Mary Blair inspired

It's been a busy week of sewing curtains, framing and hanging pictures, and finishing up lots of random projects around the house.  I feel like I have sooo many things I want to get done asap.  Yay for the second trimester of pregnancy.  One of them is making some new wall art for the playroom.  I drew up some quick abc/123 posters that I've been seeing everywhere (and remind me of sticker/felt sheets that I designed for Making Memories) and had them printed off as 16x20 prints for $6 each at my local Costco/Sams Club.  I'll have to take a pic when I get the last one printed.   I've been working on my own rough draft version of Mary Blair's "It's a Small World."  We may have ridden it one too many times at Disney World last month.  I think the middle picture is pretty close to being finished, but I need to check all my edges and make sure everything lines up just right.  Or it will be taunting me daily once I hang it on the wall.  Can't have that.

The numbers and letters are already printed and hanging on the wall; I framed them in Ikea ribba frames and they really help tie in all the random colors from the pillows in our playroom.  Penelope is a big fan of them so far.  She really wants to say her numbers and abcs, but she mostly just says a bunch of random ones in any order.  And if you want to see some more really fun ways to decorate with letter/number prints be sure to check out my friend Jenallyson's blog.  I know she's putting some in her nursery, and it will be awesome when it's all pulled together!  Can't wait to see it.



Ruffling Foot versus a Gathering Foot

I owe my obsession with ruffling/gathering on my sewing machine to two lovely ladies, Melissa Blackburn who introduced me to the "gathering foot" and Lori Gardner who introduced me to a "ruffling foot."  And also to my mother for teaching me how to sew at the ripe old age of 12 (she was 10 when she learned).  ;)

Here's most of what I've learned so far.
The Gathering Foot:
 Here is what my gathering foot looks like, and yes folks that .01 (plus shipping) Amazon price tag is for real!  I had two friends order it last week!  I set my stitch length to 5 - or the longest it will go, for the tightest gather.  And then I run my fabric or crepe paper or whatever right underneath the very bottom of the foot. 

I've also occasionally used it to gather something as I sew it to another piece of fabric.  It's a little bit tricky, and definitely requires some practice, but you can do it if you place the fabric to be ruffled under the bottom of the foot, and the other fabric in the little slot that you see that opens to the left.  You have to be very careful not to pull on the "ruffle" fabric as you sew though or else it won't gather consistently. 
The Ruffler Foot: 
And here's the ruffler.  But mine is not gold, and I bought it from a local quilt store for $50.  Not $34 on Amazon.  Be sure to shop around!  It's a lot scarier looking, but itt's amazing to watch it work.  My ruffling foot says it can be adjusted to make repeating tucks, narrow pleats, smocking and shirring.  But since the instructions are teensy tiny, I haven't taken the time to figure out all the cool things that it can do yet.  It has a little lever/switch that you can use to change up the pleats to varying sizes. 

The Recap:
So basically, one pleats, and one gathers.  The gathering foot is super fast for me to put on, so I do have a tendency to favor it.  I'm always in a hurry to ruffle something.  And I get impatient.  But I do have big plans for some pillows or pretty garlands smothered in yards and yards of pleated ribbon.  Be sure to let me know if you end up getting one and using it on projects!  I'd love to see photos or links!


Painting with a Princess

We've had a busy morning/week around here prepping for my next Provo Craft live online class (tonight!  Yay!).  It is completely sold out, so if you missed it this time you'll have to wait and see if they post the video online later on, or see if you can sweet talk them into letting me teach another class.   ;)

Princess Penelope has been a great help in between making me take mandatory rest periods for some princess waltzing lessons.  She is always Belle and mama is always "Monster."  I'm flattered.  Really.  I also like her idea of always wearing a crown when painting.  I feel it adds a certain something.  And luckily, my brilliant friend Amy was kind enough to give Penny a paint with water book yesterday, which I've been searching everywhere for, and luckily that entertained her just long enough to let me prep the background of one canvas for tonight.
And just a side note, but if you're interested in following what I'm working on in my studio I'll also be posting on my facebook page - Natalie Malan Studio so be sure to add that one (and not my personal account).  And it's getting close to being photo ready, so I'll have to start posting some teaser photos soon of my lovely new space!


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