for either the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012. I have read a couple of blogs that are doing Quokka Quilts fat quarter contest. It look like fun and you have until Jan. 15, 2012. I have looked around at some of the fat quarter shop fabric but I'm having a tough time narrowing down an idea.
I hope to have some time later today to show off another set of pillowcases.
Happy New Year's Eve, have fun and be safe
May 2012 be full of peace, love, happiness, good health and of course lots of crafting time if you desire.
Has anyone seen the Hoffman Challenge fabric or Deb Strain's new line Always and Forever. Okay both of these were released in November, but in early/mid December we took the kids to Quilts Plus and let them pick out 3 fabrics for pillowcases. Girl 1 picks out 2 of Deb Strain's line and Girl 2 picks out the hoffman challenge print. I'm pretty sure the shop had pretty much just received both of them. It was great seeing all 3 minds at work. Little man picks out his 3 first. When we first walk into the store I'm pretty sure he is thinking there is no boy fabric in here, so I take his hand and walk him into the back where there are tons of fun fabrics for him to choose from. He picks out 3 great ones.
Here you can see his finished pillow.
Girl 2 is next to finish. She is always quite quick and does love purple so her 3 include some really nice shades of purple. The finished look is very nice and I can see why she picked what she did.
Girl 1 always takes her time, at least compared to the other 2. She is certainly the most experienced at picking out fabric since she has done it a few times in the past. She picks out her favorite color of course, pink. It's not just pink, it's pink with hearts and love. Certainly a great look for her.
I thought while putting together Little man's pillowcase I could do a little tutorial of sorts. There are many tutorials for making pillowcases so I'll skip the construction part but I thought I could give some insight into fabric layout. Even though since these are pillowcases everything is on it's side (look at little man's for example) but you can get the fabric to run the way you want it to.
First lay the cuff upside down
To be honest I really don't know which way to lay this out. I see I did it on girl 1's pillowcase but I'm pretty sure that way just luck, I did have a 50/50 shot. I'll give this a little more thought and come back with an update.
The main body is opposite direction to the cuff, so direction is normal (not upside down).
Here you can see both the cuff and the body run the same way, of course no one normally lays their pillows cuff side up so it really doesn't matter that much ;)
This maybe useful to some of you. I worried about directional fabric the first few times I made pillowcases and even tried hard to avoid it, now I know which way to lay them out and also know it really doesn't matter.
Today has been a great. It was fun watching the kids open gifts. I tried to get some pictures and I'll show those off in a bit. First lets talk about sewing. I did it! I got the table runner complete for Christmas eve dinner. While last Friday night I did not get it completed, as I thought I would. Last Saturday or maybe Sunday I got the top quilted! Then Wednesday this week I completed the binding. I couldn't be happier with how this turned out. Okay the quilting could be straighter but still it is the biggest project I have quilted and overall things went well. Thread tension seemed to be right on and speed seemed good. I still need more practice so more table runners maybe in my future.
Here's a look at the front. It's my own design!!
The back is also very nice!
Last night's dinner was really good. I made peach glazed ham; au gratin potatoes; candid butternut squash; dinner rolls; orange spiced walnut, and dried cranberry salad; and cranberry swirled cheesecake. Everything turned out quite tasty.
To backtrack just a bit I also made soap on Thursday. This was the last of my homemade gifts, unless dinner last night counts. I think they turned out quite cute.
Gift opening today was fun and I did get some Yo-Yo Ma tickets and get cards to both always in stitches and the local wine making shop! Overall it has been a great day. I hope everyone else is having a nice day as well.
The kids are just getting started with the fun this morning.
A look at the fun craziness that happened earlier today.
