Tuesday, 23 August 2011

3x6 Bee

Here's the blocks I've received so far in this online block swap - one more set to go and then it will be time for a new colour scheme!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Grandkids are great!

Just wanted to share a couple pics of my grand-kids with you - I'm a little biased, but they are really adorable!
Princess Isabelle
Smiley Simon
I'm so blessed to be able to live close enough to see them regularly!

--Ann

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Candy Tin Pincushion

Little tins are everywhere, from cough drops to candies, if your house is like mine, you have no shortage of tins. I brought back this tin of butterscotch candies from my recent trip to Holland along with some typical Dutch printed fabric.
 Trace on the backside of your feature fabric around your tin.
 Layer your feature fabric and a backing fabric right sides together.
Sew a little larger than your tracing - I used 1/4 inch.
Cut a slit in the backside and turn right side out through the slit.
 Stuff with fiberfill - not too firm, but not too soft.
 Glue bottom of tin with tacky glue or use your hot glue gun.
Push your filled pincushion into the bottom of the glued tin firmly.
 Let dry and put the lid on.
You can also add a magnet on the inside of the lid to keep your needles.
There you have it - a cute pincushion from your sweet little tin!

--Ann

Friday, 12 August 2011

Horse-camping

To get off the beaten trails into some new areas to ride, we want to do some horse-camping. That means having a trust-worthy horse that you can pack with your food, clothing and shelter so you arrive at your camping area with everything intact! In spite of the fact that we've had many horses in and out of our pasture, we didn't have one with that temperament until little Sugar came along.
Adjusting the pack saddle.
Putting on the pack boxes.
Horses are a flight animal, which means that if they are faced with anything they fear, they will run away if they have a choice. Most horses are desensitized when they are young by being exposed to different "fear" items during their training. Flapping tarps, barking dogs, kids on bicycles, hikers with backpacks, wooden bridges and large rocks in the middle of nowhere are just a few of the things that will spook a nervous horse. Although our horses are broke, there are still things that will set them off and pack boxes and flapping tarps are a couple of those things.

Sugar is unconcerned with the flapping tarp.
Standing still while tarp is adjusted.
From the day we brought Sugar home, she expressed curiosity rather than fear at things normally considered scary for our other horses. In the process of sacking out (rubbing a large empty feed sack over the horse), she would stand still, look at me over her shoulder with a look that said "Are you done yet?" So, as part of her training, Sugar learned about pack saddles and tarps and she was awesome!

Tying the diamond hitch
All packed and ready to travel.
 She's an amazing horse - all of this is after only a week of riding and training.
Here's Sugar reading the ultimate How-to-pack book to make sure everything's done correctly.
Next year we will be doing an overnight trip somewhere in the back country and we might even be able to pack some fresh eggs with a pack horse this level-headed!

--Ann



Thursday, 11 August 2011

Mini Quilt Exchange

Just finished another round of the Mini QT swap on Flickr. This round's theme was true-mini. Here's the one I made for JanBran:
Flowers are free-motion machine quilted.
A closer look.
And here's the one she sent me (and all the goodies):

Love the little embroidered blocks!
And here's the one I made for my Etsy shop, just because I liked making the first one so much:


The next round is for Halloween themed mini's - I am sitting that round out as I've signed up for too many things and can't make the commitment. 

Have you ever done an online swap? What's your favourite type of swap?

--Ann

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Horse-back in the Rockies

We've had some beautiful weather the past couple weeks and this past weekend we took advantage of it by loading up the horses and heading to the mountains to ride. We are so fortunate to live so close to such beautiful scenery. The little bay horse, Sugar, is just 3 years old and we've only been riding her a week, but she is such a gem - so calm and has a whole lot of heart. Here's a few pictures:
Sugar getting saddled up.
Going up!
Giving Sugar a break during the climb up.
Resting near the top.
At the top!
View to the west.
View to the south-east.
This trail is off the Gorge Creek trailhead in the Sheep River area of Kananaskis country - it was about a 4 hour ride with the horses, so if you're hiking, it would be a full day. The trail is great - well maintained and although it's quite a climb, it's not a difficult one.

Do you ride? or hike? Where's your favourite spot to go?

