These cards, like most all of my cards, started with trash. This was the pile of cutoffs from the Groovy quilt blocks. Just look at that pretty pile. I couldn't toss it out! Instead I grabbed a sheet of WonderUnder and fused the strips into stripes. (Say that 3 times fast.) It reminded me of all things 60's so the design for a Peace tree came to me quickly. Besides I always have one tree design every year.
I wanted to screen print the Peace lettering so I created a Word document and sent it off to Susan and she had the screen to me in just a couple of days. Getting custom screen made is really easy and not expensive.
I just couldn't accept a solid color Peace. It's easy to get a rainbow effect by overlapping the colors that you apply to the screen. I did have to wipe everything clean every 10 cards or so because it does eventually blend to brown.
It was very peaceful.
The trees were cut and fused to the cards and at this point I was in love!
The fabric bits aren't totally fused so they had to be stitched down. I tried several methods and colors of thread but a simple black outline worked best and set the stage for a colorful serged edge.
This variegated thread was perfect for the edging and one little crystal tops each tree.
I made 30 of these cards.
Usually I make 3 designs each year but this year I actually made a 4th very special design and I'll share that one Monday.
After I finished the blue diamond postcards I still had a big stack of scraps left and one night in October I sewed them all together and made a big piece of "new" fabric. I didn't have a plan for it, I was just play sewing.
A few days later I needed to either put the new fabric away or do something with it. The easy answer always is to cut it into postcard backgrounds and that's how this new card design started. I thought they might look nice with a Spirograph motif on them for a stylized snowflake look.
It took a surprisingly long time to get to this point. I tried getting the designs to work on fabric but I just couldn't get a sharp white line. So I broke my rule of not buying supplies for postcards and ordered some krafttex. That's awesome stuff! You can sew it like fabric but it's also like paper. I'm going to have to play with it some more. But for now I have bright white snowflakes. They looked a little lost on that background.
A rummage through the Drawer of Magical Things unearthed this white fabric that had been over-painted with pearlized paint.
That's what it needed!
All they needed after that was backing and some edging. I got 23 cards out of that pile of blue scraps.
Over the next several days I'm going to be sharing this year's Christmas postcards. I was very happy to get all of them done by December 1 and now I'm finally editing the photos to share. First up are the Blue Diamond postcards.
When I make the sample quilts for Paula Nadelstern I like to try to use some of the scrap fabrics in my Christmas postcards.
These are the fabrics that I started with from her new Artful Snowflake line. I made my "I'm Not a Snowflake" quilt and it involved a lot of fussy cutting so the remnant fabrics looked like a lot of Swiss cheese.
I decided on a framed diamond shape. I started by cutting as many symmetrical diamond shapes as I could from the scraps. That turned out to be 21. I added a frame in black. I also had a lot of cut off corners from that fabric that looks like beads. They were perfect for making the frames. Some of the frames are narrow and some are wide. That's because some of the diamonds were smaller than others based on the scrap of fabric that I had for the symmetrical design.
After I serged the edges black I thought it needed a little something else and for Christmas cards that something is almost always crystals.
I made 21 of these card.
Fabric of the Week - Blue Sky
This week's newsletter is all about sky elements for your art quilts.
The first sky element fabrics that I made were the Blue Sky Shades Pack and Blue Sky Gradient and they continue to be the most popular fabrics for sky landscapes.
Patricia Caldwell used the Blue Sky Gradient in her Red Rock Sunrise quilt at left.
Both Blue Sky Shades and Blue Sky Gradient are 20% off through Sunday!
New Stash Pack!
Keeping with the sky theme, Skyscapes is the newest Stash Pack in the shop. This pack was designed with sky elements in mind. Each Stash Pack contains 10 fat eighths. In this set there are 5 streaky fabrics in blends of yellow to gold, orange, pink, purple and blue for a sunset effect. There are five different mottled blues for bright and dusky skies. These can be combined with sheer fabrics, cheesecloth or fibers to add cloud elements.
Other Sky Fabrics
If you need larger pieces of sky element fabrics check out the Reflections fabrics. Here are few that were created specifically for sky elements. See all of the Reflections fabrics here.
I had grand goals and didn't quite get them all done. But it was still a good month and I'm happy with everything I got done. Here's were I sit with the goals I had:
- grout both mosaics - haven't done this yet. I did buy the grout for the backsplash but I have to do it when I can leave the windows on the basement open for a few days. The grout off-gasses so I have to ventilate. Hopefully it will get done soon.
