Saturday, December 31, 2011

A fun thing to do...

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.

Happy Quilting

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm curious

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.
Happy Quilting

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

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.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Happy Quilting 

Saturday, December 17, 2011


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.

Happy Quilting

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This past weekend

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.  

Here's a last look at all the pillowcases. 

Happy Quilting

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Coasters (gifts round 1)

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 ;)

Also don't forgot about Friday Night Sew-In on the 16th!

Happy Quilting 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

FNSI - I did it!

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.

Happy Quilting

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If you're like me

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.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let's talk about

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.

Happy Quilting