Saturday, September 23, 2017

Painted Jars - Part 2

For my second painted jar I used a one quart mason jar that I brought from home. This time I used a chalk paint that I brushed onto the outside of the jar. I'd never used a chalk paint before. It's quite thick. The brush I used didn't give it nice coverage. I ended up using two coats of paint. Chalk paint dries to a matte finish.


Next I decided on the placement of the ribbon. I started with the wide burlap ribbon with the attached lace down the center. Then I found a red velvet ribbon with gold edges which I glued to either side of the burlap ribbon as well as around the rim of the jar lid.

When that was done, I used a stencil to add the scroll leaf design. I mixed a kelly green paint with some black to achieve the forest green color. I used half the stencil for the left leaf, then turned the stencil upside down and used the other half of the stencil for the right leaf. Again, if I had a more appropriate brush I could have achieved sharper lines.


Finally, I took apart an orange flower and a yellow flower, then restacked five petal sections, gluing them together in the center. This made for a nice full flower embellishment.

When I got home, I filled the jar with some autumn florals. I gave this to Julie as part of her birthday gift the following Sunday.


Painting jars like this without a lot of thinking and planning stretched me. I tend to be much more methodical in the way I go about crafting in my Studio. At the library, I was challenged to think on my feet and just play, seeing what inspiration flowed from what was in front of me. I'm looking forward to more of these library crafting sessions that will continue to pull me out of my comfort zone.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Painted Jars - Part 1

One of the nearby libraries offers an evening adult crafts class. A friend and I decided to go together and give it a try. The craft for September was painted and decorated jars.

We brought some jars and others were provided. They also provided lots of ideas from Pinterest and from library books about how we might choose to decorate. They had paints and ribbons and florals and beads and stencils and other components for embellishment. There was no instruction so much as oodles of ideas. The participants had ideas that fed off one another.


I brought some mason jars with me. In Part 2 I'll show you what I did with mine. I found this small jar with an interesting shape among the jars the library provided. I decided to turn the jar upside down and turn it into a pumpkin!

I used orange spray paint on the outside of the jar. I glued some raffia strips top to bottom to define the pumpkin sections. I cut three leaves down to size and glued them to the center top. Then I took a small piece of burlap ribbon, glued it into a tube shape, then glued it on top of the leaves to create the stem.


I think it turned out so cute!

This Fall I plan to create a pumpkin patch on my living room mantle. This quirky little glass pumpkin will be one of the stars of the patch.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fawkes

Julie's cat is quite a character. He keeps his eye on each of us, then decides who will be the best candidate to give him pets or play with him. But if you go to the bathroom, expect him to accompany you.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What's It All About, Melody?

Melody contemplates life during a diaper change.


Or ... maybe she's simply into discovering her fingers these days. Which is more likely when you're three and a half months old?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Three Weeks Later

I was dealing with some minor mental health issues for the better part of a month. One of the things that usually goes away during these episodes is my ability to concentrate enough to craft or photograph or write blog posts. But the worst of the fluctuation is over, and I hope I'm back to daily posts again.

Sunday was my daughter Julie's birthday. So Dale and Jeanne and I paid a visit to Julie's family. We brought her some gifts. I made her a cake. We gave Jeff some hugs, Julie lots of kisses, and Melody enough cuddles that she was ready for us to leave after a couple hours.

This was one of the more touching moments of the day.


I'm sure I'll be posting more baby photos in the days to come, along with a few crafts that I managed to create.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 16

Some days in the Studio just aren't that interesting. Especially set-up days. That was today.

So I started out the day going for a walk. Around here, the apples are beginning to fall from the trees. I found this one sitting on the fence rail. It could have fallen there, under the tree. Or maybe someone placed it there. But it must have been tasty, because it appears either birds or squirrels had been feasting on it. And recently, because the flesh hadn't turned brown yet.


Honestly, this partially eaten apple is more intriguing than the needlework I did today. Basting the grid for the next cross-stitch piece, Gobble Gobble. We're out of printer ink, so I can't even enlarge and print a working copy of the chart so I can start stitching.      :: sigh ::


Maybe tomorrow I'll start the painting project. Or the floral project. We'll see. Dale and I are on vacation right now, so I may just take a few days off.

My enthusiasm is downright contagious tonight, isn't it?
:: deep sigh ::

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 15

My granddaughter Melody's tag blanket is complete!


I finished stitching the "M" onto the blanket this afternoon. Then this evening, I machine basted each tag onto the blanket 1/4 inch from the edge. I clipped the front and back in place, right sides together. Then sewed around the perimeter at 1/2 inch from the edge, leaving about 4 inches open.


I turned the blanket inside-in through that 4 inch gap. Using a wooden skewer, I pushed the corners into place. Then I clipped the gap closed.


