Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye Bye 2013


What a year!  I sewed quite a bit more than I thought, but I had a bunch of fallow months too.  
I'm still getting a handle on depression, but I feel hopeful.
I can see I focused more on smaller makes, as I only made 4 doll quilts.  But I also made a sofa caddy pincushion, tons of bee blocks, drawstring bags from two different patterns, and an apron, linen towels, an assortment of hotpads and coasters, 6 pillows, and a curtain for the front door.
 I finished ONE lap quilt!  I made my first artist trading card!  I made a tea cozy!  I made a blouse with my daughter.  It's been a pretty good year.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizziebird/11665148744/ 

I also got reaquainted with my camera and I've been taking a pic a day (at least!) for the last two months.  I look forward to keeping that up and taking better pictures of not only nature, but my quilting too and fabric love too.


 

Next year, I'm looking forward to sewing larger makes!  2014 will be the year to do full sized quilts and really learn quilting on a larger scale.  I've got more Zakka I'd like to sew, a few UFO's that I want to  get back to, and a bunch of blogging. I'm so thankful for everyone that has taken the time to read along here, even though I've been a bit hit or miss, to say the least.  

Here's to a great 2014!  See you on the other side :D
Hugs,
Lizzie in Sweden

Monday, December 30, 2013

Something fun for a few more days.....

http://bluenickelstudios.com/?p=6544


I've been enjoying making bee blocks for the last few months.  I think it is a gas to get someone else's chosen palette and see what I can come up with for them.  I've also been just casually following Scott Hansen over at Blue Nickel Studios for the 12 Days of Color. Well, it started casually; now I can't wait to see what he does next!

He has been making up the blocks from Auriful's Designer BOM 2013 for the last week or so.  It is amazing to see how these blocks come out with very different fabrics.  He's fearless when it comes to using large prints, smaller prints, Kona solids, and Moda Grunge with these blocks!  In fact, he's done 4 blocks for each day of the event.

Today was day 9, and there are just a few days left.  Hop on over and see what he's up to!  Not only is it amazing and educational, especially if you're thinking about doing multiple blocks, like I am for the bees, he has a giveaway going too for Aurifil Threads and assorted FQ's of fabrics.  

Details here!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Drawstring Bags

I never showed how they turned out!!  They came out great, and well received too!  The only problem is that my pictures were really blurry, even with the "real" camera.  But here's a glimpse anyway......

This was taken at about 6:30 in the morning, and still very dark out.  I used Jeni Baker's tutorial for them, and I even looked at the video she has on her post, about how to do the boxed corners.  I have to admit, it was just neat to see her "in person." A demonstration goes so much farther than words too, in showing how to make something.  I showed my elf too!  Alas, she was fretting too much about singing at the Christmas concert to help sew, but she was there for all the fabric selection, and it is on our list of sewing together projects to make a few more.



 I tried a new way to mark the fabric too, when sewing in the drawstring channel.  I have heard about a Hera marker but I never bothered to order one.  I do happen to have lots of Swedish butter knives around the house though, and I thought it would be great to give one a try.  This one came right from the drawer, and was a little worn.  It worked just fine for making marks, but I will add that some of the plastic wore off.  It didn't damage the fabric in any way, but there were little blue crumbs to be brushed away.  If I use one again, I'll be sure to use the backside of the spreader part, as that is denser and sealed.   Definitely worked in pinch, and there's no blue marker or chalk showing.  And no pen mark will show when they go out in the cold either, as could happen with Frixion pens.  Unless winter stays stalled here!

I hope you all are having a fabulous Sunday!
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ready!

These little piles are ready to become drawstring bags when my elf gets home from school today! They will each be filled with special soap and a toothbrush and travel toothpaste. Each color way was chosen from my stash to suit the recipient. They're going to be great to take along to sleepovers!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Finally a Finish







Not perfect, but very finished, and very crinkly and nice!
Here is the Zakka quilt that has sat on the shelf forever....When I started quilting it, it just was a bear.  Balky and puckering, tucking.  Turns out the problem was not only my inexperience, but the fact that my machine was crooked where the needle sits.  So I literally couldn't sew a straight line!  It didn't really show on smaller quilts, but it sure showed up for this one.

