This year I will be participating in a Flickr Group called Row 10. It is comprised of 10 extremely talented quilters who agreed to make a quilt row for each other, each month. This month is Sarah's turn and she requested we use a Christmas theme and red, green and pink for the color scheme. (read her Blog)
I started my blocks on Monday, bright and early.
Mr Gnome Claus is paper pieced from a quick design I drafted. I later gave him a small smile. I realized after I finished him that he was 11" tall instead of the 10" and got an OK from Sarah since some folks rows will be shorter. The requested dimensions are between 6.5 and 10" tall and 60" wide. Once the rows are all sewn together they will make a wonderfully bright and happy Christmas quilt top.
Mrs Gnome Claus was my second block and she is so cute I could just barf! Yes, it's a little known fact that too much sweetness can make you physically ill, and while this may be great for a weight reducing program, it does nothing but harm to your tooth enamel. Trust me, view the rest of this post with extreme caution, and should you find yourself becoming nauseous from too much cuteness, please exit and don't blame me- you were warned!
It can't be a Christmas quilt without an elf making magic so I drew up a pattern for him and paper pieced it. He's a little self conscious about the size of his ears, so please don't stare! But cute, right?
The Love Shack block isn't my favorite and I think it lacks contrast and one of the roof bits should have been a different fabric and I think I am going to redo it. Of course, it's cute, and even with the red heart smoke clouds I'm going to applique coming out of the chimney it still isn't quite right. I think I am editing it out- I already sewed the blocks together of course, so I will have to take them apart. Just an average day in the calamity sewing room for me. Where's the seam ripper?
How cute is this deer? Feeling sick yet? A little rumble in your guts? Maybe I should advise shots of pepto bismol before viewing my blog? use only as directed... sorry the photo went in like that- anyway-
This paper pattern was a bit more complex and I used a tea dyed fabric for the deer. The features on all of these blocks was added with one strand of small perle cotton embroidery. The nose was appliqued with black kona cotton.
Here is the tree block. It's very simple and yet really nice looking in real life (that sounds like a description of a blind date, right?) Oh, you'll like this tree- it's well educated with a great sense of humor!
Here's the whole row so far. It measures 56" wide. It's supposed to be 60". So I can either add two inch strips to both ends, applique the red hearts on the house block and call it done or I can cut them apart and make a new house block with better contrast and less pink and do the snowman block I planned.
I need to get this done this week because next week I will be at a Spinning Retreat and time is running out! Next month is my month and I am so excited about having a quilt top made by some of the best quilter's I know. I think it's fun to see what people come up with when given the same parameters. It's sort of like a science project except with quilting. My favorite! So, I will be updating this as I go along all year and if you want to check out the Group you can see the gallery of photos here.
It's nice to be back in the sewing room, and I apologize if you call and I don't answer the phone, it means I'm working and I will call ya back! I have spent so much time knitting lately that I just haven't been sewing as much as I used to. It feels good to be doing something that I enjoy and have a measure of confidence in. Knitting and spinning has been such a large lesson in patience and learning a new skill is never really comfortable- but it certainly has been rewarding. I just don't have enough hours in my days!
More cuteness, right? They still need noses and mouths and possibly some scarves. I have loads of chenille bedspreads and I want to start using them up- that's one of my goals for this year is to use up all the chenille and then have the closet space back! In the Intertwined book it has info on how to spin with chenille so I may try that soon as well. In the mean time I will be at Picasso Moon for some knitting and bitching today! (I heard she got in some Noro yarn!!!) Yahoo, finally feeling good enough to go out amongst the living!
When I was a little girl I can remember having bronchitis every winter and my parents would let me have books in my bed. I would slowly read each page, trying not to fall asleep. Happy and miserable at the same time. The year that they put the tiny black & white portable TV set in my room, I knew I must be dying.
That's how I felt last week as I sat in front of my computer, dressed in gown, robe and slippers all day, sipping tea and taking slugs of Dayquil. I discovered my new favorite website/blog. It's full of wonderful and delightful content. The Rag and Bone Bindery Boutique and Blog just blew me away and as I coughed and wheezed and sneezed and fought going back to bed, I read through the book categories on the Blog and fell in love with some new artists and their work. It seemed too good to be true, but as I revisited it all week, I became confident that it wasn't just a figment of my medicated imagination, but a really wonderful new resource for work I had not seen.
Tamar Stone writes books with fabric and embroidery. Corsets become the paper as she writes with needle and thread.
the untitled pink corset book 2000 photo by Tamar Stone used with permission
I find her work to be unique and interesting. Like coming upon an old vintage trunk abandoned in the woods, opening the lid and gently lifting out corsets that tell a story full of mystery and sadness.
