Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Felt Crafting with Kids

I've been looking for good craft ideas to do with Charlie this summer and came across three fun ones that use felt.  

Charlie's just about ready to try some sewing and this lavender filled teddy bear looks like a fun beginning project.  Find the full instructions here on toucanscraps.

If you're looking for something to interest older children, these Star Wars finger puppets look great.  They'll be all ready for the new Star Wars movies after making these!  Patterns and instructions are here at crackofdawncrafts.

And for any age, these pictures from ziggityzoom look like a good way to use up all those felt scraps that pile up. 

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer ....

Summer's finally here and on our Northwest farm that means longer sunbreaks in between drizzly days!  I haven't been in the sewing room much this week - outside is calling, so I've been working in the herb and flower gardens ....

.... investigating wooly bears, and hiking with Charlie.  And Charlie's been busy, too, working on a fairy garden!

I'm at a standstill on the sunflower table runner until some new fabric arrives for the centers.  

And new Christmas fabric came for another planned quilt!  This is a fat quarter pack of Hoffman's Gold Pear Tree Greetings from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Gorgeous!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Summer 2014 Exhibitions

There are two exhibitions on opposite sides of the US that if you're anywhere near would be worth taking a look at!  

The first is a 40 year retrospective showing of Margaret Cusack's fiber art at the Brooklyn Public Library's Central location.  Margaret works in quilts, appliqued fabric works, embroidered pieces - even voodoo dolls!  And you may have seen her work even if you don't usually frequent fiber art exhibits.  Her art has illustrated everything from magazine covers and advertisements to children's books.  The show runs through September 21, 2014.

Margaret Cusack

Connie Lippert, Wakulla.  Image:  American Tapestry Alliance
And San Diego's Visions Art Museum is the first stop on the American Tapestry Biennial 10 tour.  Tapestry is about the one fiber art I've never tried my hand at, although I'm fascinated with it and love viewing tapestry exhibits.  This tour features 37 contemporary works (out of 230 submitted).  If you miss it in San Diego (runs until July 20), it travels to Kent State University in Kent, Ohio September 25, 2014 through January 4, 2015 and then on to The Kaneko in Omaha, Nebraska February 6 - April 24, 2015.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, June 16, 2014

Puppets by Charlie

Hi!  My name's Charlie and I'm four and I want to show kids how to make puppets.  I made puppets from the movie Brave - it's one of my favorite movies.  I'll introduce the characters - first there's Mordu.  He used to be a prince but now he isn't.  He's a very scary bear.  Next there's Mom.  She used to be a human queen but now she's not - now she's a bear.  Next is Merida - a human who loves to shoot arrows but her mom doesn't let her.  And she's really afraid of her mom when her mom is a bear.  Next there's Dad.  Dad does not believe in bears and magic.  He loves Merida so much and he hates bears.  Here's how to make the puppets!

Mordu, Mom, and Merida

1.  First you slap your hand down on felt fabric.  You put your hand out and draw a place for your thumb.  This is my Nana's hand.  She did every puppet shape except Dad.  If you don't make it big enough it's just small for the kids and grownups can't get their hands in.  If it's a bear, put on ears.

2.  We cut out two - one for the back and one for the front.  Then we put pins in.  

3.  You need to have a grownup sew it then.

4.  You put scars on Mordu with a pen - and arrows too.  He has a lot of arrows.  

5.  Put the eyes on with fabric glue.  If you use regular glue the pieces fall off.  Glue on a pink eye and a purple eye for Mom and green eyelash eyes for Merida.

6.  A grownup can help you cutting out the noses and lipstick lips.  And really, really scary teeth for Mordu.

7.  Put a gold crown on Mom with glitter glue and then you put a green jewel on it.  It just sticks with glitter glue.

8.  Put a blue dress on Merida and after that you put some orange hair on.  It needs to be nice and bright and curly.

9.  Then those puppets are all done.  You can't play with it right away because you have to let the glue dry.  It takes a lot of minutes.


1.  First you draw your hand on the felt fabric. 

2.  Then you put it on another fabric with pins.  You do need a lot of pins.

3.  Then you do something tricky - kids cannot do this.  Sew on the sewing machine.

4.  Then you put popsicle sticks on to make him look serious because he's a serious dad who doesn't believe in bears and magic. 

5.  Then you cut out a serious mouth - nice and straight.

6.  Then you put on a yellow eye and a green eye to make him look serious.

Wait until the glue is dry and then just put them on your hands and make a play with the puppets!

