Fun Stuff

Hello Creative friends!

lately I´ve been making fun stuff, yep, no stressing about making life like fabric portraits or being acclaimed as the number 1 fabric artist in the world, Nope! it´s been all about being cool, trying new stuff, spending more money on craft stuff, buying stuff I already had, but forgotten I had, you know, just cruising along 🙂

So here is one of my fun projects. The pattern Here is from Pam Holland, who in my book is a world acclaimed fabric artist, she is truly brilliant. I had great fun drawing and colouring fabric, and the colours are so vibrant, it really is such a fun and gorgeous project.

My other project is a coloured and thread painted fabric Panel. Now that winter has arrived, we light a fire in the fireplace every night, it´s set up to heat the radiators in the house, the problem with this, is that sometimes before it gets going it can smoke a bit, and I didn’t want my precious Rhino quilt Here to get grey and grubby from the smoke, and I wouldn’t be able to wash it. So I decided to cover it with a panel, that took minimal effort and after winter I can take it off and wash it, and my rhino will reappear fresh as a daisy in the springtime again.

I have meters of this panel batik, so I cut some of it, and had some fun with it.

So now in the evenings I don´t see my Rhino, but I do get to look up at my fun panel.

And to top it all, my aunt who is a retired seamstress gave me her treadle sewing machine. Well my mom asked her if she would sell it, because she wanted to give it to me as a present, but my aunt offered it, so mom took it to a sewing machine professional who tuned it up etc. I am so happy with it, it sews like a dream. It´s a Portuguese model called Oliva, from the 1940s, they don´t make them anymore.

It still has the original manual, isn´t that great!

This machine is just brilliant and I am having loads of fun with it.

Thanks for popping by, have Fun.

Isabella´s Portrait

I have delved into the scary world of fabric face portraiture, and I found it really daunting 😲 The best part of course was all the planning in my head, and buying the fabric, after that it was all about feeling lost and frustrated, why do I do this to myself!! And then of course because I work full time and then it´s cooking dinner, keeping house and all the boring stuff we have to do, I only get to work on my projects on weekends and even then, not all weekends and only a few hours at a time. So, the projects tend to drag on and on to the point where I get fed up with looking at the same project for ever, and then declare it finished, even if it needs more tweaking. That’s kind of what happened here, but also because I was scared that if I carried on, I would mess it all up.

I read up on some of the techniques used, which consists mainly of making a pattern for each piece of fabric and using fusible, but I don´t like to use fusible on art quilts and I´m not much of a pattern maker, I prefer to just glue the pieces down with craft glue, so that I can change my mind at any time, spray some water on it and peel it off. So basically I´m just winging it as I go along I never do any real prep work, just sort of dive in and start doing.

Anyway, here is the outcome of my first attempt at making people. My model of course is my gorgeous granddaughter Isabella, I have certainly not done her justice but she loves the portrait anyway, tells everyone that it´s her 😀

I won´t bore you with details of how I made it, there are plenty of sites and videos of people far better equipped than I who explain how to go about making a portrait quilt, I´ll just leave you with a few photos of mine.

It´s also thanks to my daughter Andi who pointed out that the features needed more definition, that I allowed myself to lose some of the fear and go bolder.

I must also add that I posted a photo on an art quilt page on FB and a lady commented on all the things I should do to make it better, I must say that although I really appreciated all the constructive criticism, I didn´t do any of it 😀 Once I consider something finished, it´s finished. I will try to do better on the next one, and yes, even though this is hard, I´m making another one very soon, so stay tuned 🙂

And to end today´s blog here is a far better image of Isabella.

Bedside Tables

Hello creative friends!

Today´s blog is about refurbishing furniture. I´ve been on the lookout for 2 new bedside tables for ages, the ones I had, actually belong to my daughter Megan´s bedroom furniture. So I had to buy 2 new ones for my bedroom. This plan however has been on the to do list for years, simply because bedside tables cost an absolute fortune. So I pretty much knew I would eventually have to refurbish old used ones, but even those are expensive.

The other day I got lucky, or maybe not…! I found 2 old solid mahogany bedside tables 25€ each on the FB market place, (flip flops not included 🙂 ) as an added bonus the seller lived really close by, so that cinched the deal.

I was however, unprepared for how musty they smelt, oh…. My…. Goodness… They really smelt bad, so I washed them and sprayed them with vinegar for 2 weeks, but still the smell persisted, so I knew I would have to paint every nook and cranny of these tables. I painted all of the inside with some left over grey chalk paint, just to seal in the odor. The drawers I spray painted in light grey enamel, which worked out really well.

I sanded the top of the tables, and painted the rest with Antique White Rust-oleum chalk paint. I sanded the whole lot lightly with 220 grit sandpaper, sanding harder on the edges for a distressed look and bought new knobs from the local store. After wiping them with a soft cloth, I sealed the whole lot including the sanded top with Rust-oleum clear wax.

And there you have it, a lot of work, but totally worth it, because I´m pretty happy with them 😊

Thanks for popping over, have a great day.

Rhino Fabric Collage

My Rhino Project is done. Took me an age to do, and it´s mainly due to being on partial lay-off, due to the Covid pandemic that it is actually finished. It´s quite large measuring 116cm x 98cm, and I am sooo in love with it

I have an enormous love of all wildlife.  Having been born and bred in Africa my heart literally sings when I´m in the African bush, which unfortunately is a very rare occurrence since moving to Portugal. Actually the last time I was in the Kruger Park, was in 2013, goodness, I can’t believe it´s been 7 years already, but it´s so costly to visit my birthplace and then when I come back to my “home” in Portugal I feel homesick for ages! Oh my, just writing this has made me feel a little sad, 7 years, wow… Anyway, I chose to make the Rhino because they are literally being slaughtered for their horns and soon there won´t be any left. It´s  sad that humans are so incredibly ignorant.

