Let's crafty!

Let's crafty!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Work in Progress: Hexie Quilt From Recycled Men's Dress Shirts

This is my slow quilt project. It's my first attempt at English Paper Piecing (EPP), which I was scared of but I LOVE it. It has a special feel to be doing all the piecing by hand, I love hand stitching and seeing the piece build slowly.

dress shirt quilt

I also loooooove cutting shapes so this has been great fun. I probably have cut several hundred fabric hexagons.

I'm using hexagons with 1.5 inch sides. I found a template on Pinterest...which after using for some time I realized the sides of the hexagons in the template are not exactly the same length! Ack! This will teach me not to be cheap! Next time I will buy the pre-cut templates :( I have a workaround for now, I am just very careful to place all the hexies all facing the same direction. It's a little more of a pain though.

My process for this quilt so far has been:
1) Cut paper templates and also a paper "cutting template" with the seam allowance built in to use to cut the fabric around. I reused scrap printer paper which is nice because it is flexible enough to bend/fold when sewing pieces together.
2) Get used button-down shirts (more details below on shirt sources).
3) Deconstruct the shirts using Bonnie Hunter's awesome and efficient technique (discovered courtesy of Pinterest). This method helps you get the maximum usable quilt fabric out of each shirt.
4) Cut shirts into hexagons.
5) Pin fabric hexagon pieces to paper templates.
6) Baste fabric around (not to) the paper templates.
7) Stitch hexagons together as carefully and evenly as possible. Arranging them as you go is sorta fun to see the patterns. I'm keeping it somewhat random.
8) (This is fun too!) Pop out the paper hexagon once that piece is surrounded on all sides by other hexagons.
9) Rest hands. This has been a bit hard on my hands at times (Carpal Tunnel issues) so I can't do too much stitching at once.

I prefer using shirts that have some damage so that they're not wearable. I feel bad cutting up a nice shirt that could be donated to someone to wear. Although sometimes if the shirt is REALLY cheap and/or ugly I won't mind so much :) The larger the shirt, the better...it's more fabric. I love finding the ones that are like a men's 3X size. The shirts/fabric I'm using comes from a variety of sources:
  • Flea markets (got a huge bag of shirts for $4!)
  • Thrift stores. If you can find damaged shirts sometimes they will give you a bit of $ off the price...although it's going to charity anyway. Most of the stuff I have seen in thrift shops around here is in pretty good condition though.
  • Shirting sample cards (for some variety). Can find online sometimes in large lots.
  • Friends who had old dress shirts of their own around the house that were stained, holey, etc. This is my favorite! Because after it's done you will be able to say, "That blue hexagon is from Mark's work shirt! And that striped one is from my friend Ken!" So you get to keep a memory of your friends and family in the quilt.
More pictures soon!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Work in Progress: Pink Cotton Candy Stripe Quilt

I have three crib sized patchwork quilts I have been working on for some time, in various stages of completion. All three are of my own design.

The first one is my Pink Cotton Candy Stripe baby quilt, which is the closest to completion. I loved choosing and using these sweet fabrics from my fabric stash (I think they all came from a Joann's shopping extravaganza with Brie a long time ago). This would be so perfect for a gift for a new baby girl! The back of the quilt is a blue and white cloud print that reduces the girliness factor just a tiny bit.

I opted for no binding, because I currently (from past experiences) have a fear/hatred of binding my quilts, which I'm hoping to eventually get over when I find the right binding method. And it looks pretty without it anyway. I used Warm and Natural batting because it's thin and flat enough to be easy to work with while still providing some warmth. I pin-basted my quilt sandwich together right sides facing, stitched around the edges, and turned it inside out. Then I pin-basted it again...I don't like using a thimble so I did stab myself a few times :P

If you look closely you can see my big quilter's pins still in there because I haven't done the quilting yet...the only other thing I have to do is add my Picky Chicky labels to it (I made my own using some iron-on transfer paper and satin ribbons, thanks to the magic of Pinterest).

More pictures to come once it's finished. Next time: my English paper piecing hexie quilt made from recycled men's dress shirts!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Work in Progress: PYOP Ornaments

Yesterday Brie and I went to The Pottery Stop to work on pottery for the first time in months. I'd been thinking about doing some smaller pieces...something manageable where I can work on several at one time while I wait for parts of them to dry.

I'm using my usual wax resist technique on these ornaments but I thought I'd try something a little different and not just use a black background (which will turn into the outlines of the drawings on my piece). So on some of these I am experimenting with dark brown and gray backgrounds, for a softer outline.

paint your own pottery ornaments in progress

So on the top right is an image that may look familiar...I've used Whaley on a few items before but I love him so I painted him again. The bird in the tree also may look familiar...

The two bottom images are Tuscan scenes I've been thinking about painting for a while. Just reminiscing about Italy a bit...

The fifth ornament, on the top left, is still blank...wasn't sure what I wanted to paint there yet. Brie (always helpful) suggested Sean Connery in a red diaper a la Zardoz (if you haven't seen that movie, it is totally bizarre, but worth checking out for his outfit alone!)

I was thinking more along the lines of an elephant with a pretty blanket on its back, or perhaps a pirate ship, or a little city scene. If I'm gonna do Zardoz I'll definitely have to do some practice sketches first and not just freehand it.

paint your own potterry coasters in progress

More pictures to come when these are done...and they will be for sale in my etsy shop!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Dog circle painting

A few weeks ago I heard from my friend Janel that she was having a bad day...my first thought was, maybe I can make her something to cheer her up. I was thinking of a circle painting and this one turned out to have a bit of a Mardi Gras feel to it.

Janel's favorite color: purple
Janel's favorite animal: puppies

Now I can't remember the last time (if ever) I tried to seriously draw a dog, let alone a puppy. Turns out I have no idea how dogs are shaped. Most of them came out real faily and either dumb looking or birdlike.

I got a bit frustrated at one point...hahahhaha

puppy sketch

Yep. Dogs.

materials: pencil, Prang semi-moist watercolors on Canson Montval Watercolor Block, Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (brush) in #177.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Penguin paintings in watercolor

After doing the fox circle paintings, I wanted to do something similar with penguins...

I think these also came out pretty cute :)  I love baby penguins...they're all fluffy and awkward. Here are my sketches beforehand:

 Some detail:

I think I prefer this look for the sky:

Yay penguins!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fox paintings

A friend of mine is expecting a baby boy this summer and her nursery colors are green and orange (sort of a woodland theme) so I thought I'd try painting a fox picture for her.

Pretty cute huh? 

The funny thing is, in my first few sketches the foxes looked kind of like birds (eg the sketch on the far right)! 

Monday, March 3, 2014


Here's another pottery piece I painted recently...this one was a special request by my friend Ryan. I'd never drawn a zombie before so I wasn't sure how it would turn out but I FRIGGIN LOVE IT. Definitely one of my best pieces :)

My favorite part? The dead fish carcass!
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