Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fake snow for a southern Christmas...



We have had a busy month!  We had a bad storm on a Saturday evening that blew down about 20 trees before Thanksgiving.  A couple were over the driveway, so we had to cut ourselves out on the following Sunday (don't look at my fingernails...).  I've been cutting and dealing with trees ever since!  Then, there was holiday company...for longer than just Thanksgiving.

It has been hard, but somehow I have managed to carve out some time to make Christmas ornaments for us and family.  This makes up for no time in the quilt cave.

I saw something like this snow scene ornament on Pinterest, but it involved glitter, which I try not to use.  People say glitter is the Herpes of the craft world, and I agree.

I just happened to see these tiny styrofoam balls near the craft foam at JoAnn's (which aren't much better than glitter, but sea creatures don't eat them...yet).  I think it is used to give homemade "slime" some texture.  Yuck.


So, I decided to make ornaments for my younger sisters of their kids and a couple of my daughter.  I wanted a sort of specific pose so I had my husband pose.  I wanted to take a picture to text to my sisters for photo-taking guidance.  My brothers' kids are too old for such nonsense.  

My husband obliged, and became my model.

They are supposed to look like they are playing in the snow.


He is such a good sport...


So, only sister #1 so far has followed instructions and sent me pictures.



Asa's turned out pretty well, even if my picture did not...


And quite seriously, I could not help myself from doing the following...


Ho-ho-ho!

I had an old picture of my daughter playing in a leaf pile and thought that I would try it for the first ornament to perfect (ha-ha) the technique.  None of the pictures from making the first couple of these ornaments turned out, too dark, so I made a few more ornaments to show the details, in case you want to make some, too.

The only big mistake I made was not allowing enough border around the posed pictures and they were too big for the 90mm (3-1/2 inch) ornament I wanted to use.  So, would you believe I took pictures of pictures to get the right size?!?  Crazy!


If you are going to make these, take a few shots at different distances from your subject.  Or just go through your pile of extra pictures to see if something you already have will work.

Step One:

I used a 90 mm (3-1/2 inch) "flat ball fillable ornament" (from either www.factorydirect.com or www.craftoutlet.com and there are certainly other sources). 



These snap apart to play with, then when you are finished you just put a little glue to secure it where the two halves are put together.

You can also use a regular completely round fillable ornament, or other available shapes.  They just need to snap open for these to work.

This following example is 70mm because the other older older picture of my daughter that I found was too small (the Dogwood tree blossoms look like snow on her hands...go figure).


Step Two:

Fussy cut the image, leaving HAND EXTENSIONS and a lot of extra photo for the BASE.  Omitting these areas, cut carefully with small, sharp scissors.  

Cut a plastic disc that fits the ornament from template material or any scrap of clear or opaque plastic, like a milk or produce container. 

Don't use the outside of the ornament for tracing this template because of the thickness of the ornament wall...it will be too big.  You can start with this diameter, then trim down carefully to fit.

Place the plastic circle over your image and center appropriately, the hands should be almost to the edge of the circle, with extensions extending beyond ornament.   Draw around the circle on the image with a fine tip marker, both on the base and the arms.

Cut THE BASE ONLY,  just inside the ink mark.  

DO NOT CUT NEAR THE HANDS.






Center and glue the base.  I used my Roxanne's Glue baste for this (a good use for that needle applicator and the fact that it is thick, thick, THICK and dries fairly quickly).  Aleene's would probably work as well.

When the glue is secure enough to not come unglued, I bend the hand tab extensions back at a right angle (I use my large tweezers for this) just inside my ink mark, trim them to about a half inch.  I then glue them to the inside ball half, just deeper than where the two halves pop together.  

You can see this (sort of) in the bottom right of the following picture.


You should put these in place before applying glue in case you need to crease the extension a little closer to hand.  I usually have to do that, then use my tweezers to "round" the end to conform to the inside curve of the ornament.
 
Step Three:

Here comes the snowfall!  I place the second half temporarily in place and stand it up to check to see if I have the right amount of snow...more than an Alabama dusting, less than a Michigan blizzard.



Then I try to get all the snowballs out of the way again.  You don't want them to stick to the glue from the inside while closing and containing the snow storm when you add the other half of the ornament.  

It will still look cute, even if some do stick.  If you have trouble with static electricity where you live, you can wipe the inside of the ball with a dryer sheet.


Using little dots of glue, only on the area where the two ornament halves meet (about a half inch apart), get ready to stick together.  I also add glue on the two halves of the hanging extension.  Do this carefully so as not to disturb the snow balls.

If you don't overdo it on the glue dots, and keep them on the rim where the two halves intersect, snowballs sticking will be less of an issue.  

