Happy 90th Birthday, Bruce.

Today would have been my father-in-law’s ninetieth birthday. In honor of his birthday, I am posting a poem I wrote six years ago.   1988.Bruce

Welcomed home by his Heavenly Father,
Last night he breathed his last breath.
My father-in-law, Bruce,
Now lives eternal, after his death.

He now walks with his Lord,
And plays heavenly pianos.
He may even joke with the angels.
Who knows?

In heaven, a cup of coffee,
May seem a bit trivial;
But his God will probably say,
Why of course, it is possible.

If asked in heaven to do
One thing or another,
He will probably still say
“I need to go ask my mother.”

His wit, charm and humor,
All around him could see,
Was certainly more important
Than a fictitious medical degree.

Nothing gave him more pleasure
Than Faith, Family and Friends;
All still should feel cherished,
His love never ends.

I cannot even begin to express
How truly blessed I have been.
Though I was not born his daughter,
He treated me like one from beginning to end.

He would call me “Doll”.
Yes – I know he probably called you that too;
But that’s just how he was,
His love, to all, through and through.

An example here on earth
Of our loving Heavenly Father to me;
A small glimpse of the Love
I will someday see.

For this truly wonderful man,
Though his life has come to an end;
His eternal reward will surely be great,
God’s love will transcend.

Copper yard art for hidden animal repellent.

img_2345Our neighborhood is called “The Woodlands” and, true to the name, has a lot of trees.  Along with the trees come wildlife – squirrels, rabbits, deer and even a rafter of turkeys.  Over the years, I have learned what plants I can and cannot plant to avoid the damage caused by these animals.

This year, we have several additions to the neighborhood wildlife – triplet fawns and about a dozen baby turkeys.  While these young animals are really cute, they do like to eat plants, even ones that the full grown animals have learned they should stay away from.

Two motion sensing sprinklers have helped to chase the turkeys out of the backyard.  However, the fawns treat the sprinkler as a play toy, each taking turns triggering the spray while the others run and jump in the water.  Luckily I found an ultrasonic repellent that the fawns do not like.  So, in addition to the sprinklers, I have added one of these in my back yard. My backyard plants are now safe and are reviving.

Unfortunately, my front yard has not been so lucky.  The baby turkeys nibble away at any plant they see.  I have tried several different spray animal repellents but without success.  These young turkeys seem to like to eat anything!

While the motion sensing sprinkler did work for the turkeys in the backyard, I did not want to set this up in my front yard because it would spray anyone delivering packages to the house.  I tried the ultrasonic deterrent, but the setting that worked for the turkeys was audible to the human ear and quite annoying.

A few years ago, when I planted apple and pear trees in my back yard, I had read that most animals do not like the smell of Irish Spring soap. At the time, I cut a bar of soap into four pieces, tied the pieces in an old nylon and hung them in the trees to keep deer from damaging the new trees.  This seemed to work well at the time.  My trees are large enough now that I no longer have to worry about the deer eating them.img_2341

 

With the plant damage I was experiencing in my front yard, I decided to try the Irish Spring soap to keep the animals out of my flower beds.  I tied a piece soap in a nylon and hung in in various places in my flower beds.  This really seemed to work.  The young turkeys and deer were no longer eating my flowers and plants.

img_2334Unfortunately, I did not like the way the nylons looked and wanted to find a better way to place the soap pieces.  In my garden shed, I had some old copper pipe.  I just needed to make or find something to add to the end of a pipe that could hold the soap. After much thought, I came up with the idea to add a copper “flower”.

714gHanvLIL._SL1000_I purchased a rain chain made of copper lotus flowers, separated the chain into individual flowers, added a copper cap to the end of a 2 foot piece of pipe and soldered one flower to the cap.  The other end of the pipe was hammered flat, the pipe was pushed into the dirt and a piece of soap (1/8 bar) was added to the center of the flower.

Now I have a decorative way to keep the animals away from my flowers. And, the soap is creating a nice verdigris affect to the  copper.img_2344

 

“Childhood Memories” – finished quilt

 

When designing a quilt, I like to plan the quilting at the same time as the piecing.  This allows me to think about adding something unique to each quilt.  My recent project for the two sided tree quilt was no exception.

The quilting of the tree, leaves and background would be fairly straightforward.  Wanting to add something special to the quilt, I thought about what I could add to the tree.  One idea was to place flowers or shrubs at the base of the tree.  Another was to add some animals.

