Tag Archives: alethea ballard

Alethea’s January quilt – more inspirations

Serape stripes from Pintrest

Serape stripes from Pintrest

I’ve been looking for quilty love in all the right places, I’ll tell you that.

I need to create a background foundation for the January Obsession quilt before I go any farther with the appliqued flowers, and I have been looking to the imagery of the Mexican and South American serape blankets for a starting point.

With the linear nature of these textiles and the gradating stripes, the little chunks of colors in some, and the white triangles in others, I’m on track for a colorful background for the quilt. I spy black stripes, graduating monochromatic sections and bold, clear colors.

Serape blanket with white triangles in diamond shape

Serape blanket with white triangles in diamond shape

Be sure to see more of the beautiful serapes I’ve added to the Obsession Pintrest page.

My next stop for inspiration was the big quilt expo, called Road to California, which was held last weekend in Ontario, California.

Great colors and great quilting!

Great colors and great quilting!

Wonderful colors at the Loc Bloc booth

Wonderful colors at the Loc Bloc booth

I found a few quilts whose colors spoke to me!

Bad Hair Day, by Martha A. Nordstrand

Bad Hair Day, by Martha A. Nordstrand

Martha A. Nordstrand’s Bad hair day was really delightful to see with its great appliques and embroidery.

Description of Bad Hair Day, by Martha A Nordstrand

Description of Bad Hair Day, by Martha A Nordstrand

It had dimensional flowers and a tree and birds – just like my quilt will!

Detail of Bad Hair Day, by Martha A Nordstrand

Detail of Bad Hair Day, by Martha A Nordstrand

I love the jubilant nature of the design and the playful motifs.

Appliqued ribbons

Appliqued ribbons

These large spools of “appliqued ribbons” were from Vietnam, and they reminded me of the applique work I have seen from the Hmong people.

So, all this brings me to my quilt.

Bali pops

Bali pops

Bali pops side view

Bali pops side view

My original idea for the background was to sew these pre-cut strips  up into a gradating field.

Bali pops separated into 2 groups

Bali pops separated into 2 groups

When I opened up the package, I removed the strips that had brown or more dull tones. This will help keep the background more in the clear-colors that appear in the serapes that I liked the most.

More fabrics for the background

More fabrics for the background

Next, I rifled through my batik boxes (, and when I say ‘rifled through’ I do mean made a big mess,) and picked out some candidates to go with the pre-cut 2 1/2″ strips.

Colorful batik

Colorful batik

And that’s when I found this little 1 1/2 yard beauty! Mmm Humm.

It’s a crazy bit of batik I picked up at the I-can’t-be-expected-to-remember-exactly-where-I-purchased-each-and-every-fabric-I-have-in-my-stash store.

So I decided to use this piece as a foundation. It’s not as clean nor as linear as the serapes, but I think I can work with it to make an exuberant wall for my quilted flowers.

Auditioning fabrics for stripe inserts

Auditioning fabrics for stripe inserts

I began to pull together some fabrics to make a set of stripes to insert into the sunset background piece. This will serve to make the background wider and to add visual interest

There's something screwy with this sewing!

There’s something screwy with this sewing!

As I sewed the pieces together, I drove in and out to vary the stitch width and make the seams wonky.

Wonky sewing from the back

Wonky sewing from the back

It’s a bit silly to sew all funky on these pieces because I’m going to sub-cut them so small that none of the wonk will even show.

Wonky sewing from the front

Wonky sewing from the front

But it makes me happy – and I feel free and a bit naughty when I’m doing it – and that, my friends, is priceless!

Auditioning new strips in the sunset background

Auditioning new strips in the sunset background

So, I’m going to subcut my strip sets up and insert them into the background with pairs of another color above and below.

One insert row sewn together

One insert row sewn together

I only had an hour to work today, so this is as far as I got.

Stay tuned…

Oh, and by the way…

I picked up a little parting gift on my trip to L.A….

Alethea Ballard goes HQ 18!

