Archive for the tag 'folk art'

Steampunk Love….

February 12th, 2013

So today I bring you my little SteamPunk Hearts … just barely in time for Valentine’s Day, but none the less …in time….sort of….

steam punk hearts steam punk hearts2

steam punk hearts3


DSC_0852 DSC_0851

I have had this Seven Wonders line by David Butler for Parson Gray and Free Spirit sitting here for longer than I wanted it to, and I was just itching to cut into it for a bigger project, but before I started that I thought I could bring you a little project for fun!

Here’s what I did (I think they call this a tutorial, because I have a lot of pictures….) :)

First I sewed 4 narrow (roughly 1″ to 1.75 ” x 12″ or so) strips together like this:


Then I sewed some wider strips (about 2″ to 3″ x 12″ or so) together like this:


Then I cut that strip set in half (ish):


I flipped one half of this set around and then sewed the narrow strip between the two halves like this:


For the backs I sewed four wider strips together (about 4-ish” x 12″)


Then I pressed these two pieces right sides together (pressing the layers together helped them “stick” together a little better I felt) and pinned the pattern sheet I created for three heart sizes to both pieces.  (Click here for the PDF template for the heart shapes.)


Then I just sewed right on the lines through the paper and both layers of fabric, starting at one end of the dotted line and ending at the other end.  Do some back stitches when you start and end on each heart to make stuffing the hearts easier. I set my stitch length to 1.25 instead of my normal 2 to make tearing the paper off easier later.


Note: I didn’t always sew directly on the lines…..and the world didn’t stop turning….at least here it didn’t…..


Then I pulled the paper away from the fabric and cut the shapes out of the fabric. I used a very neutral thread, so that made it a little hard to see the sewn lines, but I didn’t necessarily want my stitches to be noticeable should they be stretched when stuffed. You might want to use a thread with more contrast to make cutting them out easier.DSC_0845

So here they are cut out.


After that I just turned them right-side out and pressed the opening nice and flat so it would be easier to sew up by hand after I lightly stuffed them with fiberfill.



So after that I just lightly stuffed them with fiberfill, sewed some ribbon (that was PERFECT for this project!) on for hangers and sewed on some beads and buttons for a little embellishment.  If I have time tomorrow I may make some more in a more “traditional” Valentiney element.

Feel free to make as many as you want! And share them here if you get the chance as well!



Postcards from my desk….

June 10th, 2012

As you may remember next month I will be teaching at Sisters, Oregon in the week-long Quilters’ Affair. I am thrilled, excited, AND freaking out trying to get everything done in time. Do I need to mention that just about the time I am down in Sisters, issue two of Generation Q will be wrapping up production, and we still have a TON to do!!

One of the things that I was able to do this last week was make these two postcards for the Wish Upon A Card project that they do at Sisters every year.  Funds from this program help support services for cancer patients in Central Oregon.  I was REALLY late in getting them done, but they left in the mail last week, and they will be for sale there.

There is actually still time for you to send cards yourself if you want to! Here are some tips on making postcards, and here is the info on where to send them.

I actually took some more pictures today of some other stuff I am working on….hoping to get them to you this week sometime…

Until then, keep sewing, keep happy!!


Happy Valentines Day 2012!

February 12th, 2012

Yup…I’ve been busy….so busy, that this poor little blog has been neglected for some time…..a couple “filler” Watch It Wednesdays and that’s it…truth is things have been very busy around here…some good, some not so good, and some of the time I haven’t been as focused as I would like to be (like the night I stayed up until almost 3 AM watching back episodes of Glee, second season, which I totally didn’t watch, but am alarmingly hooked on again….sigh)

What exactly have I been up to?  Well a whole BUNCH of stuff which I hope to share bits and pieces of at least in the next couple of weeks if I can get myself to focus.  Which I hope I can or I wouldn’t be saying it all public and all right now.

First things first.  The magazine that I am blessed to be part (Generation Q) of is ramping up for our first print issue, and I tell you there are a ton of things that need to get done! And in the midst of all that, we are trying to keep that blog packed with good content as well.  The below pix are of what I made for my swap partner over at the Valentine Swappy thing we did at GenQ.  I just made this up as I went along, and it is in my fairly rustic way;  the Folk part of my Blue Nickel tag line “Urban Folk — Modern Design, Timeless Style”  (did I tell you that I named my “style” that? what do you think?)

Not the best shot of the inside, but I love this Loulouthi voile in here….


Stuffed with a few little goodies….