Oh my. First let me give a huge thanks to Heidi and Bobbi for hosting 2 FNSI in December. The first one certainly helped me get some Christmas gifts ready! For last nights I had fun plans to get a table runner quilted for Christmas. I should have known for the moment I got home and my jeans were a bit too tight this could be a good night to just lock myself away. Instead I was still pretty excited to get into the sewing room and start quilting. Other than quilting some mug rugs and now trying my hand at free motion quilting on some very small quilts the girls have made for their dolls, I have not tried to quilt a "real project". I grab my Foolproof Machine Quilting book and get to work. I have been reading quite a few machine quilting books recently and while the one I grab makes no mention of practicing I decide I should. I cut out a piece about 12X12 for the front, batting and back and get to work. I baste around the edge. I should mention that J comes in the sewing room while I'm cutting out the practice piece and says my sister needs to talk to me about my other sister, oh my the tone of his voice didn't sound good. So I take my little 12X12 piece downstairs and start hand basting around the edge, this is a direction from the book. I talk to my sister while she is making a wonderful dinner and oh no family problems popping up again. I am now kinda angrily trying to hand baste so I just decide to baste the edge on the sewing machine. I try and quilt this little practice piece and I just can't get it right. Everything is uneven, really it just wasn't my night. So after what was a great dinner I go up around 9:00 and go to bed. It seemed that literally as I am falling asleep last night black images were waving into my head, like evil was rushing in. Let's hope today I can make all the evil leave and turn my frown upside down.
So here's a look at the fabric I used for the table runner. isn't a great set of Christmas batiks?
Maybe one day soon I'll have the table runner ready to show off.
was filled with many activities. Friday night we had dinner out and then some time in the sewing room. What more could I ask for? Saturday started with a yummy pear french toast casserole, made the back for the Christmas quilt, a trip to one of the local quilt stores, the library and then during nap time some more time in the sewing room. Yeah more pillowcases completed!
Sunday was another great day. We began with apple walnut waffles and a Holiday party at the Russian school filled with fun and games.
We went out to lunch and then a trip to probably my favorite local quilt store. I finished the weekend getting the last two Christmas gift pillowcases completed.
Of course the Sunday trip to the quilt store was to allow the kids to pick out fabric for their own pillowcases, so I now have 3 more to make. The projects keep piling up and I love it. I hope this coming weekend goes as well as this past one did.
With just 2 weeks before Christmas and 1 1/2 weeks before Hanukkah, I decided yesterday it was time to give out the Holiday coasters. This was something I struggled with. I made them for my coworkers. In recent years, even though I can not remember if we did it last year, we have done secret Santa gifts. This year, at least up until yesterday afternoon, no one was talking about doing secret Santa. I am trying to do a less plastic/ more homemade gifts Christmas. Once the coasters are completed I start worrying. When should I give them out, should I even give them out? I really don't want everyone to think they should get me a gift. I could hold onto them until the last minute, but I made holiday coasters and if they can't use them during the holiday season, what fun is that. With all these crazy thoughts in my head I go ahead and take them to work. I handed them out with a cute card with this picture of the kids.
All the worries can now move onto gifting the pillowcases ;)
Wow. Friday was a crazy day at work. I went to sleep a little bit early Thursday night expecting Friday to be busy while at work. That way once work was over I could come home, get dinner ready and then get in the sewing room. Plans changed a bit once I got home. Girl 1 was invited to play at a neighbors house but not girl 2. This made girl 2 very sad. To help cheer her up we had a little bit of girl time alone, while the boy played on the computer. I painted her finger nails and toe nails. Now she has some very bright pink and purple on her fingers and two very fun reds on her toes. By this time J gets home as well. I'm a little bit drained and he has a great idea. Lets go try and new to us Italian restaurant. I'm in, while we don't eat out often the kids are quite well behaved when we do. Once home from dinner I head to the sewing room.
I certainly didn't get as much done as I had hoped. I don't think time was the problem but it was my fault. I bought too little fabric for the pillowcases I am making. I am only a few inches short but still I'm a bit short. So while I had hoped to get pairs of pillowcases completed, I only got one of each set done. I did get all my coasters completed! Here's a look at some of them.
And here's a look at the 2 pillowcases I completed.
Once either Christmas is over or I know the gifts have been opened I'll come back and tell you who these gifts are for. So far I think this has been a great year gift making. I hope the rest of weekend, which now we certainly include a trip to the local quilt shop, will be productive.
and happen to be making quite a few homemade gifts this Christmas don't forget about Friday Night Sew - In. It is just the kick in the pants I need to get back into the swing of things. They are holding two this month to help me get all these projects done.
