And…. She’s Back!

It is now officially five and seven weeks out from my bi-lateral knee replacement surgeries and officially I am feeling like I am on the mend!

It has been a tricky and painful journey. Especially the right leg. It was tough. I talk a lot more about the whole thing on my other blog, if you’re interested. MacCupcake.wordpress.com.

Be forewarned, I am pretty outspoken about the whole thing and really adamant that had I ever had any regrets about anything I have done in my life, this is the number one. Could ever undo something I had done? Having these surgeries would be the first on that list. I still may find that I will feel differently as the knees continue to heal and I am able to get around better and better, but right now… well, there it is. It has been seven weeks of non-stop pain of one kind or another and I am so tired of it. The worst is when it seems to seep into the bone and just throb… there is no getting away from that kind of pain.

Anyway, the point of today’s post wasn’t more lamenting… but to announce that I feel like I am ready to get back into creating. I have been prevented from doing much… I’ve been doing a lot of coloring. I love that this came right when there is an explosion in the popularity of coloring pages for adults, it saved my sanity during this time of immobility. I “invested” in this great set of gel pens – about 70 pens of multiple colors and different styles such as glitter, flat, metallic – and they blend wonderfully. I bought them when I started messing around with recreating paper dolls and it came in handy with plain ol’ coloring. I would print out interesting designs on card stock and I was good to go for hours.

I’ve collected many of these on my pinterest.com page and please head over there and check them out if you’re interested in coloring. Here is a quick shot of the collection and you can find it here:

Big People Coloring Pages

The other thing that I have been able to finally do is start working on the hand quilting of my found quilt. You can see the back story of the quilt here:

I had spent the time to carefully clean and repair it. Added an appropriate border – same fabric used for the backing as well – and then found a great hand quilting frame on CraigsList. I am really good at planning and preparing, sometimes my follow through leaves a little to be desired. ๐Ÿ™‚

I finally got to the point of being able to bend both knees so that I could get under the frame. It took a couple of hours to get into a rhythm and looks like each section would take about an hour to quilt. I’m still working on getting my stitches evenly spaced and the same sized, but you know, it really is only my second quilt that I’ve hand stitched. (I don’t mind saying that if I actually get this quilt completed, I’ll probably not attempt another.)

Hand Quilting 1

The frame is a little awkward, specifically with the back cross support pieces, so there has to be a lot of planning when I am stretching the quilt. I think what I have decided to do is quilt the four piece square all the way across and then adjust the quilt and continue.

Hand Quilting 2 with Annotation.JPG

Just for fun, I am planning to keep track of just how much time I spend quilting. So far, after four sessions of work, the total is just under ten hours. As you can see, it is going to take a long time. It will just be my “go to” project when I am tired or stressed or just want to work on something that doesn’t need a lot of thought invested. I might look into a different quilting frame if I don’t find it becoming easier to work on.)

What’s next? I don’t know… I’ve been watching styles and trends during these past couple of months and I have some ideas but nothing big has captured my attention. Probably more importantly is continue with my physical therapy and get my doctor’s stamp of approval to drive again and more importantly, going back to work.

I appreciate everyone’s kind words and continued support these past weeks. Thank you!

Putting Final Touches on a Bunch of Quilts

Since the new year, I’ve been staying out of the garage and working in my sewing room. I am drawn to doing work in the garage, but the temperatures have been hovering just above the freezing point and kerosene heater or no, it is too damned cold to be working outside. And not just for me, but for painting and staining.

I am an avid quilter. Rather, I make a lot of the quilt tops and send them off to be quilted and then returned to me and then I bind them (the outer edge). I’ve been quilting for over almost 15 years, started just before 2000 and I am betting in the time I have made at least a five hundred (or more!) quilts. In the last couple of months, I received two big boxes of quilted tops from my friend Gloria and I’ve slowly been working through them. Doing the binding, that is.

