Sunday, March 31, 2013

My March CQJP13

I decided to do something homey and simple this month. I am currently working on a number of needle books. Most are wool. All involve lots of embroidery. Needle books are great little places to put something pretty.

I first pieced a number pretty fabric scraps on a muslin foundation. I picked red, white and black prints. I just love how they feel so summery and warm. I dedicated this particular needle book to my Aunt Martha. I remember family picnics as a child. She was always ready with a pinch of my cheek and a big bowl of potato salad. What fun!

Well, after piecing my cotton fabrics, I added some crochet trims, vintage buttons and lots of stitches along the seams. I closed this book with a simple snap. I wanted to make it a simple and durable closure.

Inside you will find 2 pockets. One is lined. Between the layers of fabric I added wool batting, so the pocket also acts as a pincushion in a pinch. In the other pocket I put another pincushion. This one was made with a yo-yo shape and a fabric center, stuffed with more batting.

I love how it turned out. I hope to have something with my silks next month. There are just so many possibilities!

Scrappy Little Nest Maker

I've seen this idea in a number of bird magazines and on a few "green" PBS shows. Now that spring has arrived (on the calender at least) I decided to give one a try. Most of what I have seen at the local garden center involved some icky plasticy bags with little holes. I had envisioned something more natural with a lot bigger holes, so the little birds could see what I had to offer. Since I never throw anything away...well I had lots to give my little feathered friends.

I used a large crochet hook and some cotton twine. It took me all of 15 minutes to stitch it up. It was fun finding scraps of wool roving, cotton thread and floss and cotton fabric scraps. I love how it looks. I hope the birds use these bright little tidbits to do some serious nesting.

Here are the basic instructions. The beauty of this project is that is sure doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to hold stuff. So, if you want to add some fancier stitches, or if you are looking for a sweet project to do with a novice crocheter, try this. It is sure to brighten up your life and the offer some warm, soft lining for a nest full of new chicks.

Tools and Materials
You will need a scissors, cotton twine, a size 10 or N large crochet hook, a large eyed yarn needle and bits and pieces of cotton or wool batting, yarn, fabric scraps, embroidery thread or twine.

Row 1
Chain 4 and join to form a loop.

Row 2-
Chain 2. Then single crochet in the loop 15 times.
Join at the top of chain 2.

Row 3-
Chain 3.
Double crochet into each of the single crochet stitches from the last row. Join at the top of the chain 2 at the beginning of the row.

Row 4-5
Chain 3.
Double crochet into each of the double crochet stitches from Row 3. Join at the top of the chain 3 at the beginning of the row.

Row 6
Chain 2
Single crochet into each of the double crochet stitches from Row 5. Join at the top of the chain 2 at the beginning of the row.

Long cord
Chain 30 or to the desired length of the cord you will need to tie your nest making ball to a branch. When finished, tie off and cut leaving 2 inches of plain twine.
Thread the twine at the end of the cord onto a yarn needle.

Last step
Thread the cord through the top loops of each of the last single crochet row. Pull gently and leave a large enough opening to stuff.

Stuff your ball with thin cotton fabric ripped into pieces about 4 inches long by 1/4" wide. Add wool or cotton yarn scraps, cotton batting, cotton cord, thread or twine each about 4 inches long.
Pull bits of a bit so the bird can see whats inside and pull them out easily.

Tie onto a branch of a tree.

Do a little birdwatching and see what develops in your local bird nesting spots.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Choose from my fun fabric stash!

I often receive custom orders in my Etsy shop Fiberluscious.
I thought I would make it easier on my customers if I could show them just what I have.

I also want to take some of the guess work out of choosing from so many different fabrics so I groups coordinating fabrics together.
Most of my patchwork pincushions require 2, 3 or 6 different prints. I normally use at a time, like with this new tomato from my shop.

I may use 6 different prints...

or maybe just one...

or lots!

So if you are looking for just the right colors or prints for your mom's mother's day are just a portion of what you can choose from!

My Stashes

Here are some fun coordinates

More to come....
My batik stash- 1930's coordinates- lots more flowers and some fun dots and modern prints.

To see my most recent fabric choices, go to my Fabric Choices Page. (see the left margin to click on that page).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thank you!