THREAD, baby. Okay I don't have a clue why Salt n Pepa entered my head today but they did. I am curious about thread. Really when I started quilting/sewing I didn't have a clue. T went with me to help pick out some fabric for my first quilt and as I was checking out she ran back and picked out 2 colors of thread, gray and black. I was making a fun black and white quilt and didn't think to ask even one question about thread. After a while I did ask about why gray? Black made sense since the quilt was mainly black and white but she had me use the gray to piece with. She answers that most people use beige or gray, I'm sure her answer was better than that but that is what I remember.
One day I run out of that gray thread and thought I have no idea what to get. I look at the store and they have different thread weights. colors, etc and I was lost. Steph works at a quilt store and introduced me to Aurifil thread. She tells me she likes it because it is so thin it doesn't add too much to your piecing, making it easier to get accurate results. This gets my mind working. I really need to learn about thread so I started buying quite a few different brands.
I can't say I have worked with a bad thread. I have tried Mettler 50 weight, this was my very first thread. I didn't have any problems with thread, it did seem a bit thicker than some other brands. Then I got Aurifil, probably my favorite even though I really don't have a good reason why. I do feel that I get less fuzz build up in my machine, not sure if that is actually true. I tried Coats and Clark, which many say is really bad and I didn't notice any problems. It is Coats Cotton so I'm not sure if that is why or maybe I'm just not a picky thread person. I have also tried Gutterman and Masterpiece by Superior threads. Both of those are great.
So for me I turn to Aurifil most often when piecing and if any family members are reading I would love that little train above under the tree this year.
I turn to Superior's website the most often for thread education. While I may not do things too much different than I did before my thread education I now am much more confident when I go to the thread aisle. I am curious what thread everyone else is using? I'm sure I still have tons to learn.
Alright I'm going to try walk you through this cute idea I had on Sunday. I was looking through the December issue of healthy cooking magazine and once I looked over all the recipes, I went back through the magazine and started looking at the gift ideas. On one of the pages I see this really cute little stocking that holds flatware, very cute for the Christmas table. I thought right away that would be really cute for the kids to sew. But before I could let them make some I needed to know how to do it myself. I found the stocking flatware holders online and looked at the dimensions so I could try and sketch one myself. I am certainly not in anyway an artist but thought I can handle drawing a sock.
Here's a look at my stocking sketch.
I then cut out my cute little stocking
I took a small piece of nice red and gold fabric folded it in half with right sides together and traced around my pattern. Once I had my pattern on the wrong side of the fabric I cut it out. I also cut out 2 3 inch by 1.5 inch strip of contrasting fabric.
I turned under the edges on the contrasting strip of fabric probably about 1/8 inch and then ironed the small strips in half. I put the small strips on each side of the stocking and topstitched. Then I sewed the stocking together. Very quick and easy project.
Hopefully all of that makes sense. If not just let me know, we will be making quite a few more so I can take pictures of every step if that would help. Overall a cute, easy project!
I mentioned fabric shopping yesterday, so today I got to work. Okay I didn't spend that much time in the sewing room. We cleaned some around the house this morning. Since the weather is suppose to be bad tomorrow I figure that is a good day to put up some of the inside Christmas decorations, so today we cleaned to help make that a bit easier tomorrow. We got new Christmas lights for outside and the tree. I tried to go with white lights the past few years but I can't help it I love color so new LED colors lights it is!!
Once in the sewing room I got to work. A good bit of time is spent ironing just to get to redo much of it the next day ;) I have quite a few gifts I plan to sew so I figure I have to get started.
That is a look at some of the fabric I will be using to make some cute coasters!
And there you can see some of the finished ones!
Overall I think I'm off to a great start. Tomorrow girl 1 has Russian class in the morning, then we will put up some of the Christmas decorations and hopefully after that I'll get back in the sewing room.
