Monday, November 17, 2008

Mini Quilts for a Good Cause!

Piece Name:"Jug of Black Eyed Susans" and "Kimono Fun" Mini Quilts

My Quilt Guild Love Apple Quilters of Cherry Hill, NJ has a quilt show every two years. The next show is March 14-15, 2009. We always have a Miniature Quilt Silent Charity Auction with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Camp Bright Feathers...a camp for Kids with or affected by HIV/AIDS that lets them forget the disease for a little while and just be kids. All the Mini Quilts are made and donated by guild members or friends of the guild. These are two (with at least one more following) are the ones I am donating to this worthy cause.

Black Eye Susans were my wedding flower and I've loved them since I was a child and picked them roadside while walking to/from the beach in Kitty Hawk, N.C. as a child. This quilt is machine embroidered and the two focal flowers are 3D. The main design was embroidered on the beige fabric and the 3D flowers were embroidered on water soluable fabric that melted away leaving only the stitched design.

I have a treasure trove practically of oriental fabrics and decided to use some of them. I have a pattern for a 3D folded Kimono that I used to make the Kimono and I randomly placed the squares and rectangles so that they pleased my eye and appliqued them in place. They were both fun projects that I did over the course of one weekend! P.S. If the mini quilts look crooked or misshapen in the pictures it's only the perspective as I quick snapped the pictures before running to work and used the nearest available chair back to prop them up (a curved chairback!!!).

Completed: November 1-2, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Last Jewelry Birthday Gift of the Year!

Piece Name: Argentium Silver/Freshwater Pearls Pendant and Earrings Set

My youngest sister's birthday is this month. I wanted to make her some earrings using silver and these really nice oval shaped pinkish/purplish freshwater pearls. I actually made the pendant first and didn't like it for an earring and set it aside thinking I wasn't going to use it. I experimented and came up with these earrings. They aren't from any designer in particular, but they are inspired by earrings I've seen in my books and magazines. I am mostly happy with them and would do things a little differently on second implementation, but they turned out nice enough to use for a gift. Heck I'd wear them! I looked back at my first aborted earring attempt and thought that would make a nice matching pendant...and so it now is. I hope my sister likes these. She is PICKY!

These are made with Argentium Silver wire in gauges 18, 22, and 24 in dead soft. The freshwater pearls are pinkish/purplish in color and measure about 7mm, maybe 7.5mm.

Completed October 17, 2008.

One Melissa, Two Melissa!

Piece Name: "Golden Scrolls Paisley"

I belong to a lot of Yahoo groups dedicated to various methods of handmade jewelry making. An artist by the name of Melissa Muir was mentioned. I visited her website. Her jewelry is just exquisite. I was taken with many of her pieces, but this one inspired me and just stayed on my mind. Later on I sat down in my studio and started doodling with that piece in memory. I don't use the same techniques as Melissa used to make her piece, but knew I could make something inspired by that piece using the techniques I do employ. And so after much doodling, "Golden Scrolls Paisley" was born. It is almost identical to the final doodle except I removed one scroll.

This one is a keeper and I envision putting it on a burgandy cord of some sort. It is quite large...but I LOVE large jewelry that makes a statement. It is made with rolled gold in wire gauges 16, 18, and 24. The frame and center scroll are 16 gauge half hard. The other scrolls are 18 guage dead soft, and the coiling is 24 gauge dead soft. I worked on this piece on and off for three days. I'd work until I got sick of it!!! Those scrolls were fiddly to attach and the coiling was tedious! But I was diligent and I always returned to make a little more progress. I am quite proud of the result and that it was my very own design from start to finish thanks to Melissa's inspiration pendant! Thanks Melissa! Please do visit Melissa's website.

Completed: Early October 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jewelry Gifties A Plenty!

Piece Name: "Smokey Pearls" Earrings and "Liquid Links" Bracelet

Like I said in the previous post, September is a big jewelry gifting month for me. This post discusses the gifties I gave my sister for her birthday. My sister adores pearls and has several pieces of purchased pearl jewelry from her trips to Hawaii. I figured she'd like one more! So I created these earrings for her. They are made with Argentium Silver, Freshwater Pearls, and Smokey Quartz. The design inspiration is from Marie Lee Carter in the Winter 2006 "Step by Step Wire" Magazine. These use 18 amd 24 guage round Argentium silver wire, 7mm freshwater pearls, and 7.5mm smokey quartz faceted briolettes. These went together in 45 minutes and wear very nicely. They flounce and dazzle with body movement. My sister loves the length and has already requested a duplicate using blues and greens so they have a ocean feeling to them. I'll be happy to oblige!

