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The Hills Are Alive . . .

Guten Abend , Ich habe dich vermsst.  Just off the plane from Switzerland and I still feel in sensory overload.  Truth be told, I never knew I wanted to go there.  After being gobsmacked with such stunning natural beauty, I can’t imagine that I didn’t always dream of a visit”

Our family loves to travel.  My daughter once told her teacher that traveling was our hobby. :)  I think we inherited this wanderlusting from my sister and brother in law who have explored the world at length, lived in London and Europe and now have permanent residency status in Australia.  Once we started exploring at home and abroad, we put money away every month for our travels (while making ourselves comfortable with our old cars and home.)

My husband gets a few weeks off a year.  When his week off came up for September, we decided to do a little hiking in the Alps while my parents generously volunteered to watch our kids.  One of my favorite things about traveling Europe is the amazing rail system.  We took advantage of the Swissrail during our recent trip and toured the country without a car.  Those train trips gave me plenty of time to complete a baby sweater for a friend whose daughter just got out of the NICU.  I was able to use some of my vintage buttons and knit it with Cascade 220 yarn in gray.  The pattern is Little Buds and can be found on Ravelry here: Ravelry: Little Buds in English pattern by Karen Borrel.  It was such a fun knit, I am sure to make it again.

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On our recent trip, we spent time in Zurich, Wengen, Zermatt and Lucerne.  It was a thrill to hike so close to the Eiger and the Matterhorn.  We heard (via the bells around their necks) and saw sheep and cows all over the hills.  We hiked among Chamois and saw Edelweiss up close and personal.  We channeled James Bond and hiked to Schiltorn in the Jungfrau region and we hiked to the Matterhorn base camp to see climbers heading up the mountain and rescue teams plucking folks off the mountainside.  Honestly, it was one of our best trips ever and it has inspired many creative ideas that I am anxious to share soon.

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imageAuf Wiedersehen,

Hillary

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Let’s Break the Rules. Shall We?

Let’s break the rules.  Let’s deviate from the pattern or not even use a pattern at all.  Let’s create with nonconventional/non-flavor of the week fabric. Let’s repurpose when we can.  Let’s think outside the box.  Anyone with me?

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Ha!  I sound like such a rebel don’t I?  Obviously I’m being a bit dramatic but must say I’ve been pondering a lot recently on the substrates I use for creating. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way but I am often left overwhelmed by all the newest fabric lines that seem to appear every hour.  And don’t get me wrong, I cherish my designer fabrics and special threads, etc.  Sometimes though, I feel like bucking the system and deviating from the norm.  This theme helped in the making of my latest baby quilt pictured above.  Not surprisingly, I named it “Break the Rules” baby quilt.  It garnered this name as I used nontraditional fabrics (ikea canvas and denim and cotton from the remnant pile off my local fabric shop), made up my own design that is pretty modern and nontraditional for a baby quilt.  I also mixed techniques making this using both traditional piecing and needle turn appliqué.

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I followed the same theme with a cowl I made yesterday.  Once again though the beautiful green yarn was lovely, my rebel streak made me add a postage stamp splash of orange.

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For some real rebels check out Luke Haynes who often makes his quilts with repurposed clothing.  His fiber art is off the hook cool.

LUKE! – Luke Haynes.

Also check out my friend Bianca who sews almost exclusively with vintage patterns and fabric. She is amazing.

Thanks! I made them!.

Now I need to play with some of my plentiful designer fabric and work on a sweet toddler girl sweater because we modern girls are allowed to be girly and traditional too.

 

Hillary

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Little Things

Although I love making quilts, there is a special place in my heart for projects I can complete in a day or two.  One feels so productive when one has a nice bag, block or cowl to show after a short period of time.  My days have been filled with such projects of late.

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I have been exploring paper piecing a bit more and am becoming increasingly intrigued. I found a free brassiere pattern and made the block above. It is asking for some underwear to go along with it so that is soon to come. Free pattern here: Paper Panache–Free Bra Paper-Pieced Quilt Pattern.

