Monday, October 30, 2017

Harry Potter Party

I decided to indulge my inner nerd and geek out with a Harry Potter halloween party.  I really got into doing all of the little crafts.  As with all things I find on Pinterest - it's one thing to see the idea, actually creating it is another thing entirely.  There were a lot of learning experiences involved.


I used the good old chopsticks and glue-gun method for these.  I didn't try too hard to replicate any specific wands, although I did take inspiration from them.  I used some acrylic paint and then went over with some metallic water colors for extra shine.  This was a fun project, but it took a couple of days because I had to wait for each layer to dry.

Hogwarts Letters

The letters were easy enough to address, and I melted some candle wax with a red crayon for the seal on the back.  The tricky part was using invisible thread to attach them to the fireplace.  Invisible thread is... not surprisingly... pretty difficult to see. 

Honeydukes Sweetshop

OK - technically these aren't all from Honeyduke's in the book but it was fun to have some themed candy.  The snitches were a little tricky, it was hard to get the sparkle paper to stick to the foil... I had to use a combo of glue and tape (don't look too closely). ;)

Headmaster's Office

Saved up a few tiny liquor bottles to catch memories.  The pensive is just a plastic bowl that I painted with silver paint and glitter.  On the left there's an old mood ring that I painted to look like the Gaunt ring.

Society for the Promotion of Elfish Workers

S.P.E.W was on of my favorite parts of the book... and I already had the hats/socks, so this was pretty easy to put together.

House Points

This was another fun easy thing to do to add to the atmosphere.

There were a few other crafts that I didn't get pictures of but overall it was fun to really get into trying to create a Hogwarts feel for the party.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Spoooooooky quilt

I made a Halloween quilt!

I've wanted to make a Halloween quilt for a while and have been collecting fabrics bit by bit over the past couple of years.  I had a few different ideas, but my quilting mo-jo has been slow to return after grad school so I finally picked a super easy pattern from Pinterest and put the top together pretty quickly.  But I didn't get it done quite in time for Halloween last year, so I stashed the top away and only pulled it out again this month. 

I used meander quilting... which is still a bit of a learning experience for me.  There are places where I crossed over the line of stitching, and other parts where the bobbin thread ran out so it's a bit clunky where I tried to get it started again.  Nothing you'd see from the back of a prancing pony... but stuff that bugs me a little bit. 

The backing is pieced from leftover fabric. 

What I like about it:  
 - It's a quilt!  It's done!

 - It's a Halloween quilt!  It's fun!

 - I'm getting my quilting mo-jo back!

What I want to do differently next time:
- Make sure I love the fabrics.  I bought a lot of fat quarters just because they were Halloween themed... and I relied heavily on sale fabrics.  There are two fabrics that I really don't like, but it's a bit late to change them up now that the quilt is done. 

 - keep practicing meander quilting, or find patterns that work better with straight line quilting.  Meander quilting is HARD on my little machine.  I have a walking foot but actually ended up running over my finger (and yes, OUCH - it hurt as much as you think it would) because I was having to push and pull the fabric more than I would have liked.

I really do feel like I'm getting my quilting inspiration back... I have a ton of ideas for new quilts.  Unfortunately I also have a ton of unfinished projects.  So I think I need to alternate back and forth between finishing up old projects and starting new ones.  More quilts to come!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I make stuff!

Now that I'm not spending every waking moment doing homework - I make stuff!  While in grad school and a bit after I did a few inspirational embroidery pieces.  My original thought was to put them all together into a quilt and have something to wrap up in when I felt a little down.  But I have a LOT of quilts already, and making something full sized is always a bit of a challenge.  So I decided to turn them into a quilted book.  I used scrap fabric and took the opportunity to practice a few new embroidery stitches.  

Let's start with a nod to Maya Angelou, the Phenomenal Woman herself.

I was working on this page on the bus and the gal next to me started asking me questions about what I was doing.  I asked her what else I should do on this page, she told me to do a little fish  - so there's a little improvisational fish.

I stitched this one at a craft retreat at the coast.

"Beauty surrounds you because you create it" was from a fortune cookie I got a while ago.  It's such an appropriate fortune for me, and I've been inspired by it for years.  I can create beauty and I will be surrounded by it.  

I'm trying very hard to apply these mottoes to my life.  

A final nod to Maya.  

The end.  (and upside down for some reason)

I'm really happy with this little project.  I was able to pull together a lot of different pieces of stitching and scrap fabric to make something colorful and uplifting.  After years of academic structure it felt good to just be purely creative, without trying to follow any rules or get it 'right'.  I especially had fun adding the grommets... it's not often I get to use a hammer when quilting!  

I'm already working on another quilted book.... something a little more experience based, more like a journal.  It's a really fun and flexible format.