Category Archives: Inspirations

Margaret’s Muse – The Frida Quilt

 

Margaret's Muse Quilt Center. Frida Kahlo

Margaret’s Muse Quilt Center. Frida Kahlo

It was a dark and stormy night…

And we decided to make a birthday quilt for our friend, mentor and teacher Margaret Linderman.

And we decided to make it a surprise!

And we wanted all of her peeps to be able to create a part of the quilt.

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I thought of the French Roses quilt, created by Heather French.  It is a versatile, layered, fabric flower that Margaret and her students have made many times for many people.

I drew up a layout with the blocks on point that would have 50 flowers – enough to include many friends!

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Then I added in a center that could have an image of Margaret’s muse, Frida Kahlo, in a flaming corazon.

Margaret’s daughter Janis Stob and I sent out packets of background fabric, a black shadow for each flower (to add a visual punch) and inspiration appliques. It will surprise none of you that I have quite a collection of Alexander Henry fabrics from which to draw folklorico inspiration!

When the blocks came in we gathered at Wooden Gate Quilts, in Danville, and worked on a layout.

The crew working on the layout

The crew working on the layout

 

Jamie in the center

Jamie in the center

Janis sewed the blocks all together, making many extra where we needed more, leaving the hole in the middle for Frida.

Quilt center in progress

Quilt center in progress

I created a heart from dupioni silk and cut flames out of bright batiks. Margaret’s favorite image of Frida Kahlo was printed on to fabric to adorn the center.

Raw-edge appliqes with black batting

Raw-edge appliqes with black batting

To make an exciting edge to the heart I glued lots of small flower appliques to a layer of black batting which would add dimension, color and texture. I stitched them all on the longarm and cut them out with the black shadows visible.

Center in Progress. Adding appliques and a frame

Center in Progress. Adding appliques and a frame

The appliques surrounded the corazon and then I created a frame for the photo of Frida.

Border corazon

Border corazon

The outer “border” was composed of more corazons, most made by Janis Stob and Kathy August.
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The quilt began to take shape!

Of course, even though we started MONTHS in advance, the quilt didn’t get on to the longarm until the DAY BEFORE THE PARTY.  And we still had to add bling and bind it!IMG_6486

I had a marathon 6 hours on the longarm to get it all quilted!

Late night bling crew!

Late night bling crew!

That night we had a bling and binding party! You won’t believe how fast Pat DeForce got that binding on for us!

Frida Flower

Frida Flower

We added crystals, beads, do-dads, bobbles, milagros and anything else we got our hands on to make the quilt more “Margaret!”

Margaret's Muse quilt center

Margaret’s Muse quilt center

The next day we threw her a surprise party!

Please hold for Part 2, wherein we give Margaret the quilt!

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Look for our quilt at Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California, this weekend!


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…


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!


String-pieced Quilts – Report from the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

First quilt block!

First quilt block!

Zippidy Do Da was one of the classes I taught up at the Quilter’s Affair teaching week as part of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show week.

It was planned as a kids class, but we had lots of grown ups sign up, too! That turned out to be a great combination for me, as everyone’s work inspired each others’ and we had a lot of fun.

My youngest student, pictured here, made her first ever quilt block during the first session, and that provided me the BEST MOMENT of the entire week! She had made the block oversized and raggedy on the edges. Then she traced the 10″ template on the back for trimming. I took it and trimmed with a rotary cutter and then held it up to show her. Her face lit up so brightly and she actually jumped (practically out of her skin) for joy – it was a priceless moment and one I’ll always remember!

String-pieced cow quilt block

String-pieced cow quilt block

Everyone started with a center piece and added strips on either side.

Norman's Quilt - 6 completed blocks

Norman’s Quilt – 6 completed blocks

Some students planned the blocks to go together.

Lovely baby quilt blocks

Lovely baby quilt blocks

And other students created more improvisationally.

The busy classroom

The busy classroom

Everyone did a wonderful job…

19 of 81 completed!

19 of 81 completed!

Great improved blocks!

Great improv’d blocks!

