Thursday, September 30, 2010

Artful Knowing

Nah, nah, nah, nah na nah, I know what you got!

Sorry, I couldn't resist! It's so much fun, the knowing. Even more fun than the getting.
Tonight was amazing, so much fun you could feel the excitement. The oohs and ahs as each parcel was opened...

from Dorthe @ Den Lille Lade,

These are from Mercy @ Appleshoe

These are from Diane @ Diane Knott's Musings,

These are from Lucille,

Look at the machine quilting!!!

These are from Susan @ SuzTats,

These are from Freda @ Sew What's New,

These are from Michele @ Nook Cranny Gifts,

Is he not the epitome of a snowman?

These are from Marie @ Spun By Me,

These are from Teresa @ The HeART of Words,

Glad to see you let the tail extend!

These are from Marcia @ The Painted Gift,

These are from Tina @ One Wild Swan,

One first glance you would think these are all the same, but there are slight, subtle differences...every face has a different expression and there are variations in the flow of the cloak and the branches...

 These are from Genevieve @ GM Glimmerglass,

Detail shot - these have so much dimension!

And these are from me!

Some of the detail photos didn't turn out and I only posted the ones that did. I will show more from the artist's I have missed; you haven't been left out, I just want to get a better picture so I hope you all understand.

So that is what we saw as we carefully opened each parcel. 

Some of you very generously tucked in small treasures as a special thank you from you to me; I will devote a whole post just to them and that will also be coming soon.

This is a lot to absorb so I will leave you with these images and be back tomorrow night with a few more photos from the Swap itself, as well as the pieces I received.

On a final note, the quilt group I belong to were witness to tonight's goings-on and you have all inspired each of them so very much. There were more than a few that expressed interest in being a part of a Swap like this.

I know I for one am hooked. 
I am so grateful for the pieces I was allotted but I am feeling a little greedy - I wish I had one from each of you. 
Not very prudent, but something artful to aspire to ! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Artful Thursday - Artful Giving

The Swap is coming, the Swap is coming!!
All the parcels are here now so the Swap is almost ready to be done - just one tiny little detail to be ironed out first...

I wanted to make a little pouch for each participant that I could put their swapped squares in for the journey home. A little thank you from me to each of you who agreed to "dance with me."
The first thing you should know about me is that I am no math whiz. I have a brother with a PHD that takes care of that and although he is usually a good sport about doing my calculations he is a busy man and has been known to scratch his head in puzzlement at some of my requests.
So I winged it...

And they fit!
(After just a few slight modifications and a bit of seam ripping. Well, maybe more than a few, and more than a bit...)
Once the size was sorted out I got into the fun part. Embellishments. Doo Dads. Bits and Bobs. 
A few months back I was poking around the local antique store, looking at old jewellery. The proprietress offered some clip on earrings at a very good price. I wasn't sure they would work for what I was trying to do but took a few pairs to give them a try. No go.
But.... all is never lost in the beautiful land of embellishing - I knew they would come handy sooner or later. Sooner arrived today...

A ribbon rosette with a gap in the centre allows the clip to slip through and hold the earring in place.
To make the rosette with a hole, insert a pen in the centre just before you gather the ribbon tightly to secure. Gather, knot off and remove the pen.

And here it is with a gauzy ribbon rosette layered on top of the ribbon one.
Close up...

I might add a bit more to this or I might just leave it alone. They won't all be the same, just two-of-a-kinds (you know, pairs of earrings).

So that's the prototype.  Lucille has kindly offered to help me make the rest of them,and I shall be taking her up on that offer.

She'll be happy to know the measuring is done!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love Came Down

"Love came down at Christmastime,
Stars and angels gave the sign."

That's the quote, gleaned from the pages of a December issue of Victoria magazine, that inspired this piece for my upcoming Swap.

Beautiful silver and aqua ribbons, one embossed with white snowflakes and stars, a lace medallion with what looks like a snowflake in the centre, a silver angel's wing, jewelled heart charm, and finally a sign lettered with "Believe".
Tiny aqua beads add to the detail, and a satin bow completes it.

I love this quote because I had never associated angels and snowflakes together; for some reason they have always been separate in my mind. I liked the idea of them together, up there, swirling and twirling around the starry night sky, sending love down to us.

I am very happy with this piece as well, but must confess, the colour in this picture is wrong, wrong, wrong! In real life it's the prettiest of aquas and although I do like the colour as it appears here, it is wrong! The pictures of the other squares made them look positively sickly so I will try again in daylight. 

A photographer, I am not!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Artful Thursday - Blessings

Winter is coming the Swap is getting close!

I am just finishing up my 5" squares and am now at the fun part - embellishing and detailing.
Here's the first one, almost finished (just a bit of writing to do on the back but the front is complete!

"Blessings" is the title I have chosen for this one and the caption on the back will read "The blessings of the world..."

