Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scrap Fabric Covered Books

I hope your Holidays were enjoyable. It's nice to relax after that mad crafting rush! When you are out searching for those post Christmas bargains, keep your eyes open for journal notebooks or address books on clearance with the wild patterned covers. I like to take the inexpensive journal / address / recipe books and recover them with scrap fabrics. I either give them to friends or use them myself as general notebooks for shopping lists, etc.


I open the book on a piece of fabric (wrong side up) and roughly trace about a 1 - 1.5" excess around the outside and cut the fabric. Depending on the thickness of the book, you may need to make it longer to accommodate the wrap around the binding when closed. I then wrap the journal book closed to determine how much is needed to cover the binding.

Optionally, you can glue a piece of batting on the front and back of the book to add softness before you wrap it in fabric. Just make sure you measure your fabric cut with both the book open and then closed with the fabric to make sure you have enough.

Start gluing down the sides of the fabric to the back cover about 3/4" - 1" folded seams. Don't worry about neatness of the edges, they'll be covered. Just try to make them flat. I rough cut a tail right where the book binding is. This allows me to glue down all sides to the back and front cover. Then, I just push the tail into the book binding.


To cover the front and back fabric edges, I'll use scrap fabric, card stock, or the inside of used Christmas cards to cover the fabric endings. The possibilities are endless.


My next one will use a scrap piece of fabric I embroidered initials on. If you would like more detailed instructions, or have any questions, feel free to contact me.


Thanks for stopping by
~*~Trish~*~

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stars, Tying Threads & A Wink

Great Grandmother's Stars

I finally finished a quilt request for a friend. They wanted a photo quilt and wanted to add their great grandmother's blocks to the photo quilt. They had a bunch of these stars sitting around not being used and wanted to see two in a quilt. It was tough finding some type of match for all the different colors in the blocks. No two stars are alike. Here's what I ended up with. Family photos around the outside and center focus photo. This has kept me pretty busy the last couple of weeks. At least now two of the stars are not in storage and are being used. Not the best extract photo but...

Tying Threads

How do you finish your quilts? I think there has to be an easier way? I end up with so many threads after quilting starts and stops. I use one of those easy thread needles and pull all the threads to the back. Then I tie off each set of threads (bobbin + upper) and then I use the easy thread needle again and pull the tails into the backing and snip the excess to hide the knots. This is sooo time consuming. How do you finish your threads, do you just snip without tying? I'm looking for some time saving tips.


My own personal wink

While wrestling with the above quilt using my regular sewing machine, I came in contact with several pins on the quilt sandwich. When I was fixing my hair, I could not help but see my own personal winking smiley face on my arm in the mirror. You have to look carefully for the right eye dot. Who says quilting is not a dangerous hobby??



Thanks for stopping by!

~*~Trish~*~

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stiffening Crochet Snowflakes

Murphy's Law of Computer issues

So I finally got my new PC setup up and running and got a post out on Sunday. After that, my Internet service went out. That has never happened in the years I've been with them. I contacted the cable company and they said, sorry there is an outage in your area. Go Figure!

Stiffened my crochet snowflakes.

They turned out great! It was so simple but a little sticky since I chose to use sugar. Here is what I did. I only had 8 snowflakes to stiffen and I took a guess at the amount and turned out right.

  1. 1/4 cup of sugar
  2. 1/4 cup of hot water or boiling water. I used the water out of our water cooler. Be careful not to burn your fingers!
  3. Mixed until sugar is dissolved. If water turns cooler before sugar dissolves, try 5 seconds at a time in the microwave.
  4. When temperature is tolerable (not to burn your fingers). Dip crochet items (snowflakes in this case) to completely soak them
  5. Squeeze off excess sugar water (try not to wring or extremely distort your item)
  6. I used a cookie sheet with wax paper on it. Not sure if this is good idea or not. Maybe someone can advise. Seemed to work for me without getting wax on the items. Placed the snowflakes on it and arranged out all the crocheted details.
  7. Let sit for at least 24 hours to dry. I went back overnight and they still weren't done, I thought I did it wrong. I flipped them so the other side could get air and then I left them to sit longer and the next time I came back, they were stiff as a board.
  8. Add a yarn or ribbon hanger through one of the openings and then hang on the tree or add to a gift box.





