Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tote with blanket/sweater straps

I always like to have a cardigan with me - even when it's really hot in the summer, the airconditioning in most places (like the grocery store) is so intense that I'm freezing when I go inside. But the problem with always carrying a sweater is that it's bulky to keep in a bag and ugly to wrap around your waist if you're wearing a cute dress. I was browsing on Etsy today and saw maytreeark's Rita May bag:

The little bows on the bottom can tie around a blanket, newspaper or other bulky item. This is such a great idea! It's super cute. But, I think I'd prefer to have a bag without ties - not only are they somewhat inconvenient to tie, but it looks like you could trip over them - or at least dirty them up on the sidewalk. So I was thinking that instead of ties, I could make a version of this with snaps instead. The straps would adjust with two sets of snaps - one so that the extra length would be snug against the bag and one that would leave room for a sweater, blanket or whatever. There could actually be multiple snaps - to allow for a smaller sweater and a bigger blanket. I love this idea!

Monday, May 11, 2009

String Quilt Pillows

string block quilted pillows
Originally uploaded by filminthefridge

The string quilt is still far from being on its way ... I haven't even finished buying all the fabric yet. I'm a little low on $$ right now, so I'm going to wait until I can afford to get the fabrics that I really want. Luckily, I have a *fantastic* fabric store right nearby - Erica's has a huge selection of absolutely gorgeous fabrics. I'm planning to take snips of the current fabrics with me and pick out all the rest there. But since I also have a trip to New Orleans coming up, I don't know when exactly I'll be able to go.
I do, however, have two feather-filled pillows that need covers. I think I'll practice making the quilt squares by doing a couple of covers for those pillows - also rainbow/string style. Of course, I do need to get the fabric for that!
I was just thinking of doing one square per pillow - in other words, just one set of diagonal stripes. But then I saw the pillows in the picture above and now I think it might be better to do four squares per pillow - that would be great practice for the actual quilt. I'd like for them to each be different - I guess the easier way to do that would just be to use different fabrics for the stripes in each one. But I could also do a different layout: either do rainbow stripes in each block, unlike the quilt, or do two colors in each block like the quilt, but mix up the colors for the pillows.
I think I actually like the idea of a full rainbow of stripes in each block - that way the pillows will actually be quite different from the quilt, but they'll still fit perfectly because the fabrics will be all the same.

Also, I'm going to make my pillows without the border that the ones in the picture have - not only will that be easier to sew, but I like the look better - it seems cleaner and will fit better with the actual quilt, which also will not have a border.

I was planning to use the blue comforter as a backing for the quilt, so I might have to cut into it early in order to make the backing for the pillows. It's almost time to switch to a summer comforter anyway, so that should be fine.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

pom-poms and paints

I was grocery shopping today and decided to look at craft supplies too ... I ended up getting this
pom-pom kit from Martha Stewart:

except that I paid $7 instead of $20! I've never bought any of Martha's craft supplies before, but they look really nice. I'm planning to put the pom-poms together this afternoon and hang them up in my office/craft room. The ceilings are fairly low in there so I think these will really stand out.
I also got some acrylic paints. The walls in our living room are a boring gray and we're planning to repaint everything green anyway. In the meantime, I'm feeling inspired to just doodle on the walls. I already had red, white, yellow and blue and today I got brown, purple and metallic gold. I love the freedom to do whatever I want - no pressure to make it perfect, because we're going to paint anyway! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Quotes

Some other quotes I've found:
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself"
"I exist as I am, that is enough."
"Re-examine all that you have been told... dismiss that which insults your soul."
all from Walt Whitman

of course, two of my favorite quotes are way too long, but I'll put them down here anyway, for fun:
Understand, I’ll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I’ll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too.
- from First Poems, Rainer Maria Rilke

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men–go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families–re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.
- from the Preface to Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman

Oh, it would be so fun to do a long quote like this last one! But *way* too much work - and space! I'll leave this post as a place to gather up quotes that I like, that I would consider for the embroidery project.