And shipped a few days late, but shipped none the less (sorry Elisa….but it is coming!!)

My swap partner, Elisa,  made me this  (along with a bunch of other little treats most of which were consumed right away and scattered to places in the studio before I thought to take a decent picture)
In the next few days, I hope to bring you some sneak peaks at a couple other projects, including a Curious Nature project for another magazine, and a Sis Boom project that may be published somewhere (word’s still out on that one) as well as some pics of the stuff my two youngest created in the snow….think Calvin and Hobbes on this one….

So thanks for not Completely forgetting about me…I’m back for as much as I can…I always have tons to share,  just not enough time sometimes… you don’t know what that’s like huh?

Don’t forget, it’s Valentine’s Day in a day and a half…or less depending where you are….so get busy…


Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2011


Over at Generation Q today the staff is sharing some of our favorite ornaments made by our kids.  (okay I thought it was supposed to be ornaments, but it was just something made by our kids)   So while I was taking pix of those,  I found a lot of ornaments that are handmade by various peeps in the family, so I thought I would share the rest of them here…


From the cross stitching years…..



I guess you could treat this post as a Wordless Wednesday post as it is mostly pictures.  But knowing my, you knew it couldn’t be entirely Wordless, and well, of course, it is Saturday….  Almost Silent Saturday??….wait, no the anagram for that would NOT be good, would it??



Merry Christmas peeps!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24th, 2011

As part of the O Thank Cuteness! Week at Generation Q this week, I have a post over there today as well sharing some of what I am thankful for.  I have been blessed with a lot.  The only things I really lack are more time and money, but don’t we all?

Here at the Blue Nickel today, I  just wanted to share a few more things of thanks…and just a brief moment of sadness, but I will try to make that as brief as possible.

The sadness is that today is my brother’s  birthday, he would be 39 today….but he took his own life back in January ’97 right after Christmas and New Year’s.  He had turned 24 that Thanksgiving.  I know that everything is supposed to be all nicey–happy in blogland, but the truth is that there is pain in life, and sometimes we just need to deal with it.  So today is just a tiny bit of me dealing with it.   My brother Ty was  a pain in the side often to me….

….but he was also awfully cute when he was little.  I think though that he just couldn’t find himself as he grew up.  And it makes me very sad, because I meet people now who would be his age, even have good friends who are the age he would be, and I think to myself, I wish he had given life more of a chance.   We could be the friends  I always wanted to be…..  Here are some pictures of him when he was in high school.


He grew to be a young man mostly while I was away at college.  He always seem to be bit awkward socially, so I never quite could figure out where he was coming from.  I do miss him.  But life does have to go on, doesn’t it?

So that being said, my post over at Generation Q pretty much covers my thankfulness for my wonderful wife Linda,  and the three kids God has blessed us with.  I just wanted to throw in a few more pics of the kids here, and I also wanted to say Thanks to all of YOU! my readers and friends.  I have made so many wonderful friends in the quilty world!  The quilt top that is pictured above was a Round Robin quilt that I did with friends back in the late 90’s early 00’s.  I did the center (the turkeys are a Country Threads pattern I think), and my friends, Lisa, Sharon, and Nikki all did a round on it.  I haven’t seen these ladies in years (well in September, Nikki showed up in a class I was teaching and that was great fun!) I just recently re-found this top….I need to get it quilted, huh?



I hope that your Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) is wonderful (I was reminded this morning that we are in the Minority celebrating Thanksgiving in the overall worldview picture) and even if you don’t celebrate it, may you be thankful for all you have been blessed with.

288: Stop 3 for Countryside Softies…..

April 20th, 2011

Hello there!  If you are stopping by for the first time to the Blue Nickel….welcome!

Today is a “special” day as I think it is the first time I have been part of an international Blog Book Tour!  And I am so delighted that this first time event here is for Amy AdamsCountryside Softies !

I received a digital copy to review…and  Dang!! These are the cutest creations ever!!  Every single one of these critters has such charm and character.   And the photography for this book is awesome!  The directions are well laid out with great illustrations and photos showing you how to pop these babies out….

all photos are courtesy of Stash Books and they show you just how cute these creatures really are.   But not pictured are some of my favorites… will have to get the book to meet the swan, the kingfisher, and the squirrel with his fabulous tail!!

And even better Miss Amy stopped by here all the way across the Atlantic and the breadth of the US to visit us on the West Coast!!  ( I love the internet for that ability!)

