Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sewing Wild

Sew Wild by Alisa Burke

I've gone wild!  Well, maybe unrestrained might be a better word to describe my stitching style for the past couple of days.  A few weeks ago, I bought Alisa Burke's Sew Wild.  This book is about Burke's style, her process and "messy approach to sewing."    Throughout the first part of the book, Burke describes different surface design techniques including using paints and inks, dyes, glue and bleach.  Burke discusses different stitching tools and is a big advocate of using the darning needle, or free motion foot, on your sewing machine.  She also explores color theory and pattern.  There is also a section in the book about finding inspiration for your design.  Burke uses a variety of techniques to create several different projects, including a hat, bag, scarf, and a quilt.  Burke encourages us to Go Wild!

I decided to release my inner wild woman and create a panel of stitched layers.  This lesson begins on page 82.  Basically sew bits and pieces of fabric, in layers, on top of a background fabric.  Burke uses her own fabrics, those she has created using paints, dyes, etc.  Since I haven't created my own fabrics, I used scraps left over from my Mug Rug.  I started with about a 12" X 12" piece of muslin, backed with batting,  and then began laying out my scraps in a rough layout.

I stitched the scraps down using straight and zig zag stitches.  Next, I took smaller scraps and placed them on top, in between to fill in the spaces.  I sewed these pieces with varying stitches as well.  I got a little messy wild here.

Before I was finished, I sewed even more black lines all over the piece!  I decided to make a little bag, so I cut a square from the piece and whipped up a 4" X 4" Shabby Chic Scrap Coin Purse.  I added a little frayed edged fabric flower.  I've added this little purse to my Etsy Shop!


Although I'm pleased with my results, I must say it wasn't that easy for me to get Wild and Messy!  Don't get me wrong, I've been known to "wing" some sewing instructions and measurements, but purposely being messy is hard!  It was difficult to "let go," but it was fun.  I really like this book and will definitely try more techniques, including stenciling, masking, and monotype printing!  So, look for more posts about the projects in Sew Wild.  First up:  Fusing Plastic!  Doesn't that sound fun?!  I'm off to round up Target bags!

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P.S.  Thanks for the positive feedback regarding the Sew Loquacious Handmade Holiday.  Remember, you can add any handmade holiday post by completing the link information on the Handmade Holiday page!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Sew Loquacious Handmade Holiday

Halloween is in one week.  There are 33 days until Thanksgiving!  There are 62 days until Christmas and 69 days until New Year's!  What are you planning for the Holidays this year?  I recently posted about my pledge to contribute to handmade charity this season as well as my plan to either make or give handmade gifts this holiday season.  With this handmade pledge in mind, I've decided to document my Handmade Holiday here on my blog.

The The Sew Loquacious Handmade Holiday will include sewn, knit, or otherwise handcrafted gifts, as well as food ideas.  What are the most memorable gifts you received or gave?  I am certain that most were handmade.  I remember my grandmother giving all her grandchildren crocheted slippers one year.  I wore mine until they had holes in the soles!  When I was in my 20's,  my mother made pajamas for everyone.  I still have the pair she made for me!  Holiday baking always evokes memories of my childhood.  My mother made divinity every year.  Truth be told, I hate divinity, but she also made fudge, almond bark covered pretzels and Party Mix.

Grab the Sew Loquacious Handmade Holiday button if you'd like to join in!  Whenever I post a Handmade Holiday project, I'll add it to the linky tool at the bottom of the Sew Loquacious Handmade Holiday page..  If you write a post about a holiday project you are made, you can link up on this page as well!  Be sure to leave a comment, too!

I'm excited to get started!  I'm on the hunt for an easy knit slipper pattern or tutorial.  I'd like to make a pair for my youngest daughter.  If you know of an easy (not using double pointed needles), let me know!

Thanks again for sending me "get well soon" wishes!  I've been feeling much better in the last few days and have completed a couple of knitting projects, which I've added to my Etsy shop.

I've also managed to get into my sewing room to work on two birthday gifts.  I tried my hand at freezer paper stencils.

I bought two ready made shirts and cut about 2 inches off the bottom.  I then sewed fabric/ruffles to them after painting the stencils.  I'm really pleased with how they both turned out.  I made a yo yo for the top shirt.  It is attached with a button pin so it can be removed for easier washing.  I had a lot of fun doing the stencils and I am still amazed how well the freezer paper works!