Embroidery Quotes

Another project that I have in mind is less well thought out ... I am thinking of embroidering some inspiring quotes and framing them in vintage embroidery hoops to hang in my office/craft room. Maybe 3 or 5 - I want them to hang in a set, and I like odd numbers. I haven't decided on the quotes, or any of the other details yet though. Some quotes I like so far from Thoreau:
"live free, child of the mist"
"Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores.”
"To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts,
nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live
according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence,
magnanimity, and trust"
The last one is pretty long - I don't know how large or detailed I want these to be, but that's probably too much. Still, I could do it in a larger size and frame it in a regular frame too.
I'm inspired by the gorgeous work of Chez Sucre Chez but I think I want to do something a little different - less formal, maybe more in a 'handwritten' style, and I'm not sure about adding little images like she does.
Perhaps something like this cool embroidery from the Great Northern etsy shop:

I don't understand this quote at all and I have no idea who Special Agent Dale Cooper is, but I love the casual handwritten look. I like the natural linen with the black thread too. But I'm going to think about incorporating some color and maybe a little accent design.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rainbow String Quilt

Although the tie-dye landscaping t-shirts will be a fun project, my major project this summer is going to be a rainbow string quilt. I've never made a quilt before, so I'm starting with a string quilt because I figure that it will be manageable to get all the blocks done - just lots of sewing in stripes. And, if I mess up the dimensions, it will be simple enough to trim all blocks to match. I'm not sure how good I really am at keeping a steady seam allowance, so that has to be an option. I want to make a queen-size quilt and I'll use the back of the current duvet cover that I have (from Ikea, turquoise blue) for the backing. I haven't decided whether I should just make a "quilt" duvet cover or whether I should go all out and make a real quilt. If I do make the real quilt, I'll also have to decide whether to do real hand quilting or to just tie it. I'm leaning towards tying - by the end of this project, I can imagine really wanting to get things done quickly, and I'm not really sure how to to hand quilt.
In any case, the top will probably be about 110"x110" - really large for a first quilt, but I think I can do it. I'm planning 11 blocks of 10" each, with each block done in diagonal stripes of two colors, depending on the placement of the block.
I drew up a sketch of how the colors look - I'll post it as soon as I can scan it.
This is going to be *amazing* - and so fun to make my first quilt! I'll be posting pictures of the blocks as they come along. I've already ordered some (really gorgeous) fabric - I'm figuring on 6 1/2yd lengths of each of the 6 colors - 18yds should be enough, with some left over for other projects. It's funny though, because generally string quilts are meant for using up your old stash, and I'm going to be adding to my stash with this project. But what can you do? I want this quilt to be just right, even if it means buying extra fabric. And once it's done - I'm convinced it will be totally worth it!
I don't have an exact plan for the arrangement of the blocks, but I love this quilt from snipnsew:

Tie-dye landscaping tees

One of the projects that I want to work on this summer is making t-shirts for Gary's landscaping company, Earth Art Landscaping. Mainly because I want to make my own screen-printer and this seems like a good project to justify it. I'm thinking that I'll make 4 men's tanks (Gary, Neil, Tom and Jon) and 3 women's (Aubria, Melissa, and me). I want to tie-dye a "landscape" - brown dirt, green grass, blue sky w/ a little sun. Something like this one from Syllishirts.

I'm thinking that I'll silkscreen "Earth Art Landscaping" across that back - the first two words on top, the last underneath - in 'Pinewood' font from 1001freefonts: The instructions for how to make a silk-screen are on Instructables and they seem really helpful.
I'm hoping that I can do the whole thing for about $60, with supplies left over - and the silk-screen, of course! This is going to be really fun to do, and Gary will be so happy to have matching t-shirts for all his workers! Not to mention free publicity everytime we wear them. I should add the phone number too ...

Beginnings ...

I'm beginning this blog more as a journal or online space for thoughts and ideas than as a 'real' blog that I intend other people to read. There are two types of things that I'll probably blog about - philosophy and crafting. In both cases, I need a place to write down ideas for future projects, where I can keep photos, links and other relevant info all together. And if someone happens to read it, well ... we'll see.