Have fun!  Charlie

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Leigh Martin's Knitted Fungi

On my walks in the forest at our Oregon farm, I come across some fantastical looking mushrooms - they look like something out of a fairy tale.  I keep meaning to buy a mushroom identification guide, but haven't gotten around to it yet.  I haven't identified this beautiful red one I saw last fall yet so if anyone knows what it is, I'd love to know!

Oklahoma fiber artist Leigh Martin bases her creations on nature - I'm particularly fond of her knitted mushrooms and other fungi.  And the way she photographs them in forested settings is perfect!

You can read more about her knitted mushrooms here and see her very creative blog here.

It's been raining pretty good here for a couple of days so I'm thinking a walk in the forest next week just might turn up some new mushrooms!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sunflower Dresden Plate

My Dresden Plate experiments have become sunflowers!  Up at the Oregon farm the sunflowers just got planted and I'm already looking forward to them.  The peonies, English roses, and honeysuckles are in full bloom ....

.... and the sage and chives are brightening the herb garden.

Until August, a quilted table runner will have to do for sunflowers.  Here's my first block done (minus the center).

This will keep me busy while I wait for the fabric paints for the bird quilt to be delivered!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dresden Plate Quilting

Today I'm playing around with a Dresden Plate quilt pattern and a package of batik prints!  I have a few ideas on what I'll do with it .... The Dresden Plate pattern was popular in the early part of the 20th century and is a good way to use up scraps.  I'm using this quilting template, but there are lots of tutorials out there that provide patterns.

I'll put up a tutorial when I get a project together!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Bird Quilts

I started looking for inspiration for the bird quilt I'm planning and found several fun ones!

This one from the website shows the birds off nicely without a lot of pattern and looks like a good way to feature a lot of different birds.  It was made for a baby shower for one of the website contributors.

This is the best photograph I could find of a beautiful quilt created by Dorothy Opal Jones.  Each bird is hand painted and includes flowers or foliage as nice backgrounds.

I like the way Janet created this quilt from pieced shapes and still was able to get enough details in that one can tell the species of the bird.  You can see the details on her blog.

And I love the minimalist design of Victoria Gertenbach's bird quilt with the splashes of color and black thread work details.

Now it's off to the drawing board for my quilt!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Thursday, June 5, 2014


We've been doing a lot of birdding around here lately ... as in seeing how many different types of birds we can find!  Little c has suddenly become a bird watcher after viewing the movie The Big Year.  Yes, not your usual four-year-old movie fare, but she's been fascinated since the first time she saw it - and there have been several more viewings!  It's a very character driven story with no animated princesses or Broadway worthy songs - or songs of any type except for the birds.  She's already planning on doing a big year when she grows up and until then, each day we wander the farm looking for new birds.

Luckily this is a birdder's paradise!  We have a large variety of resident birds in the summer and countless travelers passing through during migration time.  And a nearby pair of golden eagles who make their rounds most days.  One swooped down over me the other day and about scared the bejeebers out of me!

And it looks like I have a new summer project - little c has requested a bird quilt.  I think it should include all the birds she's been learning the names of, but don't quite have a picture of it in my mind yet.  Something new to ponder!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, June 2, 2014

Crocheted Wave Edging

As you may have noticed, I'm working on quite a few baby projects lately - there's a good reason for that.  In October, our second grandchild is due - a boy!  In my experience, you can never have too many flannel blankets, so a couple of months ago I bought a bunch of nice flannel prints to edge with crochet.  This print reminds me of waves - thus the edging name!  It tends to be a bit tighter of a pattern, so be sure to crochet very loose to prevent the edge from puckering.

If you haven't edged a blanket before, see this post for how to get the foundation row in.

Row 1:  Single crochet in each foundation row stitch.

Row 2:  Single crochet in the first stitch from Row 1, chain two, skip two, and single crochet in the following stitch.  Repeat all around the blanket.  At the corners, you may need to only skip one to get your corners to lie flat.

Row 3:  In the first chain two space, single crochet, half double crochet, two double crochet, half double crochet, and single crochet.  Single crochet in the next chain two space.  Repeat the pattern around the blanket and fasten off.

After working on girl clothes for little c for the last four years, it's a switch to start thinking little boy!  I have some ideas you'll be seeing in the next while .....

Happy Creating!  Deborah