Monday, June 23, 2008

Under the Sea Fabric Postcards

One of my most favorite things to do is to sit down with a big pile of beads, buttons, lace, yarns and different threads and go to town. I recently joined a great group of ladies on Yahoo called Art4Mail. This is my first PC (Postcard) swap with these ladies so I'm pretty excited. My group consisted of 4 other ladies all who will be sending each other a PC. We were to make the PCs depicting an underwater theme. My favorite! I love the ocean, seashells, fish and the the color blue so this was right up my alley. I even made an extra one for a special friend - her birthday is soon so thought I would surprise her - Happy Birthday Lin!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bring on the Inner Peace

Every year my husband Rob and I can't wait to start planning our vacation. For the past 14 years we have spent a week up on Great East Lake in Maine. We load up our kayaks, fishing gear, all the food we think we could possibly eat in one week and of course, my sewing machine and all the crazy quilting supplies I can squeeze into my sewing suitcase. We just got confirmation that the cabin we have been renting every year is ours the second week of August. Just the thought of being somewhere so beautiful and peaceful makes my heart fill with an inner peace. For those of you who have never kayaked, you have to find a way to experience it. It brings a feeling like no other... a calmness and a quietness away from the every day crazy world. We have been known to spend 8-10 hours kayaking from one end of the lake to the other, stopping for a quick bite to eat or swim and of course, plenty of fishing. When I found out today that our plans for this years trip was all set, I had to go check out some pictures that I took last year on the lake to remind myself what I have to look forward to in August. Not that I want to wish the summer away but just dreaming of being out on that water again will certainly bring a smile to my face for the next couple of months.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dotee Dolls - Girls Just Want To Have Fun

I'm currently in a couple different Dotee Doll Swaps. I have to admit at first I really wasn't interested in making these little dolls but the more I saw of them the cuter they became and I decided I'd try my hand at making one. Well like anything I get involved with, it's hard to make just one. One became two, two became three and now I have another 4 all cut out and ready to embellish. I think the thing I like the most about creating them is that as I'm sewing on the face, or the hair or even the body, they start to take on their own personality. One of my new friends who I've met on the HGTV board has been tatting the prettiest little fans, angels and hearts and since I knew she also crocheted, I asked her if she could possible make me a couple little hats. In no time Margie sent me about 6 of the cutest little hats to dress up my girls. Thanks Margie!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My little Studio

I once read that to be creative it helped if you had a place to work in that inspired you, a place that was surrounded with the things and colors you love. A couple years ago I had the opportunity to have a little studio built in my home. It didn't take me long to figure out exactly what I wanted in it and how I was going to fix up my little space. Before the walls were even up I had the whole room mapped out in my head. My main goal for my studio was to always have the feeling that I was walking into summer. Being a New Englander for the past 38 years, I was determined to have a place in the middle of our long cold winters to go and dream of being someplace warm.

First thing, I painted the walls a beautiful color of blue - a toss up between the sky on a beautiful sunny day or the ocean waters as they are in Maui. I'm lucky enough to have a son who decided to make his home in Maui - I miss him terribly but to be honest with you, it's a great place to have to go to visit. Ever time I go over I buy a beautiful sarong which depicts so many beautiful colors. I decided instead of having the sarongs tucked away in a drawer somewhere I would hang them so I could remember my days spent walking the beaches. Now that the walls were painted it was time to bring in my desk and a cabinet that I rescued from my husband's parents - stripped it and painted it to match the walls - white with blue trim. Next was to bring in all my vintage china that I have been collecting over the years... I know most people would scream at the thought but I collect them only to smash them up! Yikes! Yep... I break them up into little pieces to create mosaic frames, mirrors, birdhouses etc. Okay, now on to my ever growing fabric stash. My wonderful husband (Rob) installed a couple of stand up cabinets to hold some of my pretties and then I turned a couple of CD stands into shelves for my FQ's (fat quarters). I love walking into my room (especially when it is clean) and seeing all the colors.... what a way to brighten the day. When I need extra room to sew I set up an table and cut away. Can't say there's much room left for anyone else to come in and play but then... this is my hiding place and big enough for me.

Next, Rob installed a couple of kitchen cabinets and topped them off with a piece of butcher block and then hung a few shelves for more goodies - this I call my CQ corner - where I have some of my pretties for my main passion these past couple of years, crazy quilting. I sometimes wonder why and how I got so involved in this type of quilting. Could it be because of the name "Crazy" ??

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Summer Purse

Don't you just love it when you learn something new and it gets you all excited? Today my friend Elaine (Quiltingnewbie) came over and patiently sat with me playing the role of teacher. A while back she made the cutest little purse and I've been bugging her ever since I saw it to show me how........ I knew the basics but it was the lining and corner edges that threw me off. I pulled out a bunch of pretty batiks, cut them into 5" squares and off I went. We made a pretty good team and had a nice little assembly line going............. hmmmm maybe I can get her to come back and we'll make 3 or 4 more - one for each season.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A few of my Favorite Things

How many times have you created something you love, turned around and gave it away and then said to yourself " Dang! I wish I had kept that for myself? Over the years I have made everything from mosaic picture frames and mirrors, quilts, CQ purses, Cross stitch designs etc and always ended up giving them away as gifts... happily of course but if you are like me, there are just some things that your create that you can't give up. I thought I would share a few of my favorite things that I've been selfish enough to keep for myself. One of my very favorite Crazy Quilt hearts was just made a couple months ago. I call her my "Little Purple Girl" Surprised that she's not blue?? Well I thought I would test the waters with a new color and I'm glad I did as I just love her.