Alethea Ballard goes HQ 18!

Yep. I did that.


Alethea’s January Quilt – flowers and stitches

Little Birdie candelabrum from Laurie

Little Birdie candelabrum from Laurie

The January (obsession) Quilt has made a bit of progress.

I continue to find inspirations for shape, pattern, and color, like this darling little candelabrum that my dear friend Laurie gave me. It stands about five inches tall and it is intricately painted. The five-petaled flowers and the two-color leaves are making the brain cells work! The frilly painted lace motif is also something I am intrigued with.

I’ve also been adding a lot of pins to my Obsession Pintrest page!

Little birdie

Little birdie

And this little birdie has me really trying to figure out if I can incorporate birds into the piece!

Quilted petal parts - flower view 10

Quilted petal parts – flower view 10

You may remember this image as where I left off in the last post.

Flower center on the longarm

Flower center on the longarm

I got the flower’s center on to the longarm and then scribbled on it for a bit.

Flower center with the black batting

Flower center with the black batting

Here it is cut out.  You can see that I leave some parts, including the outsides of the pieces, unquilted so that I can have places to stitch when I add it to the quilt’s background later.

Quilted flower including the center

Quilted flower including the center

These little blue flowers are about four inches in diameter, so you can get some idea of the scale of the pieces.

Orange and blue flowers

Orange and blue flowers

I cut up a batch of little blue flowers, like the ones in the birdie candle holder, and gave them pink and yellow centers. These reddish-orange flowers are also promising! I made both four- and five-petaled ones.

First layer of quilting for the orange flowers

First layer of quilting for the orange flowers

First layer of quilting for the orange flowers

First layer of quilting for the orange flowers

Second layer added - blue center!

Second layer added – blue center!

Orange flower and the quilted nopal appliques

Orange flower and the quilted nopal appliques

I scribble-quilted circles on the nopales and gave them a nice big black batting edge.

Orange flower and the quilted nopal appliques

Orange flower and the quilted nopal appliques

I absolutely love them!

Orange floweres and the quilted nopal appliques

Orange floweres and the quilted nopal appliques

I don’t know if this is where the flowers will eventually live – but I like it for now.

Yellow six-petaled flowers

Yellow six-petaled flowers

Next up are more large-ish flowers. Yellow.

White five-petaled flowers

White five-petaled flowers

And my new favorites… the white flowers!

I’m off to Road to California tomorrow and will be taking a longarm class with Angela Walters. Maybe she can beat some of my bad, scribbly quilting habits out of me.

Be sure to say hello to me if you spy me there!


Alethea’s January Quilt – Nopal leaves

Loteria card # 39 - El Nopal

Loteria card # 39 – El Nopal

There is a bulletin board on the door of my sewing room and it’s a mess of photos and memorabilia.

At the top is this little card.

It’s from the Mexican game of Loteria, which is a bit like a visual bingo game in Spanish. Each card has an image, a number and a word.

This Loteria card was a momento of my brother and his wife’s wedding. The cards were at each place setting at the reception, and I got the nopal – also known as a prickly pair cactus.

My quilt really needs some of these!

Nopal Cacti - view 1

Nopal Cacti – view 1

I only had 25 minutes to work on the Obsession quilt today, so the rotary cutter and I whipped up some large Nopal cactus leaves.

Nopal Cacti - view 3

Nopal Cacti – view 3

I haven’t quilted them yet, but I’m loving them so far. I just had to share them with y’all today!

Nopal Cacti - view 2

Nopal Cacti – view 2

Please hold for the fruit or flowers and the quilting!

I’m off to order more black batting!


January is Make YOURSELF a Quilt Month – I have spoken

Alexander Henry fabric - amazona

Alexander Henry fabric – amazona

January is Make YOURSELF a Quilt Month – I have spoken and therefore it shall be…

What’s the deal, you ask?

The holidays are over – as I mentioned in the last post – and it’s time to move on. As creative people we are often compelled to make quilts for people as gifts – in fact, many of us make ALL of our quilts as gifts.

