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On Being Crafty Daily

January 30, 2011

I have decided that I will do something crafty each and every day. That does not mean that I will be clever, or do something sneaky, but I will sew, knit, work on a quilt design, or do something that furthers a handcraft project in my life!

Just like all quilters out there, I have so much fabric on my shelves, so many ideas in my head, and somehow that doesn’t always transform into quilts on my bed! Seriously, because I was with family over the holidays, I just didn’t work on my projects the way that I would like. I really miss my time at the sewing machine. There is something very therapeutic about the rhythmic hum of the machine, as I either sew seams, or machine quilt. I especially like machine quilting. I love the feel of ‘painting’ on the fabric, as I move the quilt around under the needle. It has to be similar to the ‘zone’ that a runner reaches after they hit their stride.

It is important to utilize your brain in a creative endeavor. I am hoping it will keep all those brain cells alive and kicking. Quilting and handcrafting is very creative. You are utilizing the creative half of your brain in order to imagine the overall look of a quilt by switching a fabric. I do utilize computer programs where I have scanned in my fabric, and can “see” the quilt in the colored version, but before I get to that point, I have to look at the fabrics and decide if they are compatible, and put them through their audition paces. Imagining a machine quilting pattern is also very creative. I love to draft the patterns on large pieces of paper. Once I determine what pattern I like, I practice it over and over to translate the pattern into my brain.

I want this next year to be my most successful in completing a lot of projects! Follow my progress here!

Happy Quilting . . .




My Quilt Buddy

January 27, 2011

I recently made a new life decision – I AM GOING TO SEW EVERYDAY. I will discuss that decision, and my parameters in another post. I have too many projects to complete, too many projects to begin, too much fabric on my shelves, and I must take drastic actions!

Recently, while carrying out this life decision, I was beginning to machine quilt the outer border on the first quilt that I designed, Christmas Stars. I have been working on the quilting for several years. This project has taken so long, as I could never begin each step of the process. I felt frozen from fear. I was afraid to take that first stitch, afraid that I would ruin the quilt. So each time I pick up this quilt, I would have spent months deciding how to quilt a section, and then I would work up the nerve to actually begin the quilting. So finally, after 2-years of machine quilting, I had reached the outer borders, and had gotten up the nerve to start this final stage! My decision was made, my nerves were steeled, and I was going to begin . . . today!

I ran to the kitchen to get a glass of water (always necessary to keep hydrated when taking on such a task), and when I returned, look who had arrived. Our dear cat Triscuitt decided to impede my progress. Apparently, she doesn’t care about my “life decision.” I couldn’t sew anymore because I couldn’t move the fabric. Oh well, I am sure she will move eventually.

Happy Quilting . . .




Quilty Ornaments

January 26, 2011

“Quilters without Borders,” is my great group of quilt buddies here in Singapore. I love our name! Recently, I joined a knitting group, and we call ourselves, “The Purls of the Orient.” Now, isn’t that a clever name?

From a prior post Secret Santa, I shared my gift for my quilter friend. Because I was in the states over the Christmas holidays, I wasn’t able to share in the holiday party festivities. So yesterday, they brought me my Secret Santa gift. My friend, Debra, made me these wonderful quilted ornaments. They are so beautiful. I am going to hang them on my tree, and I will always remember my friends and the fun that I had here in Singapore! She also gave me a wonderful assortment of Christmas fabric. How lucky am I?

A close-up view of one of the ornaments:

Happy Quilting . . .


Cocktails, anyone?

January 25, 2011

One of the distinct advantages of living in Southeast Asia is buying furniture! The quality of the furniture is superb. The prices aren’t necessarily dirt cheap, but they certainly are better than what we would pay buying the same pieces back home.

My husband has always wanted a bar, so we designed this teak piece and had it made here. It was actually constructed in Indonesia, and shipped to Singapore. We worked with Bob Ho of Pasardina Fine Furniture in Dempsey Hill. We then wanted some shelves to hold a few glasses, and bottles. We bought a bookshelf made from a doorway from India. We liked the hardware and the cornice pieces on the doorframe.

See our new ‘bar room’! The bookshelf from India is on the left, with the bar, and matching teak chairs to the right.

A different angle on the room. You can see some of our Russian souvenirs, such as the Russian bear containing vodka, and double headed eagle decanter and glasses from Russia.

