Monday, April 24, 2006

April Journal Quilt 2006 Reveal

It’s time for the reveal of the April Journal Quilts. This group of quilters started out at the quilting forum but within the last month or so we have switched over to Delphi-forums. You can check out our webshot pages over the next few days and see all of the quilts. Or you can go to the group list by clicking on the Journal Quilt Challenge link in my sidebar and reading the blogs along with seeing the quilts.

I did not do a journal page for March for a number of reasons, one of which was I just couldn’t pick subject. Plus I just couldn’t get my act together to do it.

However, I did do one for April. I decided to go with a nature theme and base it on what is going on around me in my garden and yard. If you are a regular reader you will remember a couple of pictures from an earlier post of the forsythias in bloom. I chose to do a journal page using that as my subject.

I used the photo as my starting point and painted my background fabric which is 100% cotton. The colors are not true to life here in this pic.

Click on any pic to see larger image.

I fused a very light stabilizer to the cotton and placed in a hoop and using Sulky’s Ultra Twist thread in two different colors I “painted” the grass. Then I thread painted in the shrubbery trunks and branches using the Ultra Twist in brown.

I then stitched over the branches with golden yellow rayon embroidery thread. I discovered that in some areas I needed more of the brown branches but I had already stitched the yellow blooms in those few areas; I took a fabric pen and added a few branches where I felt it needed it.

Once I was satisfied with this I squared it up and added the green borders. I used a spray adhesive to add both a piece of batting and a piece of pelmet vilene to make the piece stiff. I took a cutting from the shrub and scanned it into the computer where I erased the background and then sized it for two print-outs and used them to trace my pattern to stitch in the borders. I did not trust my self to just free-motion stitch the design but with the pattern I was able to free motion stitch them without a hitch.

pattern taped to border

forsythia design

Here is the finished piece: “Forsythia: My Wall of Sunshine”

For the back I used a piece of commercial cotton fabric which I soaked in Bubble Jet 2000 and printed the forsythia branches and my journaling along with the label. It took me two times to get this back piece made. The fabric I used for the back was a looser weave than I normally like to use and so it was a little prone to raveling. Also, I had purchased some of those freezer paper sheets to use and I had a hard time getting the fabric to adhere to the sheet. Once I did, I still had to tape the leading edge and the two sides. Then I had a hard time getting this sheet to feed into my printer (it wanted to curl even though they advertised that these sheets would not do that because they are thicker than ordinary freezer paper). When I finally got it into the printer, it wasn’t lined up right and so it printed cutting off part of the branches. The second time I still had a little bit of a problem but was finally able to get it right.

Although none of the techniques used were new to me, I still look at this as a learning experience. I find that I do learn a little something from doing these journal pages. I have learned that nothing is as simple as you think, and that it almost always never fails to take longer than you think it will. LOL. I admit that I look forward to the end of each month and enjoy seeing all of the journals made by everyone else in the group.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Easter

Thought I would wish everyone a Happy Easter now as I probably won't be posting again before Sunday.

Things are warming up around here and I have been doing yard work off and on (though not as much as I really should have by now). I thought I would share a few more photos of what spring is looking like around my neck of the woods.

(click on any picture to see larger image)

This is our redbud tree located on the left side of the front of our property as you look toward the street we live on. I don’t know why my photos look so crappy here; they looked good in my photo editing software. Oh well anyway………..

This Japanese Red Maple is in the middle of the front yard. That is Candytuft growing underneath it. I had ferns and Caladiums in that bed also last year………

These are some of the new plants for this year that are going under the Japanese red maple. On the left are Blue Spruce sedum (something new to me). There is also one English Ivy plant and one of two Candytuft plants. On the right are Coral Bells (Plum Pudding). Actually I bought two ivy plants and they are going into the planter pictured below to fill in where a couple have died out.

This is one end of a large flower garden to the right side of the house. As you can see, a lot of things have started to pop up again. That thing in the middle that looks like it’s dead is a Smokebush. It’s not dead and when it starts sprouting new limbs, it gets to be about 18 feet tall or so. We cut the limbs back each fall. The statue is of St. Fiacre.

This is the other end of the flower bed. That is a climbing rose in the background coming up inside of the garden tower. It is thornless and gets pretty pink roses on it. I also have an Iceberg rose bush in this area which has white roses.

The little pond that you saw in my last post is in the middle of this bed. We are in the process of cleaning it up from the mess from fall and winter.

Well it is getting late (actually later than the post states; it's 12:30 am April 15)
and I am going to get off of here and get ready for bed.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Where Did March Go?

I spent several hours outside today. We were cleaning the property up of the mess that was left behind from the stormy weather we had on Monday evening. There was a couple of large branches from the trees at the back of the property and then there where numerous (meaning hundreds) of smaller branches scattered all over the yard. Also there was dozens and dozens of pine cones and gum balls (from the sweet gum tree) that had to be picked up. When we were finished with that, we mowed the yard (the first of the season).

It felt good to be outside in the sunshine even though there was a chilly breeze. I think it helped me with the state of mind I have been in. I don’t know if any of you are affected by the changing of the seasons or not, but I do know that I suffer when we change from summer to fall and from winter to spring. It seems like it takes forever for me to adjust to things at these two times of the year. Of course, I am less affected in spring than fall. The warming of the weather helps to rid the winter blues (and I do mean blues). It just seems like it has been such a long time since I have really felt like wanting to do anything. I haven't done anything even remotely related to quilting for some time now. The last sewing related project I worked on was about a week or so ago and that was when I embroidered some emblems onto DH's work shirts.

Now I can look forward to spending hours at a time doing gardening.

I am about a week or so past the prime blossoming time for some of the flowers around here, but I thought I would post a couple of pictures anyway.

These are dwarf irises that bloom about the same time as daffodils. Sorry for the crappy picture, just couldn’t get it clear.

A section of the forsythias.

Another section. That is our small fish pond in the foreground. It is in the center of a large flower bed.