December 17, 2010

Take it Easy and Enjoy the Christmas Preparation Process

I finally finished a total of 10 mug mates. Most of them have been posted off to different parts of the globe. My lovely and patient friends are very understanding when they receive their gifts late from me. I actually like getting late presents because after all the activities of Christmas are over you still have more presents to look forward to. 

In between making gifts I also did some eco dyeing. I have found many interesting plants and flowers on my drives to work that I thought I would try them out. The results are quite pleasing. So please read on...
A stack of mug mates completely finished with the binding all stitched. I hand quilted all the blue ones and machine quilted the bright ones. I'm not an expert on machine quilting (no time to practice) so hand quilting is my preferred method. 
I found this cutest mug with polka dots and strawberries all over. A simple strips piecing using scraps is a simple way to make this mug mate. I'm sure my friend will like it.
An indigo blue mug mate with a single pinwheel block looks good for this one. The mug I got from Oxfam. They come in a box of four mugs in different designs but all in blue and white. I have got the whole box for myself. Just love them. 
I hit lucky last weekend when I visited my local op-shop (thrift shop) and found this handmade stitch basket. The stitching is in indigo blue. I make stitch baskets and know how much work went into stitching this basket. I loved to rescue it and give it a new life. I gave it a wash and scrub, and you can see how well it turned out.  I'm so pleased with my find!
Eco colour: I got lucky in both of my experiments this week. On the top row is New Zealand flax flowers. It is the first time my NZ flax plant has flowered and I thought I would try dyeing with it. I wrapped them in a piece of dupioni silk and gave the bundle a good pounding before steaming it for 30 mins and let it sits for 24 hours before unwrapped. The top right photo shows the result. 
The bottom row of photos is the prunus tree that are in full colour at the moment. I used the leaves to dye with. I used the same method as the NZ flax dyeing. The result is very pleasing indeed.  
My dear friend Jane is turning 60 this week. I was given the task of binding a book for her. Her family organized blank pages of papers for family and friends to fill in. After all the pages came back they needed to be put together into a book so that is what I did by binding it (top left). The theme for Jane's party is 60s. Lucky me I have a whole CD of 60s prints so I chose one to use for the cover. There is Jane in pink toasting for her birthday. The bottom left photo is the page I did for Jane's book. Happy Birthday Dear Jane...! 

Hope life is not too hectic for you at this time. Take it easy and enjoy the Christmas preparation process. If you are around please come back to enter my giveaways to be posted on Dec. 24th. I have a treat for you all so don't miss out. We will be away during Christmas and New Year and will leave the giveaways up until we return to draw it. 



Nedra said...

Nice mug mats. I still need to make some of these. (A 2011 goal).
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Hi Nat...boy you have been busy with those mug mates....Lucky you to have found that hand made basket, perfect!!! What a great colour dye!!! Have a great weekend Nat...the last before the BIGF ONE!!! Dzintra♥x

Janet said...

I love the mug mats, I especially love the bigger than usual size. I love to hear about your dying experiments, the prunus leaves have made a lovely colour. Happy birthday to Jane, what a wonderful gift you made her.

deanna7trees said...

love all the things in this post especially that great find of a basket. i always have my eye out for baskets when i go thrift shopping.

Michele Pacey said...

that basket is amazing Nat! so glad you were able to rescue it and appreciate its workmanship! your friends will be a happy happy group when they receive your handmade mug rugs! lucky lucky them!

happy holidays to you!

Anonymous said...

Nat, just love the mug mates, what size are they? I would love to whip some up for a few close friends. Love your basket and it is even better when it is a find. The eco-dying is coming along nicely, it is so much fun to see your results.


Willow said...

Hi Nat,

They are just beautiful. I am sure that the people you have sent them to will treasure them. I hope You and Your Family a Very Merry Christmas.


Needled Mom said...

I love the mug mates!! Those mugs are perfect too.

Glad that you managed to rescue that basket. Don't you hate to see them tossed aside?

Your dying looks so interesting. I need to give that a try.

Els said...

Great eco dying Nat!
Hope to start dying when the spring/summertime returns. For now: we have only snow and hoping for a white christmas ;-)
(love your trees on top! ...must be funny to have christmas in the summer)

myfluffybag said...

Lovely mug mats, Noong. LoveMyra

Lis said...

Awesome post Nat, I love all you've done. The dyeing is interesting, I expected the flax to give a stronger colour than it did but there you go, that's the wonder of it, love the prunus purple! Have a wonderful Christmas, love to you and all yours, Lis xx

Dot said...

Hi Nat
You have been very busy creating! Your mug mates are gorgeous(beautiful fabric choices) and I am sure your friends will love them. The mugs you bought at Oxfam are stunning. And the basket was a great find at the op shop. I loved your post about your Christmas decorations - Jacky told me they are wonderful in person. Your home must look very festive. I hope you have a truly wonderful Christmas Nat and that next year brings you many new experiences (and trips to Ziguzagu too he heee).
Dot xx

Terry said...

Well what to say except you have been busy and all so lovely.
The mug mats, basket rescuing book binding and eco dying.
Deffinately a Renaissance Woman

Micki said...

I am into making mug rugs too. I just posted one that I finished. Love yours!

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,
Love your op shop find,that basket was just waiting for you. Interesting to read about your dyeing with the prunus trees etc. Happy days.

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