Thursday, December 20, 2012

1XMAS Update

 I got a great start on final Christmas projects,  I needed little ornaments for my "Quilting Sisters" Bee, so while I was perusing Pinterest I saw the sweetest little ornament that seemed super easy and fast!  (One of my Resolutions is to be more computer savvy and figure out how to link up)  The ornament I saw used white wool as the background, red gingham fabric and a star as the template.  Using only what I had on hand, mine had red wool and I matched up scraps of Christmas stash.  I used cookie cutters as my template for the fabric and then pencil sketched a generous 1/4" for the background.  I tried to enlarge it with the copier, but it didn't come out properly.  I made 28 total ! 
Next I made these two kitty candle mats for my Step MIL, and bought two candles to go with them. 
Then I decided to reduce the templates from the candle mats and make mug rugs and two of these have already been mailed to my MIL, and the other set will go to my Uncle and his wife.   The next type of mug rugs I made up from another idea from Pinterest.  There were no directions, just a photo, and when I clicked on it the blog was in Spanish, but she didn't provide a tutorial.  The mug rug on her blog were thinner and taller, but you can made the template any size you wish.  I used grosgrain ribbon for the handle, but the possibilities are endless!
    My final Christmas project, is a present.  My DS, also my first born, celebrated his birthday the week of Thanksgiving and he turned 17 yrs old.  Wow, was that ever a shocker!  When did that happen?  I also realized that he needed his new quilt SOON.  I made him a Star wars quilt years ago and he had asked for an update, but as he is a bit picky and does not like to shop for fabric, I had procrastinated.  I went shopping and the long and the short of it is that a small simple, uncomplicated project grew and in exactly one week I ended up with this!  I finished quilting this around 9 pm last Thursday, 12-13-12, my daughter unpinned it for me and I trimmed it. 
Then at 11 pm the entire family went to the cinema and watched the first showing of  The Hobbitt as my birthday present!  It was wonderful and we all enjoyed it immensely!  Returned home for a few hours of sleep and then off to my guild meeting where I showed my quilt (unbound) for show and tell.  When I arrived home, we were without power for most of the day so I couldn't bind my quilt or post to my blog the 1XMAS item(s)  We later went out to dinner and were getting ready to watch a movie at home when my FIL & Step MIL called to wish me a happy birthday, and then told me about the massacre at the school in Connecticut.  We didn't mention it to the kids that night, but over the weekend, as we learned the details the disbelief became sorrow, then anger, then sadness, incomprehension and back through the cycle again.  Today is the first day I've been back in my studio, I've cut and sewn the binding strips and after this post am going to sew it on and then wrap the quilt for my son.  I wish I could make a magic quilt to wrap him and keep him safe forever, him and all children.  I am so glad I made this for him this year.  I just cannot imagine what those families are enduring.  I hope that everyone has a happy and blessed Christmas, and I so wish for peace on earth and good will to all.
Happy Quilting & God Bless!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful Finishes - 1 XMAS Item(s)

Worked on many things in November, some close to being complete, and thankfully, some completed!  One of my nieces had started making Christmas cookies and goodies a couple of years ago, and I thought about making her oven mitts with matching towels and adding a couple of cute baking accessories, but never got too far with the idea.  Then last year she mailed us some of her treats, which was a nice surprise!  (I have made Christmas cookies and sent them to many of our relatives each Christmas for almost 20 years, only missing the year my son decided to be born the Tuesday before Thanksgiving . . . when he wasn't due until after the New Year!!)  So, at an after Christmas sale at my local quilt store I found the sweetest fabric, and decided to try an apron from a book I had bought awhile ago.  It is the closest to garment sewing I have tried in many years, I can actually say it was fun to make, and I would love to make more!  I so wish I had bought more of the same fabric, I don't have enough left to make another like it.  It's a little big on my DD (she's only 13) but my niece is nearly 30 and I think it will fit nicely.   My other XMAS items were so fast and easy to whip up, I am very grateful to my "quilting sisters" Bee for showing us how to make them.
They are candle mats, although you could use them as soup mats or whatever else came to mind.  I made two from the scraps of Apron fabrics, and the other three are for my sister.  There are two patterns, one with three of each fabric and the other with four of each fabric.  I am going to make one more for my sister to even it out.  I have more cut out for my mother in law's Christmas gift, along with a couple of candles.  On my "someday" list, I'd like to reduce the size of the templates, so that they would be the right size for mug mats, wouldn't that be cute?
I also managed to finish another WISP/UFO!  I designed this little baby quilt over a year ago and cut out most of the fabric, but never got around to finishing it.  It went together so quickly, I felt silly for procrastinating so long.  I just love the colors, they lift my mood whenever I look at it.  I used citrus varigated thread to quilt it and it worked beautifully.  The Batik on the back is so lovely too - almost used a microfleece on the back, but it seems more like a summer quilt.   We enjoyed a very quiet and
relaxed Thanksgiving, a nice break before the rush of the holidays.
 Our dear Samantha does not look relaxed as she supervises my DH as he carves up the turkey.  Much to her dismay, he refused her demands offers of assistance!  Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I could just SCREAM!  I had the post almost done, a long one too, yes, lot's of pictures and my computer crashed! ARRRRRGGGH!  So. not. happy.  Well.  It appears I was the one tricked!!  What happened to auto save?  I will try again, but so disappointing!