Pretty Kaffe's in progress

Pretty Kaffe’s in progress

Susan and her amazing quilt top!

Susan and her amazing quilt top!

A whole quilt top finished in 6 hours!

A whole quilt top finished in 6 hours!

I was proud of F. for finishing her quilt top in only six hours. She was so creative to try the string piecing straight, on the diagonal and in the center triangles that we made a special foundation for. She particularly loved the Ninja fabric I had brought to share!

Sheila (AKA Baby Death Grip) and me!

Sheila (AKA Baby Death Grip) and me!

Sheila had a great large-scale cat print to inspire her quilt. We had a bit of a laugh when I was trying to figure out why her machine was making such tiny stitches. We determined that she was holding the fabric too tightly and the result was teeny stitches. She got a real kick out of my calling it the Baby Death Grip!

In all, I couldn’t have been more pleased with my ‘kids!’

V. and her fabulous quilt blocks!

V. and her fabulous quilt blocks!


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.


Zippidy Do Da… A scrappy string-pieced quilt

String-Pieced Pot Holder - straight

String-Pieced Pot Holder – straight

High-Ho, high-ho; it’s off to Oregon I go.

La la la la la la la la and all that!

One of the classes that I am teaching at the Quilter’s Affair up at Sisters, Oregon, this year is called Zippidy Do Da.

Zippidy Do Da Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

Zippidy Do Da Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

The quilt is made up of twelve scrappy, string-pieced, ten-inch blocks.

Originally, we wanted to offer a relaxed-style quilting class to young students and kids at the Quilter’s Affair, so we invited children ages 8-12 in the morning and thirteen to adult (I was thinking like 22 years old) in the afternoon. As it turns out, some (most) of our afternoon “kids” are much older than 22 and we think that is JUST FINE! It’s going to be a fun class and I’m excited to be teaching it.

String-Pieced Pot Holder - diagonal

String-Pieced Pot Holder – diagonal

We made the cutest, string-pieced pot holders last week in my drop-in kids class at Wooden Gate Quilts, in Danville.

String piecing - diagonal setting on 8" x 10" rectangle

String piecing – diagonal setting on 8″ x 10″ rectangle

I’ve spent the morning creating samples and I wanted to share my sewing and some other examples of string-pieced quilts!

Back side of string-pieced rectangle block

Back side of string-pieced rectangle block

String piecing is no more than sewing bits of fabric together, usually onto a foundation like a piece of muslin or paper, trimming the edges, and then sewing the scrappy blocks together.

Four String-pieced diagonal 8" x 10" rectangle: in a row

Four String-pieced diagonal 8″ x 10″ rectangle: in a row

The foundation can be a variety of shapes. With these rectangles there are many ways the blocks can be sewn together.

Four String-pieced diagonal 8" x 10" rectangle

Four String-pieced diagonal 8″ x 10″ rectangle

Four String-pieced diagonal 8" x 10" rectangle - alternate placement

Four String-pieced diagonal 8″ x 10″ rectangle – alternate placement

The strips and foundations can be any size you want.

String-Pieced blocks: straight-sewn squares

String-Pieced blocks: straight-sewn squares

String-Pieced blocks: diagonally-sewn squares

String-Pieced blocks: diagonally-sewn squares

You can also sew same-size pieces in either straight or diagonal settings.

String-Pieced blocks in progress

String-Pieced blocks in progress

Last summer my fabulous student Mia made a wonderful quilt using this technique.

Zippidy Do Da Quilt, by Mia; 2012

Zippidy Do Da Quilt, by Mia; 2012

Mia quickly saw that the blocks can create a pattern if you are deliberate with the fabric placement, so she make a drawing of the quilt and wrote in which fabrics she needed in each section to create the diagonal squares. It came out great, and I’ll be able to bring it with me to Oregon to inspire the students!

I’ve created a little collection of other great String-pieced quilts on Pintrest – Please go over and check them out! I’ve included star and spiderweb settings as well. Cool!

Now I’m going to have to make a larger one of my own, don’t you think?

I MIGHT have a few (thousand) scraps to get started with!


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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