Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cherry blossom Blast

The cherry blossoms were so grand in MD last week when I was visiting with my family. Maryland is lush and green and had so many blooming trees. Cherry Blossoms and huge magnolia tulip trees, forsythia shrubs  over 6 feet tall and even more blooming foliage, I meant to get more pictures but spent most of my time running around and holding the baby.

Cherry blossoms are a revered sign of Spring in the orient and many of the famous downtown DC trees were gifts to our nation. I like the many petals of the pom pom style Kwanzan Cherry trees that bloom a little later than these.
here is a picture of that type-

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hottie Haute handbag review

This is one of those half magazine/ half paper back "special publications" with so much information it's mind boggling, a chapter on collage, one on fiber and fabrics, one on wool and metal, denim and canvas felt etc. And every possible technique from knitting and crochet to recycling all kinds of thing into darling handbags, There are detailed instructions and multiple photos of most projects. However, there are no real "paper  patterns".  It does assume some level of confidence in your sewing or crafting abilities. A fun book. I have been gone all week visiting and just getting back to my blogging.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tea is For the Birds

My Friend Krys made me this tea cup bird feeder. She glued the teacup to the saucer with Loctite waterproof outdoor glue. She glued a small wood piece with a hole for a dowel. It comes of of the dowel for draining the water out. We talked about drilling drainage holes with a dremel drillbit but not sure if the teacup would break. I think the crowning touch is the tea spoon. Since this is pretty close to the ground , and we wouldn't see under it, we are thinking even a short section of white  PVC pipe would make a more secure dowel top.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Beadalicious Day

Friends came over today to bead and learn some new techniques, and to play in the bead box. I taught simple stringing on tigertail wire with crimp beads and stringing on silk cord with calotte bead tips. everyone had a successful beading morning. One gal has problems with heavy necklaces on the back of her neck, but loves big dramatic stone beads and pendants.

We came up with this idea of making a back piece of chain, but not too wimpy of chain. Then fasten "S" hooks on both ends. Then you can make an interchangeable focus pieces with pretty beads that have circles on both ends. Now you can make anything to go on that chain. Make several back pieces, one in copper, one silver, one black chain etc. and just make lots of focus pieces. These are even easier to store. all the front pieces could be laid in a flat box just like bracelets..

We tried this idea with square toggles but having two toggles on a shorter (23") necklace had a tendency to flip the toggles in the collarbone area. another nice thing about this idea is that you use fewer, but higher quality or more expensive focus beads. You would not need so many filler beads. this front piece is only about 6-8 inches. There is also no annoying scratchy clasp and the necklace should not shift on the neck as much. If you have metal sensitivities and need only solid gold, you would only need the one chain and could still have other fancy glass pieces on the front focal piece.

This could even be adapted for less chain to show, keeping the chain hidden under your hair. This is best if you like most of your necklaces a certain length. However, a special neckpiece could be made for any dress neckline.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Book Store Bonanza

Went to a fabulous new big big BIG half price bookstore in Dallas yesterday with my friend Shirley. We made a special trip out to this bookstore about 30 minutes from our homes. It is the size of a Walmart, so enormous, and had a coffee shop and a section for every subject and genre. It seemed like they had every magazine ever published. It was spacious and airy and everyone was super helpful. The problem now is that it has soured me to my local branch of this same store, only 5 minutes away. My local store is cramped and not so friendly. 

 I am really trying to get books from my library and support that, at the rate I devour books that only makes sense. So only books that are really nifty will I bother to purchase, even half price. But it was such a delightful shopping experience. Sorry that this picture of the place makes it look so teensy, truly it's not. Even worth a visit if you come to Big D.

oh and I bought this book, recommended by Shirley, it looks funny, I'll let you know-- She's from Houston, so I guess she should know, being from the South.

Trip down Memory Lane

I made this collaged  suitcase for my sister jess. She sent me some photos of it to add to my crafty blog. I bought an old suitcase and relined the inside with pretty fabric. I took all the old fabric out carefully and used it as a pattern for the new pieces. I covered lightweight cardboard pieces that were about the weight of cereal boxes. covered them with Tacky glue and smoothed the fronts and turned all the raw edges under to the back, and then glued them back into the insides of this suitcase. I promise that future projects like this will have some "in process" photos.

