Monday, May 20, 2013

The Quilting Arts Book, Making Portraits from Fabric

You must have figured out by now that I am by no means a young person by the size of the font!  Wow!  It's quite the little scare or heart palpitation when you go to read something important, like the paper than comes in little tiny medicinal containers that you have to read to make sure you can take the medicine, and you can't read the print, even with your glasses on and a magnifying glass!  Good LORD!! 

Well, bad eyes or not, I got rid of another project that has been cluttering up my desk for YEARS!  Yup.  I've said it before that I learn best if someone can show me what I want to learn.  I can learn from a book but wow, I have to read it so many times and do it or try to do it as I go along.  Well, I guess that's the way it is supposed to be done but I think I'm in too much of a hurry to learn slowly so I want someone to show me and then I want to get on with it. 

As usual, I build a story instead of just getting to the point.  

I bought this book a few years ago.  Saw it in the library and had to have it so I could do some of the projects in it so I got it.  I love it!

What a great book and I see that today it is on sale at Interweave!  (just click on the book above)

One of the projects in the book is to make a portrait from a photograph out of fabric.  Wow!  I just HAD to try that!

It does help immensely that you have some sort of photo editing software.  I used Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 that I found somewhere on a fantastic sale.

I took this photo of my Mother, 

Took a real close up of her face and then tilted the photo ever so slightly to the right to get this.

 I then converted the photo into grayscale.  After this, you do something called "Posterizing" which is picking how many shades of gray you want.  You can keep changing how many shades you want until you get the result you like.  The book suggests you go for 3 shades.  In hind site, I wish I chose something a bit simpler for my first project, or cropped the face closer as I ended up with 4 shades and had to reverse the order than one would normally work in.

In any case, after grayscaling and posterizing, and then reversing my image because i was going to work on "Steam-a-Seam", I ended up with this:

Because I have 4 shades in my grayscale, I chose 4 fabrics in the same colour range and started building.  In the instructions, you were to start with your lightest and keep adding the darkest, but I realized at this point, that I would have to reverse this process and layed my darkest fabric on the stabilizer and progressively added the lighter.

What you do is, you print off one less copy of your photo than the number of colour shades that you have, so in my case, I needed 3 copies of the gray scale photo as I had 4 shades.  

This photo shows the darkest fabric on the bottom, with the first layer of the face on top, fastened down with steam a seam.

The process is quite easy.  I will show what I did with the final layer.  

You take your photocopy and outline the colour you are working on, and in this case, the lightest colour.

After outlining the colour I want to use for my fabric in blue marker, I use my scissors to cut along the blue line and I ended up with 3 little templates, the lightest areas shown above.
I then took my lightest colour fabric, ironed some Steam-a-Seam to the back of it, and then, on the back of the fabric, on the paper of the Steam-a-Seam I use my paper templates to trace out the outlines that I have just cut out.  I then cut out the pieces of fabric, pull the paper gently off the Steam-a-Seam, lay it in place on the face and iron it down.

This is the final result:

 I might still go back and add some additional pieces of fabric to outline her face better around the chin area, but I am totally pleased with my first project using this procedure.  I've wanted to do this for ages but thought it was just too hard.  I confess it took me a long time (as in an hour or two) of sitting and figuring out my dilemma when I realized that I couldn't do as the book instructed and start with my lightest colour first, or didn't want to, but things worked out slowly.  I just needed to take time to think about it.

So again, from here:

 To here:

And on a different note, spring is well on its way here, though judging by todays temperatures, you wouldn't know it!  BRRRRRRR   But, there is colour in the trees and it is totally the most amazing time of year! You don't see these greens often!

The fields are breathtaking!

 Enjoy your day!

One day you will wake up & there won't be any more time to do the things you've always wanted to. Do it now! -Paulo Coelho


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Quilts, Spring, Pebble, Cavendish National Park

You can tell spring is here, because I have been outside!   We've been having the most glorious weather and after being stuck indoors for months over the winter, I couldn't wait to get out into gardens Raking, weeding, pruning, and on and on it went.  It's raining now and I am thankful as I can really use the rest.

I have been rearranging my sewing room, AGAIN!   I am a fat quarter-aholic, with my cupboard is
overflowing and every time I reached in to get one, I had a fat quarter avalanche!  So a clean up and resorting was in order. This is the end result of that cupboard.  Fabric sorted by colour in plastic bins and plastic bins labelled.
  Don't look at that great big bin at the bottom of the cupboard as it contains SOME of my stitching UFO's!  During my cleanup, I realized I had two unfinished quilts taking up ALOT of room while they waited to be finished.  I put the blocks together for the two lap quilts about 4 years ago and then gave the quilt top, batting and bottoms to my sister to quilt.  What she did to them far exceeded my expectations as she had just gotten her Mega Quilter and said she would use my quilts for practice.  WOWThey turned out beautifully!!  All I had to do when I got them back, was just trim them up and sew on the binding.  Well, after two years of laying around, I finally got them done.   This is probably my favorite:

These little open triangles are in the quilt and my sister said they were NOT fun to quilt around!  I don't doubt her for a second!  LOL

This is a close up of some of the fabrics used.

And a close up of her quilting:

The second quilt is the same design but different colours.

The two quilts together.  Can you see the mistakes?

Well, one corner in each quilt was put in wrong and don't match the other 3 corners.  I guess it makes the quilts extra unique!