What to wear Vol 12004-2005 photo by Tamar Stone used with permission
I love books. I especially love imaginative and unique books that make me think about what a book is. Tamar's work does just that. It challenges me to go one step beyond my preconceived notions of words on paper and move out into the realm of imagination where anything is possible. I love her message and wish I could see these corset books on exhibit. Maybe someday. Hey, Ringling, can you call Tamar?
Please visit her website and view her collection of Corset, Bed and Paper Books.
Taking to Bed 2007 photo by Tamar Stone used with permission
I also found her mentioned on the Mr X Stitch Blog. Mr X is quite a wonderful embroidery Blog and if you haven't visited his site (Jamie) be aware that it isn't your grannies embroidery, but some contemporary (and sometimes contemptuous) embroidery as social commentary, as an art form, as a form of fabric graffiti, as a rebellion, as a tattoo on the fabric of social awareness...well you get the idea. It's radical embroidery, man! Totally awesome in it's extreme manly maleness. Who let the boys into the stitching room? Ha, ya gotta love the smell of testosterone in the morning. Anyway, they are together at a show across the pond titled Beware of Embroidery and oh, how I wish I could go.
When I wrote Tamar for permission to post her work and photographs on my blog she shared something else that I just have to show you. Her husband, Bob Eckstein, wrote a book about The History of the Snowman. Check it out here at You Tube and Buy one at Amazon. I love snowmen and am sad that I have to go make mine in the sand at the beach. There's something about their fleeting lifespan- here one day, gone the next, that makes me want to say a prayer for more cold weather so they can live another day. Maybe I can do a series of embroidered books on snowmen I have adored and tie all of these themes together in a neat little bundle of blog love.
Maybe I'll just curl back under the quilts and dream of gossamer threads and linen stretch tight, waiting to receive the needle threaded with silky strands of colorful threads... Thank you Rag & Bone, Tamar, Jamie and Bob for sharing your stuff and making my world a better place.
I finally glued the Kusudama flowers together into the ornament ball for my friend Cheryl. It turned out lovely, although imperfect. Just like me! And just like her! Lovely, whimsical, quirky and imperfect! She will think of me each time she sees it, just as I thought of her with each fold of the paper. Her friendship means the world to me and that is represented by the use of vintage map paper. I believe that it is important to not only tell the people you love how much you love them but show them by your actions. Make the drive. Place the call. Write the email. Make them something that reveals your heart and puts the feelings into solid substance that conveys your adoration. Your life would not be the same without them in it. The big empty hole would fill with tears of sorrow and sadness. There would not be enough cupcakes and teddy bears to fill that place and so before that happens act with loving abandon.
All we need is love. feeling better, thank you for your kind wishes and bottles of whiskey, xo, calamity kim
After a week of coughing and tossing and turning I finally slept fairly well last night. This morning we got up at 6, as usual, and still coughing, aching, tired, no energy, so I took some medicine and sat at the computer, drinking coffee and checking out spinning websites until I had to go lay back down. This is a "just miserable, hope I don't die but I sure do feel like it would be better than this" type of virus and there's nothing to be done for it except see it through. rest liquids chicken soup Thank you for the cheery comments on the last post- they warmed the chambers of my poor tired heart. I'll be back when I'm feeling better. xo, calamity kim
When I first began this blog I tried to post everyday.
I hoped that someone was out there reading it, but I really wanted to have a place where I could share my ideas, hopes, daydreams and inspire creativity. I have learned so much in the last three years about the internet, websites and blogging and have slowed my writing down to the point where I only share what I feel is absolutely essential. You see, as I blogged I made friends in the real world and soon my empty calender filled and spilled with lunch dates and crafty get togethers! It seems amazing to me now, how many friends I have, but I used to spend so much time alone, and while that did give me the time to be creative (some would say prolific) I felt as if the only people who understood me were the people that I interacted with online.(Now, my close friends who read this know that I know that they know me. ;) Just a shot of NyQuil and I'm writing like a Nobel Prize winner! Just keep reading, it'll get better).
It's so easy to do a search and find the things you love. It's not as easy in real life when you have to physically go to where the people are and run the risk of being laughed at for your mismatched socks and crazy apron get ups that seem normal and whimsical online. I used to have Blog Fever and I read them non stop. I couldn't help myself. The lure of stunning visuals and intriguing imaginative creations was a pull I couldn't resist. Chocolate and sex paled in comparison! I had to lurk and comment and link and post! It was obsessive.
It has taken me years to "get a life" but it will never be the same as escaping into Blogville with my trusty needle and thread and digital camera. Our lives have changed so much in recent years, the technology that has become commonplace was unthinkable 20 years ago. As we watched the Simpsons 20th Anniversary special last night I realized that I was the age that my son is now when it came out. I remember when it was on the Tracey Ullman show and how the shaky animation was so endearing. Homer has changed a tiny bit, but really he is still an oaf. A donut loving oaf who loves his wife and family even if he can't say or do the right thing all the time.
