Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Project Highlights

Eight finished quilts
terrainnotre dameH2H frontbrown bag 4
Kirstyn 4Karson 4Gino 2applique baby quilt3
A quilt-along and lots of fabric dyeing
blockapalooza all blockshand dyed eighths  groupbatik 1
The new kitchen
new kitchen2
Thanks to everyone who stopped by during 2011! You’re the best:)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Two quilts for Christmas

(Edited to add to Sarah’s Whoop Whoop Friday!)
I had the pleasure of making two quilts for Christmas gifts this year.
This is Ashley’s quilt from this Moda Bakeshop tutorial. This quilt was a joy from start to finish although I had a little trouble getting back into the free motion quilting rhythm. I haven’t done a full size quilt for a while. I used Terrain from Kate Spain. Beautiful fabric line!
The best part was… she was here to open it in person! My best present:)
Ashley’s husband, C., is a huge Notre Dame fan. As of this posting, he hasn’t seen his quilt yet since he spent the holiday with his family in South Dakota. I hope he likes it:) The tan color is actually more goldish. The letters were done in a free pieced style, but without the wonkiness. The “N” was a bear! Good thing there was only one.
notre dame
If I do another quilt like this, I’ll do things a little differently. The center logo was fused on and didn’t come out of the wash as flat as I'd hoped. I believe a lighter weight fusible would work better on such a large area. It may be possible to only fuse the edges, too, as long as it has some quilting lines to hold it down. I also think that pre washing the fabric might have worked better for this one. It still turned out okay.
Are you familiar with felted bar soap? It’s been a popular item on Etsy this year, so the girls and I thought we’d give it a try. I already had a little wool from a needle felting kit and found a local yarn store that carries a nice supply. We used ordinary, inexpensive bar soap. I needle felted the little hearts for some extra zip. This was fast, easy and kind of relaxing.  There are a zillion or so tutorials online to follow.


We made some little beads, too.
I threatened to felt Mr. DJ’s Irish Spring. He wasn’t amused…I can’t figure out why! Not like I’d make it pink or something.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

May all your Christmas dreams come true!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Assembly required…


Some secret assembly stuff happening in the sewing room.

Terrain from Kate Spain. That’s all I’m saying for now.

Other items that are not so secret.

mini pillows

Some fiddly little applique with Make Life from Sweetwater.

mini set5

Mini pillows for my Etsy shop.

pillow s and s3

I’m getting pretty fond of Osnaburg.

winter pillows3

A mini tree brooch on it’s way to France. Merci beaucoup:)

pin tree2

A random silly fact about me: Christmas is the only time of the year I choose to listen to music. That may seem strange, but after 40+ years of my life revolving around all things music (teaching, performing, accompanying, church stuff…you get the idea) I flamed out in a big way.  It’s like Mr. DJ eating too many peas when he was a kid and being disturbed by them now. Maybe it was a mini mid-life crisis sort of thing.  Weird, I know. It still bothers me to have music playing in the car, but having the two musicians in the house play guitar or the string instrument du jour doesn’t bug me so much now. I don’t consider this to be a bad thing…. a personal paradigm shift perhaps.

However, I love Christmas music! I’ll listen to almost any genre and have had my Pandora holiday channels on shuffle for a few weeks. I wonder …just how many remakes are there of ‘Carol of the Bells’ and ‘Santa, Baby’? I did, after a few shuffle cycles, give a thumbs down to the Shotgun Shells on the Christmas Tree song, though.  To be considerate, I will not provide a link to that one.

Here’s one you might enjoy! Trans-Siberian Orchestra! Kids voices! Wonderful!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Color Palette Challenge

Vicki Welsh and Judy Laquidara are teaming up for the 2012 Color Palette Challenge! You can read about it at either of their blogs (linked) or by clicking below.


It sounds like a great way to explore color combination and possibly finish a small project at the same time.

Both of these women are so talented and I appreciate the time they take to share so many things on their blogs. Vicki has also been instrumental in piquing my interest in fabric dyeing.

And she spells her first name correctly. Ahem.

