Saturday, May 26, 2012

42 UFO's is now Snips and Threads

For those who see my blog on their blog roll, you may notice a new blog name you didn't realize you were following.  After some soul-searching, I have changed the name of my blog.  The way I did it doesn't appear to have affected my "followers" list so hopefully I won't lose anyone from my small group! :)

Why the change?  I feel that over the last two years of blogging and creating, I have evolved a bit and the blog name 42 UFO's isn't reflecting that evolution.  I will always be a quilter, but I've been having a great time experimenting with different genres!  It would be nice if the blog name were more reflective of that.  Snips and Threads is a name I came up with some time ago as a business name, you know, to sell projects I've actually finished!  It's the name of my empty Etsy shop and the name of a decades-old dream of an arts and crafts career.

My original idea for blogging my progress on  the quilting UFO's still exists.  I've moved 42 UFO's to it's own topic-specific blog.  You can still follow my progress there-I just finished a quilt last night-yay!

I hope you will follow along as I try something new, experiment, learn and dream!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Needlebook Swappin' Part II

Each time I have done a swap, I have an initial idea in my mind of what I would like to create, and I typically second guess it.  This causes wasted time in actually starting my projects.  Big surprise there that I have a procrastination problem!  For the needlebook I would create, I first thought of doing something colorful and kitschy.  However, I had long ago clipped a page from Country Living magazine showing a French inspired needlebook.  Oh which way to go!  I made two gathering piles for both styles.  Once I did a little emailing with my swap partner Margaret, who loves 40's and 50's vintage items, I realized my first idea was the one to choose...and it was so much fun!

My inspiration came as I searched through my very unorganized stash.  I was trying to pull out a container with various bits of vintage ribbon when two pocket-size composition books fell out.  I bought them when I purchased full-size notebooks to use for an art journal project.  Then the inspiration came!!  How cute would it be to use a composition book for a needlebook!  Here is my first attempt at a tutorial...

I carefully pulled out the pages so I could use just the cover.  Then I measured and cut felt "pages" to be attached later in the process.  The felt pages were cut along the edges with pinking shears to add a decorative touch.  Cotton and wool flannel are also good choices for needlebook pages, and the pinking will keep the edges from fraying.

I carefully measured and cut a piece of paper to cover the inside of the notebook just in case the felt "pages" didn't quite cover the cardboard.  Before gluing the paper in place, I glued in a piece of baker's twine to use for a loop closure.  You can see it sticking out on the left side of the photo below.  I set the felt pages inside the book temporarily to help me measure how big the loop should be.  The next step was to stitch red ric rac all around the edge.  After this, I glued the black polka-dot paper to the inside of the cover.  Once I got going, I forgot to photograph some of the steps-sorry! :)

This photo shows the full cover laid open with all the embellishments stitched or glued in place.  I used a universal needle in the machine and set the stitch length just a bit longer so the cardboard wouldn't be as likely to perforate from all the little needle holes.  Once the needle is used on paper and cardboard, it's ruined for fabric.  I keep these needles in a separate box so I can reuse them in other paper stitching projects.  When you are sewing fabric, it's best to have a nice sharp, new needle.

The Sewing Is Fun image was printed on fabric made especially for printers.  I love working with it.  You can find it at most craft and sewing stores.  Sadly I have no idea where this image came from originally.  That was before I knew how important it was to give credit to sources (thanks Pinterest!).
After cutting out the printed image, which had to be reprinted when I forgot to mirror image it, I stitched it to a square of blue fabric and then stitched the piece directly to the front of the composition book cover.

The image for the back of the cover was stamped on fabric and then stitched to the same fabric used on the front.  I then sewed buttons on the front "spine."  The scissor button was one I've had for so many years and was intended for a quilted wall hanging that I never actually made!  All along it was meant for this project anyway.  I love when that happens!

I sewed a vintage green button to the front of the cover near the edge to use for the loop closure.

With the cover art complete, a closure in place and the edge trim stitched on it's time to add the inside pages.  For this needlebook, I didn't want to have too many pages since it would make it hard to keep closed.  Basically there are two felt pieces.  The larger piece has a red plaid pocket.  I cut a piece to fit and ironed under the edge and added a ribbon trim for the to of the pocket.  The pocket was then sewed to the larger of the felt pages along the sides and bottom.  For the smaller page, I decided it need a little jazzing up so I used a decorative machine stitch on the edges.  It shows on both sides of the page.  Carefully holding the felt pages in place, I stitched them through the spine of the book.  I did three rows of stitching for stability and also to help the book keep it's shape.  Now the needlebook is finished!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Needlebook Swappin' Part I

This spring I participated in another fabulous swap hosted by Laurie Jackson of the Button Floozies.  I'm not officially a button collector, but they let me come play too, and I had so much fun with the Needlebook Swap!  Being the procrastinator I am, it took me a couple weeks to finally decide what I would make.  In fact, I started working on two different styles before I narrowed my decision. 