- 4th of July quilt - done!
- both Groovy quilts - one is done and the other is under construction
- Dog Gone Cute quilt - hope to get it quilted this month
- sunprint veteran's quilts - had I taken these on my Thanksgiving weekend trip as planned they would be done. I'll get them wrapped up this week
- Plus the 80 Christmas postcards. - I didn't expect to get all of these done in November, but I did. I'll be posting them later this week.
Here are my number through November:
Starting UFO 18 (15 in 2018)
Finished YTD 12
Started YTD 8
Ending UFO 14
Veterans quilts made - 7
Veterans quilts quilted - 40
Fabric Postcards - 64
Pet Beds 12
Quilted for others - 4
By the end of December I will have added over 80 postcards to the count and might have my UFO number down to close to 10. My goals for the month are:
- Finish Groovy 2
- Finish Dog Gone Cute
- Finish the sun print veterans quilts
- Grout the backsplash mosaic
If I can get those down I'll end the year with a record low of 10 UFO projects. At this point I want next year to be about tackling some of my more involved longarm quilting projects. I only have 2 projects that I want to start but I won't cut into either until these last 4 projects are done, even if it's not until February
I've been watching a lot of football this month so my reading time has been restricted some. But I still made it through 8 books. It's was a pretty mediocre month of books but I loved Bloody Genius and Watching You.
What have you been reading?
By Jennifer Weiner, Read By Ari Graynor and Beth Manone
Two sisters grow up in 1950's Detroit and we follow them through their lives to modern times. In their journey they experience every possible feminist/progressive conundrum: religious discrimination, racism, sexual molestation/rape, lesbianism, interracial relationships, drug culture, free love and the predictable consequences, motherhood (or not), etc.
The author envisions that she is presenting a modern day Little Women and goes so far as to name her characters Jo and Beth and then makes them so self-absorbed that they aren't particularly likable. They don't seem particularly self-aware or aware of the consequences their actions have on themselves or others. As young people, don't seem to really give their decisions a lot of thought to begin with. They both are followers and fall into relationships or groups almost by happenstance. One part that really bothered me was Beth (as an adult) blaming Jo for something that happened to her when they were both teens that Jo didn't know about but, when she did find out, helped her fix. The meltdown later in life was unfair and unrealistic.
It's not a bad book but it's not great. It's really predictable and is clearly written to appeal to and fire up the modern day feminist. It seems to convey a message that consequences are unfair and that sentiment certainly feeds from current social thought.
Two things I found really interesting. One is that there are lots of sex scenes but the only ones described in detail are the lesbian scenes. Scenes between men and women are glossed over. I feel like she was doing that purposely to try to make certain readers particularly uncomfortable and I think it's a cheap trick.
Secondly, aside from their strong father, the book is all about women from start to finish. In the end there seems to finally be some family peace and it all centers on a little boy. That doesn't seem so feminist after all. Women can't get along without men in their lives?
The Fifth Column
By Andrew Gross, Ready By Eduardo Ballerini (my favorite narrator)
This is the third book that I've read from Andrew Gross. I almost didn't read it because it didn't meet my 10-hour minimum but I got it from the library (free) and that made it OK. :)
The fifth column is a term used to refer to any group that works to undermine a larger group from within. In this case it's Nazi sympathizers in NYC in 1940 working to wage war on the US from within.
Charles Mossman is 2 years out of jail from a drunken mistake and trying to rebuild a relationship with his 6 year old daughter and get his life back together. He comes to suspect that the kind Swiss neighbors are actually part of a sinister Nazi conspiracy. The problem is that Charles has no credibility and no one believes him. Once Pearl Harbor happens the conspiracy is activated and Charles is the only one who can see it but now his daughter is in danger.
This isn't as good as Button Man partly because Charles isn't a very sympathetic character. He makes a lot of bad and naive decisions that you can see coming from a mile away. But it's well written and a good story.
A Beautiful Place to Die
By Malla Nunn, Read By Saul Reichlin
This is the 1st in the Emmanuel Cooper series. The book is set in 1952 South Africa and Cooper is sent to a remote town ti investigate the murder of the local police captain. It is set the early days of Apartheid so the plot is complicated by the relationships between black, white and blended South Africa.