Thanks for stopping by
~*~Trish~*~

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fat Quarter & Scraps for Christmas Wrapping

OK, I finally have the new computer setup up completed and running, finally have the printer hooked up and all but about 2 programs back on the PC. It's good to get back into a normal routine. If I could just get my upgraded version of email to become a routine, I'd be happy.

Most of my presents are on the smaller side for friends and family. Don't great things come in small packages. Because of this, I usually try to be creative in my wrappings and use fabric scraps, fat quarters, etc... If it's a quilting friend that the present is going to, I tend to use fat quarter wrapping as part of the present. If it's a family member, although I try to give them the packaging fabric, they always insist I take it back. I like to think that one less roll of wrapping paper in the land fill.

My bows can be anything. but usually then end up being wrapped in excess binding or border strips that I have previously cut. Here's an example of a current package wrapped and placed under our tree. I used a frosted metallic fat quarter I had and left over border fabric.






I also find that more times than not, regular scotch tape does not work on fabric wrappings. I tend to have to use smaller pieces of packaging tape. When I do this, I make sure I turn a tiny corner of the piece down on itself so that there's a place to grab and rip off the tape. That's part of the fun having them try and find the fasteners.



Thanks for stopping by!
~*~Trish~*~

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Starting Fresh after a PC crash

You know, there are some times when you just have to cut your losses on a problem with a smaller hard drive and say it's not worth the hassle. So, I'm now on a new setup, with newly installed software and a constantly running virus scanner. My problem was both a combination of annoying / frustrating trojan virus and some hardware issues of a computer over 3 years old.

Since I've been working on software installations and restorations for about a week now, haven't completed much crafting time. I'll be back starting this weekend probably and I'll be back to publishing my crafts.

One valuable recommendation - Besides doing backups of software, files and email, keep a journal of all of your software titles, the versions, and their keys handy. Especially if you have upgraded the software. For some software, I had to install previous versions first prior to being able to upgrade to the version I was using.

One a side note, I did manage to get a good deal on the new Photoshop Elements 7 software package after rebate and it has been installed on my new setup. It seems to be a great version from first glance. I look forward to learning new things.

Thanks for stopping by
~*~Trish~*~

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Catching a virus...

Well, it seems my computer picked up a virus somewhere that has been wreaking havoc with my system. It's been a battle just to temporarily do a few things with all the pop up messages and failure messages, etc. So, to keep my sanity, I have admitted defeat during the work week and will deal with it over the weekend, try to anyhow. Hopefully I'll be back within a couple days. I may have to just pitch the infected hard drive and start over.

Thankfully, I have several backups that I take so I can replace it all. All my digital scrapbooking files, and how to's and bookmarks..., etc.

Hope all is going well with others!
Thanks for stopping by
~*~Trish~*~

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rag Quilts stored away with the Christmas Decorations

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and found some great bargains shopping. As we were pulling out all of the Christmas decorations and supplies, I found my box of rag quilts that I kept for myself. Rag Quilts are such a quick gift to make. I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on what I like to do when making Rag Quilts as gifts.

Start hunting the Christmas flannel early. That's when you have the best selections. My all time favorite Rag Quilt is this Christmas Quilt I completed. It used the 9.5" blocks and ended up being 72" by 72" with seams.

Think big squares. I skip the small square Rag quilts and go for the larger block sizes that match my ruler squares. You'll be done with the quilt in no time. I just lay my quilting square on multiple layers of flannel and I have several cut out in no time as I swipe my rotary cutter along the sides of the square. My all time favorite size block to use is the 91/2 inch square block.

Consider using each square as a mini quilt and adding a quilting design to each square instead of the standard X marks the spot. Here is another Christmas Quilt I kept that each block has a totally unrelated quilted design on it. It really gives you great practice and adds variety to the Rag Quilt




    To add the design to the block I either chalk on a stencil, free hand draw a design with a chalk pencil or print out a design on the printer and pin it to the block to trace. This is easiest when using foundation sheets for paper piecing. It tears off easier. In desperation, I have used regular paper but I don't advise it. You end up spending way too much time removing the paper from the intricate designs. Stick with the foundation sheets. I found a bulk amount of foundation paper (at the bottom of the page) here Also, I've also seen wash away foundation paper. A little more pricier but here's an example.


