Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ironcraft Says the Letter D

This Ironcraft challenge was to let ourselves inspired by the letter D. I chose to make a Dresden Flower from a quilting pattern I tried. It turned out quite well, I'm pleased. The construction time though was wrought with doubt at the outcome. The principle is fairly straightforward. You cut 12 shapes that resemble a wonky rectangle. You fold them in half and sew the top. When you press them open they make the flower petal shape. Sew the 12 together and you have a flower. The stem and center are appliqued.
My self proclaimed project of learning how to quilt has shown me the core issue in successful quilting. It's all about the math. I know I was surprised when I figured that out!
Quilting is about cutting larger pieces of fabric to sew them back together to make a pattern or a design. The precision in the cutting and the sewing makes the difference between patterns being aligned or not. With time I will be able to easily tell between a 1/4" and a scant 1/4". At least I hope so. In the meantime I'll give myself easy, beginner projects to give my brain time to sort out all the details. The learning curve will give me ample time to appreciate the work by the experts and to work up the pride I will feel when my points finally match!

Monday, April 13, 2015

I Have a Dream

Honestly I have many dreams. I dream of fitting into my new jeans, of riding my bike this summer. I dream of finding that the little green trees that jump out of the bottle on the Mr. Clean commercial really exists and that one day I will buy the right bottle. Much like the golden ticket in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I dream that my children will grow up happy surrounded by people who love them and jobs they love. I'd like to extend that dream to all the children in the world. I'd like to be able to hold them all safe. In this world, however, that seems the dream with the tallest order.
A few years ago I was introduced to the organization  http://becauseiamagirl.ca/. It was a yoga conference and the funds raised were helping local women going to help build a school in a war-ravaged country far away. I've since encouraged many people to consider this organization when choosing a charity to work for. Plan Canada, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCukuAvhBPU#t=148, is the go to organization in Canada. For our 2nd year now, we are organizing a silent auction and raffle of donated items. Last year, we raised 240$ with our raffles and with the matched donation program available on the site (there is little logo that shows you which donation is matched) we managed to make that amount turn to 1900$ for the girls and families of ravaged countries. I felt very proud of that. Now, since we are polymer clayers many of the prizes were one of a kind works of Art and I cherish the pieces I was lucky enough to win. When I look at them I am reminded that together we can change the world, one step at a time. We are having another auction/raffle this year, again with prizes coming from all over. So, for those of you who are coming to Morrisburg this year, bring some extra cash and take a chance to win something super cool. It will warm your heart and your soul to know that your dollars with help a girl go to school or have clean water for her family. These things are basic for you but they are not a given for many families in this world. Together we can make a difference.
The photo is a sculpture I made inspired by The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. I love that story because it's is about a girl who slays the dragon in her own way and learns to live by her own standards.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ironcraft Says Be Good to Yourself!

This Ironcraft challenge was to make something for ourselves. I decided I wanted a comfy pillow, with all the lovely colors of spring. Something I could put on my bed to help me sit up when reading. So I chose colors that sing to me and made a little scene. It's the side of my house where I put a table and some chairs so I can read out there when the weather is warm. It is fused and appliqued and I love how it turned out. They say that you make yourself the best gifts. I totally agree!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Fairies Are Waiting for Spring!

And so are we! This PCAGOE Challenge was to cover something. Now, I'll cover anything I can bake and then some with polymer clay so this was a wide open subject. I wanted to choose something I don't usually make. Change things up a bit. I'd seen these fabulous fairy houses on pinterest and wanted to give it a try.
With the holidays being over, I had washed up an empty bottle of Grand Marnier. That is my favorite liquor to put on grapefruit. One or two tablespoons on half of a cut up grapefruit, warmed up in the microwave for 45 seconds and voila! You have the beginnings of a beautiful day off at home so you can play with all the toys you got at Christmas. lol
I knew the shape would be wonderful for a fairy house. I went to work starting with the red stone and then cutting out the windows. I knew the fairies would be anxious to get out from winter soon so I added a door. Each window has it's own fairy peeking out waiting for spring to come. Now, fairies who have hibernated all winter don't look pixie dust fresh yet. They need a good rain for that and unfortunately the weather here has not been warm enough for that so they sit by their windows waiting. I'm sure it will come soon and so will they. The chimney comes off so the rain can come in and they can get the inside of the house clean too.
This house was a lot of fun to make. I love sculpting faces because I never who will look out at me until the face is complete. Now, these fairies have had a long wait but I'm sure that with a little rain and a lot of pixie dust, they will be just fine. Fairy tales are safe with this bunch.
Now, hopefully neither of us, me or the fairies will have to wait much longer. I'm starting to think I could use a little pixie dust myself. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St-Paddy's Day at Ironcraft!