Finally, I top-stitched around the perimeter at 3/8 inch from the edge, closing the 4 inch gap with the top stitching. The top-stitching gives the blanket a nice finished edge. Each tag now has three rows of stitching to keep from getting pulled out by little baby fingers.


Dale and I hope to visit Melody and her parents next week. It will be fun to watch her discover all the textures.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 14

I didn't have a lot of time to play in my Studio today, but I did manage to pin all the tags in place on the top of the blanket.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 13

I made some minor progress on Melody's tag blanket. I'm using two strands of DMC embroidery floss and a blanket stitch to attach the textured felt "M" to the center of the blanket.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 12

A big day for me in my Studio today.

First, I framed my Harvest Basket


and added a label to the back.


Then I cleaned up my studio, putting away the glue gun, beads, and all the fabric, felt, lace, and ribbons that exploded all over the work surfaces when Julie and I pet my stash while picking out supplies for the tag blanket. I also fixed a craft that broke. So my workspace is back to a normal level of clutter while I work on these 31 days.


Then I set up my next cross-stitch project from the 2006 Cross-Stitch Calendar. It's a turkey for November! Adorbs.


Then, just because I can, I edited another photo of my eldest daughter holding my granddaughter.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 11

Today I got all the pieces prepped for Melody's tag blanket. I ended up with 28 four-inch pieces of ribbon, lace and other interesting textures. I cut the textured felt into an "M" which I'll applique' on one side of the fabric. I cut the two fabric squares.

Some assembly required.


Also, here's another photo of Melody, this time with her grandpa. Because ... you know ... baby!

Melody and Grandpa

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 9

Yesterday I returned to the Harvest Basket. The black part of the border is done and I completed the backstitching in the flowers. I'm currently stitching the green bits of the border.

This afternoon I pulled out some seed beads for the sunflower seeds and some small yellow button embellishments. I hope to finish the stitching tonight.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Succulent

Earlier this week I had a ton of tasks to complete, but my body was tired and dragging. So I made myself a bargain that if I could get ten of the 23 tasks done, I could get myself a reward.

With that prize in front of me, I ended up getting my first ten tasks done before noon! I wasn't certain what kind of reward I wanted, but I went to the store and this beautiful green and bright purple succulent called out to me.


This is a beautiful reminder that if I can push through my "gotta do" list, there is a beautiful piece of life on the other side. This lovely little #cornerofmyhome resides on the dining room table.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 8

We had a very pleasant visit with Julie and Melody who drove up today. Grandma and Grandpa got lots of cuddles. Melody is about 11 weeks old now and already growing out of her newborn clothing. She showed her grandparents her neat new trick of rolling from her tummy to her back. She can also hold her head up all by herself.


Julie and I spent a little time in my Studio picking out fabrics and trims for my next project, a tag blanket. Julie introduced the idea to me. It's a small blanket that's about 20 inches square, made of fabrics with various textures. Into the edge I'll sew loops of ribbon, elastic, cord, and lace. The idea is to give a baby lots of stimulation by touching the different textures.

Inspired by Wholefully

This was stash petting heaven for me. After pulling out many fabrics and trims, these are the textures we settled on. Soft knit and fleece fabrics. Textured felt. Satin, organza, velvet, eyelet and grosgrain ribbons in varying widths, eye-catching prints and lots of plain colors. Cotton lace. Fake fur. Textured elastic. Smooth cording. Velcro.


I think this will be a fairly fun and fast project - with some extra Grandma love. Maybe I can even complete it this weekend.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 7

Stitching on the Harvest Basket continues. One more bit of black border to do, then the fussy bits.


If all goes as hoped, Julie and Melody will visit tomorrow. We have a crafty thing we hope to do together that involves soft fabrics, ribbons, textures, and sewing. Could be fun.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 6

Today I started adding the border to my Harvest Basket.


I also read over the instruction sheet again, and saw that it calls for a few embellishments. Some buttons to be scattered outside the basket, and the seeds in the center of the flowers will be seed beads. Time to raid my stash again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 5

I stitched for about two hours this evening, finishing the basket and adding the seeds to the sunflowers. Next comes the border and backstitching. Nice steady progress.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 4

I've got some kind of something going on within my body that just isn't right. I slept for over three hours this afternoon (which anyone in my family will attest is far far out of character). I remained lethargic when I got up.

Another low-key evening was just right for stitching, so I put needle and floss to aida once again and made a little more progress on the Harvest Basket. Here's a scanned image with today's additions.


This doesn't much feel like working through the pile of projects waiting for me in my Studio, but it's 100% more than nothing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 3

The heat finally broke today. We're nearly 15 degrees cooler than we've been for weeks. We got a bit of wind and even a few sprinkles. It's really nice not to be breathing in all that smoke.

Unfortunately, I'm a little off today. Don't really know what the cause is, but don't want to have to figure it out or fight it, either. Instead, I spent several hours stitching. That has a hugely calming effect on me.

