Thursday, December 31, 2009

Scrappy Goes to the Prom

WOOHOO! My big finish!! I am calling a quilt top a finish, because in my world, well, it is. I had an entire year to make this quilt and am skating in under deadline with a whole 2 hours to spare! (If you don't count the quilting and binding.) Nothing like getting it done early or something.

To keep my New Year's resolution for 2009, I have given this quilt a name: "Pink Tie Affair". I used some satin in the blocks and some fancy-dancy embellishments. I intend to add some more frou frou before I quilt it, but I have to actually buy more sparkly beads as I don't have any more old bridesmaid dresses to rob. :0)

Here are some closeups of the embellishments I have added so far.

Some rick rack and pink satin:

This white ribbon came wrapped around the boys' new Christmas pajamas and Paul knew enough to save it for me. :0) Good man! He's learning!

Here is the same ribbon on black satin:

The center of this block has a mostly black fabric that read too dark, so I turned it around and am using it backwards. The roses show up much better this way.

Here is the fabric turned the "right" way. I cut apart a leather barrette and used the sections as flower appliques. I sewed on different-sized shiny pink buttons for centers.

This is my favorite block in the whole quilt. I found a book at St. Vincent de Paul with pictures of "antique" stencils that were supposed to be used to paint furniture or walls or what-have-you. I have been using it to make applique patterns. Some of them seem so modern and they are remakes of these really old patterns from colonial times. I have a feeling that book is going to get worn right out!

I am so glad I entered this challenge because I NEVER would have made this quilt on my own. But I love it. So thank you so much Jackie! I have learned a LOT and really enjoyed meeting some new bloggy friends. I actually had to go shopping for the black and white fabrics because I had NONE and that was a completely new experience. I had a hard time passing up all the colors to spend money on these plain colorless fabrics, but then I got this awesome, fun, pretty quilt and now I am a convert! I think I will be using a lot more black and white in my quilts in the future.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Progress Report

It has a name now! I am calling her (because it is definitely a her) "Pink Tie Affair".

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Black and White and Pink all over

So I have three days left to finish this. Nothing like a deadline to get the creative juices (or as I like to call it: "panic") flowing, huh? Kinda gets you moving, especially when you have a whole YEAR to make something and leave it til the last 3 days. But I have been known to do heroic amounts of sewing in very small amounts of time, so there is a chance that I will skate in under the deadline. I think I am going to call a quilt top a finish in this case. (Well, I always call a quilt top a finish, but that's not what we are talking about here.)
I have a box of frou frou to embellish this quilt. It will be for me, so I can have a sparkly, girly quilt to watch t.v. under.
I am a bit of a messy creator as is evidenced by these photos.

Cutting table:

Ironing table:

Do you... smell something?

Yes, yes. In there.


Ah! Someone must have stashed these in here for use in case of emergency.

This situation is not an emergency yet, unfortunately. Maybe on the 31st as I am frantically trying to finish this quilt top I will break open the box. MAYBE this situation won't even turn into an emergency and I can save it for later. ;0)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I've been making BAGS!

I have been on a bag kick lately. I have been making Big Giant BAGS!I started out making a few because I wanted them for groceries. Well, I found a half a dozen on sale at Walmart for a DOLLAR each so I snapped those up. They weren't quite as big as mine, but they rounded out my collection nicely. So now I have enough bags to go to the grocery store, and when they ask if I want paper or plastic, I can answer, "Fabric, please!" :0)

Anyway, it was fun, so when my sister asked me to copy one of my "real" purses, which was just a storebought purse/bag thing, for her, I thought I would give it a go. Here is the real purse- for some reason I can't get it to load right so you all will just have to tilt your heads. I have had this for years and I love it, and always get lots of compliments on it, but it's starting to wear out.

This is the applique that I have sewn to the bag fabric for the new one. The owl applique turned out awesome. It would have been much cheaper just to go buy the bag, but they don't sell them anymore, and plus the one I am making is better made. I may end up making another one so I can retire my poor raggedy worn out one.

I will post pics when it is completely done. I have to make the straps and then sew it together so maybe a few hours of work left on it.

Emboldened by my success I decided to make one for Brady's kindergarten teacher for Christmas. He helped me a little so I can say it's from him. (He likes to peel the paper off the back off the applique pieces.) I made it HUGE- here it is sitting next to a paper bag, so you can get an idea of the size. My cousin is a pre-school teacher and she said that all teachers would love a huge bag to carry all the crap they have to bring in. This should fit the bill! LOL!

I designed the applique myself, just tried to make it bright and fun for kids, but not too kiddish to where she couldn't use it elsewhere. I think I succeeded. She could haul this to the beach or grocery shopping or whatever. My applique is definitely getting better as I practice more.

