Thursday, November 27, 2014

Burlap Trees: Two Versions

Of course we have to play with even more burlap to make cool trees!  Here are two different versions but a total of 4 sizes!!!!

Burlap Loop Trees

Materials:  Burlap(more details below), foam cones (sizes 4 7/8"x 17 7/8", 3 7/8"x11 7/8", 3 7/8"x8 7/8"), flat head pins, hot glue gun, organza ribbon, sisal, and (baby's breath?)!  Large tree takes- 2 Mulberry Fat Quarters....Medium tree takes- 1 Ocean Blue Fat Quarter and 1 Ocean Blue Small.......Small tree takes- 1 Kiwi Fat Quarter

Small Kiwi Tree Materials

For the small Kiwi tree begin by cutting strips of burlap 1 1/2" wide by 3 1/2" long, this size was used for 3 layers, form a loop matching corners, pin at both corners (sometimes it helps to put the pin in at an angle versus straight in).  As you work your way up the cone you will need to gradually cut your strips narrower and slightly shorter.  Nearing the top of the tree you will need to be approximately 3/4" wide and 3" or a tad shorter.  As you work save all the scraps, when you reach the top, shape one end of about 5 scraps rounding off the edges as pictured a couple photos below, hot glue them around the top of the cone completely covering the cone.  Finish of the top with a loop, pinned directly down into the top.
Ocean Blue Tree Materials

The medium tree was begun by cutting the strips 1 3/4"x 4 1/2", this size strip were used for about 4 layers before I began making my strips narrower and shorter.  Be sure when overlapping your layers that you don't see the white of your foam cone by holding it wouldn't want to put it on your mantle and then realize you can see the white peaking through.  As you work around each layer you only need to put the loops corner to corner, when your pieces are too close to fit all the way around without overlapping that is a signal that your next layer needs narrower strips.
Mulberry Tree Materials  

Begin the largest tree with cutting strips 2" by 5", this size strip was used for about 5 layers.  As you work use your judgement as to when to narrow your strips and/or to make them a tad shorter, I worked the strips down in size by 1/4" at a time for both width and length. This made it easier to make changes when needed. 
This picture shows how the layers look as you work your way up the cone. Take note of how I staggered the layers as I worked up....kind of like laying bricks.
Here is how your tree will look at the top, the pieces at the bottom of the photo show what I meant about saving the scraps to cover the top of the cone.  Hot gluing these pieces around the top will give you a finished top, you could leave your top like this or finish off with making a loop and pinning it directly on top. 
To embellish your trees first make several tiny bows out of organdy ribbon, I used the "Tiny Bow on the Fork by Handimania", you can easily find the YouTube video by googling, I left quite a bit of ribbon for my ends to drape down, thought that had a great softening effect.  Then cut pieces of sisal/twine double the length of the tree,  these were then pinned in the middle of each piece, placed near the top of the tree and allowed to drape down.  You can tuck them between the loops or leave them to hand loosely.  The baby's breath was just tucked in...I figured it could be removed at the end of the season and freshened up next year when I use the trees again.
 I'm still auditioning these beauties, as I decorate the house this weekend they may travel several more times before finding a permanent home for this year.  Making these trees was really fun; turn on the holiday music get out your supplies, relax you will be so surprised how fast and easy they are to make.

Burlap Spool Tree

Materials: Evergreen Burlap Small, Vintage wooden spool, sheet music, matte gel, 2 vintage buttons, star brads, needle and thread, skewer, paint brush, matte gel, and hot glue gun.

Some of the supplies

Measure the length of the spool and cut a the sheet music to match the height making sure it is wide enough to wrap around the spool.  Using the matte gel....adhere the sheet music to the spool.  Make sure you don't use too much or you will be waiting for ever for it to dry.

Sheet music glued to vintage spool

Now cut two strips of the burlap to measure 1 1/2" x 18".  
Burlap Strips
Now using a needle with doubled thread run a line of stitches along the top of each strip so that you can ruche the strip.  Once you have run the stitches across, bunch up the fabric as much as you can before securing the thread with a knot at the end to keep it ruched.  Now if you want to add a little adornment to your tree put in little star brads in varying locations along the bottom of the strips.  

