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February 2010
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March 2010

Banners and garlands!


Monday on Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio ... the link is over to the right on my sidebar ... Pat and I were talking about how much I love banners and garlands. And it's true. I do! I think they're fun ... that they offer a fast, creative challenge ... that they fill up an empty space with happiness! They're easy to make and you can use paper or fabric or a combination of both when you're putting them together.

One place that I found inspiration was on Get It Scrapped where I took the Garlands and Banners class a few years ago.  I refer to the lessons when I feel the itch to make one ... a jumping off point.

I've had a blast taking part in the banner swaps over at Primitive & Rustic Crafts. Everyone chooses a letter based on a theme ... in this case it was HARVEST ... and makes one for every member of the swap. And then you mail them off and sit by the mailbox for yours to come so you can tie them all together. I've tried to get a group together at the Cottage but never get enough to play. What's up with that? Looks like I'll have to continue to get my fun online. (Big huge sigh.)

Sometimes I find things that inspire a banner ... like this chipboard album. I'm going to take it apart and do something with it ... then string it back together. Wish I could work on it today!

I'd love to make a banner with these Sizzix die cuts ... they've been calling to me since the day I got them. In fact, I've cut a few out of cardstock and have them laying around for inspiration. I want to make one that says HOORAY! because that's the way I feel every time I make something new! Or finish a project I've been laboring over.

And the tags I made for the retreat ... screaming 'garland'!

Sometimes the banners are very impromptu. I've got rick rack strung on a wall and I clip things to it ... like the dress from my baby doll and flash cards and a pic of my little brother when I forced him to wear a dress one time! I've got all kinds of stuff pinned to that wall ... children's aprons and cards and other little doodads that I find interesting. Happy stuff.

But the one garland that everyone talks about is the one that is strung around one of my doors. I tried to explain it on Pat's show but sometimes words aren't enough. I don't remember where I heard of this but basically, I took charm pack squares ... 5" squares ... and folded them like you would a Prairie Point. Then I cut fabric strips and made binding. The raw edges of the Prairie Points were overlapped and inserted into the fold of the binding and then sewn through all the layers. Left long tails at either end as a way to tie them up if I wanted but I just let them drape over the door frame. Great way to dress up a design wall or get ready for a party.

So am I the only one who loves these? I don't think so. Make a banner or garland when you're at loose ends and need to satisfy that urge to create. Fun times!! 


Cute beyond belief!


Ok fine ... they're kind of cheesy but I don't care ... they make me smile! Love these bunny chrysanthemums at Kowalski's!  And just to balance them out, here are some more pretty pictures.

And one more bunny ... cuz you're not getting off that easy. Lookit those cute little cheeks!


Creative color inspiration!


I had a conversation with a customer the other day ... she said she felt so intimidated by choosing colors for her quilts. So as we were talking, I told her she needed to just take a shopping trip and see what was being offered in the gift and flower shops. This is a good time of year to do that as everything seems to be bright and fresh. With that in mind, I whipped out my camera and snapped some pix at Kowalski's when I stopped in for juice and milk. You know my motto ... there's inspiration everywhere ... just open your eyes and look around! Ready?

I have enamelware jewelry from the 70's in these exact same colors! Ahhh ... the hippie years.

I love how the crispness of the white really charges up the colors!

Calming and relaxing.

I love anything patriotic ... brings to mind picnics and green grass and Summer!

Perfectly color coordinated juice bottles ... someone in marketing did good!

These have sort of an Amy Butlerish look to them.

Fiesta! Salsa! The screen printed veggies look fabulous!

Flowers are always the best for looking for color combo. The garden centers are going to be open soon ... what do you think we'll find this season? More inspiration, maybe?


Potluck Picnic Quilt

Potluck Picnic Quilt
I love my quilt! Here's the flat shot of our quilt for the Twin Cities Shop Hop next month. Cherrywood Fabrics will be in with their hand dyed fabric to sell during the shop hop ... you can make one like mine or with your own combo of colors. This quilt is perfect for tossing on the grass for a picnic ... or laying over a table on your patio ... or hanging on the wall of your family room.

You can see the rest of the shop quilts on the shop hop's Facebook page. Lots of other shop hop info there too. Circle your calendar ... you don't want to miss it!!


Let the singing begin ... we have Garden Song!


Last week, our order of Garden Song books from Art to Heart arrived and following right on it's heels this week was our order of fabric! Love it when everything flows so well. And I'll tell you ... after such a bleak Winter, its nice to have something fresh and pretty to work with.

Thirty-seven pieces ... think that's enough to do anything with? A woman from Canada does! She bought half yards of just about every piece yesterday. Wonder what she's going to make. Deb did a great job of rearranging everything to make the new fabric bolts feel right at home.

Our book is dog eared from going back and forth through all of the projects. We decided to start with the Bloom pillow ... it just screams Spring ... but it was tough narrowing it down. There are table runners in it that would be perfect for an Easter table! Those girls coming for Sweet Pickins' on Wednesday will want to use it for this month's project. And I'm thinking the Spring is Here pattern with it's jumping bunnies would look terrific in the fabric. I love how our velvet rick rack matches the colors ... and so do Terry Atkinson's zippers! Wonder if a tote bag should go on the list. Or some pillows made from the panel? So much to think about.  Man ... hope we don't use it all up before anyone has a chance to see it!!


There's nothing like a weekend retreat!


Still hours of sewing ahead until everyone packs up and heads home on Sunday. But some people will have to put their noses to the grindstone to finish their projects ... especially those who've spent more time shopping and not as much sewing today! But it's all fun, right?

Everyone loved their name tags and I was delighted to hear that they keep them and display them after the retreat! So ... what will I make for November ... it has to be spectacular and easy as there are close to a hundred people coming!