Kinda like me, I guess. I don't always do what I say, no matter how good my intentions are, I get overwhelmed and stall out when ideas don't work as I envisioned. I guess I am trying to say that I am still working on the 12 days of christmas and while the world has moved on I am still stuck in Christmas Town. I finished the 10th day but it didn't make it out of Flickr. I have 11 & 12 drawn out and have started working on them. Then the husband got sick and now I have it too. Coughing, aching, sneezing, wheezing, can't sleep because he is coughing. yuck. I tried to put a pillow over his head to muffle the noise but that really didn't help. teehee, cough, cough.
Anyway, he is better and now I am dragging. I will finish when I finish.
When I filled the squirrel feeder this morning there was frozen water in the plant saucers on the table out back! I wanted to take a picture but it was so cold I had to get back inside. I know that most of you laugh at that but for us on the Gulf Coast of Florida- there is never any ice in the winter! We are usually at the beach getting tan this time of year. Strange. anyway, where was I?
I'm getting to the above mentioned Patience part. Thank you for yours.
ahh, the wonders of cold medicine.
I was wandering, stumbling, through the internet fog this morning and I saw this wonderful handmade book by Randi Parkhurst, paper artist and bookmaker demonstrates her book creation, “PATIENCE”. Original music provided by Laura Inserra. I just had to share it here with you. It made me feel joy. I hope it brings you some as well.
Wool felt in black, light brown, cream or white, pink, red and green
Perle cotton in black, gold, red, pink, white, green
tiny bit of stuffing
This is pretty easy- cut out all pieces and as with all felt projects- I cut out the first piece and then lay it on the next piece of felt and use it to cut out the second piece. The edges of the felt should always be the same exact size so trim any pieces before sewing.
Sew the bat together using black perle cotton and blanket stitch all the way around. Before closing up completely use a dowel or hemostat to push small pieces of stuffing in each wing and body. I stitched gold eyes on but didn't mark the pattern with them- just eyeball it (teehee).
Cupcake- sew side of cupcake short ends together.
Take a running stitch around edge of cupcake top to gather into a circle.
Place top on to one end of cupcake side and start stitching around the edge as you pull top tight so that it fits snuggly against the sides.
The edge of top will be covered by cupcake cup (pink) so just stitch around and pull and don't worry about it being seen.
Stuff the cupcake from opening in bottom and push tight to make it all look round. Place bottom of cupcake over opening and stitch around with the brown perle cotton.
Take a running stitch with pink perle cotton around edge of pink circle to make cupcake cup.
Set the bottom of cupcake inside cup and use the pink thread to gather and tighten the cup around the cupcake. Sew all around and make even gathers so it looks like a cupcake liner.
Strawberry- fold red strawberry piece in half and neatly sew along side from top to bottom point. At bottom, push needle inside the strawberry and come out at top rim. Stuff firmly with stuffing material and close using a gathering stitch along top edge of strawberry. Secure with a knot buried inside.
Place green cap over top edge of strawberry and sew with one small stitch on each petal with green perle cotton.
Use black perle cotton to make small seed stitches all around the berry.
Whip Cream- Cut out and start sewing each petal to the next petal after coming up through the bottom center of the "flower" shape. Each petal is sewn to its neighbor by running a stitch through each petal and then when you get to the last on go down through it and secure at bottom side of base. Try it a few times before you email me in frustration- or check the internet for tut's on whip cream- it's not that hard.
Sew whip cream to top of cupcake and then attach strawberry by sewing it to both of them. Attach the bat to the cupcake with perle cotton and string some beads on there - I used tiny pearls but that's only cause I couldn't find my tiny black beads.
I also sewed a short beaded string into the top of bat to hang from tree.
This one is very simple- I print the pattern on cardstock paper and then trace around it with dissolving pencil. I used a light ecru colored fabric that had a faint pattern of lace. I think it was a fat quarter from JoAnn's but you could use any light muslin.
I used red perle cotton in the smallest size to embroider in a running stitch. Then place another piece of the same fabric on the back with right sides together and sew around with machine.
Leave a 2" opening at back of sloth to turn inside out after trimming close to the seam and cutting slits on rounded edges.
I use pinking shears and then turn and push seams out (carefully) with a small dowel or pencil eraser end.
Stuff gently with polyfiber or cotton or wool- whatever you have available. Sew opening closed with matching thread and use red perle cotton to make hanger in back of head by stitching and tying a knot in thread.
Sloths are very strange and exotic creatures and I can't imagine living where they would inhabit the trees in my yard.