Finished Tree
Now using the hot glue gun you are going to "wrap" your ruched strips around the spool.  Keep in mind you really have to flare out your strips at the bottom to get the right look.  Put a dot of glue at the back of the tree to start the first strip.  Push it out along the side to judge what part of the strip to attach to the dot of glue on the front.  Keep going around the spool in this manner and start the next strip when needed.  You can see the start and finish of each strip of my tree is on the back so you don't see it.  I then wanted to put a "star" on the top.  The spool I used has the center open of course so I attached two buttons on the top of a skewer.  Then I auditioned the skewer in the spool and marked where to cut it off so that it fits perfectly.  Once the skewer is trimmed I used the hot glue once again to attach the skewer inside the spool so it wouldn't move.  
You are done!  Display and Enjoy!

Cheesecloth, cheesecloth, and more cheesecloth!!!

Playing with cheesecloth ended with two trees, a wreath, and oh yeah.....our rosettes that are published in the December/January Quilting Arts Magazine hitting stands on December 2nd!  Here are a few of the projects you can make from our cheesecloth!

Vintage Cheesecloth Wreath
Materials:  Dulce de Leche Cheesecloth Gradation, 12" foam ring, flat head pins, watercolor paper, sheet music, brads, Setacolor Glitter paint, alphabet stamps, copper and black stamp pads, green paint, organza ribbon, sequin waste, paint brush and matte gel.

Starting materials
Open each 1/2yd of cheesecloth to the half way point and using scissors cut each piece into 4 strips approximately 4 1/2" wide.  Take one strip of each color and open them up all the way.  Now using the flat head pins you are going to pin each strip at the back of the foam them all close to each other.  Start wrapping all strips simultaneously around the ring.  When you get to the end.....make sure you can pin each end to the back of the ring.  If necessary, trim off any extra. 

Wrapping the strips around the ring.
Start the next set of strips where the others ended.  Use them to help cover any of the ends.  Just keep using the pins as necessary.  Each set of three strips should cover a fourth of the ring.  When you get done this is what you will have. 

Wrapped ring.
Now to work on the embellishment!

Star Embellishment

Use the matte gel to attach a 5" x 5" piece of sheet music to the watercolor paper.  Then use the Setacolor glitter glue by painting it over the sheet music.  Let dry.  I used a cookie cutter to get the approximate shape and size of the star.  Trace it on to watercolor paper side of the star once dry.  Cut out the star.  Then  use the copper stamp pad to rub around the edges of the star.  

Cut out another piece of watercolor paper, curve the edges for some interest, that will measure about 2 1/4" wide by 1" tall.  Color with a light layer of green paint.  Once dry stamp YULETIDE with the alphabet stamps and a black stamp pad.  Rub the black stamp pad around the edges to distress it.  Use the brads to attach it to the star.  Put a piece of cheesecloth, a piece you trimmed off the end by chance, between the two for a little interest.   

Now choose where you want to attach your star.  Before you do you are going to create a bed of organza loops first with sequin waste underneath.  Pin the piece of sequin waste down.  Now take nine 8" strips of quarter inch wide organza ribbon.  Match the ends together slightly overlapping creating two loops.  Use a pin in the center capturing both ends of the ribbon and pin in place over the sequin waste.  Repeat with the other 8 strips offsetting them as you go.  Then pin the star in place.  Hang and enjoy!

Fairy Cheesecloth Tree
Materials:  Jalapeno Cheesecloth Gradation, 3 7/8" foam cone, hot glue gun, and embellishments.

Open the lightest 1/2yd of cheesecloth and cut approximately nine 2" strips.  Now comes the tricky have to have that hot glue gun are going to twist up the first strip.....and keep it twisted.  Whether that is placing something on one end so it can untwist or holding one end in your mouth (this is what I did).  Start at the top of the foam form and wrap the strip around using the hot glue to hold it down.  Once the top is covered start spiraling around the form.  