I decided to make a companion for the ghost pop decoration, I used scraps and quilt as you go method.  I had wanted to do it in black & white, but didn't have the right background fabric.  A couple of days later, I found the perfect fabric amongst the remnants at Joanne's, so I felt compelled to make another, I just changed the border.   I prefer the black&white, what do you think?  I finished another scarf, which will go to my DD.  I had also noticed that I had not completed any WISP's since August so I finished these three tissue box holders.  I can't believe how quickly they went together - what was I waiting for?  Made just in time to pack away for next year!  I do like how they turned out!

  My DD traded her birthday party in July for a Halloween party this past Saturday!  Many of her friends travel in the summer and it was tough trying to settle on a date.  She had so much fun planning and preparing for it.  I enjoyed crafting somethings for the party. We made more of the yarn/glue/balloons, this time using white yarn, adding fake spider webbing and plastic spiders to decorate one wall.  I spray painted a grapevine wreath black, some gumtree balls, silver, added gauze and more plastic spiders.  So easy!  I also sprayed a smaller wreath white, let it dry, then sprayed it black which gave it an aged look for this hurricane glass with chocolate eyeballs and pumpkin spice candle.  Neat look!  My DD and DH blew up many balloons and decorated the wall behind the food table.  She found that idea on pinterest   

 There was a lot of yummy food too!  We made witches fingers - Rice Krispy treats, add green food coloring to the melted marshmallows, once it's all mixed together, butter up your hands and mold into fingers.  Don't forget to form a "knuckle" in the middle!  The fingernails are strawberry fruit rollups, four layers cut into triangles, another easy idea!  There were chips and dips, pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs and of course a spooky cake and spider lollipops - 12 & 13 year old's eat a lot! At the end of the night all the girls asked to sleep over, but with hurricane Sandy creeping closer by the hour we had offer a raincheck. 

This is where I usually park my truck.  Moved it at the last minute.
We were so fortunate, although we  had heavy rain and strong winds for 2 1/2 days, our family and home remained intact!  Numerous branches came down, but our tree stayed upright, which was my greatest concern.  My heart goes out to those north of us who uncharacteristically bore the brunt of this hurricane.  I hope you all have enjoyed a happy and safe Halloween! 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

1XMAS Item

I only have one XMAS item for October, and I LOVE it!!  I finally found a tutorial on how to make an infinity scarf!   This one, that my dd is modeling for me, is a Christmas gift for my mother!  She loves scarves, and I know she loves this fabric too!  When you make this you cut it all in one long piece, but it's pretty narrow so I have enough fabric to make 4 of these.  The tutorial that I used actually called for the scarf to be 11.5" wide, but mine is 7" wide.  I don't know if you can tell but it is doubled.   Although you can't tell from her expression, my dd loves the scarf too, good thing since I almost have hers done, I just have to hand stitch the final part - I believe she may find a few of these under the tree this year!  So glad my niece brought this to my attention, what a great way to use up fabric and make quick gifts.  This fabric was in my stash!  I'm not sure if I will use the remaining 16" X 73" to work up a purse (or two?) or if I will just make two more scarves.  I guess we'll see next month!  Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spooky, How Time Flies !

