Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Working from Home

In between e-mails and phone calls today, I did manage to work on several projects, although my lofty goal of finishing off my Flowering Vines applique top was not accomplished.

In the morning I thought I would spend a few minutes on my Baby House, a 144th scale dollshouse inside a 1/12th scale cabinet. 90 minutes later, it was looking pretty good, lol. I have been inspired by the Bespaq Baby House project that is a workshop offered in America, but I bought a cheaper cabinet at the local miniatures show for mine. I thought it would be a good way to use up all the over-size metal furniture I purchased before realising that it is too big for true 144 scale and for all the lovely 144th scale laser cut house kits. I had previously painted all the 'ceilings' white, and my friend Pauline got me off to a terrific start by suggesting that the lower drawers should be a pull-out garden. Not only was this a great idea, but she actually took them home and did the garden for me. She is a skilled embroideress, and the garden is created with needlework.

The next step was to wallpaper the walls (with internet downloads and printies) and carpet some of the floors (with scrapbook velvet paper). On the lowest floor I used a parquet floor printie and a linoleum printie which I had glued in last night. Today I glued in the last few carpets, and started the enormously enjoyable task of glueing in the furniture which I have been painting over the last few weeks. I also made a few 'plants' from green thread glued in beads, and a bedside lamp from a bead with a roll of printed paper glued together for the shade. A 'pot' for the stove was created with another bead and a wire handle glued on and painted black, a bowl of fruit was another bead with several tiny no-hole beads in red and orange glued in (these were in my goodie bag from the Micro Minis convention weekend). It's not finished yet, but is looking very cute. I need to get two more dining chairs before I can finish the dining room, and I want to create some framed pictures and a framed mirror. The music room could use another piece of furniture, perhaps an armchair. And I want to create a shelf of fabric to go next to the sewing machine. I've included a cotton reel to the left of the image for scale.

Later on, I took my March hand applique block out into the sun and did some stitching. I have set myself the goal of creating two of these large 17.5 inch blocks each month, to create a 25 block quilt. The patterns are mostly from the book 'Grandmother's Last Quilt' but I will also use some from 'The Rose Sampler' book later in the year. The Grandmother's book is challenging as they only include templates for the shapes of the motifs, and tell you to refer to the photo for the layout. Yet some of the blocks are quite geometrically complex so it can be a bit of a stretch trying to lay it out like the photo. Luckily this one is quite straightforward. I am doing needleturn applique, using the vinyl overlay method for positioning the motifs. I'm running a bit late this month because I only finished my second February block on 5th March, lol, due to spending a lot of February hand quilting a competition entry.

Eventually in the afternoon I did get back to the sewing machine and worked on the Flowering Vinees Applique. This is a design by Piece o' Cake, and I bought the kit at least six years ago. I have been trying really hard the past year to finish up some of my older UFOs - actually, the plan was to finish up all the UFOs but unfortunately I have been unable to resist acquiring several more projects this year - I think it is a sickness, lol. Or a weakness. I had made up all the blocks and completed all the applique but then my sewing machine had to go away for a service and didn't come back for about four weeks. That was awful, like having an arm cut off or something. The flowers and leaves I appliqued on with straight stitch on the machine, because I thought it suited the folksy nature of the design. The round centres of the flowers I actually fused on, using the windowed method of fusing (to leave the middles unfused and soft), because I didn't fancy my chances of achieving a round look with straight stitch applique. Today I was finishing zig-zagging with invisible nylon thread around the fused circles, to catch the edges down. Although I didn't work on it as long today as I meant to, I have now completed all the zig-zagging and have started to assemble the central panels. I think it is going to be a cute quilt, but only single size so I don't know if I am going to keep it because my bed is a Queen. The next big job, after assembling the central panels, is going to be taking off the paper from the back of the Chinese Coins strip pieced strips - the instructions recommended stitching them all to a long piece of paper cut to size, to minimise stretching.

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