Here's today's progress. More flowers. More leaves. No mistakes. That's nice.


The colors have me ready for Fall. The weather is teasing me that Fall is in the air. I say, "Bring it!"

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 2

My energy has been pretty low all day, so I decided to spend my Studio Time doing some quiet stitching. This project is the next design in my 2006 Cross-Stitch calendar, some sunflowers for September.

This is my starting point as of 10am


After two hours, I finished all of the first flower and about 3/4 of the petals on the second flower, along with another leaf. I kept my brain occupied by watching several interviews by Charlie Rose, and an episode of Hercule Poirot. Quite satisfying.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Studio 31 - Day 1

I've decided to give myself another 31 day challenge. The last one I completed was to watch a movie a day for 31 days. I was able to get though a nice chunk of my Netflix queue that way.

This time, I'm giving myself a challenge to spend at least two hours per day in my Studio. I've got quite a long list of PILLs (Projects in Long Lines), just waiting for me to give them some attention. In particular, I have about twelve projects on my cutting table that are getting in the way of me doing any real sewing. So I'm hoping to have most of those done by the end of my month. One of them is my granddaughter's embroidered quilt that I've been working with off and on for months.

I've also got a couple wreath ideas, a painting experiment, an autumn floral pumpkin idea, some mending, some card-making, some beaded ornaments, a Fall cross-stitch, and much more. If I get those done, I'll move further into my stash. Sometimes the amount of things I want to make and the number of techniques I want to try get overwhelming because I already have most of the supplies in my stash. Maybe if I clear this one table in 31 days, I'll develop a regular habit of spending more time in my Studio.

So today, I started by making one of the wreaths. This is an idea I saw on Pinterest. It's a colorful summer wreath made of the little paper umbrellas used in tropical drinks.


Dale was able to find the umbrellas on Amazon. There are more than enough umbrellas for several wreaths.


I bought this 8 inch floral wreath form at Dollar Tree. I used the wreath form as is. I didn't wrap it to camouflage the foam because the umbrellas would cover the entire base.


Each umbrella is kept tidy in the box by a rubber ring. I slipped the ring off, opened the umbrella, and measured it against the wreath form. The smaller gasket on the toothpick holds the umbrella open when slid up under the canopy.


Since the toothpick part of the umbrella was longer than the depth of the wreath form, I used some pliers with a cutting edge to snip off about an inch-and-a-half of the stick.


After that, it was simply a matter of sticking the umbrellas into the foam. I thought I might have to hot glue them in place, but I didn't because the toothpicks stayed put in the foam where I placed them. I started in the center and worked my way to the outer edge. I kept the colors in a loose pattern so that not too many umbrellas of the same color would end up on top of each other.

I made the hanger out of some 30-gauge floral wire and a couple floral pins.


I looped the wire between the two pins, then wrapped the loops for a tidy finish. The pins slipped easily into the back of the wreath.


That's it! I hung the wreath by the front door.


Were I to make this project again, I think I'd use a larger wreath. I think the proportion is off a little bit. This size of umbrella would be better on a ten or twelve inch wreath, I think. And a ten or twelve inch wreath would be a better proportion on the front porch.

I have plenty of umbrellas left, so ...


---

Inspired by Family Chic
They used a grapevine wreath as a base. Ah.






Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tummy Time

Tummy Time is easier to take if you get to suck on Mommy's thumb.


Melody isn't too keen on lying on her tummy. She's learning to push up. She even rolled over a time or two (not in front of Grandma!) when she figured out how to get her left arm in a conducive position. But 10 weeks is pretty darn early to start rolling over.

She sure can scooch around a bit when she gets her little legs pumping, though!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Crafty Reward

Besides lovin' on our new grandbaby every couple weeks, I've been busy with a long-put-off job. Thoroughly cleaning the ten window blinds in our home. These fussy things had to be taken down and sprayed with a vinegar-and-water solution. Then each slat was shot with steam, front and back, and wiped individually.

The blinds near the kitchen had more greasy dirt on them than I care to admit. Those five blinds, three of which are floor to ceiling, took three hours each to clean. Then after cleaning each blind, I washed the windows thoroughly inside and out. Once reinstalled, the blinds got one last wipe down with rubbing alcohol to remove the last bit of grit. It's quite a job in this hot weather with all the intense odors, the steam going off near my face inside, and 95 degree days outside.

I got the blinds done last weekend. Now to wash the rest of the windows in the house. I put this job off for so many years that I figured if I only did two windows per day, I'd actually finish the task because I wouldn't wear myself out too much. I have only seven more windows to do, but three are at second-story height, so I still need to figure out how to attack them.

With that big job nearing completion, I've decided to reward myself by setting up my next craft project.


I found this idea on Pinterest a while ago, but wasn't sure where to get all the supplies. Dale found just what I needed. It's a wreath composed of the little colorful paper umbrellas that decorate tropical drinks.

This should be fun!