December 8, 2016

Quilt for Pulse

I remember the sense of hopelessness I felt when hearing about the events unfolding in the Pulse nightclub in June 2016. It was a targeted attack on a gay nightclub on a "latin night".

Not long afterwards, I saw a call out by the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild for quilts. Any contribution was welcomed, from single blocks, through to quilt tops, and of course finished quilts. The recommended block pattern was a simple heart one from cluck cluck sew.

Initially planning on completing just some blocks, I soon found myself watching out for bright colours in quilt shops, quickly picking up some beautiful background fabric (Paradise by Chong-a Kwang for Timeless Treasures) from Shellys Sewing Centre in Goulburn and a jelly roll of Moda Grunge from HobbySew Belconnen. I had never worked with a Jelly roll before, and soon found myself designing quilt after quilt, trying to incorporate a rainbow design, and taking care of the quantity of fabric required. Finally, I settled on this design:

I had no real neutrals in my stash, so I got a couple of jelly rolls of Whispers by Muslin Mates for Kona, and some generic fabrics from Lincraft and Addicted to Fabric.

It was a real labour of love, requiring a lot of math, fabric layout choices, careful cutting, and never ending ironing. So many seams when working with jelly rolls!

Bit by bit, I saw my design come to life, and before long the top was finished.

Because I bought my backing before having a quilt design/final size in mind, I was short by a frustrating few inches. This required a little more design work, and some thin strips of neutral to form small hearts and tie into the front of the quilt

Next was the question of quilting. My old sewing machine has not a lot of throat space, and I was tossing up between straight-line quilting and a stipple effect. With a little help from Christina Cameli's book "First steps to free-motion quilting" and a sewing desk I received from my local Buy Nothing Group (allowing me to lower the working area of the machine to table level), I launched head first into my first serious free-motion quilting.

It was difficult working the stitches on such a small machine, but I love how it turned out.

Made with Love by Jen E. 2016 #quiltsforpulse
I was proud to send the quilt to Orlando, to take its place with well over a thousand other quilts worldwide. I have seen that the distribution of these quilts has begun.

You can check out many of the quilts made by searching for the tag #quiltsforpulse
Lastly, I wanted to mention that there was a lovely short news clip about the project, and another news clip on distributing quilts to the Orlando police department.

September 22, 2015

Dotee with a fancy button

It's been over 5 years since I last made a dotee doll, or participated in a swap on swap-bot.

I don't know what brought me back to them, but I really enjoyed taking part in the "Dotee with a fancy button" swap.

I had a lot of fun in the details, including the beaded/laced bodice and weaving metal through the hair.

I also recently discovered a site called So Sew Easy, where I got a pattern for a nappy changing mat for a baby shower. There's also an active Facebook group, where I saw lots of people posting about a "teeny tiny mini zipper pouch".

I decided to make a pouch for the dotee doll, and found that using some of my 7.5sq in Japanese charm pack fabric was the perfect size, and I added some of the same lace used on the dotee's bodice when top-stitching the zip.

I had a lot of fun designing this, and I was so happy to see that people are still making and swapping dotees. I'm looking forward to making more! Flickr has lots of great inspiration.

April 8, 2012

Toy Society Drop: Constance Bunny

In 2010, I won a Tollipop giveaway: an original painting of a bunny. At that time, I also sketched a little picture of a toy I wanted to make based on the painting.

In 2011, I cut out the pieces for the toy, hoping to make a softie for the Mirabel foundation. I missed that deadline, but in 2012 I finally got around to sewing the toy in time for an Easter drop for the Toy Society (drop #1817).

Constance was made from a smattering of linen and cotton fabrics I had picked up from freecycle. If (when!) I make another Constance bunny, I will try and make the face rounder (perhaps attach it separately instead of having the head/body as one pattern piece), the dress wider at the bottom, and I will probably not stuff the ears. I still think it ended up being pretty cute, wonky arms and all.

I bundled Constance up in a plastic sleeve to protect her during her overnight jaunt in the park. Luckily I had a stash of labels and info sheets from the last time I did a drop.

I snuck out last night and hung it from some play equipment. I hope someone visited the park and Constance found a good home on Easter Sunday!

April 6, 2012

Stencilled morsbags using the handle in the design - Round two!

Back in 2010, I posted the first set of stencilled morsbags using the handle in the design. I made a few more in the series not long afterwards, once again using freezer paper for the stencils.

Old-school radio cassette player.


Alien spaceship!

The alien spaceship concept started simply enough, with a sketch of a spaceship (a design suggested by a friend of mine).

Then I got all of my screen paints colours out and went to town. I did it in two layers - colours first, then the black layer. Afterwards I added some details by hand.

I love this photo - it shows the cramped quarters I was working from in 2010. I had everything set up on an ironing board between my bed and my wardrobe.

This detail shows that I didn't quite align my layers. Of course, I realised afterwards that I didn't need to leave a gap in the yellow layer - the black would have printed fine straight over it! Luckily, I like the effect it produced given the context.

Got a bit fancy with mixing colours here.

And my favourite detail - the alien in the cockpit.

This bag is living with the friend who suggested the design.

