Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Calling All Quilters . . . .

I have just recently climbed on the blogging wagon. I am a quilter at heart and I am anxious to meet anyone and everyone who loves to quilt and loves to share their passion. Quilting is a sisterhood of sorts. It has always been exciting and inspiring to see the work of others and to read the stories that inspire their love for quilting.
I am searching for quilting sisters to follow my blog and I hope to find many blogs to follow that will continue to inspire me. I have merely begun to post samples of my creations. Please take time to view my photos and leave a comment or two. I'd love to get to know you through blogging and through the common thread of quilting.
Happy Quilting!

Pickets on Parade

Mollie, a good friend of mine who lives in town, gave me a call one day because she heard that I might be interested in gathering a few sections of an old picket fence that had been taken down and was headed for the burn pile. Excited about it, I told her I would be right over with my husband's truck to grab as many sections as I could! "Are you kidding?" "Free pickets?" So I came home with a truckload of old, rustic, flaky paint pickets and backed the truck up to the edge of the woods in the back yard. In the woods I found a spot to lean the fence sections up against a couple of trees. Occasionally I go out with my hammer and whack a few pickets off the rails and bring them in for projects, and sometimes special orders. Each picket is approximately four feet tall. I have used them for many purposes including: Christmas sayings, family names, quilt hangers, collector signs, etc. I have also cut them into smaller pieces and made mini signs. Below I have photographed a few of the pickets I have painted for gifts, home decor and whatever else comes to mind. I still have several rustic pickets in the woods waiting to become a treasure for someone. Thank you Mollie for thinking of me when your pickets needed to leave your property. I have put them to very good use!
These small picket signs are currently for sale in a nearby antique shop where I love to consign my creations. I will be doing a feature on "Log Cabin Antiques" in a future post.......stay tuned.
This little "snow" sign was one of my designs using a wool applique snowman head, taking the place of the "o" in snow.

These three signs I just recently completed for consignment.

This is a picket I painted for myself when I decorated a new bathroom we added to our home recently. I thought it looked perfect on the dark red wall.

These are small picket signs that I made for a fall fair I participated in. If you click on the image you can read each sign.

This is a flag sign I created using old pickets. I consign some of my creations in a small antique shop in Maine called "Liberty Antiques", so I figured this sign would be perfect to sell up there.....and it was. It sold to one of the locals that lives in Liberty!

I have several more lonely pickets out back in the woods waiting for a home somewhere. If you're interested in having a special sentiment hand-painted on a rustic picket, send me an email and I'd be happy to negotiate a design for you.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wild About Wool !!!

Wool! I have had this passion to work with wool for the past couple of years. I visit my local quilt shops and pick up pieces here and there for my stash, but that gets very expensive. So I learned to visit thrift shops for wool garments that are reasonable priced. I look at the tags for 100% wool before I buy it. When I have purchased a few garments, I throw them in the washing machine to felt them. Felting prepares the fabric for projects such as wool applique (see my photos below) or rug hooking. I have done many applique projects during the past year and some are pictured below. I love folk art and needed some autumn colored projects for a September fair that I was scheduled to participate in. This is one of my whimsical folk art creations.I purchased this Thimbleberries medley from the Keepsake Quilting Medley of the Month Club. I managed to scrape up some small pieces of wool to match the fabric colors. This is what I came up with.
I collect everything from buttons to doilies to old frames to wool to threads to junk. This framed autumn picture included some of my collections . . . a yard sale frame, an old doily and bits and pieces of wool.

This small wall hanging is made with Thimbleberries fabrics and bits and pieces of wool. I concentrated on the details for this project by embroidering flowers in the window box and a bush next to the chimney. If you click on the image you may be able to see the detail close up.

This is a sheep sporting a penny rug blanket on it's back. I inserted the finished piece in an old cast iron mini skillet that I purchased at a local antique shop. I love using old junk for my art pieces. It's unique and unexpected.

This is a seasons wall hanging that I created with Thimbleberries fabrics and wool scraps. The layout was inspired by a book called "Seasons Stitchin's" by Paula Stoddard. I bought the book, however, I did not use her pattern.....just the idea. There are several cute patterns in the book that I am anxious to produce. I also made the sign that the quilt hangs from. I am selling it as a 3-piece set. When I came across this quote I thought it was appropriate for the quilt. The set was displayed to sell at the Rockingham Craftsmen Fair held last Nov. 1st. It didn't sell there, so I had it for sale at my eighth annual "A Homespun Christmas" open house in December and it did not sell. I may consider listing it on eBay at some point. I'm not sure I really want to part with it though.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cast Offs?