Have a great Sunday everyone!  Please have a look through the Charitable Links page and consider making a project for charity.  Also, please join in the Sew Loquacious Handmade Holiday!  I know it's going to be a lot of fun!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Flea Market Friday...Tuesday

I haven't written a Flea Market Friday post in ages.  Actually, since January!  It was shortly after this last post that my work scheduled changed and I was no longer off on Fridays.  No longer was I able to visit flea markets, antique malls, garage sales and estate sales...on Fridays, anyway.  Well, guess what?  It's Friday and today I am posting about some of the great finds I came across at a local antique mall I visited.  Okay, I visited the mall on Tuesday, not Friday.  (Since I am off work recovering from my knee surgery, Tuesday could be Friday, Thursdays can be Saturdays!  Who cares!)  It was a short visit, as it's still difficult for me to get around.  I've "graduated" to a cane, but it's still difficult to "walk" around and my knee is still quite sore.  Anyway, I came across a lot of "stuff" in the mall. Here is a small sample:

1950s Needlework (LOVE IT)

Vintage Washing Machine (What? Barbaric!)

1950s Bed Jacket (COOL!)

Vintage Tied Quilt (Hexies..right?)

Vintage Tea Pot
 In previous Flea Market Friday excursions, I usually focused on one style, element, or item.  For example, during one trip, I focused on handbags.  Although I didn't lean toward one thing during today's trip, I seemed to be partial to tea pots.  I even bought a tea set.  I'm not sure how "vintage" it is, but I think the set is pretty neat.  It is a set of 6 cups and saucers, cream and sugar dishes, and the tea pot.  It is designed with a dragon motif, which is textural.  The pieces are stamped "Japan" on the bottoms.

So why did I visit the antique mall on Tuesday?  It was my anniversary!  My husband, who is off work to "take care of me," and I went to lunch and then stopped at the antique mall.  I can't believe it's been another year.  I posted about our seven year anniversary last year!  Here's to 8!  Time really does fly!

Be sure to check out the Charitable Links Page.  I've added a few more links to charities collecting hand made items for their causes, including a link to a charity in New Zealand. that is collecting hand knit penguin jumpers!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something's Brewing...A Halloween Swap

Several weeks ago I signed up to participate in a secret Halloween swap hosted by Debi from  The Bloggerette Sorority Sisters.  It's time to show off the great "stuff" I received from my Bloggerette Sorority sister, Wendy at Bliss Angels!  I'm pretty certain Halloween is one of Wendy's most favorite holidays!  She sent me a box full of Halloween goodies!

Look at the awesome little tote bag, two ATCs, a Gothic arch tag, 3 fat quarters, a package of stickers, a fan, skeleton, and chocolate!  NOTE:  The package of Maltesers were gone within seconds of opening this parcel.  I believe Wendy knows how partial I am to English chocolate bars!

Thanks so much to Wendy and thanks to Debi and The Bloggerette Sorority for sponsoring this Halloween Swap.  To meet the other sister swappers, and view their goodies, including the Halloween treats I sent Cyn, visit The Bloggerette Sorority!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Christmas Commitment

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lately.  Pinterest is probably a major reason for my Yuletide thoughts as is my obsessive browsing on Etsy.  I've decided this will be a handmade year.  I've pledged to either make gifts myself or buy handmade.  I've also pledged to be involved in charitable giving this year.  Every year I "plan" to get involved in a charity, but time always seems to get away from me (insert another excuse here) and my plan fails. This year, however, is going to be different.  No excuses.  There are 70 days until Christmas.  Let the Christmas countdown commence!

I've done a bit of research and have come up with a list of organizations in need of handmade items for the person(s) they serve.  Have a look through this list.  I'm sure you'll find one or two that might help you decide to get involved, too!

Project Linus volunteers, also called, Blanketeers, make blankets for kids who are seriously ill.  These handmade blankets can be quilts, crocheted, knitted, or even made tied fleece.  There are Project Linus chapters in every state.

ConKerr Cancer accepts handmade pillowcases.  These cases are then given to kids  who are battling cancer.  There are ConKerr Cancer chapter nationwide.

The Ships Project is an organization supporting America's military troops.  They accept handmade knitted socks, knitted or crocheted slippers and hats.

Soldiers' Angels Sewing Team also helps out America's military persons.  There are multiple ways to help this organization, but the Sewing Team works to make blankets, sand and "cool" scarves as well as pillowcases.