People generally over-glue everything!

I stick the two halves together and carefully secure with a rubber band for a while.  Then I attach a string or ribbon for hanging and glue a little bow or something on each side at the top (for that I use my glue gun).



Even with sister #2's prodding, sister #3 did not send me the desired poses, so I had to get creative.


I left an extension tab on Eliza's head and a little wider base due to the composition of the picture.


Ta da!


And again, I could not help myself...waste not, want not.






This may be my favorite one!  

You ALL have picture with some legs in them, don't you, LOL!  I'm just sayin'...

I also used the same kind of ornament ball to make simple picture ornaments.  I use a picture on each side (glued together before inserting).  Here is one side of one of Riley.

I had some leftover confetti red hearts, which I added...



Then both sides of sister #1 and husband...



And sister #3 and her husband...



I am way behind on email and questions...I will catch up in the next few days!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The diet (quilt) continues...


I am so glad to have two sets of the nine blocks finished for this latest project.  They are not quite identical, but are very close, but the backgrounds are different.

Now comes the hard part for me...having to pick out more fabrics for finishing...ugh.  Not my favorite thing.  I have been buying more 1/4 and 1/2 yard pieces for applique so sometimes I am more limited on longer yardage needed for borders cut with the straight of grain, which is my preference.  Every time I pick something I love, there just isn't quite enough there.

I auditioned so many fabrics for the sashing, cornerstones, and two of the three borders.





For this block set, I settled on this black with fun spots for the sashing and a favorite fabric that is quickly disappearing for the cornerstones.





I think the cornerstones and at least one of the borders will be different for the second set.

One border on both quilts will feature a couple of, hopefully, humorous phrases.  I've been working on prepping some letters.




I had an embarrassing fall on my bad knee last weekend when we went to Tuscaloosa to take in a show ("Putnam County Spelling Bee").  I misjudged the bottom step in the Allen Bales Theater and down I rolled with my head stopping just short of the low stage.  At least I didn't do it at the top of the steps!  




Miss Graceless, I was, and in a dress, too!  At least we got there early before the sell out crowd completely arrived...I only flashed one third of the audience (unfortunately, there is not a bad seat in this intimate theater).



My daughter was working backstage, so I texted to warn her that I was OK in case any of her friends recognized me out front and told her.



As a result, I have one very swollen, bruised knee and one bruised one.  I have to minimize my sitting time.  I can sit, but have to get up every five minutes and walk around.  What a pain...literally.  I totally cannot stand still either, so sitting down to piece and standing to press does not even work.

Knee surgery is certainly in my future...but hopefully not yet.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Your inspiration from my inspiration...



I LOVE it when my blog readers share your creations inspired by my patterns and blog!  I often wonder what happens to my patterns when I ship them off into the wide, blue 'yonder (or they are received digitally).  

Do people store them away like I do, like a squirrel putting precious nuts away for later?  Or do they dive right in.

Here are three quilts from quilters who dove right in...

The above picture of "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" was made by Val Ursulak of Nanaimo, B.C., Canada.  She is in an applique group of forty-three ladies who have been meeting together for ten years (I am actually drooling at this point...).  

Her husband is a musician and currently a member of an large ensemble.  Val told me that he took each finished block to rehearsal to show the other musicians as she was working along.

I love her little changes in design and color...just take a gander at the peacock on the tuba!  

She is entering the quilt in the Canadian Quilter's Association Quilt Show in Vancouver, B.C. next May.  I hope she sweeps the ribbons!


The quilt below is called "The Piano Garden" and was made by Kristy Wilkinson of Sunnyvale, CA.  I love how she took the enlarged piano motif as her anchor then just let her imagination fly!


The quilt was made for the piano teacher who had taught her children over fifteen years.

Isn't it cool how she also featured the piano on the label?


She incorporated musical words of expression into her flower vine motifs...largo, moderato, andante, etc.


And the keyboard border is just fabulous.



The next quilt really touched my heart!  You all know I had a favorite kitty, Weasley, that I had to leave with a friend in Michigan because I couldn't move him south.  He has had a very loving home for the past two years, but I miss him every day.

My husband took a picture of Weasley that I have on my blog.  Jacquie Anderton of Melbourne, Australia saw the picture and made an INCREDIBLE quilt inspired by the lumpy, lazy Mr. Weasley.


She did such a good job with the applique!  I wanted to make a block from this picture, but I chickened out...LOL!

She said that the hand quilting was made more complicated by her own cat wanting to crawl up on the quilt as she worked...typical.

Weasley, at his new home...I see that he is still lazy, lumpy and completely adorable.  Sigh.


In stitches, and missing Mr. Weasley,
Teresa   :o)