Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Different Type of Sweet Christmas Card

This year, we didn't have a chance to send out Christmas Cards.  We relocated to Baltimore while my husband is having treatment at Johns Hopkins.  There are so many people here that we wanted to say Merry Christmas to so I ordered a bunch of larger Chocolate Bars (the 4.5 oz size) and created custom labels.

When I printed out the labels at the place we are staying, the printers only had black ink.  That's OK, for some reason I packed Christmas Colors of Stickles glitter tubes.  I used those to add color to our unconventional Christmas Cards.

On the back of the bars, is a personalized message thanking the recipient for their part in our stay here and wishing them and their families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  They turned out much better than the photos turned out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Pillow Cases

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I was able to make a few Christmas themed pillows to take with us to the place we are staying near the hospital.  I also made a set of Mistfit Toys pillowcases as a surprise for my husband.  We love the misfit toys from the story Ruldolf.  I think that will make him smile while we are away for Christmas.

Other than that, I've just been packing and weeding things out.  It will be a very small hotel/apt room we will be staying at for about 8 weeks near the Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore Maryland.  Right now with only a few days before my husband's treatments start, we are on the waiting list for housing.  Hopefully we hear something today!  We could not have done this without the help of friends/family staying at our home, watching our animals etc.

Thanks to Maggie's post over at Patchmaker's Quilts, I now have an endless supply of crochet patterns to choose from.  I've bookmarked a lot of blogs to keep up with while we are away.  Keep up the great crafts!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Portable Crafting

Well it looks like I will be changing my crafting to something a little more portable.  We have decided to go outside our area for treatment for my husband.  So, I will be leaving the craft items and the sewing machines behind and taking only something portable.  Time to transfer all the craft items over to our house sitter for a couple of months.

In the past, I have dabbled in Crocheting and did like it.  I made crochet stars or snowflakes last year to place on gifts.  I think I'll take some of that with me to the hotel.  Maybe I can make some for the Christmas trees that will be at the hospital over Christmas.

Or, I may become ambitious and make a crochet blanket.  In any case, I wanted to show you photos of the Christmas stars I previously made and where you can find a great tutorial.

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 is the link for Snowflakes  I am working on above.

P.s.  If anyone has any other suggestions for portable crafting, send them along!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 9, 2009

In an instant, it all changes

In an instant, everything changes. The "couldn't wait" waiting game you played waiting for results has gone into overtime and the results are in. It was a wild card, who would have thought. The importance of the day has changed and crafting is not the top priority anymore. However, it's not forgotten.

Planning appointments is the name of the game now. Emotional support is the thread that will keep each day moving until treatments can be a thing of the past. So, it will be less frequently that I will update the blog with crafting. However, I won't be gone completely, just tending to those things more important.

The photos on the top of the posting were for Pillowcases I was practicing to begin making. They would be sent to ConKerr Cancer to be distributed to kids with Cancer. I'll try and continue if we stay in the area for treatment, but, hopefully hubby will be willing to pack up the bags and go to where the docs are the best for him.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finished Tumbler and Rag Quilt

It's nice to be able to say I finished two projects this week. I finished snipping the first rag quilt and then I also finished quilting the Moda tumbler with a quilting "design" and finished adding the binding. Here's a section of the finished rag quilt. I still have to wash the quilt to fray the edges.

Finished Moda Quilt

I binded my second Moda tumbler quilt with the leave fabric featured in one of the blocks. I quilted the quilt with a "stipple" quilting. I put "stipple" in quotes because it looks like a lot of alien fingers to me. Just doesn't look good like other stipple quilting I saw. Although, it was fun. I laugh how I can tell the different sections I worked on during different days. My stippling changed. I figured this was more of a practice quilt for me since I was not too crazy about the fabrics. I used a red, white and blue thread. I figured everything matched except the blue but the blue was pretty dark so it kinda blends in. Here's some photos of my first overall "stippling" on a quilt.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Baby Embroidered Blanket

I currently have 2 great nieces and now have a new great nephew. He's an early bird but doing well. He came about 2.5 - 3 months early but he is doing well and is holding his own.