Another one of my favorites it one that I call "Shy little Girl" I'm not quite sure where the inspiration came from for me to make this CQ Heart... maybe I was feeling a little shy that day ? I doubt it - no one has ever accused me of being shy.

I made these little 3x3 CQ pictures as part of an experiment. I had bought a variety of new fabrics and wanted to see what they would look like layered. I was going for a nautical theme so embellished them with various pearls, glass fish, seashells and pretty threads.

I have to admit, out of all the items I have ever made, this quilt is my absolute favorite. It is made up of about 17 different Asian Fabrics and represents the love that my husband and I have for the ocean. My husband Rob has a beautiful sailboat that when sailing brings such a wonderful peace within. I wanted this quilt to represent every aspect of the ocean from the sandy beaches, to the light turquoise waters. The whites are the caps of the waves coming into shore and the dark blues is what it is... the deep blue ocean. I made this quilt, which is called a French Braid for him for his birthday last year. Not the best machine quilter, I sent it to a very good friend of mine Thearica and not only did she do the most incredible, beautiful, awesome quilting ever , she asked me to write a love note to Rob about our life together and she stitched it all around the border that surrounds the braids. There are no words that will ever express the gratitude I have for her for bringing my quilt to life. Thank you "Q" from the bottom of my heart.

More Hand Dyed Laces

I'm so excited! Last week , after much encouraging from my "pushy - LOL!) friend KMouse, I finally got the nerve to post some pictures of my dyed laces to a couple Yahoo CQ sites I belong to. To my surprise I received a nice note from Hazel in the UK and the end result was I had my first International order! How exciting! Then to top it off I got a few more orders the same day which made me rethink a few things... if I want to get my creations noticed... I have to put them out there. So... here I go. I just finished dying up some more laces and have to tell you every time I do a new batch I say "oh yea... these are the prettiest yet" I think it's the combination of the lace designs and the love of color.... it's like sitting down with some watercolors and painting in a coloring book... if you don't like one color just move on to the next and if you don't like that color, heck, just mix the dyes and create a new one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hand Dyed Laces

One of the things I love is color. If you were to ask anyone of my friends to describe me as a color my guess is they would say "blue" . I love any color of blue - aqua, teal, marine, turquoise, sky blue, royal blue, navy blue, cobalt blue, cornflower blue, robins egg blue, navy blue ... any shade of blue!

Over the past couple of years I have been collecting pretty laces and dying them for use in crazy quilting, to applique on purses, bluejeans, you name it - even went so far as to make little tattoos out of them. I've tried my best to incorporate other colors to my pallet but for some reason I always find a way to get right back into the blue family. In fact, I recently started making crazy quilts hearts for a project I have had swimming around in my head for over a year now... you guessed it - out of 36 hearts that I made, I would guess to say at least half are some shade of blue.

Now I'm not going to say that I don't love other colors... I've even been known to stray a bit... there are other colors I love too - the combination of pinks & greens, peach, purples but again.... ask my friends what color I'm not fond of and they will tell you "orange" Maybe someday.....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A RavioLee Dream Story

After many months of friends telling me I should jump in and start a blog, I have taken the plunge. Not sure why I've procrastinated so long, I think it was the fear of the unknown. Well thanks to my many friends on the HGTV board and my good friend Kathy, I have finally jumped in and will see where it leads me.

I've chosen the name Nicki Lee's Raviolee Dreams for a few reasons. The name Nicki Lee has it's own history but we won't go into that - let's just to say it is a happy story and one that I love.

RavioLee Dreams comes from something that I created a few years ago. One day I was sitting in my living room making little pincushions out of wool felt, beads and pretty threads. They were being made for and upcoming summer art show. I had a basket full and was trying to figure out what in the world to call them. My girlfriend Susan happened to stop by and while she sat there watching me sew my 20th one, we got to talking about our dreams. Now... it just so happens the backs of these little pincushions were made with little heart shaped or flower shaped pockets - just big enough to stuff a little note inside. I asked Susan what she thought of them - she replied " they are just so cute!" What I really wanted to know was what she thought they looked like. Then she said the magic words "they look like little ravioli" We both looked at each other and screamed at the same time "Ravioli Dreams!" My husband was just coming into the house and we scared him half out of his mind with our screaming - he didn't know what was going on! When we finally settled down I said - that's what I'll call them because as we know, Raviolies are stuffed with goodies - mine are stuffed with love..... and since my middle name is Lee, I simply changed the spelling to RavioLee.


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