I love jewelry sets so I just had to create an accompanying bracelet. So this Argentium Silver bracelet was born. The design is by Pepper Mentz in the Fall 2005 "Step by Step Wire" Magazine. The bracelet measures 8 inches and uses 18 guage round argentium silver wire. This one took me about an hour and a half or so. It is easy to make but a bit fiddly so you have to be friends with your tools or if you're a newbie have patience. I'd love to do this bracelet again in a hunky guage of wire. I am happy to report that these gifties were well received!

Both pieces Completed late September 2008.

Earrings! A Jewelry Making Gifter's Best Friend!

Piece Name: "Woven Amethyst Earrings"

My sister's birthday is September 20th and her mother-in-law's birthday is September 21st. They both love jewelry and they both love earrings. This is awesome for me as a gift giver! This post will discuss the earrings I made for her mother-in-law and the post after this one will talk about the birthday gifts for my sister.

These are Argentium Silver and Amethyst Drop Earrings. The design is inspired from Lisa Newton in the Spring 2008 "Step by Step Wire" Magazine. I used 18 and 24 guage round argentium silver wire and 5mm amethyst drops. These earrings took me approximately 4 hours to make, 95% of that the weaving. This was the first time I bent wire to a pattern (the framework) and then had to do it a second time to match. I came pretty darn close and am quite pleased. These earrings are bold but not overly so. If they didn't take an exhaustive 4 hours to make I would have made me a set too. I may just day!

Completed: Late September 2008

Purple Beads Always Work...Even if It's Not as You Originally Intended!

Piece Name: Purple Foil Majesty

This September I had a flurry of jewelry making and quilt making (nothing finished in the quilt arena yet...all still in progress). This is mainly because my studio is sooooo hot in the summer even with the air on that I don't do a lot of quilting or jewelry making then. But come September's crisper nights and cooler days I have returned to my studio again! I missed it!

Upon returning to my studio this is the first jewelry piece I made. It is a Purple Metallic Foil Lampwork bead (maker unknown) and Argentium Silver Necklace. The Design inspiration is from Kerry Bogert's bracelet in the book "Wire Style" by Denise Peck. I originally wanted to make a bracelet too, but I wanted to use more beads than the original design's three. So I shortened up the wires a bit and played. What I found was that this bracelet didn't wear well along the curvature of my wrist and in fact I don't think the original design would have either. It was so pretty though, so I was going to use it come heck or high water! I lengthened it figuring it would wear well as a necklace. I was right. This necklace wears so nicely and has weight but isn't heavy. It is bold and makes a statement but isn't over the top. I love it and wear it often and it receives compliments often. I wish I remembered where I got those beads because they are amazing!

This necklace uses lampwork beads and 16 guage round argentium silver wire and sterling silver beads.

Completed late September 2008.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Sea Meets the Gem and Silver Mines

This necklace was inspired by one of the necklaces in the book "Simply Pearls: Designs for Creating Perfect Pearl Jewelry" by Nancy Alden (on Page 80 if memory serves). This is a great eye candy and inspiration book!!! I will definitely be making more from it. This took one solid evening of many, many hours worth of work, but it was so worth it. The necklace wears so nicely (especially on a darker colored mock turtle neck) and is very flouncy. I enjoy wearing it and especially love the combined materials for the overall look.

Now for the technical stuff. This necklace was made with 8mm multi-colored faceted Tourmaline drops, a 12mm Green Amethyst faceted disc, 6mm round Fresh Water Pearls, clear seed beads, and Argentium Sterling Silver wire (24 and 20 guage).

Piece Completed: Mid May 2008

Mystery Unveiled

Piece Name: No. 25 - "A-Tisket A-Tasket" Quilt

I apologize that my posts are so few and far between! A lot of what I work on are gifts and surprises so I have to wait to post. This one I am technically revealing even sooner than I should, but I am doing it anyway!!! I taught a Mystery Quilt Class for my quilting guild back in March. I actually finished the quilt back then, but I couldn't post it because it was...well...a mystery! People from my guild sometimes read my blog and I didn't want to ruin the surprise. But I actually made the quilt as something more than a class sample, I made it for my neice (pink pillow several posts back) as her baby quilt. I usually make baby quilts shooting for first birthdays. This time I acually made deadline! I however procrastinated over the label and only did that I missed the deadline. I know I know, such a little thing to be late over! Anyhow, instead of mailing it, my in-laws are visiting my sister-in-law next week, so I am sending it down with them. This way I KNOW it will arrive safely.

This quilt was from an issue of "The Quilter" magazine from a few years ago. It is bright and cheery and was a fun one to make. It would flatter any fabric choice and even ditch quilting (which I did because it's a kid's quilt) yields a nice design to look at.

Piece completed: 03/14/2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Another Pink Baby Pillow!