I have mixed feelings about the book. I liked the characters and the plot but for some reason I had a hard time sticking with it. It seemed to take some work to keep up. I'm not sure I'll read others in the series although I did enjoy having a totally different setting and environment for a story.
Behind Her Eyes
By Sarah Pinborough, Read By various readers
This book was recommended by a friend. I read the summary and didn't think I would like it (because it's not my genre) but I decided to give it a try when I saw that I could get it from the library for free.
Louise is a single Mom and a secretary. One night she meets a man in a bar and she feels a deep attraction. They only kiss and then he's gone until she arrives at work the following Monday and finds out he's her new boss. She meets his wife, Adele, while they are on a tour of the clinic offices. Later she bumps into Adele and they become friends. Now she's involved in both of their lives.
One the one hand it's a love triangle but it's also a dark psychological thriller. I was good with it up to that point and about half way through I realized that there was going to be a need to dispense with reality. I'll only say that there's an exploration of lucid dreams. Once I saw that coming I searched the web to find out the ending, realized that I would hate it and I stopped reading. I don't even like the idea of Disneyland's made up world as a vacation idea so this book was never really going to appeal to me.
All that said, if you like psychological thrillers or fantasy/mystical books I think you would really enjoy this. It's a very unique storyline and it's well written. It's just not my bag.
By Lisa Jewell, Read By Gabrielle Glaister
I don't know which of you is responsible for introducing me to Lisa Jewell but, thank you. I've found a new "must read" author. This is the second Jewell book I've read and I really enjoyed both of them.
Set on an upscale street in fictional Melville Heights in Bristol, England amid the famous painted houses. The cast of characters include Tom Fitzwilliam, local school headmaster, his wife and teen aged son who likes to spy on people in the area. Joey Mullen, newly married and living with her brother and pregnant SIL, a student with a mother who thinks that Tom is spying on her and a student with a crush on Tom. It's all complex and integrated but not so complex that you can't follow it.
You know early on what happened at the end but you don't know who or why. I was hooked by this very clever book. The narrator was excellent too. I'm off to reserve another Jewell book at the library.
Songs of Willow Frost
By Jamie Ford, Read By Ryan Gesell
This is my second book by Ford. I absolutely loved the first one, Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
This one is similar. It's set in Depression-era Seattle and centers on a young boy who has been living in Sacred heart Orphanage since his mother's body was carried away from their apartment 5 years ago. One day he and the other orphans are taken to a local theater where he sees the actress Willow Frost and he's convinced that she is his mother.
He and his blind friend, Charlotte, escape to find her.
I didn't think it was a good as his first book but it's still good. It's quite dark and I feel like he has done a lot of research into the reality of life for Chinese people in Seattle during that time.
The Child Finder
By Rene Denfeld, Read By Alyssa Bresnahan
This another example of a book that I took a risk on simply because I could get it free from the library. I was underwhelmed.
The premise is good. Madison Culver has been missing for 3 years in Oregon's Skoookum National Forest. She would be 8 years old now. Naomi is everyone's last hope. She's known as The Child Finder because of "unique" investigative techniques to find missing children. Naomi was once a missing child herself.
As she searches for Madison (and another child recently missing) she starts to remember things from her own past.
This would have been really good if Naomi used techniques that are actually different and special. Her techniques are very basic investigative techniques and there's no way those techniques wouldn't have been used by the real investigators 3 years earlier. The community is also small and people would have noticed the things that she was asking about all on their own.
Abduction is a pretty dark topic so be prepared if you decided to read this one.
By John Sandford, Read By Eric Conger
I've been waiting for this book for weeks from the library. This is #12 in the Virgil Flowers series. At a local university a renowned researcher is found dead at the library. After the investigation languishes for 2 weeks Virgil is called in to assist.
There are ideological zealots, ex-wives and a daughter among the possible suspects.
Like all Sandford novels it's fast paced and funny. It was a good ending to the month.
Next up is Elton John's autobiography.
I watched football last night so I was able to finish the binding on the first Groovy quilt. Click over to the Gallery to read more and see the cool tie dyed back.
