Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bend The Rules Sewing - A Project From a New Book

Hello to all you people in cyberspace! I am glad today is over (we were SUPER busy) and although I have to get up tomorrow at 4 I couldn't wait to share this book I found at the library with you.
Just before I left home I took a trip to the library (this was Sunday I think) to grab a few reads for camp. Well out of nowhere I picked up this fun book and I am so glad I did because it has some really neat projects in it. Some of you may have heard about a blog called Angry Chicken. The book is by the author of that blog and in it she shows you some really cute projects. I really want to make this cute elf hat they show but don't have a baby I can give it to yet. No nieces and nephews.......

The book is called Bend The Rules Sewing and while I found the first part a bit boring (it details basic sewing steps/terms etc. which would probably be useful for the beginner) the projects are all really cute and fun.

I decided to whip up one of these cute and easy clutch bags that they had on the front cover. It is basically a lined "sack" with a button and elastic closure. Super fun!

Here are a couple of close up shots so you can see the colours. I like how the lining fabric is still visible even when the clutch is closed.

I have already put this to good use and brought along some sewing needles and thread so I can finish a few more little doodads while I am out here at camp. This could be a cute purse but I like it as a kind of organizer/carryall for my small craft supplies while I am on the go.

I haven't heard much from you guys in the past little while, hope you are keeping well. I have been over on Cut Out+Keep a lot lately myself. It is a really fun community and I am loving getting to know other crafters from around the world. Creative people are the best kind of people to hang out with!
It is also nice for me since I have had a bit of a rough time assimilating in Grande Prairie what with being away at work 6 months out of the year. I can bring all of you Internet friends with me to camp!
Which reminds me that I promised you all a glimpse into life here at the Mine.
It is still coming. The ice on the lake has finally melted so I will be able to get a few "summer shots" for you guys. Until tomorrow - Adios!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Matryoshka Potholders - A Tutorial

I promised all of you that my next post would be a project and I have one-uped myself by making it a Tutorial. Although it did take me a couple of days to get this one online...
I am back out at work, and although the internet is slow I think I will survive the next three weeks.
This tutorial is for basic potholders with a motif. Of course you can make these withough a motif or you can do a quilted version like I did a while back HERE.
The first step is to cut out your main fabric. I made my squares 8X8 although you can do any size or shape with this project.  I LOVE my new Olfa cutting mat and ruler that Aren bought for me as early birthday presents since I will *sadly* be at camp on the big day.

You will need to cut four squares of your main (or "self") fabric in order to make two potholders. I always want to make sure that my hands (and the hands of anyone who may be using my potholders) are protected and for this reason place denim pieces inside my potholders. My mum had the misfortune of purchasing a beautiful pair of quilted potholders many years ago only to find that they were barely useable as the maker had only used batting in between. Take care of your hands. If you don't have denim then use another thick fabric. Cut two pieces for each potholder you plan on making.

You will still need some batting to give your potholders a cute *poufy* look. Again - two pieces for each of the potholders you plan on making. All of these pieces should be cut to the same size/shape as your self fabric pieces as you will sandwich them together when you sew them all up.

Next cut long strips 2 inches wide from your self fabric. The length of strip you need depends entirely on the size/shape of your finished potholder. Cutting these on the bias (diagonally) will make it easier to maneuver  them onto the potholder but if you don't have enough fabric for this don't sweat it. You can still make do with "unbiased" strips. I am so clever - the Queen of lame puns.

As a note: I had to sew a couple of shorter strips together in order to make a strip long enough to finish the edge of my potholder. You may need to do this too. It is fine and will still look wonderful when it is finished. Trust me.
Next choose a motif. Or choose no motif. Or do whatever you want. I chose Matryoshka as I am planning on selling Matryoshka themed items in my upcoming-but-as-yet-nonexistent Etsy store.