I have seen them at zoos, of course and have always thought they were cute and scary at the same time, like koala bears, I can just imagine them smiling at me as they ripped my arm off and beat me to death with it! I can't help but love them, anyway.
teehee...sorry, that would indeed be a calamity...we'd never get finished with this 12 days...can you imagine the headlines? Local crafter killed by crazed sloth!
P.G. Wodehouse-- "She's one of those soppy girls, riddled from head to foot with whimsy. She holds the view that the stars are God's daisy chain, that rabbits are gnomes in attendance on the Fairy Queen, and that every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born, which, as we know, is not the case. "
My true love gave to me: Seven Hedgehogs Knitting!
Well, little Calamities, I seem to have lived up to my reputation for being over ambitious! I started the little hedgehog thinking he would be 3 dimensional and created the pattern and then the pattern turned out to be not so cute.
Then I felt too tired to start another and gave up for a day and then had some stuff to do with real people out in the world, so my project faltered until last night.
I put in the Firefly DVD and started re-watching the series and made the embroidery of the knitting hedgehog in the first photo. I knitted the green yarn on little tiny wooden pins made to use while sewing sweaters sleeves together. I am not sure I can explain it. I am really not sure anyone wants to make this anyway.
So, today I began cleaning up the sewing room. Finding things buried under piles of wool and fabric is like a treasure hunt. Forgotten projects that I need to finish are back on the cutting table and hopefully will be finished soon.
The first week of January and I am already behind!
That's part of my calamity- I have no sense of time and work best when the mood strikes me. Sorry little hedgehog, so ugly and uncute, I tried...
I'm on to the 8th day.
I know you are laughing to yourselves...she's such a calamity! Why would I ever imagine that I could crank out a pattern a day is beyond me...
I will not be stopped, no matter what day or how behind I am!
I had a "My Favorite Movie Marathon" yesterday as I was hand stitching him and his guitar. I watched Nightmare Before Christmas and then Big Fish. Did I tell you about seeing the trailer for Alice in Wonderland in 3D when we went to see Avatar? It looked magical and I think it will indeed be wonderful! Anyway, this one takes a little more work, but it's worth it.
wool felt in brown, tan, black, cream, red and aqua
perle cotton in red, black, brown
fiberfill or wool stuffing
small gauge wire
Use the pattern to cut out your pieces (duh!) and make sure you lay the lower section on top of the upper body section and trim if necessary to make matching pieces.
Begin by machine stitching the lower body parts together down the center.
Pin in place under upper body and begin hand sewing together using the blanket stitch. I begin at the center chest area and work my way down one leg and then when I get to the rump I turn and go back down the other leg.
Once you get the legs and belly section sewn together stop and move up to the head.
Stitch gusset to head beginning at center nose using small (if not tiny, impossible to see) blanket stitches. Once you complete one side of head turn and go back the other way and stitch the other side of head.
I use a chop stick to help insert stuffing into feet areas then cut short length of wire and bend at center and place inside front and back legs. This will help your deer stand up or be posed. wrap a small piece of floral or masking tape around wires at upper area (back) for more stability. Continue sewing up back and stuffing as you go to create a nice little standing deer.
I didn't do a pattern piece for tail but it would look just like an ear, only smaller and would fit on back side of tail that is part of deer body. once you get rump area sewn up to tail, insert the tail piece (cut from cream color) into that triangle area and stitch.
Create ears by stitching each side together and then fold in center and stitch across bottom.
Slash small opening on head (at mark on pattern) to insert ears into. Stitch to opening flaps on front and back section securing with knot after each ear.
Finish stuffing and sewing up deer and then glue eyes, eye orbits, spots on back.
Sew front panel of guitar onto front of guitar body using small running stitches.
For the guitar you will need to cut an additional piece (for the sides) that is as long as the guitar body and measures 1/4" wide. Trim the ends down to a thin angle evenly on each side. I started at the bottom of the guitar and started stitching with blanket stitch around side piece and then back down adding the back side of the guitar to the front side. This is delicate work and you should use tiny stitches with the smallest perle cotton available (or two strands of embroidery thread).
Continue stitching around guitar until almost closed. Stuff with chop stick. Add "strings" to guitar before closing by using long stitches of perle cotton from below hole on guitar to top of fret. Finish stuffing and closing up side seams.
Cut a guitar strap about 6" from felt and stitch one end to guitar side body. After placing strap over deers neck check and possibly trim length before finally sewing strap end to end of guitar. The weight of the guitar should rest on the table- otherwise it will pull deer forward and down.
This little guy can stay out all year as far as I am concerned! (I did use a vintage pattern, modified in size to help me make this pattern- I love those little old fashioned deer! The guitar is my own calamity and I beg forgiveness from those of you who know what a real one looks like!) Oh, and I did add pink circle cheeks- Fred said it looked cute!