow lines to another paper, then took that to our local copy store and had them enlarge it. Using a sharpie I traced the enlarged image to a thin muslin type fabric. ….Lesson number 2, ……use a waterproof sharpie because when I changed my mind about a piece of fabric and had to squirt water to loosen the glue, the ink smudged all over the muslin and the fabric pieces, and on light coloured fabric that is definitely a no no.

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The interesting part comes next, which is choosing bits of fabric, cutting it, gluing it, and thereby creating the image. I spent quite a bit of time reading Susan Carlson´s blog Here she´s such a fantastic teacher.

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The background was particularly difficult for me, I just didn’t know what to do., I messed around a bit, changed my mind a bunch of times, and eventually just settled for what you see here, red squares portraying the floor, and a different upper fabric. The red part is covered with red tulle and the upper part with black tulle, I stipple quilted with matching thread.

I also made the background to big… lesson number 3, …..know which size the finished work should be, so I don´t waste time and fabric. I bought a canvas from the local store and attached the quilt to it by folding over the sides and stapling it to the back, so it´s nicely stretched.

And there you have it, all done!

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I showed it to Jacke and his friend Ollie, They think it´s kind of ok 🙂

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Christmas Tree Runner

So, I´ve been wanting to sew with tulle, or netting if you prefer for quite a while, and since  Christmas is here, I thought it might be a good time to join the 2, Christmas and tulle.

I saw this cute table runner from Addy Lou Creates here, so I made a version of that pattern,  3 different fabrics for each tree.

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Then I added the tulle on top, this is a very fine tulle with fine gold glitter.20191026_151604

Free motioned crazy patterns on top of each section of the trees and stippled the background.

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I don´t know quite what I was thinking when I decided to add the stripes in the middle if I had a redo, I wouldn’t do that at all, but oh well, now it´s done. I  found that the tulle does mute the colours of the fabric quite a bit, but is actually far easier to work with than I expected.

So now it´s Christmas time, and I have a new table runner to display 🙂

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Wishing all a blessed happy Christmas!

Lazy Susan

Just finished painting and decoupaging a Lazy Susan / Dumbwaiter, both rather unflattering names, especially if your name is Susan 🙂 Anyway it was plain pinewood and sits on my kitchen island, so I decided to jazz it up a bit.

Painted it with white chalk paint and decoupaged the fishies and quotes. I bought the tissue paper from the local craft shop. On top, I applied a liquid glass epoxy coating, which can take a certain amount of heat and is impermeable to stains, etc. on the side I sanded down the small amounts of liquid glass that had spilled over and coated it with a high gloss varnish

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And there you have it, a very pretty lazy Susan 😉

Mini Quilt

Just finished the cutest little mini quilt ever! I found the pattern at Flamingo Toes by Beverly Mccullough, here and I just fell in love with it, I loved the black and white theme with the dots of colour. So I was very, very uncreative and made mine the same.

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Also because I have never embroidered in my life, It was an excellent opportunity for me to learn how to make french knots and embroider the birdy, I actually can’t believe I managed to make the bird, when I tried the first time it kind of looked like a huge alien vulture, so I ditched the embroidery floss and used normal sewing thread.

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I really love this project and can see myself making another with different coloured houses.

Thanks for stopping by this neighbourhood 🙂

Storage Stool

A few years ago I bought a Storage stool, because it was inexpensive, not because I liked it, which of course is not very clever, because the minute I placed it in my craft room, it´s been an eyesore. I wanted to cover it with fabric but wasn’t quite sure about how to do it, I also didn’t want to make a sewn cover, since I knew it would be a nightmare to fit well. So the only option left to me was using the staple gun, which I might add I have never used before, so this was the ideal project to try it on.

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The fabric I chose was an African wax batik of which I have quite a few meters. I measured the lid from one inside part to the other, cut the fabric and stapled it to the inside of the lid, the corners I folded and tucked in much like binding a quilt. I actually couldn´t believe how good it looked.

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For the box, I measured all around added 6cm and cut, then I wrapped the box in the fabric, folded over on the top and stapled to the inside. The edge of the fabric was folded over and made sure it was nicely stretched.

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And there you have it, I was blown away by how quick and simple it was.

Needless to say, I now have a new best friend…the staple gun 😉

Almost Black on White

As promised in my last post, I  finally hung up my latest quilt. The proof is, of course, the usual bad photos presented here 🙂

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The pattern is Five Smalls Crib Quilt by Kacia Hosmer, I bought it from Modern patchwork. It was just what I was looking for, simple yet striking! I just made mine wider and shortened the length.

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Every quilt I´ve made so far has taught me something, this one taught me that when using just 2 tones, every little mistake is glaringly obvious, there are no patterns or shades of colour to distract the eye, ….nope… every square that is not exactly pieced, jumps up and hits you in the eyeball! But it´s all a learning curve, next time I´ll know to be more precise in my seams and cutting.

I absolutely love it, it´s one of my favorites so far.

Music Rack

So…..Still on the subject of the office/music/ironing room  I have a wooden magazine rack, that I´ve had forever but never painted or used. Now I usually keep my music sheets on top of the piano in a messy pile, but since I´m on a mission to prettify this room, I thought this magazine rack thingy would work great for my music sheets.

I decided to go mustard, so I painted the whole thing in a chalk mustard color from Rust-oleum, however, it came out looking cream-colored, very little mustard there! so I bought another container of mustard from Fleur, and this was the color I was looking for, I distressed the edges so that the bottom lighter color shows through. I bought wooden music notes, and a wooden dowel, painted and distressed them in white and granite, and glued them to the rack, a little light waxing all over and Voila, there it was all done.

