Because I started it a few weeks ago in one of my therapy groups, and have been meaning to finish it.
Because sometimes just saying, “I’m maxed out” isn’t enough.
Because I just finished a whole series of blog entries about how to fit creativity into our busy lives, after all. (Thank you, Emma, for the reminder.)
Because I’m an art therapist, and I believe in the power of art to express and explore our thoughts and feelings.
Because even though it took precious time, it made me feel better.
I got lots of questions about the quilting detail on the 100th Post Giveaway mini quilt. Some thought it was a simple square motif. However, you can see from the illustration above that it is a bit more complex than that. The shape is almost like a 4-leafed clover, with intersection-points in the center of each cartwheel. You can start at any point on the motif and quilt in a continuous line until you reach that point again.
Here’s the view from the front.
The mini-quilt was machine quilted, but I think this motif would work equally well with hand-quilting.
Stay tuned! The winner of this mini-quilt will be announced tomorrow.
Here’s my contribution to the Phat Quarter recent swap. The theme was anatomy.
I wanted mine to look like an x-ray film, a bit blurry and fuzzy. So I used a single strand of embroidery floss and did a sloppy stem-stitch to give the effect.
At times it was a bit surreal — spooky, even — to look down and see my hand in the same position as the ghost hand, and to ponder the bones and veins beneath the skin. It was a pretty cool process, I have to say.
I even like how the hand looks as though it is sewing down its own binding.
I’m sure my choice of an x-ray image is partially motivated by my work at a hospital. Hope Ben likes it!
I completed and mailed my piece for the flickr Phat Quarter swap. There’s a sneak peek for you.
I bundled up and mailed off the stash stacks for the Granny Day Giveaway winners. I ended up sending more than I intended (including some felt because HOLY CRAP with the felt already, mom!) but it was fun to get the packets together. One red, one blue, one brown.
I spent some quality time with the dogs, including a spontaneous photo shoot with a very sleepy puppy.
And I spent the rest of the weekend manning a booth at an art fair. We were soliciting donations for my department at work. It was a hot, dusty couple of days but I’m glad we were there.
Late Sunday night, I found out that my sister-in-law’s father had passed away and I spent Monday afternoon and evening with her.
Sometimes we don’t get to write our own to-do lists. What’s on your list today?
Last week, I wrote about eliminating or reducing input from one of my senses — vision. As part of these experiments, I’ve been taking showers at night with the lights off. Although the idea is to reduce the chatter of visual input, the experience is still visual: the way the moon hangs in the upper corner of the window, the silhouette outline of the neighbor’s tree against the night sky, the invisible (but present) droplets. I love how the moon makes a halo of light around itself. It all adds up to a calming and soothing experience. I think I have finally found my insomnia buster.
I think I’ve also found a way to bind mini quilts into a book. The Art Journaler and Book Binder in me is so excited! Journal quilts! In an actual journal! Awesome.
This is my submission for Malka’s (of A Stitch in Dye) Mini Quilt Monday.
“…the evil of machinery is largely a question of whether machinery will use men or men shall use machinery.” (Ernest Batchelder)
It was nice to have a reprieve from making things by machine for the past few weeks, but I pulled out the ol’ Husqvarna Viking last night to finish a gift for a friend.
She has been giving up coffee and trying to drink more tea. When I found the tutorial for a tea wallet over on Christy’s Creations, I knew it would be perfect for her.
Even though she is one of my best friends, assembly of her gift came at the end of my great and grand handmade holiday list last year, and so it had some problems that were created by rush, short-cuts, and sloppiness. Sure, it has a snap, but not even my obsession with snaps can override the gross errors in this piece.
In fact, I think it was my precious love for snaps that made this project go wrong. I wanted it to be in just the right place, but didnt plan correctly for it. So, here’s how I spent time the other night — re-doing, slicing, and fixing a previous work. In spite of what I may have said yesterday about proudly being an imperfectionist, I feel strangely satisfied.
I’ve about finished the baby quilt I’ve been working on. It’s the one patterned off of the mini rough draft quilt.
A friend of mine from grad school will be having a baby girl next month. I’m happy for her, and a little bit jealous of the baby! My friend is sweet, and smart, and creative, and good-hearted. That lucky baby will have such a good mother.
I grew up in a culture where children and family were valued above all else. Many of my peers married and began having children when they were very young. Some of them have told me how they envy my life.
I have two dogs, a career that I love, and an interesting, challenging life. I have the luxury of focusing on myself and my own development. I get a good night’s sleep and ponder the meaning and purpose in life.
But I have no husband and no babies and no white picket fence.
In some ways, making this quilt stirred up some of my feelings about all of that.
Bad photos with my old camera. I made these two for gifts — the initials belong to the intended recipients, of course.