Since he is in another area of the state, a cake made of diapers was out of the question. So, I turned to the next best thing and embroidered a baby blanket for him. I always debate whether to add the height and weight to the blankets. This time I did since he was such a small weight baby. Here's his blanky. I smudged the last name in the photo.

I also had the die cut machine (Silhouette) cut out a quick baby boy card. This turned out better than I had expected. Only a few areas of the cut out were difficult to remove.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rapid Rag Quilts - Part Two

Now that you have your blocks cut and sewn with the X on the blocks, you simply assembly sew the blocks together in your chosen design. The whole time you are sewing you just want to make sure all your seams are facing the same way. Be sure to use a 1/2 inch seam allowance to allow for snipping.

The hardest part for me is deciding the layout. I usually turn to my Electric Quilt 6 software to quick change the layout until I find one I like. Here's the design I chose. I don't even care if the fabrics match completely in the software, I just pick fabric colors that are similar to mine.

Next, I sew my assembly sewn block pairs into rows. From there, it's just joining the rows until you have your quilt. Now you are ready for your snipping of the seams. These are my favorite scissors to cut the quilts. They are a little heavy but they are built to spring open after you snip and all you do is squeeze close to snip. Let them spring open and squeeze down to snip. I find my hand doesn't get as tired. I bought them on eBay a couple years ago for a lot less.

When snipping, I fold the row back on the quilt to only expose the seam, then just snip along until the row is completed. It is monotonous and I tend to take several breaks. I make my snips pretty small about 1/8" wide. Once the rows and columns are cut, the quilt will lay alot straighter in the seams. Here's an intersection that's already been cut.

After it's all completed, I try to take the quilt to the laundry mat to wash and dry. I do this because I caused my washer to overflow with all the fibers that come off in the first wash. When I give them as gifts, I make sure the recipient knows that the washing/drying will give off many fiber strands for a while. Here's the assembled quilt 51" x 68". I still need to snip the seams.

Time for me to start on the second rag quilt that is already cut. If you dedicate time to complete these, they can easily be finished in a weekend. I just loose interest too easily and need a break to do something else.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rapid Rag Quilts and Lazy dogs

I started working on a few Christmas Quilts which will end up being rag quilts. I love snuggling under rag quilts. They are so warm. I found that I can relax more making rag quilts as well. Perfect cuts are not required. I can cut out a large quilt in a 1 or two hours. All it requires is a sharp rotary cutter. If you are dedicated, you can easily complete these in a weekend.

I start with my purchased flannel and then I bring the two folded cut ends of the fabric together. This gives me four layers of fabric. I then fold this over to make eight layers of fabric. (image a) I lay my 9.5" square over this and cut a strip to match the length (image b). Then I cut off the ends and move on to the next set. I know this creates some larger scraps. I try to cut one side close and leave the other side larger(image c). This gives me larger strips to sew together for some quick crafts. Before you know it, you have a huge stack of cut squares.
I pretty much do the same with my batting. Although I usually use leftover batting cut off from quilts. I try to make them 8.5" square. If I only have 7.5" square, I use that too.

I sit watching my favorite program and quickly layer the squares and batting into sandwiches. Next thing you know, I have a large stack of sandwiches ready for assembly sewing. I assembly sew one center line on each square and snip each one apart. Repeat the process for the second line in the x on the square.

Next stop, I'll be doing the quilt assembly and snipping the edges over the weekend. Before you know it, you could have 100 squares ready to make 6 x 8 block quilts. Using the 9.5" square and 1/2 inch seam, this makes two quick 51 by 68 quilts. Great lap quilt gifts to give.

Lazy Dogs...

