Monday, January 31, 2011

Bits of this n' that

Since I'm STILL waiting on the darning foot for my machine (they couldn't find it and re-ordered it, should be here this Thursday) I'm working on small projects.

I think I mentioned at some point of my intention to take my bedroom from its present color of gold and green to a new pallet of greens and purples.    I had purchased some candy bars of Moda's Dragonfly Summer when my LQS got them in as a samples but I must admit I was at a bit of a loss on how to use them. 
Then I saw a pattern that I could simplify down and make as a doll quilt.  I felt it would give me an idea of how the fabrics would work together and let me see it as an actual quilt so I could decide whether or not it would work for what I envision for my room. 
It's not done mind you, This is just the center panel so it still needs borders, backing and binding (I may have to wait until March for the fabric line to actually come out to do all that.) but it's given me a good idea.  What do you think? 
Two candy bars and only three usable dragonflies.   That being said can you find my favorite blocks?
I love the deep green, purple and the lighter green, so will probably purchase yardage, the others while lovely will stay at the fabric store. 


Here is a mug rug I finished using a variation of Kim's block.  This one using a 9 patch and being much smaller in size.  I included a wee pocket for a package or two of tea.  I think this may end up in a gift box.  

Finally, a mug rug in process.  This was a practice block for foundation piecing and it truly tested my patience because it's was just so fiddly with half seams and what not.  It's a good thing I'm  not starting off with my mariner's compass blocks.  Don't look too hard or you'll find my flubs.  This one will also have a wee pocket. 
 This was made with a Bliss charm pack
So nothing grand, mostly just busy work while I wait for my darning foot.   I like little bits though, I've always been rather fond of instant gratification.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Regatta in Blue

I've been working hard at creating more blue scraps for my Blue & Bugs Blocks Quilt, see...

There's a strange wind a blowing...they can't make up their mind which way they're sailing.  The blocks are finishing out at a wonky size, 11 3/4' rather than 12" but I can work with it.  I'm going to add another column then I think I found the perfect Mariner's Compass blocks for the corners but I need to work on my foundation piecing skills before I tackle that.
(I got smart on this one, there's no chance that I'll run out of fabric because each block is made with a different fabric combination.) 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Can You Guess...

What I'm making?
I'm sure you can.
I can see the wheels in your mind turning.
And the light turning on...(even though this last picture I threw in just to throw you off.)
It's block 1 from the Block-a-palooza. I used all fabrics from my stash and feel it turned out really well. Very springy don't you think? (I made it in a late night bout of insomnia so didn't catch the directional fabric glitch.)

Oh and if you're wondering about those little HST's, I added an extra seam when making the flying geese units and those are the trimmed corners. How's that for frugal sewing?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fruit and Nut Cake Quilt

Yesterday was not a good day so with the philosophy that tomorrow is always better I am starting my day off with this!
You can't possibly have a bad day when you start it off with chocolate!
As part of a balanced breakfast of course.


My extra Fruitcake charm pack arrived so I've been working on this.
My original vision was inspired by Carol's lovely quilt but somewhere along the line I got a little off plan with some HST's and hourglass (not sure of the official name) blocks.
I blame my Orange Winged Amazon Parrot named Jasper with whom share my sewing room for scrambling my brain and setting me off course. He's always very very vocal unless he's covered at night and the boyfriend and daughter can't stand it so he and I shack up.
Here we see him hurling obscenities at kids as they walk home from school. He's been putting up quite the fuss for the last few days, more so than usual and is even getting on my nerves. I tried bribing him into silence with pistachios but that only worked for a short while before I got worried that he'd fill up on them and not eat his regular food. He ended up in the bathroom on a curtain rod over the tub. Ahhh, peace at last. And look!
I still need to do the borders (Hey guess who ran out of fabric again), but the hard part is done! It's not quite as per inspiration but I like it. Hopefully I won't get in trouble for admitting to the creation of a UFO but it won't be finished any time soon since I don't have batting or backing. Did batting get really expensive in the last few years or am I just smart enough now to look at only the quality stuff?!? Good thing it's a holiday quilt, I've got a whole year until I need it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On Sewing Machines and Presser Feet....and Hearts.