This project came about because the idea for the main component, the ghost, came to me after I passed large bags of Tootsie Pops at the grocery store.  It was crazy, I walked by them and then suddenly I thought - wow you could wrap those in gauze strips, draw a face on them with permanent marker, and then for Halloween you could spray paint a pumpkin black, make up a bunch of these and stick them in the pumpkin and put it on your porch on Halloween night!  So. I turned around and grabbed two bags.  Once I got home and put away the groceries, I tested out the idea as far as making the ghost, and yes, it took only a couple of minutes!  One of the (many) things I dislike about the heat and humidity in Virginia is that our pumpkins don't last very long at all.  I would have loved to have tried the pumpkin idea, but I had the idea at the end of September and there is no way pumpkin with holes would last a month.  
So I wanted a way to present the ghosts, and I also thought of buying one of those smaller, craft size bales of hay, but they are messy and my cats would chew on them.  I walked around Michael's for inspiration and it finally came to me.  I had everything at home except the clay pots.   
To make the project you must first make the ghosts.  Place a strip of gauze on top of a lollipop, insuring you are even on both sides and grasp the neck. Turn the lollipop and place another strip in the same manner, but now you are covering up a different section of the lollipop.  Continue until the lollipop is as covered as much you like, and that you have a nice amount of "tails"  I clipped the ends in a V or tried to make them look ragged.  I wrapped a small piece of gauze around the neck and tied it.  That's it for the ghost!  Whoops, I just noticed that I don't have a photo of the Styrofoam cone!  That's because it was being painted black.  My dd painted the pot using the foam brush, once it
 dried I cut florist foam to fit the pot and put the Spanish moss around the gaps.  I attached the painted black cone to the florist foam with wooden grilling skewers cut in half, I pushed the cut ends into the center of the florist foam and then stuck the cone on top of them, I used four of them.  I was going to stick the ghosts into the black foam, but changed my mind and put only one on top and set the rest around the pot.  This is now in the front entrance of my house.   Happy Quilting and Crafting!!!

Belated Sep 1XMAS Posting

Here are my belated photos for my belated posting!  I made another stocking to match the first, but made the strips thinner.  Still wasn't satisfied, it didn't look proportional - maybe the fringe is too long, but that was all I could find in the color I wanted.  I also finished a little mini purse, that was actually testing new thread on batiks that I was going to use on a customer quilt, the stitching was good so I wanted to turn it into a little gift!

 I decided to redraw the stocking pattern, extended it a bit and added the pointy toe to go with the fancy Christmas fabric and I LOVE the results!  I think it looks much more proportional and it will go perfectly with the Christmas quilt that I finished earlier this year!  They are my Xmas projects for September, but combined with the matching Christmas quilt, I am hoping it will make a nice wedding gift for a niece who is getting married September of 2013!   I made 5 more fabric memory games, tried an easier technique and it went much faster!  I had some trouble with the pinking shears, but it was still faster!  I also tested a new pantograph pattern on some stash fabric, and then put a matching binding on for a wheelchair quilt, which is the small project for my quilting guild.  And that was September and here it is almost the end of October! 
That's a scary thought! 
   Happy Quilting & Crafting!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nasty Infection(s)!

Not me, thank goodness, just my computer!  It got to the point I could not go online at all and then the machine would shut down even if I (or the children) were in Microsoft word or trying to add or edit photos.  We finally brought it to the "Geek Squad" and after 5 days they called to tell us they were able to get rid of all of the many nasty infections on the computer, and they were going to start repairing all of the damage that was done to Microsoft operating systems.  That was on Thursday, and still no word to pick it up.  I am now on my DH's laptop. which I dislike.  It is so slow and I cannot add photos.  I use my nook to go on facebook and check the weather and my email, but that is limited as well, It won't always let me do everything I want.  On the silver lining side; I have gotten quite a bit done!  Check out the sidebar for OPAM finishes for September!  That doesn't include longarming and making some crafty items for Halloween either!  I also hosted my quilting bee yesterday, and taught them how to cover different containers, it was so much fun and they had fabulous ideas for trims!  One lady covered a shoe box that she uses to hold her notions and it came out great - great idea too!  My next post will have photos of my finishes and also a "how to" for the Halloween project I thought up!    Happy Quilting and Crafting!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 1XMAS

I am very happy I was able to finish this tonight.  I was hoping to have two completed, but the weekend just didn't work out that way.  Up very early tomorrow to drive 10+ hours to Massachusetts, won't be back until the 27th and didn't want to miss posting my Christmas item on time!  This is an experiment.  I used the pattern I made for the stockings that our Guild made during a Quilt of Valor workshop.  We made those stockings in red, white and blue and they were filled with goodies and presented to Wounded Warriors.  At the time I wondered how to make them fancier, and I think I succeeded!  I think I will make my strips smaller next time, especially the white strips, those bother me for some reason.  Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Little Something for Me!