If you want to make your own Morsbags, grab the free pattern from the site and some reclaimed material (these bags were made from old sheets). Careful - it's addictive, whether you screenprint them or not!

March 7, 2012

Softies for Mirabel 2010

I got this this guy to Pip at Meet me at Mike's just in the squeak of time for the 2010 Softies for Mirabel drive.

It was the second time I'd joined in the fun, Eugene (the udderly lovely cow) having taken part in 2009.

George was made from the albert monkey pattern in the softies book, contributed by Fiona from Hop Skip Jump.

The trousers were very fiddly, but very cute.

It was a great project for using up odds and ends of fabric.

Sadly, I missed the deadline for the 2011 drive. I have the pieces already cut out for the 'Constance bunny' sketch, which might now end up as a Toy Society drop.

January 23, 2012

In memory of Ian

This portrait was made in memory of Ian, one year on.

I completed it in November 2010, using Dudecraft's excellent tutorial.

January 1, 2012

Christmas in New Zealand

A lot has happened since I last posted. I graduated, for starters! After graduating, I headed to New Zealand for a holiday (my older sister bought a house there), before returning to Australia for work. A year later and I am back in New Zealand, once again for a Christmas holiday.

My younger sister and I made a gingerbread house, as is tradition...

Only this time, it featured banana-wielding ninjas, among other details....

You could, in fact, call it a ninja bread house! Badoom boom ching!

It's been lovely to kick back after a very full-on year. I have been crafting, just not blogging. I hope to share some of my creative work from 2011 in the coming months.

In the meantime, I got up to a little crafting here!

My older sister and I bought a sewing machine for her house last year, and I calculate it has made about 80 Morsbags. To liven things up, I decided to make a little pincushion-in-a-basket. I picked up the cute basket from Trade Aid and the fabric is left over from making Morsbags.

I winged the pattern and ended up having to make the insert smaller. Let's just say that it's a good thing that the basket is curved and you can't see the edges where I brought it in!

Also, it was fun stuffing the cushion with scraps of fabric (I had no filling), but it does mean that there's a bit of resistance when it comes to pushing in the pins. I'm sure it makes for an efficient pin bluntener if nothing else!

I'll leave you with a picture of some of the decorations up in my room here in New Zealand. On the left, the 2012 Frankie Calendar (a Chrissie present) and on the right, a tea towel I picked up from a local op-shop. I'm loving greys and greens at the moment.

Happy new year, everyone!

September 13, 2010

Intricate stencil work

So... my crafting hiatus didn't last very long. Ahem.

This is not my artwork. A friend of mine gave it to me after I complimented him on it many years ago. Now a special event of his is coming up, and yesterday was the 9th International Morsbagging Sunday, so I decided to print some Morsbags with his design on them.

I painstakingly traced the design onto freezer paper and cut it out (nothing like a looming deadline to make such tasks seem attractive). Doing the leaves and the basket was extremely fiddly.

Seeing the freezer paper ironed on the bag briefly made me consider screenpainting the design in white rather than black!

This was the first print. I made two, because I wanted to make the most out of all that cutting! As you can see, it's the inverse of the original artwork. It was simple because, as you can see from a couple of photos back, it was made from a single cut-out.

Here is the second, more fiddly bag. For this one, I ironed down all the remaining cut-out pieces one by one.

I had originally planned to add some of the finer details (flowers, petals, hair...) with embroidery thread after painting the bags, but I've decided that they look good as they are, and the threads would probably just snag on the inside of the bag anyway.

The labels went on the back, as there was no real place for them on the front.

Here's a little visual reminder of why you need to place some newspaper (or my favourite - cereal boxes) under fabric that you're screen-painting so that the ink doesn't seep through.

For the presentation, I rolled them up and tied them together with a simple tie I made from the same linen I used for the bags.

The linen was picked up for next to nothing at my local op-shop and was so beautifully soft and easy to work with, that I fear I will not want to sew nor print on anything but the best!

Everything has been packed away again, so hopefully I can get some uni work done now. Although when I went to bed last night, my mind was racing with ideas for doll joints and projects using them... uh oh!

September 7, 2010

My creative space

My desk is my creative hub. It is the only space I have for work and play. A mix of uni work, personal work and crafting.

The lovely decorations on my wall are from Bobberdilly (the cat), Deadpan Alley (the two portraits), Tollipop (the wee girl), Cathy Cullis (the illustration on the far left) and Sycamore Press (the pencil stubs).

For the next month or so, I'll be concentrating on the work side of things. I've packed away my sewing machine, boxed up my fabric stash, brought out all my books, set up my computer, and will be concentrating on finishing my honours thesis. It's due on October 25... wish me luck!

August 31, 2010

Australian native flower-press

I had some flowers fading fast, so I decided it was time to do some flower-pressing!

I love the design & colours of this flower-press, which is from my childhood. It still has bits of paper & cardboard from back in the day wedged inside it...

After a few weeks, I could wait no longer and prised open the press.

Results as expected! The white flower wasn't very pretty, but the jonquils turned out really well.

Unsure as to what I actually wanted to do with the flowers, I whipped this up. You can spin the wheel for different early-morning remarks!
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