I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Color Stories ~ Choosing Fabrics

Good morning! The sun is out and it's a beach day, so I am typing fast. Yesterday was cold and rainy,

...and I spent an enjoyable hour or so choosing fabrics for the Fall sewalong on Humble Quilts. This year Lori is inspired by a shop in France called Sajou here and her fabrics have a French theme too, from French General https://www.frenchgeneral.com/.

I look forward to this sewalong every year, have only missed one or two since I began following Lori's blog. It's always a mystery [we do not see the design until the end], not my fave, I like to know what the heck I am making; but the results are always great.

I have NO French General fabric. Well, one a small piece of monogram print in taupe. I am not a FG fan. I love the designs but find the quality of the fabric, with its odd pearlescent sheen and surface printing off putting. But. Love the look, so I went though Fat Quarter's offering. here Yes, lovely, but probably out of my budget, so back to the  quilt room to see what I could find.

I love imagining my tiny quilt and finding pretty fabric to make my version. This is a big part of my motivation to quilt. We need a central ''medallion'' fabric, a focus fabric. [Will we be featuring this or appliqueing on this? Do not know, it's a mystery.]

I found probably enough reds for a Christmas red quilt. One medallion choice is a Santa toile, the other is  a Birds toile.

Coordinates, light/ medium/ dark. Stripe. Dot. Sprig.

As I studied Lori's post I realized I have a blue Jacobean toile that might make a blue version--or how about this large scale seashell print?

 How about a Pug?

Here are a few coordinates. I have other blue projects going and didn't want to disturb the blues unless I make my little quilt in blue. You get the idea though, I think. The blue lower left doesn't work, etc.

When I pulled out the seashell print, I saw this great black and white, very large scale print with vintage vegetables, how fun.

I keep modern and large prints on that shelf and immediately threw together a cool and different black and white story. I love it. But  not for this quilt.

So there I have it, three ideas and the start of the sewalong. Maybe.
People in blog-land often muse about why they blog. I blog because I like to take photos and write; I like the diary aspect, as Blogger keeps one's posts forever unlike FB , gone tomorrow; I like having a record of my life, my projects, my little beach world; I write in memory of my mom and our weekly letters and shared journals.
But a blog is also a great tool for a quilter. I took photos of each color grouping and as I post them here I will get a better sense of what works, what doesn't and what I love in each colorway. For example, the blue above, or below, you can see the bright roses print does not work, but depending on the mystery design, I'll keep it in for a possible pop of needed clash.

I also belong to groups on FB. Why? To share interests---quilts, antiques, pugs. I try to participate if I bother to belong. And maybe I am sometimes too enthusiastic.
I posted pics on FB of my three color groupings. I thought the idea of choices found in one's stash would be interesting to other members. I have noted that members mention they have problems choosing fabrics, a ''chore'' that I dearly love and probably the main reason I  quilt since I don't like to sew and my kids despise quilts.  I meant well. I wanted to share.

I immediately got a rude and snippy comment that reduced me to tears on a cold rainy Friday, home alone [sob!]. The person  said,"Get a grip, it's only a 20" project."  Well that shot me down bigtime. Burst my bubble,indeed.


Funny how just the wrong words can spoil your fun.

I took my post down immediately. I felt so stupid and I hate feeling stupid.[as do most of us.] And the truth is, I could expend as much effort on choosing and sewing a patch on my daughter's jeans : boro? linen turned? slapped on top? Match the denim or use a pretty print? How about velvet?
I don't want to get a grip, what's the fun in that?
I sadly spent an hour putting the fabrics back on their shelves, in their bins. I'll see how it goes, but right now, I am off to the beach with Bitty and my admittedly horrible hand quilting. Talk to you Monday.

Many thanks to everyone who ordered hearts from my etsy shop! You're the best! Here they are in their pretty packages.



gone to the beach...

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Lavender, Lemon Balm, Bergamot

Hello, friends! Do your closets smell delightful?[ Or are you like my mom, always with the closet doors ajar to avoid the odd musty smell of stored linens and clothes?]

I have the answer! LOL, I have been working on a lot of lavender herb sachet hearts for the past week, and as I sew I imagine-audition  copy to use when I post the sachets in my etsy shop.

Mo and the big lavender bush
The hearts are always fun to make! But not something I can just churn out in bulk*. Each heart is carefully designed, each is different. I start by sorting through the special shelf  in my fabric storage area, a shelf devoted to not-quilt projects. There I keep white and  ecru linen fabric, embroidered tea towels, antique fabric, white cutwork dresser scarves and tablecloths, remnants of quilts, ribbons and lace. I sort though, refolding and considering, choose a special few.

 I cut the hearts by hand individually. Sometimes I make a cardstock pattern [old birthday cards or the paper from Joann's fat quarters], but sometimes I cut the hearts freehand. I group the hearts by color, so I can re-thread my sewing machine as little as possible. There. that's a good start, for now, I think, and walk away.

The following day I steam the hearts, then I load them on my tin star tray and Mo and I go outside for trimming, turning and stuffing day.

 Mo likes to supervise. The deck is his outdoor world, he loves it there.

The turning part is tedious, everything must be clipped, poked and prodded and pressed just so. Back outside I do the messy task of filling each heart with herbs, in this case my current blend of lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena; lavender essential oil and bergamot oil.

I collect these large old silver plate serving spoons, fun two dollar flea market finds. Each heart gets two or more scoops of herbs, then a bit of additional polyfil or cotton batting. I sometimes meka all herb sachets but I truly prefer the addition of the fluff, it keeps the hearts' pretty shape and helps guard against the herbs retaining too much moisture from the air.

The next step, each heart is sewed closed by hand, using the ''ladder stitch'', invisible and strong. A bit of a press and I close the workroom door for the night.

When I return I dig out ribbons and strings, fire up the hot glue gun. I pour out Mason jars-full of mother of pearl buttons/ vintage fancy buttons, pawing through them imagining how they will add to each design. Often I will dye ribbons or lace to fit my vision.

Oooh. Pretty!

Then--photo day. I am struggling with my only camera, in my dying old iPhone. Today Mo was extra helpful. Every time I set up a backdrop or moved a chair he plonked himself down center stage.

He was so happy to be outside that he ignored the fog and driplets of rain showers, watching my every move. (But afterward, when I set the old quilt I was using as a white background on his chair in the sun, he was sulky and refused to go there, choosing an empty chair instead.

Next I'll package each set or single heart in its own little cello bag, often tied with ribbon, lace, raffia, embellished with buttons, shells, seaglass. I think the fun of making the hearts is playing with all my flea treasures! I love sorting through buttons. I am thinking the very Fall hearts in this group may get an acorn or a silk autumn leaf on their bow.

And I almost always ship in recycled/ reused boxes. So if your box is oddly large or obviously reused [though clean and perfect!] you'll know why; I am giving the box a second journey, a longer life.

Tomorrow I plan to start a group of square tiny pillow sachets. Honey colored silk with embroidered honey bees! And  a sweet woodland print in sepia. I am dying to instead work on 1880  quilt, the fabric auditions are calling me. And a nice woman on FB gave me the instructions for the original zigzag setting. So kind.

The other good news is that  this month's SG Album block HERE is very charming and interesting, though again, Mary Todd [Lincoln] is not the most charismatic woman in history.

It's a windy foggy evening right now. Mo is hiding, hoping to avoid his bedtime walk. We may get a chilly night soon! I think...Saturday?



gone to the beach.....

* I do take custom orders for larger quantities of hearts, sometimes assorted, sometimes all the same. People love them for wedding shower/ baby shower favors, party favors, gifts to groups of friends etc.