Piece Name: Pink Baby Pillow

You will see baby pillows repeated many times on this blog. I make them because they require not too much time (2 dedicated evenings) but enough time to still show I care for the person for which I am making them. I'd love to make quilts for everyone, but until I am a "kept woman" or hit the lottery and don't have to work, that's just not gonna happen. So this gives me the same sense of making something handmade and allows me to get it done too!!!

This pillow is for my husband's sister's husband's sister's daughter (say that six times fast!) who is expecting her first child a girl. If you have seen my baby pillows before you'll notice this one is a slight departure. It is a little easier for me to make and the results are still lovely.

Piece completed: 03/05/2008

"Winter View" Fabric Postcard

Piece Name: "Winter View" Fabric Postcard

Once again we had a fabric postcard swap among several members of the Love Apple Quilters guild. The theme was winter with no other rules. Being a creature of Spring and Summer, I associate winter with staying warm and picturesque winter views. I combined both of those into this "Winter View" fabric postcard. The pane of glass is really tulle. The view outside includes an evergreen tree and a snowman, though it is hard to see in this picture.

Piece completed 03/01 (one day after deadline of course!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Toot Toot My Own Horn!

Piece Name: "Florabundance" Quilt

Well, you might recognize this quilt from several blog posts ago. I made it for my quilt guild's 2007 quilt challenge. The pattern is from a book called "Floral Abundance" by Rosemary Makhan. Great book!!!! NAYY! Anyhow, every year a little, quaint shopping village called Peddler's Village in LaHaska, PA puts on their Quilt Show in the Gazebo. We'll this is the third time I've entered and this time I chose this red and white quilt. I have been lucky in the past with my only other two submissions to win Second with the Blue Jacket (see previous blog post) I made for my guild's 2004 Quilt Challenge and a little wallhanging I made took Honorable Mention last year. The show is VERY small compared to what quilters are used to but the judges are sticklers and ribboning isn't easy even with the very small competitive field. They always get me on my binding (and rightly so)!! Anyhow, I entered the red and white quilt into the Potluck category and not the Applique category because Pot Luck allows machine quilting and Applique must be hand quilted (in fact other than Clothing, Pot Luck, and Kids they all pretty much require Hand Quilting). I haven't gotten the official letter yet, but I cheated and went to their website. My quilt took First Place - Machine Applique!! They apparently moved it out of Pot Luck and into Applique, and then split the Applique group into Hand and Machine. I am tickled pink (or would that be red in this case?)! I hoped that I might get a second, but didn't think it would get first because the binding on the back is typical Melissa (meaning not always even, though not too bad!). Yay! I don't quilt to get ribbons, but dangit they are fun to get!

If you go to Peddler's Village in LaHaska, PA between now and April (and I recommend it for the shopping and the brownies) please stop in in the Gazebo and check the quilts out! Some are even for sale (though not mine).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas Windows

Piece Name: "Cathedral Window Ornaments"

I took a Cathedral Window class though my quilt guild with Linda Victor (scroll down a few posts) and really enjoyed it and made a pillow. I wanted to try a few ornaments on a far smaller scale. These were the result. Fun, fast, and pretty! They came in handy too. I have been giving the wife of my former Pastor handmade Christmas Tree Ornaments for years. The fabric ornaments slipped very nicely into their Christmas card!

This was made with muslin and metallic Christmas fabrics and pretty buttons. Pieces completed 12/2007 sometime.

Catholic Rosary

Piece Name: "Catholic Rosary"

My sister's mother-in-law prays the rosary every single day and sometimes several times a day. She wears her rosaries out! She saw the Franciscan Crown Rosary I made and her eyes fairly lit up. My sister told me that if I made one for her it would make her day! Well I did, had it blessed, and we gave it to her for Christmas, and I am happy to report she loved it!

This was made with 8mm Rose Quartz round beads, 6mm purple (her favorite color) Cats Eye beads, Sterling Silver medals and bead caps, and Argentium Sterling Silver 22 gauge wire. Piece started and completed 12/20/2007

All Wired Up!

Piece Name: "2007 Yearly Christmas Craft - SS Wire Ornaments"

Every year going back to my teens I have made a Christmas Craft as one of my gifts to people (at least 16 years). The crafts have encompassed many different materials and

techniques and the people that get them tell me they look forward to seeing what I make from year to year. This year I came right down to the wire (no pun intended)!!! I had a few ideas floating around but saw a picture of a wire ornament (very similar to the simple bells above) on the internet and was inspired. I got crafting that very night! The ornaments would have all been the simple

bells but I ran out of the heavy guage wire I was using and went improvisational with the remaining ornmanets. The star is the only one I kept for our tree.

These ornaments were made with varying guages of Argentium Sterling Silver wire, glass beads, rose quartz beads, and new jade beads. Pieces completed 12/14/2007.