Another 2 weeks just flew by. I always wait too long but this time I made it without feeling like I was sliding into home. The theme was Green as in St-Paddy's Day or something recycled, up cycled and the such. I had ideas of what to make and I like to tackle something that I don't always know what to do. This time, though, I chose to make a journal. It is both Green and green. The image on the piece of fabric is so cute and could easily be a little leprechaun or wood elf so that covered the Green in St-Patrick's Day. The supporting fabric is an up cycled green dishcloth. I recycle often old clothes and fabrics from items that can no longer be used for their original purpose. It makes me feel better buying clothes knowing that we give them a long life. I make quite a few of these journals and each one is different depending on the fabrics and buttons I use. This one answers both "green" challenges. Now, back to that image. Isn't it the cutest thing?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ironcraft is Calling for Spring!

I am so into this challenge. I want spring to come so bad! It called for another quilt. I saw this pattern called Flying Geese and thought of the Canadian Geese who are slowly making their way north to us and thought it would be cool to make a quilt with my house and the flying geese coming in. So, that is what I did! Or at least when it's done, it will be that. I paper-pieced the house. That turned out well except for the roof. All these quilting techniques still have a learning curve for me. I appliqued the tree and the black roof on top of the house. The Flying Geese pattern seemed simple enough but I am ever to be humbled by that tendency of saying, "How hard can it be?" The main idea is understood but I will have to get help in getting better defined points in my triangles.
For this challenge, I present a work in progress. The main idea is there so you can see what I'm aiming for but time ran out. In my defense, I spent the better part of yesterday waiting for a tow truck to get my car out of a ditch. The road was icy and snowy and I lost control of the car. I went in nose first. I'm fine and the car got a little damage on the bumper. My nerves got the worst of it. I do, however, long for spring to come now more than ever. Hopefully, the Canadian Geese will hear my call and head up here sooner than later. They are always a sign that spring is here. I anticipate their call.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Many Wonders of Nature

The March Challenge of the PCAGOE is Nature. That is a wide subject that could be interpreted in as many ways as there are artists who choose to do so. At first, when I thought I had a lot of time, I thought of making spring goddesses or elaborate scenes of lakes and mountains. As usual life had other plans and this time it took the form of a bathroom remodeling. Worst case scenario it will take 3 days, they said. Ha! We are a full 8 days later and we are finally seeing the light. Technically, we are seeing the lights in the ceiling being reinstalled properly and the shower curtains being put up. It will look all spiffy once I paint and clean it up and that could take a while. The deadline approached fast and I had to think of something else. Thank God this challenge is so flexible. Nature has a widespread range like that.
I've been making these sewing pins, which I talked about in the last post. They are so efficient when I quilt and sew. This past week I introduced them to my quilting guild and they bought them all. I needed more and necessity met opportunity. In Nature you find fruit. How hard could it be?
I've never done much in the line of miniatures. I'm not a girly-girl much and have always thought of miniatures as a way of making little charms life cupcakes and Pokemon. Well, aren't I the surprised and humbled child when I attempt making these small versions of every day fruit. I tried making a cane of orange slices. That did not go as well as I would have hoped and we won't even mention the poor version of the strawberry cane. I know that with a little more practice I will be fine. I lift my hat to those who make these to be so realistic and yummy looking.
Therefore, I offer my humble creation of oranges, lemons and apples. They will serve their purpose of making pinning fabric much more comfortable on my poor hands and that is a much appreciated purpose indeed. These challenges are about growth both artistic and personal. I have met mine, bowing to those who have made creating miniatures an art. I will study the masters and keep trying. I may even start my next challenge's project earlier this time to give myself more leeway. Stranger things have happened!