I was so pleasantly surprised to find in my mailbox a sweet "Thank You" card with an pretty crystal angel charm. It was from Creatology, the winner of my Grow Your Own Blog Party giveaway. I was so touched. Thank you back!!!
That was so unnecessary but very much appreciated! I have it on my key chain and I know it will bring me a smile each time I catch a glimpse of that pretty little sparkle.

I am often touched by your comments and find them very encouraging and uplifting. My feedback on Etsy often brings tears to my eyes.
My husband often complains that I work too much. He worries when I'm stressed over too many orders. He sometimes, well, really doesn't understand why I do this.

Its because of you all. Its because I'm always inspired by your blogs and shops. I love to hear your comments. I eat them up!
When my fingers are sore and my eye lids are droopy, I still have a smile on my face. I can't wait to share my next project with you. When I hear that I have inspired someone to bring out their sewing supplies, I feel great that I've inspired someone else to bring more beauty into this world. When someone invests in one of my handmade items, I feel like its an opportunity to give someone a piece of my creative spirit. It so longs to soar...

I was on Pinterest for a few hours just drinking in all the beauty and my brain was working a million miles an hour trying to keep up with ideas. I love looking at how someone can take the same fabrics and materials I have and come up with something I never thought of. I'm in awe. I'm in love with handmade. What an amazing movement we are enjoying right now.

Maybe life is not all about stitching, piecing, embroidery, stuffing and all the pretty sparkles we play with day to day. But thank goodness it has a place in this world. Things can get a bit depressing these days. Money is tight and life can be a bit demanding. But for just a few hours a day, its all about pretty colors, bright patterns and oodles of imagination. That makes it very worthwhile and the perfect reason to start a new project. Don't you think?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

When dreams come true....

I dreamt of silk in beautiful, shimmering golds and greens. I dreamt of flowers in shades of purple, lavender and blue. I dreamt of crystals dripping down from graceful wisteria vines. I dreamt of this...

I am a designer than pretty much works from the seat of my pants. Well, I mean that I let the project speak to me... evolve... be. Its usually the fabric and materials before me that lead me to a certain technique or style. When Susan asked me to create something special and gave me a generous budget to play with, well, I knew I had one of those rare opportunities to do a dream project. So I dreamt!

To me, creative freedom is such a beautiful gift. The world of possibilities opens up. I always purchase the best quality materials I can afford, but I can rarely splurge on silk. This time I could. I may buy a few special sparkles, but to go crazy on crystals...what a treat! I tried silk dupioni, silk velvet and lots of pretty Swarvorski crystals.

I had plenty of time to think of what to do while I worked on orders that came in prior to hers. Whenever I was feeling a bit burned out, I kept thinking that all I had to do was to begin her pincushion and I would find that second wind I so desperately needed. Once I got working I found that most dreams take some serious work but the payoff is usually a sense of pride that only hard work can bring.

After struggling with the silk velvet, I had to give it up for this project. The allowances are slim... no room for error without the whole thing going all wonky. I like an organic feel, but there is a limit. I was happy to have purchased enough different silks I was fine with what I had. Thanks to Chad Quilt and SilkFabrics from Etsy for so many lovely choices.

I knew I wanted to try Wisteria for this pear. I love how it seems to drip down like a waterfall of blue satin. I love the shape of the flowers and the long twisting vines that it grows on.

Because of how top heavy it is, with all of those lovely crystals, it is quite a substantial piece of pincushion. It has about 6 ounces of emery to keep it steady. For something so delicate and feminine, it is sturdy and strong... just like a woman.

I am really so very happy with how this turned out. It is one of my very favorites to date. I just put it in the mail today. I can't wait to hear how she likes it!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vacation Mode

For all my Etsy followers I am taking a short vacation.
No, I will not be on some warm sunny beach. Although that sounds wonderful here in chilly Wisconsin.

I am taking a creative vacation.
I need to catch up on orders.
I hope to take some time to create some new works. I have a huge pile of brand new fabrics I just can't wait to get to.

So, I may not be posting this week unless I need a stitching break.

If you need to drop me a line, please do. I'll be attending to all my messages and convos.

You know, there was a time when all I wanted was to be discovered. I had so many things to share and I was discouraged that no one seemed to notice my little blog and shop.
Be careful what you wish for.

