Posts Written On June 2011

Favorite Paint Book — Little Boys

Last year I posted scans of 20 little girls from this undated vintage paint book by Mary Alice Stoddard, and I mentioned that I would also upload 20 images of little boys from the same book.  I forgot all about this until yesterday, when I received  an email from Wanetha, who included a photo of an adorable doll quilt she made using one of the little girl illustrations.

Wanetha’s embroidered quilt is 22″ x 24″ and is tinted with both Crayola crayons and Prismacolor pencils.  I love the colors she used, the addition of the rick-rack, and the adorable doll fabric for the border.  Thank you so much, Wanetha, for allowing me to share your cute quilt.  It is always exciting for me when a quilter or embroiderer creates something from my old books or transfers.

Now, finally, here are the boy illustrations from the book — click to see full-sized images.


Bridal Shower Invitation

Yesterday, I literally spent the entire day designing this shower invitation from a sheet of vintage 1960s wrapping paper.  Although the wrapping paper is in good condition, there are the usual fold lines and some slight discoloration.  The main problem was how to position the little shower girls, who are scattered randomly over the paper, into one long line.  Many elements had to be erased or moved, and body parts and objects needed to be redrawn.  I use Photoshop a lot, but because my knowledge of the program is limited and my expectations are always high, it takes me forever to complete a project like this.  Sewing is much easier.

Emily thought it was funny that I put generic information on this version — she asked me if I was worried that a bunch of random people might show up at the shower.



Let’s Play House — Lois Lenski, 1944

I was excited to find a copy of this Lenski book because, although I have seen the title in her bibliography,  I’ve never  seen any of the illustrations.  I don’t remember having any Lenski books as a child, but I bought “The Big Book of Mr. Small” for my son, Elliott, when he was little, and he loved it.  I’ve been a Lois Lenski fan ever since.

Whoever owned this book also loved it because it’s a mess.  The spine is broken; the pages are dark brown, loose and chipping; and someone tried to repair the book by using cellophane tape to re-attach the pages to the cover.  Here are some of my favorite illustrations from the book.


Crepe Paper Wedding Flowers

For the past few weeks, I have been learning to make crepe paper flowers.  Gordon is constructing 12 pvc posts to place down the aisle, which we will use to hang the fabric pennants and then tie one of our crepe paper bouquets to the top.  We will have real flowers at the wedding, but Emily and I thought these were a cute and inexpensive alternative to real flowers down the aisle.  This is another project that provides a nice break from embroidering wedding napkins.  I think I have about half of the flowers done.

For making flowers with individual petals (gerberas, peonies, roses), the best paper is either German duplex, or Italian crepe paper.  The Italian paper is available on Etsy ($7 for a huge roll) and it is amazing —  very thick and super stretchy.  At first I used the templates on the Martha Stewart web site, but you can also just make up your own petal shapes.  Honestly, it’s hard to mess this up since crepe paper is so forgiving.

The other method is to use strips of petals and wrap them around the stamen.  This method is a little faster, but if you have a ruffler foot, you can whip out long strips of ruffled petals in no time.  I’ve made lots of crepe paper streamer flowers using the ruffler — just unroll a 2 – 4 yard length of the streamer (depending on how puffy you want your flower to be), fold it several times until it’s about 6 in. long, cut along one long edge with some kind of design (scallop, zig-zag, or whatever — be imaginative), run the opposite long side through your ruffler, wrap the gathered side around the stamen and wire, occasionally adding a dab of hot glue.  I could do a tutorial on this if anyone is interested.  These three flowers are made from streamers.

One thing I have learned is that I hate floral tape — it doesn’t stick and it’s too slippery.  Double-stick tape or hot glue will work well for attaching individual petals.  For wrapping the bottom of the flower, I like to use Frog Tape because it’s green and sticky, although it doesn’t really stretch.

UPDATE:  Link to photos of the completed crepe paper wedding flowers here, and a tutorial on how to make flowers using a ruffler foot here.


Here Comes the Bride Banner

Emily loves Martha Stewart wedding crafts, and this banner was one of the first things she asked me to make.  This worked well for us since we just happen to have two adorable little boys in our family, so Maxwell will be the ring bearer and Oliver will carry the banner.

A printable file meant to use with transfer paper is available on that other Martha’s site. Unfortunately, the colors are leaf green and red-orange, which did not look good with our red and pink color scheme.  It took about 20 minutes to unlock the file and change the colors, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.  I used an old damask tablecloth as the background fabric, and added pink ribbon and vintage Vogart rose appliques.


A Gift From Pratima

Yesterday I received a beautiful gift from my friend, Pratima (peepsatthepeepaltree).  On a trip to India, Pratima purchased an assortment of hand block printed fabrics, and she shared some of these lovely prints with her readers. Pratima made an amazing quilt with her fabrics, and wrote about hand block printing and her quilt here and here.  If you have read Pratima’s blog, you know that she is not only a quilter with a unique sense of design and color, but also a fabulous cook who publishes easy-to-follow Indian cooking tutorials with the most beautiful photography I’ve ever seen.  If you haven’t yet visited Pratima, you are in for a treat.

My gifts were the beautiful fabric squares and block-print covered journal, all packaged with a sachet which made everything smell all sandalwoody. I am very excited to design a quilt project with my prints, and also to finally gather the information for each of my quilts and enter it in my new journal. Thank you so much, Pratima.