This is a story about "cast offs". A cast off is a small piece of fabric that is left over from a previous quilt or pillow project. Someone taught me very early in life to be thrifty and frugal. It may have been my mom, grandmother or my late stepfather, Eddie, but I can't remember. Anyway, I can't seem to throw anything away . . . ever!
The projects pictured below are all produced from cast offs. I love working with "Thimbleberries" fabrics because they were all designed to coordinate with each other. Has anyone other than me ever noticed this? The "Thimbleberries" designer is Lynette Jensen and she is one of my idols in life. I just love her fabric designs and have built up an extensive collection. You will notice that most of my creations are inspired by the "Thimbleberries" colors.
Another one of my crafting idols is Eleanor Burns. Eleanor is a well-known quilt designer and has been featured often on HGTV's show "Simply Quilts". I love to watch her demonstrate quilting processes. She makes me laugh. While using her rotary cutter, she will demonstrate how to cut strips, squares, etc. and she will take the unused scraps of fabric and whip them backwards over her shoulder with a sound effect. This is an "Eleanor Burns" cast off!
So, now that you have been educated about "cast offs", if you follow my blog regularly, you will notice that most of my projects are created from these little pieces of fabric that I just couldn't part with.
Below is a pillow I designed from cast offs. It has an embroidered heart in the center.

The image below is a button bag I just threw together using Thimbleberries cast offs. I was scheduled to babysit my grandkids Jack and Norah in Newmarket one day last week, so I grabbed a small stash of fabric, some matching quilting and embroidery threads, buttons, my pin cushion and scissors, then off I went. When the kids were either sleeping or occupied with playing, I laid out my pieces of fabrics and matched up a few that I thought went well together. I hand-pieced all of the patchwork, embroidered a little "buttons" sign and attached it with blanket stitching. My style is to create as I go (I rarely use patterns) and this is what I ended up with!

My next door neighbor Joe, gives me all of his empty cigar boxes and I repurpose them into decorated boxes for buttons, recipes, keepsakes, coupons, etc. This is my latest creation using "cast offs". I made yoyo flowers with button centers and hand-embroidered the words. The cigar box is painted black to match my fabric choices.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Log Cabin quilted wall hanging

This is a photo of a quilted wall hanging I made in 2007 and sold in 2008. I had it consigned in a great shop in Hooksett, NH called "Primitive Gatherings". I love to consign my creations there because it is a primitive/country shop decorated with colors and furnishings that compliment my projects. A gentleman purchased this wall hanging and asked the owner of the shop if I could create another one just like it. So I will begin the quilt this week and hope to have it finished by the end of the month. It is log cabin blocks made with Thimbleberries fabrics. I lay out the blocks with the lighter colored values joined in the center, creating an area for me to hand embroider a message. Click on the image for a larger view showing the detail.


Before I begin to post my crafting story, I would like to thank a handful of special people who helped me get started with this venture. First of all I wish to thank my dear friend Sam, who is an awesome blogger. Just "google" Gollywobbles and she will pop up everywhere. Sam has been suggesting that I start a blog for quite some time and she has shared many of her experiences with me for months, thus inspiring me to get going already. When I wasn't understanding the fundamentals and language of blogging, Sam suggested that I purchase a blog template for starters. She recommended a wonderful graphic artist called "AmyBug's Primitive Attic". I visited Amy's website and was totally amazed at all of her beautiful graphics to choose from. I found one with an antique sewing machine which was appropriate for my business. Amy's original graphic for this was blue, but I didn't want that color, so I emailed Amy about maybe changing the background color and she customized it for me without any fuss at all. I must say that my blog template purchase was much less painful than attempting to create my own design. Amy made it a very pleasant experience and I thank her for her prompt and professional service . . . . and I highly recommend her for any type of primitive or country graphic designs. Finally I wish to recognize my sister Patti at Wild Berry Primitives and my niece Laurie at Down River Primitives. Each of them has recently created their own blog and they are currently creating beautiful dolls, pillows, etc. which they are successfully selling on eBay. I am so proud of both of them and admire everything they are doing with their crafts. Keep up the good work!