She has even agreed to grant us a little interview!  So welcome Amy!!

BNS: The  first question and this is just for me…you created the peacock in the Birds collaborative book, right? that is so adorable…I have an almost finished one that I started last May that I just love….and it IS so forgiving that’s what I love. I thrive on a little wonkiness every once in awhile!

AMY: The story behind the Peacock, is when C&T Publishing first approached me about submitting a book proposal, I was also asked to submit for the ‘Little Birds’ book too. So, I doubled up and created a whole birds chapter which was used for both submissions. The Peacock and the Stork went into the ‘Little Birds’ book and the Kingfisher ended up in ‘Countryside Softies’. I have a family of Penguins left, maybe they’ll end up in my next book!

BNS: What is the oldest thing in your refrigerator?

AMY: Eeek, a jar of red pesto. Which finally got used up at tea time in a tuna pasta salad.

BNS: What is the first Crafty thing you remember making?

AMY: When I was little, I remember my mum sewing and knitting a lot, she used to make a fair few of my clothes. She also had a button stash which I used to sit and play with. I knew back then, I had done some sewing but had forgotten all about it until she passed on her old wooden sewing box to me. Inside, there was a little square pincushion with a felt ‘Snoopy’ shape on the front which I made, I suppose I must have been about 8.

BNS: What was your favorite color as a child? what about now?

AMY: I was the same as most little girls back then, and my favourite colour was pink. Nowadays I’d say it’s red.

BNS: What Softie have you not yet made that you really, really want to, but haven’t yet attempted??

AMY: I really want to make a pinecone. So many other Softie makers have already made superb pinecones though, I shy away from making one. I also find the idea of making Softies of inanimate objects inspiring, and have a hankering to make a clock and a globe.

BNS: What is your favorite Childhood memory?

AMY: There are so many thing to choose from here, but recently, I’ve been thinking about the street parties we had here in the UK, 1977 (I was 7) and it was for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. With the Royal Wedding imminent, I’m hoping to have a bit of a garden party and recreate 1977, union jack bunting and flares maybe.

BNS: If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently if you were given the chance?

AMY: Now, that’s a question and a half! Keeping things light, I would say, the day I went clothes shopping, I went into the fitting room to try on a pair of trousers and walked back out into a crowded shop in just my underwear, I would go back and whisper in my ear “put your skirt back on you numb nut”. My excuse is, I was very tired, new baby who didn’t sleep, just about to go back to work after a very short maternity leave etc etc…

BNS: Favorite Cookie?

AMY: Anyone who reads my blog will know I am a bit of a greedy pig when it comes to anything chocolatey. I don’t have favourites when it comes to sweet things, I eat them all.

BNS: Favorite Music Group when you were in school?

AMY: Human League. A lot of my friends were into Duran Duran and Wham, but I was a big Human League fan in the 80’s.

BNS: Favorite Music Group now?

AMY: I listen to all sorts now, ranging from Abba, to Madonna, via bands like Goldfrapp. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix.

BNS: Did you make your bed this morning?

AMY: Yep!

BNS: The last book you read was? and what did you think of it? and how long ago did you read it?

AMY: The last few books I read were craft books, all in the name of research. Prior to that, it was a book all about Queen Elizabeth I, by an historian called David Starkey, that was a while ago now but i do love history.

and the awesomeness of this blog tour!  YOU can win a copy just by dropping a comment here on this post! and you have other chances to win at all these other stops on the tour here:

monday 18th april – whip up – (kicking off with a brand new, not in the book, free pattern)
tuesday 19th april – bari j –
wednesday 20th april – blue nickel studios – oh look …you are here now!!!
thursday 21st april – fat quarterly –
friday 22nd april – ric-rac –
saturday 23rd april – skyo –
sunday 24th april – lucykate crafts
monday 25th april – treefall design
tuesday 26th april – i heart linen –
wednesday 27th april – sometimes crafter –
thursday 28th april – plush you –
friday 29th april – allsorts –
So leave a comment to win…I will draw a name on Easter Sunday the 24th  sometime in the afternoon!  and make sure you stop by to visit those fab peeps at Fat Quarterly tomorrow for your chance to win again there!!
Oh, and I have extended this giveaway two more days until Friday the 22nd….so go leave some comments there to get a pop at that prize as well…

265: Selvedge Trees….

