Friday, June 29, 2012

The Spinning Sun Quilt aka the gender neutral baby quilt

My husband reacted to my former post's title, so I decided to change the unimaginative name of my now finished quilt to something a little less boring, but not by much I fear... Presenting the Spinning Sun Quilt!

The background is grey linen, of which I added a couple of strips to the binding since the olive green was not enough to go around the whole way. Gives the quilt an edgy look, I think.

For backing, I used green with white polka dots. However, the fabric was not long enough so some strips of grey linen and white were added to extend it all a bit. Perhaps the baby's name, when it is known, could be embroidered on the larger white strip. Just a thought.

The stippling done with grey thread was a nice effect on the back as well as the front. In the white rings, I did a simple wavy line to secure the suns a bit better. Otherwise I left the suns' centers and rays unquilted.

The warm colors really pop out of the grey and the pattern gives a wonderful three dimensional look.

The quilt is ready to be shipped to New Zealand to an expectant mother and friend.

Have an exceptional day!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gender neutral quilt top finished

Well, now the quilt top is finally finished. Similar style to my Japanese Sun Star quilt, but then again with some new twists. The layout is pretty much the same, but this time I allowed for more of the suns to have a colored centre. If you have a sharp eye, you will notice that the half circles in the mid-section are the reverse fabric arrangement to the whole circles. I had trouble deciding which way to go when I started and then opted to use both somehow.

And below is a "stained glass" version with the sunlight revealing the seams. I love that.

I even found time today to baste the quilt, despite two pairs of little feet running all over it while taped to the floor.

Binding has been prepared. I did not have enough of the olive green fabric to go all the way around, but managed to stretch it with some additional grey linen scraps used for the background. I think it will look quite sharp and very modern.

The backing is light green with white polka dots (a classic on my blogs) and some strips of white and grey to extend the main fabric, as I was a little short on the former. As there is light green mixed in with the olive green binding fabric, it all works rather well together.

With regards to the quilting, I thought to try pebbling the green centers to corroborate the circle motif and then stipple all that is grey, leaving the sun rays "au natural".

Now, if I could only figure out if any of the scraps from the paper-piecing can be salvaged or sadly thrown away - such a waste if they had to go in the bin. Suggestions are welcome.

Have a glorious day!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First block for gender neutral baby quilt

Perhaps you remember a little while back I mentioned a friend of mine who is expecting, but prefers to wait to find out the baby's gender. Well, I did not finish the quilt in time before she left the country for good, as there were just too many domestic responsibilities that came first. In any case here is the first block done.

Five more paper-piecing squares to go!

Have an industrious day!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A stroll in the Old City - Arab quarter

It's very odd that I have not blogged about this part of the Old Town earlier, as it is the quarter I visit the most and find the most charming. One cannot escape the hustle and bustle but also the inviting aromas of spices and fresh falafel.

This tour will take you from El Saladin Street in East Jerusalem, through Herod's Gate, winding partly through the Via Dolorosa (Jesus' last walk) and down to one of the entrances to the Dome on the Rock. Enjoy the walk!

Here but no further, as it is an entrance solely used by devout Muslims to worship at the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosques. Note the graffiti, which  is stating that the house owner has been to the holy city of Mecca for the Haj. One sees them quite frequently, inside the old city as well as outside.

Have an exotic day!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Sophie's lovely art studio

I have a lovely British friend called Sophie Walbeoffe, who is a very talented painter and has had fantastic life adventures. Here is a link to a recent article written about her in the Financial Times. It will put a smile on your face, I guarantee it! She has had art exhibitions in the past and is bubbling with new ideas for a new one. Industrious and resourceful, she managed to attain a lovely little studio in the Old Town to soak in the flavors of Jerusalem.

It has a fabulous view of the Dome of the Rock, which is just a short skip and a jump away. Here we are on the roof top.

And here we are inside, out of the hot sun. I find that she really has captured the lovely golden shimmer of the Dome's exterior - a true landmark of the city. The palette used is indeed faithful to the Jerusalem scenery.

While I was taking pictures, she could not help but work some more on this lovely painting.

