Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We are getting a little outer band rains from Alex today. I don't want to complain because we have had so little rain in the past few months. Living in the middle of a forest it is a little scary with all of the pine trees and such! Everything has been so dry! I am hoping that there is no thunder and lightening so that the kids can still play in the pool! I was afraid that our air conditioner went out on us last night it got so hot in this house! I don't know why I didn't think that one of the twins had played with the thermostat! When I checked it this morning it was set at about 85 degrees!!!! I keep telling my daughter that she should blog about what those two little girls can come up with!!! She says "Mom, I don't think it's funny"!!! If the weather gets too bad we will have to do art projects inside! I didn't get my two patterns done before they got here so I am not sure when I will get them out! My daughter and I are trying to find sometime to work on a couple of new projects, she is so creative, but I think she is going to have to wait until the twins go to school!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I was thinking this morning about building my stash and how I got started collecting wool. As I said before I do this show once a year (Christmas) and it started years ago where I would use it to make wool bags with applique to fill and hang on your front door or an old cupboard door, I would fill with greens and other things! One of my favorite things is making Santas with wool coats, anyway, I guess that is how and why I got started collecting wool! Before there was so many wonderful shops to buy wool, that has already been felted and over dyed, I hit garage sales, flea markets and thrift shops! I buy clothing, blankets (I love these for big projects) robes and whatever else that I can get in wool! I bring them home and throw them in my wash machine using hot water and then the dryer. The clothing I take apart at the seams fold and put away until I decide if I am going to dye it! There are some new dyes out, I bought some at the last quilt market but haven't had a chance to try it yet. I use regular Rit dye and it works just fine, you can combine different colors for a more custom color or just use as is. the one thing you have to be aware of when dying in your machine is the amount of water you are using to mix with your dye. For the smallest load I use two boxes of dye, it just depends on the color intensity that you want. I guess what I like about dying is playing around with the colors, if you don"t like how it turns out over dye it with another color! When I get ready to do a project I have lots of different colors to work with!! Make sure when your are on the hunt for your wool that you look for plaids, checks and other patterned wool. It makes for the most beautiful and interesting finished pieces!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well-it is going to reach 101 today and down here in the south that means the heat index will around 115-120! Here I sit working on my wool! There is just something about the wool that makes my heart sing! The piece I am working on now is another table runner! When I design table runners I like to leave a place in the middle so you can set a candle or an arrangement on the piece, depending on which table I am going to use it on! The other piece I just finished is a table runner too, but it does not have a place to set anything on! This last piece I mentioned I will try and get a photo on here by tomorrow! I haven't completed the pattern yet! My daughter and her children are coming from Dallas on Monday! They will be here for a week! I can't wait! It is hard to work on things while they are here so I think I will just have to take a break and enjoy them! I live in a small town so there isn't alot to do, we have a pool but the water is over 90 degrees right now so it is like getting into the bathtub! Not very refreshing but they enjoy it anyway! Mr Thomas likes to go fishing and golfing with his papa, when he's not getting the girls into trouble and the twins (Miss Mia and Miss Sophie) love to work in my work room ! I guess I will have to clean up my mess so they can make theirs! My plan is to have these last two patterns done and on my website before they come!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Well it is back to work for me! I enjoyed the weekend but by the time I decided that it was OK for me to do nothing it was time to leave! I am pushing for two more patterns by the end of this week! We will see! Christmas in July is coming quickly!