I’m in! Wanna play along?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Odds and ends

A favorite uncle of Mr. DJ’s passed away last week and we made a quick trip to Sioux City, IA for the funeral. This uncle was his dad’s brother and his mom’s sister’s husband which makes all the children of the two couples double cousins. As sad as it is to come together under these circumstances, it’s also very nice to see everyone and catch up a little.
We rarely go past the arch in St. Louis as Mr. DJ likes to take the bypass routes around bigger cities, but this time we went through on I-70. We didn’t care about stopping, but it was fun to get a closer view.
st louis arch

Remember this piece?
deconstructed prints2
This is after over dyeing it in blue all scrunched up in a low immersion bath. The patterns are very unpredictable.
over dyed screen
Four new colors from dyes that had to be used before they lost their punch.
jewel palette
A mixer cover to add to the shop soon.
mixer cover (2)
I can now knit across a row and back pretty well and have created a ..... rectangle! By the time spring gets here I could have an entire scarf.
Sarah’s knitting has mine beat! Head over to her Whoop Whoop Friday’s post to see what she and others are up to.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’

Marcie: Don't feel bad, Chuck. Peppermint Patty didn't mean all those things she said. Actually, she really likes you.
Charlie Brown: I don't feel bad for myself, I just feel bad because I've ruined everyone's Thanksgiving.
Marcie: But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown


Have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall colors

My favorite tree is the Bradford Pear in our front yard. Here it is in the spring with it’s fluffy white blossoms.

bradford pear tree

This is it’s fall foliage.pear tree

pear tree4

pear tree leaves

I think this might have inspired a new scarf in my Etsy shop. I’m lucky to have my own personal model and photographer.Smile


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


After my whirlwind printing frenzy, I shipped out the fat quarters to my swap partners and now I can take a breath!

All the printing was done with dyes thickened with sodium alginate (ground up kelp).

Golden Yellow and Cerulean Blue (Dharma’s dye names)

thickened dye

I described the Mod Podge screen in a previous post, but thought I’d put these photos up again.

mod podge

One time around with Fire Red. It’s very pinkish.

circle print

Second layer with Golden Yellow and the same screen. It looks better after it was heat set and laundered, but I didn’t get a photo of it.

circle screen

This screen was prepared with strips of freezer paper pressed onto it. As hard as I tried to seal all the edges, there were still places that I knew would bleed.

freezer paper screen

And they did. But, in my opinion, that’s part of the beauty of hand printing and I like it! I had to do some mixing to get a shade of red I was happy with.

freezer paper print

This is where it got really fantastically fun! Enter Kerr Grabowski and her deconstructed screen printing.

Kerr Grabowski Deconstructed Screen Printing

So, I gathered up some stuff from around the house.

deconstructed screen

A blank screen with the dye on the side before spreading it.

deconstructed screen2

Here, you can see the screen after it’s dried and the objects were removed. Beside it is the first ‘pull’ with a paste made from sodium alginate and water. The paste wets and releases the dye onto the fabric.

deconstructed screen3

After a few pulls with only the paste, the image faded, so I began adding more dye.

deconstructed screen4

I covered four fat quarters with the same screen before the dried dye was finally gone and there was no texture left on the screen.

deconstructed screen6

deconstructed prints

This one got some layered printing with the same screen and more dye. My personal favorite. This process is so serendipitous!

deconstructed screen print

This one was made by squeezing thickened Dark Brown dye from a plastic bottle.

deconstructed screen (2)

After it dried, I used Golden Yellow to make the print. Not very much of the brown dye was released, but you can see it a little. It has potential.

deconstructed prints2

Last one! This piece was dyed a few months ago, using soy wax as a resist.

batik circles

This is the same piece. I stamped it with a different shape and over dyed it with Scarlet, which is a more yellow based red than the Fire Red. I love the colors!

batik overdye

If it hadn’t been for this hand printed fabric swap, I may not have explored some of these techniques, so I’m happy as a clam that I signed up. There is a Flickr group, if you’d like to see all the cool things the others have been printing. I really hope my swap partners like their fabric!  I sent four of these pieces out. Any guesses which ones?

Next on the list are two lap size quilts I’m making for Christmas gifts.  They’re designed in my head, so at least that much is done. I really want to dye all the fabric for one of them, so I’d better get moving!