Archive for November, 2010

I made this for the SEWvenire Quilt Block swap on Swap-Bot. The goal was to create a quilt block that represented one’s state.

By participating in the monthly swap, ultimately each participant will have enough blocks to make a quilt made from SEWvenire blocks sent to her from different states, maybe even different countries.

I’m combining the blocks that are sent to me with ones that I make (a copy of the quilt block I sent to someone else). So, eventually the quilt front will include half the blocks made by others and half by me.

The items written in fabric paint were required elements of the swap.

This quilt block is 12 1/2″ square. The 9 different fabric pieces were ironed to the background fabric using iron-on adhesive. I then did free-motion quilting to secure the pieces to the quilt.

Once it was done, I added the written words and the yellow centers to the ladyslipper flowers with fabric paint. For the quilt block that I will be making for myself, I’m going to embroider the words since the background fabric I’m going to be using is lighter and I can trace some nice lettering.

Last month for the SEWvenire quilt block, I chose Minnesota’s state bird (the loon). This month, it is the ladyslipper (Cypripedium reginae). Also known as the showy lady’s slipper or queen’s lady slipper, it was adopted as the state flower in 1902.

Found living in open fens, bogs, swamps, and damp woods where there is plenty of light, these flowers grow slowly, taking up to 16 years to produce their first flowers. They bloom in late June or early July. The plants live for up to 50 years and grow four feet tall.

A century ago, the flowers were a favorite adornment in rural church altars during the summer. Since 1925 this rare wildflower has been protected by state law (it is illegal to pick the flowers or to uproot or unearth the plants).

The flowers are difficult to find. Apparently there are some that can be found on the bog at Beckman Lake in Isanti County. May be worth the trip some summer to see what they look….particularly if there are ones that are 4 feet tall!

(As a side note…this was one way that I used my creativity today as part of the “Art Every Day Month” challenge.)


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Since January, I have been making monthly journal quilts.  It started when I saw a swap on Swap-Bot about doing a journal quilt each month.  It was suggested that the year-long project have a theme. 

For my quilts, I chose the theme “Happenings and Highlights.”  Ideally, each journal quilt will reflect positive things that happen during the month so it can be a tactile, quilted image that brings back happy memories and can be looked at when I need encouragement. 

This month, the quilt is about 9” x 12” and made from 15 different fabrics. All the fabrics are cotton. The embroidery floss and thread used is cotton.

The individual shapes all are ironed onto a base fabric (the orange piece of fabric).

The top of the grass is blanket-stitched onto the background, and the snood and beak are straight-stitched onto the turkey body. The remainder of the pieces are machine-stitched onto the backing.

This month I didn’t do a binding since they pose a perennial challenge. Instead, I made the quilt like a blanket without a binding.

I did some quilting on the orange background, sun, and grass. I used similar colors to the fabric (e.g., yellow quilting on the sun, orange quilting on the background, green for the grass) and kept the orange thread in the bobbin so the back of the quilt is one color.

Here are this month’s highlights and how they are represented in the quilt:

Participated in “Art Every Day Month” – Found this challenge on the internet. The goal is to create something every day – whether it is a small project or a larger one. It could be something in the visual arts, music, photography, or writing…or it even could be being creative in the kitchen.

The point is that you carve some time each day for yourself to express yourself creatively.

I enjoyed doing embroidery and cross-stitched projects that I had in my “to do” bag for a very long time. This month, I completed many of those projects.

There are still more, but doing the ones I did has motivated me to keep working on them throughout the winter.

In the quilt, I did blanket-stitching and straight stitching by hand to represent Art Every Day Month.

Completion of repairs in the mudroom and kitchen – Back in August, there was storm damage in the mudroom.

In November, the ceiling, closet, and floors were completely redone. This has been such a day-brightener as these are the first two rooms when one enters the home (living in an 1890’s farm home means coming into the “service” door versus the front door).

The acoustic tile ceiling was replaced with a wood ceiling to match the walls. It is so beautiful now to walk into the room – especially with the walls cleaned and sealed.

The windows all have trim around them.

The floors no longer have ripped linoleum (from being improperly installed nine years ago) and aren’t curling up at the edges. There’s new quarter round molding all around the edges of the floor.

While I was at it, I had the majority of the blinds re-strung in the house (the cats damaged them many years ago). Now they have new cord/string holders near the top of the blinds so that the cats can’t reach the cords and play and eat them.

It’s so simple – just having things in good working order and looking nice- that can lift one’s spirits. The sun – which I equate with cheerfulness and happiness – reflects these home improvements.

Celebrated Sophia and Olivia’s Adoption Days – On November 26th, we celebrated Sophia’s 9th anniversary of her Adoption Day and on November 17th, we celebrated Olivia’s 7th anniversary of her Adoption Day.