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I got up early this morning to work on another new pattern! I have most of the drawing done but I haven't even started to put colors together yet! Sometimes I get a little ahead myself, I can't always wait to get the drawings done before I start putting it together! Sometimes I create it as I go! This one will be wool on wool felt. I like using the wool felt for the base (especially if its going to be a table runner) it just seems to lay nicer, but I love using the wools because of the different designs and textures. I just think it makes the finished piece more interesting! When I design, whether it be in my home or a piece of art work, it has to be easy on the eye, something I enjoy looking at. I don't always get it right the first time, but when I do I know it, because it will just feel right. So when working with your colors cut small scraps of different colors you are planning on using, lay them next to one another and on your back ground color, move them around a little. Don't settle until it is right for you! I really don't like to put colors down on my patterns because what is appealing to me may not be for you, so when making a pattern use the designers color choice as a suggestion only. Don't be afraid to do your own thing! I am so glad it is the weekend! We are going away for the weekend to a resort not too far south of us, it will be nice to get away. I have promised myself that I am not going to take anything to work on! I think sometimes you just need to turn it off! I say that but I know that a sketch pad and pencil will find it's way into my suitcase! But-for the most part it will be RELAXATION for me!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I finally got two new patterns on my website! I am working on another one and by the end of next week I hope to have at least two more on the web! I have so many new ideas but it takes time to get them out there! When I first started doing patterns I didn't realize how much was involved! First I have to come up with the idea (the easy part) then I have to figure out how to turn that drawing into a fabric cutout, put all the pieces together, sew it and try to write down the steps I took. I have to put it into pattern form using my computer, writing and drawing, take photos and produce a finished product! I have worked very hard to try and put out a good pattern, I really only like to design the pattern, when I have so many designs in my head I get frustrated when I can't get them out there faster. I love coming up with the idea, sometimes what I see in my mind doesn't always come out just like that on paper! I think you can see why it takes some time to get the actual pattern out there for people to buy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Well the heat is on in the South! I am so glad I have an air conditioned shop to work in! If I am going to work outside I try to do it early in the morning because it is too hot in the afternoon! I have been up a long time this morning trying to figure out which way to turn. I have so many ideas running through my head that I don't know where to start! I just know that I have to get started soon! Christmas always sneaks up on me, I think it is because we don't really get the big change of seasons down here. I know it may seem early to be thinking about Christmas but I know the shops already have their Christmas fabrics! Most of them have a Christmas in July! I really have to get moving!!!! What a great day to think SNOW!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I received an e-mail yesterday from one of my customers. She had read my blog and saw the part about the wool shop in Liberty,Mo. She said she lives about 15 minutes from there! Lucky her! This shop is wool from floor to ceiling! Trust me, if you are in the Kansas City area it is worth the trip! I will not drive past Liberty again with out stopping. I will just be more prepared! I think I am going to have to buy a bigger house! My stash just keeps growing! This photo is one of my new patterns! It is wool on cotton linnen! As with the Christmas wool crazy I am hoping to have these two patterns ready to purchase by the end of next week. I keep getting side tracked with new ideas but Christmas is right around the corner and I am working very hard to get my new ideas out there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I finished my Christmas Wool Crazy! I am going to post the photo but it didn't turn out very good, I am no photographer!!! I hope I can somehow get a better photo for my web site. It is hard to see but there is just a dark green band around the outside edge with a blanket stitch but you could finish it off anyway you like. It is about 38" long I wanted to use it as a table runner. I have two more in mind but have some other things in the works that I have to finish first, here I go again with my mind running amok! I get so far ahead of myself that I end up behind! It will not be available as a pattern until the end of next week but I just wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I have been sitting here working on my next "Wool Crazy" and as I work on it I think about some tips I should offer! Remember when tracing a pattern that if you trace on the outside of a pattern to cut inside the line, otherwise your patterns start to grow and things don't fit the way you think they should. When sewing your wool appliques onto your base don't pull the thread too tight, it cuts the raw edges of your wool and it makes it ravel. If your pieces are small use a small dot of glue to hold them into place, you don't want to spread it around because it is very hard to sew through once it dries. I also have more tips on my website:
As I work on these projects and think of more tips I will be sure to include them in my blog!