Wrapping strips around
Continue around the entire form.  Switching to the next strip as needed.  

Totally wrapped
Now it is time to embellish.  I kept it very simple and used these totally cool vintage cellophane flowers and a little dried floral addition.

Cellophane Flower
Put in place and enjoy!

Somehow while photographing the tree.....I didn't realize that the angel has a string of burlap in her clasped hands!  I think I better go clean that up!!!

Vintage Ruffled Cheesecloth Tree
Materials:  Dulce de Leche Cheesecloth Gradation, 3 7/8" foam cone, flat head pins, needle and thread, lace, and organza ribbon.  Oh yeah....and a'll find out later!

Take the cheesecloth and open up to the halfway point.  Cut various 4" wide strips.  Now fold the first one in half...matching up the rough edges together to create a finished edge ruffle.  Thread your needle and run a line of stitches down your entire strip along the rough edges so that you can ruche them.  When you get to the end....push the cheesecloth down the thread and ruche it.  Once done....knot the thread to finish the strip.  Start from the bottom and wrap around the cone.  Attach using the flat head pins.  You can continue up in one color or vary colors like shown.  

Now here is the trick.....the top of the cone doesn't have a point.  Use that toothpick stuck in the top to wrap the cheesecloth around and glue in place to create the point.  The tree then had some lace wrapped around and little bow made from organza glued to the top.

Cheesecloth Rosettes
Find the pattern for these in the newest Quilting Arts magazine.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Three Super Simple Burlap Holiday Projects

A week ago we decided to turn on some holiday songs and have a play day where we came up with a few holiday projects using our burlap, cheesecloth and more.  It was definitely a fun filled day.  We've seen so many cool things made out of burlap but the majority of them all use natural burlap.  So we decided to create some of those things using our hand-dyed burlap to show what a difference a color can make.  Then we decided.....why not play with cheesecloth too.  Over the next few days we will be posting all of our creations along with some simple instructions so that you can do them yourselves!  We'll include links over to our website where you can purchase the colors you need for that project.

Burlap Button Tree
This simple yet stunning holiday decoration is easy to create.  All you need is a 5" x 7" frame, Merlot burlap, watercolor paper, buttons (vintage or new), thin hemp cord/ribbon, matte gel, paintbrush, and a glue gun.

First....gather up those supplies

Then cut down the watercolor paper and piece of burlap to 5" x 7".  Using the matte gel and paintbrush paint a thin layer of matte gel directly on to the watercolor paper.  Then lay the paper glue side down on to the burlap and put a book on it to weigh it down while it dries for a few minutes.  Then cut along the edges of the watercolor paper.  Burlap stretches so attaching it first to the paper before cutting assures you full coverage.  If you cut it down first, you might end up pulling it "wonky" in order to cover the piece of paper.

Now you are ready to get your "tree" ready.  I picked out a total of 28 natural wood buttons approximately 1/2" or smaller, 1 larger green plastic button approximately 3/4", and a small red plastic button to create my tree.  I laid out the pattern on the table beside my burlap.  The first layer of buttons at the bottom was 7 wide, the next 6, the next 5 and so on.  Decide your spacing from top to bottom of the piece.  If you need to find the center of your burlap for the bottom row of buttons, now is the time to make that mark. You will put your first button dead center on that mark as you start your tree.  Keep in mind it needs to be towards the bottom so you have plenty of room to work up but not so close that your "trunk" button is going to touch the frame.

Once you have your tree laid out and your center mark, you are ready to start gluing your buttons on.  Use a little bit of hot glue on the back of every button to adhere it.  Start with your tree buttons first.  Once you have the tree built put on the "star" and "trunk" buttons.  Then tie a bow with hemp cord or ribbon and glue it above the "star" button.  Once this is done frame the piece and put it out for display!

Products available at Fiber on a Whim:
Merlot Burlap
Liquitex Matte Gel

Burlap Tree Ornament
This project will take you only a matter of minutes and can easily be done by you and/or your children.  All you need is a small piece of burlap, watercolor paper, Tim Holtz Ruler Ribbon(or 1/2" wide decorative ribbon), a popsicle stick, green paint, copper stamp pad, small button, 5" thin ribbon, paintbrush and matte gel(Liquitex, Golden or Modge Podge).