Snowmen, a real crystal button, a woodland deer, diamonds, silver ribbon, rose embossed ribbon and a snippet of lace are but some of the gifts of the world to those who dwell  in it. An odd assortment perhaps, but they all have special meaning to me...

Snowmen were my first blessing of winter and I loved building them, both as a child myself and with my own when they were tiny.
Animals are another blessing for me and this tiny deer has the big job of representing all the woodland creatures - they occupy a special place in our world and in my heart. A quiet glimpse through the trees is one of the most exciting things to see, especially in the winter forest, when all is still and the snow is softly falling...

The lace reminds of the beauty of snowflakes, drifting and swirling, and dancing down.
And ribbons, buttons and beads are gifts to me and to many of you, for how could we make such beautiful things without them?

These are a few of the blessings the world has given to me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Right Choice

And another one's done - well, almost done; just a one more verse, but my calligraphy skills are not what they used to be and I am doing the last bit on the computer!

This is my collage card from the previous post, front cover now complete...

I added "clumpies", and buttons and did some fancy machine stitching for detail. I also put pen to ink and coloured in the stamped image a bit, some shading with green and a hint of red for the holly berries.

A closer look...

This next page features brass letters, coffee stained cheesecloth and lace, layers of fabrics and stitching and a bit of calligraphy on paper...

And in the picture below, some collaged paper with yet more stitching and calligraphy. I love the background fabric, just peeking out from the edges of the papers. I have hardly any left, so every piece is treasured now, and sometimes used reluctantly.

 I find sometimes I fight with myself; I am a big believer in finding exactly the right piece of fabric or embellishment for each part of every project I work on. But sometimes the perfect piece is one I am not quite ready to part with - I may have had other, grander plans, a loftier ideal, and whatever it is trying to wriggle it's way into is not what I had in mind for that special treasure! So I spend hours, searching and trying many substitutes, hoping I will find something less special, but equally suitable. Sometimes I am lucky, but there have been many times I have had to give up and go with my first choice, regardless of what else it could have been. A sigh, a shrug and the right choice is made.

This next page features the edging of a battenburg lace doily; remove the centre and you have a perfect wreath. I still need to add some beads or buttons or charms - or maybe even all three...

And finally, the back cover, with the year penned on canvas.

This card took quite a while so I am thinking of a scaled down version, perhaps without the extra page. Something I can make a bit faster, something that won't use up quite so much of my special treasures!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Artful Thursday - It's A Snap!

My favourite part of Christmas dinner was the Christmas crackers, carefully chosen by my Mom and placed at each plate, exciting us four kids beyond measure. the shiny paper hid all manner of treasures until after the excitement of pulling the snappers!

As I grew older I found the crackers not as exciting anymore; most no longer had the colourful tissue paper hats and the surprise inside left something to be desired. I often wondered if the lack-lustre was real, or just a part of growing up and seeing things differently...
One year I found exceedingly expensive ones and splurged; thinking they would be as glorious as those of Christmases past, but no, disappointment again.

So I did what any creative person would do - made 'em myself!

When you make these little beauties you have complete creative control - what goes in them and what goes on them is entirely up to you...
And the best part is, if carefully stored, you can use them year after year - until you go and change your holiday decor that is!

The sky's the limit style-wise, glitz and glam are easy with all the lovely Christmas fabrics, ribbons, and sparkly things available, or you can go ragged and rustic as I did with the first one, tearing the fabrics instead of pinking them.

They don't take a long time to make either and if you do them assembly-line style, they go even faster. I also like to personalize what goes in them so everyone gets something special to them.

These are also for a class I am doing this winter and I can't wait to see what creative ideas the participants bring to the table!

And this is the beginning of another project; a collaged Christmas card.

Last night my daughter Laura and I found ourselves surrounded by piles of fabrics, thread, doodads and "clumpies" and started making collaged Christmas cards. Part two of that adventure is tonight and I will post the finished photos soon.

A quick Swap update for those of you that are participating - I have received seven Swap parcels so far and know of two more that are in the mail. I will be contacting the others in the next few days to check on the status of their squares and will hopefully be able to announce the Swap date very soon!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Off The List!

I got one thing crossed off my To Do List - the crazy quilted stocking is done!

This is a sample for my beginner Crazy Quilting class so I had to keep the embellishing pretty simple...
Above is a Knotted Ribbon Chrysanthemum, adding fluff to the cuff...

Tiny buttons form a simple flower - I used coloured embroidery thread to sew them on - looks pretty in the close-up (just click on photo).

A tiny cherub pin gifted to me by my friend Carol when I was up in Whitehorse...

A gold filigree heart charm with a silk ribbon bow; the ends are tacked down with beads.

The hanging loop was formed by braiding together two thin strands of twisted cord with one of very fine ribbon - again, the close-up will show that better...

And the sum of it's parts!

Not the best picture but all I could manage for today.

Time for my glass of wine and sitting out by the fire! Maybe I can take a better picture after the wine? 
Points to ponder.....