Think optional fabrics as well. I've used fleece and cotton too. However fleece is great but it's a little difficult in keeping in the square form. It tends to want to stretch. I'm not sure why I packed this one away with the Christmas stuff but.... Here is a fleece Rag Quilt where I did not snip the edges and used pre-embroidered red fleece. I added random quilting designs to each square as well, it's hard to see in the photos small size. If I remember correctly, I did not use batting on this one since it already was pretty thick.




And finally, don't forget the basic cotton fabrics and the beautiful Christmas cottons available now. I remember making a Rag Quilt in Christmas cotton fabrics as a gift and it turned out beautiful. I was so excite to give it, I wrapped it up without taking photos...

Thanks for stopping by.
~*~Trish~*~

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wishing you and your families a safe and special Thanksgiving!!


Thanks for stopping by

~*~Trish~*~

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Revisiting Crocheting - Squares, Scarfs and Snowflakes!

This past weekend, I decided to revisit crocheting. Several years ago, I made myself a basic single stitch scarf and then moved on to other things. Now, I found that there are so many resources and videos on the web that I just had to revisit it and try it out again. I still remember how to make a granny square from when my grandmother taught me a long long time ago.

I have been busy over the last couple of days with crocheting. I thought I share some photos of the items I'm working on in the evening when I get an hour or two to watch TV with hubby. Also, after the projects, I'll share a fantastic crochet website I found that helped me create these items. I've been working on the granny squares, a scarf and some wonderful snowflakes!


Granny Squares

I figured that I would do a few and then whenever I am close to the end of yarn, I'd add one to the pile. Someday, I'll have enough variety to stitch them together into a quilt.



Shell Design Scarf

At first this was difficult to get started. Once you find the rhythm and know the stitches, it's a great stitch. It's a slow process but I love the scalloped design.



Snowflakes!!

I recently purchased this iridescent white yarn. I thought it was very pretty. Then I found this great snowflake design. After watching the video maybe 15 times, some spots even more, I now can whip out these stars in no time. Once I have a bunch, I'm going to harden them and possibly add them to gifts.


Great Crochet Website

The website where I found these great patterns is called Crochet Mania by Teresa. She has great YouTube videos in the project descriptions that go along with the instructions. Here are the links to the two projects I am working on above.

Thanks for stopping by
~*~Trish~*~

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Folded Star Ornament - Finishing Steps

Finishing Both Sides

I finished pinning on the second side of my folded star ornament. I decided on the second side I would only place 3 layers of fabric. However, I started the center in green this time. So, when I was finished, both sides met with the green fabric. Here are photos of both finished sides.



Where the sides meet is where you will place your fabric strip or ribbon. Most times, my sides don't match up perfectly. But like I referenced previously, who cares. It's going to be covered up with fabric anyway. I just make my fabric strip a little wider to make sure I cover it all. Here are my sides. See how at one spot, they overlap a little and in another, there's a nice gap.






Finishing the Ornament


Wrap a string or measuring tape around your ornament to determine the size of ribbon or fabric you need. For this size foam ball, I'll need a 10" strip to be exact. However, I like to add a couple inches to that in case I have any issues and to make a tube at the top to act as a hanger. I usually use matching fabric (or contrasting, depends on the mood :-) 2" wide strip.


Then I fold the strip in half, right sides together and stitch a 1/4" seam down it to make an inside out tube. Turn the tube right side out and press with the seam on the inside, bottom center of the strip. I end up with a 3/4" finished strip to wrap around the ornament.



  • Optional instructions - Just fold the sides in (1/4" each) to the back center and iron to make a 1.5" strip with sides folded under. Then, fold this in half again to form the 3/4" strip. This hides the raw edges and still gives you the 3/4" strip to wrap around the ornament.

I cut the finished strip to 10" (or however long you need) and then from the excess piece I cut a 1" piece which I'll use later. On the 10" strip, I add double stick tape. Then carefully thread the one end through the 1" piece and secure with tape on the underside. This will be the hanger at the top of the ornament.


Place the area with the 1" piece on top of your ornament if you have a preferential "top". Wrap the piece around your ornament and secure. When you come to the top, feed the other end of the wrap into the 1" piece on the top of your ornament. I'll even reach in with a pin inside this piece and secure further. Now, your ornament is ready for hanging.