I am allergic to literally dozens of foods with the big ones being wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, onions, garlic and the really big one, chlorophyll. I pretty much can't eat any vegetable that grows above ground or any fruit with a green rind or peel. My food selections are very limited and that's one reason that I don't enjoy cooking. But I've never really enjoyed cooking, I'm more of a baker. I have a few gluten free vegan dessert recipes that work for me but it doesn't get a little boring. Periodically I get a new cookbook or scour the web for some new dessert recipes. It's always an ordeal because invariably they call for 3 flours that I don't generally stock but once ever few years I give it a try.
That try was this weekend and, as usual, it was about 90% failure. My goal was lemon meringue pie. The meringue part is easy. Aquafaba has solved that for everyone. I needed a lemon curd that didn't rely on soy or cashews. I tried 2 different recipes that had rave reviews and after a day of cooking I ended up with 2 slime pies. They were so gross and I made them EXACTLY to the recipes. But I did get a better pie crust so that will help a couple of my other recipes.
I moved on to looking for gingerbread. The gingerbread cookies tasted like metal (which happens a lot with GF vagan baking) but I landed on a big winner with a Gingerbread Loaf. I didn't add the chocolate chips, that seemed a bit much. But the loaf was delicious. I haven't had gingerbread since I was able to eat the one that my Mom used to make.
So after a weekend of wasting a lot of food products (which is necessary from time to time) I do have one more great recipe to add to my small recipe folder.
In between frustrating cooking sessions and massive cleaning up sessions I needed a little peace and got started on the third set of Christmas cards. The first step was screen printing the cards.
Using the leftover edges of my Groovy quilts I'm making peace trees. I"m getting all of the cards to the edge stitching stage and will do that all at once on the serger.
During football yesterday afternoon I fused and cut 3 yards of fabric for postcard backs. This is what's left after I fused the cards that are ready so far. I like keeping a stash of pre-fused backs. It makes the process so much faster for the next set.
These are all ready for the finishing edges and maybe a little bling of crystals.
I have 12 more cards to make with these little Hardanger embroideries that I made years ago. They were meant to be ornament gifts for my family. Now they will be postcards for my family instead. Last night I started planning the design.
I think it's going to be something like this. I had this old cross stitch angel and turned it into a card too. It's better to make something with it than letting it continue to languish in a bin. I think she turned out pretty cute.
I won't be posting much this week. Maybe tomorrow or Wednesday and not again until Saturday or Monday. If you are in the US I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Yesterday was an abnormal day for me because I spent a lot of it in the kitchen. That's not really my "milieu" but periodically I get in a baking mood and I'm in the mood to try out some new gluten-free vegan desserts. About 80% of GFV dessert recipes are disgusting but you have to give them a try to find the one or two gems. I did find a great bread recipe recently from this book. It's amazing and will do nothing for my desire to lose 5 pounds. (It's only a desire, not a requirement.)
But trying new recipes means finding the 45 different GF flours that the recipes call for. I had most of them but needed 2 new ones. I struck out at both places I went to yesterday so will try on the other side of town today where I'm going to, hopefully, buy a new chair. If you are short you know how difficult it is to find comfortable chairs. My favorite is a Stressless chair that I bought about 20 years ago. I'm hoping to easily replace it with pretty much the same chair without the cracked leather effect.
Aside from making (and eating) bread, the only thing I really accomplished yesterday was to get these shopping totes washed out. These are for gifts for a group of friend that meets each month. Only one of them reads my blog and she already requested potholders instead so it's OK if she sees them. They don't look like much here.
But each one was screen printed with Color Magnet before dyeing. Where the Color Magnet is applied the dyed concentrates. Each pair of bags is different and I'll show them after they are ironed and I've determined that they are actually finished. You can see a tablecloth that I dyed with this method by scrolling down to the Other Projects in my 2015 Gallery.
My primary goal for the weekend is to do no more shopping. After that I want to get Groovy 2 together, finishing binding Groovy 1 and work on the Christmas postcards.
Yesterday was "dyeing day" and I usually don't get much done on Wednesday other than that. But I had these 2 veterans quilts loaded and one was already quilted so before dinner I finished the second one. The one on the right is folded to show the backing color. For quilts that were conceived just to get another UFO off my list, I'm really happy with these 2 quilts. The binding fabric is in the dye bath so I should be able to get these bound next week. That means at least 2, probably 3 and maybe 4 finishes for November.
Today I'm going to work on some Christmas cards and do some stitching on the Groovy binding. I might even get a row or 2 of Big Groovy together.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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