Friday, October 31, 2014

Zero Calorie Candy Corn

Happy Halloween!
Halloween was my youngest son's favorite holiday when he was young.  Not only did you get to dress up, but people then gave you candy. That was a double bonus. Now as adults, his wife loves Halloween too and their old Victorian house is decorated both inside and out with spider webs and other spooky things.

But candy isn't good for everyone, so I made my own treat for my grandson. It's a healthy treat - a candy corn toss game.

I started by making a pattern for the candy corns on white fabric.
 I sewed around each one leaving a space for the filling.

After filling it, I sewed it shut. I created this liner so the filling would not leak out.
I filled it with crushed walnuts so beans would never be a choking hazard.

I made 5 of them, one for each letter of his name.
Then I made the outside by sewing three strips of fabric together.

I added the letters for his name with ric rak.  Don't they look spooky?

Laying the bean bag on top of the background, I placed the candy corn strip piece on top and stitched around it.
This is what it lloked like from behind.
after cutting the edges with pinking sheers.

 And then I found this plastic pumpkin bucket from when his Dad was little.  
I think Henry will like it.
Trick or Treat!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Great Retreat

I'm just getting organized after spending 3 days hosting my Pet Portrait Retreat at our lakehouse in the Poconos.  It was 24/7 of sewing, eating, talking and laughing.  Everyone made great progress and I felt they left with the tools needed to finish the quilt.

We used every square inch of the house.

 Can you see my Accuquilt Studio cutter behind Roz?
 When your quilt is made up of 1,296 squares, their 2" die cutter is a beautiful thing. 
 It cuts 60 squares at a time.

 When I arrived at the lake to prep for my guests, my son and DIL were there.  Loren had gone to the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival with her Mom.  It was a convenient place for them to stay.
I was thrilled when she offered to stay and help me with the cooking for the retreat.  I took it as an opportunity to further entice her with quilting, because the pet quilt I was planning on creating was a portrait of their dog, Cooper. It was supposed to be a surprise.  Instead I taught her the techniques and she just ran with it.
I ended up being her assistant! I did the grunt work of sewing the pieces together.  We got pretty far working as a team.

To make my map, I printed the photo of Cooper and placed a clear grid over it.
 The pattern starts to take shape using 2" squares of fabric following the grid.
Here's a close-up of the ear.
I chain pieced the top in sections.  See how much it shrinks?

 The top half is done!
Here are the start of more pet portraits:

Roz and Reggie
Wisps of Reggie's fur

Teresa and   Rosie (
Rosie's nose
 Grace and her owner, Cheryl
Grace's eye

 Luna and Rose
A Luna close-up

You can see from the close-ups that these quilts are not pixilated.  The grids are used to piece the details.  This makes the quilts look realistic. I'm looking forward to seeing them quilted and bound.

I was delighted to receive an e-mail from one of the quilters, after she arrived home that said:
"I want to thank you for a relaxing creative weekend, I feel recharged!"
I have tentatively schedule another Pet Mosaic Retreat in June.  June 12-14 th of 2015, also at the lake house.  If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Outlander Cowel

For all of you Outlander fans, and I know there are a lot of you based on the response to my post about my DIL's knitting with her hand carved tree branch needles, here's the finished cowel. We thought it was appropriate to photograph it in a woodsy setting.   It did not take long at all to knit and for you knitters, she used a garter kitchner stitch to join the ends.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Outlander Knitting

My friends are Outlander lovers.  They love both the books and the television show.
When I saw what my DIL was knitting I just had to share with everyone who loves Outlander. 
She is making an Outlander Cowel!
She didn't want to buy size 50 plastic knitting needles, so in the spirit of Outlander, she took 2 branches from the yard, stripped off the bark and carved her own knitting needles.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Good Bye Bali

This will be my last psot about my trip to Bali.  I want to share the process that we used to make our own batik fabric.  These were the photos that were orphaned on my new camera.  I borrowed an adapter and was able to transfer the photos to my computer.

On our first day we hit the ground running and visited this batik "factory".  It was very hot and we needed the fans that were given to us as part of a welcoming gift.  I saw headers for Princess Mirah, a brand that you can find in some of our local quilt shops.  There are lots of these independent factories all over Bali.  They are considered subcontractors.

Walking down the driveway, we saw this prepared batik drying in the sun.
 Then we entered the shed and saw these rows of beautiful batiks hanging to dry.
We chose a pre-dyed piece of fabric and a chop to stamp our design.
Our chops were created from strips of metal swirled and bent into designs.  Of course I chose a circle design. The first step is to dip the chop in melted wax and stamp the fabric
to cover the entire piece of fabric.
This is what it looked like completely stamped.

The next step was to dye it with another color. This was not my fabric.
I chose orange. My fabric would remain pink where it was stamped with wax.  .
The wet piece is being scrunched before it is sprinkled with the mordant.
They added a third color, green to my piece.
The next step is to remove the wax with hot water.  Sometimes this is the last step and sometimes they add another layer of dye starting with the wax resist.

You may be asking how they create  consistent product.  That is exactly my question
Here is my finished batik

and here is Don's.  He started with a light blue piece of fabric.
And today is the day to pick the winner of the batik giveaway. There were many comments left here, via email and on facebook, I have picked a random name.  The winner is: sewcalgal
Congratulations!  Hope you make something fun.

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