Pratima also shared a wonderful video of Indian hand block printing, which will give you an appreciation of this ancient craft.


Retirement Gifts

Yesterday was our school’s end of the year party, and we celebrated my retirement.  My favorite part was a hilarious skit of me teaching one of my first grade computer classes.  I laughed so hard I was weeping.  Fortunately, I’ll still get to see my friends,  since the school is only 4 blocks from my house.

I want to share two of my gifts, which are sort of apron related.  Our art teacher, Leanne, gave me a poseable cloth doll which is made by wrapping fabric around an aluminum foil figure — one of many fabulous projects she does with our kids.  For my doll, she added an apron and a little quilt.  It has a place of honor on the shelf in my sewing room.

Suzanne is my friend who recently retired after teaching at our school for over 30 years.  One of her gifts was a vintage 100 lb. sugar sack that she found among her mother’s things.  I thought it would make a great apron, and that way I would think of Suzanne every time I wore it.  For the shower gifts I only made half aprons, but sometimes I need a full apron because I am such a slob when I’m working in the kitchen.


Vintage-Inspired Apron – #23

Today I made one more apron — not for the shower, but for Judy, who is the PE teacher at my school.  She wanted an apron for her mother, Rose, who just happens to love pink and yellow roses.  Every year I’ve worked at that school, Judy has given me her delicious homemade raspberry jam (from her own raspberry bushes), so it was the least I could do to make her mom a little apron.

I found two vintage floral curtain scraps in my stash, one of which had pink and yellow roses.  The pink and green batik with the vintage flower fabrics is sort of a weird combination, but I liked the way the colors looked together.  The eyelet is from a huge (and super cheap) lot of vintage eyelet trim I purchased on Etsy.  I have to admit that I really love making these aprons.



Alice Brooks Pieced Butterfly Pattern

In a couple of posts here and here, I have talked about this pattern and shown a couple of blocks. I have finally managed to scan the entire original pattern. You will notice that my butterfly is different, having 4 D pieces in each wing, as opposed to 3 in the original pattern. It was necessary for me to re-draft the pattern in order to accommodate the vintage quilt swatches I wanted to use in this quilt. I also decided to eliminate a couple of seams. My altered pattern is available here, in case you prefer the 4-piece version.

This is a wonderful pattern for hand stitching (I pieced with a running stitch, without papers), but it is probably not a good choice for a beginning quilter.

Because this pattern is large, it will need to be tile printed. Clicking on the pattern image below will open a full-sized pdf file. Scroll to the bottom of that image, and click on the download button. Open the downloaded file in Acrobat Reader, and select “poster” in the print dialog box. This will allow you to tile print the original pattern size on multiple sheets of letter or legal sized paper, which you can then trim and tape or glue together.


The History of Martha Dellasega – Volume II

Several of you asked about my younger sister, Mary, who grew up to be a college professor teaching mostly English and Speech.  She received a PhD in her favorite field, theater, and she also works at a Seattle theater.  Mary doesn’t draw much anymore, but she is still a wonderful and witty writer.

I want to clarify that I was not nearly as popular (and hopefully, not quite as mean) as Mary portrays me in her books; in fact, I was pretty miserable in high school. Most of the stories in the books are based on real events, but they are also embellished and influenced by Mary’s 14-year old perceptions, as well as her natural inclination toward sarcasm (a Dellasega trait).

To demonstrate that Mary nailed the hair every time, here is my senior photo from Volume I, for which I may have used an entire can of hair spray, and. . . .

the short hairstyle from Volume II, where I seem to be smoking a cigarette in every drawing.

The History of Martha Dellasega, Volume II
Written and Illustrated by Mary Dellasega, 1966-67


The History of Martha Dellasega – Volume 1

I love these books so much, and they make me laugh every time I read them.  This is the first volume of a three-part series written by my little sister, Mary.  Mary was about 14 when she wrote this volume.

The History of Martha Dellasega, Volume I
Written and Illustrated by Mary Dellasega, 1964-66


Mosaic Flower Pots

My niece, Jennifer, volunteers at her sons’ school helping the students create art projects, and her latest idea was decorating clay pots. Her son, Maxwell, made this cute pot and gave it to me for my birthday. Originally, there was a sweet Gerbera daisy in the pot, which I transplanted outside. Now I use the flower pot in my sewing room to hold my pens, and I can admire it every day.

Thank you Max!

After Jennifer finished working in the classroom, she decided to make a larger (and more elaborate) version for my birthday. I have taken lots of photos which you should click to enlarge so you can see all the fabulous details. Jennifer is a very creative and artistic girl, and I think it’s wonderful that she takes the time to share her talent with so many children.

Here’s Jennifer with her daughter, Marjorie, who is going to be Emily’s flower girl at the wedding.


Handkerchief Quilt

When Moda released these cute reproduction handkerchiefs in their own little case, I immediately thought of using them to make a quilt for my sister, Mary. This is probably the closest I’ll ever come to making a sampler type quilt, and it’s really not that close. I guess the one thing that makes it a little sampler-like is the unique quilting pattern on each block. It was a lot of fun making up the quilting designs, but I wish now that I had added sashing between the blocks. Mary displays the quilt on the wall behind her bed.

Handkerchief Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2005
hand quilted
50″ x 50″