Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...not

I've finished 6 out of 10 Christmas Tree Blocks over the last two days. Only 4 more to go and then the background pieces as well as a border. Boy they have a lot of seams. So far so good though.

Yesterday, the post lady quietly dropped off a package at my door that I did not discover until later in the afternoon when I went to check for my mail. It was my fabric purchase from another quilter that I had been looking forward to. I love batiks, I think the more color the beautiful. Especially when paired with black.

Anyhow, there were some 16th's, 8th's and Fat Quarters. Oh the colors, I could have sat there and admired the colors and workmanship of the patterns all day. These are mostly from the Moda line. These photos are mostly the lights but there were some beautiful dark batiks as well. Who knows what I have in store for these but hopefully they'll be next after the holiday wall hangings.

Won't be long until the caterpillars will be leaving us for this next stage. They have gotten so long and fat. It is so neat to watch their flexible antennas feeling around for their food. They are going through at least 4-5 leaves a day. Our other caterpillars are still in their cocoons. It said 7 to 10 days so it won't be long either. Hopefully, they'll start coming out over the weekend so that I can see it when I am off work.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!


Friday, August 29, 2008

Let the assembly begin - Christmas Tree Wallhanging

I managed to complete all the required half square triangle blocks necessary for the Christmas tree wall hanging. Last night I arranged the blocks to peek at the tree top star. I think this is going to turn out nicely if I can keep my seams straight! Now that the weekend is here, I can dedicate more time towards finishing the Christmas tree top at least.

Although I did not work on my quilts that much this work week. I did manage to try a new skill. I'm not much of a cook, I can admit it. I've always stood by the statement that I can't cook. Well, last week someone at work made home made sweet pepper jam with jalapenos for a kick. It was yummy and I asked for the recipe. I hunted down all the ingredients, the recipe and went to work. Well I know the photo doesn't do it justice but as the pepper jam was simmering, it was so colorful!!

But, once it was done and sealed/cooled in the jars, it was soooo yummy. I can now say that I have "canned" which I never in a million years thought I would ever say. I must say, it was easy and to hear someone say, "that's good" about my cooking is a shock. Here's the end result. See the jalapeno seeds here and there. It's really not hot hot, just has a kick after you taste the sweetness of the jam and sweet peppers.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Organization and the Little Guys

You know, I swear... sometimes organization is overrated. So, as I am working on these small triangles and making all the necessary squares for the Christmas Tree Wall Hanging, I was also looking for my favorite stiletto. The one reviewed previously with two prongs. I could not find that little guy anywhere.

I searched high and low and it was no where to be found. Then, when you leave my sewing room, I have this new organizational basket that I got from QVC when I place my rotary cutters and odds and ends. I searched this before... several times... OK, I'll look one last time, take everything out. Finally, there it was. In one little compartment hiding behind the scissors. I think I should go back to my messy chaos, then I could find the things I needed :-) By the way, these are good for little odds and ends but things like to hide in the basket. You can also get similar ones from Wal-mart around $15

Little Guys update
To date we have 5 chrysalis or cocoons, 3 growing caterpillars eating us out of house and home and 3 eggs about to hatch. It's practically becoming a butterfly farm. I think the project is almost done because the milkweed plant is starting to die. You can see the fresh leaves we are getting off of it are starting to be more of a brownish color. Well, we have about a week before the butterflies emerge. Then, we'll release them. Here's a photo of the caterpillars and how much they have grown. They are climbing the sides of the container now.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Christmas Tree, Hallways and Sunsets

Christmas Tree Wall hanging

I'm making progress on the Christmas tree wall hanging. However, now that I'm back to the work week, progress will slow. I've finished the red/red squares from the half square triangles, I've finished the red/green half square triangles. Now I have 40 red/white to finish.

Quick Tip - Measuring Quilt Backing

Now, what do hallways have to do with crafting. Well, I was getting two quilt tops ready to send away for quilting and I was driving myself crazy with the measurements. You know, an extra 8 inches long/wide.

I decided to roll out the backing fabric in the hallway to measure and I placed two layers on top of each other. Then I just placed the quilt top on top of the backing fabric and measured sixteen inches from the end of the top longer and then cut a semi-straight line. Wow, so much easier. Then I just squared up the backing pieces and then on to the piecing together and trimming width and I'm done. I always knew there was a better use of the hallway space :-)


As far as sunsets, we had a beautiful one last night. It was so pink/purple. I was trying to capture the colors with the digital camera to use with some kaleidoscope software I have. It will also be nice to place on my computer monitor as a background. For our area, this is a great sunset but I've also seen some beautiful ones on other blogs.