As a true artist's studio should be, there were canvases rolled up in the corners, several easels with works in progress and assorted paintings hanging on the walls from different sources of inspiration so diverse as: African savannas, Medieval knights, still life and scenes from Jerusalem. All were delightful and powerful in each their way.

Sophie is indeed a fun and spirited woman, who embraces life to the fullest and is to be admired for her accomplishments. My time spent with her has made me slow down and "smell the roses" a bit longer than I have in the past. Speaking of flowers: notice the large prickly purple thistles in the window sill? They were picked and given to her by her adoring (and adored) husband - to which she said - "Now that is love!" Indeed!

Have an artistic day!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another portable car mat for a birthday boy

It is nice to have a quick and easy project to make for these little birthday parties my kids are starting to get invited to. For this little three year old boy, I thought a small car mat would be in order, as he will be catching a flight the next day and it will hopefully keep him entertained.

Here it is folded up and ready to travel.

On the inside there is storage space for four cars, beige linen strips used for roads and green linen for grass. It turned out alright, despite the fact that I no longer have the fun street sign print from the first project.

I would have added more pics, but Blogger says I have used up my 1 GB of free uploads. I opened a Picasa account, but there my account is already full due to the Blogger online uploads. A catch 22? If anyone knows a way to get around this obstacle, please let me know.

Have a fruitful day!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Finished mouse sleeping bags

Without much trouble, the blocks were stippled and assembled to make sleeping bags for a pair of stuffies, which will keep a little girl in Africa company at night.

The red fabric and the binding are easily recognizable from the Sun Star quilt and the Sun Spiral quilt. The final product measures appr. 10.5" (27 cm) x 16" (41cm).

Yep, polka dots for backing again.

I tested them out on a Tasmanian Devil and a Canadian Moose and there were no complaints. The sleeping bags should keep the little mice nice and snuggly.

 Have a warm and fuzzy day!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blocks for origami mouse sleeping bags for stuffed toys

To compliment the two Japanese inspired quilts recently made, two little sleeping bags for two toy mice were requested. I spotted this origami animal block tutorial on Sew Mama Sew, which was just perfect for this project. Just a little advice with regards to the font used to get the origami image: once typed, save the script on pdf if you want to print it from another computer. It saves you the hassle of installing the font again, as it is doubtful that the other computer has this unusual font.

I had never done this type of paper piecing before, mainly because I do not have access to freezer paper. One then resorts to a trusty stick of glue to make do. Though it would be nice if this could be done in the same manner as New York Beauty where the fabric is sewn directly on the paper...

Anyway, after much pondering I set to work with gluing, cutting and sewing, and here is the result.

They look like a real origami paper figures, do they not?

Origami mouse blocks head to head

I did not have much luck finding Japanese prints here, but I think this one hits the spot.

Now just to assemble them into individual sleeping bags, adding different red fabrics to tie them in more with the quilts and some stippling around the mice. Perhaps little pink embroidered whiskers are in order.

Have a wonderful day!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gender neutral quilt for baby - the plan

I ran into a former colleague at my husband's work here in Jerusalem, whom I worked with in Sudan on mission four years ago. She is expecting a rather large baby and she isn't due for another couple of months! Being so pleased with seeing her again, I offered to make a baby quilt for her.

As she preferred not to know the gender until the birth, she had chosen a rather neutral color scheme for the nursery, namely charcoal grey and olive green. Now this is definitely not a color palette I am used to pondering for a quilt, but I was certainly up to the challenge. My friend did not mind other colors as long as the grey and olive were the dominating ones. We took a peak at my blog and on Flickr (the Fresh Modern Quilt group is always inspiring) and came to an agreement upon the look of it.

She liked my most recent quilt, the Japanese sun star quilt, as the pattern was gender neutral and also appreciated the darting rays. I did not feel like doing the exact same quilt twice, so I found another New York paper piecing pattern that would be nice to try, namely Block 9 (pattern on Lenz Ula)  hosted by Sew Sweetness with a tutorial by Lindsay Sews (thanks for the tip Diane!).

With regards to the colors, I browsed through Design Seeds and clicked on olive green and came up with this lovely scheme, which corresponded with fabrics I already had in my stash.

