Thursday, August 10, 2017

Watercolor Galaxies

You know what they say. Never say never. Hopefully it's for something as simple as my assertion that "I will never do watercolors". Something I was definitely, absolutely sure I would never bother with. 
Until I did. 

I've always admired watercolor art and just felt like it was beyond abilities. I didn't see any way I could use watercolors until I took a few watercolor art classes online at Skillshare and saw watercolors being used in ways I'd hadn't seen before.  I purchased a few bright watercolor paints and starting playing.  I'm still not planning to do any fancy watercolor flowers or landscapes but I have had fun making practice dots and colorful galaxies. I do plan on trying to paint watercolor butterflies and maybe other things, but for now I'm enjoying doing a lot of experimenting.

Watercolor Galaxy.

Watercolor Galaxy.

Practice color mixing spots.

Thanks for reading.
Aileen Biser

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What To Do With Old Magazines

One of my main goals for 2017 is to tidy my craft room. It seems like something I need to do every few years.  I plan to reorganize and make space to store new craft supplies for new hobbies and interests.   So, one of the first things that has to go is some very old craft magazines.  I mean really old.  Vintage 1970's and 1980's.  But there are some great craft ideas and patterns in these books so I can't just throw them out!  

What do I do with 20 years of Magic Crochet magazines? If you can even call them magazines. There are no articles or advertisements in these publications, just cover to cover crochet patterns! I won't be doing these crochet projects but I do know someone who wants these magazines. So at least this set will have a new home.

But then there are all the various Needle Craft magazines I collected from around 1970 through 1990 that I need to find homes for, if I don't decide to keep some of them myself.
McCall's Needlework & Crafts (1976-1986)
Decorating & Craft Ideas (1976-1982)
Good Housekeeping Needlecraft (1975-1981)
Better Homes and Gardens Needlework & Craft Ideas (1977-1982)
Ladies Home Journal Needle and Craft (1976-1980)
Family Circle Great Ideas (1976-1981)
Crafts (1981, 1982 and 1987)
American Home Crafts (1974-1978)
Woman's Day Needlework Ideas (1973-1981)
Needlecraft's for Today (1980-1985)
Granny Squares and Needlework (1974-1985)
Women's Day Holidays (1981-1988)
Better Homes & Gardens Holiday (1980-1993)
Family Circle Christmas Helps (1977-1995)
Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas (1977-1996)

These magazines are full of patterns for all types of crafts including crochet, needlepoint, quilting, macrame, knitting, decorative painting, woodworking, embroidery, doll making, etc.  It was all so interesting to me.  I tried my hand at most of these crafts. Other than sewing and crochet, all the hobbies I do I taught myself with the help of magazines like this.

And this is just the early stuff, when I was experimenting and doing all kinds of crafts.  I actually have decades of maybe half a dozen different quilt magazines that are not on the chopping block! Once I ran low of free time for crafts (working full time and raising kids) I basically only did sewing and quilt projects or crochet when I had the time.

But I will probably be flipping through a lot of these magazines and may show you some of the cool stuff that is in them.  Macrame patterns from that era are something you don't see much of today. And some of the quilt designs from the 1970's look suspiciously like many of the "modern" patterns popping up today. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Plans for 2017

Is it already February? 
No, worse...  
It's almost March!

So much for my 2017 plans.  I just lost two months and I haven't started on my goals yet!
But I did write them.
And I have been doing some random little projects.

How many reading glasses do you have scattered around your house? I got tired of trying to carry one pair around with me just in case I needed to read something so I got multiple pairs to leave in different rooms and made these little eyeglass cases to put them in.

I did manage to take notice of Valentine's Day and finished making a few little Valentine quilted hearts like this.  It could be a coaster or just a decoration.

And I made some little Valentine notebooks that have a fabric cover that is bonded to paper. These little notebooks are 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" with 48 pages.  The covers are stiff enough to hold their shape but flexible and have some give.  They won't fray because the fabric is bonded to a backing paper and you can stuff them in your purse or pocket for random note taking. I'm thinking of doing a blog post just on how I make these little books.

And I finally got around to trying out some new art supplies I got for Christmas. I'm a big fan of watercolor pencils and these muted colors are an interesting change from the typical rainbow colored set.

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Obsessed to Completion

I've basically been just working on these two quilts for the past 3 months! I have done a few other small projects and some artwork, but mostly all other sewing projects were shoved to the side until I finished these quilts. Doing these mystery quilt challenge quilts sidetracked me from the kind of projects I would normally be doing this time of year so I don't have any Christmas projects done for 2016. I'll probably be working on those in January! 

But I had to finish these before doing anything else. There was no other option!
And I'm happy to have done it. Once.

Thanks for reading. 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Quilt challenge

For the past several weeks I have been participating in a 7 week quilt challenge sponsored by the Project Linus organization. It is a fundraising project and the cost to participate was $15. That gives you access to the quilt pattern and instructional videos for constructing the different blocks and the quilt. 

Each week we were given a clue for part of the quilt with written instructions and a video tutorial. 

Week 1 - butterflies

Week 2 - flowers
Week 3 - hearts

Week 4 - the sun

Week 5 - watering cans

Week 6 - Gracie the owl

Week 7 - final construction

This is the Gracie's Get Well Garden quilt as I constructed it.

This is my alternative layout using all the same quilt block patterns for a second quilt I decided to make. 

There is a Project Linus Mystery Quilt Challenge Facebook group for sharing your quilt challenge sewing progress and seeing what everyone else has chosen for their fabrics. 
It's fun.

Also a quilt contest/fundraiser begins December 15, 2016 for participants, if they choose, to enter their quilts to help raise money for Project Linus and have a chance at some very nice prize's.

Thanks for reading. 


Monday, September 19, 2016

Sewing a Few Things

Still just sewing. 

I liked the results so much from my last scrappy trip-around-the-world project that I just keep on doing more of that.  This is a table runner for a little longer coffee table.

And this is a scrappy square table top quilt for and end table.

I sewed a couple more little projects this month but mostly just took care of my garden and recovered from a painful tooth extraction! Ouch!

I finished hand quilting this little block last month. It will probably end up being a wall hanging. I am doing some embroidery embellishment in the white space around the center heart applique. This make take me a little while. I'm trying to keep it out in the open so it doesn't get lost in the pile of other projects to finish (that may or may never be completed!).

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Small Things

Simple things, easy things, no-brainier things.  
That seems to be my typical summer activity. 

I've just been working on a few little projects to fill in a few hours here and there and to escape the sun and the heat of summer by retreating to my cold, windowless basement craft room. I really would prefer to have windows in my craft room but in the summer, windowless is perfect. I'm not a summer person. 

This is a pencil case, or a zipper pouch for anything. Made with Grunge Basics by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics in bright colors and a print from the Doe collection by Carolyn Friedlander. These are some of my new favorite fabrics. 

This is my First Aid bag. Someone is always looking for a band aid and for some reason they always seem to end up in two or three different places around the house. And all the other little things that go with them. Where are they?  This is my solution. One bag to hold it all, in one place, and very obvious. It might work for awhile.

A little butterfly bag. This was actually suppose to be smaller to use as a tarot card bag but it's a little larger than I planned on making it. After I started to make it I realized the butterfly print was too wide for the size bag I was planning so I just worked around it and made a little bag anyway. We can all use an extra little bag for something, right?

And a scrappy table runner. I've seen a number of examples of the Trip Around the World quilt block made with scrap fabrics online. They are all so unique and interesting and such an incredibly simple pattern. I see it as a sort of organized randomness, the best of both worlds. And a great was to use up a pile of scrap squares. 

Thanks for reading.