Talk to you later


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Half Square Triangles and These little piggies

You know, sometimes when you follow a pattern, you follow the hard way. I was cutting all the fabric for the Christmas Tree and it said to cut them all into half square triangles. I did. Let me tell you, that's a lot of half square triangles. I should have just cut larger squares and then sewn the diagonals to create the triangle squares. O-well. I have a lot of sewing ahead of me. The goal is at least 40 squares a day :-)

Repeat after me, sew-press-square up-snip corners-repeat, sew-press-square up-snip corners-repeat now say that about 120+ times. Ah but when it's done, and all the seams and corners are forced to align, it will be worth it.

These Little Piggies

The larger the caterpillars get, the more they eat the more they mess. We go to bed at night and wake up and look how much they eat. We try to change out the leaves and mess. When I show you the leaves in the container, I clone out the mess using Photoshop Express clone brush from an area of napkin that doesn't have a mess. In the second photo below, the pillars (as I like to call them) are mostly hiding on the underside of the leaves.

At the same time as we started the interest in our own butterflies, we received a butterfly kit gift that came with caterpillars already in it. It came with it's own special food, you just watch them eat and triple their size. I think this is a great learning experience for kids. Well, here's our pillars from there. They are starting the chrysalis stage. They got them from the InsectLore site.

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Holiday Fun and Butterfly Status

This morning I've been cutting the 3" and 2.5" squares for the Christmas Tree wall hanging. As I'm sitting there spending time with the hubby, using my fold-away cutting mat below, he's happy as can be playing Zelda on the big screen. He is just a big kid trapped in a man's body, I swear! But I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Here's the fabrics I've chose and cut for the Christmas Tree wall-hanging. I'm going for the traditional red/green look instead of the wine/green fabric on the pattern photo. I did not cut out the border squares, I'm going to place some other type of border on the wall-hanging. I'm just not sure which type yet.

Also, I received a delivery from Keepsake Quilting and in it was the wall hanging pattern I ordered for Halloween. This looks like fun but all those branches already have me nervous. But, looks like September will be holiday fun.

By the way, the caterpillars are getting bigger. Here I found two hanging out. Look how cute the tiny antennas are! Hope you all have a great Saturday! ~*~Trish~*~

Friday, August 22, 2008

Next Project - Christmas Tree Quilt & Raising Butterflies

I have several several patterns that I have been collecting and thinking, someday I want to make that. O wait, I want to make that... and so on and so on Come on, you know you all have them too. I swear, I must have the full lazy girls purse patterns catalogs but haven't made a purse yet. Next on my list, I swear.

Anyhow, I've decided this Christmas tree will be my next project. I can just see the "bling" I'll be placing on it :-) I know I already have red sparkly fabric for the flowers. The Green, gotta go stash hunting. The outside border on this one I'm not a huge fan of. There's just something about sawtooths that I'm not crazy about. I'll have to think about how I want to border it then.


Raising Butterflies

Now, Raising Butterflies... Somewhat of a stretch to be considered a craft but very interesting. Hubby and I received a milkweed plant recently and the person that gave it to us was explaining how butterflies love this plant and that they will sometimes lay eggs on it. Long story short, we purchased two more milkweed plants, did our research online, placed the plants outside and low and behold, butterfly eggs.. (well, caterpillar then butterfly but you know the process). So, I thought I would share the process here in snippets. Here's the flower from the swamp milkweed plant

Here on the left are the white dot eggs we have. We had 5 eggs about 5 days ago. Look carefully, they are there.

Here on the right are the teeny tiny caterpillars that hatched that will eat and make messes as they grow grow grow.

That's all for now... They are easily lost on the paper towel but then reappear after they have been gorging on the leaf from the underside.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Craft Item Review - The FoldAway Cutting/Pressing Mat

Since I'm in between projects, I thought I would review one of my favorite craft items. You know, do my own "Trish's Favorite Things" from time to time like some famous talk show host out there. Only, I won't be giving them away for free to everyone like she does, sorry...

This item is called the The FoldAway by Dritz. It includes a 12" x 18" gridded mat with markings and a 12" x 18" pressing surface on the other side. It has a the Velcro tab to keep the FoldAway folded shut and there are handles for easy carrying. They say it's great for class and travel but I use them elsewhere most of the time. It comes in many different sizes.