I had the classic troubles, to narrow seams, and a stitch that was really small in some places and normal sized in others.  The machine is fixed, and I decided to just quilt this As-is, and see what happened.

Well, the sky didn't fall, and the quilt didn't fall apart too much either.  There are the puckers, but they washed into a really nice texture when I was all done, so they don't bother me a bit!  As for those too narrow seams, they don't mix well with linen.  So I had some that came loose.  I just zigzagged the stuffing out of them, around each seam where it happened.  Since the quilt is linen and the squares are fairly large, I think it fits in for the homey feeling. And now I can work on future quilts instead of being weighed down by this one on the shelf!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Plenty of happy mail

I've been getting all sorts of neat stuff in the mail this month.


Received from Carol
These are some Christmas coasters and refrigerator magnets that Carol sent me from Wisconsin.  She also made a tiny checkerboard!  These are so cheerful.  She told me the coasters are trimmed with mini-piping, a finish that I would like to try.  I can't believe all she gets done! Carol also makes the cutest thread portraits of quilters.  Really special!



And this is what I made for Carol.  I changed Ayumi's Mealtime tea towels to a Swedish Christmas towel-- God Jul!  I designed a Christmas goat applique, and a Dala Horse applique, and added God Jul (Merry Christmas!) to the bottom of the towel.  Then, I made tree coasters using a free paper pieced pattern from last Christmas (I cannot remember where I got it....) and I made some Christmas patchwork to use for the Dala Horse tree ornaments.  
These were both for the FLiRTS swap for Christmas.

I also received a wonderful Totoro mini Quilt of my own, from Camila in Brazil.  The poor guy made it all the way to me when there were still leaves on the trees, but since I had written my nickname (Lizzie) instead of my given name (Elizabeth) the package was sent back, to be remailed.
Isn't he wonderful?  



I just love everything about him, but most all the button eyes!

That is it for today!   I hope everyone is having a good time getting ready for the holidays.

Lizzie in Sweden

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November Doings

bow 5
Double rainbow today!
I've been up to a lot this month, but not telling much about it. I been taking lots of pictures of nature, and I've been sewing bee blocks and receiving blocks too. I have also done a little fabric swapping. I don't know how to really mix the nature pictures with quilting, but when it looks as dramatic outside as it does this time of year, with steely grey skies, birds flocking to the feeders, and sunrise that starts at 9 in the morning, well, it's hard to only sit inside and sew. I think it has given me a good rest to sew a little, got outside a little, and then repeat! Here are a few show and tells.....


3x6 Bee, European Ladies, my block
My Circle of Geese Test Block
Magic Light 2
Lovely moss and lichen found this morning in the forest
Here go moose
Moose hair found on the forest floor today by Zack
Ladder
Late day sunlight on the barn next door
Geese Circles made for 3 x 6 Bee, European Ladies
All the bee blocks for the 3 x 6 group, together
utkiken
Woodpecker sitting very still at the top of a pine
November
A mix of the bee blocks, the fabric swaps, the artist trading card, and some nature pictures from November

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cat in the Country

Nalle walk

Last weekend, I took a morning dog-walk with my family. Not far down the path toward the forest, we heard an unbelievably loud yowling coming from behind us! There sat our bigger cat, Fat Cat, climbing around the brush at the side of the barn. He could see we were getting farther away, and, being like any cat, his curiosity finally got the better of him. cat walk 3

We walked down the path, listening to him muttering and murmuring behind us, but he didn't go back! He just kept trotting behind, at a safe distance. When we got through the forest, and to the lake nearby, he really took a chance to look around.... cat walk 6 

(I just have to point out here that it's Not our ax that has been left in the block like that, nor is it our block!) 