  • Optional instructions - just use the 10" strip and tape it to the ornament letting the ends meet at the top. Glue on a piece of fabric on top to cover the joint of the two ends where they meet at the top. Adhere something to hang the ornament.Here's the finished wrap. I like using fabric because the wrap is then very smooth.

Hang on your tree or give as a gift! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

~*~Trish~*~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Tree Quilt - Decorations Completed

After a couple of days not working on the Christmas Tree Quilt and working on other things, I've finally finished the decorations on the Christmas Tree Quilt. Previously, I received a comment from Linda (Thanks Linda, great suggestion!!) suggesting that I skip the ornaments and maybe just use the silver and place bows on the tree. You know, I loved the ornaments but just could not bring myself to place them on the quilt.

Yesterday, I free hand tied silver bows. I adhered them to the quilt with 3 swipes of thread around the knot portion of the bow. I really like how it turned out. Now, if I could get myself to stop thinking about placing appliqued presents under the tree, then I can say I am completed. But, we'll see... I really think presents under the tree would "finish" the quilt and make it unique. Here are photos of the bows that were sewn on.




And a closeup photo....


Thanks for stopping by
~*~Trish~*~

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Folded Star Ornament - Pinning Pieces

Now it's time to begin pinning the triangle pieces to the star. Keep in mind there are no "must follow rules" they are all left up to your individuality and how you would like to arrange the layers. Also, things won't match up perfectly. That's OK, slap on another layer and cover up the imperfection :-). Most of all, make it your own.

Place two of the unfolded squares evenly spaced apart on the foam. Pin each corner and have the corners meet from each side evenly spaced apart.



Layer 1 Step 1 - Place your first triangle directly on the flat 2.5" square just placed. Match the wide edge of the triangle with the corners of the squares. Pin the corners first and then the point. Remember, place the pin in the point in between the two folds a little below the edge. Then pull the folded flaps up and over to hide the point pin.


Layer 1 Step 2 - Complete the second triangle directly across from the first one placed, same method.
Layer 1 Step 3 - Place the 3rd triangle in the empty space besides the two just placed, match points.
Layer 1 Step 4 - Place the last triangle to finish the square. All points should match up.

Next layer, decide how large you want your center star. You should be able to fit 3 or 4 layers without using half the foam ball's space.

Layer 2 Step 1 - When you decide where you would like to start layer two, place in the point pin first and then pin down the outer corners of the triangle.


Layer 2 Step 2 - Place the second piece completely opposite of Layer 2 Step 1. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 2 Step 3 - Place the third piece 90 degrees from pieces 1 and 2 from layer 2. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 2 Step 4 - Place the 4th piece directly opposite of piece 3. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 2 Step 5 - Now add a 5th triangle to the areas not covered by the 4 pieces of layer 2. It's almost like another layer of the same color. You are now starting to form your star. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 2 Step 6 - Place the 6th piece completely opposite of Layer 2 Step 5. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 2 Step 7 - Place the 7th piece 90 degrees from pieces 5 and 6 from layer 2. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 2 Step 8 - Place the 8th piece directly opposite of piece 7. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle. You should see your first star.



Layer 3 - next color
Layer 3 Step 1 - When you decide where you would like to start layer three, place in the point pin first and then pin down the outer corners of the triangle.


Layer 3 Step 2 - Place the second piece completely opposite of Layer 3 Step 1. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 3 Step 3 - Place the third piece 90 degrees from pieces 1 and 2 from layer 3. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 3 Step 4 - Place the 4th piece directly opposite of piece 3. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 3 Step 5 - Now add a 5th triangle to the areas not covered by the 4 pieces of layer 3. It's almost like another layer of the same color. You are now starting to form your second star. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 3 Step 6 - Place the 6th piece completely opposite of Layer 3 Step 5. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 3 Step 7 - Place the 7th piece 90 degrees from pieces 5 and 6 from layer 3. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle.

Layer 3 Step 8 - Place the 8th piece directly opposite of piece 7. Pin center, hide pin, pin corners of triangle. You should see your second star.


If you have room for another layer without going over the half way point of the foam ball, switch colors and repeat steps from Layer 3.


Once you are done with all your layers, I sometimes go back and pin down all the exposed outer edges in prep for the ribbon or fabric wrap that will hide all the pins.


When finished, flip over the ornament and repeat all steps. I like to use opposite center color and then build out.

Thanks for stopping by
~*~Trish~*~