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March 15, 2009

Rice Mice for Callum and Annabelle

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My son called today to tell me that Annabelle (now almost 1) discivered her Rouse Mouse (singular of Rice Mice) this week and now needs it taken from the shelf and given to her everytime she is lifted out of her crib.  He went searching for more information on the origin of these mice and asked why I didn't have any photos of the two newest ones on my blog.  Just coincidentally, we're having dinner tonight with the person who gave me the Rice Mice book when my children were young.

Both of these mice have long suede tails and embroidered eyes for safety.   Annabelle's pink mouse was made from fabric used for the quilt I made for her for Christmas.  Callum's mouse is made from fabric leftover from an earlier quilting project and the turquoise and apple green color matches his room.

My earlier post about Christmas Rice Mice and a picture of the book appears here.

December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008 - Part 2

This was the year that all 3 of our children and their families were with us for Christmas.  Next year we'll have to share some of them again with their other grandparents.  We gave each of our 5 grandchildren a toy they wanted, a book that they didn't have (hard to find!), and something that I made for them.  For the second day in a row, I want to add "some threads" to my blog.   

Although I make each grandchild a hand-quilted quilt when they are born, I also make them a machine quilted one during the first year.  These are indestructable and can be washed and dried endlessly.  This is 9 month old Annabelle's new quilt, which matches her very pink room.

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I make each of our grandchildren a photo pillow for their room when they are toddlers.  Callum just turned 2 and here is his pillow with a photo that I took of him this summer.

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Robbie (age 3) is our "train guy" and he loved the train pillow that I made for his big cousin Henry.  He just moved from his crib to a bed, so I made him an identical pillow to match his new comforter and sham.

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Sydney (age 4) loves princesses, fairies, ballet tutus, pink and purple.  Henry is a bit of a sports fanatic at age 5.  I made each of them new pillowcases for their beds - which can be interchanged with other special ones, some of which I made previously (i.e. Spiderman!).  Here are their folded pillowcases.

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I love making gifts for our grandchildren.  But as the numbers increase, and I need to recreate many of the same things for each of them as they reach a certain age, my list of projects keeps growing!  My daughter-in-law just brought me a photo of a tooth fairy pillow as a suggestion for the next age!  Our oldest grandchild is now 5 so it won't be much longer before the tooth fairy enters our life!

December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

I love sewing for Christmas and for many years made several dozen Christmas ornaments for friends and family each year.  Even after giving a full set to each of my children when they got married, our tree is still full.    Since I regularly ignore the "threads" part of my blog since I started drawing and painting, I thought that I would end the year with several blog entries of my other passion.

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This year I made a collection of angels for my granddaughters and friends at work.  The angel dresses are created from old patchwork quilt scraps. 

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I made my grandsons and other friends a reindeer.  Each of these reindeers is about 8" tall and quite goofy looking which makes them very endearing.

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I finally completed another one of my Holiday goals.  I made quilted silk wedding canopies (chuppahs) for each of my children's weddings.  This year I took some of the leftover silk that I dyed and made Christmas doves for them and another dove from scraps of my wedding dress for me.

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Finally, I made big stockings for my children as youngsters and then one for each of their spouses and children through the last few years.  And a decade ago we decided to go "green" and use big (24 X 30 inch) Santa gift bags instead of wrapping presents and now everyone has a gift bag that we fill.

This was our 5th and youngest grandchild Annabelle's first Christmas so I made her a stocking and gift bag.  The "santa A" was taken from a Santa alphabet that I saved from the cover of a Marshall Field's Christmas catalogue years ago. 

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I also made other gifts or stocking stuffers for each of our grandchildren.  We were so thrilled when Henry was born 5 years ago, that I started to make gifts for him.  Now each of the other grandchildren "needs" the same present as they reach a given age which keeps me really busy in my studio.  More "threads" photos tomorrow.

December 21, 2008

Rice Mice

The wife of one of my professors wrote this book for her 3 small children in 1978 when she was terminally ill, to share some of her memories from her childhood in Denmark.  Her husband, Sam Refetoff, gave me a copy when my children were very young and I made Rice Mice for them.  In the book every mouse is accompanied by a poem and my children wrote poems to capture their individual mouse's personalities.  

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Some time during the ensuing years I made two Christmas Rice Mice and every year they are part of our table decoration.  They are approximately 5 inches high and filled with standard white rice.

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I sketched them last year for my journal page on December 24th and then again last evening.  This year's painting is more accurate because I took the time to put in the polka dots!  Since I didn't post the journal page last year, here are both 2007 and 2008.  This year I painted a shiny gold acrylic background around the mice - wish it could be scanned and look that way!

2007:

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2008:

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Several years ago I made Rice Mice (singular is Rouse Mouse!) for my 3 oldest grandchildren as stocking stuffers, using scraps from quilts that I made for them.

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I think it might be time this morning to make one for each of the baby grandchildren for their stockings.  Those for the children have embroidered eyes instead of buttons - which is not nearly as cute, but much safer!

November 8, 2008

Quilt Festival 2008

I began to attend the annual International Quilt Festival (in Houston) when I lived in Texas and continued this yearly pilgrimage after I moved to New York City.  This was my 24th year and it was as informational and inspirational as ever.  A wonderful old friend accompanied me making the 4 days even better.  I took classes, went to lectures, and wandered the entire convention center surveying new products and exceptional textile art.  It was hard to spend a few minutes completing my daily sketch before bed at night, but I tried to make the pages a visual journal of my important daily activities.  I used the sketchbook that I bound with Fabriano Artistico soft press 140 lb watercolor paper for the first time. 

I inherited my husbands old iPod (and playlist) and took it with me to listen to on the airplane.

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Festival opened at 5PM and on Wednesday evening I sketched a face inspired by one of the award-winning art quilts, tried to use a teeny silk screen for watercolor, and sketched the logo for the huge program of events.

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On Thursday afternoon I took a class that was part of the Silk Experience series and painted a beautiful series of silk color squares that were in the room and the piece of layered silk that I learned how to felt using a manual felting tool.  Hand dyed silk roving is gorgeous and I now need to decide how to use some of it in my projects at home.  The painted square at the bottom right is made of layers of silk roving, silk gauze, silk Dupioni, and silk cord - all felted to a piece of silk batting.  I may need to add small beads to it and make a decorative pillow.

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On Friday I took two classes - Stitch-resist Shibori on silk in the morning and Stamps, Stencils, and Embossing (on velvet) in the evening.  The top sketch is a poor-likeness of my teacher drawing the stitching pattern for our first piece of shibori.  The bottom sketch is the pattern I made for my silk-screen and stencil work.

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On Saturday I attended a morning session where 20 mixed-media artists demonstrated their techniques.  Although I always use procion MX dyes for my surface design on fabric, I was interested in trying fabric paints to convert some of my sketches from paper to fabric.  These are just paintings of the bottles of the primary colors and a 4th bottle where I painted the remaining colors, from the set of 8 that I purchased.  I also love metallics mixed in and bought an additional jar of antique gold.  It is good that I will be retiring next year so I will have the time to play creatively on paper and on fabric. 

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Early Sunday AM I flew to San Antonio. my old home in Texas, to attend a medical meeting and I will post those journal pages tomorrow.

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