Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Clean up (Recycle, repurpose & reuse)

Christmas is over and while it's time to start the clean up, not everything necessarily needs to end up in the trash.  Here are a couple of ideas for repurposing items that are typically tossed out.  We received a lot of store bought sweet treats.  The treats are long gone, but the spacious sections of these candy boxes captured my imagination!  I measured the the sections and then cut out felt to place on the bottom of each section.  You could also use flannel or other fabric scraps.  I did not glue them down, but if the felt starts moving around, I will.  I used the larger box to hold my Janome bobbins, and I used the two smaller sections to separate my earrings in my Jewelry dresser, Saving the planet while getting organized - Sweet!  
My favorite bit of Christmas recycling is reusing the holiday cards for package tags.  I had saved 20 years of holiday cards before I started using them as tags.  All that is required are some fun paper scissors from my scrapbooking days and a small hole punch.  I add the ribbon as I wrap, and this year I used Christmas fabric selvages and trimmings as well,  This is also a good use for all those unsolicited cards that come in with the junk mail!
 The first year I did this, I just sat in front of the TV with my box of cards and scissors and snipped away as I watched "Call the Midwife"  One or two episodes and I was done.  My DH saved several that were on his packages to use again next year.  Good economy, but they are also too pretty to throw away!  Hope your holidays were joyful!  Happy Quilting!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wrapping it up for Christmas

I am winding down and wrapping up all the preparations for the holidays.  Finally finished decorating the tree, finally finished the Christmas cookies and finally finished decorating.  Better late than never!  I also managed to finish these two bags for two of my favorite customers!  The blue bag is 32" wide and 22 tall, plenty of room to put a very large (folded) quilt! 
The second bag is for a new customer who loves brights, it is only a bit smaller, 29 " wide, 21" tall, still very roomy.  I was in a bit of a hurry this morning to get to bee and give the ladies their bags, so I didn't take a picture of the interior, they each have a coordinated pocket inside.
I tried several new things this year, which certainly delayed the decorating process.  I have collected vintage ornaments from garage sales, flea markets etc., for over 20 years.  I have pinned (pinterest) many tutorials on how to make wreathes from the ornaments, but it just seems so permanent I just can't actually make one.  Instead, this year I have accepted that they will never be in a wreath and started to think about alternate uses, here are three of my favorites using items that I already had.
 I bought the swan at an old antique store (Rainvilles) about 7 summers ago, I have done various things with it, but this is my favorite!  (so far)
I just started to change this candle holder seasonally this summer, so I don't have all the candles to go with the decor yet.  I sent my DH and DD out to get them and DD came home with these.  LOVED them.  Well, until we took the plastic cover off.  Tahitian Vanilla is overwhelming!  My solution was to take out my beloved Mod Podge, yes, I did!  DISCLAIMER:  Do not use Mod Podge on candles that you intend on lighting some day.  DON'T DO IT!  FLAMMABLE!!  I never light my candles, so this was the perfect solution for me.  I brushed Mod Podge all over it and sprinkled glitter over it.  It only took two coats and the smell was completely gone.  No color is off limits for me now!
Off to link up with Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Fridays, then back to the studio to long arm on some fabric for a last minute Christmas request.  Happy Quilting!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Stash Busting for Charity

I Finished up a UFO/WISP that wasn't officially on the list, but should have been, I believe my Gram and I made the top over 2 years ago.  I finally pieced the back, quilted and bound it Wednesday and finished the pillow case last night.  All of the fabric for this bunk bed sized quilt came from my Grandma's and my stashes, even the backing, binding and pillowcase.  The pattern is a coins quilt, which I like to use to showcase an interesting fabric.  This quilt was handed over today to the special projects committee at my guild for use at Natasha House, an organization that helps women and their families get back on their feet.  I hope that it brightens up the recipient's spirits as well as their room during their stay at Natasha's house.  Now to link up for Finish it up Fridays with AmandaJean at  Crazy Mom Quilts.  This Friday she has a quilt that is the epitome of a stash busting scrappy quilt and also happens to be fabulously FUN!   Happy Quilting!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Scrappy Ornaments