Beyond the fabric cutting, we've just been enjoying little day trips here and there while we are on vacation. Not only DH and I but the dogs as well. Nothing says relaxing more than two lazy dogs. One usually sleeps wherever she can and totally crashes and the other needs to be buried in a blanket. We always need to be careful where we sit with this little one.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tumbler Pillow from Leftover blocks

Since I thought that my recent second tumbler quilt was way to long for me, I removed 3 rows from the length of the quilt as referenced in my blog entry below. I was not sure how I was going to create my pillow this time since the only way I have been completing pillows is with the flap on the back.

When I measured the height of the 3 rows, it just measured 18 inches. That was it, I was going to make a pillowcase for an 18" pillow form. 18" wide of the blocks measured 4 blocks. However, I wanted to complete a full front and back from the blocks.

Here's the end result. Both front and back. It is so soft since it is flannel material as well.

In order to do the mirrored front and back, I had to brave my first zipper. I placed some extra brown fabric around the zipper and attached it. Turned out not as bad as I thought. However, the one issue was that I only had an antique blue zipper that met the 18" long.

Impatiently, I figured the pillow was for me and I didn't care if the zipper was blue so I moved forward. The length was a perfect fit. I might be revisiting this method again real soon. It the antique sewing box I have it also had a 7, 12, 14, and 16" zippers so there's several experiments in my future.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ties that bind the cake

This past week during vacation we made a trip to Pittsburgh to visit with family and to complete some errands. The first errand was to drop off some cakes for two baby showers.

One cake of diapers was made for a new little girl and the other was made for twin boys. Simply roll up your diapers individually and rubber band them lightly to stay rolled. Create three layers of rolled diapers one at a time and then compress the layer with a fabric tie. Decorate with all the beautiful things available for babies these days!

The way I keep the layers tight is with a fabric band. It is simply:

  • Two 3.5" strips sewn right sides facing and then turned right sides out. To make it extra simple, I sew one end straight across when inside out.

  • I use this side to turn right side out. Then I turn the other side in and sew a 1/4 visible seam.
  • Now, just turn the ends to make a point and sew all directions.

The bottom layer I make a strip 66" long (1.5 times the length of fabric) and the top two layers are 44" or 42". Tie tightly to compress the layer and form a bow. Whala...

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tumbling Again

After finishing the Moda Gobble Gobble quilt last weekend, I went through my stash and found the following Moda tumbler blocks that I previously purchased off of Etsy. The fabrics are a flannel feel and very soft although I'm not so sure I'm a fan of the outcome. It's definitely more of a rugged look to the quilt instead of the bright ones I'm used to completing. The photo is not a very good representation of the colors. There's a cream and a white block, dark brown, light green and dark green.

I started sewing a half hour in the evening and the next thing I knew the quilt top was completed. The instructions advised to make 11 block rows by 13 rows. I hung it over the banister and got ready to take a photo. Hey wait a minute, that's an awfully long quilt? Oh no, that has to be shortened.

Off came three rows. Ah, much better. Now what to do with the blocks from the three rows??? I know, I'll make a matching pillow again only this time we have enough to go double sided with our blocks.

Hopefully I keep the momentum going to finish it even though I'm not a huge fan. We'll see.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October - My Favorite Month

I love the month of October! From the weather to the events, I always look forward to it. It starts with the cooler weather and then moves into our Anniversary tomorrow. Then, as we do every year, we take two weeks off for vacation sometime in the middle. Sometimes we go on a cruise or trip and other times we stay local. Since we were in Las Vegas in May, we'll be sticking locally again this year. But, there's a long list of "to dos" to be completed.

One I can check off my list as completed is the FALL Moda Gobble Gobble fabric quilt. The more I look at this quilt, the more I love the fabrics. They are the perfect fall colors. I finished it with a very soft chocolate flannel for the backing. Just makes you want to snuggle up. I also picked up a 12" pillow today at Joanns for the leftover block pillow case I completed. Joann's is having a b1g1 free sale on their brand of pillows.

