Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jeudi Ruse

Jeudi Ruse (I'm missing the accent on ruse) means Artful Thursday in French - which is where today took me.

I bought the postcard below on a trip to France a couple of years ago and wished afterward I had bought several more; thank heavens for colour copiers.

I have many ideas for these images so it's likely they will appear again over the course of the year but for now it's cards!

This first one is a simple as it gets - cut out the image and glue onto the front of the card; I like to use an acid free glue stick. The bow is tied from satin ribbon and glued on with a thick white glue - again acid free.

This picture didn't turn out all that well but you can get the general idea. I chose two coordinating ribbons and rather than cut and glue them on, I cut tiny slits in the card stock, just as wide as the ribbon. Poke the end of the ribbon through (an awl works perfectly for this) and glue down about 1/2 inch or so. Repeat for the opposite end, pulling the ribbon taut but not too much or you will curl the card. I then glued down the Eiffel Tower image and a button. I thought afterward I should have put a ribbon bow under the button but it was too late - next time!

For the inside of the card, I wanted to do something that would cover and protect the ribbon ends. I found a pretty piece of fabric, cut it about 1/2 inch bigger than the desired finished size and fused it to a piece of paper-backed fusible web. I trimmed it to size using a wave blade on my rotary cutter, peeled the paper off and fused the fabric to the inside of the card.

To make a space for writing something I fused weaver's cloth to interfacing for both body and to prevent the underneath fabric from showing through. I glued ribbon to both the top and bottom and then fused more paper-backed fusible web to the back. Peel off the paper and fuse in place.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's A Wrap!

It's all done - only three days late, but done it is.

The below shot is of the outside with the binding, which hadn't yet been turned to the inside and hand stitched in place. I pondered what I would use for the ties: twine, fabric, ribbon... when I remembered a stash of friendship bracelets my daughter Laura had made about fourteen years ago. I dug them out (yes, I remembered exactly where they were - surprised even myself with that one) and found two that were the right colours. They are sewn in place at the same time as the binding; just ensure they are both sewn at the same place!

This next photo is of the inside with some of the tools in place. I don't mind that the plaid is on the bias for the binding and on the straight of grain for the lining - I was afraid it might be jarring, but I think it looks just fine. (Click on any photo to enlarge)

And below is the final shot of it all rolled up and tied!

I am so glad I thought of her friendship bracelets for the ties - I have always regarded my tools as friends and now I have a beautiful place to keep them! So next Thursday when I am all set to create something artful, I won't be distracted by wondering where on earth everything is.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Progress - Artful Thursday Part Two

So the "artist" got the idea and now the "technician" gets to figure it out and make it work...

I decided on three pockets: one for the glue-brush, one for a pair of scissors and multi pocket panel that would hold several small tools; likely someplace for needles too, but I'll figure that out later. I can only deal with so much at once!

Glue-brush pocket cut 3 1/4" x 14" ( finish 3 1/4" x 7")
Scissor pocket cut 4 3/4" x 11" (finishes 4 3/4" x 5 1/2" )
Multi pocket cut 10 1/2" x 11" (finishes 10 1/2" x 5 1/2")

I will use the old "fold 'em in half across the width,right sides together and sew around the three sides" technique, remembering of course to leave an opening along one side of each pocket for turning. This works really well and the opening gets stitched shut when the pockets are sewn on to the base.

Below is a picture of the three completed pockets being placed. I wanted them 1 1/2" up from the bottom edge so placed my long ruler at that edge, lining up the 1 1/2" line with the edge of the base. The pockets are then easily pinned in place, nice and level!

Sew in place and be sure to use a walking or even-feed foot to prevent shifting.

To decide how big to make each each slot in the multi-pocket, place the first tool in the pocket to the far right. Lay your ruler to the left, using the lines on the ruler to ensure you are "square". Draw a line, stitch. Repeat for the remaining tools.

I decided to pretty it up so I did herringbone, blanket and backstitch along the seams using two strands of dark green embroidery thread. (Four strands for the backstitch).

Next was to work out something for needles and pins. I didn't particularly want to add more bulk by making a stuffed pincushion so I cut a piece of wool felt 2" deep and long enough to look balanced in it's intended place above the multi-pocket. I glue basted very lightly along the sides and the bottom and left the top edge free. The blanket stitch is two strands of DMC embroidery thread, begin at the top left corner and stitch down the side, across the bottom and back up the other side, going through all layers in order to attach as a pocket. Then I blanket stitched across the top going through the felt only to reinforce it and unify the look.