What I like to use it for is spending time with hubby and working on my crafts at the same time. When I feel I'm spending too much time in the sewing room away from hubby, I whip out the foldaway and take it into the living room to cut or press items I'm currently working on or prep something for the next project. It fits perfectly on top of one of those wood TV trays. Then, I can do my crafts and watch TV with him at the same time!!
My Ratings
  • Would I buy it again. - Yes, most definitely several times
  • Do I use it often - At least once a week.
  • Was it worthy the money? - Yes, especially because I get mine at Michael's whenever they have their 40 or 50% coupon.
  • Where I can I find it? (Note, links maybe be outdated due to manufacturer's web updates) Michael's Stores, Connecting Threads, Create for Less, Clotilde
  • Special Notes - There are many sizes available.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Turning Twenty Quilt Top Finished - With a twist

I started playing with the last border of the turning twenty quilt on Sunday. I had the 20 pieces left from the 20 Fat Quarters used. These pieces were 16.5" long and 3.5" wide. When I placed them next to the quilt so far, I did not like them, they were too large of blocks of color. I debated about not adding the final border. I stopped playing with the borders for a while and then walked away.

I looked at the pile of pieces I had and then decided to do the fun part. Deviate from the "standard" turning twenty quilt pattern. :-) I decided to randomly cut the border blocks up into pieces and again randomly place them back together. This worked pretty well, EXCEPT for all those pieces and seams really test your sewing and cutting skills to end up with straight lines. OK, so I had some waves here and there in the borders. I decided to move ahead and complete all four side pieces. Since I was cutting up all the original pattern pieces and the pattern did not count on a solid border around the blocks as well, I knew I was going to come up short in length. So, I added random solid black blocks as well.

When I finished sewing the 4 rows to cover the sides of the quilt top, and I saw the slightly uneven sides, I decided to trim this border on both sides to give me a clean line to add it to the quilt top. I took off a quarter inch on both sides of the borders. Lazy me was not going to do the whole length of each border panel in one level. No, I folded up each of the borders accordion style and sliced the quarter inch off both sides in one swipe each side. Surprisingly, once I got the fold just right, it worked out well.

So, there you have it. The quilt top is completed. My work here is done. I'm not even going to try and quilt this one since it ended up so large. It's 70 x 85.5 in size. My Quilt frame is not nearly setup that large. So, off to the mail this one goes for an all over pattern. I'll add the binding once it is completed. I'm thinking of adding a red binding to set off the red blocks. We'll see. Well it's off to the next craft. Talk to you later.

P.S. The quilt was so large for me, it was difficult to get a good photo of it with all sides and corners showing :-)


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Solid Black border added - Turning Twenty Quilt

Hello, well our new heat pump has been installed and doing its' thing. Yeah!! The outside compressor unit is so quiet!! I'm so happy for our neighbors since our last unit had an annoying hum to it.

Surprisingly, I had time today to work on adding the black solid (or blender) border to my Turning Twenty quilt while the installers were doing their thing. They were here about 8 hours.

I really like what the solid black border did to the other mismatched colors. I'm debating about not putting the second border around the solid border.

The second border is the fourth cut piece out of the Turning Twenty pieces per fat quarter. It is a 3 and 1/2" border of the twenty different fat quarters used. This is one big quilt. I'm going to think about putting this last border on the quilt over the rest of the weekend. Let me know what you think?


Friday, August 15, 2008

All together now - Turning Twenty Quilt Center

Hello, long time no post. It's funny how everyday things get into the way of one's crafting and posting. It's been a long and expensive week in our house. Work days have gone into the early evenings and haven't left much time for crafting this week. I did manage to take the day off today. We were planning on going to Lancaster this weekend to visit the outlets and maybe a quilt shop or two. However, last night while watching the big screen TV, the lamp went out. Ugh... they can be a couple hundred dollars.

Before that, we had to purchase a heat pump with air. Our heat portion went out and we previously scheduled to have it done this weekend, tomorrow to be exact. Oh the fabrics and crafts i could have bought with that money...

I did however manager to finally sew together my squared up'd blocks from the turning twenty quilt. Again, I started trying to figure out which block looked best with another and just gave up. Whatever ended up beside each other stayed as long as the fabric didn't match the block above or beside it. I'm happy with the color layout as well.

Next stop, I want to place a 1.5" black border around this center before moving onto the various patches border that matches this center. Tomorrow I'll probably be kicked out of the house with the furnace guys in here. Maybe Sunday I can work on it.

Hope you have a great weekend!!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ironing and Squaring completed - Turning Twenty Quilt

Boy, when it comes to ironing and squaring blocks, I just can't get motivated. Especially after longs days at work. On Friday, we had a software release which didn't end until Midnight. Needless to say, I was not very motivated on Saturday.

Finally today, I ironed all the blocks and squared them up to a 16" square. I finally figured out how to square a 16" square using a smaller square ruler by using the inside seams of the block. It took a while, but I finally finished the square of the blocks. Next stop, the center pieced panel will be completed either tonight or sometime this week. Hopefully I'll have photos of the finished pieced center part of the Turning Twenty quilt in a day or two.

