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Saturday, May 21, 2011

May Featured EtsyBlogger - NanjoDogz

The featured EtsyBlogger for May is Nancy, whose shop, NanjoDogz, sells beautiful polymer clay beads that look like various dog breeds. I don’t know how many different breeds she sells, but there are a LOT. And they all really look like that breed! I have no idea how she does this…If I tried to make a bead that was supposed to look like a dog, every bead would look the same and would resemble no known breed. It would look like a kindergartner made it. But these beads are great!

My favorite was one I found in the sold items, a golden retriever. Since I used to have two golden retrievers and I happen to believe that they are the greatest breed on earth (just my personal opinion, however), this is the bead I must show you. But all the other beads are very nice and characteristic of the breed, too! If you’re a dog lover or need to buy for a dog lover, you must go take a look at her Etsy shop!

Nancy has a blog also – nanjodogz.blogspot.com. In it, she features her lovely work. I especially like looking at her custom beads she has made from dog photos. Here is an Australian Shepard she made.
Custom Australian Shepard bead
And here is a Jack Russell Terrier.
Custom Jack Russell Terrier Bead
I think these beads are just amazing! Keep up the great work, Nancy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lucite Necklace and Bracelet

After my Mother's Day pillow was finished, I was able to move on to my next project. I don't think I ever mentioned that I attended a bead show in the Kansas City area (about 5 minutes from my house!) that was held April 30th and May 1st. I didn't buy a lot, but I had some projects in mind that I had seen in magazines and always wanted to do. I bought what I needed for a new necklace and bracelet made from lucite flowers.

I spent a couple evenings this past week working on first my necklace then my bracelet. Here is my finished necklace. Lucite flower necklace
I got the idea for this last year when I saw an article in the August 2010 issue of my Bead & Button magazine. Here's a picture of the necklace in the magazine. Necklace articleI really liked the necklace, but I didn't like the colors. I don't think flowers should be brown (unless they are dead!). I loved the necklace but I knew I had to make it in spring colors.

And with the flowers I had left over, I made this bracelet.Lucite flower bracelet I got the idea from the article in the May 2011 issue of Bead Style magazine. Here is their bracelet. Lucite flower bracelet
I liked the way these turned out. I wore them with my pink floral skirt on Thursday and think they looked pretty good with it, if I do say so myself. I got a couple compliments on my jewelry that day, which is always kind of fun. I wouldn't mind making more lucite flower jewelry, but I think I need to research other sources for my flowers. These were a little more expensive than I would like to pay very often. So we'll see what else I find. There was only one vendor selling these at the bead show. Definitley worth looking around to see what kind of price I can find.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Pillow

The idea came to me on Thursday, I started it Friday evening, finished it Saturday night, wrapped it and gave it to my mom on Sunday. Yes, it's the last minute Mother's Day gift. Which did happen to be a big success with my mom.

Since the end of last year, I've already lost track of the number of pillows I've made. A few Christmas gifts with a giant Christmas ornament applique, a cat pillow, a tulip pillow, the crazy quilt gift and my crazy quilt pillow. I seem to have pillow on the brain. So when I just finished my own crazy quilt pillow and needed to think of a Mother's Day gift, what would come to mind besides a pillow?

After my aunt gave me the pillow with my mom's photo on it, I started thinking about doing a pillow with photos. So for Mother's Day, I decided to use some of my son's senior pictures from last year, a couple other pictures of him and one of him and my mom at graduation.

I had never printed photos on fabric before and it did not go as well as I had hoped. I bought a package of three 8.5 X 11 sheets of fabric with a backing that would enable it to go through a printer. The directions said to set my printer for normal paper. I had arranged four photos per sheet and printed a sample on regular paper but when the first sheet of fabric paper went through the printer, it started printing the bottom half of my 8.5 X 11 sheet of photos. The two photos that printed were very nice, but I wanted four photos, not two.

I had put together a second sheet of four photos, the fifth one for the pillow and three extra ones that I was going to use for myself. Well, that sheet did not print correctly either. It printed about the bottom 2/3 of my photo sheet. I did get my fifth photo, but the extras that I was going to use for myself were not usable. I still needed the top two photos from the first sheet so I reformatted a sheet of photos with those two on the bottom half. Sent that through the printer and it worked.