My final idea, and the one I actually used, came while reviewing some photos from my childhood.  These photos brought back memories of things growing up.  I decided to add theses memories to the quilt.

I needed to invoke the idea of a memory without overwhelming the quilt.  To do that, I planned to used only thread to make the images appear very faint.  After stitching, I realized  that the images were there but extremely hard to see.  Having recently purchase some textile medium (InFusion Textile Medium) that was very lightweight (did not stiffen the fabric) and shiny, I decided to use this to enhance the visual effect of the memories.

I am really happy how they turned out.  If you look closely at the images, you will see a boy leaning against the tree reading a book, a girl on a tree swing, and their faithful dog laying on the ground near them.

Painting

 

Here are the full images of the quilt front and back:

IMG_2708IMG_2710

Hand applique and embroidery

How do you applique a two sided quilt?

You think, think, plan, think some more, plan again and then finally jump in and do it.  That kinda describes the process I went through when contemplating the idea of embroidering an identical tree on both sides of a quilt.

Idea #1

  •  adhere light weight fabric adhesive to the back of two pieces of fabric for the tree trunks
  • draw the tree trunk onto the fabric and cut out two identical trees
  • adhere the tree to one side of the quilt and baste in place
  • adhere the tree on other side and then machine embroidery through all layers of the quilt and tree
  • machine quilt the details onto the tree
  • Concern – machine quilting will cause the quilt to be “flattened” and lining up the edges of the tree on each both sides of the quilt would be difficult

Idea #2

  • baste stitch the outline of the tree onto the quilt
  • cut out fabric to match the tree
  • use needle turn embroidery to stitch the tree onto each side of the quilt
  • machine quilt  the details onto the tree
  • Concern – it might be difficult to control the amount of fabric involved while doing hand embroidery

Idea #3

  • pin large pieces of the tree fabric to both sides of the quilt
  • machine quilt the tree details onto the tree
  • trim the fabric approximately 5/8″ – 3/4″ away from quilting details
  • use needle turn embroidery to stitch the fabric to the quilt
  • This was ultimately the idea I decided to use for the trees, sun and moon

DayNightTree

Daytime detail:

I decided to hand applique leaves onto the daytime side of the quilt.  To do this, I pinned pieces of green fabric onto the quilted tree.  Then I machine quilted the outline and veins of a leaf onto each piece of fabric.  After cutting around each stitched leaf, I used needle turn embroidery to secure the edges of the fabric.

Nighttime detail:

I did not want to use the same technique on the nighttime side of the quilt. So, after completing the daytime side, I used the quilting lines as a guide to paint faint green fabric dye onto the leaves and then hand embroidered outlines around the leaves.

DayNightLeaves

img_1202

Unfortunately while quilting the leaves onto the daytime side, my long arm machine handles fell off the machine while I was working on a leaf.  When this happened, the needle broke and the broken needle tore the fabric through all layers of the quilt.  This picture shows that even on the backside of the quilt, the broken needle tore the fabric. I was really bummed!

To fix the tear, I could applique a leaf onto the daytime side.  But, how do I fix the tear on the nighttime side.  I could applique leaves on this side as well.  However, that was more applique then I really wanted to do.  And, I had really wanted the two sides of the quilt to use different techniques.  This was really frustrating.

Ultimately, I decided to add a bit more detail to the quilt.  By appliqueing an owl on the nighttime side and a cardinal to the daytime side, I was able to repair the quilt and no one can even tell that the quilt was torn.

BirdOwl

A good repair and some nice details for the quilt! I have added more details to the quilt that were really fun to do.  I will post about those soon.

Custom Footrest For My Craft Room

img_2230Lately, I have been doing a lot of hand stitching – applique, embroidery and quilt binding.  When hand stitching, I like to have a place to rest my your feet higher than the floor in order to make myself more comfortable. Unfortunately this was something that I did not have in my new craft room.

img_2253Wanting to add one, I starting looking around the room to see where I could store the footrest when it was not being used.  The size of a place to stash the footrest would be the limiting factor for the size of the footrest itself.  With the room maximized for storage, I was not finding a good spot to keep one.  So, I put off purchasing one.

 

WIN_20180707_18_07_34_Pro

This past week  I have been working on binding a quilt.  As a temporary measure, I pulled out one of my storage boxes from under my long arm table and used that to prop my feet on.  It worked out fairly well, just the right size, but a bit too low. So, to get the height right, I  put a folded flannel quilt on top of it.