Front View

Simply free hand cut a triangle from the watercolor paper.  This one has a base of approximately 3 1/2" wide and about 5" tall.  Using the matte gel and paint brush, apply a thin layer of the adhesive on one side of the watercolor paper.  Lay the glue side down on the green burlap and lay a book on it to weigh it down for a few minutes.  While you are waiting for this to dry glue a 1 1/2" piece of decorative ribbon to the bottom of the popsicle stick. Paint the other side green to give it a finished look.

After 5 minutes, cut along the edges of the watercolor paper to cut out your tree.  Burlap stretches so gluing the paper on before cutting the burlap will assure full coverage of the paper.  Take your copper stamp pad and rub it quickly over the edges of the burlap.  Paint the back side of the paper with the green paint.  This just gives you a finished look from the back side.  Take your 5" piece of ribbon and tie a knot at one end.  Take your popsicle stick and run a thin layer of matte gel along the remaining unpainted side.  Lay the bottom portion of your ribbon loop near the top of your popsicle stick.  Then place down your burlap/paper tree and push down along the stick to assure it adheres.  Once it dries use matte gel or hot glue to attach a button at the top.  Simply hang up and enjoy!

Back View

Products available at Fiber on a Whim:
Kiwi Burlap
Liquitex Matte Gel

Burlap Embellished Christmas Card
Want to make your own cards?  It really is easy!

Materials:  Kraft paper cards/envelopes, Kiwi burlap, Christmas themed scrapbook paper, copper brads,  copper stamp pad, brown and lime green paint, paper towels, and adhesive dots.

Take your copper stamp pad and run it quickly around the edges of the card.  Then to add a little more texture to the background wad up one paper towel and dip the edges into the green paint.  Lightly dab around the card and let it dry.  Then repeat this with brown paint.  Set the card aside.  Cut out one of the images from your scrapbook paper.  Then cut a piece of burlap large enough to show around the edges of the image.  Place a copper brad in each corner of the image(do this at this point so that your brad backs don't show inside the card) and this will attach the two layers (paper & burlap) together. Use 5 adhesive dots to attach this collage to the front of the in the center and one at each edge.  Your card is now done!

Products available at Fiber on a Whim:
Kiwi Burlap
White Paint
Brown Paint

If you want a variety of small holiday colored burlap purchase our:
Holiday Burlap Bundle

Keep an eye out over the next few days for more projects!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fiber on a Whim Has NOT Closed- Clarification

We have not closed nor do we have any intention of doing so!!!!
This week on QuiltArt has been quite active with discussion on copyright issues.  The focus was the use of photographs and paintings as inspiration for quilts.  There are many people that feel using a photograph/painting doesn't make the resulting piece a form of art.  We love using photographs as inspiration for/basis of/focal points and such in our pieces.  We fully encourage others to as long as it is a photo of theirs, copyright free image, or have permission to from the original artist. 

People feel so strongly about this that often times their comments became quite negative.  One main comment was that everyone on QuiltArt is "quilter-artist-wanna-bes" and that is why we were singling out these particular quilts in our conversation about copyright.  When an individual said they were offended by that characterization I simply gave background on the commentator.  I never named names nor gave direct links to find the name and so on.  My comments were all factual and based on what has happened to me(proof in emails and blog posts).  I never said the commentator herself had done anything, simply that she had started a group that fostered an environment where a situation occurred that I had direct issue with because it impacted my artwork/teaching.  Once again.....I never stated that the creator of the group did this just that her "vision" for the group created the environment for this. 

Unfortunately that person has seen fit to reach out to a number of individuals and make harmful comments against my mother and our company.  I'm sorry if you were caught in the middle of this!  It was never my intention to include any of you in a simple statement of fact on QuiltArt.  Unfortunately that was not the view of another party and we are sorry she dragged you into any of this.  If you have any questions about us or our business, please contact us with them.