In the meantime, my swap partner, Marsha Cassada from Oklahoma had already finished her project and sent it to me almost two weeks before the due date.  That certainly helped light a fire under me, and it was a such an amazing surprise to find it in the mail!  This is what I found after opening the box:

The needlebook was wrapped in tissue with dried flowers from Marsha's own property and tied with lovely ribbon and a leather button.  It was so pretty I didn't even want to unwrap it!!  I'm glad I finally did since this is the needlebook Marsha made for me...

It's called a "huswif."  I had to look up the word and discovered it's a traditional needlebook style going back a couple centuries.  The strawberry emery is made from Civil War era clothing.  I actually got chills when I read that in Marsha's letter!  My boys were very impressed with that bit of information.  Naturally they are fascinated with anything having to do with war.

The inside of the "huswif" was filled with supplies necessary for any woman to care for her household.  There is a multipurpose tool which also impressed my boys!  I haven't seen anything quite like it before and told them it was kind of like a mom's pocket knife, and no, you guys are not allowed to use it!  There are also some band-aids, a vintage thread card and an emergency two dollar bill.  Marsha explained that she gives these needlebooks as gifts to her nieces and other new brides.  I started using mine immediately and it has been very handy with the pockets that are big enough to hold a spool of thread for binding quilts.  Marsha also shared with me some lovely vintage buttons I can now add to my small supply.  Best of all, she also sent instructions for making a "huswif."

What I love about doing swaps is how you get to see how artists put pieces of themselves in the work they share.  Marsha has a love of vintage and time-worn items that she shared with me.  It's a style I might not have come up with for myself and that's what makes this little "huswif" needlebook so special.

Up next will be the needlebook I made for my partner Margaret Parks.

Artful Gathering: An Amazing Event

My kids are winding down the school year.  My college student is back home (and all his laundry is done!), my 8th grader finishes his classes on Friday, the two younger boys are out on Wednesday, and my daughter has finals next week for her junior year of high school.  I need to hit Costco and Sam's to stock up the freezer and pantry!!  I do look forward to the summer break with it's slightly slower schedule.  This summer I'm doing something a little different...

Mom is going to school!!  I have registered for some online classes with Artful Gathering.

I'm very excited about the classes I have chosen--so far.  They all look so good, but I have to be realistic and not over commit myself.  I chose a drawing class called Hopping into Soft Pastels with Elizabeth Johnson to help me get back into drawing again.  When I was young, I always had a sketch book with me.  Since having children, I have barely scribbled anything!  I love paints but don't have much experience with them so I am also doing Sweet Art with Jodi Ohl.  It looks like it will be big, messy fun!!

Happily, there is also a quilting related class.  There are two sessions of Artful Gathering offered, and I have signed up for both!  I am doing a Crazy Quilted Accessory Case with Pat Winter.  I already ordered the supply kit and can't wait to get my hands on all the silks!  Another class I couldn't resist is Make Every Minute Count with Cat Kerr.  It's a mixed media angel doll that will combine my love of textiles and sewing with assemblage.  This one will really get me out of the box!

All the classes look like so much fun I might just have to sign up for a couple more!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday was a lovely Mother's Day.  My oldest son made it home Saturday night from his first year of college at the University of Arizona.  We have him home now for the summer which I can already feel will go by too fast.  We had brunch on Sunday after church at a lovely country club.  Brunch is one of my favorite things in the world.  Maybe it has something to do with being able to drink mimosas before noon!  When we got home, the kids surprised me with a gift that really touched me.

It's only been in the last few years that I have been doing mixed media work.  My collection of vintage ephemera is quite small, but thanks to the kids, it's growing!  They went to a local antique shop on Saturday and found an old tin recipe box filled with vintage Valentine cards.  Then they found a couple spools of vintage lace and lots of old rusty keys--something I really love!  Then they found a bottle filled with vintage buttons!

Part of the reason the kids went to the antique store is because my "real" present is on back order until July.  The little necklace you see next to the keys is supposed to have five little birthstone charms.  The necklace itself came in, but the charms are back ordered.  It's really very sweet that they still wanted me to have a nice gift.  I would have been perfectly happy if they hadn't ordered the necklace at all, but I had hinted at it when I saw it in a catalog.  It's just so sweet how they payed attention and went out of their way!  Most especially, my teenage daughter initiated the trip to the antique store.  A love for vintage items has become something we share.  In fact, Maddy has been using vintage finds in her artwork at school.

She was one of the only students to use vintage pieces rather than the new store-bought colorful beads most of the girls used.  My husband showed Maddy how to safely cut sheet metal and use the band saw to cut her wood pieces.  I helped her with pointers on proper "glass-shattering techniques."  She really enjoyed that part!  This summer I will have to show her how to do mosaic.  It's so much fun to share a passion for art with children.  When they were small, I didn't probably do enough arts and crafts with them.  I'm happy to know that it's never too late to cultivate a love for arts!

Yesterday was Mother's Day and it was a lovely day.  However 15 years ago today, my third child, Alexander James was born!  He was the cutest baby ever!  Now he towers over me.

Happy Birthday Alex!