This can be both positive and negative.

The positives include: You feel good giving a special gift. People like getting hand-made things. You made it super special. You actually finished a project.

Here are some negatives: It’s an expensive way to give a gift. You worked outside your palette or comfort zone and didn’t enjoy it. It came out “ugly.” It took a long time. The person doesn’t always understand or appreciate what you put into to making the quilt. It gets put into a closet. You rarely see the quilt (if ever) again. It gets used as a dog bed. It ends up as a doormat. And so on.

I know we all feel like a quilt is the “perfect” gift, especially when someone has a baby. So make a baby quilt for yourself, your sibling, or your grandchild. Good plan. But, you don’t have to make a quilt for your aunt’s cousin’s hairdresser’s dog walker’s step-daughter. Draw the line, people. Just because an egg has been fertilized somewhere in the continuous United States DOESN’T MEAN YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE IT A QUILT! Buy a onsie or a stuffed giraffe once in a while, for Pete’s sake!

I think and fret a lot if I am making a quilt for someone else, whether it is a commission or a gift. I worry about the theme, tone, fabrics, colors, size, pattern, quality of workmanship and everything else there is to perseverate over. And that, my friends, is just NO FUN!

When I’m making myself a quilt I take risks, I make mistakes, I work very fast and spontaneously, and I really enjoy it. Except when it tortures me and looks ugly. But even that’s OK with me!

The real reason that I want you to make a quilt for yourself is that you make such interesting choices when you create for yourself. You don’t have to worry if the recipient will like it, if it will “go” with their stuff, if it will be appreciated. Often you’re bolder, braver, and, I hope, happier when you’re working with a beloved palette, with fabric you love, on a quilt you’re excited to make. If you have to make adjustments you’ll feel less stressed. And you’ll most likely enjoy the process more and care less about the product!

So it’s make yourself a quilt month and that means me, too.

I have to do some quilt work for other people this month, but at least twice a week I am going to work on a quilt just for me. I would like to share my process with all of you. Even if it ends up a big hot mess (as my friend Kris says.) I hope you’ll join me on my journey!

I have only a vague idea of what I am going to make. It’s going to have huge quilted applique flowers and leaves. It will have vibrant colors.

I am going to make it up as I go.

Fabric Bouquet postcard, by Alethea Ballard

Fabric Bouquet postcard, by Alethea Ballard

I want to take the feel of this tiny postcard with the quilted appliques and bow it up HUGE!

Inspiration for this project comes from my love of certain colors and imagery that I often find in Mexican art and tiles. I have been pinning on a Pintrest board I’ve titled Obsession – see it here.

Alexander Henry fabric - flores de coyocan

Alexander Henry fabric – flores de coyocan

 This new fabric from Alexander Henry is a good starting point.
Skulls and Hearts - quilted and painted - more fabric from Alexander Henry

Skulls and Hearts – quilted and painted – more fabric from Alexander Henry

I’ve been quilting and painting on these fabrics…

Tree of life from Pintrest

Tree of life from Pintrest

And this is really where I get the most excited!!!

I started a flower today!

I cut shapes out of batik and cotton prints.

flower 1 - view 1

flower 1 – view 1

flower 1 - view 2

flower 1 – view 2

flower 1 - view 3

flower 1 – view 3

flower 1 - view 4

flower 1 – view 4

flower 1 - view 5

flower 1 – view 5

flower 1 - view 6

flower 1 – view 6

Ultimately the flower needed seven petals.

The next step was to turn the flower parts into appliques – quilted on to batting.

I chose black batting because I really want the appliques to have a very definite edges and a sharp, coloring book look.

Quilted petal parts - flower view 7

Quilted petal parts – flower view 7

Here the petals get layered on to the black batting on the long arm.

I quilted the inner parts of the petals using both a variegated orange Superior Rainbows thread and a solid lime green polyester in the needle and a darker pink variegated thread in the bobbin.