Yesterday we had a busy day cooking. I don't do the big part of the meal, Turkey, but I do try and add some tasty sides and desserts. I made wild rice and bacon stuffing, holiday salad and apple cake. As you can see I certainly love checking out others blogs, not just crafting and quilting but many other things as well. My sister made a wonderful pumpkin pie and quite yummy peanut butter fudge. I loved all of the things we made and while I'm not sure every member of the family did, there was plenty of food for all. It is certainly nice watching the kids play with other kids in the family. Those relationships have been fun to watch grow.
I have been getting back into the sewing room. I am trying to have a less plastic Christmas. I don't see any chance the house will be completely void of plastic, it has been fun thinking of ways to reduce it. I am making many gifts so my black Friday shopping included two of my favorite local quilt shops! I am working on those gifts and well as a new quilt "top" which I will use for the back of topsy turvy nine patch.
I hope everyone had a great start to the Holiday season! If you have any fun sewing gift ideas in mind I would love to hear about them.
When your having fun. It has been a busy time around the house. Not much sewing has been happening. While that is sad, homework is getting done and playing with friends has filled up much of my time recently. My dad has been out visit. It was a nice peaceful visit. I did sew a few quick projects and have many ideas running through my head. I really want to finish a few quilts before I start something new so I'm trying to hold off. These are a couple of to go cup sleeves that I have made recently. These are fun and reversible. They are super quick to make. I gave them to a couple of members of my quilting bee.
One more quick project I made with the girls are a couple of heart shaped pillows. I didn't take any pictures of these yet but it was a fun rainy day project and both girls really do love getting to sew.
Halloween was great fun this year. The weather was a bit warmer than last year, still light coats were needed. A few kids for the neighborhood joined us and everyone seemed to have a blast. The only hard part about this Halloween is trick or treating starts a 5:00 and I barely make it home from work by 5:00 so we had them play Just Dance Kids for a bit to try and let most everyone get home work before starting to knock on their doors.
I haven't been sewing as much as I thought I would. I have been getting tons of inspiration. I did get a couple more block done on my layer cake BOM so for about 1 week I was caught up. September's block is not made yet. Steph has given 3 different block layouts. I have picked out which I want to make and have picked out a cute layout for the quilt.
I picked out a cute border design for the girls quilt. T gave me a great lesson on making borders so soon I should be getting those complete. I think these quilts are super cute and it has been fun getting the girls input.
I have been working on laying out the billboard quilt. I know what it will say. I have fabrics picked out. I just can't pick out a font I like. One letter seems to throw the look off and then I start over. I may just draft my own but I'm nervous about that so I'll keep trying and maybe soon I can get started on this quilt.
We had a visitor this month so the sewing room was turned into a guest room and I have been lazy getting back in there. It's really not hard to change the room around but still laziness has set in. Maybe that is not completely fair. The kids have homework during the week so weekdays I work and get home about 5, come home and have dinner, work on homework, the kids go to bed and then I watch a little TV or read and go to bed myself. The weekends have been full of play and home projects. This weekend we put a layer of compost over the lawn hoping that improving the soil will improve the grass. Also this month girl 5 turned 6! She had a great party and got some really fun gifts. It is great seeing her craft loving mind work on new projects.
I did make it to an Indy quilt guild meeting and had a ton of fun. Flavin Glover came and talked about log cabin quilts. She was quite fun and had some great designs. It would have been a great workshop to take but I didn't. I did not make it to the Indy modern quilt guild meeting. I really wanted to but it was yesterday and I was busy spreading out compost.
This past weekend was a great one. I'll give you some details which does include some quilting fun. Friday night as I posted I got quite a bit of work done on the girl's quilts. Saturday morning I woke up before everyone else, I started writing the blog post. The kids start waking up, so the blog post gets shortened a bit. I make a quick breakfast and discuss plans for the day. Amazing to me J. agrees to go to Greenfield and have lunch at the Bread Ladies. This is a bit of a drive for lunch. I'm also hoping we can go for a short walk on the Pennsy Trail. The kids are in really bad moods at this point, really it is just the girls. They were crying about nearly everything, fought me over what shoes to wear and we left the house without girl 1 brushing/combing her hair. It was just a battle I didn't feel was worth fighting. I did let the kids use the camera for a bit so here is a picture each one of them took.