Here is a close-up of the front panel of the bar. The carving is very intricate, and such fine craftsmanship!

Off to make some cocktails. Gin and Tonic anyone?

Happy Quilting . . .


Batik Process

January 25, 2011

Making batik fabrics is a “resist” process where wax is applied to fabric and the fabric is then dyed. The fabric does not take on the color of the dye wherever the wax was applied on the fabric.  Thus, the fabric “resists” the dying, and does not take on that color. The wax is then removed, and then applied to other parts of the fabric. The fabric is then dyed again. This process; waxing, dying, and removing the wax can produce some very intricate patterns.

The instrument that contains the hot wax is called a ‘canting.’ You can just see this man holding the canting. Hot wax is poured into a small reservoir, and the wax comes out through the tip or the nib, almost like ink out of a pen. The women are also painting fabric with hot wax.

My daughters, Lauren and Sarah, are looking at the various batiks for sale. These fabrics are sold by the meter. Lauren picked up 6 meters to make a quilt with to memorialize her trip!

Happy Quilting . . .


Balinese Lady

January 20, 2011

Woodcarving is a fabulous art form in Bali. Our driver took us to a wonderful art studio, with some fantastic wood sculptors. We decided to purchase a more traditional Balinese Dancer as our souvenir of the trip. We are so happy with her. The carving is generally done by the men, and is made from large blocks of wood. The finer parts of the process, sanding, and detailing are done by women.

We bought this carving of a traditional Balinese dancer. The hands are so delicate, and the turn of the head looks just like the dancers. This carving is approximately a meter tall.

Balinese Dancer

This close up shows the grace of and beauty of her face. It also shows the tiny details, and delicacy of the carving.

Balinese Dancer Close-up

Here is one of the carvers, hard at work. This is going to be a rather large piece.

Happy Quilting . . .


Bali Batiks

January 19, 2011

To celebrate the New Year, we took our daughters, Lauren and Sarah to Bali. It was our first trip there. We loved it! We stayed in the Jimbaran Bay area, and it was lovely. We had to take a trip to Ubud, the arts and craft center. We stopped at Legong, a fine arts center in the Tohpati area where they create and sell batik fabric, and accessories.

I bought two 3 meter lengths of hand painted batik fabric. They are beautiful. I haven’t decided what I will make with it, but I can’t wait. I am thinking that I will do something with large squares, as I really want to showcase the fabric.

Here are the two fabrics next to each other. They are very complementary and will be wonderful together in a quilt!

Happy Quilting . . .


Secret Santa

January 18, 2011

My wonderful quilt group in Singapore, “Quilters without Borders,” decided to have a holiday party and to exchange Secret Santa gifts. I decided to give some 1/2 yard cuts of some of my favorite Christmas fabrics, and to make a quick handcrafted gift. I knitted this wonderful, fluffy scarf for my Secret Santa partner. Shhhh, now don’t tell her, but she is really lucky isn’t she?! It is so simple to use this eyelash yarn, and just basically knit, knit, and knit. I am modeling the scarf below. fun, isn’t it?

Happy Quilting . . .


The Weather Outside is Frightful

December 13, 2010

Oh my, we just had a blast of wintry weather, shooting straight down from Canada.  We only had 3 inches of snow, but the wind chill is below zero! Thank goodness for gas fireplaces, and cozy holiday homes.

This wintry mix arrived just in time for my latest knitting attempt. I made a wonderful hat and scarf for each of my daughters. I knitted a green, gray and cream set for my daughter, Lauren, and a blue, gray and cream set for my daughter, Sarah.  The hat is fairly simple as it is not knitted in the round. It is done on straight needles, and you stitch the seam together in the back. It is a simple slip stitch pattern with a change of yarns that provide an interesting pattern. The scarf was knitted with the stockinette stitch just randomly changing the yarn colors. I hope it keeps them warm!

Happy Quilting . . .


Tile Floors & Quilt Patterns

November 21, 2010

I know that there are several books out there that take tile floor patterns and turn them into quilts, but I have always been fascinated with this thought. While on a tour of Chinatown here in Singapore, we went through the  Thian Hock Keng Temple. There are some wonderful tile patterns that would make great quilts! Maybe one of these days, I will actually make one.

Wouldn’t this make a beautiful quilt?

Happy quilting . . .