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

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??

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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

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!

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

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

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.