I have found yet another use for scraps!  I first thought of this when I was recycling jars into pumpkins via Mod Podging orange fabric strips and scraps.  I was in need of a little something as gifts for my fellow bee members for our annual Christmas luncheon.  We exchange little ornaments or items usually homemade.  So far I seem to be fixated on ornaments.  This year I bought the smallest glass balls from Joann's Fabrics and I went through my scraps, which are organized pretty well this year.  I chose scraps to suit each of the ladies tastes, i.e.,  purples, blues, brights, fall colors, reds, citrus etc.,  I needed 12, and I made 2 extra just in case. 
 I put clay in the bottom of some candle stick holders, then broke wooden skewers in thirds and made an inverted v and put the hole of the ball on top of it to keep my hands relatively clean as I worked.  It also allowed it to dry on all sides.  My best advice is to take your time and let the Mod Podge dry a bit as you work.  I brushed some on the balls then I organized my fabric pieces.  Then I stuck a few pieces on and brushed more Mod Podge over it, then worked on the second ball.  It wasn't so slippery and stayed put better that way.
 The silver tops were tricky!  I found this Styrofoam to stick them in while I worked.  HUGE help, it was also nice because it still had a plastic covering over it so it wasn't ruined.  You will need sharp little scissors for this part, I also pinked the side that was going on the bottom edge of the top.  Definitely use a small brush and brush the Mod Podge on and let it set before trying to wrap the fabric around it.  Cut slits for better folding before trying to fold it down.
 There they all are! I put extra coats on everything because I wanted them to be really shiny.
 I added little name tags and made little hangers out of pinked selvages and trimmings.  I was going to use ric rac, but I didn't have a sufficient variety of the tiny ones to match all the different combos.
 I really enjoyed making these and I am very happy with the results!  The ladies liked them too, and were so surprised I knew their "colors".  I am definitely planning on making more, but I think I may try using larger balls for one of my ideas.  I made a medium size one using the orange scraps from my jack o lantern project, but I forgot to take a picture.  Trust me, the larger balls are much easier than these tiny balls.   Then, of course I started getting more ideas, now if I could only get more time to work those ideas out!  
Now off to link up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Finish it up Fridays! 
Happy Quilting and Crafting!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Flurry of Finishes

Last week I worked on many projects, completing none!  Fortunately, this Friday finds me with a few finishes, as I spent part of the week on bindings.  I didn't bind all that was quilted, but I'm on my way.  The first finish was very fast, I took some of the felted wool sweater that I had made the pumpkin wall hanging with and made a stuffed pumpkin to go with the rest of my collection. (He's the dark one)  I used smallish scraps to applique pumpkins on kitchen towels that I bought from Big Lots, I feel they look plain.  I was going to make the kind you sew fabric to the top and have a button to fasten it on to a handle, but I couldn't find the fabric I wanted to use for it.  So for now, they're done!  I have started longarming again for myself, as well as catching up things due for others.  I finished these two baby quilts that were special projects that my Quilt Guild was doing for a couple of hospitals, these were two charm packs from maybe 8 years ago?   They went together quickly and I just had to add a couple squares from 
my stash to finish them off.  The final finishes all go together as a set,  that has yet to be united.  My local quilt store had beautiful oilcloth that I thought would be perfect for the backing of a changing mat.  If you brought it out in public, you could set it down almost anywhere and afterwards, wipe it off with a fresh wipe.  I got the fabric for the quilt at, Riley Blake Designs, just love it, so FUN!  3"X5.5" rectangles, so fast and so easy!  In fact,
 it was so fast and easy I made it too big,  I cut off the last three rows after it was quilted, then I made a little bag out of them to go along with the changing pad.  I intended on whipping up the burp cloths in time to send them along inside the bag, but it didn't work out.  Not to worry, they will all be reunited eventually!  Now off to link up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Finish it up Fridays, and then I think I'll cut some binding strips and perhaps have a finish for next week?  Happy Quilting!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Recycling . . . with Scraps!

