SEW I SEE!

quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Time Marches On

Since I wrote my last blog post, my family lost another member of our oldest generation.  Near the end of October, my maternal grandfather passed away at the age of 85.  Loss is always painful—but there’s comfort in the knowledge that Grandpa is with Granny, now, after enjoying a long and full life.

I’m grateful to have so many happy memories with all my grandparents, from childhood and beyond.  

We’ve also recently said goodbye to Trixie, our eldest American Eskimo Dog.  She turned 15 in June this year—a good, long life for a dog.  We were lucky to have such a sweet girl in our lives, and she’ll be missed.

Some periods of our lives are heavier and harder to bear than others.  This year has been difficult for many in my family, but good things have happened, too, and maybe next year will be easier.

It’s difficult to feel optimistic about the world in general, lately, but that’s all the more reason to hold on firmly to what is good in my life, including my hobbies, so I’m trying to get back into blogging regularly again. 

swamp daisies and goldenrod
blue mistflower

Between everything that’s happened in the past few months and the usual daily grind (that blends into a weekly and monthly grind), it feels like I haven’t spent as much time as usual on my craft-related interests, lately.  However, I have been slowly piecing on my current quilt, and there are also a few other little artsy-craftsy things that I haven’t yet shared.

"Morning Glories" Quilt Progress

This quilt feels like it’s taking me forever, but that’s at least partly because I go through several days (or even weeks) at a time of not working on it at all. 

I’m just not feeling that spark of insistency on this one, but I know that if I put it aside in favor of some other large-scale project, I’ll have an even harder time ever getting back to it.  

I don’t know what the problem is with this quilt.  Maybe it’s simply that the foundation paper piecing takes me such a long time (or feels like it’s taking a while), so it’s hard to see much progress.

I want to finish it, so I’ll just have to keep pushing through, one block at a time.  I think I’ve decided to make a smaller version of the quilt.  It wasn’t going to be big enough for our bed, anyway, so I’ll just make a more comfortable couch-size quilt.  

With the tweaks I’m making, I think I only need 14 more blocks in 2 colors (purple and turquoise).  Bear in mind, I’ve only made 21 so far, I think, so that might still take a while!

In addition to the blues I showed in a previous post, here are the oranges and pinks:

Again, my piecing isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough.  At this point, I’m just ready to finish this so I can work on something else!

Watercolor Stuff

I have a hodge-podge of watercolor-related photos to share.  Many of them aren’t much to look at, but I’m putting them up anyway!  

The first group are all using some cheapo metallic watercolors I got a while back.  (Not really “recently”, at this point.)  They turned out to be kind of chalky and not of very good quality, but I guess they could still be fun to play with… 

They don’t even look particularly metallic/pearlescent in some of these… 

I decided to try one in the style I’ve enjoyed before—reverse coloring book style.  In this case, colorful blobs that you then doodle over to turn into autumn trees:

Only this time, I think I “doodled” in black paint… and a little more paint(?), finishing with dots and dashes from a metallic marker.  

Well, of the metallic paint experiments with that new-ish palette, I think this was my favorite result, but that’s not saying much.  It was still fun to do, at least.  

Christmas Watercolors

December was busy, so I didn’t spend as much time doing Christmas-themed watercolors as I’d planned to, this year.  There was a wreath tutorial I wanted to copy, but never got around to it.  Maybe I’ll do a non-Christmas version, instead…

At least I did make a few doodle-style cards and some gift tags, which were fun.  

First, the tags!  I used a different set of metallic watercolors for these.  I think they’re better quality, though still not amazing.  Perfectly good to play around with, though.  

The technique is easy:  Paint your ornament shapes (circles, vertical ovals, etc.) and allow them to dry.  

Next, go back in and fill in your details with ink, watercolor, etc.  I used a paint pen to add the white dots.  (Well, Dollar Tree says it’s a metallic marker, but it doesn’t look metallic to me.)

This was so much fun to do while watching TV, and the extra details make a huge difference!

As for the few cards, I was inspired by this video from Michele at The Creative Cove on YouTube.  Actually, I just copied her snow man pretty much part for part—except that my version doesn’t look as good as hers! 

After drawing her snowman a few times, I felt confident enough to try making my own version, but again, just didn’t have time or energy for more, at that point.  I definitely recommend her YouTube channel for people who like low-pressure doodle/watercolor tutorials—lots of excellent ideas for inspiration.  As a beginner watercolorist—I think that word looks silly (like “sewist”), but it’s better than “watercolorer”, I guess, and I hesitate to use the word “artist”—I learn so much by seeing how other people do things.  

Anyway, here are the ones I doodled, before I cut them apart and made them into cards:

Much room for improvement, but they were fun to make, and that’s the whole point.  

More Random Watercolor Stuff

I need a catch-all category for random photos…

After watching another YouTube tutorial (by Kristy Rice, this time), I tried a different style.  With this technique, you paint a loose floral design, then you go back in and add details with pencil afterwards, if I remember correctly. 

I think this could be nice if you were better at drawing flowers than I am.  It’s probably not going to be my personal favorite method, for the moment.  

(I may possibly have gone overboard with the berries in this one!)

The next one will look familiar… More of the same: Ink drawing over watercolor wash, followed by filling in the drawing with more watercolor.

I think the border on this one adds an interesting touch. 

Next, here’s another reverse coloring book painting/doodle of houses and trees in autumn colors… Yes, I really enjoyed this theme.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done it, now.  

And another familiar one… Paint randomish blotches of color.  Let dry.  Use an ink pen to define shapes and add detail to create a landscape.  I was pleased with this one…

This last one was inspired by one of Diane Antone’s tutorials.  The basic idea is to paint pumpkin shapes, then go back and add some detail with a watercolor pencil.  

For mine, I made a variety of gourd shapes.  I did try the watercolor pencil, but also ended up adding detail in black ink.  I filled in the background using a combination of watercolor pencil and traditional watercolor.  

I had fun!  Based on how the pumpkins started out, I think they turned out better than expected.  I do need more practice with the watercolor pencil, though.  

A Little Non-Quilty Sewing

I rarely do any sewing that isn’t somehow involved with quilt-making, but before Christmas I wanted to make a couple of bowl cozies to put in with Mom’s gift.  

There are tons of tutorials online.  I started with one that used special rulers/templates, but then switched to this one, which uses a free paper template instead:  Sew Outside the Box Soup Bowl Cozy.  

It’s easy to follow—though I did somehow manage to sew my darts on the wrong side on my first try.  I was also using the same stitch-length setting I’d used for my foundation paper piecing, so I had to rip out some tiny stitches (with backstitching).  I’d just watched the tutorial, but I guess it just felt wrong to sew on the batting!  Once I’d learned that lesson, they went together pretty easily. 

I might try to make a couple for us, sometime, too.  

Recent Listening & Reading...

I’m currently reading The Pesthouse, by Jim Crace.  Based on the title alone, I thought it was going to be horror, but it’s actually science fiction about a postapocalyptic world where modern technology has been lost—the setting feels like a more primitive, medieval version of the Wild West.  It’s an interesting story, and short, but I’m still struggling to get through it…

I’ve just started listening to The Paris Apartment, by Lucy Foley.  Too early to say much about that one.

Welcome!

I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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