Here's the end results. Of course I had a model in the last photo as well. This is Mindy, our larger Yorkshire terrier who loves to smile for photos :-) Also, in the last photo you can see the binding is chocolate brown as well on the bottom of the quilt.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's like a new machine... Gobble gobble

It's funny how we can get used to how things work. I can't believe how zippy and fast the fabric passes under the presser foot now. Those feet really grab hold now and pull the fabric through versus the pushing and pulling I found myself doing sometimes.

I gave up on the "pattern" for the Moda baby quilt using the gobble gobble squares. Once I got started on these this weekend, there was no stopping until the quilt top was done. The question is now, how to finish it. I have some brown fabric for a border I think I'm going to use but I'm not sure what backing fabric I'll use. Here's the top...

It turned out I had 12 blocks left and immediately thought to make a pillow. I sewed the 12 blocks together and cut the square down to 12.5 for a smaller pillow cover. I found a complementary batik piece of fabric for the backing. The back pieces I cut to 8.5" each and then turned down a 1/2 inch on the edge and sewed a 1/4 seam to finish the opening that would receive the pillow insert when it is all finished.

To prep for sewing, I placed the pillow face up and the two backing pieces face down and sewed all around the perimeter. I sewed a few back and forths on the edges where the back pieces overlap for stability and here you have it, my matching little pillow. I love how the little pillow turned out! Of course, I only have a 14, 16 & 18" pillow form. I need to stop by the craft store and get a 12" square pillow form.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finding the Lint Monster

As I was sewing last night on the Fall Quilt blocks, I thought I noticed that the fabric was slipping and sticking under the presser foot. That might be causing my problems. Today at lunch, I was able to test this theory out on a longer piece of fabric. Sure enough, the fabric was slipping and stitching in place in some places and not being passed evenly under the presser foot. I noticed this slightly before when working on the Breast Cancer quilt but not as much since I was using the walking foot and the thicker quilt sandwich.

Ok, something's wrong. I called the local repair shop and asked if I needed an appt to bring in the machine. Nope, good I'll take it after work. I looked through the clear door to the bobbin which I cleaned regularly and it all looked clean. I opened the side where I knew the mechanics were and all looked clean still.

Then after these years, I noticed the bolt on the plate under the presser foot. Figured what the heck, I'm already planning on taking to the service center. Opened it up and thought, hey they have padding all around the bobbin case, neat...

Looked closer and OMG, that's lint! The feed dogs are suffocating in all that lint!! I got out some trusty tweezers, eye brow brushes (who knew cosmetic equipment would be so handy) and got to work.
Once it was all closed back up and I tested sewing the same fabric, It was amazing!! It went zipping under those feed dogs and sounded beautiful.

Moral of my story... the instructions were located on page 57 of the instructional book. Read the manual Trish, it's in the book!! That will be a $200 savings that can be spent on more fabric :-)

P.s. How linty is your machine?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Overanalyzing Quilting

This weekend I was able to finish a photo quilt project I had. It was actually a redo. I took off appliqued photos and replaced them with sewn in photos since the recipient was not a fan of seeing the sewing around the photos. OK, I'm a people pleaser, I know it...

Then I finished cutting out all the Moda Gobble Gobble blocks for my fall scrappy quilt. Even though this is supposed to be an exercise in free expression and mixing colors and patterns, I found my self reverting back to trying to plan out the quilt. Just look at this photo. I started to sort by background colors, then counted in each, divided by the number of blocks per row and then tried to distribute them evenly. The tablet ending up looking like a football diagram. I'm exhausted just trying to plan out the random colors... enough...this is supposed to be relaxing :-)

Then I thought, I have some free time tonight. Hubby's being the big kid he is and playing PlayStation games and I'm going to try and sew up some of these blocks. OK, the planning went out the window and I'm just grabbing blocks now. All done with the row and I look back to see many waves in the blocks... what's up with that. This should be a simple straight stitch between blocks. Then, when the blocks look just right and I sew them together, how can the longer end overhang more than the shorter end? OK, I give up, enough....time for some mind numbing TV!!

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