Monday, May 25, 2009

Honeymoon Laundry

The setting up of your own household as a newlywed is such a sweet time. Gifts for a new marriage are nostalgic from the very moment they are seen. Our first two-slice toaster, new linens and fluffy towels. Each carefully put in just the right spot, each used with care imagining they will last for a lifetime. Our WWII military house had a washing machine, but not a dryer. It was expected that we would use the provided clothesline to dry our laundry.

How pretty my clothesline looked with my honeymoon linens drying under the Tuscon sun. Four o'clock, darkening of the skies, the scent of oleander heavy in the air. Rainstorm rushing to bring in my laundry, towels as stiff as plywood. I stacked them like flat cardboard boxes and carried them under my arms. I had to iron each towel to get them to relax.

My daily laundry pattern became a race to get the flat linens off  the line before the coming of rain. I was exhausted from doing laundry by the end of the first month! Their had to be an easier way! Thank goodness a neighboring wife saw me laboring at hauling in my stiff laundry and called over the garden wall, "Fabric softener. You have to use fabric softener!" Honeymoon Laundry a memory treasured by me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mailbox Scottie

This mailbox is a most favorite landmark I pass on many occasions in my town. I just adore that it's white paint is flaking. If you click on this photo and make it your screen saver, it makes a wonderful pattern for an appliqued pillow.

Cut two 18 1/2" squares of muslin. Trace Scottie onto one square. Position a first piece of fabric in center of drawn dog. Stitch sides of material directly on muslin. (I began with the large white piece in center of dog) Lay your next piece of fabric, patterns facing, along your sewn edge. Stitch same seam allowance. Repeat until muslin Scottie is covered. Lay face down patterned Scottie on second square of muslin. Sew on drawn line. Trim close to seam, clip at curves and points. Cut a slit in the middle of plain muslin, turn inside out. Use scissor points to poke ears and feet neatly. Iron. Embellish Scottie with embroidery, buttons, rick rack, etc. and attach to pillow front fabric.

The Happy Zombie has a tutorial on her blog that will teach you how to make Prairie Points if you would also like them for your trim.

My pillow has found a perfect home in my empty nest son's room. I just love Mailbox Scottie!

Pattern for personal use only.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pincushion Tutorial

The part of creativity I enjoy the most is interpreting original work in my own crafting style. I hope you will enjoy my process for creating the most simple form of pincushion that anyone can make and enjoy!

Draw a circle on the backside of your chosen fabric placed on a co-ordinating piece of felt. Sew on your line leaving an opening for stuffing. Fill until there are no puckers when you pinch the pincushion between your thumb and forefinger. Stitch closed the opening.

I use 3 strands of embroidery floss, about 2 feet, thread my needle, and come up through the center of the pincushion from bottom to top. Notice the tail I have left. Divide your pincushion as you would a pie. First one half then the other, repeating from side to side around the circle. I keep the pincushion pinched between my fingers as I go to create tension and pull the thread tightly.

When all of my sections are complete, I come up from the bottom again and thread my button both on top and bottom.

On my last pass, I will go under the button, make a loop, and tie a knot. I will then tie a knot with the tail piece and cut the thread.

Now for the fun part!

I do hope you will enjoy creating a pincushion for yourself!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Elizabeth's Chenille Bluebird

I think these little bluebirds could be used for so many different crafts from gift tags to ornaments to a little something on top of a mushroom. No sewing involved, Just a pair of wire cutters, a pencil, 2 pipe cleaner stems and Tacky Glue.

Step 1: Cut pipe stems in half. Make "M" shape at one end, circle shape at other. Pinch circle into triangle shape.
Step 2: Coil pipe stem around pencil. Pinch tail closed and slip rings over.
Step 3: About 1" down sharpened pencil, coil pipe stem towards point. Slip onto head. Pinch between thumb and first finger to flatten point into rounded shape.
Step 5: Fold pipe stem ends towards center, pinch closed. Slip between coils of body.
Step 6: Glue eyes, beak, and flower to bluebird. Paper or felt could be used.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Malabar Farms Afghan

I have been wanting to make a Granny Square afghan for quite some time now, but have been waiting for just the right color inspiration. It came while touring Malabar Farms.

White for the clusters of wrought iron grapes that encompassed the front porch.

Lt. blue chosen for a daughter's bedroom. My favorite shade.

Green. The signature color of the house. I now refer to this color as Malabar Green.

Pink, Mary's favorite shade of Iris for her flower garden.

Red for Louis' passion for his beloved Malabar Farms. He would win the Audubon Medal of Freedom for his pioneering work in soil conservation. France would award him this highest honor for introducing the growing of fruit trees in the country. He would be gifted an entire set of original Audubon lithographs which now grace the walls of every room of the house.

Yellow for a proud rooster that filled me with glee!

All of the colors together will forever remind me of this most special house filled with the colors I love best.