I love to recycle and if I can incorporate fabric or better yet, scraps into the mix -  I am definitely in my happy place!  I am also a fan of Pinterest, where I saw some cute little pumpkin and Frankenstein jars, the caption said that they were made using tissue paper.  I clicked on it, but there was only a photo, no directions.  I don't have a wide variety of tissue paper, but I sure do have fabric scraps, so I thought I would give it a try!  I saved a few jars and removed the sticky label gunk with olive oil and dish washing detergent.  I used Modge Podge Glossy, matte would work too.
I find it easier to organize my scraps first and trim jagged edges and cut larger pieces into strips.  Pair the fabric strips to each of the jars then trim the strip to the length of that jar with a bit extra for the bottom.  Cut a slit about an inch long on the bottom end of each strip.  Dab a small bit of Modge Podge on the top of the strip and fold the strip over and dab it again, then brush a section of the jar with Modge Podge (MP). 
Place the folded edge under the rim of the jar, wrong side down and fold the first side of the slit on the bottom, put a little MP on it and as you press the 2nd slit on the bottom it will fold on to the first.  The strip will be much smoother on the jar if you cut the slits on the strips.   Brush more MP over the entire strip, grab another strip, dab, fold, dab, place as above and repeat until you have all around the jar covered.  Cover any spaces on the bottom with scraps if needed.  I dried mine upside down for a couple of hours, they dry quickly!
Once dry,  place little led lights inside the jars with the lids secured,  you will see the gap from where you placed the edge of fabric to the bottom of the lid.  The lids don't actually use all of the threads on the jar, but it's different with each jar.  Leaving all of the threads uncovered will allow a good edge to hold on to as you work, but once the jar is dry you will want to cover the gap.   Using very thin strips, cover the gap by brushing with MP, place the strip, brush with more MP.  Watch out, if you cover too many or all of the threads, you won't be able to close the lid!  Speaking of lids, I tried to cover one using pieces of tissue paper - it took a lot, and I still could see  that it was the lid to artichoke hearts! I gave up and returned to my trusty fabric scraps. Use the lid to draw a circle, measure the edge of the lid, add 1/4" to that measurement then enlarge the circle by that amount. Use pinking shears to cut out the circle then use sharp scissors to cut slits on the lid edge portion every 1/4" inch or so.    
Brush Modge Podge on to the top of the lid, place the circle on top and center it.  Brush a bit of MP on the lid edge, then brush a slit down, brush MP over it, then brush MP on the lid edge, brush down another slit, etc.,  repeat all the way around, trying not curl the pinked ends underneath of the lid edge.   Allow to dry.   In the meantime you can add the faces to your pumpkins,  Cut eyes and noses  from bitty scraps, you can cut a mouth or use tiny ric rac.   Brush the jar with MP, arrange the features as desired, then apply several layers of MP and allow to dry.   To illuminate your jars, you can put little LED lights in them,  I had to use two in the largest jar to get a bright glow,
but one light worked well for the other jars.  A glow stick works nicely as well, especially if it is orange!   Now what to do with my really tiny scraps?  
         Happy Quilting !!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Finished my 1XMAS on Friday!

Didn't get a chance to post until today.   I sewed the mouths and buttons on the three short snowmen Friday morning right before I took DD to a Dr's. appt. The rest of the day and night was so busy that I just took the photos.   The snowmen pattern is from Primitive magazine,  a very narrow little wall hanging that anyone on your Christmas list should be able to find a nook here or there to place him!   All of these are Christmas presents and I have three more in the works that need their scarves knitted yet.  I still haven't found the yarn I want in blue or green.  The two snowmen together were made from muslin per the directions, but for the trio on the left, I used scraps of warm and natural batting as the snowmen.  I ironed a very light pellon to the back before I cut it so that it would not stretch as I sewed.  I still had to be pretty gentle with them.  Love the look (and feel).  I did not have any black wool, and none of the local quilt stores or JoAnnes carry it so  . . . I went to Goodwill and found a man's black wool sweater that had two tiny moth holes in it!  I also bought an orange hoodie sweater that was a wool mohair blend and a pretty blue sweater that claimed to be 100 % wool.   I washed them all in hot water in a mesh bag.  Twice.  The black sweater and orange hoodie came out perfectly, the pretty blue had more pils, and might have shrunk the tiniest bit, but did not felt!  So much for being 100% wool.  I love the softness of the wool and it added a lovely  texture to the snowmen.  The snowflake in the middle of the blue background snowman looks so cute - but was placed thus out of necessity (the mother of creativity)  I had machine sewn the hat on when I noticed that one of the two holes in the  sweater was right there in the middle!  Fortunately the fix was just a button jar away!  I put a snowflake on the other long one because I liked how it looked.  I looked at adding snowflakes and such to the little ones, but it just seemed to busy.  Do you think they look too plain?   For even more texture I knitted a little scarf for the blue one.  Most of the members of my Bee made at least one of these and it was fun seeing all of the variations of fabric and embellishments.  The orange sweater showed more black once it was washed so it was darker than
anticipated, but I used it as a nose for three of them, and then thought of making the pumpkin in the same manner as the snowman head, just bigger.  It came out all wonky because I did not take the time to put the pellon on the back of the orange wool and it did stretch.  I think the pumpkin just may be my favorite!  Happy Quilting, Happy Finishes and Happy Halloween!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Recyled Shower Curtain

Powder Room
Finishing up my Friday by finishing up the last bit of an extra shower curtain!  When we renovated our bathroom, we bought two panels of the shower curtain.  One was not enough, but then two panels turned out to be a bit excessive.  I cut the second panel to 24 3/4" wide, turned the side under and sewed it down and hung it along side the other shower curtain panel.  I then used a good portion of the remainder to make the curtains at right.  Very simple and plain, but DONE.   Months passed and I saw the toilet paper holder on pinterest and then figured out my version and made two of them, one for my bathroom and one for the powder room downstairs.   Very cute and worked for two different holders, (does not work for my children's bathroom).   Finally, in an effort to be able to finish up the last bit of fabric,  I trimmed a bath towel and two hand towels, made a tissue box cover and made a cover for a can of mixed nuts to put my peak flow meter and asthma thingy in.   YES!   Very pleased with the results, and even more pleased that I could just throw away the last little scraps with no remorse!    Happy Quilting, and Happy Finishes!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Crayola Challenge

