Monday, 22 December 2008

Merry Christmas

It's been quite a busy time here getting cards and presents done but finally I can relax and do some stitching without deadlines looming. I decided to get my cousin's daughter a subscription to National Geographic for Christmas but as it takes a while to come through I couldn't go over with nothing on Christmas Day so made her a quilted padfolio inside which I will put a note about the real present.

Also for her brother and his partner are the obligatory Thorntons chocolates and fudge in a box.

I really like these boxes, they are quick and easy to make and can be made with almost anything.

The other thing that has kept me busy has been a mammoth dyeing session. I managed to get a good variety of fabric done although unfortunately the velvet was a complete disaster which was a shame as it was the last of my roll.  Ah well, not everything works out as planned. After the New Year I will be doing the Pass it Forward blog for anyone who would like some hand dyed fabric so keep viewing. I am on nights on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day so it won't be until January 2nd probably. I must admit that I am not looking forward to New Year's Eve as it is the busiest night of the year for us, the phones ring incessantly, on the up side though it does tend to pass more quickly than the usual shifts.  Here is a little preview of some of the fabric that did dye well.

I have taken up the Black and White challenge this year which is to make a quilt in black and white and one colour. I paid a visit to my local quilt shop last week and got myself some lovely fabric as my stash is sadly lacking in black and white. I have been thinking of doing a series of 'daisy quilts' using Photoshop to manipulate the images. That is my other main challenge this year, to become really proficient with Photoshop.

As this is likely to be the last post before Christmas I wish all my blogging friends a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2009.

Maggi     xx

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Something to share

I have had some lovely arrivals lately that I would like to share with you. Firstly I ordered two of Virginia Spiegel's 'Peace' series works which arrived very promptly and are lovely. I keep finding different things in them. She has a special offer on these until December 31st so do check them out as well as her other work.

I also received some hand painted fabric from Donna as part of a Pay It Forward 'swap. These are lovely and I already have some ideas whizzing around about how to use them.

I will be inviting readers to partake in this at the beginning of the new year when I will be offering some hand dyed silk and velvet once I have had a dyeing session. The following pics are samples of some that I did quite some time ago, just to give you an idea.

I have just noticed that the velvet does not show up too well in the photo so have scanned it as well.

I have also had the result of my OU course, some of you may remember that my stress levels rose at the beginning of October in anticipation of the exam. The stress was worth it as I passed, no Distinction this year but I was not expecting one as I had to miss out on one of the assignments due to illness. Now just have to make the most of the next 9 months until I start the next course in October - Greek Literature in Translation. This course involves learning Ancient Greek!!

I almost forgot to mention, do check out the Charms for Charity Contest link on the right. It does not require anything creative, just a little time cutting up six 5" fabric squares and mailing them to Canada, with the added incentive that you may win some squares back. I sent some off last week and it hasn't even made a dent in my stash!

That's all for now as I have to go and start making Christmas presents so that I can hopefully get them finished before Christmas Eve this year. Will try and post again before Christmas but if not I hope that you all have a happy and stress-free time.


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

An epiphany?

I was working on a challenge quilt for TQS when I realised just how much I enjoy working with fabrics. I have been doing so much lately with mixed media which, when used on fabrics, really changes the feel of the fabric and quite frankly does not make them enjoyable to stitch. I also began to feel that my individuality is suppressed when working on some of the techniques in earlier blogs and what I end up creating begins to look so much like everyone else's work. I have decided that from now on I will concentrate upon creating pieces that are primarily fabric. The other techniques that I have acquired will not be wasted as many of them lend themselves to gift making.

The quilt that I have just finished is in memory of my two beautiful cats, Heathcliffe the larger one and Fawzi the little one. They were such good pals and both died in December months. The background is strip pieced and heavily quilted with the window frames and the cats appliqued afterwards. If you look carefully in the bottom right corner you can just see a robin behind Fawzi - he never was a very good hunter, always waited for Cliff to bring things in for him to play with. Cliff was a prolific hunter but never never killed anything except once when he caught a rat - was I grateful that he didn't bring that one in alive!

These are my two boys in real life. Cliff having taken over the old Landrover and Fawzi as a baby.

Having bought some Moonshadow Mists and Ranger Paintsprays for my mixed media work I decided to try them out on fabric to see what sort of effect they would create. They have worked out quite well and apart from making the fabric only slightly stiffer I think it is a good option to use when I don't want to have a dyeing session. The effect of the Moonshadow MIst does not show well on the photos but it gives them a subtle shimmer. I tried it out on both Pima cotton and Kona cotton and was surprised at the difference in intensity. I don't know whether they would wash but as most of my works do not get washed it does not really matter.

Pima cotton

For some reason the server is not responding to the Kona cotton image so I will try to edit that one in later. In the meantime I now have to go to work. Only today and two night shifts and then no more until December 28th so lots of time to play.

Got home from work and blogger has decided to co-operate so can now post the image of the Kona cotton

Kona cotton

Monday, 1 December 2008

Boxes finished

The boxes for the presents for this week are at last finished. One is for a very dear friend of 51 years and will contain the brooch that is so her. I did not make the brooch, it was bough at Chatsworth Country Fair back in August and I am afraid to say that I lost the maker's card. She is from derbyshire and makes the most beautiful felted jackets.

The other one is for a 50 year old male who I have known since he was 14 - now I do feel old. I am going to fill it with Thorntons chocolates, not very imaginative I know but what do you get men as presents. He is having a 'beer and skittles' party on Saturday at a local pub which is great as I really don't like parties very much. I used pre cut Grungeboard letters and shapes for the tops and the sides and quite like the effect. Next time I would use some stitching but I was pushed for time with these.

My priority for now is getting my Christmas cards made. I normally end up posting at the last minute but am determined to be more organised this year. Thank you to those of you who commented on the quilts in the previous blog. I am going to live with them for a month and then make a decision.