December 18th, 2010

Wow! what a week!  I don’t often talk too much here about my day job…..(on twitter is where you can find me whining about that)….(and no, that’s not all I talk about on Twitter)….I manage a store for a local chain that isn’t quilt oriented, and at Christmastime, we are Very busy!   And it makes for very long weeks for me.   I am pretty spent by this hour and date…..the other night, I think I fell asleep at the sewing machine.

I feel like maybe I am posting with just some “fluff” shots lately, but tonight, I really wanted to show you these funky little “trees” I made from Styrofoam cones and selvedges that I simply can’t seem to throw out.

I’d give you a “tutorial” but I think you get the idea…

It’s pretty simple…. just wind the selvedge around the tree….pin as needed…

that’s it for tonight peeps….I have a big project in the studio that I need to go wrap up!  plus a bunch of gift wrapping to do as well!

256: Blue Nickel Archival post #2…

November 7th, 2010

So let me preface this by saying ….since my last post…life has been very full of sewing up quilts for Fall Quilt Market and absolute crazy times at the Day Job…so this post that was started in early October as part of my “archival” series of posts…..well, it sat in the cobwebs even longer than I expected. … I think it is still a decent post, but it’s just later than late….I’m just sayin’…..

Last May when I was at Quilt Market, I came back with a bunch of books…all authored by friends of mine.  I was going to “review” them all and give the low down on them all, but to be honest, I just haven’t had the time to do a very thorough review, but I did look at them all quite a bit, and have some things to share about each of  them. 


  I don’t even know where to start….I guess I will just start.   First there is City Quilts by Cherri House. I have looked over this one the  most I think because it is the only one of two strictly quilting books that I picked up.  And Cherri pretty much works only in solids, which I find interesting.  What I love about this book are all the quilts that Cherri has come up with that are inspired by everyday things and places.  The world is FULL of inspiration, and Cherri really gets that!  Also City Quilts is one of the first books out under the new fresh division of C&T Publishing called Stash Books.  They really have a great line up of all sorts of sewing books that aren’t just for quilting but for all sorts of sewing projects.  Stash has a great blog to follow along too….check it out, and tell Susanne that I sent you!!  :)

Okay the next book is by my friend Sheri Howard. Titled Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt,  this book is very traditional with pieced blocks that are simple to make and then Sheri through some of her great applique on top giving a fairly simple pieced quilt a little zing!  Plus she has added some great recipes to go with each quilt, as well as some great little “lifestyle” photos and domestic eye candy.  I met Sheri here on my blog a few years ago, and then in person at Pittsburgh Quilt Market 2009, and really you couldn’t meet a nicer lady.  She is such a sweetheart.  If you like applique and need something quicker than a Baltimore album quilt, go pick up Sheri’s book!

Okay next on the list is Sewn Spaces, by Joel Dewberry, who is a quiet, but very genuinely artistic fellow!  This book has a lot of different projects, not many quilts, but great photographic vignettes that will inspire you if you are into the Eclectic Modern look and numerous creative projects of really quite a variety.  My favorite project I think would have to be the little birds that Joel and his wife Laurie designed.  I haven’t made one yet…but they are so on my To-Do list!!  We’ll see when that happens!  Oh, and I just read on Joel’s blog as I am writing this, that he is coming out with a new line this spring!   I can hardly stand that!  I remember when I first saw this print I had to have some….and I said to Linda…I don’t know who this Joel guy is, but I sure love this print!!  And now I know him, and have even chatted with him at two different Quilt Markets (and he remembers me!! even better!!)

Next up…..Small Stash Sewing by Melissa Averinos.  Lots of very creative little projects that, like Melissa’s outlook on life, give a different twist on things.  Nothing looks too complicated, (again I haven’t done more than a cursory look) but many things look fun to add color and help use up some of your stash!   Melissa’s blog was one of the very first “quilty” blogs I discovered…and she isn’t even really a “quilter” so to speak, but her love of color, fabric, design, and among other things, rust, have delighted me from the moment we met online.   And I was doubly blessed with meeting her at this Spring Market in person along with her filmography co-hort, the very accomplished Miss Beth Dunn


 I particularly like the Shoestring project and the Unicorn and Moon embroidery patterns. 

I also very much want to make the Owlie McPillowpants project shown here…the “stuffy” and its name just crack me up!  


 And the last book in this post, but certainly not least is Sandi Henderson’s Sewing Bits and Pieces.   Sandi has a great eye for the details, and it is quite apparent in this her first book.  


She has got a TON of little projects thrown in here, some that look quick and easy and others that take more time, but look well written.  Sandi also has an owl of her own that I think would be fun to make….in my spare time! HA! 