I have also been working with my scrap and recycled leather and putting together small bags.  I was the lucky recipient of a new delivery of suede clothing and leather scraps in amazing bright colors that have my creative wheels spinning.  I am so grateful to Stephanie Ruyle of Spontaneous Threads (Spontaneous Threads.) for sending them my way.  Crafty, blogging friends are the best!!

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IMG_0562Loving the 80s vibe this colorful suede brings.  There is much more in the works.  I also stitched together this more traditional pouch and yes, I am drowning in handmade bags. ;)

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To end, I had a nice surprise again yesterday when my crazy yoga pants/french knot project picture was picked as a weekly fave in Craft Magazine Online.  Who knew a quick project shot while I was waiting for the kids to dress for school would be so popular?  A good reminder to me of the beauty of the mundane, little moments of my life.

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Hillary

 

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Mentor Pillows

Does anyone else have project images in their heads begging to be made?  I am plagued with many.  Sometimes the translation into tactile pieces hits the mark and sometimes . . . not so much.  These pillows to be honest are better in person then in my brain – a heartfelt success.  Not too long ago I ordered some hand dyed fabric from Malka Dubrawsky of Stichindye and wanted to use them for pillows.  If you’ve never checked out Malka’s patterns and work, you need to – so inspiring.

A Stitch in Dye.

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I also have been pouring through Carolyn Friedlander’s new book, Savor Each Stitch as well as her other patterns.

carolyn friedlander | fresh, modern quilt patterns.

I was hoping to translate her Circle Lattice pattern into a pillow but couldn’t make it work dimension-wise so I made up my own pattern.  Using Marcus Fabric Organic Cotton Canvas combined with Malka’s hand dyed lovelies and following Carolyn’s techniques, I needle turn appliquéd the designs on.

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On Instagram I’ve been inspired and loving the work of Chawne of CauchyComplete.

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I have especially been drawn to her hand quilting,  Using some thicker Aurifil thread, in a much more simple fashion then Chawne, I hand quilted to finish the fronts.

These pillows begged to be called Mentor Pillows because they are inspired by artists (in my mind mentors) whose work I admire: Malka, Carolyn and Chawne.

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The next idea waiting to come to life in fabric is a quilt design based on a wooden table I have been lusting over.  This project shoud be fun!

Happy weekend everyone.

Hillary

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Busy Hands

Oh my goodness, these last couple of weeks have been busy work and family-wise.  Looking back I’m a little shocked at how much hand work I’ve been able to accomplish and have several finishes and works in progress to share.

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First off, I decided to get creative with some of my leather scraps and made up this clutch with a moth out of leather for the front.  Being able to use orange leather as accents and as a zipper pull tickles me to no end and has me searching vintage shops high and low for unique colored leather to repurpose.  With the orange feather Anna Maria Horner fabric lining I want to walk around with the bag open at all times however impractical.

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I also got busy making another Sew Together Bag for a friend.  The Koi fabric has me calling this bag “Why so Koi?”.  Don’t tell anyone but I think my favorite part of creating is coming up with names for my makings. :)

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You can find the Sew Together Pattern here: Sew Together Bag by SewDemented | Sewing Pattern.

I’ve also been busy with yarn.  My husband and I are headed on a vacation to a cooler climate in a few weeks so I made up this double cowl in anticipation.  The lovely grey yarn got a little monotonous so I decided to add a mustard stripe.  Best.  Idea.  Ever.

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I used a grey yarn by Neighborhood Fiber Company (Studio Worsted in the color Thomas Circle) and the mustard is Malabrigo Worsted in Sunset.  The free Ravelry pattern can be found here:

Ravelry: Casu Cowl pattern by Galia Lael.

Some beautiful hand dyed fabric by Malka of Stitch N Dye came into my possession and has also been spurring my creativity.  Riffing off techniques I learned from Carolyn Friedlander in her latest book, I made up a pattern and am working on some needle turn applique pillows.  These have me really excited.