I have dozens of Rhino photos taken by me at the Kruger Park, I chose this one because he was really enjoying himself at the water hole, it was late afternoon, and all around us their was such serenity, all we could hear was the occasional sloshing of the water as he moved around, the cicadas, and now and then the far off cry of a fish eagle. 

When I  made my Jack portrait Here I already knew that I wanted to do a Rhino art quilt. Jack was my stepping stone. I knew I wanted the Rhino to be big and I wanted it colorful, and I wanted the background to be similar to it´s natural habitat, and so that’s what I´ve tried to do here.

I ordered some Kaffe fassett fat quarters from overseas, unfortunately I can´t find Kaffe Fassett anywhere in Portugal. The background fabrics I ordered from Spoonflower, and the rest I sourced from the local stores and from my home stash. I started it in early March so it took me 4 months to do.

Here are some close ups of the rhino and the birdie on top.

I mounted the quilt myself on canvas, and it´s new home is in my lounge. I´m a little worried about how it will stand up to dust etc. but mounting it in glass would have been a huge expense, I also like the look of natural mounted textile, so that the thread work and fabrics are clearly visible and touchable.

The other day my daughter Andi, jokingly said that it looks like he´s wearing a mask, so I suppose he´s very 2020 appropriate 🙂 I love looking at him in the evenings, when I´m relaxing in the lounge.

Looking at the quilt every day up on the wall, I can see so many things I  could have done differently and better, but I try not to dwell on these thoughts. I know that if I had worked on it for a year, I would still be finding fault with something or other, so I´ll just enjoy my Rhino as he is.

This and That

During this lockdown period, I´ve been quite busy making a fabric Rhino collage, but I also took a few breaks from this very ongoing project and made a table runner and 4 blocks that will eventually be a small wall hanging.

The table runner is made up of 4 flower blocks, the pattern is from Julie Cefalu at The Crafty Quilter, Here who very graciously shared it as a free pattern. I think it´s ever so cute and now sits on my center table.

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The 4 blocks are from Jacquelynne Steves´ happy little things BOM from last year, Here I made the blocks smaller though and fussy cut the centers. I still want to add sashing before I quilt and bind. Looking forward to having this tiny quilt hanging on my wall.

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Oooh and I almost forgot that as a fun project I decorated a roof tile, painted, added Windows, door, flower pots, dog and cat, and of course roof tiles 🙂

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This was so fun, now it hangs outside my front door.

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Well, I´m off to work on my mammoth Rhino collage, thanks for popping by, have a great day!

Pinwheel block Quilt

I had so much of the jelly roll fabric that I used for the Happy Jelly roll Quilt , that I made a lap quilt for myself, this time however I made it using pinwheel blocks. That´s the wonderful thing about HST, they are so versatile and can make so many different types of blocks.

This one came together quite quickly, and I only wavy quilted along the horizontal, vertical and diagonals lines of the blocks.

During this very professional photo shoot 😉 Ollie insisted on photo bombing each photo, good thing too, as it adds some interest to the photo.

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And of course, Oscar, as usual, got a bit jealous and also rushed to be in one of the photos.

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Now my new quilt hangs on the quilt ladder in the lounge.

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Flower oil paintings

A while back, it´s actually been over 6 months! goodness I meant to write this post ages ago, ……anyway, I decided to give oil painting a try, a bit crazy I know, completely out of my comfort zone, but there you have it, I gave it a try.

Of course, I also went a bit crazy and used a rather large canvas, so it took a while to finish. This is all done with a palette knife, no brushes.

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I must admit I´m not overly fond of it, although my husband really likes it, so I gave it to him 🙂  I decided to make a much smaller painting of a sunflower, and this one I really like.20200413_141922_3

 

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It´s a bright sunshiny painting and always makes me happy when I look at it, I just love the sun and sunny days. Here at home the sun has just peeped out from behind the clouds, so I´m off to the garden to soak it up, before it disappears again.

Are you a sun lover?

 

Oscar´s Portrait

This is going to be a pretty quick post because I´m not happy with the outcome of my Oscar Portrait, but I have to post about it anyway, because this blog  is essentially my journal, and also I´m tired of thinking about this horrible Covid-19 pandemic! I started it before the Jack portrait but I put it aside to make Jack Here which I thought would be much harder, but it actually wasn’t.

I really battled with Oscar, I chose a horrible photo, which really doesn’t do him any justice at all, and it all just went downhill from there. So now Oscar´s face kind of looks like a koala and the fur is so….boring.

Oscar has 2 coats, one for summer and one for winter, here he´s wearing his summer coat.

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And here he´s wearing his winter coat 😊

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Well, the most important lesson I took from making this portrait was   – Make sure you love the photo that you will be working from and that it truly inspires you. I am currently choosing a photo for my next subject, and this time I’m really thinking about it and taking my time.

Even though I´m not overly pleased with the result I still hang them up on our home office wall, nobody really goes there, except me 🙂

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Thanks for the on-line visit, Stay Home, Stay Safe!

 

Handbag

One of my recent finishes is this handbag, I bought the pattern from SOTAK Handmade, its called the Finley Tote. The fabric I bought from Ikea

Must say I was quite daunted by installing the 3 zippers, especially as zippers here in Portugal are in centimeters in increments of 5cm, so I had to adapt them to fit. Amazingly enough, it all came together quite well and looks very professionally done, actually quite a few people found it hard to believe that it was handmade, so Yea me 🙂

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It´s a really nice size too, not too big or too small, it´s about 32 x 34 cm.

So this is my go-to handbag at the moment 🙂

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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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