Actually, I feel incredibly blessed to be as busy as I am
I hate taking so long to finish orders. I used to ship custom orders the very next day!

I can't wait to share my new works with you. Some of my orders are providing some wonderful creative challenges. I can't wait to get to them!

In the meantime, don't forget to put your feet up, even if your stitching is on your lap.
We only get one chance at life on this beautiful earth.
Make it beautiful!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Some fabrics actually make me drool!

Sorry, that's kind of gross. Actually I don't really drool. Just touching some fabrics make me dream of magical pincushions all shimmering with beads and dripping with lovely stitches.
Here are some beautiful silks in dupioni and velvet.

I am getting ready to start a project for Susan, one of my collectors. She asked for a really special tomato. After some chatting and some tossing around of some ideas, the tomato turned into a pear. Her only request is that it have something sparkly on it. I had recently ordered some Dupioni Silk from Chad Quilt. She sent a luscious fuschia-magenta, lemon yellow-lime and a gorgeous mauve pink shrimp iridescent in a previous order. I also received some lovely silk velvet from Nuno Felting Supplies. I was transformed!
Check out this silk sampler kit-
(Note, she is currently out of stock but promises to let me know when she has these lovely silks back in stock).

Well, one thing lead to another and now well, I am addicted to silk. There, I said it. Is there a support group for this? Since I was hooked, I just had to order some greens and golds for this project. Nancy, the shop owner of Chad Quilt is a joy to work with and she rushed my next 2 orders through so quickly!

The picture on the top show silks from 3 shops but most are from Chad Quilt.
I have an idea to set up a new section on my blog called eye candy and other temptations. I promise to share some more of my favorite goodies there soon. Who wants to be alone in their addiction. Shopping together is so much for fun, don't cha think?
I tried to photograph the lovely sheen and subtle color changes in the silk images on the right. I can just imagine them on a dimensional project such as a pear or apple. The shifts in color as you hold and move the pear should be mesmerizing. Oh how I love a beautiful fabric!

Please, do yourself a joyful favor and do a little window shopping today.
The pretty crystals you see are from another Etsy Seller, (because Etsy Sellers are amazing). Coco Zhong Crystal Gallery. She provided the sparkle for my project.

Here are some of the other colors you'll find at Chad Quilt-

She so kindly included a sample of the silk cord in my order. I can't wait to order some. Its so smooth and the sheen is beautiful These pinks remind me of cotton candy. Yum!

While you are at it, here are 2 other silk fabric shops I ordered from. Both shipped so fast and I loved my orders! Their attention to my satisfaction was outstanding.

Nicole's shop, SilkFabric is filled with lovely silk velvets, leathers, brocades, oh my! Here are 2 items on my wish list.

The first is an incredible embossed leather, yes real leather in Aqua. The brocade is so rich. She was also very kind to send me some samples in my order which helped me to choose even more from her shop. I will definitely be back!

The next shop I would love you to visit is The Whimsical Peacock
This shop has something really special. She carries printed images on silk. I am dreaming of my next crazy quilt square as I type. Can you just imagine how you can use these in a quilt, fabric collage, greeting card....?! Here are 2 images I just can't wait to play with-

I would pair the Mucha with the silks and I can just see that adorable vintage nursery print with my 1930's print reproduction stash. I am going to have a ball!

If you haven't ordered from an Etsy shop, I would love to encourage you to give it a try. Its an experience that will spoil you from shopping at the local craft store. The wide variety of fabrics, trims, and other lovely items in the supply, vintage and handmade sections are to die for. You'll feel like a kid in a candy shop! I love that I can contact the seller prior to my purchase and I almost always get an immediate reply. You can requests swatches, half yards and even a personal collection from many shops. Your items will come fast and affordably. I am one of those loyal customers. Once I order from a shop, if I like the service, I will be back even if the prices are higher. There is nothing like feeling important to a shop. Etsy is a unique marketplace and their shops are top notch. You can also be proud that you are shopping handmade. Your item will always be touched by the maker. I'll order from an artist over a big box any day of the week. It just feels good.

I'll be posting the completed pear I'm making for Susan soon. I have another involved order to get done before hers but I'll try to do a little multi-tasking so I can get both orders out soon. Check back in a week and I hope to have it finished!