I love the leaves on this one, and the little bird with its legs all spread out. These aren’t usually “my colors,” but I must say I love how this one came together.
Wish you could see how cute that fabric is on the cursive G — it’s black and grey leopard print, kind of a suede texture, with adorable pink flowers and tiny green leaves. I love it and am using it on all kinds of projects at this point.
I also did a lot of personalizing with names on gifts this year, which was a satisfying and quick way to make handmade objects freel more special. One of the best parts about making all of these gifts during my recovery was that it really helped me to be reaching outside of myself and thinking about other people, without having to overexert or do more than my body could handle.
Inside the strap of a yoga mat bag, loosely based on this tutorial. I included eyelets and drawstrings on the ones I made, and they really added that nice, professional touch. Like most of my gifts, these were made with drapes and leftover sheets.
And, finally, although I don’t drink coffee or tea myself, I felt this would be an appropriate gift for my employees and coworkers. There are bright, eye-popping fabrics on the reverse sides of these, with names stitched on the outside. Inspired by pink milk and fairycakes’ tutorial.
Tell us — how do you add that little personal touch to handmade gifts?
I finally got access to the photos of my holiday gifts, so here are a few more examples of what I worked on during my early embroidery rush.
This pencil roll was made as a gift for another friend who was present for me many nights in the hospital. She is also an art therapist and brought me my journals and some art supplies because (as instructed) all I had taken with me to the hospital for my allegedly-outpatient surgery was my cell phone and a pair of flip-flops. I wanted to repay her for her kindness in an art-supply kind of way.
That’s one of my favorite quotes. I sort of love that none of the colored pencils have erasers — just to emphasize Mr. Davis’ point!
This is a poor picture but I loved this project. A friend of mine has been transferred to a new branch of his job and had to exchange his daily motorcycle rides for a car. This, naturally, had him pretty upset. So, I designed this illustration and made it into a CD Poket to hold music and books on tape. I also bought him a trial subscription to audible.com to help ease the hours of carpooling. Of course, I wanted his car to be perfectly clear on where his true affections lie — he will always be a biker boy.
OK — we’re almost done posting photos taken with my awful camera. Stay tuned for the final embroidery installation!
I mentioned before that during my convalescence I was drawn to fabric arts and, particularly, embroidery. Fortunately, this coincided with the holidays and I was able to handcraft every single one of my gifts for Christmas and Hannukah. With one exception (a book I bound), all of the gifts were made of cloth (though even the book was bound with a cloth of my choosing), and nearly all of those had some personalized embroidery that I designed.
This is the first of the aprons that I made — and was given to my older sister. She had rushed to my side from far away to be with me when I was hospitalized. She kept extending and extending her stay until I finally sent her away. I’m sure her family of husband and three kids (including 2-year-old boy!) appreciated having her back. I didn’t know how else to express my deep gratitude and admiration for her after that experience. I sort of hope that when she wears it, her children roll their eyes.
Another apron — this one mentioned when I posted about its mate — was for my brother. I totally adore the halo and smiley face on this one. All the aprons are reversible with snaps on the neckstraps so they can be adjustable.
This is a gift I made for my sister-in-law to-be, whose wedding shower is being held this weekend far away. It was made to match an apron I made for my brother at Christmas, whose embroidery announced, “I am being helpful.” Note the snaps on the neckstrap — this is to make the apron adjustable. (And also to satisfy my current obsession with snaps! snaps! snaps!) I guess being a super tall amazon lady (6’1″ tall!) makes me hypersensitive about the fallacy of one size fits all.
I’ve developed a method for folding these aprons before I wrap them for gifts, because I want to showcase the embroidery right when it is pulled from the wrapping.
This is the folded apron from the back. Neat! (But please clip that errant thread!)
At Christmas, I found Wild Olive’s marvelous wrapping idea to be one of the best time-savers of the season. I haven’t found a better, box-less way to wrap fabric-based and sewn gifts so I’m so glad she shared.
After exhausting the painting/drawing avenue of embellishment, I started pushing the idea in different directions, including the method above. I use a die-cutter that my mother gave me (but which I haven’t otherwise found much use for) and randomly glue the shapes to the paper before folding and stitching the packages together. In my natural state, I wouldn’t be terribly interested in mass-producing dozens of precise and exact shapes. But for a throw-away item like wrapping paper, sure!
At Christmas, I used a snowflake shape. For the wedding shower — hearts, of course!
I finished the rough-draft quilt and bound it off last night. I’m a bit sad to admit that this is the first quilt binding I’ve ever completed. There are imperfections, but overall I think the quilt is adorable and I can’t wait to make a larger version of it to give away.
I’ve decided to make a bunch of rough-draft quilts and hang them along this wall leading to my bedroom.