It's done! I finished the final challenge of this year's Project Quilting! Whoop! I admit that I was having a really tough time deciding what to make this week, though.
The challenge itself was called 'Isn't that Charming?' and you were supposed to use at least 20 charms of 5" size on the front of your project. The actual challenge description first had me slightly confused, but our host Kim soon cleared up any confusion, which still left the indecisiveness about what I wanted to make.
My colleague at work recently voiced that she wanted me to do something with flowers and bees or a big bee on a flower, since she is a hobby photographer and has taken several pictures of this kind. So, I was trying to figure out how to work those two things together.
The final product of that fusion is my "Summer Garden", which had me using a total of 54 charms, that all originally started at the size of 5", like it was asked for in the challenge.
I guess I could've gone the easy way and just piece a couple charms together and make something simple, but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I like to use these challenges to actually challenge myself and my thinking and I always try to tell me that Project Quilting mantra 'think outside the box'. Personally I think that I've really done that this time as it was definitely a very non-traditional and different way of using charm squares.
I've also documented my constructions steps to proof how I used the charms and how many, so I apologise in advance that this blog post will be a really long and picture loaded one, but I do hope you all will enjoy my creative process and my thinking behind this idea.
Of course the whole thing started with a bunch of charms, there are 18 in this picture, 6 for the outer petals, 5 for the big inner circle of petals, 6 for the small petals in the smallest circle and 1 for the middle of the flower.
I cut circles out of all those charms, for the big petals I used 4.75" circles, for the small ones I used 3.5". Then you have to cut each of those cirlces in half and sew the straight ends together. All of the flowers were made using a tutorial by Angela of Cut To Pieces, that I found while searching the interwebs for fabric flower ideas.
After the construction of my first flower I started to contemplate the background. I didn't want a large project, so decided to make the background no bigger than 10" square. Since I wanted to use small charms for the background to make it more patchworky, that meant that I needed 25 small charms.
So I cut 7 charms of 5" size out of some Ikea childrens duvet cover that I had bought a while ago - couldn't pass it up as it has a wood theme with loads of animals - and then cut those into 2.5" charms, then assembled them randomly.
You can see that I mixed the order up a few times, because at this point I decided, that I wanted to use more than one big flower, so I moved the white flower on the background fabric further up, so that later on it would look like a flowery field of sorts.
Now it meant to make more flowers. The two other flowers are slightly smaller as the yellow one and not as filled, so I needed less charms.
For the orange one I cut 6 light orange charms for the inside petals and 5 dark orange ones for the outside petals, once again needing to cut circles out of all of them, cut them in half, sew them up, etc. I also used another charm for the middle again.
The exact same thing happened with the pink flower. 6 light pink charms for the inside petals, 5 deep pink charms for the outside petals and one charm for the middle of the flower.
After assembling the flowers, I added a bit of embellishment. I used a string of golden pearls and stitched them around the flower centers to give it a bit more depth and make it look more like there was actual pollen there. The reason for that will be explained further down in this post.
I actually banged my head at some point here, because I didn't have enough of this pearl string and came a good inch short on the final flower. Thankfully a sewing crazy friend of mine - who I originally got this pearl string from - had some more in her stash and saved the day - and the whole project, lol!
Since I didn't just want to leave the flowers bare, but wanted to embellish some more, I decided to make an origami butterfly made from fabric. I used 2 charms for that and created it following a tutorial by Michelle Patterns.
It ended up the perfect size for my flower and I hope it resembles a blue morphp butterly at least a little bit. I just love the blue colour against the yellow background. It's such an eye catcher.
The next idea was some bumble bees to profit from my earlier created pollen. I was contemplating back and forth how to make these, but then decided to cut up 2 empty paper spools of thread and glue some black and yellow striped fabric around it.
I forgot to take a picture of that charm as I was quite certain that I had already done that with the batch of yellow charms for the first flower, but when I uploaded the picture, I realised that I was mistaken. It can be seen in the background of a few of the above pictures, though, even if not fully.
My paper spool bumble bees received fluffy bums and heads, the latter being parts of a black pipe cleaner and their bums being made by deconstructing a fluffy white pom-pom. I had lints of that still in my nose hours later since I obviously had to trim the pom-pom down deliberately and give their bottoms an even trim. That part definitely wasn't so nice. Not for their bums needing trimming, but for all the lints tickling my nose. ;)
They also needed wings. Those I constructed out of two charms of light blue organza and a layer of soluble stabilizer, then embroidered my wings onto that. After washing the soluble out, I immediately ironed the wings dry on low heat, which made them really stiff and great to cut and glue to the little bumble bee bodies.
I think they turned out super cute and several of my friends have already exclaimed the same sentiments. So let's see how far this one will bring me in the final Viewer's Choice voting.
Which immediately brings me to my final words for this week...
Because you made me win 1st place in the Viewer's Voting for Challenge 5 with my entry "Beneath a Silver Light" with a whopping 164 votes. That was almost double the amount 2nd place got, so whoa!
I can only say it once again, thanks so much for all the support in these votings, it really, really, really means a lot to me! Thank you! :)
I hope you will all enjoy my "Summer Garden". What a great and inspiring couple weeks it has been :)
Lots of Love!