As I prepare for my trip to Massachusetts to celebrate my beloved Gram's 100th birthday . . . yes, 100th! I keep thinking how I haven't used any of the goodies I bought in June, and how excited I was with my treasures! The larger FQ pile is what I bought from Notion to Quilt, my favorite Store in Western Massachusetts! The smaller pile is what my DH bought for me later on from the same store! My sweetheart knows how I love black, white and red! I fell in love with the colorful fabric and knew just what I would do with it.  I have finally started this project, and I chose to use my favorite fat quarter and at the same time recycle a few containers!

The tall container is an oatmeal container that I can easily remove the identifying paper. I use these to hold my Panograph Patterns for my Longarm machine.  The taller nut container will be on my cutting table, to put bits from cutting in, the small nut container will be next to my machine to put threads, as well as serve as my traveling thread and scrap holder for classes and going to my Bee meetings! 
I use 330 grit sandpaper to lightly scuff the other two containers as their paper cannot be removed without damaging the container, it will help the adhesive hold better. I use a paper bag to make templates for each container. Cut them out, lay out onto fabric, then cut.  
I keep this box in the garage specifically for spraying Aleene's All Purpose Tacky Spray (outside) I sprayed a pretty thick coating and then waited about a minute before I started handling it.  I did the smaller ones first, the oatmeal container was the toughest. I added ric rac and ribbons to bring out the colors.  I could use the left over fabric for the lids, but I think I'm going to make something else instead - LOVE that fabric!  My studio feels more colorful already - Happy Quilting!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Red, White and Blue WISP Completed

This WISP took longer than expected, considering I started cutting the fat quarters the day I bought the fabric, back in November 2009!  It is the Lucky Stars pattern again and most of the fabric is from a Civil War line (don't remember which one).  I completed the blocks in July 2010, but didn't square them until this July!  But now it is pieced, quilted and bound! This was originally meant as a QOV, but then it was suggested that I present this quilt to my DH upon his retirement from the Army, as he is a civil war buff.  I'll have to think on that since he just received a quilt I made a couple of months ago.  He should not retire for a few years yet, so I may have to think on this a while.  (but not too long!) I used two 2 1/2" strips from the small bit of fat quarter from most fabrics to make up the binding, and I love how that turned out.  I think a mixed binding really works on these quilts since the quilt is so scrappy to begin with.
I used the scraps from the half square triangles to piece together a label.  I would have liked to have made two more stars for the back, but I was out of the background fabric. I couldn't find any more anywhere in my stash and I really didn't want another excuse to delay, so I only made the label.  It looks so lonely!
I am very happy with how the quilting turned out!  It actually went quickly too, considering all the interruptions to ferry kids here and there, feeding said children (repeatedly, continuously)etc.
 Working on a fun little project just for me . . .  Hope I can show it soon!   Happy Quilting!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Technical and Tactical Difficulties . . .

have kept me from accomplishing very much this month in the sewing/quilting area.  Due to frustrating difficulties with my computer I was unable to post about the little bit that I actually got done! At the moment, I am writing this blog on my regular computer, but it was shutting down sporadically until I figured out I can't watch any videos or clips on line,  a software problem of some kind.  I'm going to have to try & figure it out before the entire thing breaks I suppose, but when?  I don't think I have ever driven so much, albeit broken up in small trips, any other summer of my life!  Between the kids sports activities, wisdom teeth extractions, orthodontic appointments, sports, friends, my own physical therapy appts, other medical appointments I haven't been able to finish very much.  I'm still longarming for others, but I'm a bit behind in that too.  I still haven't scheduled the kitties for their shots (overdue now)and have everyone's eye appointments to work out before our trip back to Massachusetts for my Gram's 100th birthday party!! I did not finish a WISP this month and have so much I want to start!! Sigh. On the
bright side, I am happy with the two major finishes, as the idea just came to me while ironing, and I immediately sketched out what I had "seen" in my minds eye and wrote out the basic idea/directions.  As I worked on the project I added the fishnet as a means to hang it up and I am very satified with the way it turned out.  The small one was made first, to test the materials and see if my idea would work.  It is my 1 XMas project for July, it is a gift for my sister who has a beach/seashell sunroom in her house.  The J was meant to be a surprise birthday gift for my dear daughter who turned 13 on the 23rd!  I couldn't find my hubby's staple gun in time, so I finished it up over the weekend after DH dug it out of his garage.  I used a regular stapler and spray glue for my sister's gift.  I sewed a border around the middle panel, sprayed a painter's canvas with Aleenes acid free tacky spray, let it sit, then pressed the fabric wrong side down with my hands.  I glued and stapled the fabric to the back.  I recommend you add the netting before you start to decorate with the shells.  I glued the shells on with a permanent adhesive called Quick Grip.  I had to take this photo on my knees as to avoid a shadow, it is hanging on my DD's door and our hallway is very narrow.  I used twine to tie the fishnet together, and also create a hanging loop.  The loop is much larger on the J.  Here's hoping August is more productive, but I seriously doubt it!  Don't tell the kids, but I can't WAIT for school to start!   Happy Quilting!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June Finishes

