Thursday, December 20, 2012

I've just finished two wall hangings. 

This first one is for my niece who has a cabin at Lake Tahoe. As you explore around the lake you will see clumps of Aspen, which are a beautiful sight in the fall. I relied on my memory of the aspens to create this art quilt. It is a modified confetti method.

This piece measures about 16X28". I used a batik background and drew in shadowy trees with a black sharpie. The aspen trunks are Stonehenge marble fabric. I also used some fine point pens to draw in details of the bark. I used a black thread to do an uneven zig-zag on the left side of the trunks to create a shadow and give dimension. 

The leaves are done with another Stonehenge marble. I cut pieces with pinking shears. I used a  basting spray on the background fabric and then laid the leaf sections on the tacky surface. To make sure it was all secure, I overlaid a dark gray netting and then zig-zagged the edges of the leaves with gold metallic thread.

This next art quilt is contemporary in design. I did not use a pattern.

 The ginkgo leaves I made by using the needle lace technique. I used a water soluble background and the gray netting. The oak leaf is three dimensional because I used an iron on interfacing and then turned it to reveal the clean edge. All of the decorative free motion is done with silver metallic thread. I chose the colors you see because it is a gift for a friend's daughter whose living room is Tiffany blue, silver and gray.  

I'm still working on the Italian Adventure bedspread. A true work in progress! I'll post pictures of that after Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Hugs from Mary

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dress-Up Betsy Pillow

Pattern found in Wee Wonderfuls by Hillary Lang.

The pillow measures 16”x16”. The back has a velcro closure. A pocket on the back holds the dolls wardrobe.


The clothes stay on the doll because they all have flannel fused on the back. Reminds me of the old flannel boards from kindergarten!

Hugs from Mary

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our Italian Adventure Captured in a Quilt

          We just got back from a beautiful trip through the Tuscan region of Italy. Everything was more fabulous than I ever imagined it would be. We traveled with another couple and did it all on our own. No guided tours... we just followed my husband and hoped he knew what he was doing, as he hadn't been to Italy in 43 years!

I'm needing to make a quilt for our bed as a remembrance of the trip. I've got it nearly worked out in my head and just need to do some sketches, review pictures, buy fabric,..... it is all just so overwhelming! I know I want the main part of the quilt to be a depiction of the different marble floors we saw in the Duomos. I took lots of pictures of church floors!

 These first two pictures are from areas of the Vatican Museum. I think I was the only one looking down...

Here you see the floors of San Marco in Venice. As I was taking the pictures water was creeping in to flood parts of the church during high tide. Just amazing. Are these not examples of patch work quilts???

These floors were just spellbinding. I just wanted to stand and study them. So many different patterns and colors. I'm thinking I can capture the look using  the Stonehenge Marbles fabric by Northcott.

This beautiful floor is actually outside, at ground level as the border around the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was raining that day and the colors just popped!

This is part of the Parthenon floor. Just so beautiful.

I think I need to do different, irregular sections to the center part of the quilt. However, what I'm visualizing for the parts that will cover the sides of the bed is more in the line of an art quilt. I want to do Tuscan countryside, vineyards, olive trees... Well, that's another blog entry altogether. For now I'm going to tackle the Duomo Floors!

Happy quilting.
Hugs from Mary

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Getting Ready For Italy!

We're planning a trip to Italy in September with another couple. We'll be gone for nearly a month, flying into Rome and out of Venice with a two week stay at a Tuscan villa near Lucca. Of course looking chic is a must! I posted earlier that I was working on a stylish fanny pack... Here is mine completed. The pattern is Sew 'n Go Hip Purse by .  I did a few thing differently, but basically followed the pattern. The front pleats allow the purse to expand as you stash stuff in it.

My friend, Kate wants one also, and suggested it would make a fine birthday present! She requested red and black. Lucky for her I had these glitzy scraps! I crazy quilted a big chunk, went down the seams with gold metallic thread using one of my fancy machine stitches, and cut out the pattern. The top opens with a heavy duty black and gold zipper. Inside a zippered pocket divides the purse into two sections.

The back side has a zippered pocket that perfectly holds the wallet I designed and made.

Here is the wallet. I used an elastic band to keep it closed, thus ensuring that the dollars/euros in the outside back pocket would safely stay there. The front vinyl window is for the ID/Drivers License.