For my 16th birthday I received my first sewing machine. Up to that point I'd been using my mothers old Singer machine that was older than I was (and at last knowledge is still going strong I might add). It was a Bernette, made by Bernina but without the hefty price tag that the Bernina carried. It was a very basic model with only a handful of stitches but it did have a buttonhole foot.

Really I shouldn't be speaking of in in the past tense, I still have it, but about three years ago I decided to reward myself for all the 10 and 12 hour days I'd been working and upgrade to something a bit flashier. With the memory of my mothers old Singer machine still fresh in mind I decided that was the machine for me. I wanted something that could carry me through apparel sewing as well as quilting and still be up for a bit of fun....and work with my single income bank account too.
Enter the Singer Confidence...only to sit unused for 2+ years while I work more 10 and 12 hour days. So sad really but I'm rectifying the problem and it's been pulled out and is being put through it's paces now. So far it has done nothing but impress. I've yet to use all of it's 174 stitches (which includes a block style alphabet) but I'm enjoying trying.

One thing I realized was that it's missing a most important accessory as far as quilting goes. It had no darning foot so I can work on some FMQ. I went to the JoAnn's where I bought it and ordered one three weeks ago and was told it would be there in a week. I've yet to get a call on it and went in yesterday to inquire about it and it was nowhere to be found. :( A pity since I have these pretty things that I'd love to finish up.
You will recognize them from the Be Mine Blog Tour. These are a modification of Kim's Big Quilting Adventure Heart Struck Runner. Since my table is always covered in random things I decided that I'm going to turn these into a door hangers. One for my front door and the other as a gift...if the first one works out that is. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rainbow Challenge Sew in Saturday

I know there is an official Sew in Friday but Friday's are our family nights so I'm going with the Sew in Saturday.

I've only got a few little things to report. I've been doing a mad dash with my enrollment and financial paperwork for going back to school. I actually begin classes this coming Tuesday! EEK! But enough on that. Let me show you what I've put together.


Here is another bowl rug I made for my daughter. This time I used a log cabin block as my base and obviously a few extra colors other than blue.
So... I have something to admit here. This was the first time I've ever used black in any of my quilting.
Ok, when you take into consideration that I've only made about three quilts to completion in my life (tied quilts, not quilted quilts) and have not many more that that in UFO status that doesn't seem like a lot...but I'm wondering what took me so long. I love how it adds a dramatic punch to the look. Prepare to see more black!


Here I am playing with some foundation piecing. I really like it!!! I think this might make either a pretty pillow or a nice hot pad.


Ok, I see this and all I can think of is Sting singing I Saw Three Ships. (Love Sting!) You will remember how I mentioned that I need to make more blue "scraps" for my Blue & Bugs Block quilt. Well this is helping me get them. I found an adorable pattern for a quilt using these ships. I'm going to make a few and then hopefully find a Mariners' Compass pattern the same size to use for the corner blocks.

Finally I've gotten a couple more rows done in my Blue & Bugs Blocks Quilt. I didn't get pictures this time though. Next time. I better get to it through, January is almost over!

So I now have two very boyish quilts in the works. Hopefully February's color is a bit more girlie. :) Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time have a lovely one!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I've Gone Done and Lost my Mind!

Not sure what I was thinking, but I went and... enrolled in an online college...and I start next Tuesday!!! EEP!!
I've been considering it for some time but certainly didn't think it would happen this quickly. I usually take months to make decisions like this.
I'm going for an Associates in Organizational Management. This means more time in front of my computer...less in front of a sewing machine. :( It's for a good cause though.

And just so this isn't an entirely craftless entry, I've been working on some more blue for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge...Here's a little peek.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nut Jobs, Fruitcakes and Lessons Learned

I started a new quilt top last night using my Moda Fruitcake charm squares (of which I had purchased two). I saw my inspiration on Carol's Crafty Creations and she got the idea from Bluebirdswing. I am absolutely in love with how simple and pretty it looks with the big four patches and that adorable pieced border Carol put on it was just sweetness. My add some extra rows to make a holiday lap quilt for moi.
So away to my sewing room I flew like a flash even though I'm not sure what to use for the sash! Um, yeah, ok, got a little carried away but the residual holiday-ness of the fruitcake, done now.