Though I did not possess charcoal, I had a lovely grey that I chose for the background, olive green for the center, a white ring around the green, the warm colors for the sun rays and blue for the shading on the rays. I hope my friend will approve.

Well, I really hope so now, because the pieces have already been cut out!

Have a joyful day!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Did I bite off more than I could chew?

To finish off the Sun Star quilt (yeah, I know my quilt names are awful), I wanted to free-motion a relief of some Japanese characters in the center of the suns to add a Japanese flair and a personal message from mother to daughter. I contacted an old Japanese friend of mine to translate some words for me and I got a little surprise. I did not anticipate that the characters would turn out to be intricate and complex Chinese ones, in contrast to the simpler Japanese script I am used to seeing. Oh dear...

Here it goes! If it fails, I will just have to pull out the embroidery thread and sew by hand.

Have a creative day!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Light festival in Jerusalem

For the first time since our last child was born, we were finally out as a family after 8 pm. We visited the Jerusalem Light Festival in and around the old town. Fortunately we live only a 10 minute walk away. The old town is already spectacular, but this light show made it more impressive. Light artists from mostly European countries had light exhibitions flashing in parks and fortress walls.

I think the best contribution was this Italian one, which was a dome (de Cagna?) from the Italian renaissance situated at Jaffa Gate. It was 25 yards (23 m) high and 22 yards (20 m) in diameter. We saw this first, though we should have perhaps kept it for last since it was the most lovely!

Inside the light dome, Italian opera music was being played. Here is the "ceiling"...

... and these are the "walls".

Here is a projection of different moving facial images beamed on a wall in the Armenian quarter.

My little girl of 20 months could not stop saying "wow!", which she had just learned when seeing the dome mentioned above. She was especially enthralled by this light machine that rotated and revealed different colors in motion situated in the Jewish quarter. In contrast, my elder three year old fell asleep in the stroller despite the crowds and noise. He does have to be excused though, as he had been ill the past week.

 A close-up of the said contraption.

If you look closely, projected on the famous Damascus gate at the entrance of the Arab quarter is an image of a pinball machine game, which was actually being played on a computer by some kids a small distance away.

We got home by 10:30 pm and came to the conclusion that our first nightly family outing was a big success!

Have a de-light-ful day!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

The three pillows for three sisters arrived safe and sound

My sister-in-law just e-mailed me these fabulous shots of the new pillows along side the corresponding quilts I made for her girls last year. 

The girls loved them and were very surprised! I guess they do not read my blog much - ha ha!

Have a heart-warming day!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Pillow for Japanese inspired sun star quilt

I had a block leftover from the sun/star quilt and decided to turn it into a pillow. Though my friend did not request it, I thought it would be a fine addition to the set I am making for her little girl.

It was stippled in the same manner as the original quilt. I am not sure yet if I will embroider anything in the centre.

I finally got a walking foot and it was a set of three different types, including this one that was very helpful with machine binding - my first time. I did need a couple of practice runs (read: ripping) before I got the hang of it. I also thought it would hold the pillow together better with a second seam around the edges.

I used the same binding as for the two Japanese sun quilts posted yesterday and the day before.

However, since I am running a little low on this particular fabric I resorted to good ol' polka dots from my stash for backing.

And voilà - another pillow done! Now on to making a couple of origami blocks.

Have an invigorating day!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Japanese inspired sun star quilt ready for embroidery

If you have followed my blog, you will surely recognize this quilt, at least as a quilt top. It has been stippled and bound at last.

I stippled all the exterior parts but have reserved the inner circles for Japanese characters, as they are to have personal meaning for the recipient. I thought to either stipple or pebble a relief of the characters, so they will be visible but not dominating the quilt. A bit ambitious for me, but I will give it a go.

I like how the stippling somewhat masks the seams and lets it all appear to merge into one background fabric piece.

Isn't this backing fabric adorable? Doesn't the stippling seem to intertwine in the fabric's design? It is the same backing used for the sun spiral quilt posted yesterday. In any case, this will not be the last you see of this quilt, so stay tuned.

Have a wonderful day!