I also made progress on the quilting area downstairs. I rearranged furniture, expanded the quilting table AND talked the hubby into moving the deer head trophy from above my quilting machine to another wall. Yippee Yippee, what an accomplishment.

P.s. Went to the local flea market today and scored a nice large quilt rack for $5. It's about 45" wide. What do you think? Pretty nice and priced reasonably. I like it because it has a shelf above it and the quilt bar lifts out for loading.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

20/20 Completed Blocks - Turning Twenty Quilt

Well, I finished all 20 blocks for the turning twenty quilt. The photo below is just a laid out display of all the blocks. Now all I need to do is to square up the blocks and sew the blocks in rows and then the joins the rows to create the full quilt top together. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish that this weekend. Once that is completed, I'll add a black border around the 20 blocks and then add the final piece of the top layout. The final random border of left over pieces cut out from each of the Fat Quarters used.

This is turning out to be larger than I thought. It will never fit on my quilt table setup. Once I finish it, I'll have to decide if I am going to send it away to have it quilted, or just stitch in the ditch for each block.

The color scheme needs to grow on you. Hubby and I are still not sure if this is one of our favorites. But, I'll keep moving through until I finish the top to finally decide. Let me know what you think.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

14/20 Blocks Completed - Turning Twenty Quilt

Once I started sewing the blocks together yesterday evening... time and progress flew! I now have 14 out of twenty of the blocks completed. I was testing the layout on my living room floor and I am liking what I see.

After all twenty blocks are completed and assembled, I will then place a black border around the outside before I add the random border blocks to the turning twenty quilt. I think you really have to like the black and white fabrics to like this one. I think randomizing the red blocks will be the key.

On a craft room progress note. Someone picked up the extra couch in our basement yesterday from my posting on ! Yeah!! I have more space downstairs for my craft supplies. You can't really tell anything by the photo below but, the couch used to be in the center of the room in front of the quilt frame.

P.s. the big lighter colored block on the wall is covering my husband's deer. It has to go... so, if I can't talk him out of moving it to the garage :-) then it's time to start hiding it in photos and then hanging quilting supplies on it!.

Have a great day!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Don't Over Analyze - Randomize on Turning Twenty Quilts

Yesterday, I finished cutting all of the twenty black/white and red fat quarters for the turning twenty quilt. This morning, I started looking at all the blocks and trying to analyze which pieces look good with other pieces.
I finally realized, enough is enough. I took the three different pieces of the blocks and separated them into 3 different grocery bags. All twenty different fat quarter matching pieces went into each of the 3 bags. Then I just reached in and whatever I picked up as the piece is what is going on the block.

I then folded the 3 randomly picked pieces back up into a self-contained packet and pinned it. This way, when I have a few minutes here and there to sew, I can pick a packet and sew a block. Each block completed is progress towards completing the unfinished object (UFO).

When I was randomly picking pieces, I saw that some blocks might need revisited and squared up. If I saw a block like that, I placed a marker on that packet. The whole process went rather quickly and now sewing the blocks together will too. The upcoming work week will be long with some big projects so this will help me to even sew one or two blocks a night.

Here's the final view of all the randomized pinned packets. Back in the bag for the next steps. I know it might sound like a lot of prep work but when I do complete things like this, it's so much easier to return and pickup where I left off. Case in point, when I opened the box, it had the block sizes printed on the lid I needed to cut.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Turning Twenty Quilt - back for more

Well the craft room downstairs is progressing very slowly. Now, instead of the Quilt frame and HQ16 in the middle of the room, I have a very large (ugly I might add) sleeper sofa in the middle of the room. I just need to take some photos of the couch and post it on I'm sure someone can use it.

Since I moved a few things downstairs like my cutting table, I've been going through my craft drawers upstairs. I found this box (I love self closing boxes, great for storage) with the words "current project" on it. That's funny, I don't remember this. I opened it up and to my surprise it was a turning twenty quilt in progress.

That's right, now I remember. I loved this concept. I had a bunch of black and white fat quarters in wild patterns so I figured I would create this turning twenty pattern. Well, time to pull this UFO into the active pile again and bring it back to life. I remember that I really disliked cutting out the fat quarters. Some fat quarters are not cut the same and the block sizes needed out of the fat quarter were weird sized. Luckily, I printed out the block sizes and taped it to the box top. I do this because I know that I get side-tracked and when I get back to a work in progress, you tend to forget the block sizes.

This weekend my goal is to finish cutting out the blocks to this quilt and squaring up the blocks. maybe even sort out the similar block sizes into bags for random selection and mixing of the patterns in the blocks.

Have a great weekend!!