I sewed two patches together (aren't the snowmen the cutest?) then sewed my two patches together for my four patches. With just straight sewing and one big press job I happily zoned out and it wasn't until I went out to the living room to use my "design floor" that I realized that I'd used more of the squares than I thought for other projects and don't have enough for my layout size of four across and five down.


So I have to get online and and hunt down a new charm pack which of course with shipping and handling is twice what I paid for my original packs...*sigh*.

I feel like a bit of a nut job, if I'm going to have any success at this quilting stuff I better learn how to calculate my fabric requirements no? Lesson more fabric Plan better for fabric requirements

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bits & Pieces

Not a lot to report here, Last weekend was my military weekend and I somehow managed to hurt my back. So rather than sitting in front of my sewing machine as I would have liked I was laying in bed (not that laying in bed is a bad thing).
This weekend was my birthday so I've spent the last three days just enjoying the company of Alayssa and Lewis .

I did manage to get Alayssa's scarf finished and picked up a UFO that had been sitting for over a year. It's a feather/fan shawl for Lewis' mom that I started Christmas of 2009. I have one more skein of yarn to add to it and it will be ready for blocking and giving. This will be my biggest project to date, more of a small blanket than a shawl at about 4'x8' but that's the way she wanted it. It's also been my least favorite project to date, hence it being a UFO for a year+.
This was taken at about 1/4 of the way done on the feather & fan shawl

I did manage to get some of my blue and bugs blocks (say that fast five times) sewn together and am now discovering that to achieve the size that I want I may have to create some new blue scraps. :) So it may not turn into a finished object for a while longer. Oh well, we're that much closer and I guess a work in progress is better than unused scraps...right?
Needs a few more rows!

I dug out one of my very first ever quilt related UFO's...actually, it may very well be my first ever quilt top if my mind isn't tricking me. I believe it may be the source of my 2" strips (but it doesn't have a lot of blue in it so those may have been cut for another project long forgotten.)
Truth be told I can't remember how old this is exactly but I know that it's more than 5 years. Each time I would re-discover it I kept thinking of different ways to add on to/finish it that never came to fruition. This time I am just going to do it!
Thank you to my sweetie Lewis for being my top holder. He's such a wonderful guy!

I think this is considered a foundation pieced strip top (???). It was done on a muslin foundation so it's got a good weight to it already. I have decided to back it with flannel, no batting for a cozy lap throw.

This is Little Sh*t whom we found starving in our garage as a barely old enough to leave his momma kitten. That was over 6 months ago and we're still trying to find a forever home for him. He likes quilts apparently, any takers?

It measures 54"x54"and while I'd like to put a bit more size onto it I know if I wait to do that it would just sit again so I picked up a lovely flannel print for it and have pre-washed it so I don't get shrinkage. Now to cut and sew it to size, do whatever finishing I decide on and bind it.

Flannel for the back.

Today is gray but surprisingly warm, the snow is melting and there are patches of lawn visible. The house smells divine as I have both chicken and ham stock simmering on the stove while butternut squash bakes in the oven for butternut squash chowder.

The girls, Lucy and Ethel are enjoying the trimmings from the veggies. I try and make sure that they get fresh veggies, but with the summer bounty gone and us using more canned/frozen food it's not as frequent. They're still grateful for their mash and a bowl of warm water though. I call it chicken tea. :) I'm looking forward to warmer weather when they can put their energy back into eggs. I'm sure they're just looking forward to warmer weather period.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pay it Forward

Photo courtesy of Google Images

I tried this on my Facebook but only had one person respond. Boy was I surprised. I saw this again on Andrea's Comfort Cove Designs blog and thought I'd try again because I love the idea. :)

The first 3 people who post a comment to this entry stating they wish to join the Pay it Forward exchange, I will make something handmade and will have it sent to them before the end of 2011.

In return, you will post the Pay it Forward Exchange on your blog promising the same thing to 3 people. Remember though, you will need to have a blog in order to do this!