So here’s what I finished today:

DSCN3025I’ve created some of these quilt tops months – even as long as years – ago. I have almost forgotten that I’ve done some of these. This was a work in green… not much to say about it really, just a nice fun pattern that I will give to someone who likes green.

DSCN3026This was inspired by a fun little duck print. Wouldn’t this be grand for some little one? The yellows are so cheery. And the quilting pattern is little ducks too!

Did I mention that one thing I had always loved about my friend Gloria who does the quilting, she makes most of the decisions about pattern and thread color? I like to work with her, it is a real creative collaboration. It started out with her wanting to try new patterns and me wanting to not have to choose! And it has worked out well for the last decade and a half.

DSCN3029I love bold, strong colors. As a result, I also end up with a lot of great scraps (see below). Sometimes I just like to sit and cut pieces while watching old movies on DVDs (I have the complete set of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies) and then sit and sew them together. Sometimes they turn out absolutely great and sometimes they turn out ok. Once in a great while I get a dud or two, to which those are donated to the local no-kill animal shelter for the dogs to use. That way, it gets used and the puppies probably don’t care what it looks like!

DSCN3031This is a piece that I have been working on and off for years! These are strips of white cotton are cut across the width of the fabric and six inches wide. Then the strips and scraps are sewed onto them. I had 16 strips completed, so I then sewed them together. The back is just white cotton and I am debating about whether or not to layer it and quilt it or just leave it as is. I have it hanging over the landing railing, so every time I walk down the hall, I see it. And then I think about it.

And to give credit where credit is due, here is my helper, usually hidden behind the quilts. And the one who runs up and down the stairs for sodas and makes lunch for me and who helps me move the massive amount of fabric around as I bind them. And I just love him like crazy ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN3032The guest bedroom bed has about another nine or ten quilts waiting to be bound. And of course I have projects that I’ve started that need to be completed. And I found another box of quilt tops that I need to send off to be quilted. But Gloria has decided to hang it all up and retire and now I have to find someone new.

This is gonna be difficult!

julie

Taking the “Pane” out of Making Stained Glass

You can thank the Kid for the title of this post. I just love his quirky sense of humor… gets that from me, I suspect.

I promised to give you some tips and hints about using glass paint to make faux stained glass. I have been using the products from Plaid, their Gallery Glass line. Of their product line, I have used both the glass paint and the “leading” strips. I stumbled onto their products at an estate sale, purchasing a large box of craft products ostensibly for the beads and paint and some other items. But since I now had the supplies, curiosity got the better of me and I set off to figure out how to use it.

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After much trial and error – including the mistake that the paint was to be brushed on – I finally got the hang of using the paint. I’ve gotten quite adept at using it with some very nice results.

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DSCN1996This particular glass contained was a 99ยข glass vase from a thrift store. I liked that the edges were rounded. I started with the leading strips, these particular ones are an eighth319OU8-c8+L inch wide. They are adhesive that once applied are able to be adjusted for a few days. But once they have been on the glass for a few days, they are permanent. I started but running lead around the top and bottom and then divide the space with an additional one or two lines. Then as it appeals to me, I make vertical and diagonal lines. I use a razor blade or exacto knife to get the joints very tight. I continue until I am satisfied.

DSCN1997Then it is time to add the color. Don’t be afraid to fill into the blank spaces with a lot of paint, the thicker and wavier you make the paint, the more distorted and “stained glass-like” it will appear. I like to lay the piece on its side and fill in all of the areas that are presented. The glass is dry to the touch in a few hours but can be disturbed if touch or scratched. I like to let the paint set up for at least 24 hours before applying any real pressure.

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DSCN1999Continue with random color selections until you’ve completed all sides. Allow to dry. It’s that easy!

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I’ve done a number of pieces, round, square and even flat panes of glass. I am working on a piece that is almost finished that will decorate the top portion of a arched window in my kitchen, of course in my favorite colors: red and white! The paints are almost fully cured and then I have to install it. And of course take some photos. I hope you will come back and see my results.

julie

PS – For those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you my success.

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