The girls and I looked through their memory & gift bin; they touched (or tried on in Olivia’s case) the clothes they wore on the day they were adopted; I read them each stories I wrote about their early months and up until the time they came home to Minnesota; and we went out to eat at their favorite Chinese restaurant.

On Sophia’s Adoption Day, we also went to see the movie “Tangled” which both girls have wanted to see. It’s actually a very funny movie.

In the quilt, there are several pieces that represent the girls and their Adoption Days:

o blue feather (Olivia’s favorite color);

o cat feather (both the girls said they are thankful for the cats when asked what 5 things they are thankful for);

o green/purple swirl feather (to me, it reminds me of the ocean and the waves – we had to cross the ocean twice when adopting the girls – once in 2001 and then again in 2003);

o panda feather (the girls are both from China where we saw pandas. We all want to go back someday and also volunteer at the panda research institute which is about 3-4 hours from Olivia’s orphanage); and

o purple feather (Sophia’s favorite color).

Held Thanksgiving Dinner – This year there were 17 people at Thanksgiving.

The girls and I did a lot of crafts and cooking to prepare for the big day. It was a lot of fun making things together and then seeing how everyone liked what we made at Thanksgiving.

The turkey on the quilt represents all the preparations and the actual celebration of Thanksgiving.

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Purple Cards
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

This morning I made several sets of 3 inch by 3 inch cards. Each card is made from cardstock, the patterned paper is scrapbooking paper, the white round piece is hand-punched and then hand-stamped with the words “thank you” and a simple design.

The inside of the cards are blank so the person using them can write a personal message. I made 30 cards…4 I’m keeping and the rest are being sold in sets of six in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

This was another project that I’ve been wanting to do for some time. “Art Every Day Month” has given me the push to do something creative each day this month.

Here’s another set I made for Christmas:

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Bears in Woods
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

This morning I did a few projects that I’ve wanted to do for some time now.

First, I made a couple of pocket-size bears from felted wool sweaters, cotton fabric, and buttons. Everything is hand-embroidered (the bears’ features, around the edges of the bears, and the fabric to the wool).

Then, I made a trio of gnomes from green, red, and white wool felt. The gnomes are stuffed with wool from sheep that I raised. The first set is for my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand. The second set is going to be for the nature table that I set up for the girls each month.

“Art Every Day Month” is wrapping up in three days. It’s been fun to challenge myself to do something creative each day. Working with wool and embroidery are two things I enjoy doing. I particularly enjoy making natural toys – both for my daughters as well as for customers.

Having open-ended toys like the bears and gnomes along with some simple, natural “props” (like pine cones, gems, rocks, sticks, and colored wool) can open the door to hours of imaginative play. I’m always amazed at the stories and scenes the girls can create with natural elements such as the ones I’ve mentioned.

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{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

*** *** ***

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Name Place Holders
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

These are the name place holders that the girls and I made for the children’s table for Thanksgiving. The idea came from the November 2004 issue of Family Fun magazine.

The base is made from polymer clay. Each foot took about 2 ounces of clay. They are formed into a triangular shape and then you cut (with a knife) triangular pieces out of the foot to create the “toes.”

Before baking the feet, you place the fabric-coated wire into the foot so there’s a hole (but not all the way through the foot). Bake as the package directs.

For the face and feathers, there’s a pattern on the Family Fun magazine website. I used different scrapbook papers that I had on hand for the feathers. The face, beak, and snood are from construction paper.

Behind the beak is a tiny wood clothespin. After wrapping a fabric-covered wire (18 gauge…should have been 20 gauge, but there were none in stock at the store) through and around the clothespin, I hot-glued the clothespin onto the beak.

I made nametags for each of the children under ten years old, and cut them out. On Thanksgiving (today), I put them together. The children seemed to really like them.

(Made as part of “Art Every Day Month.”)

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The girls and I made 15 luminaries for Thanksgiving. The idea came from Family Fun magazine a few years ago. Have wanted to make them, but never have made the time. With this month being “Art Every Day Month” I decided that I was going to take the time to make them.

To make the luminaries, take a small bowl and trace around the edge on the side that doesn’t have the fold. Cut the circle out. From the circle, make an outline of a turkey body. (Family Fun has a pattern on their website, but the design is so simple I just sketched it myself.) Cut the turkey shapes out.

I used translucent paper for the white background and the triangular feathers (red, orange, gold, and yellow). This is the same paper I use for the window stars that I make in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

On the white paper, cut out circles that are about 1/4″ larger than the bowl. Glue this onto the paper bag to cover the hole. From the colored paper, cut trianges in various sizes. Using a glue stick, glue them onto the white paper. Then, glue the brown turkey body over the colorful feathers.

Place some sand and a tealight into each bag. Light the tealight to reveal the pattern and colors.

(Side note: Unfortunately, it was so cold and windy the luminaries couldn’t be used outside on Thanksgiving, so I put 4 – out of the 15 we made – on the counter so the little kids could see them.) Maybe next year they’ll be able to put outside.

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