Speaking of Owls….they were all over at Spring Market….and according to Charlie, he seemed to think they were big at Houston Quilt Market this fall too!


Oh, and back to Sandi Henderson again…you should check out this video she has on her blog about the Michael Miller gang setting up at Market….Very Fun!!  This book of her also has a ton of great photography to inspire you in many ways.

And last, and oh so very late to tell you about … I had a quilt in Quilter’s Home back in May, that I didn’t even know was going in there!  It was my Sundae’s Best quilt that I designed for Free Spirit featuring Heather Bailey‘s Nicey Jane line.  It was in an article about the Modern Quilt Movement or whatever we are calling it these days.  Very nicely written article!  Thanks Jake!


Okay, so THAT was my VERY late post about Spring Market 2010….at least I got it posted before next Spring, if not before all the great fall Market posts going on out there right now….and I swear I am exhausted just finishing this post up with all the links and pix…sheesh….that was a lot of work….hope you all enjoy it!! 

And seriously think about getting any and/or all of those books….I don’t get any commissions telling you that, so you can know I mean it!  

Peace out, Peeps!   S.

255: Christmas Birds…..

October 17th, 2010

Recently, I was delighted to be asked by John aka Quilt Dad to do a review of an online pattern using Kate Spain’s  12 Days of Christmas line….How could I resist?  I could pick any free online pattern to review.  I asked John to suggest one, and it was so funny because he suggested this one which I had actually downloaded last year when I saw it referred to by John on his blog back when I first discovered his blog.  The review was to be featured in the a Fat Quarterly special Christmas edition.  Pick up your copy  here for my review of the pattern to make these little feathered friends, and many other designer’s reviews of free online patterns besides the patterns available in this special edition.

what follows below is a large series of pictures that I snapped while working on the project….while playing Christmas music…of course….


I need to do more embellishing on these sweet things, and Linda said I should hang them on a continuous string…so you will see them show up again I imagine.

250: I am all over the place this month….

September 28th, 2010

….now  that is just pretty normal here around the house and studio….but there have been at least 3 Blue Nickel sitings in the last couple weeks…and I have been neglect to tell you all about them…  PLEASE forgive me!!  I did know about two of them, and they have  been out for awhile …but the third one I just found out about, and it actually has me the most excited, because it  is a surprise to me even!! 

Let’s go backwards and start with what I just discovered and was blessed by Mab to find out about.  

My Folk Garden quilt is in Woman’s Day this month!!         

in this article about decorating with quilts….    I really can’t tell you how excited about this discovery I am.   Of course, this would be the one quilt I did for Free Spirit that never got published.   Soooooo….  Now re-writing this pattern for publication has jumped to the top of my need to do list.  I have about 4 (at least) patterns that I want to get out into quilt shops this winter….and I guess this better be one of them.  This is the same quilt that went to France without me…the busy little Blue Nickel Ambassador that it is….

Next up is this book        that features 30 male quilt artists compiled and written by Joe Cunningham.   I am one of  these artists!! 


Joe did the interview for this on the phone with me back in May 2009, that’s how long  books take to write!!  I have some copies coming here to the Blue Nickel to sell if you are interested in purchasing.  If you would like, I could even sign the page with my bio on it.  It was great to be part of this book.  It has some great short stories about these guys’  lives in it.  There are just 9 quilt patterns in the book and my Basket Case No. 1 is one of them. 

It is a very traditional quilt, particularly in the colors I used…..and maybe something you might be surprised at if you are a regular visitor here at the Blue Nickel, but that is definitely a part of my quilting life….. I’m a little bit country….and a little bit rock and roll.  There are a lot of other great quilts, patterns, and inspiration in these pages as well.

hmm…think this     was inspired by anything??  …  could be …..or could be I didn’t want to wind up the hoses and put them away for winter…..or could be I really hated how the lawn looks where the kids’ pool sat all summer….or could (and probably was) be  a combination of them all!!

Okay and third in this group… of my favorite quilt designs which I haven’t shown until now was finally published in Quilter’s Home the October/November 2010 issue.  Here are some snapshots of the quilt and the magazine here at home…


Can you believe whose name is listed on the cover with all of these all stars??  I could … simply…not….!!

Well that ‘s it for now peeps…I am tuckered out…this post took me close to all evening to do, and I had planned on sewing tonight….so I hope you enjoyed this little spiel of mine….thanks for coming alongside me here at the Blue Nickel!

Next »