Needles and pins can be kept in the pocket, or slid into the felt singly - just be sure they are vertical and not horizontal or rolling this up could hurt!

The two little bone rings were given to me years ago by a friend - I thought they might be perfect to loop thread on to now and again.

This is the bias binding so now all that is left to do is layer it up, attach them together somehow or other, bind it and sort out what I want to tie it with.

I guess there will be a Part Three!

My First Artful Thursday - Part 1

I have been thinking all week about what I would create for today and nothing of excitement came to mind. Every time I went in my sewing room (which I have now labelled "The Stockroom") I hoped for inspiration but none came; all I saw was a mess.

This morning the fabric below was peeking out at me from the bottom of a stack. This is one of those fabrics that I have looked at for months but never bought as I couldn't think what I would do with it. As the bolt was slowly depleted by customers with more vision than I, I thought harder but still no ideas... The other day I couldn't find it and panic set in. After ten minutes of hard looking I found it - a very skinny bolt with not much left on it so the time I come. I bought some; not a lot, but enough.

So now I had it - but what to make?

Looking at the disarray on my worktable I felt guilty about not taking better care of my tools.
The wasted time looking for things that never seemed to land in the same place twice regardless of my best intentions.
Remembering learning how the Japanese revered their tools when I was studying Silk & Metal Thread Embroidery.

I would make a tool roll and this fabric would be the outside.

Japanese designs are masters at incorporating opposites - curves with geometrical elements is one example so I looked for a plaid to use for binding.

I really like this plaid and want to use it for the lining as well, but I really want the binding on the diagonal. I wonder if it would make me mental to have it straight for the lining and diagonally for the binding? There is nothing else I like as much and if I cut it carefully I should have enough... Plus it's perfect with the fabric I want for the pocket piece(s).

So I am off to create a new home for the items below plus their friends (who I will have to go find!)

I will be back this afternoon with all the construction details and photos!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Artful Thursdays

Sometimes it is easy to push creativity aside, especially when creating things to sell, or preparing something for a class. I have often felt a struggle between making what I really want to make and making something people will want to either buy, or learn to make. But oh how I love it when I make things that sing.
Sometimes they sing to me, other times they sing about me.

Last week I discovered this blog and I was so inspired. The first thing that caught my attention was an Artful Thursday post, and further into the blog archives I read the post where Julie explains the inspiration behind her Artful Thursdays - you can read that post here:

So I emailed her to ask if I could join in - and she said yes!

This button will link you to Julie's blog (I have added a smaller permanent one to the sidebar) so you can go and check out what all the participating bloggers are doing.

My first post for this will be Thursday March 18 so watch for it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Forever Blooming

As I was straightening the mess of ribbon from my last post I remembered these chrysanthemums I used to make. They are so pretty but finding the right ribbons is not always easy and they do take a lot - at least seven different kinds and you need about a yard of each!

But oh so pretty... and before I knew it I was picking out just the right ribbons for this beauty...

So I played with the camera and the photo editing...

And I couldn't decide which was best so I posted them all!

I couldn't stop at just one flower so I started making different roses.

This one is a folded, wrapped rose.
And here it is at a bit of an angle - I couldn't find a vase little enough so it is sitting in a candle holder!

Now I am in the process of making gathered and rolled petals but they are fiddly and are taking longer than I remembered. Real roses may be blooming in my garden before I get my ribbon ones finished!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Leaf

One of my earliest memories is of leaves.

I remember a tree that grew in front of the house we lived in when I was three. The branches hung over the sidewalk (yes, it was wooden) and I would sit under it with my dolls Sam, Fred, George, and Charles (yes they were girl-dolls and no, my mother was not happy about their names).

I remember two things about the leaves; the first was how they danced in the breeze, allowing the sunlight to filter through and create little golden-leaf shapes that flitted all around on the sidewalk boards. For so long I tried to catch them but never could; one day I stopped trying and just watched them - the dancing light and shadows of the leaves flitting over the greyed boards, making me think of fairies and little such things.

Yesterday I went looking for ribbon leaves.

Somewhere in this mass of ribbon is a few tiny ribbon leaves...

And here some are...

They are so easy to make and yet so delightful!

And they come in all sizes, some glittery, some pink from frost that never was...

Some are pale and some are dark...

And the loveliest ones are velvet!

Further down, under the ribbons and leaves are flowers. Roses and chrysanthemums. Fuchsias and snowdrops.

Soon I will be digging in the earth but for now I am happy with my ribbon garden.