Sunday, February 26, 2012

By Reader Request: I Spy Bag Tutorial

As many of you know, I spent most of the last two weeks getting ready for my daughter's birthday party. Rather than buying a bunch of stuff from the dollar store that would hit the garbage bin in five minutes, I decided to make "I Spy Bags." This way, I could still shop at the dollar store, but the kids would have something to keep them occupied and amused for hours; little did I know that this fascination would extend to parents as well!!

So, by reader request, here are the directions to make your own "I Spy Bags":

Materials needed:

 -cut 1, 4x4 inch piece of 6 guage plastic
- cut 2, 3x4 inch pieces of fabric
- cut 2, 3x8 inch pieces of fabric
- cut 1, 7x7 inch piece of fabric (back)
- cut 1, 5x5 inch piece of white fabric, and bubble jet set, or use printable fabric on a printer
- cut 1, 4 1/2x 4 1/2 inch fusible web

- poly pellets (c. 1 1/2 cups)
- objects to be found (15-20)

- Using a 1/2 inch seam, stitch the 3x4 pieces of fabric to opposite sides of the plastic; afterwards, zigzag stitch along that seam allowance, to reinforce and secure the fabric

- once you have done this on both sides, your piece will look like this:

- again using a 1/2 inch seam, stitch the 3x8 inch fabric pieces to the remaining sides of fabric, again using a zigzag stitch along the seam allowance. When you are done, it will look like this:

You have now created the front of the bag, leaving a window for objects to be found. Once this is done, topstitch approx. 1/8 inch around the window, securing the fabric once again (yup, I like to make sure it is safe!!); centering your window to the middle, trim your square down to 7 inches.

Next, print your list of objects to be found on your white fabric, and fuse it to the backing fabric. Then, zigzag stitch around this piece, to reduce fraying, like this:

Now, you want to place the front and back pieces "right" sides together, and stitch around, using a generous 1/4" seam, leaving an opening to put your objects and pellets in; again, I stitch over this seam twice, to make it nice and secure.

Trim your corners, and turn your bag right side out; now, it is time to put your objects and poly pellets in the bag. Using either a large funnel or an icing bag, pour your objects and pellets into the bag; at the most, fill the bag 3/4 of the way to the top of your window, as you will want to leave room for moving things around in the bag.

Finally, tuck your seam in, and top stitch as close to the edge as possible around the whole bag, going twice around where the opening was. You will need to move the beads out of the way as you stitch, and take care not to let them spill when you start sewing your open seam closed.

If all goes as planned, you will now have an I Spy bag ready to give to someone special, that will be enjoyed for hours and hours on end!!

Notice the different fabric on this one? That's because I forgot to take a picture of the others, and they are now in the hands of happy little children!! This one belongs to my daughter - happy stitching!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Winner For the Giveaway

Well, Char doesn't have a blogger account that can be viewed publicly, and sadly, she didn't contact me regarding the charm pack. What that means for you, dear readers, is that I used the random number generator to choose a different winner for this draw, and the winner, with comment number 59, is Pam B, who did leave me a way to contact her. Congratulations, Pam!!! I will be emailing you shortly, to get your mailing address. Thanks again, to everyone who participated; I love giveaways, so stay tuned for more when the mood strikes me!

On a side note, I thought it would be fun to show you what I am working on these days. My daughter has a birthday party next weekend, and for years, she has purchased thank you cards, but never written them. So, this year, we decided to make our "thank you" statement at the party; I spent last week making fabric fortune cookies - we will put a little thank you statement into them, place them in small containers that look like chinese take out (from the dollar store), add a little candy, and voila - we have nifty and creative thank yous!!

Today, I will be making "I Spy Bags" as a take home gift for the kids, and will be placing a tutorial on how to make them on Wednesday (by reader request). If time allows, I will also be making some mixed media tags, and then I can get back to more quilting/textile art!

I hope everyone is enjoying some creative time today; thanks for allowing me to be a small part of your day :-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And the Winner is...

Thanks to everyone for entering; I am so looking forward to exploring all the new blogs I've heard about while hosting this giveaway.

The winner of the charm pack is Char, who posted comment #53 (chosen using a random number generator, at Char, I have no way of contacting you, so please send your mailing address to me via email, at

If I haven't heard back by Sunday, I will choose another winner. Thanks again to everyone; happy stitching!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beating the Winter Blahs With a Giveaway!

Last week, I mentioned that I am in the mood for another giveaway, but needed to work out some details. Being in the middle of winter, days can be quite gloomy, so I thought that what would be appropriate is to give away some colour! With that in mind, I went down to my local quilt shop, The Quilted Bear , and found this little gem:

Being a free spirit myself, of course I love Free Spirit fabrics! This package includes 30 pieces of gorgeously bright fabric in 6 inch squares, and I am so happy to be the one to give it to one of you, to help chase away those winter blahs!!