He looked high and low....
cat walk 8
 cat walk 9 
And high again...
cat walk 4
Fat Cat








 






   


flat top 1
Zack
   
Zack looked on.

cat walk 15
Fat Cat and Stella



We had a little snow during the week, and it's gotten colder.
 Cat hasn't been following on any more 
 walks.....


  
homeward bound  
But this one sure was fun while it lasted.  And he was none the worse for wear from his adventure!

 cat walk 13










I hope you enjoyed a slice of Sweden today.
Happy weekend ! 
I hope you all get out and about too!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yay! I received a card too! Here is the card that Simi sent to me!! Isn't it fabulous? She made theme of fireworks against a night sky. Something to keep away the dark in Sweden. It came out perfectly!
 Received from Simi Received from Simi 

I love it!! SO many layers and so sparkly! I think her stitching is really lovely too. Received from Simi 

In other doings, I have been cutting strips to send for the low volume scrappy trip swap, 2.5. Here are three of them, and the rest are done but have no pictures. 
They are going in the mail this weekend. Just about ready to stack and send! 
So nice to get a bit of sunshine!

And now I have to get back to bee block sewing!
 Happy Thursday! 
 Lizzie in Sweden

Monday, November 11, 2013

An Artist Trading Card


Very Berry Handmade ATC Swap

I heard about Artist Trading Cards in the late 90's, but I never tried making one.  At that time, I was more into collage and painting, and raising toddlers! than quilting, but I just never got around to trying one.

Last spring, Ali from Very Berry Fabrics blog introduced a swap for quilted ATC's.  I missed it last time, but I sure enjoyed seeing what everybody else made.  When Ali hosted a new one this September, I signed right up!  I've been taking pictures and sketching for awhile to come up with something that would work.
Our theme this time was simply: Autumn.
The cards should be 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

Viking Mushroom, the cute one in story books and kids fabrics. Eating by Vikings for its hallucinogenic properties.....

Barley field, and Storsjön (Great Lake) beyond

How difficult it is to draw something so tiny, and break a scene down into small parts!

Just one of the possibilities

Not all my ideas worked yet, but I was able to happily settle on a scene from one of my Sundays: pressing leaves in my cookbook:

Leaves and flowers

My finished card is simplified from the inspiration photo I took.   That is either one Huge blueberry leaf, or a very tiny cookbook!  Still, I think it says autumn, both in color and style.  I love to go around and take pictures when the colors change, and I end up piling up bits of fabric and leaves and flowers even more than usual, making arrangements to ponder and enjoy. 
That's what this card is about.

ATC Fall 2013 

I used some vintage Kimono fabric from Japan, some wonderful Oakshott shot cotton, one of my favorite text prints, and a bit of linen and ribbon.  Now that I finally got the hang of making something so tiny, I can't wait to try again!   The green is could have been moss in another design I started, but here it stands for the barley that grew outside the back door all summer, that was harvested in the fall.  Now everything is already covered in snow!
These are great for trying out new techniques, which for me would be embroidery, design, and working really tiny.  

Check out Ali's Flickr group if you'd like to see more....

Happy sewing from Lizzie in Sweden, and thanks to all those who serve, and those who do and those that don't make it back, and the families that try to hold them tight, on this Veteran's Day.
You have my love and gratitude forever.
 

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Little Side Track.....

I grabbed the camera this weekend.  I keep feeling lazy and using my phone to take pictures, and then being disappointed they are blurry, or pale, or some other thing.  I love to compose pictures, and I love taking a real photo.  (well, as real as it can be perhaps without going and developing them.
So, I took out the camera and tripod and took some photos around the house.

Lizzie.365.Rust.4 Lizzie.365.rust.day.1 Lizzie.365.rust.day.2b

Lizzie.365.rust.day.3
 I have to say, it felt really nice to take a little time on the images I was framing. I'm going to try taking pics of the sewing with camera again too! Like this: 

Sewing and Red 2, November 
and this, the other side! Sewing and Red, November 
I worked on a little scrap stack to send out for a swap this weekend, and I discovered a whole new palette for myself. Really love these beiges at this time of year, and sewing the bug rug just for fun was just what I needed. 
 Isn't it great to go off the track sometimes? 

 Happy Sewing! 
Lizzie in Sweden