Binky Patrol is a national organization of volunteers who make and distribute handmade blankets to kids currently in foster care, children born HIV +, infected with AIDS, abused, or chronically or terminally ill.  The blankets can be sewn, crocheted or knitted.

Threads of Compassion is a group of sexual violence survivors based in Chicago.  They support "new" victims by giving them handmade (knit or crochet) scarves when they enter a hospital for emergency treatment.  

Compassionate Creations is a Massachusetts chapter of Threads of Compassion.  This group also helps victims of domestic violence and accepts lap squares (18" to 30" square) and wristbands as well as knit or crocheted scarves.

Carewear volunteers sew, knit, or crochet handmade baby items for hospitals.  There is a huge list of links and patterns on the Carewear website.

Wrap Them in Love is an organization that collects and distributes donated quilts to kids around the world.  This group is based in Washington. 

The Shawl Ministry website has a lot of information (and patterns) about joining and or starting your own Shawl Ministry.  

Obviously this list is only a small percentage of charitable organizations in need of handmade items.  If you are involved in one not listed, please let me know.  I will create a page just for these links.  No excuses.  We can all get involved this year!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A New Look, Part II

By now you've probably noticed the changes I have been making to my blog.  I've lost count on how many times I've changed the header in the past week!  I've been playing around in Photoshop and I came up with the character in the header as well as along the sidebars.  Please grab my new blog button!  I'm thinking of naming my new little characters.  Any suggestions? 

So why all the changes to my blog?  It's time, I guess.  I really love the vintage images I have used since I started blogging, but I want to try something new, fresh, and a little funky!  I hope you stick with me through these changes.  I am really excited about the new look and new ideas I have regarding posts about sewing, knitting, art, food, books, and more!  Speaking of knitting, I've almost finished the scarf I started a few days ago.  Look for it in my Etsy Shop in a few days!  Unfortunately I haven't been able to get into my sewing studio yet, but I think I'll be able to get to it by the weekend.  Thanks so much for your comments and emails wishing me a speedy recovery!  

Oh, if anyone knows an easy way to add post dividers in Blogger, please let me know!

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yo Yo Mountain

So what is it like having a new knee?  It hurts!  I've had a rough time since my last post.  The pain and swelling have been pretty severe.  I'm still confident, however, that it will get better and my recovery will be back on track asap!  

I haven't been able to get into my sewing room, but have made a mountain of Yo Yos and started a new knitting project.  I've also joined Pinterest.  I had seen references to being "pinned," on different blogs, but hadn't visited the site until a few days ago.  I haven't "pinned" a lot of things yet, but I'm starting to get the hang of it!  Are you on Pinterest?  Let me know.  I'd love to see your boards!

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

A New Blog Look

Notice a few changes?  You probably know by now that when I make blog design changes, it usually means I am immobile or otherwise not able to get to my sewing machine easily! The most obvious change is my header.  Usually mannequins creep me out a bit, but I thought these were a little quirky and not at all scary.  You might notice a new profile picture, too.  That's actually me.  Surprised?  I added my "Pages" or Categories under the header.  I need to do a little more tweaking here.  I'm sure there is a way to make the gadgets spaced or aligned better.  There also has to be a way to add images here!  Since I'm pretty much stuck on my butt, I have plenty of time to explore the blogosphere for tips and tricks for more tweaking!  

Thanks to everyone who sent "get well" emails and or left me sweet comments regarding my knee surgery.  My surgery went well and I came home from hospital Saturday afternoon.  All and all my hospital experience was pretty good.  All the nurses and techs were great and treated me really well.  Oh, and my Japanese Fabric Slippers were a huge hit as was my Walker Caddy!  I have a long recovery road ahead, but I feel good and I'm looking forward to a new lease on life with my new knee.  Maybe this is another reason for changing up a few design elements on my blog.  A new knee, a new, positive, outlook on my art, craft, and life in general.  Too cheesey?  Over sentimentalism might be pain pill side effect?  

Besides making changes to the Sew Loquacious blog design, I've made several Yo Yos today.  I convinced my husband to bring me a few bags of fabric scraps, my Yo Yo makers, a pair of scissors, and needle and thread.  Yo Yos are so easy to make, especially with the templates!  I'm hoping to make it into my sewing room soon, but in the meantime, I'm happy making these little circles!  I also have my eye on knitting a few scarves while I on the mend!

Please let me know what you think of my blog design changes.  I really appreciate your feedback!


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