Monday, April 29, 2024

A Gift for Nora

 Hi.  I feel the need to write more often, and share other projects.  Today I had the pleasure of joining my friends from Molloy College (now University) Glee Club.  We met over 40 years ago, and bonded over our love of music, singing in the glee club, and Irish heritage, for most of us.  We kept in touch over the years, as 3 of them were in my bridal party, and since I moved back to NY, have had a few occasions and outings together.  Today was Denise's daughter's bridal shower.  

Nora is getting married in June, and Denise and the bridal party planned a wonderful afternoon.  I loved the theme! The invitation said "She's been Scooped Up" and everything revolved around ice cream!  Even Nora's purse looked like an ice cream cone, but was a rectangle.  Nora's registry included beach themed decor, so that was my inspiration. Nora also loves the color pink.  My plan was to make a table topper for her.  

I chose the Coastal Row Boat Scene from Embroidery Library for the center of the Center Stage top.  It's a good fast pattern by Pieced Tree, and I've used it a few times, because the center is a 12" square.  It makes a top that's about 24" across, but octagon shape, which would work as a table topper or wall hanging.  I picked White solid by Island Batik for the background and a pink with hearts from an older collection, and a blue from the Foundations.  I chose some Aurifil thread colors that were similar to the embroidery sample, and got to work.  I'm still learning more about my embroidery machine, the Janome 550.  I used the largest hoop, backed the fabric with fusible lightweight interfacing, and used a tear away stabilizer.  The design stitched out beautifully, except for one thread change that didn't actually stop for a change.  The grass on the right side was supposed to be tan, but the darker grey from the sky area went right there and started stitching, so I let it go.  What I didn't like was the lack of color in the sky.  I've had a set of Derwent Inktense pencils for a while and wanted to add some color to the sky, as if it was nearing sunset and the clouds had a touch of pink.  I've never used the pencils before, but I'm always willing to try something new, and to learn.  I watched a few videos on Youtube about how others use them, and how to create the look of watercolor paintings.  I tested a few colors and techniques on the edges of the background fabric, which I knew I was going to trim off.  The colors were what I wanted, but were too intense for the look I was hoping to achieve, so I drew with the pencils on some watercolor paper I had.  I played with applying water with a brush until I actually had the color I was hoping for. then put the color from the brush on the testing area of fabric.  That was exactly what I wanted!  It left the bare hint of sunset colors on the clouds.  I played a little with pink, orange, and lavender, and think the clouds came out so well.  I also added a little tan shadow for the boat and to hint at the sand.  Island Batik Solid White is PFD, prepared for Dying, so I knew the fabric wouldn't need any prep on my part.  

My next step was to prep the Half Square Triangles.  
I needed 12 sets of 3 different combinations, so I cut strips and pieced them together.  Instead of using the 8 at a Time square, I did 12 along a strip set.  I do love trimming them with my Triangle Square tool from Quilt in a Day.  You trim as they are folded, so you only need to do 2 sides, then trim the dog ears, then press open to a square.  Fast! 

Once those were done, the top was together in just over an hour later. 

Next step, load it on the Handi-Quilter Amara long arm, with white Aurifil 40-three thread, solid white backing, and a scrap of Warm & White batting.  I picked the design Sally by the Seashore by My Creative Stitches for an edge to edge, and stitched over the embroidery center, too. 

I used more of the blue for binding, and here's the finished topper! 
Nora graciously opened it, when she wasn't opening gifts at the shower, but I mentioned I had made it for her, so she was excited to see it. 

The seashell quilting adds just the right touch. 

Just how I pictured it to look when finished!  
I'm thrilled that she liked it, too.  

I love sharing my projects with people who I know will appreciate them.  

So, that's today's adventure.  Here's the group of friends, minus Kathy, who was under the weather.  
Yes, I'm letting my natural hair color come out. I'll get new professional photos after it's done.  (I'm on the right).  This is a fabulous group of women who support each other and love to laugh.  I'm honored to be included.  More adventures to come! Thanks for reading. 


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