This is the back side. I made a clear vinyl pocket for coins. A velcro strip keeps it securely closed. The dollars/euros go in the pocket behind the coins.

The inside has a zippered pocket where the passport fits securely and safely. The bottom section has folds for credit cards and a pocket for medical/insurance card and medication list, emergency contact info.

Here is the wallet I made for me, which I'm already using. I love that it is flat and light weight. There is not a place for a checkbook. Does anyone still carry one? 
I will stick a few checks in the inside pocket of my purse.

The outside back of my wallet does not have a vinyl coin pocket. I didn't get that great idea until I was making Kate's.

Here is the inside of mine labeled and ready to go. 
September 8th I'll slide the passport in and be on my way!

My next "get ready" project is to make two A-line cotton print skirts. 
But... before I cut them out I want to log many more miles on my bicycle, continue eating smaller portions, and continue staying away from wine and chocolate! (OMG, that is so hard to do!) I figure I have until the end of August... Then, no matter what my size, I must make those skirts!

Hugs to all from Mary

Two new projects completed. First... a wedding present:

It is similar to a previous wall hanging. The bride has just gotten a teaching position in 1st grade. Being a retired 1st grade teacher, I just had to also make a quilt for the kids to sit on in her reading corner. It measures 42"x36".

The quilt should add a bright splash of color to the classroom. I love thinking about all the sweet kids who are going to learn to read while snuggling with it.

That's it for now.
Hugs from Mary

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hello... I've been busy and a neglectful blogger! Shame on me! However, I have not neglected my sweet sewing machine!
Just finished a tote bag for my daughter, Amber. She is a high school librarian. Take a look at the picture and you'll see why I had to play with this fabric and make a few things for her... She was surprised to see her calico cat in the corner of the bag.

The pictures show both sides of the tote bag and clutch purse. This was so much fun to make! I also made a quilt out of the fabric and will blog it soon.
Hugs from Mary

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Little Clutch

I've been working on several projects lately... Here's my attempt at a clutch purse...

The frame is 8". I used Guttermann glue to attach the fabric to the frame. I wish I would have taken a picture of the inside before I sent it to my sister-in-law, Bev, for her birthday. Twas fun to do and I'm going to make more.

I'm also working on a "designer" fanny pack for our trip to Italy in September. I took apart an old Eagle Creek purse and used some of the zippered pockets for the interior.

I also ripped out the heavy duty zipper and used it for the main opening in the new bag.

Of course I had to add some glitz and glamour to my fanny pack. I outlined the paisley by using a metallic gold thread while FMQuilting. Note that I also took the buckle system off another old fanny pack and will use it on this one. It's a little hard to see, but the front has pleats that allow the fanny pack to expand.
 Now I'm off to find black webbing straps to complete the belt. Then I'll sew it all together and be done.

I can also wear this as a shoulder bag.! 
The pattern I used is by: Barbara Weiland Talbert

Hugs from Mary

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Fabric!

I went fabric shopping... I really wasn't going to buy anything...Really!!!
 But, I found this great shop in Winston Salem, NC.

Although there are not any batiks, it is loaded with modern fabrics from the hottest designers. 
I got two great pieces to make into A-line skirts for our trip to Italy in September. 
I found both in the "sale" area.
 Karen has a famous $6 a yard wall! Fabric to die for!

Here's the fabric for my fun skirts...

I'm going to use the Amy Butler pattern.
 My plan is to take T-shirts that will go with
both skirts and pairs of black and khaki capris.
 This girl will be traveling lite!!!

I also got some darling fabric to make gathered skirts for these two cute little girls...

Meet my darling grandnieces, Avery and Caroline!
Here is the fabric for the little skirts...

I thinik Avery, the older of the two - 5 years old - will get the green skirt.
Caroline needs the Carolina Blue one.
Sweet Caroline is a very talkative 3 year old. 
Check out their new 8 week old sister...

Here lies the best baby ever!
She sleeps through the night! She coos and smiles! She rarely fusses!
Elena Claire is precious!

Oh, I have also been busy in the yard with DH... 

Here's the front door and courtyard.
And, here's the front yard...

We can hardly wait for the 50+ impatients we planted to get bigger and bigger!
Here is the newest raised bed. My DH, Dick, built the brick wall. I love it! Six years in the house,
and we're finally done with landscaping the front.
The remaining pile of mulch is going on the flower beds in the back yard.

