Monday, November 29, 2010

In Which Kellie Makes a Design Wall (errr, tacks a tablecloth to the wall)

I have a design wall! WooHoo! OK, it's a dorky homemade design wall, but it's a design wall nonetheless. Normally when I try to put together a quilt, I lay the blocks on the floor, only to have cats and/or the dog decide to lay on them, carry them off, or attempt to eat them. Not to mention, it's hard to really take everything in when you're standing over it rather than in front of it.

I've seen photos on quilting blogs of lovely studio spaces with large design walls and envied the quilters who get to create in such wonderful spaces. My "studio" is actually a spare bedroom turned computer room/crafty space/ebay-antique junk holding room combo. Not exactly the studio of my dreams, but it works. Tonight I decided that, despite the fact I'm up to my eyeballs in unfinished projects, laundry and general clutter, I couldn't go another night without a design wall of my own.

So I grabbed the wadded up tablecloth from the sewing closet and got to it(3M Command Strips, I heart you!).  I suppose I could have bought a "fancy" wall or maybe spent the money to create a more permanent one, but the version I've got going here is suiting me fine.  I saw it done this way at my local quilt shop and I figure if a tablecloth design wall is good enough for the quilt shop, it's certainly good enough for me!

And nah, I couldn't take the time to iron(can you even iron the backside of a vinyl tablecloth), steam, or otherwise smooth it out. I'm impatient like that. I slapped a couple of my current projects up, stood back and admired my tablecloth turned design wall. It'll be nice to be able to step back as I'm working on future projects and take a look at my work...hopefully it'll help me focus on the process a bit more.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This year, I decked the table.

This year, instead of decking halls, I decked the kitchen table.

 I have good reasons, however....

1. Trixie. Despite appearing laid back in this photo, she is a fiesty little devil who decided to take down our Christmas tree not once, but three times the last time I put it up.

2. Our Goat-dog. Oh, don't let that adorable face fool you. This dog is bent on destruction and will eat and/or drag off anything not nailed down.

This is the lovely white tree that I was so proud of. Then the cat climbed it and knocked it over. Three times. Fearing it's highly unstable(and since about half the ornaments were broken), I decided not to put it up this year. Sadly, I missed out on the after Christmas tree deals last year and don't have a replacement  for it. This photo was taken after putting it back up for the third time and moving the ornaments from the back side to the front to replace the ones that were broken.

And then there's this. My coveted aluminum 50's Christmas tree.

I adore it! But the dog is still much too destructive to be trusted around it, so I'm holding off on putting it up till next Christmas. Surely she will be calmed down by then...and I will have made a lovely retro tree skirt for it as well.

So instead of two fun and funky trees, my Christmas decorating this year consists of a sparse but shiny aluminum Charlie Brown(ish) tree and a tablecloth.

And I'm OK with that. Christmas spirit isn't really found in the trees and trimmings, anyway. It's the Christmas spirit inside us that really counts.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


OK, I should be cleaning house right now. I should be doing laundry. I should be working on a baby quilt for a special little girl who will likely be here before I get it finished. And then there's the 2 loaves of bread, butter pecan cake and a batch of Cowboy Caviar to take to the folks' for Thanksgiving tomorrow that I haven't even begun to think about getting started on.

But am I doing any of those things? Nah. I've been looking at crafty blogs, websites and going through my growing collection of sewing books. The one I pick up the most often?

I am officially obsessed with this book and nearly every single project in it. I love these little soft dolls and animals.  I didn't really play with baby dolls much except for Rub A Dub Dolly and a doll that had a birthday hat and other birthday accessories(anyone remember her?). I was more a Barbie girl. However, I loved Hollie Hobbie and I had two handmade rag dolls, plenty of stuffed animals--including a yellow calico elephant-- and some crochet toys that my grandmother made for me. The projects in this book, while thoroughly modern, remind me of those toys and my sweet 70's childhood. Perhaps that explains my obsession.

1. Doxie Dachshunds, 2. av's-baby-mermaid-1, 3. dressed down margot x 2, 4. patchwork penny, 5. Tag Along Doll, 6. panda buns!, 7. Katie Kitty, 8. Bookworm, 9. DSC03360, 10. P1000511, 11. Beebee standing, 12. Marie Antoinette

I've yet to make any of the projects, but I plan too in the near future! If I spent less time drooling over the book and more time sewing, I'd have half the projects made! 

I want to start with either the mermaid or Patchwork Penny(#4 in the mosiac). In the meantime, I've got a flickr mosiac to inspire me! What are you obsessing over?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Process: Mini Quilt Inspired by a Big Biting Pig

The Process Pledge

I, ____Kellie______, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them into words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.  

For those of you who have "heard" me babble about The Process Pledge, there you have it. I stumbled upon it on a blog a while back and thought it was a great idea, especially for someone fairly new to quilting. Although, I can see how it would also be valuable to any type of artist. It'll be interesting to see how my processes change/are refined as I become more experienced and confident in my skills.

Here's the process/progress of a project I am currently working on:

First of all you need to know that in my little corner of KY, we have our very own independent film production company. Cool, huh? It's called Big Biting Pig Productions and they make suspense/horror flicks.  A few weeks back they had a  fan art contest. and while I thought "I should make a quilt!" I also thought "that would be completely nerdy and people will realize I am an uber dork", so I didn't do it. 

This past weekend, following a wrap party for the latest film and a burst of inspiration, I decided to go ahead and stitch up my take on fan art. I mean who was I kidding? It's not like it would come as a surprise to anyone that I'm nerdy and dorky. Besides, it is feeding my need to do something creative.