Happy trails,
--Ann

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Fabric Painting (Part Three)

One of the techniques in the book for adding texture to a painted piece was to crinkle the fabric up.
Crinkled fabric drying on lawn (subliminal message: you do not see dandelions in my lawn!)
Dryed and pressed fabric that was crinkled
 And finally, after a long day of fun in the sun, it was time to clean up. I still had a few pieces of fabric left and we still had some mixed fabric paint left, so we improvised and finished everything up rather than throw anything away.
Top fabric - fingers were dipped into the paint and then sprinkled over the fabric. Some of the mixed paint was opaque and some transparent - can you tell which is which? We also had some cute elastic shapes that we put on top of the fabric for sun-printing - these worked quite well.
Middle fabric - sponged leftovers onto fabric and heavily salted. Love the way the salt provides texture to the finished pieces.
Bottom right - last piece of fabric was just dipped into the remaining containers one corner at a time and allowed to soak up the remaining paint. Result was a nice saturated blend of colours. Again, this one was thoroughly salted.
Close up of corner of the last piece of fabric
 All that was left to do was wipe the tables and pack everything back into the house for me, the car for my 2 friends. Rather than use paper towels for wiping up between pieces of fabric, I used a single piece of fabric. This is what it looked like at the end of the day:

May all your messes be beautiful!

--Ann

Friday, 5 August 2011

Fabric Painting (Part Two)

The book Sky Dyes (Mickey Lawler) was the starting point for me as we began to paint fabric. Her first "recipe" was for a soft blue summer sky filled with white wispy clouds. I took my spray bottle and lightly misted the fabric and then mixed up my blues - a little Cobalt and a little ultramarine with a little water. I didn't really use enough water as my skies turned quite a bit darker than I intended. (See samples 1 and 2 in the photo!) Because the first sample was so dark, I added some $dollar store stars, but the wind blew them off, so the effect is not quite as sharp as it could be. I also added some opaque pearlescent pearl on sample 2 for the clouds and it gave a cool sparkly effect.
 Sample 3 was supposed to be a sunrise sky. The colours turned out ok and I sprinkled this sample with coarse salt before letting it dry.
Fabric printing with Knex
The fourth sample was mostly to see the effect of sunprinting - putting something on top of the fabric in the sun to make a print. The Knex pieces were heavy enough that they didn't blow away or move with the wind and made great prints.
Fabric printing with doilies
I've had this little doilies in my craft cupboard forever and thought they might make some cool prints - you can see a bit of an outline just to the left of the doilies to show the print they made. Wasn't quite as effective as I had hoped, maybe paper doilies would work better.
Fabric printing with leaves
These leaf prints turned out just fine, too bad the black didn't mix in very thoroughly with the green as it left some weird looking black spots on the fabric.

I really liked the effect of the salt on the painted fabric and made a couple pieces just to see what it did with the different colours.
Sky colours with salt sprinkled on
Sunset colours with salt effects
I think the wind blowing may have affected the salt effects as they did not look the same as the book samples.

There will be one more post with these fabrics and then I'll have to make something out of them.

--Ann

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Fabric Painting (Part One)

Yesterday, a couple quilting friends came over to experiment with fabric paint in my backyard. We had a beautiful sunny day and set up some tables to work on. This was my first time to use fabric paint and although I knew we'd have a good time, I wasn't sure that I would end up with any pieces that would be usable in my quilting. The paints we used were Setacolor from Pebeo. Non of our local quilting shops carried them, so we found some at Colours Calgary. The fabric I used was just a white Kona cotton. I bought 3 meters and prewashed it so there would be nothing to interfere with the fabric paint.
Ironing the washed fabric before painting.
 We set up a few tables in the backyard. One table had all our supplies and each of us had our own tables for working on. This set-up worked great for us. The work tables were covered with either a drop sheet or a disposable plastic table cloth to protect them from spills (and we did spill!)

The supply table
 Because the Setacolors are photosensitive, we collected a variety of supplies that could be placed on top to leave an imprint on the fabric. The dollar store was a great source for these - the stars on the blue fabric below were found there.
Blue skies
 One of the books we used for inspiration was Mickey Lawler's Sky Dyes. I started off following her directions for making skies, but in keeping with my nature of not wanting to follow directions, soon went off just doing what I felt like!
Blues and green

Applying paint to the fabric

Test samples are a good idea
 Here's my friend, Kathleen, with one of her pieces:
Base layer of oranges and reds
Adding willow leaves
Images left when fabric is dry and willow leaves are removed.
These are my samples from the day's fun.
Have you ever dyed or painted fabric? Did you enjoy it? What kind of project did you use the finished fabric in?

--Ann