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I love that friends bring gifts to exchange with each other ... like the sundae pincushions that are on the cover of Quilts and More ... or the pincushions on a clamp. Too cute. Well over half the group took part in the Spring container exchange where they brought a fun basket or bucket, picked a name, and then have been dropping in surprises throughout the weekend when no one is looking. Fun fun!

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Of course ... it's all about the projects that everyone is working on ... rainbows of colors ... challenging techniques ... the sense of accomplishment when another is done.

I actually found time to work on my own things! Things are running that smoothly.

I'm working on a new pattern I discovered in California ... Crazy for You ... I've made it out of Moda's Blush fabric ... the patterns arrived right before we left for the retreat. Another thing that finally came is our twelve new colors of rick rack! We're pretty excited about that. But right now it's time to get back to the retreat room and stitch some more. Time goes so fast on the retreat!!


Time to craft!


Don't you just love this alarm clock? I found it at an antique show last weekend and it's perfect for the hideout. I never seem to know when to go home so this ought to do the job to remind me! It's huge. So ... what have I been crafting. Stuff for the retreat, of course!

At the retreat, I like it to be just like Cheers where everybody knows your name. So I make name tags ... but these aren't the kind you slap on your sweater. These can hang off the handle of your sewing machine or attach to a basket. I hope everyone hangs them in their sewing room so they remember the fun they had!

I found gigantic chipboard flowers at Michaels ... you were supposed to make an album out of them but I took off the ring and used them individually.

First, I slapped a layer of ModPodge on one side and laid it on the wrong side of my paper. This was hard because both side were equally cute so I made sure to flip the paper over on some of the flowers. I like to do all of the same step ... it helps me work more efficiently that way ... a hold over from those years of craft shows.

Used my nifty OLFA touch knife to cut around all the shapes ... big hint if you do this ever ... turn the paper and not the cutter ... it goes faster and the cuts are better. I had a rotary mat  underneath so I wouldn't ruin my table.

I'll use any tool if it'll speed up the process. So I turned to my Sizzix Big Shot to cut out a scalloped shape that will make the flower center. Cut tags, too. I used the scraps from the flowers for a coordinated look and so that I wouldn't have to go digging for more paper. One thing I did as I finished each flower was to quick cut the leftover paper into the sizes I needed ... either 4" for 2" ... that way when I went to die cut the shapes, I didn't have to waste time cutting the paper. 

I clean up as I go too because I hate to work in a mess. Any scrap that is too small to be saved goes right in the garbage can I keep next to the table.

So there we go ... moving along on the project. Not sue what I'll do with the outside ring ... it was part of the die cut so since I was using scraps, I just cut them a bit bigger to take advantage of the effort. They're in a baggie eagerly awaiting another day when they'll be put to some good use.

I was tempted to not paint the backs of the flowers ... but deep down I knew that was wrong. So I got out the Buttercream paint and layered it on ... two coats on each flower.  It was worth the effort ... a nice finishing touch.

Now for the personalization ... I used my Slice to cut everyone's initial from black cardstock. We have an unusual amount of Karens, Kathys, Debs and Lindas. Only one Roseann, though!

After I inked all the paper edges with Chestnut Roan chalk ink, I glued the center and the black initials to the flower base. It was fun matching the paper so each flower looked just right!

I wrote everyone's name on a tag and then attached it with skinny rick rack ... making a hanger in the process. So pretty! Each one looked unique. Just like the retreaters!! You should make some for your retreat, too.




Come on! We're not talking about dental floss here ... we're talking embroidery floss! And did you ever see such a mess? Hundreds of skeins jammed into a project bag ... and me only using the dozen or so that were on the top. Well ... things changed this afternoon because I've got a new organizing system for my floss!

Spice racks ... that's my new secret weapon! I've had this idea for sorting and showing off my floss for about a year but haven't found anything suitable ... and affordable. Until last week. I stopped at the Loft Antiques at 50th and Xerxes and as soon as I walked in  spotted a basket of bottles on the floor. Turned out if I wanted them I needed to buy the spice cabinet too. Seeing it was cute with it's stained glass windows ... and the dealer dropped the price another twenty bux ... I decided that my hunt was over and I'd be able to get my floss in order. It held thirty bottles! Surely enough.

When a project is this daunting, you have to just dive in and come up with a plan. First, I separated everything into color groups.

Then I pulled them into smaller groups by light medium and dark so they'd have something in common. I could only fit six or seven skeins in my bottles. Multiples were stored someplace else. Don't ask.

Found some interesting things in that bag ... other colors painstakingly wrapped on those plastic cards years ago ... needles with thread ... yet another pair of airplay safe scissors ... and a couple little bags of beads. What were they doing in there?

Some pretty perle cotton ... clueless where they came from because I don't typically stitch with it.

Color cards ... and a sample pack of Cosmos floss ... wonder where that came from?


And really ... do I need this many skeins of black floss? It's not like it's Halloween or anything!

And then there's the bundle of odds and ends ... pieces that were cut and couldn't bear to be thrown away ... just in case there's a floss shortage. I'm going to take them out to the back yard and string them in the trees. It's almost nesting season and those birdies love having a colorful home to raise their babies. Don't worry ... I'll cut up the really big pieces. 

I want to keep some of the colors I use a lot close by ... I like to roll them on to old clothespins ... found a Longeberger basket that was sitting empty so now they'll have a home ... plus they'll be easy to move with me when I want to take along a stitching project ... like next week when we have the retreat!

So finally ... I'm done. Don't they look adorable? We hung the cabinet on an empty wall in the hideout ... found some things to stash on top or hang off the doors ... my wool swatches look great hanging underneath on an old rack I found one day.  I'm so excited to have the messy project bag empty and now really want to stitch something! What a great feeling.