It is sweltering here in Virginia, so of course my air conditioner isn't working correctly!  I'm afraid this is the year it may need replacing.  Sigh.  I couldn't post this earlier because the room where the computer is in was too hot!  We got it to work for awhile this morning and the house cooled down quite a bit, it's frozen up again so we just turned it off, so I thought I'd better do this now before the house gets hot again! I completed the quilting and binding of this quilt in time for our Guild meeting on the 8th of June, but didn't finish sewing down the bottom part of the sleeve until this past Friday, the 29th!  There are about 15 active members of our sewing bee, and nine of us decided last year to make this wall hanging from a magazine, sorry, can't remember which magazine! Each of us made 9 identical blocks to exchange, with the only rule being that it had to be blue and yellow fabric.  I dont have very much blue and yellow in my stash, so I had to buy the borders and sashing, I used my stash for the colors in the block.  Since it's a wall hanging, and mine, I pieced together pieces of fabric I otherwise wouldn't have used in a quilt, for the backing.  This is one of my UFO's so I am so happy to see it done!  I am very disappointed that it's just too wide to put on any of my quilt hangers, so until my DH makes a larger one I won't be able to hang it up.  Hmmmn, Maybe should have measured first before doing the sashing and borders???? It's really neat to see what the other ladies did, and I love how everyone had different ideas for the light chain, it's a wonderful momento of our Bee!  Hoping for a very productive July!  Happy Quilting!
This one is mine!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Monsterous Reveal !

These are the mess makers in my studio!
Meet the little monsters who will be attending my Great Nephew's 2nd birthday party!! They were so much fun to design and make, it was like playing dress up with dolls!  I got to use one of my favorite embellishments, rick rack and use some of the ribbons I had accidentally bought a lot of when Ben Franklin's went out of business.  Girly colors would be so much fun to do too!      I wasn't able to stitch one stitch of any kind over the weekend, I don't know why I even entertain the idea, self torture, perhaps?  Monday morning I got straight to work, and I finished the last one last night.  I had doodled and designed four of them while I wasn't feeling well, but wasn't up to actually putting them together.  All of their eyes are yo-yos, and I did most of those ahead of time, I changed things as I sewed, as usual, so I had to make some more yo-yos and now I have some extras.  Maybe I'll make up some more before it's all said and done.  I have other fabric I wanted to use, but just ran out of time. Now I need to switch over to long arming for awhile!   
Should I cut the loops?
He's one of my favorites.
Happy Quilting !!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mysterious Mess Makers . . .

have been spotted in the vicinity of my quilting studio!   And what a monstrous mess they have made!  Ribbons, rick rack, snippets of fabric, bits of batting, tangles of thread everywhere!!  They are not all ready for their final reveal . . . . but here's a little peek!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

May's Many Mini Projects

May saw the completion of many mini projects, and I was able to cross another WISP off my list with the completion of the 5 totes.  I have seen quite enough of the Hawaiian/beach print and am so glad to say there isn't a scrap of it left in the house!  I believe I made either 9 or 10 totes with that as the main color.  These last four are going to 4 nieces who are all sisters.  Their birthdays fall May - July, so I made them up and added the bubbles according to their favorite colors, found the bubblegum at AC Moore and made up the snap bags and sunglasses cases to match. 
 I made two extra sets of the snap bags for people who already have the totes.     
The purple tote is similar to one I made for a different niece, it was going to be for me, but I think I want a black, white and red one more.  I couldn't believe how close I was to finishing the purple tote, all the elements were done, I only had to do the final sewing together step - One hour of sewing and ironing.  Crazy!  I finished 4 more of the little wallets, they don't match any one's purse (yet) but I love trying out different combinations and they are pretty quick to put together!  No big projects completed, I am feeling better, but not 100% yet, I have been concentrating on getting some customer quilts done first.  This weekend I am finishing up a project I have been thinking about and looking forward to for a long time!  My quilt studio is a MESS with fun stuff everywhere - it looks like that when I am dreaming up new things!  The messier it is - the more creative I've been!  I hope to have them done by Wednesday.          Happy Quilting!