Unfortunately the quilt I used was a favorite of my cat, Onyx.  Most times, when I went into my room to sew, she was sleeping on the quilt. So, I needed to figure out a more permanent option.  img_2229

A trip to Hobby Lobby to purchase a few items (2″foam, 5/8 yd print canvas fabric and elastic braid) and I was ready to make a slip cover to place on the storage box.  First, I cut the foam to fit on top of the box lid (10.5″ x 14″).  Then, I cut the fabric to 20.5″ x 24″.  A few box seams in the corners, a hem with the elastic into and I was done.

img_2254Now I have  a colorful and comfortable foot rest. When not in use it fits nicely into the original storage spot without taking up any space in my room.

 

 

img_2256

I even had enough leftover fabric to make a nice throw pillow for my sofa.

Happy Independence Day!

FlagPlate

In honor of our American Independence Day, I am posting a picture of a glass plate that I made which combines two of my favorite crafts, quilting and fused glass.

The design is based upon the Friendship Block.  The pattern is two of these blocks of different sizes superimposed upon one another to make a single block.

Pattern

It is possible that the resulting block design has another name. If so, I am unaware of it.

Supplies:
  • Spectrum Blue and Clear Wispy Coe 96 glass, cut to match pattern
  • Uroboros Clear and White Streaky Coe 96 glass, cut to match pattern
  • Uroboros Clear and Grenadine Coe 96 glass, cut to match pattern
  • Clear Coe 96 glass, 7″ x 7″
  • 7″ plate mold

 

A two sided quilt – sounds easy, right?

You have probably seen adult coloring books in stores over the past few years.  Meant as a way to unwind from daily stress, these books can take an adult back to their childhood days of coloring.

Since my crafts are my way to relax at the end of a day, I have not purchased any of these coloring books.  I have however, looked at the books in stores.  The pictures are complex and do provide great inspiration for quilting patterns and applique designs.

Last summer, I paged through one of these coloring books with trees.  Each design featured a tree with unique patterns.  Some of the designs had animals in the trees – owls, birds and even cats. One day I may make one of these, perhaps a tree with many different owls appliqued on the branches.

Directly next to the display of coloring books, was a different display featuring paper craft ideas. One idea showed strips of wrapping paper cut and glued horizontally in the background, and featured cutouts of black or white paper animals, flowers or trees as the main object.  Sorry, but I did not think to take a picture of the display. But, it was a really nice idea.

This idea stuck with me, and besides thinking about making some greeting cards with the idea, I realized that a quilt could be made with a similar design.  At the time I first saw the display, my paper craft supplies were buried in the back of my craft storage closet, so the cards would need to wait.  But, I did have lots of fabric that I could utilize for a quilt.

So, I set out to work on my new design.  Many of my batik scraps were blue and green, which would work well for the background of a tree.

Sorting through the fabrics, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a the colors to depict a tree during the daytime, the nighttime, or an unsorted scrappy look.  After playing around with a graphic program, I ruled out the scrappy look because it was too chaotic for my liking.  But, I simply just couldn’t decide which of the other two I preferred.  So, I thought I would try something new and make a two sided quilt – one side with bright daytime colors, the other side with darker nighttime colors.  After cutting 2 1/2″ strips, the fabrics were sewn together with some shorter pieces inserted periodically to add some variation to the background.

Since I had decided to try to make the applique exactly reversible, the quilting the front and back together would need to be done next.  When loading the pieced backgrounds onto my long arm machine, I realized that making a completely reversible quilt was going to be rather difficult.

This year, in particular, my ideas for quilts have been easy in the planning stages, but more challenging when actually sewing.  This quilt was no exception.  On paper, it looked straightforward – sew the strips, load it on my quilting frame and quilt away.  Right!  Actually, wrong.  Lining up so many seams on the front and the back of the quilt prior to machine quilting was definitely not easy.  I discovered that even though my piecing was exact, the number and location of the seams impacted the stretch and movement of the two pieces of fabric.  I ended up having to pin along each seam of the layers to try to get my quilting to look right on both the front and the back of the quilt. IMG_1042

Backgrounds

Once the backgrounds was quilted, I decided to get my least favorite part of any quilt (the binding) done before I  would start work on the appliqued tree.  More on that in my next posting.

Since moving into my newer sewing room, my paper craft supplies are now accessible, so cards can once again be made.  That project will be included in a future post as well.