I think it turned out really cute. The lining on this one was a little loose, and I have not had that problem yet, but I think it is because the bag was SO big and I didn't quilt it much.

These are really fun to play with. I have lots of friends who want them so I am going to be busy making bags for a while. I do have a new quilt in the works, made COMPLETELY from vintage sheets, but no pics yet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like... something.

This is how my husband decorates for the holidays:
This is how my kids decorate for the holidays:

This is how I decorate for the holidays (I am proud of this because it was very CHEAP.) :
I got the shelf from the side of the road during city clean-up a couple years ago and gave it about 10 coats of white paint yesterday. (It was bright red.) Those pictures are my favorite ones EVER, and the rest of the stuff was all in the basement (or on the tree) so I didn't pay anything for this!
I have had these silver candlesticks for years and I keep re-using them- they look so cute with the ornaments in them.

We got a BUNCH of snow today- no school for Brady, no work for Paul, and no power for any of us for about 5 hours today. It's back on again and we appreciate it more than ever! I missed our heat, but more importantly the Christmas tree was off!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


So I am getting a lot of mileage out of my cats on here lately. I figured I would jump aboard Lit and Laundry's Caturday posting and show you the sweetest picture:Brady was up sick all night last night and the kitties came and sat on his lap to comfort him. How adorable is that? He wasn't as charmed by it as I was and said they were "too heavy". (He was pretty sick.) Normally it would be pretty unusual to have that happen and he would eat it right up. He is much better today, poor guy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How to make a cat applique.

Place cat on level surface:Lay fabric over cat:

Trace cat with erasable marker.
(Try to keep cat still at this point.)
Cut out and applique to a quilt!
Ta Da!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Da Blahs.

*This post is being brought to you from the Land of Blah and Inertia.*

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have periodically struggled with depression in the past and, for whatever reason, the last couple months I have been dealing with a doozy. I have been seeing my (wonderful) doctor and the lethargy and grayness seem to have lifted now and I am doing so much better. I started sewing again- yay!- and have even recently made some half-hearted stabs at CLEANING MY HOUSE!!!
Unfortunately, I do have some sad news to report- my "old kitty" (as the boys called him), Sly, passed away. Maybe this precipitated the aforementioned funk? (Ok, it was not really a funk, but rather a deep black pit of sadness and despair.) It was rough, but he was old and not doing well, so not entirely unexpected. I cried for a few days, and now I can smile when I think of him. I truly don't think I will ever have another cat that I love as much as I did him. He was MY cat and I was HIS person.
Ok, icky sad stuff out of the way- time for happy fabricky stuff!
I have gotten some of my sewing mojo back, and this is what I worked on yesterday. Every piece of fabric in this quilt top was from a vintage sheet, except for the flower face itself. These flowers were on a panel and were intended to be made into place mats. A place mat would have a very short lifespan in my house, so of course they had to be incorporated into quilts instead. I wish I had a ton more of these panels because the quilts turned out so cute!
I made two identical quilt tops, one for Paul's cousin's daughter, and one extra for my gift bag for a future gift. I didn't like the pink daisy as much when I saw it photographed, so I think I will use both of the yellow flowers and save the pink ones for another project. (There are two of each flower since the place mats were supposed to be reversible.) The squares are sewed together, but the flowers still need to be ironed on and stitched down.
I will post better pictures of the quilts when they are quilted and bound- I have a cute striped sheet that will make a great bias cut binding, so I just have to choose a sheet for the backs and I will be ready to quilt! I had an absolute blast working with the sheets. I have been collecting them for so long now but had never actually made an entire quilt using sheets. This one is for a pre-schooler so it's only 40 x 50, but it still counts.

I have been toying with the idea of making some quilt kits to sell from my vintage sheets, so I cut out a couple sets of 10" squares from the sheets as I was cutting the squares for these quilts. Then, as I sewed the blocks together I noticed some issues with the "squareness" of my blocks. (Or rather, the LACK of squareness!) With some investigation, I realized that my cutting mat has some big ripples in it, probably from incorrect storage, so I have to get a new mat before I go into business. I think I could justify my compulsion to buy these sheets if I could make them pay for themselves. Maybe I wouldn't even need to sneak them into the house anymore?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lots of awesome giveaways!

Head over to Needle Little Inspiration to see all the amazing giveaways going on today! There is an open house going on and more than one shop has offered up some great giveaway items. I've got my fingers crossed to win something- these are really generous giveaways.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lucky Dog!

My Finish for Friday this week is a bit weak (it's not very big) but it's still a finish! We are babysitting for a cute little dog whose name is Truman. I wanted to practice some FMQ on my new machine and a few other tricks, so the boys and I made Truman a quilt.