I don't know why I could not print an entire sheet of photos. I'm sure it has something to do with the thickness of the paper and my particular printer, but it was very frustrating. If I decide to try this again, I will need to do very careful research for my printer to determine how to make this work. But I did finally get five usable photos for my pillow.

I decided to make four 4-inch square quilt blocks in neutral colors to separate the photos. I didn't want bright colors to distract from the photos. I had all the scraps for my quilt blocks and bought a yard of fabric for the ruffle and pillow back. I liked the wider ruffle on my crazy quilt pillow but wanted wider lace to go with the wider ruffle, so I found this lace to use for the ruffle at JoAnn's. I bought a light colored braid to use for the "frames" around my photos, but it was a braided trim that would be hard to keep the edges from uravelling, so I scrapped that idea. I decided to use this gold trim that I have a ton of, sew it down and miter the corners.

And here is my finished pillow. I was very pleased with how it turned out. And my mom really liked it. Mother's Day photo pillow

And here is a closeup of the center photo with its gold "frame". Joe and my mom at graduation last year

One thing I learned while doing this pillow...Although I tried to allow for plenty of fullness at the corners when gathering the ruffle, because of this wider lace, which was pre-gathered, I should have allowed for a little extra lace at each corner. Doesn't look awful, but another lesson learned. A little more fullness would have been better.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Bracelet is in an Etsy Treasury

I learned a couple days ago that my "Something's Fishy" bracelet was included in this pretty treasury on Etsy. I love this combination of red bracelets...so pretty to look at. The treasury was created by the owner of Etsy shop AidforAbby. This shop sells artwork created by the owner's autistic daughter. Lots of bright colors are used in this cheery-looking artwork. Please take a look at it in AidforAbby!

Abby's Favorite Charm BraCELET fINDS

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Pillow in Progress

I did decide to make my mom a pillow for Mother's Day. It's coming along nicely, as of 2 AM Saturday morning, although I did run into some challenges I hadn't anticipated. I will elaborate in a future post, when it isn't 2 AM! But here's my pillow top in progress.

Mother's Day pillow in progress

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finally! My Crazy Quilt Pillow is Finished!

I just don’t know where the time goes. It’s been way too long since my last post. But I finally have something I MUST blog about – I FINALLY finished my own crazy quilt pillow! I started one for myself after the one I made for the birthday gift in mid-March. I think I get things done faster when I have a deadline, like a birthday. Of course, I did put mine on hold while I made my lamp shade, my Easter Peeps wreaths, did my Easter baking, etc. But now it’s finally finished! Now I’ll let myself move on to all the other projects that are accumulating. But here is MY pillow…
My finished crazy quilt pillow
In case you don’t recognize it, the ruffle and border fabric (along with the back, which you can’t see) is the leftover fabric from my lamp shade. So even though I don’t like the lamp shade much, I do like this fabric in my pillow. I wish I hadn’t made the ruffle so wide. Or I wish I had bought wider lace. I would like the double ruffle better that way. But it is what it is...DONE!

I made four 6-inch square crazy quilt blocks and used a 1-inch border for my 14-inch pillow form. Here are close-up photos of each square.

Upper left…I didn’t use a fan in my gift pillow, but they were a pretty common type of block used in Victorian crazy quilts. I decided to embellish the bottom of my fan with silk ribbon embroidery. Upper left quilt block
The highlights of my lower left block are the ribbon bow, tacked down using French knots. And the center fabric is a ram. I have a piece of fabric that has various country-looking animals on it. I cut out parts of the fabric for various projects. I used the ram here because I am an Aries.
Lower left quilt block
My upper right block has a variety of beads and embroidery. I like the gathered lace circle (I’ve used some of these on greeting cards with a flatter button in the center) and my flower made of beads.
Upper right quilt block
And finally, the lower right block contains my woven ribbon piece. And my spider web and bead spider. Spider webs were very common on Victorian crazy quilts because they were believed to be symbols of good luck. (Glad I didn’t live back then. I personally don’t care for spiders and don’t see how they can represent good luck!)
Lower right quilt block
I guess I’ll see how well I perform to meet a deadline. Just this morning, I was still wondering what to give my mom for Mother’s Day. I’m seriously considering making her a pillow with photos of my son printed on it. I’ve never printed photos on fabric before, so why not try something totally new with a deadline three days away? We’ll see what I end up with!