So who wants to join??? Let's fill 2011 with some nice random acts of kindness!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Custom Blend Aromatherapy Eye Pillow Tutorial

My poor sweetie picked up a nasty head cold and was stuffy and miserable all weekend. Me being me, domestic/maternal goddess that I am, I wanted to do something to make him feel better and when I saw him putting a hot moist, washcloth over his face to try and ease the congestion I thought of just the thing.
So I sprang into action and went digging through my scraps and my pantry too for that matter to see how I could bring my plan to fruition. Lo and behold I came across some blue & white stripe flannel. Perfect, because now it counts for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge! So I snipped and sewed and filled and fluffed and finished up with a custom blended aromatherapy eye pillow.

Now I know this isn't a new idea, they were all over the place a few years ago although I haven't seen them for a while. I thought I'd share all the same, so without further delay here's my little tutorial on making a custom aromatherapy eye mask.

You will need:
Freezer paper
Flannel remnant
Muslin remnant
Pinking Shears or blade
Rice and/or flax seeds (both available in the bulk section of your grocer.)
Herbs or essential oils of choice
*Use dried, chopped herbs, not fresh or powdered! Some grocers carry a small selection of none-kitchen herbs but stop by your local natural health store for an even greater selection. (Just so you know, I used Rosemary, Peppermint leaf, Fennel seed, Lavender and Sage, if I'd had Eucalyptus I would have used that in lieu of the Rosemary and Sage.)

First off, mix your rice and herbs, I used approximately 1/2 a cup of rice and 1 to 2 tablespoons of each herb but make it to suit your taste...or smell rather, :) set aside until needed.
For the essential oil, place your rice in a container with a lid, add the essential oils, just a drop or two (a little goes a long way), close and shake well, continue until you have the desired aroma, Set aside for as long as possible to allow the rice to absorb the oils. Keep any extra closed in the container

Ok now that we've got that part taken care of, draw your template onto freezer paper. It's easier to make it symmetrical if you draw it on the fold and cut out.

Iron your template onto your fabric and cut out two each from the flannel and muslin.

Sandwich your fabric together WRONG sides facing with the muslin in the center and the flannel on the outside like so.

Then sew around the edges using a 1/4 seam making sure you do a couple of reverse stitches to start and stop and leaving an open spot to add your rice and herbs.

From there, use a funnel or something akin to fill your eye pillow. The filling goes between the two layers of muslin. Don't over fill it, you want it to still lay fairly flat and be able to drape over the face.

Once you have the desired amount in, sew up the opening and cut around the edges with your pinking shears to keep them from fraying.

You can use this moist or dry, for moist, mist lightly with water before putting in the microwave, otherwise put in the microwave for 15-30 seconds or until nice and warm* then drape over your eyes, sit back, inhale deeply and relax. Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
* I did say warm, not hot...warm. Please be aware of the temperature when you remove it from the microwave to avoid serious burns/injury. We want blissful sighs not screams of agony.


Here are a few herb suggestions
Lavender & Rose - Relaxing
Ginger & Clove - Relaxing
Rosemary, Lavender & Peppermint - fights fatigue
Eucalyptus, Lavender & Peppermint - for congestion
Lemon & Basil - Uplifting

These would make great gifts and you'll probably have enough of the aroma mixture to fill several, so make a few, add a pretty tag and voila! If you're using herbs you can store them in an airtight container and cross some Christmas gifts off your list!
*Note* While the rice does absorb a significant amount of the essential oils the scent will diffuse faster than if you used herbs and may not last more than a month or two.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bustin' Out of a Color Rut

So digging though my rather small stash and scraps I realized that I tend to lean toward classic styles in fabric. Usually muted pale tones or traditional type prints. You know, pretty fabric as opposed to FUN, BRIGHT fabric.
Well I figured there was no better time than the present to work on expanding my color horizons right? So I made it a point to purchase some fabric that under any other circumstances I would never. Here's what I came up with.
Of course to some of you this may be yawn inducing, but to me, this is bordering on panic induction...all that COLOR! The plan is to make a wall quilt using these fabrics (a yd of the big floral and fat quarters of the others) Even I'm curious as to what I'll come up with.

So after buying this I had to go and sooth my senses with something a bit more the norm for me.
Very nice, much better.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Scrappy Saturday! Last the best of all the game!