Here are the details of the giveaway:

One winner will be chosen on Feb. 15th, using a random number generator. There are 2 ways to enter this giveaway:

1) You must be a follower of my blog (yes, RSS counts!) - let me know that you are a follower, and remember to leave me a way to contact you :-))

2) If you would like your name entered a second time, leave me another comment letting me know that you have posted my giveaway on your own blog (and yes, I will check, but mostly because I love discovering new blogs to follow myself!!) - Please remember to leave this information in a second post, as it makes it easier to give the random number generator an accurate number of entries!!

On Feb. 15th, I will notify the winner of this beautiful assortment via email, and will also post again on this blog. I know it's a short window to get this all done, but hey, in the words of Ferris Bueller, "life moves pretty fast,"... So, let me know you follow my blog, and if you want an extra entry, tell all your friends and blog readers - good luck to everyone!!

And the winner is.... Char, with comment #53!!! Char, please contact me with your mailing address, so that I can  send your charm pack to you!!

Stream of Consciousness Quilt No. 2

As you may know, INSPIRE is my word for 2012; I want to be inspired by other artists (very easy), and I want to inspire others (not so easy). Last week, I started a new art quilt, and imposed a number of challenges upon myself; my goal was to create a monochromatic art quilt, using techniques of artists that inspire me, such as Lisa Call , Alicia Merrett , Rosalie Dace , and Ilze Aviks, to name a few. I first sketched, then cut the basic size of art quilt that I wanted, allowing some extra space so that I could block it exactly to my desired size later; from there, I used free form cutting and piecing, and finished with both machine and hand stitching (I am calling this kind of work "technorganic" - a fusion of machine technology, and organic hand stitching). In all, I used but 5 elements in this quilt - 2 fabrics, and 3 types of thread (and the batting, of course) - I have to say that I very much enjoyed making this little quilt, and definitely have plans to make more.

I realized too late that the picture is a little wonky; I hope that it doesn't detract too much from the quilt itself! In line with my "Stream of Consciousness" quilt, this is what I am calling "Stream of Consciousness #2." In exploring the patterns of thought and consciousness, this idea came to me - at times, our thoughts travel back and forth, sometimes returning to where we were, and sometimes reaching a crossroads. In the end, I believe that every decision we make inevitably leads us to where we need to go. As I mentioned, I am still exploring this idea, and look forward to where it will lead me - I hope that in some way, I have inspired you in your art, and would love to hear about what you are currently working on. Happy stitching!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review and Upcoming Giveaway

Lately, I have been immersing myself in all things related to art; following artists on Twitter (fyi, you can find me on Twitter here ), reading books, magazines.. whatever I can get my little hands on. One of my favourite publishers is Somerset, for their unending ability to cover all things art related. Currently, I have been losing myself in the current issue of Somerset Studio - if you haven't already picked it up, I highly recommend it, as it is filled will all sorts of mixed media ideas. I admit, though, with every article I seem to fill my head with more ideas, and keep finding ways to incorporate fabric into them (I have lots of cool things on the horizon, so stay tuned!)...

Honestly, it is tough to pick my favourite article in this issue, as they are all so very interesting. If I really have to go there, though, I think I will have to go with the Encaustic Enhancements article, by Connie Freedman, and Own Your Story, by Carissa Paige; these ladies just seem to have a flair for adding unexpected twists to their art that I enjoy. That, and the fact that they both use wax, and I am finding myself getting way too excited about an encaustics class that I will be taking in March, with Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch ; in fact, I already have one little suitcase packed with goodies to bring!

Anyhow, back to where I was - if you love art, and I am sure that you do, head down to your local store and pick up this issue of Somerset Studio - and did I mention the interview with Jill K. Berry? She is one very cool artsy girl!! Of course, you may want to read on, since I have more to tell you...

This week has been a bit hectic, with my daughter's birthday coming in only 2 days - so hard to believe that we started our journey together eleven years ago!! I am right now smelling the home made granola bars that she has asked me to make for her classmates, and in between blogging, catching up on blogs, and life in general, I'm working on another small art quilt, and getting ready for another giveaway (haven't decided the full details yet, but will announce them soon)..

Why another giveaway? Well, I like them, and I know others do as well. Also, I have seen so much around Valentine's Day that I want to do something unrelated to it. In my house, we acknowledge Valentine's Day, but not the way most people do - as a family, we try to do something fun together. You see, I have never really bought into the idea that there should be one day a year to prove how much you love someone; in my home, I am lucky to give and to receive love every day! So, I'm thinking an apres V Day giveaway... like I said, stay tuned, and I'll fill you in on all the deets soon. In the meantime, happy crafting!!!