No more messy pile of music sheets on top of the piano.

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Well, it´s still a little messy, but now it´s contained to it´s special designated music sheet rack!

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Next, I´ll show you the quilted wall hanging I made for this room, but I still need to hang it up on the wall and then take some of my usual dreadful photos  😀 so watch this space!

Refurbished desk

I´ve been quite busy lately, finishing up a few projects, one of them was refinishing an old desk we have. It´s really a very plain ugly little thing, but because we don´t use it that much, I didn´t want to spend money on buying a new desk. Most of the time we take the PC to the sofa or dining room table and use it there, I don´t know why, maybe we just want to be near everyone else and not alone in what we call the office/music/ironing room, or maybe every-one is scared they´ll be asked to do the ironing  😉

Well, the so-called office/music/ironing room also has the piano in it, which is blackish, so I chose a granite chalk paint from Rust-Oleum for the desk. It took 3 coats on top, a light sanding, waxed the whole thing for durability, bought a new knob for the drawer, and there it was, all done!

Here is a photo of the desk upside down, I forgot to take a foto of it before I began 🙂

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Here it is finished, the bin basket I spray painted with some leftover grey spray paint I had, it was blue before.

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Ok, I admit, I didn´t sand the desk before I began, so now the grain is visible in some places, and it kind of looks like it was painted white before the granite color, and then distressed, But I sure don´t mind the effect, I got the distressed look without having to put in the extra work 😉

Here is a view of the room, it´s still a work in progress, it has the bookcase in wood veneer, but I´ve decided I won´t paint that, I´ll gift it and get a bookcase I saw at IKEA, which I really like.

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I´m, also finishing up a quilted wall hanging, which will hang above the piano, and a small wooden magazine rack to store my music sheets, so stay tuned……

Hope Chest

When I turned 8 years old, my mom gave me a hope chest as a present, and thereafter I was gifted with crochet doilies, bed sheets, bath towels, etc to fill my hope chest. My mother loved my hope chest, I absolutely hated it!, I hated it when I received it at the age of 8 when I was hoping to get a far more interesting gift, and I have hated it ever since, and somehow, this unwanted hope chest has followed me all my life, my mother makes sure of that 🙂

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The last few years it´s been in my sewing room, where I glare at it all the time. So the other day my daughter Andi said to me…. Why don´t you sand and paint it….My first reaction was, no way, there is nothing that can salvage that monstrosity, with it´s horrible lacquered finish, and the very thought of stripping the varnish from the whole thing was just too daunting. However she finally convinced me, and so we decided to strip the top and paint the rest with chalk paint.

I used my husband´s electric sander to strip the top, and even then it wasn´t easy, in the end, he did me the huge favor of doing most of the sanding.

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Then I painted the rest with white chalk paint, I had to apply 3 coats of paint. The hardware, I spray painted in silver and then I applied clear wax to the painted area.

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I applied a coat of mineral oil from Ikea to the sanded top, it´s called Skydd, the minute I applied the oil the top turned a dark brown, which surprised me because I apply this oil to wooden kitchen top counters all the time, and they don´t darken, but anyway I don´t mind this darkish brown, it´s quite nice.

And here is the finished product, so finally, 44 years after receiving it, I can finally say that I actually like my hope chest!

 

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Free Motion Quilting

At the beginning of the year, I chanced upon a Quilt-along by Karen from Redbird Quilts here I´ve been wanting to practice free motion quilting for a long time but didn’t want to mess up any of my pieced quilts. So when I saw this quilt-along using a panel, and such a cute panel it is, from Susybee, I knew this was the perfect opportunity I´d been waiting for.

So off I went looking to buy the Lew the Ewe panel, but as usual here in Portugal where I live, there was nothing, Quilting is not really a thing here. My options were to order online from overseas, but postage costs from the States are crazy, and even from the UK it was just too expensive, I opted to buy the Hildy the Goat panel also from Susybee from Italy, and try to adapt the free motion quilting to this panel.

Well, I must say the whole experience was very interesting, I had never sewn with 12wt Aurifil thread before, which of course, I also had to order from overseas…..Maybe I should just move overseas 😊, hopefully, one day I will find Aurifil thread in this country. Well anyway, I love the look of the 12wt thread, it´s so bold and adds great dimension to the quilt, I used it to highlight the clouds and on the borders, will definitely be using it again in the future.

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Ok so my free motion pebbles are a little rugged and wobbly, and my meandering across the grass is more of a lurching along the grass 😃 still it was rather fun, I also tried the swirls shape in the sashing between the squares. During the swirls, my thread kept breaking in spite of me trying new and different size needles, so I didn´t have the heart to try sewing feathers, because I knew this pleasant experience would turn out to be a frustrating one instead, so on the outside border, I just quilted my usual wavy lines.

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So here is the panel all finished, or as finished as I wanted it to be, you´ll notice I didn’t quilt the sky, in this case, I thought less was more, well that’s what I´m telling myself anyway 😊

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So, what have I taken from this experience? Well, I´m very happy I tried it, and now I know that if I practice some more, I will actually be able to sew great looking pebbles and meander along like a pro. Having said that, I don’t think I have the patience for this type of free motion quilting, it would require too much of my time and I get easily frustrated, and I still don´t understand why my thread kept breaking during the swirls. So I think for now I´ll stick to my straight lines and occasional wavy line quilting.

This gorgeous panel is now meandering off, to hang on my 2-year-old granddaughter’s room, she really likes the goats and bees 🙂