Spool Tassel

What sparks your creativity?  Boredom?  Seeing someone else' creation?  A pile of pretties?  Necessity?  All of the above? 
I have a lot of Stuff.  And I come from a long line of people with a lot of Stuff.  Very creative people, so we have lots of cool Stuff.  Ribbon, fabric, notions, buttons, spools, bobbins, baskets, drawers, lace, silver, pewter, broken jewelry, furniture, pillows, needlepoint, the kitchen sink, etc. 
This bobbin is one of many from my parents and the trims on it are from a tag sale by a local lady who thought she had too much Stuff (gasp!)  The lace runner it sits on is from a friend.  It has spots and such, but will someday be part of something even more beautiful.
I also have very creative friends who have lots of cool Stuff.  Friends and family who like to share their Stuff.  Being the youngest in the family, I get a lot of hand-me-down Stuff.  I also get lots of "so-and-so was getting rid of this, so I brought it to you" Stuff.  
Two of the drawers are from my sewing machine and the other is, you guessed it, Stuff to be used.
So what does a creative person do with Stuff from other creative people?  She creates!  Some things end up on the proverbial cutting room floor, but some things are deemed Cool Creative Stuff.  The latest of the Cool Creative Stuff is this tassel made from a wooden spool (I have lots of those), vintage lace, fabric, and ribbons.  I will be using this one on my favorite embroidery scissors so they are easier to find when I drop them.  It's in my favorite color and has lots of feel-good stuff like velvet ribbon and vintage lace.  It reminds me of a crazy quilt or one of those fancy memory books a lot of people are making now with lace and such. 
I have put several of these tassels on Etsy and will be adding more soon.  They are a nice little indulgence for you or a sweet gift for a friend.  And since they are made from Stuff, you can call them recycled. 


Skulls Abound

The second of the four Dia De Los Muertos blocks that I am assembling:
I must admit, these have proved to be very difficult for me.  I really don't know much about the holiday, and I do not celebrate it, so I don't have the right mind set to be creative.  I am sure these blocks will need more stuff, but I am waiting until they are put together.  That's my excuse, anyway.  The fabrics are too busy for much embellishment.
This is my pinata.  It may still need a stick for hitting.  The silk ribbons at the top are supposed to look like streamers.

The tatted cross is the same one, in a different thread, that I made for my last CQJP block.  It goes together pretty quickly and is a nice little cross. 

This skull is made from an Embroidery Library download.  The velvet ribbon is hand dyed and the flowers are from Offray. 

I am very open to suggestions on these blocks.  Ideas? 


New Old Treasure

I recently acquired this beauty from a lady who is downsizing her collections of Stuff.  She was told it was a doll quilt when she bought it, and is circa 1890.  I can certainly imagine a young lady making this as a sampler of sorts.  It is mostly velvets, but has been worn away with time and use.  It is still a beautiful example of crazy quilting.
What Victorian era quilt is complete without a fan?  There is, of course, the requisite seam work on each blade of the fan.  I am enjoying copying these designs on my own quilts.  The real thing is so much better than copying from a book.  Of course, I do have way more books than any sane person should have.

This motif looks like a sunflower to me.  The fabric to the left is a threadbare rose colored velvet and the one below was a gold and orange striped velvet. 

And what girl of Scottish descent can resist the thistle?  One of them has apparently blown away in time, but you can still see where it was.  The background was orange and to the right looks to be an olive green.

Possibly forget-me-nots?  The purple above is still very vibrant.

This is the back.  It is mostly the fabric on top, with a smaller band of the other.  Both were black, now faded to grey.  I think the backing on a quilt can be just as interesting as the top.


May Crazy Quilt Journal Project Block

I love May.  Besides being my birth month, it's not too hot, not too cold, the flowers are blooming, and the garden has new things to discover every day.
Have you ever found that with a crazy quilt you made?  Whenever I look back at a block, I "discover" something new.
This is my 5th block for the 2013 CQJP:

The little girl is my grandmother, circa 1918. As you can see, I tatted a tiny flower for her and embroidered a duck pull toy.  The frame was pinked with my awesome vintage pinking machine and embroidered in an aesthetic style. 
I also tatted the cross from a pattern in Tatting Collage by Lindsay Rogers.  I had originally planned to put it below the picture, but it was too dark.  The lace that it landed on is from my stash of antiques, as is the flower and leaf surrounded by silk ribbon french knots.  Check my etsy page for an awesome holder for your tatting needles, hand made out of Texas mesquite.

The mixing bowl and rolling pin are my own design.  And yes, I do use a vintage wooden rolling pin with green handles.  I think old things should also have a function.  The mixing bowl reminds me of some of the Pyrex bowls that have been passed down to me.
Last but not least, my little tractor.  We do not use John Deere, but love International Harvester.  The design is from an Aunt Martha.  I had to shrink it quite a bit to fit, but it was a lot easier than trying to draw one.


Market Bound

This week I've been getting ready for the Rockport (Texas) Market Day on Saturday.  I've made a casserole tote to showcase that pattern and am working on two of the Bohemian Tile table runners.  The tops are done and I am hoping to get the backing put on them tonight, if I can find something in my stash to use. 
I designed this runner after reading Tile Quilt Revival by Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley.  If you haven't read the book, I recommend it.  They give the history of the tile quilt, tell you how to design your own pattern, and include patterns. 
The tile quilt is perfect for showcasing the big, modern prints that catch our eye, but leave us stumped.  Smaller prints work just as well and let you see the design of the applique pieces.  Speaking of applique, it is not my forte.  But the simplicity of the tile quilt makes applique much less scary.  For Bohemian Tile, I used the light Heat & Bond or Wonder Under and then used a straight stitch inside the perimeter of each shape.  No tucking under or satin stitch.  For a larger quilt, or one that will get a lot of wear, I would probably not use this raw edge technique.  This runner uses 6 fat quarters.
 For these lighter (I think of saltwater taffy) blocks, I used a dark brown thread for my straight stitch. 
On the other runner (orange slice candy?) I used black thread.  These will all be tyed when finished, but could easily be quilted.