I used Heat-n-Bond and a zigzag stitch to put his name on there. I wasn't overly impressed with the zig-zag stitch from Bernie, but I was only using Coats and Clark thread from Wally World, so that may have been the issue. She was missing stitches- actually quite a few of them, so I think it was operator error. These machines are famous for their even stitches. I am going to try a new needle and better thread next time and see what happens.

The fabric we used has little scottie dogs all over it. The gold for the back is a pillowcase, and the black is a sheet that I have used a LOT of. I am going to have to keep my eyes open for another black sheet.

I used black thread so that I could see what my FMQ looked like and where my problem areas are. I think I just have to work on being smoother (is that a word?) with my motion. I got a pair of those sticky quilting gloves to try with the next quilt. Moving that quilt around really made my hands sore and this is a small quilt.

The reason we are dogsitting is that Truman's owners are visiting with their brand new grandson! I couldn't very well make the dog a quilt and not the baby, now, could I? So this quilt will be for Elijah. It's fairly big- 40 x 50, so he will be able to use it when he is bigger.

(I sure hope I got the name right- I got that info thirdhand- and it came through TWO MEN before it got to me... not that most men are stupid or anything- they just tend to be wrong a lot.)

If you want to see more Friday Finishes, hop over to Lit and Laundry and see what everyone else has been up to! (Check out the cuddly fall quilt!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another wedding and another Christmas quilt!

We had another wedding this weekend. (I have lots of cousins who have been doing the marrying thing lately. Silly kids.) This couple has been painting my late grandma's old place, which is right next door to my aunt, and they are going to live there. They painted the upstairs bathroom lime green!! I LOVE it! So I knew I could make them a really bright quilt- and here it is! I basically just wrapped a jelly roll around a charm pack of Merry and Bright, then used the last of the strips and a thrifted sheet for the floating blocks border. It turned out so cute that I wanted to keep it.

I even used one of the Bernie's fancy quilting stitches for the first time!

The theme of the gift was a "Tradition in a Box".

I wrote some little poems and attached them to each item. There are a couple of bowls for candy and popcorn, a DVD copy of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the REAL one, not the Jim Carrey one) and a photo album so that they can take a picture of their family in front of their Christmas tree every year. (If anyone is interested in doing this and wants a copy of the poems, just email me or leave a comment and I will send you a copy.)

The wedding was last night and I was still up at 4 am yesterday morning hand sewing the binding! Nothing like leaving it to the last minute, right? The gal at the local quilt store laughed at me when I went to pick up some basting spray at 5:00 the night before the wedding- she was the same one who sold me the binding that I sewed on in the car on the way to the last wedding!

So I have now quilted TWO quilts with my new Bernina, and I love it more and more every time I use it. I actually enjoyed quilting this quilt, which is saying a LOT.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Finish for Friday

You're gonna want to grab a chair- I finished a quilt. As in, I actually quilted it!! This is because... dun! dun! dun! I got a new Bernina 430 and I really really love it and I can even quilt with it!! We are out of town for a wedding now, which brings me to my big finish for the week- it's a wedding gift! But I didn't really know the happy couple's favorite colors or their house's style so I just went with a Christmas quilt.

I made it a nice little matching storage case with a clear plastic window on the front for a page of instructions about how to store and clean a quilt.

With my fancy new machine I was able to use a funky stitch to attach the plastic. I did this really quickly this morning before we left so, shh!- don't tell, but it got a little crooked. (I am being sarcastic about the shh! thing. It is drunken sailor crooked, but when the quilt is in it you can't tell quite as much. I didn't have time to make another one, so, meh, whatever.)I like the idea of a zigzag quilt with no HSTs like Amanda Jean's tutorial, but I wanted pointy points all the way around. So what I did was add a white strip all the way around, except for the left side, where I added two strips. I had intended for this to be an oblong quilt, but ran out of the white on white polka dots, so Paul and I got real cozy with the seamrippers (yes, my wonderful husband helped me rip apart two sets of blocks, but he whined a lot so that kind of took away from the sweetness of it) and the quilt became square. (Well, sort of square. I won't switch sewing machines halfway through a quilt again.) If I do this again I won't put the extra fabric on the sides, but I would do it on the top and bottom.
I finished hand stitching the binding on the way here today. Which is one of my favorite ways to spend a car ride. I actually really like doing the binding. For this one, since there were... issues... with the "squareness" of the quilt, I used a white on white for the binding, too. Normally I like a contrasting binding, but for this quilt, well, not so much.

For the quilting, I did a double stitch in the ditch.

Where I had striped fabric, I cut it so that the stripes go the same direction.

I even made a label for this quilt! (The back is a flannel sheet.)
Just a shot of it hanging over the railing at the motel. You can see how the color is graduated from light to dark.

Unfortunately, the Friday finish over at Lit and Laundry is a sad one this week. I will let you head over and read about her kitty.