Quilted petal parts - flower view 8

Quilted petal parts – flower view 8

The quilting is really scribbly and I don’t like how it came out. I didn’t glue the pieces down and the edges got all puckery.  The batting was all stretchy and it moved a lot under the needle. At this point I’m thinking I’ve wrecked it all.

Quilted petal parts - flower view 8

Quilted petal parts – flower view 8

I cut the parts of the petals out, leaving about a quarter of an inch of the batting showing.

Quilted petal parts - flower view 9

Quilted petal parts – flower view 9

I quilted the inner ring of petals separately because I thought it needed the punch of the black edges.

Quilted petal parts - flower view 10

Quilted petal parts – flower view 10

I’m going to need to quilt the center, but maybe it’s not totally terrible after all.

Stay tuned…


Is is January yet?

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

December has come and gone – thankfully!

And boy am I tired!

First, it was my birthday.

Yep - these are leggins

Yep – these are leggins

And I received 7, 328 gifts with mustaches on them – so I have that going for me!

Then it was Christmas, and I had to do 10, 447 things including:

Mum & Sun

Mum & Sun

Shop with my kid.

IPad stand with flower

IPad stand with flower

IPad stand

IPad stand

Make crafty things for a sale.

Roll 5, 395 felt flowers for wreath…

Snowman Wreath

Snowman Wreath

after wreath…

Burlap and pale poinsettia wreath

Burlap and pale poinsettia wreath

after wreath…

Red poinsettia wreath

Red poinsettia wreath

after wreath…

Green and white stag wreath

Green and white stag wreath

after wreath…

Silver, blue and feather wreath

Silver, blue and feather wreath

after wreath…

Black Bow Wreath

Black Bow Wreath

(this one was my favorite!)

Then I had to ….

The other Alethea and my niece and nephew at the Nutcracker!

The other Alethea and my niece and nephew at the Nutcracker!

go to the nutcracker…

Reindeer cookie night!

Reindeer cookie night!

make cookies…

Silly Christmas blocks

Silly Christmas blocks

make silly Christmas quilts…

Silly Christmas quilt

Silly Christmas quilt

with silly Alexander Henry fabric…

And then the real work started – Gifts…

There were about 72 head wraps to make…

Modeling the hair wrap - gift of the season!

Modeling the hair wrap – gift of the season!

in several sizes…

This is how I roll!

This is how I roll!

and pajamas for the little ones…

Pajama girl!

Pajama girl!

And then there was actual Christmas and then… wait for it…

…my 20th wedding anniversary!

And a trip to the happiest place on earth!

Cozy Cone Motel

Cozy Cone Motel

Cozy Cone Motel sign

Cozy Cone Motel sign

The there was New Years eve and Day!

When I slept a lot!

Happy New Year to all…

Neon Disneyland

Neon Disneyland

P.S. January is Make Yourself a Quilt month – please stay tuned for details!


Movember – it’s not for the faint of hair

Happy Movember

Happy Movember

Happy Movember, all! (formerly called November)

Of course, it’s my favorite month of the year because, as you all know, I LOVE A MUSTACHE!  You’ll recall ALL of my earlier mustache-obsessed blogs: Here and here and here. (P.S. there are many links in this blog and if you click on all of them you get a lot of brownie points!)

Not quite rockin' mustache photobombed by a bird

Not quite rockin’ mustache photobombed by a bird

Movember is the month that raises awareness and money for men’s health issues through a global charity campaign. The charity asks men to grow a mustache over the month of November and use it to raise money. That money goes to four basic charity groups: Men’s health awareness and education, cancer research, prostate cancer and understanding mental illness. Check it out at the site.

Not quite my dad, but a good likeness of him (not the dog!)

Not quite my dad, but a good likeness of him (not the dog!)

My obsession with the mustache probably goes back to my Dad – doesn’t everything? He had a rockin’ mustache for about 20 years – except for the ill-fated time in 1973 when he shaved it off and we called him Mr. Stranger and refused to speak to him until he grew it back! I suppose growing up n the ’70s meant that I saw many, many mustaches! And of course, I do look very good in a mustache!