My Finish it up Friday this week was completed early this morning as I finished the binding and ironed on the velcro for my challenge project.  Just in time to bring to Guild to display along with the other entries for the  Crayola Quilt Challenge!  The challenge was interesting, we selected 3 crayons from a bag; If we didn't like one, we could put it back and pick another that we would have to keep.  We would have to use all three colors, and we also could use one neutral color, black, white or beige/tan.  The quilt couldn't be any larger than 56" X 56".   The crayons I drew were Indigo, Cerise and Outrageous Orange!
I took my swatch of colors everywhere, even on my trip to Massachusetts where I selected the Cerise fabric that also had orange and black in it.  I found an indigo fabric and a batik orange that I thought was outrageous, but once home found that in natural light it wasn't really exactly the color, but thought it would do.  But what to do?    My first idea involved making a specific block that would have buttons sewed on, and I was going to melt the selected crayons and fashion buttons from the melted wax!  I bought a box of 96 crayons that had two of the colors, cerise and indigo, and started looking for outrageous orange everywhere.  I felt criminal, opening boxes of crayons in stores and pulling up the orange ones to read the colors!  Finally, it dawned on me to go online to the Crayola website and they listed outrageous orange as being sold in 72 count boxes only.  I saw 8, 16, 24, 64, 96 and 120 count boxes, never a 72 count box.  There went that idea.  So last minute (of course) this idea popped in my head, and with no pattern, a few mistakes and several lessons learned  I made a Tri-folding Coloring Tote!   I love the velcro, but I think I might like straps next time around, and also it isn't fully loaded with crayons in these pictures as I was trying to keep with the color scheme!  The large pocket was intentionally made loose to accomodate a coloring book and the left side is for pencils and odds and ends.  I also believe that I am going to gift this to a little someone for Christmas!   It was fun to make!  Happy Quilting! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Finish it up Friday with some Scrap Love

Have you ever bought a group of fabrics that you just love?  Fabric you love so much, that when you start cutting it up for a pattern, you save just about every square inch of the scraps?  Fabric that you keep all together, scraps, strips, small and large pieces, long after the original project is done?  Yeah, me too.  These two hearts were created out of such scraps.  Every member of my Guild is making a 12 inch block for a huge Quilts of Valor project.  I figured I would make a Star of Hope block and use fabrics that I had used to make a Quilt of Valor from last year.  Once I took out the fabrics, there were only a few large pieces of fabric and those were the lighter fabrics.  I didn't have enough of one blue or one red to make the Star of Hope block.
Naturally, I had the fabrics spread out and I had a handful of squares and rectangles which I had set down on lighter fabric and they looked very nice so I started playing with them and this is what I came up with!   I liked the first one so much that I made another one for me and used  2 1/4" blocks to go around.  I sewed a 1 1/2" strip of dark blue all around and quilted it with the regular sewing machine, not only was I in too much of a hurry to do a regular binding, but I am trying to conserve the dark blue as I don't have much left.  The blocks were 2 1/4 instead of 2 1/2 because that was the size of strips that were left over from the original project.  It was fun to make and gave me a lot of ideas for other scraps that I love!   I would love to do an entire quilt like this and I just might!  Happy Quilting!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chevron Love

 We are expecting a new little girl in the family this fall, so I was very  excited to make her a quilt!  I wanted to try zig zags with white and I had pinned some choices on pinterest. My niece chose one very similar to this one.  More chevron than zig zag and I love the mixture of different fabrics in each row.  I was so happy to find everything I needed at my local QS,  Nancy's Calicos!  I pulled the colors from many different lines of fabric, Nancy's Calico  recently added a modern quilt section, and all of the fabrics came from that section.  The link on pinterest didn't offer any information about the quilt, who designed it or where to get the pattern.  So I figured it out the best I could, I think I made my blocks (accidentally) 1/2" smaller than the quilt on pinterest, but it still turned out a nice size.    I also made 14 burp cloths from the same fabric using dimensions that my niece sent me.  She had wanted me to use towels as the        

backing, but I couldn't find any in the right color or that didn't pull easily.  I used very soft and fluffy fabrics from JoAnnes.  My long arm  finally returned repaired after  9 1/2 weeks, so I was a bit rusty quilting, especially the straight lines.  All in all, I like the designs of the quilting and overall, I LOVE the quilt!  Happy Quilting!!