Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Somestime You Just Gotta Play . . .

I know that there are times when you just have to do something besides clean, cook, pay bills, etc.  I know that I NEED to create something everyday to keep me balanced.  It might be quilting, painting, knitting, cross-stitching, weaving, who knows, I just NEED to be creative.  At the moment my husband and I are busy working on a float for our local Christmas parade.  This float was a wee bit challenging in that it is for a political campaign for our oldest son who is running for Sheriff in our county.  The theme of the parade is "A White Christmas in Watkinsville".  I cannot begin to tell you just how creative we need to get to be able to achieve both Christmas and campaign on our float.  We will try.  After the parade I'll post a picture of our finished product.  I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it.
In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you something that I made for Christmas last year.  It was inspired by a glittery placemat found at a local discount store and from there I came up with a poinsettia applique to finish it off.  I drew off 15 petal shapes for the outer two rows and 8 smaller petals fors the center.  When fusing, I just offset them.  I drew a circle on a scrap of a glitzy gold fabric and cut it out with pinking shears.  I drew off a leaf pattern (mine really look more like holly leaves) and cut out 8.  I used three different reds and accented each row with stitching.  The outer petals I used a straight stitch and sewed around and inside the petals with a red thread.  For the middle row I satin stitched the petals with a red thread also.  For the inside petals I straight stitched them down with a gold metallic thread both on the outside and on the inside giving some texture.  For the center I free- motion stitched with gold thread and painted over the entire circle with gold glitter glue.  I also used the same glitter glue and made random dots on the inner petals.  For the leaves I blanket stitched them down and then used a straight stitch for the veins.  I used red glitter glue for the red berries on the leaves.  For the little vines I used a green thread and did a really small zig zag stitch and at the ends I sewed on red beads.  This was so much fun to create!  I'm thinking about doing a pink and a white poinsettia next.  I will frame this one to hang at Christmas.  I must say that I am so fortunate to have a sweet husband who will special make my frames for me.  All I have to do is paint them. 

This is one of those projects where you just go with your imagination and don't worry about 1/4" seams, reading the pattern, etc.  Just use your Steam 2 Seam and draw your petals and leaves, pick out your fabrics, fuse, and sew.  How easy can that be.  Remember, have FUN!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blogging finally . . .

Hello, my name is Holley Downs and I love reading blogs and now I've made the decision (not easy) to start one of my own.  My favorite thing to do is read books, magazines, and patterns.  I love fiber and color.  I love to touch it and look at it.  When I walk into a quilt shop I feel as though I must have died and gone to heaven.  It is simply eye candy and food for my soul.

I search daily for ideas and inspiration from the books, magazines, etc. that I read for me to try.  For those projects that catch my eye, I love to add my own special twist.  Sometimes I make it different, sometimes I make it better, and sometimes it's perfect just the way it is.

I love fiber and color and cannot believe it took me years to find this out.  When I began quilting five years ago, it opened up my pent up creativity and unleased my imagination.  I find that reading books, magazines, articles, blogs, etc. inspire me to try.  I do believe the most important thing that I've learned is to have fun at whatever you do and enjoy each step of the process!

One of my very favorite techniques is machine applique and I look for any excuse to do some everyday.  I do love the look of needle-turn applique, but for me I am not patient enough for this technique.  I guess you could say I am an instant gratification kind of girl and love trying out all the decorative stitches on my sewing machine.  I find the possibilities to be endless.

This picture of my interpretation of a bucket of sunflowers that I made in August 2010 was taken from the book more! hand applique by machine by Beth Ferrier.  The cover features this bucket of sunflowers and if you see the book and compare with my little quilt you will notice instantly the differences.  I chose to omit the sashings, one butterfly, placement, size, etc.  If you follow by blog, you will find that I rarely follow the patterns and sometimes I don't read the instructions.  I love having the idea and the templates to play with.  Let's face it, the artist has done the hard work . . . I just like to see how far I can go with it.  I also want the piece to be mine; however, always giving the artist credit for his/her inspiration.

Back to Beth Ferrier's book . . . A wonderful book filled with beautiful projects, ideas, templates, information, and easy to follow instructions.  I love sunflowers, applique, hand-dyed fabric (a discussion for another day), so her books were just what I needed.  Her books are worth the money and a great resource to have on your shelf. 

This little wall hanging was so much FUN to create . . . from hand-dying the background fabric, going through my scraps, fusing, appliqueing, quilting, the whole process was extremely FUN!  If you do not machine applique, please try it!  I think you'll fall in love, too.

Be sure to check out Beth's blog . . .

Have a great day.  Sew, Create, Imagine, and have Fun!

My ideas are free for your use and I would REALLY appreciate your feedback and comments.