If you are using motifs you will now need to trace them onto your contrasting/coordinating fabrics. I am only showing you the tracing/fusing from the undersides of the dolls as this is a fairly repetetive and easy to grasp process. Use fabric pen that disappears or chalk but please please do not use permanent ink! This could ruin the look of your motif. Don't cut out all of the little pieces just yet.

You still need to fuse them onto your fusible webbing! Cut around the motifs leaving a small border so that you won't have to waste too much fusible. Now iron the fusible onto the fabric and then cut out around your shapes.

Repeat as needed until you have all pieces of your motif cut out. Now arrange them on your potholders and iron them down. Looking good already!

I always like to sew down the pieces I have fused on with my machine. I think it is good practice as with too many washes the glue from the fusible is liable to come undone and your work of art will be ruined. Also there will be fraying. Yuck. Here you can see I am sewing around the doll with a contrasting white thread. It really made the motif stand out.

You can skip this step if you want. After sandwiching all of the layers together (top-batting-denim-denim-batting-bottom) I serged the edge of my potholder so that all of the layers would be held together before I bound them. This ensures that I follow my shape and that the potholder doesn't turn out wonky. If you don't have a serger you could also baste the layers together.

Now to the binding. Sew the strips of binding face down onto the potholder. This is the bottom edge of my potholder (no motif). If you have not cut on the bias you may want to clip your fabric in at the corner so that it will turn more easily. Just don't clip too far! You will need to make sure that where you start sewing on the binding you leave enough that it can be turned under so there will be no raw edge showing where the binding meets.

Now flip your potholder over and fold the binding over the edge and under itself to create a beautifull finish. Sew along the edge of the binding. If you like you can make a loop by looping the binding around the corner. You will have to remember to do this when you are first sewing the binding on or you won't have enough to do so. A clean edge is also a nice touch on a potholder so you may want to try that too.
Don't worry if the topstitching on the front doesn't match the seam on the bottom. This gives your potholder character!

And there you have it - a beautiful potholder or set of potholders!
It is nice to be able to customize the decor in your home and this is one way to add a personal touch in your kitchen. They also make wonderful gifts!

Enjoy this project and keep enjoying those lovely summer days. I would love to see any versions that you yourself whip up. Ciao for now!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why Does A Sunburn Hurt So Much?

As the title of this post suggests, I am still feeling the effects of the sun on my shoulders. I really don't understand why the sun has to hurt so much! When I was a child I always drew the sun as a smiling circle in the sky with sunglasses, but I am beginning to think that the smile was actually a smirk. Or a sinister smile.
A few photos of the garage that we started building at my parents house last week. Three walls framed, sheathed and raised. The back wall was fully sheathed when we finished but for what ever reason I chose not to take any more pictures. Looks pretty good doesn't it? I know my dad is super excited about getting work done on it and Aren is planning to drive back down sometime soon to do the wiring.

I don't know how many of you have played a game called Settlers of Cattan (awesome game!), but we made an uber-game while out at my parents. Aren and I bought a second Settlers game as well as the Seafarers expansion pack and then after putting all three sets together we built this gi-normous board. We ended up playing until at least 3 in the morning with my brother. Awesome! This will certainly make family game time more interesting (also more time consuming).

This SUPER-AMAZING dryer chair was recovered from the dump (not even dirty - just dropped off by a guy) and is in near perfect condition.The vinyl is clean and there is only one small tear on the back side of the contraption. The hair dryer works perfect and there is even an ashtray in the arm! Ahh the good old days when you could smoke while getting your hair blown dry at the salon.
My mum will probably use it in one of her plays and if not I may have to bring it back to my house. I am pretty sure Aren would have a fit about that since he already thinks I have enough chairs (which I probably do...) kicking around the house. I don't have any that dry my hair though.....

