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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Almost Zig Zag

I FINALLY!!! Finished my almost zig zag lap quilt. I say almost zig zag because you kind of have to look carefully to actually see the pattern. I really just wanted a very simple mixture of a redish and greenish quilt, so I bought charm packs of Kaffe Fassett reds and greens. You might recall this was the quilt in my blog post “Patiently waiting”, well it waits no longer and is done! For the back I used a flowery red fabric I found in a store not so near to me.

Along with the simplicity I wanted it to be soft with lots of loft, so I did minimal quilting, just wavy lines along the seams, I used cream Aurifil thread on top and red on the bobbin, so it’s hardly visible at the back.

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Jack as usual wanted to pose alongside the quilt 🙂 He knows he´s ever so handsome!

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Oscar still wearing his winter coat, come for a quick look and dashed away, he´s very camera-shy.IMG_3451

Here´s a photo of the quilt on my work table to show the zig zag pattern.

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And because I´m vain, I added my label, Hand made by The Monkey Thorn, 🙂 I had these made up and shipped from the Dutch Label Shop.

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Thanks for stopping by, Have a wonderful day!

Baby mat, or dog bed… you choose.

When my youngest Megan, was a baby, she had a fabric play mat that had a tubular round edge all around so that she couldn’t roll out of it, and also when she got older, she could play inside with her toys without them rolling out onto the floor.

So the other day, Andi my eldest daughter was saying how she would like something similar for Isabella, so I decided to make one.

Since this item will always be on the floor, I wanted a darkish fabric, so I chose a robust fabric for the bottom panel, a cotton twill blend in grey, and a 100% cotton for the top and edge, the top fabric has a farm motif.

I must say that one of my friends said the fabric was more suited for a boy than a girl, but really it has pink piggies so that´s good enough for me 😉, ……and I admit she also said it looked like a dog bed(maybe I should get a new friend 🙂 )….  she is quite right though, it does look like a dog bed…… and it would have been less costly to buy a dog bed!!, But I didn’t let that bother me, when baby has outgrown it, I will give it to Jack or Oscar, they both love to tear up dog beds.

Anyway for those of you who might be wanting to make a baby play mat that resembles a dog bed, or make a genuine dog bed, here goes!

For a 0.98cm square mat, you will need;

  • A bottom square of metre fabric, this includes the 1 cm seams on both sides, mine was the grey twill.
  • A top square of 1m fabric, this includes the 1 cm seams on both sides, mine was the cotton farm pattern.
  • A strip of the top fabric of  +- 4.20m x .32cm, the strips will have to be sewn together to get the required length, also I always make the tube bigger than necessary to allow for the corners etc.
  • A square of 1m Polyester blend batting.
  • Enough filling for the round ridge that goes around the mat.

Take the top square fabric right side facing up, and attach the square polyester batting to the bottom by sewing a quick zig zag all around the edges. Trim the excess batting

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Take the strip of fabric and fold in half so that the wrong sides are facing each other and sew together to make a tube, leaving only the top end open. Once its  sewn turn the tube inside out, so the right side is now facing out.

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Next, attach the tube to the top part of the top square fabric, right sides facing, before reaching the end cut the excess fabric, so that it will be flush with the top square. remember you still have one side open to stuff the tube.

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When that is done, attach the bottom fabric to the top part, right side facing  the tube will also be inside. Leave a small gap to turn the whole thing inside out when done.

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Once the mat has been turned inside out through the gap, fill the tube with whichever filling takes your fancy, I used shredded foam because it was the cheapest, and it need loads of filling. handsew the opening of the tube and the gap of the grey fabric on the bottom of the mat, and that’s it, all done.

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Of course you can add all sorts of toys to the mat, I didn´t because I know the utility of this mat will be pretty short, once baby starts exploring a bit further than what siting on her bottom allows her to do. So we just put toys inside which can be taken out and played with anywhere.

Well there you have it people, a baby play mat or a dog bed, both useful and easy to make. 😊

The Simple Things

I love the simple things that life offers, …..A walk in the woods…. Admiring a new flower in the garden…. Feeling the cat brush up against my legs…. A glass of red wine… The look on my girls faces when they laugh…. Hot toast with loads of butter…. A bird sitting on the lemon tree…Just simple things.!

Call me boring, but it´s the simple things that give me joy, and the strength to face each working day.

What a wonderful world it would be if everyone just stopped every once in a while, looked up, looked around, and felt the simple things in life.

Last Sunday, the weather behaved beautifully, it was lovely and warm, and so we did what we usually do every Sunday 🙂 Took the dogs for a walk in the woods.

We have 2 mutts… Oscar and Jack….. both were abandoned by SOB´s, so now they live with us!

Jack is the new boy on the block and absolutely loves to run around in the woods. Oscar not so much he usually just hangs around my feet and that’s why you don´t see him in the photo 🙂

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Aren´t Sunday afternoons just wonderful?