Another thing I've been working on is another "Pebble" like the one I made last year.  If anyone has been following this blog for a while, you've seen the "Pebble" that I made last year.  I've been doing a little work shop over the winter with our stitching guild with anyone interested in learning some new stitches and making their own Pebble.  I was hoping to have my own done by now but I am a bit picky in the way the colours come together and if I've stitched something that I don't like, I take out the stitching and redo it with something new.  I have redone some areas more than 3 or 4 times so it's taking me longer than I thought.  The photo is what I have up to this point.

If you are interested in making your own Pebble, there are instructions on the U.K. Embroiderers Guild site that I've had bookmarked for quite some time.  You might want to print off the instructions as I believe they are updating their website and the instructions may soon disappear.  Instructions here.

This is what my Pebble looks like at present.

And this is a closeup of the bottom half of the Pebble.

If making a Pebble is something you might want to do, you may also like to check out Stitchin' Fingers.  It is a super site that is full of ideas and inspiration and I learn something every time I go in. 

Well, my husband and I were taking a walk in our favorite park recently.  I was thinking of all the WIP's or UFO's I had on the go and that exact moment I saw this sign.  

 And I laughed and laughed and thought, "That's awfully close to the number of UFO's that I have on the go!!"  

And then of course I was wondering what a reasonable number of UFO's would be and saw this sign.  I think someone was trying to tell me something.

I am slowly making progress and hoping to one day see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Time for a little photo or three.   This one was taken about a week ago at the beach at Cavendish National Park Campground.  From the campground, you can walk several miles of beach with the Gulf of St. Lawrence on one side and sand dunes on the other.  To give you some perspective on the size of the dunes, there is a man in the photo below, almost right in the center, with white shorts and a blue shirt!
This is a goshawk that was hovering nearby over the water looking for its next meal.
And finally, the fields are getting plowed, potatoes and wheat have been planted and it has been so nice out that we have new life already!  A photo of wheat growing in a nearby field.  And to think that what seems to be just a few weeks ago, we still had snow!!

That's it for me for today!

Bring laughter into your life each day!

"No one ever got blind by looking on the bright side."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making your own clay, make a nose out of bread, weather

Anyone out there have any spring weather?  Good grief! 

I was thinking about beads and embellishments and little stars and snowflakes and things that we like to put on our stitching and how expensive they can be, especially in Canada.  There are cheaper alternatives though.  You can go out and buy polymer clay with a bunch of forms or cutters and make your own.  And if you think you can't do it or it's too hard, well, it's not.  And if you have the cutters or forms, but no polymer clay, well, just make your own!

A few years ago, I saw a "snow family" in a store in Ontario.  I thought they were the cutest things and I really wanted to make them.   So, I went home, took some plastic and cut out the template shapes I needed.   This is what I came up with.  I just couldn't remember how the noses were done!

The tallest snowman, is about 14 inches high, and the rest are progressively shorter.  I cut out a front and a back, both the same, sewed them together at the sides and left a small opening at the bottom.  I stuffed each one loosely with polyester filling and sewing up the small slit and then I joined them all together with just a few stitches in hidden places on the back or the sides.  I used a black marker for the eyes, and if I was making them today, I would have used a French knot or used a black bead for the eyes.

But I needed a nose and I didn't want to just paint on a nose.  But where on earth do you get a nose and if you find one, how much is it going to cost and is it going to be the size you need?   I explained my dilemma to a good friend and she told me how I could make my clay to make my own noses.  This is a close up of one of the faces.

 It is so easy.  Just cut the crusts off a slice or two or three pieces of WHITE bread, add a tsp or two of white glue, and mash it till it forms a clay.  I added a bit or orange acrylic paint and there are my noses!  I won't lie to you.  It is a messy process and you may want to consider using painters plastic gloves but there is nothing like using your bare hands, acrylic paint and food colouring or whatever, and ending up with colourful fingers for a few days.

I actually ended up with about 50 or 60 noses of all shapes and sizes, and you can see some of them in the photo above.

After making my noses, I put them on wax paper to dry, flat side down.  They were dry the next day.  I put a dab of white glue on the end of the nose and stuck it onto the snow man!  And just to let you know how long the noses last, my snow family and all the noses are about 15 to 17 years old!  I kept my noses in a plastic container and you might want to store them that way as well in a dry place.  They are made out of bread so may attract pests if your area is prone to them.  So if you need some noses, this is a great way to make them!  And then you can just "pick the nose you want"!  (sorry, couldn't resist)

But, you aren't limited to noses.  You can make beads, snowflakes, stars and roses and tiles and all sorts of things.  And yes, you can paint them.  

Here are some websites with more information, and of course, they each make them just a tiny bit different.  I just used the white bread, without crusts, and white glue and when the noses were formed, I put them flat side down on wax paper to dry.

Sliced Bread Dough Air Dry Clay by Cre8              Great video!

DIY Bread and Blue Mosaic Tile Frame                  also a video

Martha Stewart Makes Clay Beads

Basically, if you Google or Bing white bread and glue clay, you will all sorts of links.  

I plan on making more embellishments, I just need to get myself some small cutters (like cookie cutters) in the polymer clay section in the craft store.

Today is one of the warmest we've had so far this spring at 7C right now.  It is supposed to get to 10C but the wind is cold and so sure doesn't feel that warm.  But, we are managing to get out in the garden and do some cleaning up.  Some photos of spring!

Rhubarb is coming up in the garden, below.

And i found some fungus growing on an old elm tree in the back yard.  It resembles the STEP gardens ones sees of rice paddies in Asia.

 And my favorite, some photos of lichens and moss growing on another elm tree.

Don't forget to stop by the musings at The Sunshine Deli!

If spring hasn't found you yet, I hope it's on its way!