It's(obviously) still a work in progress, but here's what I have done so far: 
These letters were the devil to make. Perhaps that makes them befitting  a company that makes horror movies. The one online tutorial I've ever came across for this type of letter was removed, so I had to wing it. I drew them first and used that as my guide. 
(my letter guide sketch...please ignore the  bits of Milky Way Caramel)

From there I just began cutting small bits of fabric and "playing" until I got something that resembled a letter.  Luckily, they seemed to work out. OK...if I'm being honest, I actually think they look pretty great.

Since this is a tribute to a movie company, I decided some stars were in order. As I was digging through my scrap bag for star fabrics, I came across some pieces from an apron I made a while back.  I thought the man looked like he was screaming and the woman had a bit of a worried look on her face. I knew immediately I had to add these to the quilt, so they were added to the center of the stars. 

I don't have it all worked out in my head, but I think it's going to need at least one more star and  I simply cannot have a Big Biting Pig quilt without a pig. Since I've never done anything like this, I have no idea how it's going to all fit together in the end. I think it'll be rather like working a puzzle. I'm having a great time with it!
I hope to have it finished this week and I'll be continue to blog my process as it comes along.

 To take The Process Pledge yourself, go here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Triton's Delight...or...I Crush Everything

Is it wrong that I am totally, completely, 100% in love with this quilt? Because I am.

I know I took the Process Pledge, but  I started this quilt long before I decided to pay more attention to the process. I'm ashamed to admit that it's been hiding in a closet(for fear of cat hair and dog slober) but tonight it's out of the closet and I will find a home for it somewhere, whether it's folded on a bench, resting on a bed, or hanging on the wall.

In a nutshell, here's the lowdown on the process:

I used a Turning Twenty pattern. Sort of.  Instead of using 20 fat quarters, I used ten half yards of fabric. I also laid the blocks out in a design pleasing to me, rather than following the T20 pattern. Basically, I used the pattern as a guideline on how to cut the FQs and put together the block. I guess you could say this is my own design, inspired by the Turning Twenty.

The fabric is Mendocino from Heather Ross. Y'all, it's like buttah'!  The mottled gold is the only non-Mendocino fabric in the quilt. I can't remember why I didn't have ten of those prints---maybe there weren't any more available in the brown/aqua/colorway? Regardless, I dig it.

After spending so much time and money on the top, no way was I going to try and quilt it on my home machine and with my lack of machine quilting skill. The gal who quilted it let me go through her designs(computer aided) until I found something that I thought would work. The pattern I chose had a seaweed kind of feel. She did a great job with it!

After it was quilted, I went back to to find more Mendocino to bind it with. I didn't realize the line had been discontinued and the prices had skyrocketed. Still, I snagged a half yard for about 7 bucks. Normally I would never pay that for fabric, but I am soooo glad I did. I love how the addition of a second gold fabric frames the quilt.

As for the name, I'm not completely satisfied with Triton's Delight. I think it works, I think it's fun...Triton would certainly approve of sea creatures, mermaids, and little swimming girls. But I secretly call it I Crush Everything, because the giant squid swimming around on it make me think of this song by Jonathan Coulton:

Working on other projects that I hope to post about this week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Flea Market Finds and a Creepy Cymbal Playing Chimpanzee Freak

This past weekend we hit up one of our favorite local flea markets. Normally, I take my camera along and photograph things that make me smile, laugh, or want to run in the other direction.

One of those flea market field trips is here, and yet another can be found here.

This time around, I just wasn't feelin' it. It may have been that I was preoccupied with  getting my Halloween drops done for The Toy Society. It could also have been because my hands were too busy shoving hot, fresh caramel corn and roasted ears of corn on the cob into my face to take photos. Or perhaps it was because there was sooo much vintage goodness to be had that I just didn't think to grab the camera.

...except for when I decided to document this. I know I'm usually going to run across one at some point, but they still scare the crap out of me.  [[Shudder]]

Now that that's out of the way, I'll share some of the non-terrifying goodies that I managed to snag.

Mark bought this adorable ceramic/chalk(?) Scottie bank for me. I love this shade of green!

 We realized once we got it home that the lid doesn't really go w/this cookie jar. But no worries. It was only 3 bucks and looks cute over the kitchen counters.

I searched and searched through a large pile of vintage towel calendars for 1968. No luck. BUT I couldn't pass up these fun designs. I love the color combo on the barn. These may end up being tote bags.

Lovely vintage full apron for $2.00!

Just in case the city of Mad'ville ever hosts a Gatsby Summer Afternoon event, I snagged this hat for a dollar. Too bad it looks ridiculous on my extra large noggin. Sigh.

I thought these were so fun! Published in '59 & '60 and a whopping $.50 each!

Vintage coloring books from the 1960's.

First ever purchase of vintage hankies. I plan to use them as apron pockets or incorporate them into bags. I feel a new obsession coming on.

I LOVE this patchwork dog!  There's a pattern for one very similar on Denyse Schmidt's website if you are so inclined to make your own. My little guy is completely hand stitched and I believe there are several feedsack fabrics. He(and the doll) will be the newest residents in my school library. The little doll tells the story of Little Red riding hood. Her dress flips up to reveal each character & his/her part in the story. Check back for more pics of her on Vintage Thingies Thursday.

This tablecloth was my favorite find of the day at a mere 5 bucks! And yeah, I can see that it needs ironing. I'll do that later...really.

It was a great day...I finally got to spend a Saturday with Mark, the weather was gorgeous, my grand total was right around 30 bucks and I had my fill of caramel corn!  We finished off the day with a late lunch at Panera Bread and a Big Biting Pig Halloween-A-Thon. Nope, not a bad day at all!