My darling friend, the Dashing Dana

My darling friend, the Dashing Dana

Two of my all-time favorite mustachioed men also have beards, but I won’t hold that against them!

Jack Passion - world's best beard winner!

Jack Passion – world’s best beard winner!

In 2010 ran into the now-famous Jack Passion at Peet’s in Walnut Creek and stopped him to tell him that his beard was so good that he should be in a competition. (Because I had, of course, been looking at all of the beard and mustache competition websites in my spare time.) He happily told me that he ALREADY HAD and had (at that point) twice won the World Beard Competition. Now he has a TV show, has written books, plays in a band and has written a coloring book that I HAVE TO BUY!!! He’s a lovely man and his beard is quite lovely, too!

Awesome Mustache quilt

Awesome Mustache quilt

In honor of Movember I am offering to donate one dollar of every sale of my Awesome Mustache quilt on Craftsy to the cause! You can instantly download a full-sized pattern for all of these fun mustaches and this quilt and help the cause at the same time!

Awesome Mustache quilt made at 50%

Awesome Mustache quilt made at 50%

When I was teaching up in Redding, California this year, a quilter brought in this fabulous version of the quilt. She had reduced all of the drawings to 50% and made this quilt for her brother’s kitchen wall! I love it!

Mini Awesome Mustache quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

Mini Awesome Mustache quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

If you really need a Movember quilt fast, and you don’t want to make one, I have his little beauty for sale at Etsy. It’s the only one, so click fast if you really want it! Of, course there are some fun pillows at my store, too!

detail of Mini Awesome Mustache quilt!

detail of Mini Awesome Mustache quilt!

But, as an added bonus, I’m going to send the instructions for this wall hanging to everyone who has bought the Awesome Mustache pattern! Because that’s how I roll!

I’ve also been on a roll making a new quilt about every week – I’ll be sharing these with you all pronto! Stay tuned and Happy Movember.

I’m off to my esthetician now, to get my facial hair worked on – moustaches don’t really look that good on me after all!


Cantankerous Kitty and the Birthday Quilts

Scott Hastings pretending to be a cutie

Scott Hastings pretending to be a cutie

Let me introduce you to our cat Scott Hastings, who passed away last month.

Now, don’t be swayed by the photos – he was not exactly a little cutie!

He was a remarkable guy who blew through his nine lives in about two years and lived the next 16 years on borrowed time. He almost died from a million things including being shot by a BB gun many times, broken spine bone, crazy bacterial infection, multiple face surgeries after cat fights, lacerated tongue with plenty of stitches, just to name a few.

Scott Hatings in a rare moment of repose

Scott Hastings in a rare moment of repose

We named him Scott Hastings after the ballroom dancer from the movie “Strictly Ballroom,” and he went by many nicknames, Grumpy Dude being the favorite one towards the end there.

Scott was the LOUDEST, most vocal cat I’ve ever seen, and as he went deaf in the last few years, he took to howling in the bathtub – charming.

He was really my son’s cat. He picked my son out at the pet store by snagging his shirt with a claw when we walked by. He was a bit older than the age of a kitten we wanted, but it was clear from the start that he was going to be Nathan’s cat.

Cowboy Trip Around the World, by Alethea Ballard; 1993

Cowboy Trip Around the World, by Alethea Ballard; 1993

I have made a quilt for my son about every 10 years. When he was 8, I made this Trip Around the World, which was on his bed or his wall for ever. It was made of all cowboy fabrics and a great starry border fabric from Robert Kaufmann fabrics.

Fly By Blue, by Alethea Ballard; 2003

Fly By Blue, by Alethea Ballard; 2003

Then, at 18, I made a very manly quilt for Nathan, which ended up in my book Maverick Quilts. It’s all from 1/4 yard pieces of blue batik with great green “butterflies.”