My latest project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge may very well be my last for the month of blue. I'm actually using all those two inch wide strips that I had and so far loving the results!
I don't remember exactly what they were cut for but they're working out perfectly for some just shy of 5" 9 patch blocks. These are by far the easiest and quickest 9 patch blocks I've made thanks to Julie the Quilter Behind the Barn Door and her two strip 9 patch tutorial. These work up so fast that I had enough for a baby quilt done before I knew about it. I then realized that I had enough materials to keep I did.
Then I discovered this cute bug print from years and years ago also cut in two inch strips. Well there are blue bugs in there so it works doesn't it? I have more bug than blue at this point so you may be seeing it again. Jeesh, starting to wonder what I had for 2 inch strips...
Then I added some solid blocks. I'll admit I had to buy fabric for this, I was out of the off white broadcloth and it's not like I can't use it for a multitude of other projects. But look at what is coming from all this...
Sorry for the poor pic, I don't know why they don't put overhead lighting in living rooms but lets be luvs and put our imagination hats on and pretend it's professional.
This isn't the final layout or size by any means, and since I'm still making blocks I don't know a final size yet. It's good for a general idea though.

So I'm having visions of backing it with flannel. Is that odd? I want it super kozy and snuggle up in warm cause I'm entirely to darn cold as of late. I've not seen a lot of quilters out there using flannel as a backing. I'd love to hear pros/cons. My plan would be to do a bit of cross quilting through the solid setting blocks then a simple cross or 't' through the 9 patches.

Ok ok, enough rambling out loud, I must say though that I'm pretty proud of myself on this, I know that it's a simple 9 patch, but I've never worked up a top so quickly 3 days and it's 3/4 of the way done! If I wasn't working this weekend I'd say I could get it finished maybe another two or three days.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Little Blue Box

Another little addition to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. :)

So what do a bunch of blue 2 inch strips of fabric...

Cut into 2 inch squares...

Some too small to do anything with garbage scraps...

Rice and Catnip
And this doubtful looking concoction have in common??

Some very happy kitties!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Blue Bowl Rug

My first ever bowl rug and my first finished project for the Rainbow Challenge! I had to make it small and simple since I missed the Scrappy Saturday (I didn't find out about this until Sunday.)

Ok, I know your thinking "Bowl rug?" Well here's the scoop on that. The moment my daughter comes home from school she pretty much heads straight for the kitchen for her snack. Usually that involves a bowl and the microwave. We don't have hot pads, just mitts so to spare her hands a hot bowl she kidnaps my kitchen towels which I don't see until I have none left and go hunting for them in her room (teenagers!). So the plan is to save my towels by making her a weeks worth of bowl rugs.

I'm using a single layer of insul brite tm for the batting, and on this, my first one I used a "quilt as you go" method. What was so fun about this, is that it gave me a chance to test some of the pretty stitches on my sewing machine!
I've had it for over two years but have only recently gotten back into sewing after a work enforced hiatus. (They didn't not let me sew, but after a 12 hour day, I just didn't WANT to sew.)

Ok so here I am digging through my "scraps" for blue's. Most of my scraps are 45" long and 2" wide. They're from a tied baby blanket that I made over 6 years ago for a nephew. I went a wee bit overboard on cutting the strips so I have LOTS.

I regret that I have no during shots of my rug top, but once I got involved there was no stopping me. When I got finished with it there was the wee little matter of squaring it up though.
My solution was to cut a piece of freezer paper to an 81/2" square, iron it in place and trim the edges. Some days my brilliance astounds even me! :)
Front is done, next...

My back was a cut and insert, repeat twice piece, and hey, I'm going to use that piece of freezer paper again!
Check out ma' bad self, I'm a cuttin' a perfect block!
With my two perfect 8.5 inch pieces, I lined the two up and did a quick zig zag around the outer edge to make binding a bit easier. Using an ooold technique I made my own binding from one of the straight cut pieces. No bias here.
Now to apply it, complete with mitered corners which I'm finally getting the hang of.
Now, flip it over and hand sew the bind...Naaaahhh, just kidding. I tend to avoid hand sewing like the plague. So lets test another pretty stitch from the 174 that I have to choose from. I think some pretty shiny blue thread up top is just the thing!
And ta da! My lovely bowl rug is done!

Thanks so much for popping by, it's been lovely!