So you can all feel sorry for me:

The red spots on my back are black fly bites. Oh and did I mention I got hives while unloading the grass clippings/leaves/twigs at the dump? Yeppers, hives, black fly bites and a sunburn. All part of the adventure that is summer.
Anyways, I apologize for the lack of project oriented posting going on the past couple of days. I am packing right now and trying to make sure I don't forget anything this time.
I *promise* to post a project tomorrow!
Ciao for now and remember to keep your screen doors closed at night.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Painting by Doreen Schmidt Nagel

Greetings from BC! I am currently (and have been for the past week) visiting my parents. We came down for Father's day and ended up staying quite a while longer as my dad is building a garage. I have been sewing and playing board games, cooking and helping with the garage. I will be posting photos from this week later on but the internet connection here is quite slow and uploading takes more patience than I currently have. I did want to share something with all of you though since I have been gone for such a long time.
This is an absolutely lovely painting that was done by my grandmother Doreen. It is always nice to have sentimental things around the house to remind you of the people that you love. My grandma loved anything artsy and painted on just about everything. She painted cupboards, rocks, saws, antlers, walls, and the outsides of houses with murals. She also spent time instilling a love of art, music and reading within all of her children and grandchildren.
My mother has done the same always encouraging her children to be creative – Thanks Mum!

It has been nice spending time with family this week, too bad I am going back to work soon. We had time for some walks around the neighborhood, garage sales and movies in between all of our other activities so it has been a good few days. I did get a sunburn though while working on the garage and it is hard to sleep with burned shoulders! My fault for being outside at noon with a tank top on - will I ever learn?
In other news - I am SUPER excited about my next time off from work as Pris and Kurt invited us to go along with them on a camping trip to the Queen Charlotte's!!! There will be berry picking, mushroom picking, deer hunting, clam digging, fishing and lots of campfires and cookouts. I am sooo excited it is ridiculous. As soon as we get home I am going to have to start preparing.
Keep enjoying your summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shadow Play and Matryoshka Mayhem

I spent quite a bit of time working on my Matryoshka dolls today but had to go outside as it was absolutely gorgeous! Aren and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood and had some fun taking shadow pictures. Actually I believe that he didn't want to have his picture taken until we decided to take pictures of our shadows. Then he took about twenty or so. Hilarious. On the way home we took a detour and stopped at this local coffee joint Bean Counters. It is a really cute little place and they have delicious smoothies. Mine was Wildberry with Cream and Aren had Mango. Yummy!

A couple pictures of my outfit since it is impossible to see what I wearing in my shadow.
I haven't worn this skirt in a while since it had a small tear and was a bit too big in the waist. Finally this morning I took a few minutes and repaired it so it would be good to go. I'm happy I did since it is such a nice skirt to wear in the summer.

Aren not wanting his picture taken.

And finally a sneak peak at some of the Matryoshka dolls I have been working on! That is the new Olfa cutting mat that Aren bought me as an early birthday gift underneath. He also bought me an Olfa ruler today which was 50% off! I am extremely excited about using these two items as I have been wanting (and needing) them for quite some time now.
Stay tuned for more Matryoshka Madness.
Also - please help! I don't know what to get my Dad for Father's Day....

Newest Matryoshka from Elena Beytane

What a wonderful sunny day it was today. Hopefully this keeps up for the Father's Day weekend we have ahead of us. Today I was very busy sewing and crafting more Matryoshka suprises for my upcoming Etsy store (I am pretty excited about this!) and felt like I should share some Matryoshka with you.

The following two sets of dolls were hand painted by Elena Beytane from Russia. She is the same artist that painted the last set of dolls I posted about. I had ordered these just before I left for camp last time and they arrived last week. I was thrilled when I opened the package!

They look so cute together on the bookshelf. I am thinking that I will need to set up a special shelf just for Matryoshka... or there will be a set in every room in the house! That would probably be alright with me.

These are some pictures from Elena's Ebay site where I bought the dolls. They are much more detailed and give you a better idea of what my new dolls look like. The little egg shaped one is so cute! I like how the three little dolls nest inside all together - it looks cozy.

