What is it they say about the best laid plans? They just never seem to go as I envision them, for sure. Two weeks ago I headed to Phoenix to the annual Craft and Hobby Association (now AFCI- Association for Creative Industries). I was all set to share social media and blog updates from the show and to give you a closer look at my latest collections. sigh. That didn’t really work out.
A couple of days before leaving I had a bad fall on the ice. A really bad fall. I didn’t break anything, but I did have some massive bruising and some muscle injury to my back and hip. I pushed on though, because I was going to that show no matter what. I got there and with the help of some pain patches I got through set up and day one. And then I started coughing. And coughing. And coughing more. My head felt like I was in a well. Day two was rough but I pushed on. By day three I sat in the booth like a zombie with a full on head and chest cold. I added a day on to my trip to hang out with my sweet friend Debi who lives in Phoenix. Instead of junking and hitting up all of her favorite thrift spots, I laid on her couch and wondered how I would survive a flight home. I did make it home (with a lot of coughing on the plane and some major stink eye by every one sitting near me). Once home I laid on the couch and didn’t move for a week except for a visit to the urgent care. My Phoenix souvenir, an upper respiratory infection and bronchitis. Slowly I am getting better, but this has been a tough bout of crud. I still don’t have a voice, but no one at my house seems to mind that too much. 😉
Wow, pitiful huh? But how about the good news? The show was really busy in our booth. There was a ton of love for my latest collections. I saw some really wonderful friends and came home with two new deals for more product lines. I can’t share the details yet, but let me tell you, I am so beyond thrilled to have these opportunities with people and brands I love dearly.
So now that we are all caught up on what happened at the show, lets talk about the projects! I am so excited about the samples I made for my display. I was really inspired by felt, vintage trims, a wonderful vintage quilt remnant, and sewing. I wanted to incorporate all of those things into both fabric and paper crafts. I have thought a lot about simplicity (simplify is my #olw for 2017) in both life and crafts. I am learning to embrace projects that are a little cleaner, maybe a little simpler, and getting back to a really sweet feminine vintage style that I love. Reminding me that not every project has to be packed with product and technique has been very freeing.
At CHA last year I created a fabric spool book that featured crinoline flowers cut with my new posies dies. I loved the spool book so much that I thought it would be fun to create a new one for each show. I made this year’s spool book with a piece of vintage quilt that I found on eBay. The quilt was a baby blanket that had little embroidered designs on it. The quilt was so well-loved that most of the embroidery had worn away. The fabric was worn through exposing the batting inside. To me, it was a total treasure, something that had been so loved by someone else. At first I hated to cut it up, but I decided that the best way to honor this quilt was to make new art with it.
For this spool book, I wanted to include lots of wool felt elements. I also wanted to create something that spoke to me and told a little of my story. I decided that I would add a tag for each of my #OLW words from past years.
I embellished each tag with a die cut heart and then quilted to the strip of quilt on the spool. Each tag featured strips of vintage trim, vintage bits of tatting, a favorite vintage button, and a small tag (shortie tab) that featured the word. I love that a project like this lets me use vintage trims and buttons that I have saved (hoarded) for so long. I feel like I am honoring them by using them while still keeping them as they were. I can enjoy them and treasure them at the same time.
I tried to keep all of my samples this show within a similar color palette, what I call “happy colors”. I chose a different color for each heart. I die cut all of the felt elements from wool felt. (I buy my wool felt at a local independent fabric store. I am trying out some samples from some online stores so I should be able to share a link soon to a good online source.)
After quilting all the tags to the quilt, I realized that they really blended right into the background. If I were doing this again, I would add a color layer between the two. To help define the tag, I used a light grey Faber Castel PITT Artist Pen to lightly outline each tag.
I bought quite a few spools of vintage thread for my spool displays (see them in the video above). One batch I got had several spools of a wonderful cream thread that had changed color in places with age. I decided it would be fun to use it for my sewing on the projects. It was fun seeing the color changes show up subtly in the projects.
I kept the last two tags blank so that I could add future words to the project. By the way, doesn’t that Shortie Tab make the cutest little hanging tag? Simply fold it in half, add glue to keep it closed, and poke a hole in the tip. So cute!!
See the yellow near the edge of the tag? That is a bit of the embroidery that still remained. There were also bits of red on another section. I love those little hints at what was there before.
At the end of the quilt strip I added a couple of strips of vintage lace and trimmed. I added in new gingham ribbon (another theme from my projects). I loved the punch of contrast the black added. I added die cut posies from wool felt. I created the posies by layering my Pom Pom, Floweret, and Shabby Posies dies with vintage stamens and tiny paper flowers (see the supply list below for links to these on Etsy).
As I worked on this project I kept thinking about the line of scripture that says “But the greatest of these is love”. It is true. The words that I included and used for my #OLW were great and inspirational words. But the greatest word that I could find myself focusing on is LOVE- both giving it and allowing myself to receive. I decided to add the sentiment to the end of the roll, being the first and last thing seen. A wonderful reminder I think to always being and end with love.