My daughter, Amber, made the most adorable yard wreath...

It's filled with succulents and moss.
And, yes... there are baby bluebirds in the box.

Someday soon I'm going to tell you about Emma Kate, Canon and Carter...
 My other sweet grandnieces and grandnephew.

That's it for now!
Keep stitchin' for the ones you love.

Hugs from Mary

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome Blog Hoppers
from Sew We Quilt! 
I have so enjoyed visiting everyone's blog
and getting new ideas. 
These table toppers are so fun. 

I'm posting a few days early because I'm off to visit my niece and her three sweet little girls. I haven't even hugged Elena yet. She was just born in February. 
A sweet little Valentine for our family

 I started with a table runner and then knew I had to do a topper to go with it.
The runner is a pattern by Karen Brown at Java House Quilts. (Sorry, I don't have that link.)
 I adapted the pattern to fit what I wanted and have the runner sitting on our china credenza.  
Someday my DH wants a koi pond in our backyard. I thought it would be fun to tease him with this runner.

(OMG, don't look at my toes in that picture! I haven't had my spring pedicure yet!)

Now the table topper....
 We have a sweet old orange cat named Miss Puny Puss. 
I wanted to show her relaxing by the pond, maybe tired from teasing the koi... taking a nap.

I used a variegated orange/brown thread to stitch her fur.  Also, I have a small palm tree and  cut off an old frond to use as a pattern for the palms. I also stitched around the dragon flies that are part of the fabric. The wings are stitched with a metallic silver. The dragon fly in the upper right corner I thread sketched without a pattern.  I have not completed this piece yet. I want to stitch in some grasses at the water's edge to make it look like Miss PP is napping in a nice grassy retreat. 

Here is the overall look.

That's it! That's my table topper! Hope you enjoyed the show.

Be sure to visit these talented ladies and see their fabulous table toppers


Thank you so much for visiting & remember.....

Always Keep Stitchin' For the Ones You LOVE!

Hugs from Mary and Miss Puny Puss 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Tote Bags and a Purse

I've taken a break from the spring gardening to make some birthday gifts and a new purse for me.

My purse is from Karen West's "Itty Bitty Bag" pattern. I love this size purse and have several.

I used a variegated thread to free motion the bamboo and then used the same thread to do a leaf and vine motif on the pockets. I used one of my machine's decorative threads to embellish the handles.

This is the knitting bag I made for my friend Cheri. It's from the Ghastly collection. The inside has pockets and places for knitting needles.

Last is the present for my friend, Alice. It's a chic BYOB bag to use when our community has Bring Your Own parties. I wanted it to be exotic and whimsical... if you look closely at the daisy pockets you will see that I embedded alligators in the flowers! I used gold metallic thread to outline the bamboo. Alice will LOL when she looks inside. I lined the bag with the leftover fabric I used when I made her whimsical foot cover after her ankle surgery. You can read about that here.

The bag is a 6" square with pellon sides and bottom. I can hold a bottle of cheer along with several wine glasses and napkins. Do you see the golden alligators in the daisies? Fun!
Extra stitching down the sides gives it shape and form.

I know the girls will get a kick out of these gifts and hopefully use them often.
Keep stitchin' for the ones you love! 
Hugs from Mary

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today's Visitor...

This is what we saw this morning...

Luckily he stays on the other side of the fairway!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gardening vs Quilting

Long time no blog.... Here on the coast of NC, SPRING has arrived. I've never seen the grass green up so rapidly or the Japanese Maples leaf out so quickly! Yikes! No time for sewing, I need to plant annuals, fertilize, prune, pull weeds.... huff and puff... that's what I'm busy with.
Hugs from Mary with the dirty hands and ruined fingernails.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Beach Quilt

I've finished a beach quilt that is a wedding gift for one of my daughter's friends. Her family has many wonderful memories of family vacations at Nags Head. I hope Lori loves it.

I'm also hoping the bright border gives the picture a younger more 'hip' look! 
Flip flops at the beginning of the trail give the illusion of a couple gone walking... a personal story maybe...

Already... I've revised the quilt. DH pointed out that there were no birds in the sky... Oops!

I added the birds and toned down the wet sand with a white oil pastel crayon.
Now... it is finished!!!

Keep stitchin' for the ones you love.
Hugs from Mary