Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Recycling Drain Tiles

WOW challenge #17:  "With Earth Day this week, let's create something in honor of our home. You can focus on recycling, nature, etc. Maybe try your hand at gardening or find a great new use for your soda cans."

These tiles (I think they are leftover drainage tiles that the farmers use in the fields) were laying under the bushes when we moved into our home here about three years ago. I've been trying to think of a use for them. I finally figured it out!
I stacked four small ones on one side of the garden shed door and three larges ones on the other side. I filled all of them about half way (or more) with dirt, finished filling them with potting soil, then added flowers.  I had wanted to plant flowers in front of the shed but wasn't looking forward to digging up the ground there and it hadn't ever had anything but grass and weeds... it was really hard.  This worked out great.
Flowers in front of the shed.
Very little work. 
Tiles no longer looking messy and abandoned under the bushes. 
All this "Check-ing" . . . .
can you tell I've been watching American Idol.

Next I have to figure out what to do with this odd piece.  It's square and clay-like.  It looks like the square things at the top of our fireplaces' chimneys.  I'll probably fill this with flowers too but it's HEAVY.  And I have to find a place for it.

Family At Easter

All the kids came done for Easter this year.  It was great to see them all together and listen to them talk.  Old stories had to come out again and be retold for the benefit of Adam's girlfriend as it was the first time she was at a family gathering. (Poor Nancy)  And we had our first official kid's table.... and they wanted to sit at it!  We'll see how long that lasts. 

But before dinner we had an Easter egg hunt . . .

 All the kids managed to find enough eggs to fill their baskets.  Except Dexter.  He got sidetracked when he realized there was candy inside. 

Then it was time to move on to our arts and crafts project. 
A large piece of MDF was left over from making a shelf for the living room.  I primered it before the kids got here.  An old bag of Scott's uniform shirts that I had never gotten around to throwing out made great smocks.
 All dressed and ready to paint!

 We had crayons and markers and colored pencils but everyone chose to use paint.

 I plan to cover it with polyurethane and add legs.  It'll make a great kids table for next time they are here.

The two youngest weren't quite as entertained by painting as the older ones.  They moved on.
 "Hop on Dexter! I'm going that way!"
 "You're a little slow.  I think I'll walk."

 After Lynzee and Caycee got some scrapes and some bandaids, Caycee and Cooper decided the stone deer needed some first aid and bandaids.

Gramma wanted a group picture with all her grandkids.
It was a whole lot easier sitting down in this thing than it was to get out of it.... a tight squeeze!

 Dexter showing off... he can walk on the wall and drink at the same time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm Glad You're Here

Iron Craft Challenge #14:  "Wish You Were Here" . . . .  make a postcard.

Mine is "Spring"
Strips of Spring-like fabric,
embroided leaves and flowers,
pink and green ric-rac, yellow beads
and, embroidered in hot pink, the word "Spring!"

This was as much fun as an inchie.... I just didn't have to squint!

Get Your Binding Ready Karen

.... it's heading your way!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Funky Froggy Flowers

The final challenge for this season's Project Quilting was "Large".  We had to use at least a quarter yard of a large scale print.  We also had to use at least one stripe or plaid. 

I had some large scale colorful frog print squares that equalled somewhere between a quarter yard and a half yard.   I chose one subtle stripe fabric and one stipe fabric that was just a little bolder.

Though I like the frog fabric, I didn't want my piece to be all about frogs.  I really wanted to  play with textures and that helped to disguise the frogs a bit but still let the colors shine.  I made three different kinds of flowers. 

One had petals that became very textured and bumpy through the use of Texture Magic and batting.  

Another flower had petals with batting and straight line quilting.  All of these petals were appliqued to the background with a zig-zag stitch. 

The three smaller flowers are circles of fabric each gathered around a circle of very stiff stabilizer that's just a little too big.  Gathering tightly caused the stabilizer circle to bow and bend a little, adding an extra element of texture to the gathers and keeping the flowers from laying flat on the background.  Yellow buttons are in the middle of the flowers.  
Several shades of green embroidery floss were braided together for the stems of the larger flowers.

Using the subtle stiped fabric I sewed a few dozen pleats very close together.  I cut a vase shape and sewed the pleats down along the edge of the vase.  Down the center of the vase I pushed the pleats in the opposite direction and again sewed them down.  This gave another element of texture and also formed a new look to the stripes.  Sewing the pleats was much harder than I anticipated but I love the look.

The piece was quilted with slightly curvy diagonal lines and bound with the brighter stripe fabric.  I thought I'd cut the binding on the bias but after the diagonal quilting decided to go with straight stripes.

The judges have a few good suggestions on how this could have been better... I might not be finished with it.

You can see the rest of the entries at Kim's Crafty Apple and at the Project Quilting with KimsCraftyApple flickr group.

The season had ended.  It was fun to see all the different interpretations of the challenges.  I loved having the challenge to make new projects and the judge's critiques were so helpful.  They gave great tips for improving and I seldom disagreed with anything they said.  I would find myself looking at my works-in-progress in different ways.  We all help out each other on our blogs but I think we tend to only make supportive comments.  The Project Quilting judges were anonymous - that may have made it a little easier to offer constructive critism.  Thank you to all the judges for your time and advice!

And thanks, Kim, for another great season!