Bit O'Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

Bit O’Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

Now that he’s 28, I figured it was about time for a new quilt. I made him an Irish flag quilt with his favorite lucky charm, shamrocks, on it.  I absolutely love it and I think he does, too!

Sharing the birthday quilt, mother & son

Sharing the birthday quilt, mother & son

Most of the fabrics in the quilt are of something that has meaning to us and I was able to use many of my conversation prints – always a good thing. From the State of California to golf to football to barbecuing, all of Nathan’s interests are there.

Of course, I had to include Grumpy Dude, right?

I started with a fabric that had an orange cat. But it was too light, and didn’t have Scott’s white bib, his deep orange parts, or the right face shape.

So I got out the fabric paints, added fabric medium, and went to town.

cat image on fabric - no paint

Cat image on fabric – no paint

Adding white to fabric

Adding white to fabric

Finished portrait of Scott on fabric

Finished portrait of Scott on fabric

Not too bad, right?

Scott and Priscilla the Silver Purse

Scott and Priscilla the Silver Purse

Detail of Bit O'Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard

Detail of Bit O’Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard

I’ll finish the binding on the quilt any minute now and give it to my son to keep!

Post script: Scott passed away at home after being able to say goodbye to Nathan. He’s buried under the redwood tree he used to climb.


Fabulous Floral Quilts – Old and New

Detail of Laura Fraga's Little Brown Bird quilt - incomprable!

Detail of Laura Fraga’s Little Brown Bird quilt – incomparable!

If you haven’t gotten down to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in Danville to see the Quintessential Quilts – a Floral Fantasy show, you still have ten days to hustle down there.  I’ve worked with the museum volunteers to create a really beautiful collection of quilts which showcase flowers. We were able to gather quilts with flower appliques, flower fabrics, painted flowers, embroidered, embellished and everything in between!

We have fresh flowers delivered twice a week, compliments of our local floral businesses, gardening groups and stores. The rooms smell lovely and it’s a delightful little exhibit.

"Adam" in the Man Cave at the San Ramon Valley museum

“Adam” in the Man Cave at the San Ramon Valley museum

We’ve also been able to include some very interesting men’s quilts in the “man cave.” We wanted to be sure everyone know men quilt, too. Even if they don’t do loads of floral quilts!

My teacher Margaret Linderman and I will be doing a free demonstration and our raw-edge floral work on Saturday, September 28 from 11:00 to 12:00.  Come early to get parking. The farmer’s market is going on at the same time and it’s a bit of a busy corner of the world!

The 1850 Whig Rose quilt and vintage friends

The 1850 Whig Rose quilt and vintage friends

Jennifer Rounds' Zen Roses next to vintage quilts

Jennifer Rounds’ Zen Roses next to vintage quilts

Wonderful wall hangings and wearable art

Wonderful wall hangings and wearable art

Wonderful vintage doll and Sunbonnet Sue corner

Wonderful vintage doll and Sunbonnet Sue corner

Be sure to come by Saturday, September 21, to see the lovely Sandra Newman demonstrate hand sewing hexagons. She’s created some packets for everyone to try them out and then you can see her beautiful work, too! Also from 11:00 to 12:00.

New York Beauty detail, photo from Pati Freid

New York Beauty detail, photo from Pati Freid

This week I was delighted to read a blog post about the New York Beauty quilts and the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textile’s current exhibition.

Take a minute to go over to the wonderful blog, See How We Sew, and read Pati Fried’s interesting views on these quintessential American quilts! http://seehowwesew.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/new-york-beauty-quilts-finding-inspiration-in-our-past/

Detail of Pickle Dish-Ish, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

Detail of Pickle Dish-Ish, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

I’ve always loved the New York Beauty quilt design and perhaps need to make one soon in my new quilted applique quilt series!


Wish Upon a Card – Job Done!

Flower Bouquet Postcard, By Alethea Ballard

Flower Bouquet Postcard, By Alethea Ballard

The trip to Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show was amazing, and I have so much to share!