First one the little man (age 3) took.
Next is the picture girl 2 (age 4) took.
And finally the picture girl 1 (age 5)took.
While the fun and fighting were going on J. calls his parents and they agree to join us for lunch. We drive down to their house and find out J's aunt will join us as well. This is turning out to be one pretty big outing, so I'm really hoping the kids behave well. Guess what the kids mood did improve. Lunch went really well. After a nice walk around Greenfield we went for ice cream and then headed home. All 3 of the kids took short naps on the drive home. After dinner we watch a movie, the kids went to bed, I finished a book and then I went to bed. What started as day I felt we could get nothing done without a fight turned out to be one very pleasant day.
Sunday morning we had a lazy start. We all slept in a bit. I made some pancakes, drank some tea and just took my time. Around 10:00 or so I went outside, pulled some weeds from the flower bed and started mowing the grass. I let J. take over mowing once I get the front yard done. I took a nap while watching Quilting Celebrations by Patrick Lose. I really want to make the table runner he made, so I did love the show. I'm not completely sure why but every quilting show I watch seems to put me to sleep. Some reasons could include I usually watch these while the kids are napping so the house is quiet and as it turns out it is nap time. I wake up just before girl 1 comes downstairs. Once she gets down here I start thinking I should be working on the Christmas quilt. I go up to the sewing room and get to work. I get three more rows completed and then we go to the library. Once dinner is over I head back to the sewing room. I get the rest of the rows completed fairly quickly. I think to myself I have some time, I should be able to get this top completed tonight. With the quilt girl 1 is making we are working on sewing long strips of fabric. I find sewing these long bits of fabric difficult so I know it must be hard for her as well. I try pinning them for her but she doesn't like having the pins. They rub against her legs and make her nervous. While reading some blogs I find many people don't seem to like sewing long seams. One lady responds that she finds it much easier to use her walking foot. Why not give it a try I think, but I should try it myself before I have girl 1 try it. Now is the perfect time. I put on the walking foot and start getting the top finished. The first row I don't pin. The corners match pretty well, some are a bit off but nothing too bad. The next set I pin. I guess I must have sewed quicker or something. This one was much worse that the first. This is just a quilt to use around the house so I don't worry about everything not being perfect. One difference I noticed about piecing with the walking foot is the top fabric is pulled quicker than my bottom fabric. I start pinning the ends to try and make sure the edges of the quilt all line up. Overall I do think using the walking foot helps but it is still not perfectly easy. I guess with some practice my skills will improve but for now these long strips cause me some stress.
Here's a look at the completed top.
I hope in the next few days to get the borders on the girls quilt - more long strips to sew! I might as well keep the walking foot on because after those borders go on it's on to machine quilting! I hope everyone else had a nice weekend as well. If you have any tips on piecing long strips or machine quilting I would certainly benefit.
I don't think I could change the lyrics in this song and make it work any better for me. I skipped FNSI last week due to a very nice surprise of going to a NFL preseason game. Last night, once dinner was done, I went up to the sewing room and got to work. I cut a new center for the girls quilt. I decided on a cupcake since they picked some really cute cupcake fabric for the border. I cut the stashing stripes and started sewing. I worked on girl 2's quilt first, it was on top. I am getting quicker with sewing but I still go pretty slow. I bring the quilt top downstairs to show it off and really girl 2 eyes light up. She got quite excited and ran over to hug the top. She laid it out, threw it around, etc. Then the questions started on how the girls would be able to tell their quilts apart. I'm sure you will be able to see some difference and quite a few similarities. Here's a look a girl 2's top.
I stayed downstairs for a bit, had a cup of tea and watched the kick off to the Colts game. The kids finished getting baths and the little man in the house (age 3) came down and got angry with me, he gave me a quick but stern lecture that I should be in the sewing room. Once the kids were down to bed I started sewing again. Girl 1's top did seem to go a bit quicker. Here's a look at her top.
I also got 2 more rows done on the Christmas quilt. I need to get borders on both girl's top and get the rest of the Christmas quilt top finished and I have 5 days. It seems like I might be able to complete another goal. Nothing like waiting until last minute. As the song says, I don't always get it right but a thousand different ways and I just might.