I painted the outside of this suitcase with two thin coats of white gesso. It still had a slight texture to it afterwards, Then I glued cut pieces of wrapping papers, cards, old stamps and some scrap booking sayings to cover the whole suitcase. The gold metallic floral designs were rub-ons available in the scrap booking stores. I used Golden's acrylic matte medium as glue. It dried hard and then I covered the entire piece with several coats of varnish to protect it further. If you click on these photos more detail will come up.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Something Fishy Going on

My sister and my mom like to swap services as Christmas gifts. Mom had this vision in her head of a small wall hanging quilt with a fish and Jess volunteered to bead it for her. Mom said she didn't think it could be over-embellished and Jess took that as a personal challenge. Notice all the different bead colors and how Jess used them to outline, texturize and accent the fish. Great job, Sis! I you click on the pics, be prepared for the up close glitz!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Blossoms

It was a beautiful day at the Arboretum in Dallas, It was surprisingly full for a Monday, Lots of moms with babies in strollers, some senior's groups, tons of tourists. The day started out gray, but become sunny and glorious.  I love these new azaleas that have cool raspberry edges!

I brought the tea sandwiches for my friends and some strawberry tarts, and others brought cheeses , cookies and those decadently sweet little oranges. Too much fun!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

On a Whim

These new pics are of my sister Jess's latest batik quilt tops, all ready for tying. The warm tones one is "On a Whim" and the blues are named "River of Time" We got together earlier this fall and made a wedding quilt for Erica, my daughter's friend. 

Rachel,Jess and I all worked on this one together. Before Rachel came, Jess and I ironed and cut for days! We cut up all of our batiks into: 3 1/2 " strips, 2 1/2" strips, 4 1/2" blocks, 6 /2" blocks and 1 1/2" strips. This made for almost no waste of all our scraps. We divvied up the leftovers and all have fabric for more quilts. Jess was so dazzled and inspired by Erica's quilt that she rushed home and started hers, mine are still in a box in the closet.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Brazen Ruffles

Just had to share this trim I bought at a church yard sale today. You guessed it, I bought an entire box, maybe 35 yds, for a dollar. It is so delightfully outrageous! I will put some on doll clothes amd maybe spice up some plain butcher style black restaurant aprons. Zack, my 18 yr. old son was with me and said he would wear these ruffles down a black shirt "tuxedo (front)or Mariachi (sleeves) style."

Whatever did they do with this stuff? maybe Tap dance costumes? I have never seen anything like it at a store. It's even a little crispy, like organza. I thought maybe flamenco? It surely wasn't a church choir dress.

Heartfelt Bread

I have wanted these Pampered Chef canape bread pans for a long time, and amazingly they were at the thrift store! I cleaned them up and then went online for recipes (their boxes were long gone) I found out that they made these pans to fit the refrigerated french bread loaf! Wowie, makes it even easier, just pop open the blue can, spray your pan's insides with vegetable spray and put in the loaf , no shaping, just as it comes from the can and cook for an hour. If I had know I didn't even have to make the dough, I would have had these sooner.

for the second 2 loaves, which I made with unbleached light wheat flour to get a different color. The upper one in the photo is the refrigerated french bread style and my dough is the lower one. The commercial one has a softer crust, mine was sturdier, maybe better for toasted use.

I am making little fancy tea sandwiches from these hearts and taking them to a picnic at the Dallas Arboretum on Monday. I am going to see the last of the "Dallas Blooms" bulb show. Back to the food, I will lightly butter both sides of the bread so the filling doesn't make them soggy. I am not sure what fillings I will use,maybe some ham salad and some  avocado.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Baby Quilt n Spring Pastels

I made this baby quilt and I thought the aqua stripes were kind of boyish, then i had 2 granddaughters.  I love the Easter Egg happy colors. They are medium pastels, so the whole quilt is just a little brighter than the traditional baby colors. It is made of nine patches with lots of different fabrics in the patches. Look at the fun touches of black and white to add sparkle.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wedding Cake 1980

Well, I found this old picture of our wedding cake, I always thought it was one of the prettiest ones I have ever seen. My Aunt Sue made it for us, complete with fabulous daffodils, daisies,violets and narcissus all made of royal icing. It was made in a flower shaped set of pans.

You know it's 1980 because who in the world would have such ugly drapes? I wonder if this picture was taken at the chapel? oohh such ugly drapes!