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 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!

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!

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!

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!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Four Breast Cancer Warrior Quilts Finito!!

I am 100% done with the Four Breast Cancer Warrior Quilts that I started back around June. It seems like I have been working on these for months and months.... Wait, I have. However, since I can only sew on the weekends, a lot of progress has been completed over these couple months.

I can say I am finally found my rhythm with hand sewn binding. It took a quilt and a half and then I was whip stitching like crazy. One a night since Wednesday. At first after the first binding my little finger I use to push the needle was so sore.

Then, I came up with a compromise. I had a box of spot band-aids and used them as makeshift thimbles for my middle finger which I use to push the needle through the binding. One on top near the nail and then one near the middle section. It worked like a charm!! Probably shouldn't be used for hard needle work because they are apt to puncturing. Terrible photo but you get the picture.

But, I can finally say, I am done !! Now, time to box them up and ship them out to the ad agency. I hope a few of mine go to hang in the hospitals for Breast Cancer Awareness month before they are given to a recipient. I hung them over the banister (so you can see on each one where they bow out over the carpet) and took my final photos. What a nice view below:

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Busy Weekend for Quilts and Butterflies

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend!

Breast Cancer Warrior Quilts Status

I had a great visit with my sister and my nephew. I did not complete much sewing on Saturday/Sunday/Monday early since I had guests. However, I was on a roll once I put my mind and my new walking foot to it.

The end result is, I have 4 quilts ready to have their bindings turned and sewn down. Since I accomplished "sew" much, "sew" fast, I decided I am going to finish the bindings by hand. Over the next 4 nights, I'll sew while watching TV and hope to have them completed by the end of the weekend!!

Embellishment Cover

There were a few rhinestones that did not make it through all the handling of the quilts when I was adding the binding. That was until I figured out a way to protect any blocks that had excessive embellishments. I purchased some Glad Press'n Seal and then cut a piece of paper the size of the block to cover. I placed the paper on the block and then covered with the Press'n Seal around the edges. The paper protected the block and the embellishments from sticking to the Press'n Seal. When I came close to stitching in the ditch near the block, I lifted the Press'n seal, sewed the block, pressed it back down and kept going. Worked like a charm!

Butterflies Everywhere

Every time we turned around we had new butterflies this weekend. What perfect timing to have my nephew here to see the process. I think we released 3 and we have 4 about to be released tonight with about 3 more chrysalises to go. The good news is, the lid that dropped had all of it's butterflies hatch!!

Here are a few photos. Too many to choose from. Some are blurred by the netting and others came out clear. The last two show a new butterfly just minutes after it came out of the chrysalis and then a few minutes later once the wings expanded.

If you look closely at the left photo, you can see the butterfly in the chrysalis.

Soaking up some nourishment and then just hanging around drying

Before and after the wings expanded

Room with a View - Hung the netting in the window

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our First Monarch of this year

We have our first Monarch Butterfly! OK, it emerged on Monday and I'm just writing about it now. We have since released it yesterday. It was so pretty! Within the next couple of days, we will probably have about 3+ more Monarchs.

This isn't the greatest photo of it but look at it's wing span how pretty. This was when he took the container outside to let it go.

It climbed up on my finger when I was letting it out of the netting while I was trying not to disturb the other chrysalises. It stayed there for about a minute, open/closing its wings and then flew off.

This video was taken about a day after it emerged. It climbed up the to the top of the container and hung on the safety pin suspending the lid that the chrysalises are attached to. It was drying it's wings. You can barely see the clear chrysalis in the bottom right area (maybe too blurry) and then a full green chrysalis beside it.

This weekend, my goal is to either create all the binding necessary for the breast cancer quilts or to quilt at least two of the four quilts.

Thanks for stopping by!