I couldn’t have been happier with the beautiful framing job that HighDesert Frameworks! created for my quilted fabric postcard.

You will recall my earlier post, where I agonized about working in such a small scale, but it was all worth it because the postcard sold at the full donation price of, wait for it,… $400.00!!!

$400!

$400!

The bidding started at $50.00 and it got up to $150, before it was snatched up by someone very kind and generous (with great taste!)!

Alethea with Postcard

Alethea with Postcard

I was so very proud and happy!

Since 2007 this Community Partnership project has raised more than $60,000 for Wendy’s Wish/St. Charles Cancer Care Center.  Wendy’s Wish helps local cancer patients maintain their quality of life by assisting with non-medical expenses during treatment.


Wish Upon A Card – Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Fundraiser

Well, I’m now gearing up for going to Sisters, Oregon, this July for the wonderful Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and The Quilter’s Affair, where wonderful classes go on all week.

One of the ways the quilt show gives back to the community is through a fund-raiser called Wish Upon a Card. The project collects money for cancer patients in the area.

Being a teacher at The Quilter’s Affair gives me the benefit of having my postcard framed and put into a silent auction during the teaching week at the high school. Last year my postcards were a bit clunky and awkward, but they looked so much better with the wonderful framing job that is provided by HighDesert Frameworks.

Making a quilted piece that is only 3″ x 5″ is a MAJOR challenge for me. This means that the pieces need to be TEENY WEENY. And I mean MINUTE!!!

My new work is all about making quilted appliques, and, with this in mind, I set out to make a little vase of flowers.

Azucar, fabric from Alexander Henry fabrics

Azucar, fabric from Alexander Henry fabrics

The only fabric that I liked for the project and which had flowers small enough for the postcard was this wonderful skull fabric – made by my boyfriend Alex, of course. I am in love with these colors right now and I loved the gold glitter on the motifs. I cut out the flowers from the eyes, chins, cheeks, foreheads, and background.

I glued little cut-out flowers on  to black batting and trimmed the edges to leave a shadow of the batting all around. I really like how this effect makes the flowers pop.

Flower placement on the postcard

Flower placement on the postcard

I created a wall and table on the 3″ x 5″ piece of fusible card and auditioned the placement of my bouquet.

Stitched borders and first stitched appliques

Stitched borders and first stitched appliques

Then I used some variegated threads and some fancy stitches and sewed around the table and the outer border. I wanted to give the piece some visual interest and texture before adding the bouquet.

The vase is made out of a fabric with cacti all over it. Some of the flowers, like the one in the above photo, were pieced from several parts of the skulls, including the eyelashes. I was working to get a balance of color and the different flowers in a variety of sizes.

Using the Ott Light magnifiying glass to see the beads

Using the Ott Light magnifying glass to see the beads

I stitched the appliques in place with gold thread on my regular sewing machine.

Then I felt compelled to add the WORLD’S SMALLEST BEADS! Look at them! They’re smaller than a really tiny thing! Can you imagine the pain I went though?!? Me who doesn’t do hand work!?! Poking myself with the needle every other minute! And I can’t even begin to talk about the size of the eye of the needle or I’ll need medication (more medication, that is!)!

Postcard finished!

Postcard finished!

I’m pretty happy with the results (after all that torture).

Fabric Bouquet postcard, by Alethea Ballard

Fabric Bouquet postcard, by Alethea Ballard 

I hope it raises loads of money, and I’m glad that I won’t have to make another one until next year!

Anyone can donate fabric postcards up to July 1 to be sold for the charity. Yes, that means you can be tortured, too!

Here’s what the website says:

Please consider donating one (or more!) fabric postcards for this worthy cause.

• Postcards should be 4” x 6”
• To be considered for Challenge prizes and silent auction, cards must be received by April 15
• We are happy to accept cards for sale up to July 1
st
• Please include your name and address and mail to:

SOQS/Wish
220 S. Ash St. #4
Sisters, OR 97759


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