Monday, October 31, 2011

Soho Table Runner

This weekend I started working on a fall table runner using the Soho pattern by Busy Bee Quilt Designs. I am using some older Denyse Schmidt fabrics I picked up in the basement sale room of Boersma's in McMinnville along with some prints from Mill End and some stuff I had in my stash. 

So far, I'm liking how this is turning out. It's kind of like making a quilt, but on a much smaller scale. Which means it won't take me a year to finish it. 

Now I just need to add the borders on the shorter ends and start my quilt sandwich. I'm thinking of using the purple/orange dot fabric for the binding. I tend to go too busy with the prints, so I am experimenting with adding more solids in my creations. Here I'm using some Essex linen in Sand to offset some of the craziness. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Illustration School books by Sachiko Umoto

Here are some great little books I discovered surprisingly at Jo-Ann Fabrics a while back. They are by Sachiko Umoto from Japan. Unfortunately, most of her site is in Japanese. There are three books in the series -- Let's Draw Plants and Small Creatures, Let's Draw Happy People, and my favorite, Let's Draw Cute Animals. I feel like I always need help drawing animal bodies. I can get the head right, but the legs and haunches never seem in proportion. Sachiko's books are so simply done and easy to follow. Her instructions are really clever and cute too. While I don't want to copy her unique style, I feel like these books provide the basic forms and from there you can express your own style.

All three are available through Multnomah County Library is you want to preview them before making them a part of your home library. 

Here's some sample pages:

Wizards and witches from Let's Draw Happy People

Squirrels from Let's Draw Cute Animals

nanoblock : Micro-Sized Building Block

For all you with Lego kids at home or those closeted adult fans of Lego, here is something fun -- nanoblocks. They are micro-sized Lego-esque bricks designed by Kawada of Japan and distributed by The Ohio Art Company, maker of the Etch-A-Sketch. The smallest pieces measure a mere 4x4x5 mm! While I'm not a fan of some of the other brands of Lego-type building bricks, I think the nanoblocks are really well made and pretty cool. The instructions are mostly wordless diagrams like Lego, but at least with this castle, you build from the bottom up, layer by layer, instead of building sections and joining them together. So, the instructions can be a little tricky for younger kids. 

Here is the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria, an example of 19th century Romantic architecture. Notice the standard 2 x 4 dot blue Lego brick. This will give you an idea of how small the nanoblocks are.

What I'd really like to get is this little cutie.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Robin Hood Halloween Costume

Ferd has decided to be Robin Hood this Halloween. And so, I am working on View C from this pattern. Everything has been going great so far, except for the hat. The cape came out wonderful! And a plus, leaving it a little long, it can double as a Jedi cape! The tunic is almost done. I used a nice green ultrasuede from Jo-Ann's. It frays slightly, but it hasn't been too bad. Had a little trouble with sewing on the 1/4" double bias tape around the neckline and forming the ties. The bias tape is just so narrow, I had trouble catching the ultrasuede between the bias tape and getting my feed dogs to move it along. If I made this costume again, I might use 1/2" bias tape instead. Now, I just need to sew up of the sides and underarms. The hat has been another story. It seems small and the proportions of hat to brim don't look right. I struggled with attaching the brim and I still think it's wrong, even though I've taken all the stitching out and done it more than once. Thankfully, Ferd already has a Robin Hood hat he can wear along with this costume. Now I just need to track down a bow and arrow and possibly a quiver! 

Hope to get some pictures of my version up soon!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Puffin Classics

The Adventures of Robin Hood
We visited Annie Bloom's in Multnomah Village today and saw these wonderful Puffin Classics hardcover editions of children's literature. If you're a fan of the Penguin Classics with covers by Coralie Bickford-Smith, then you'll probably love these as well. One of my favorite covers is The Adventures of Robin Hood. Other titles in the series include Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Black Beauty, and The Call of the Wild.