I should have two new patterns on my website by the end of this week! I am looking forward to getting onto the next ones!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I finally got my work space back in some order yesterday! I was bound and determined to finish that job! It took forever because it was like Christmas unpacking everything I bought on my last trip! I had forgotten just how much wool I really did buy, I had to arrange my stash cupboards to fit it in! There are some really great vendors out there selling wool! When Mom and I were driving back to Iowa from Louisiana we decided to stop in Liberty, Mo. It had been a long time since we had time to do that! There is a great shop to buy wool in an old mill I got so excited I just had to sit for awhile and just take it all in, I couldn't figure out how I was going to make my choices! I tried to think about future projects that I already had in mind so I bought those pieces first, then came the pieces I just had to have and then the ones I couldn't live with out!!! I knew I was in trouble when this was only the second day of my trip, then there was Market and I of course I couldn't pass any of that up! At Market there was the booth with the dye for wool that I had been reading about, well you know me I can't leave anything alone, I can't wait to get into that project! So, I got my work space back in order and all of my goodies put away so this next week I will be finishing another wool crazy and writing patterns for two new Christmas projects so it is back to work for me! I found my camera while I was unpacking, I knew it was in all of that stuff somewhere so I added some photos from Market! I am so glad my sister has a quilt shop and that she took me with her-Thanks Julie! This is a wonderful experience! I can't wait until the next one!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

As I unpack from my last trip and begin to put things away, or should I say try and put things away, I begin to get excited about things to come! For many years I have been doing a Christmas Boutique in western Iowa. My sister started this show, long time ago, then a few years ago she sold the rights to the show to someone else. The show is full of folk art, prim and whimsy! I love being a part of it because it allows me a chance to do some of the other things I love besides designing patterns! I get to paint, do paper mache, sculpt santa faces to go with my santas that I make from wire armatures, pose and dress. All of the things I make are one of a kind. I do not create patterns for these items I just wing it! I love the hunt for things to use-garage sales and flea markets! I love finding an old rusty funnel or bucket and filling it with a few of my favorite things! One of my treasures from this last trip was a white Christmas tree, it will be taken apart and used to create part of that white Christmas that we never get in the south! I am always on the hunt for different things to sneak into a santa pack, old Christmas baulbs to fill a glass bowl, antique tinsel, old wool sweaters (hard to find down here). The list goes on and on and trust me I do have a list! Paper mache, hand molding clay and painting are my therapy! I love getting lost in these things, you just never know where it takes you! I added a few photos in the previous post of a few things that I had put in a past show, can't wait to get started for this year!

Snowmen just hanging around!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Yesterday I took patterns to the printer to fill backed up orders after being gone to the Minneapolis Market, the lady that was doing my printing asked me "Where do all of your ideas come from?" It took a minute to answer---from all around me I guess. When I see something in nature or another artists work or a piece of fabric or even just a color it just triggers something and then my mind just starts running amok! I can have 4 to 5 pages of doodles before I can even think straight! This use to keep me up at nights but as I age I think it wears me out! No problem sleeping now! I feel everyone is an artist! Some of us just have to create others just think about it! I am always trying to change things, I can't leave anything alone! Fabric gets dyed or stained,old pieces I collect get a new coat of paint or altered in some way, I haven't lived in a house yet that ends up looking like the way I bought it!!! I say to everyone there is an Artist in you, you just have to let it out! Think outside the box, color outside the lines. There is no right or wrong art is doing what you see, create!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I do believe I am finally home for awhile! I have been to Market with my sister in Minneapolis! It is always fun to see what new fabrics are being used! There are so many bright bold fabrics for contemporary quilts but I didn't see much for traditional quilts! Wool and wool felt are still out there and the booths that were at Market were wonderful but most of the fabric booths were bright and bold. I almost thought that I was at a fabric market for clothing rather than quilts! I haven't had time to unpack yet so when I find my camera I will put a couple of pics up from Market. I am sure my sister has more pics on her blog, she had a wonderful booth displaying her fabric line and a beautiful quilt that she designed using her new fabric!