I completely have my heart set on getting some sewing done tonight. If I don't the chances I will get those 3 quilt tops finished by the end of the month will be next to impossible. The weather is amazing today or at least that is how it looks from the window at work. Once work is over I hope for a quick dinner, maybe a nice walk and while the Colts play football I will sew.
Last night I had a wonderful dinner with my quilting bee. One of the ladies husband joined us for dinner and then once quilt talk started he headed out. It was nice having him around to vary up the conversation a bit. Once dinner and a bit of chatting was over I headed home, gave quick good night kisses to the kids and went to the sewing room. Kids certainly were not asleep when I started and did come interrupt a few times. I did get the rest of the purple kids quilt blocks put together and one row complete on the Christmas quilt. Hopefully tonight I can get even more done since I will have some extra time. I'll come back tomorrow with the good, bad and ugly from tonight's sewing adventure.
I woke up Friday morning quite excited to sew that night. I thought I could get at least one top put together and since I want to get 3 completed by the end of the month it would be a huge help to getting that goal complete. I go to work and after about 2 hours one of the ladies come in and asks would I like her Colts tickets for the game Friday night. How much are you wanting for these I ask? They're free she says! Sure I want them then. At this point I completely forget about sewing and was completely thinking football. I call J and see if he what his plans for tonight are. He says washing white cloths and I say what if that waits until tomorrow and we go to the Colts game? Neither of us had been to the new Lucas Oil Stadium and even being a pre-season game normal ticket prices are more than we would spend. I was quite excited to go, I rush home from work, change out of my work cloths and we head downtown. We get there just as the game starts and while there seemed to be no chance the Colts were trying to win this game it was still quite fun. We got home pretty late and no sewing happened. I felt bad I didn't sew but really what are the chances I will be getting free Colts tickets ever again.
Earlier in the week I did get a little bit done on the girls quilts. These are really cute and fun. It shouldn't be too long and I will be putting the borders on these two! Here's a look at what I got done I still have 2 more purple 4 patch in a 4 patch sets to do.
Recently I have discovered I can no longer eat mussels. I have tried it 3 times in the past 1 1/2 years and every time they make me one super sick lady late in the middle of the night. I've blamed everything I can but the common link in all of these is the mussels. I used to eat an entire pot by myself and have no problems, the other night I only had 5 or 6 and still my body rejected them. Now on Sunday night I'm working on the wonky Christmas quilt. This quilt has lots of unwashed fabric, for some reason I didn't wash the Christmas fabric and so I just continued on and the background fabric wasn't washed either. My eyes got pretty dry with sewing and I must have at some point rubbed my eyelid. While getting ready for bed I notice my right eyelid is quite itchy, as I look closer it is also blistered. The only thing I did different that day was work with unwashed fabric so my eyelid skin must be very sensitive to the chemicals used. Lesson learned quickly this time, unlike my mussel experience. I will wash fabric as soon as I bring it home from now on. I'm hoping to get a bit of sewing done tonight but thought I would share how my body seems to be turning against me ;)
Today worked out well. I worked on cutting out the "background" for the wonky Christmas quilt. I figured if I got all this cutting done I would be ready to go for Friday Night Sew In. Once done cutting, setting out the block to take a look and take a few pictures, I decide to get ready for my post. I come to my blog a decide why not check and see if sign ups for FNSI are ready and low and behold they were. If you have time this Friday (the 19th) to sew you should join in on the fun. Go to Heidi's blog for the sign ups.
It was great getting back in the sewing room today. I have no idea how addicted I am to sewing until I can't do it. All week I have been thinking about new quilts and projects. I do plan to keep working on my BOM and do the billboard quit along. I really want to try some of my own machine quilting so I've been watching some videos and reading Mary Mashuta's bookFoolproof Machine Quilting. I have loved it so far and I'm certainly excited to give this a try.
Now for a look at the quilt. I think it is actually pretty nice and seems like it should make a great Christmas quilt.
Here is the great backing fabric. Once I ordered this I started putting more blues in the blocks hoping it would work and I think it will.