Crafting is good for the soul

The world is much more beautiful with a little faith and a lot of magic...and tons of groovy handcrafted things!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

scary and sweet softcards

Darling Husband and I are already thinking about Halloween costumes, which makes me realize that it's also time to start thinking about All Things Halloween & Samhain. Ahhh.... my favorite time of the year. And a perfect time to start on a few softcards.

While I've made variations of embroidered notes over the past few years, I've settled on a basic design which is more like a traditional card. Except larger. And soft. Stiff felt, soft felt, scrap fabric, glue and embroidery thread all come together to make a darling and super special card.

Here are a few cards in progress:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

my first foray into the world of quilting

Ever since I was a little girl (ok, littler than I am now) I've wanted to make a quilt. I had a lovely quilt that I slept with that had old fashioned ladies on it. No, not Sun Bonnet Sue - another more elegant lady with a parasol. Anyway, I adored that quilt. Still do, but it's only allowed out for special occasions because the cotton has worn away in spots exposing the batting. Recently I decided to check out a few books from the library on quilting and see how it's done.
There's much more math involved in quilting than I'm really comfortable with. Darling Husband has offered his logical, mathematical skills to help with the process - but I'm still intimidated. Well, I was intimidated. Now I'm excited about creating a real quilt after completing my first practice quilt.
Dear Delilahh is my craftiest friend. She taught me how to embroider a few years back and I'm addicted. Well, I mentioned the quilt desire to her and she offered to teach me. Of course she quilts. I should have known. Anyway, right after I returned the quiltmath books to the library Delilahh emailed me with images of rag quilts, explaining they were easy and the perfect starter quilt. I decided to make a baby rag quilt for my friend Viv who's having a boy in a few months.

Rag quilts are made with cotton fabrics, usually flannel because it's soft and frays really well. After about an hour in SAS Fabrics (amazing bargain buy by the pound fabric store in Lawndale, CA) I arrived at Delilahh's nest with a huge bag of fabric and a burning desire to quilt. She showed me how to fold and measure and cut the flannel and taught me how to use my rotary cutter safely. She showed me how to make the flannel sandwiches and how to attach them and assemble my quilt. Then we ate pizza, blended essential oils, cut hair and talked girl talk. With that bit of instruction I was on my own... And here's how it went!

Gobs of flannel, and choices... which ones for the baby boy?

Cut, cut, cut. The cutting went by quickly, probably because I had kitty-help.

After all the squares were cut I assembled them into little sandwiches and sewed each sandwich together. On one special square I hand-embroidered the baby boys name.

The final layout. Darling Husband helped, thankfully.

The basic quilt. Note the exposed edges. I may be a messy sewer, but really it's supposed to look like this. All of these edges are then snipped into little fringes 1/4" apart. Then you wash the quilt a few times and those edges fray, giving it the ragged look. Hence the name rag quilt. :P Captain Henry really likes the quilt.

The final quilt, from the other side. Only the topside is frayed, the bottom is smooth. I like it.

After one washing. Nice fraying, but I will wash it a few more times. Hope the mom and little one enjoy the quilt as much as I enjoyed making it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Raw garnets

On a recent trip downtown to the jewelry mart I found these amazing stones. They were hanging there with all the other semiprecious gemstone beads just screaming my name. I knew they were something special, although they really just looked like granite or something.

Turns out they are garnets. One of my favorites! Raw garnets, to be exact. You can see traces of deep red as well as some opalescent trails that remind me of labradorite.

The depth and rustic quality of the stone called for oxidized sterling silver, but I wanted to give the necklace a bit of softness and femininity so I added just a few round white freshwater pearls. With this stone you can really see the red garnet-ness!!

Garnets are known to enhance creativity and promote productivity. They are also said to bring about prosperity and happiness. Perfect!! I've been wearing this lovely necklace ever since I made it. Hopefully it will give me some inspiration and keep me on track with my newest project... a baby rag quilt!!!

Ok, off to buy some thread and then sew sew sew....

Friday, August 8, 2008

The smell of Catholic Guilt actually cheers us up!

Just another reason to love and burn frankincense resin:

Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.

(Of course this means more new anti-depressant drugs. isolate the active constituents, replicate them, make sure the rats like it, then turn it into pills and market it to Pfizer.