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Are you still there? :)  Lastly, I’ve been exploring a new idea for the theme of Nude as a clothing color.  If you have been following me you know that I oppose this still common designer habit.  My previous post is here: Needle Turn Applique with a Message | Entropy Always Wins.  Using Carolyn Friedlander’s pattern and trying out paper piecing for the first time I have been making several dresses in various shades of “nude” and a quilt idea is coming together.  I purchased her pattern here:

Carolyn Friedlander Shirts [1PA-CarolynFriedlander-1112] – $11.95 : Pink Chalk Fabrics is your online source for modern quilting cottons and sewing patterns., Cloth, Pattern + Tool for Modern Sewists.

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Blessings everyone.

Hillary

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Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me

A little over a year ago, this former News addict made a change.  This girl who was tuned in to NPR almost constantly (who was so into it that she donated an old car to the cause) decided to disconnect a little from the constant stream of News that bombards us daily.  Much to my children’s relief when riding in the car or relaxing at home we now listen to music instead of the News and I feel lighter for it.  Because of the intensity of my job, I felt I needed a break from being so bombarded in my free time . . . and I am happier even if guiltily uninformed.

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In May we took our kids to Washington DC and visited the Newseum which I would highly recommend.  It had me thinking again about the minute to minute stream of News we now hear about from all over the world.  With this running through my head, the colors of our Bonaire trip still fresh and inspiration from my Denyse Schmidt quilt I came up with this new design.

Monday Musings-Creative Inspiration Plus a New Quilt | Entropy Always Wins.

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I knew I wanted to use concentric circles and thought I would use bias tape.  This concept failed fairly quickly and I moved on to folding my fabric in quarters and drawing quarter circles with a compass.  Truth be told this gal has never taken any formal quilt/sewing classes and I’m kind of a Macgyver in my constructing.  I started by making and quilting my quilt sandwich with random straight lines of 5 different colors of Aurifil blue thread then machine embroidering the circles on top.  (I have no idea if this is how it’s supposed to be done but it seemed to work.)

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The quilt is made out of several text print fabrics.  The solids are Peppered Cottons and it is backed with Ikea Numbers fabric.  I’m calling her “Wait, wait, don’t tell me” in reference to my previous NPR addiction as well as to the fact that sometimes I’m happier not knowing every detail of the goings on in the world.

 

Hillary

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Monday Musings – Creative Inspiration in Jewelry Making

Have you ever had a creative detour and delved into new forms of hand making?  I must admit to many such detours along the way.  Knitting and Sewing are constants for me but I have also tried out Felting Bags, Embroidery, Cross Stitch, Needlepoint, Paper Crafts, Needle Felting and Jewelry Making.  Crochet and Macrame are still on the to-do list but will be sure to venture there at some point.  This weekend I got a bee in my bonnet for jewelry making and decided to work on some bracelets.  Having been down this road before, I fortunately had a lot in the way of supplies.

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One of my favorite social things is having creative girlfriend parties that include our daughters.  On one such party we had an Indian theme, dressed in Saris, ate Indian food and had a traditional Henna artist decorate us in Henna.  It was a blast!  For the party, I put together kits and we made malas and simple Morse Code Necklaces.  I stumbled into those kits and also purchased a new book by Di Kim that helped inspired a plan.

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I have been making beaded wrapped leather bracelets for several years and whipped up three of these babies.  This tutorial helps explain how to make these bracelets well.

Wrap Bracelet.

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Using some of the techniques from my new book and my Morse Code Necklace Supplies I came up with a new bracelet design.  It was really fun to spell out my kid’s names in dots and dashes and wear them around.  I used simple embroidery thread for these but am anxious to purchase some waxed linen to make them a little more stiff.  They are really fun and easy to make.

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Now that I’ve scratched my jewelry making itch, I’m ready to get on to other things.  I am hoping to have another crafting girlfriend party this fall with a Mexican Frida Kahlo theme but am at a loss for possible creative projects.  In previous parties we have collectively quilted a quilt for a friend battling cancer, we have knit, done embroidery and of course made some jewelry.  Do you have any good suggestions for my next shindig?

Happy Monday!

Hillary