The detail in the eyes is breathtaking. There are a lot of people selling Matryoshka online but I haven't been able to find too many with such beautiful painting, especially with regards to the face. Some are way too formal and stiff (so real they are fake), others are too cheezy, and then you get the "hand painted" faux dolls.

A last look at the ladies. I hope you enjoyed these dolls as much as I do and if you are looking to buy your own I would suggest Elena Beytane as your artist of choice. Check her out on Ebay.
Ciao for now!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where the heck have I been?!?!

I am sure most of you are wondering if I fell off the face of the earth.... I have heard that comment made a few times this past week. But no, I am still here! Things have been a little hectic this last week at home, and I guess I did fall off the face of the earth for a while there at camp.
A lot has happened since I last posted. For starters I made it out of camp - yay!

It's always nice when flying in sunny weather. Hopefully I will get a few pictures without any clouds so you can see the terrain. There is actually a point in the trip when you can see Suncor or Syncrude (not sure which one) from the air.

My beautiful flowers! I have been spending a lot of time cooking this week, although we've been BBQing as well so that takes care of some of the work.We've been having all sorts of yummy food made with fresh veggies. Baked potatos, mashed, zuchinni tomato tart, salads, BBQ Corn, carrots, Banana Bread (I've been baking again already!), Stir Fry, and of course we did go out for our favourite - Sushi.
That was on Saturday night. It was my friends Wedding Shower in Edmonton so we drove over early in the morning so we would have time to do some shopping (IKEA!), I went to the shower and then Aren and I went out to dinner and drove back home. It was a long day, but totally worth it to see the girls again.
In a hilarious mishap we drove to suprise my sister Eliza at work but found out she was at the other location. En Route we were stopped by a Policeman as the light turned green and told that we couldn't proceed because there was a parade. We ended up waiting 45 minutes (the parade had just begun) until  were able to drive through. The parade had a woman wearing duct tape over her nipples and a man in sequin short-shorts.

Moving along - this is a part of a project that Aren and I worked on this past week -you will never guess what this is for (or maybe you will) but I will be posting about it later on.

Some lovely Matryoshka finger puppets I am working on. I made the pattern today, cut out five and now I need to sew them together and be sure they fit. Obviously you all know that I am obsessed with Russian Dolls and I figure that there must be plenty of people out there who are just as obsessed as me. Therefore I am thinking about opening an Etsy shop to sell Matryoshka themed items as well as my other crafts/sewing/artwork. We'll see how it goes....

I planted these babies yesterday but it is a little chilly outside right now so they are "chillling" in the living room for now. Hopefully the weather will pickup a bit over the next few days.

And here we have another top secret project I am working on and will be posting about in upcoming days. So now you know that I have been busy/procrastinating with posting but am still alive and well.
Hope you all have been doing well and enjoying your summer, let me know what you think about the Etsy idea - I could use your input! Thanks guys :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Randomness From My Sketchbook

A person who will remain unnamed has been asking, or rather continues to suggest, that I upload pictures of my artwork/sketchbook to my blog. I am finally going to give in to the pressure. You have seen what I wear, what I eat, what I paint (the finished products anyways), what I sew and now: the crazy things that happen in my mind. Well, I exagerate a little since some of these were school projects and I am not going to put anything too wierd online. Mostly these are sketches of clothing, random sketches or drawings - some finished some not. Either way I hope you will enjoy them.

The opening page of my portfolio.

Kate Moss half started.....

Designs, none of which have been made yet.

I turned the TopHat drawing into a pattern and painted it in a series. I will have to find those again...

More designs.

Marker drawing. I did this just last year when we moved into the new apartment.

This is one of my favourite drawings, the girls are so cheeky! It's actually in my portfolio too.
Anywho, I will try to find some more finished drawings, although a sketch book is ... sketchy stuff.
Ciao for now.